Archbishop Diarmuid Martin – ‘Crisis of Youth Alienation’05/07/2018
‘The crisis of the Irish Church is more than about of a lack of vocations. The bigger crisis is that of the growing alienation between young people and the Church and indeed the growing distance between young people and the relevance of the teaching of Jesus Christ.’
So declared Archbishop Diarmuid Martin in his homily on July 1st – on the occasion of the celebration of the centenary of the foundation of the Irish Columban mission, in Navan.
‘Numbers attending Mass are down right across Ireland’ the archbishop went on. ‘People are struck when they go to Mass in a parish at which there is a substantial presence of young people or young families.
‘Priests find it hard to communicate with young people about religious matters. The same is true of Christian parents who day after day struggle in seeking to transmit something of their own sense of faith and prayer to their children. Yet they are truly proud of the great sense of idealism and goodness, of justice and care of their children.’
How many readers of this – parents especially – are given opportunities to discuss this issue – in a sustained and determined way – with their priests? Is it their experience that priests are indeed ‘finding it hard’ to communicate with young people – in the sense that they set out in a determined way to do just that? Or is it that more often our priests seem to have a serious ‘going out’ problem – a mere stay-at-home bewilderment that young people do not come to them to listen silently in their own comfort zone – the church building – as their grandparents did so dutifully?
And are young people truly distancing themselves from the teachings of Jesus, or from an Irish clerical system so stuck in the past that it embarrasses even their grandparents?
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