Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Difficulties of the Young

Writing in the "Window of the Ark" column of the Catholic Times, a priest working with young people relates the story of a young man who told him that because he had lost the love of his girlfriend he felt that his life was over. He went to the top of a building  and tried to kill himself. It was nighttime and he did not see the canopy below, covering the entrance to the building, which broke his fall and saved his life, with just a few scratches. The priest said that he was soon walking around with a smile on his face and eating well. Heartbroken, the young man had caused a couple of thousand dollars of damage to the canopy,  but the expenses were on the house.

The priest reflects on the difficulties of the young. They see so much in the media, and the example of the elders is of little help.  Sexual contact between the sexes is a common occurrence, and they are not prepared for what is involved. They are not familiar with their bodies. They are not prepared for marriage and the difficulties it brings after the excitement of the romantic involvement wears off. The use of  contraceptive drugs and of abortion, the mental tension that comes with an unwanted pregnancy, the avoidance of friends, the  possibility of the relationship going  sour--all are common occurrences.

When faced with an unwanted pregnancy, adults will often resort to abortions or the so called morning-after-pill. Catholics know that this is not permissible, but the young, not being able to acquire the drugs, will often use a month or more of hormones to prevent the pregnancy, which can do a great of damage to a young person's body, preventing pregnancies in the future and bringing depression.

We can't  blame the young people because of the society we have made. The schools are hot beds for bullying. Families are not places of rest and renewal. And the churches, because of the competition for excelling in the college entrance exams, are not able to do their pastoral work with the young.

Adults are often overly concerned with making money. Society has changed more in the last 20 years, the priest says, than we have changed since the beginning of recorded history. What can we expect from the young? They are concerned more about the changes in their bodies than they are about mental maturity. And the adults? They have become the slaves of money and power, and can only deal with the young with honeyed words. This is a serious problem for the young. Tweaking the words of a well-known song, he believes they will aptly describe the youth of the future: Walking in the rain with their heads down. Without a song in their hearts.

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