Saturday, February 27, 2021

The Church Needs to Speak for the Young


A Kyeongyang magazine article by a humanity scholar wants the Church to wake up to the problems with the youth in society. In his eyes, the church does not see the young people and the crises they face.

Believers who go to Mass, devout in their religious life, he wonders whether they are conscious of the absence of the young from the church community. With the shortage of young people, the few that remain are often teaching two Sunday school religious classes, and this is not something rare.

The thinking of many is that the efforts necessary to prepare for college at least during their 3rd year are such that they can excuse themselves from church attendance without fault. Many parents are also of the same opinion. This is easy to understand. However, once they do enter college many never return to church. It's like the salmon that leaves the rivers for the ocean they never go back to the river. The church is filled with elders, no feeling of a crisis, and yet are there any greater problems the church needs to face?

His wife received word from a friend that their son passed the civil servants exam and with joy passed on the news. Both his wife and the writer congratulated them on the news; they were truly happy for the family. The son is now opened to getting married and preparing for the future.

The Korean Catholic Church ironically grew greatly in numbers when the church began to speak out when democracy,  human rights, and the dignity of the citizens were being trampled. Many kept their eyes shut and mouths closed. The church became a sanctuary for many and a means of hope and courage to many. What is the church saying about the problems facing the young?

When he was a student no worries about jobs even while in school they were able to find work. Dating and romance were part of school life. The young today are dealing with a completely different situation, they have to live with envy.  The majority of society has little concern in looking for ways to reverse the situation.

He has two boys whose life materially has been much easier than his own upbringing. However, they have faced fierce competition in their schooling and worries about work. They don't find hope from their parents, having to learn about the difficulties of life at an early age.

We need not be concerned with the absence of the young people from the church nor overly concern for their religious education. This is the time to talk with them, listen to them, and help them realize their smallest of dreams. Make the society in which we live open to the plight of the young. The church needs to see how it has been blind to the problems of the young and begin to redress its role with courage, encouragement, and a strong voice speaking out for their concerns.

They are not only the objects of the church's teaching but persons who need the church's support and not concerned with their absence. Once they lose all hope of help from the church they will completely leave the church They are hurting, in crisis, we need to feel this pain and it is not a choice.

Are the young people coming to church? That is not the question we should be asking. This is a time for the prophets to speak out loud and strong about the contradictions in society and the greed all around. This is no time to reconsider what is to be done but to begin doing something. This is the time for all of us to ask God for ways to give strength to the young.

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