Sunday, December 17, 2017

Where are the Young People?

At the Mass for young people, there are more adults than young people. No, it's not that they are busy studying for exams but rather the community of faith is not reaching them; we are becoming a church of old people. A professor of humanities writing in the Kyeongyang magazine would like to know where they have gone.

Protestants are doing a better job relating to the young he says. At times the methods are not always without criticisms but they are closer to the young. Can Catholicism embrace the young?   

When he is out with his classmates drinking at a cafe` he notices some will take out their smartphone and furtively glance at it and he says, without doubt, they are looking at a picture of their grandchild. They are attracted more to their grandchildren than their own for they are no longer busy with raising a family and its concerns. However, each day 7 young people commit suicide. Is there any guarantee that these children in twenty years will not be one of them. This children's generation is the first that will not be living as well as their parents.

When Pople Francis came to Korea in 2014, one of the main reasons was to attend the Asian Youth Gathering. He was very close to them and spent time with them; after he left the writer feels embarrassed that the church has not continued this concern for the young. He feels that the present generation has forgotten them.

Our generation had a difficult time but we didn't have problems with finding work, getting married or bothered with thoughts of suicide. No matter how hard they try getting a job they are approaching an ironclad bastion. Instead of changing the structures they are getting worse. Wealth continues to increase and is distributed among the wealthy, injustice continues and few speak out.

Generally, Catholicism compared to Protestantism is passive and subdued. Here in Korea, however, the church continued to grow especially because the church stood up to the military take over of government. Ironically Korean Catholicism is much more progressive than Protestantism, how come?

The Church in Korea has been on the side of the weak in their struggle for justice. Catholicism became the spokesperson for workers, the marginated. They were ridiculed for it but continued and persons came to the door of the church. The Gospel message was always before them. Nowadays the young people are the ones who are marginated and weak and need persons to speak for them. The professor feels that the church has not been attentive to the plight of the young people and have limited their interest only to statistics and passive concern.

"I am the light of the world; anyone who follows me will not walk in the dark; he will have the light of life" (Jn. 8:12). He finishes the article by wanting us to give the young people hope for the future and asks us to feel shame for what we have not done.