Thursday, 22 May 2014

What the Youth Needs to Learn

Our Faith is of an essentially objective nature. This pertains to both its intellectuality and its historicity.

How are we to attract and retain the young in our Church? For some the solution is almost self-evident, it is the attempt to remould the Church in the image of ''modern youth''. It is to bend the Church to the expectations, likes, preferences and demands of the young. Only in this way, they allege, will Catholicism have any hope of progressing somewhat in the 21st century.

 I reply serenely: ''What has the past 100 years taught us other than that we are supremely capable of killing one another more efficiently?'' The fashioning of the perennial teaching of the Faith to the vicissitudes of a passing and frivolous age is bizarre to anyone who is half awake. Who has not considered the fact that men are castigated and regarded as dangerous extremists, bigots and wicked for holding views a merely five years ago were taken for granted? An institution, whether divine or human, perverted by a reshaping by every alterable wind will end up going mad or completely irrelevant. After all, who is God but subsisting intellect and unchanging goodness, holiness and justice?

I present to you what the Church and her shepherds must instil in the young: intelligence and truth. The Orthodox and Catholic Faith has nothing in common with the legends of the Romans, Greeks or any other pagan grouping whose stories are there to illustrate some moral at best or to fabricate an origin story at worst. Such stories are liable to be refashioned according to the tastes of the latest group of hearers and this constant re-forming is necessary to avoid boredom and impart new meaning from the source material ever malleable to the dictates of the poet. The particular facts are of themselves unimportant. Fertile matter for the fertile imagination.

Our Faith is not of such a character. Man has no more right to insert a new aspect onto the personality of Christ or His teaching than God has of denying His own goodness. What the Father taught Christ, Christ taught the Apostles who in turn taught their successors. We are to hold what the Church has always and everywhere taught, in the same sense as it was taught. This historicity of ''tradition'' in the most fundamental sense is of primordial importance for the survival of the Christian mind.If Our Lord did not take flesh, if He did not suffer truly and die truly, if He did not rise in the flesh, our faith is in vain and we only deserve the mockery of unbelievers. The Catholic who is tempted to say that it is only fitting for ancient man to assert such ''facts''' in order to console his ignorance has gone far astray from the Faith. He believes himself to have attained a ''higher consciousness'' of what God ''really meant''. Evolution of dogma is utterly devastating to the Catholic Church and to validity of thought. The Faith in its radical nature embarrasses him and he has no time for such embarrassment before his fellow man. He does not realise that by denying the historicity of the Incarnation and Resurrection of our Lord, he attributes no value whatsoever to the reality and necessity of it. The whole purpose of his unreasoning exercise is to make the Faith appear of ''value'' to modern man.Yet when intellectuality and historicity flee what is there of value left? It is a man made product of dubious quality.

 A more concrete solution I must urge. The young must be taught to think. They must be taught how to make distinctions. They must be taught how to define. The youth have particularly strong urges to overcome what they consider to be injustices and they possess a certain energy to make themselves noticed. Unfortunately they cleave to a mirage of thought that can be compressed on a placard. They think in slogans, clich├ęs and parrot buzz phrases without considering the full implications of what they are actually spouting. Let us consider the matter of ''love is love'' on the basis of what they nebulously term ''marriage equality''. Such proponents of ''progress'' will assert that this is based on the simple notion of ''you can marry whoever you want''. Rather often I have retorted, ''even my sister?'', to which I am greeted with a sneering condescension and disgust.With the easy availability of contraception and abortion on demand such a state of affairs would not be of great import. In fact I found myself in temporary possession of the former on my very first day of university. It came with the welcome pack. It appears that they have their own prejudices and notions of boundaries. All would be well if they were cognizant of such a truth.

 The youth must be taught sound philosophy and a valid system of metaphysics. With the great degree of specialization that we have obtained so rapidly in the past century or so, why are these sciences neglected when they form a foundational edifice for truly understanding the multiplicity of our created reality? Such teaching will form their minds in discipline to seek what is truly lasting and valuable to man. If this training is to be neglected what will the youth base their practical judgements on, other than what appears to be good and appealing? Without sober judgement, rationality is impossible. Sainthood even more so. Some may respond that this is too scholastic an undertaking and some souls are to be treated to a ''mystic'' approach. Faith may be beyond our reason but reason is to be perfected by revealed truths. It is to mould our thought processes and eliminate errors of judgements and reason. Young Catholic souls are constantly attacked for their faith, so how are they to elucidate their interlocutors on the Divine Trinity and the mystery of grace if they are unable to progress past the preambula fidei? If the very notion of the rationality of God is being questioned, where the young Catholic soul is entirely helpless beyond the barrage of questions, what use is urging their friends to trust in Jesus and His Cross? The latter two are fundamentally dependant on the truth of God which has few true defenders. What will that young soul respond but ''I have my belief and you have yours''? If the Faith is to be of such a nature, arising from the subjective need of a spirit in search of consolation, it would be better to be without it. The militancy of the faithful has evaporated and so has their realization that the Faith can be intelligently defended and explained systematically.

 It is only in this way that we can do our duty towards the young. Give the young man a love of truth and a love of sacrifice. In this way he will save his own soul, as well as those of his wife and children.

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