"Are we prepared to promote conditions in which the living contact with God can be reestablished? For our lives today have become godless to the point of complete vacuity. God is no longer with us in the conscious sense of the word. He is denied, ignored, excluded from every claim to have a part in our daily life." - Alfred Delp, S.J.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Taylor Marshall Asks Why 80% of Catholic Youth Leave the Church...

Love is the answer?
Youth leave the Church because they have not encountered Christ and His love. Period. That’s the answer. Being Christian entails the passionate desire to be with God forever. That’s what the Christian desires more than anything else. God. To be with the One that loves you more than any other. - Taylor Marshall
I agree, youth leave the Church because they haven't encountered Christ and his love, but even more seriously, they haven't been taught the fundamentals of the Catholic faith, they haven't received authentic Roman Catholic religious education - for the last 50 years since Vatican II.  Neither were their teachers properly educated or catechized.

How many school sisters and brothers abandoned and rejected their vocations as religious educators, or sold out their academic institutions to secular humanism and New Age Theosophy?  How many Catholic parents received faulty educations in Catholic institutions, or whose lifestyles do not conform to Catholic teaching and practice?  How many Catholic parents have never encountered Christ and his love?  How many Catholic educators have never encountered Christ and his love?  How could they if they do not have the faith, if they do not believe what the Church teaches? 

I recall how in the '80's a seminarian told me that he was dating - it was encouraged at the time to help discern a call to celibacy.  He mentioned one Sunday he went to her Assembly of God church instead of going to Mass - I questioned it - he laughed and said I didn't understand the new ecclesiology.  He dropped out of seminary and married - although he did become a deacon later on.

Similarly, many kids I've met over the years - my University of St. Thomas educated niece included - explained that one doesn't need to attend Mass on Sunday if they do a good work instead, visit someone in a nursing home, take a homeless person shopping at the Mall, and so on.  They also don't have to go to confession unless they commit a mortal sin, which they insist is nearly impossible to do, BTW.

The recent resignations, terminations of Catholic school teachers who come out as gay or transgendered, or simply support doctrines in opposition to Catholic teaching surely suggests that there has been something wrong with Catholic education for a really, really long time.

And yet, people keep asking: "Why are Catholic youth leaving the Church?"

I think the reason is obvious.  It is because the faith has been made meaningless to Catholic youth.  Catholic educators have failed - or, in some twisted way, succeeded in convincing their students the Church is out of date, out of step with the culture, and that the bishops are dead wrong about faith and morals and their efforts to help the faithful rediscover Catholicism.  A great many of our Catholic youth, young adults, 30-40 year olds, were never taught the basics.


  1. "but even more seriously, they haven't been taught the fundamentals of the Catholic faith, they haven't received authentic Roman Catholic religious education - for the last 50 years since Vatican II. Neither were their teachers properly educated or catechized."


  2. If all you have to do is visit someone in a nursing home, I'm good for years! In fact, yesterday I visited a nursing home, did other good works among which was bringing a hot dish to a recently bereaved person who's in the too stupid to eat phase of grief. Today it's more of the same.

    I'm goin to Mass though; other than it being a mortal sin to skip without good reason, I love Mass.

  3. "Catholic educators have failed - or, in some twisted way, succeeded in convincing their students the Church is out of date, out of step with the culture, and that the bishops are dead wrong about faith and morals and their efforts to help the faithful rediscover Catholicism."

    can anyone count the number of times someone has come up to them after being correcting others on the faith and being told no the other person is right because they went to Catholic schools there whole life...face palm...but that quote does it for me

  4. Yep--blame the adults. In the parish I was married in, they decided to start a youth group and so appointed a few teenagers to organize the first meeting. The youth wanted to start off with a bang, and so they requested that I tell my conversion story at the meeting (my story's pretty wild). The pastor asked me if I'd be willing to do it, and I said "Of course". But then something strange happened. To my surprise, I kept talking--as if in spite of myself--and I told the pastor that I can't really explain how I became a Christian without mentioning the fact of demons, and that might elicit some complaints from parents. (I assume it was the Holy Spirit who prompted me...) The pastor looked troubled, hemmed and hawed, and I never heard from him again. The first meeting had the usual pizza and pop and comfortable subjects and there was never a second meeting.

    So just to be clear, the teenagers actually wanted to hear a story about the redemption of a violent and hyper-sexualized sinner, and the spiritual combat that makes up the fabric of human life, but the adults wouldn't allow it.

  5. Scott - and your story mentioning the demons would have been such a great moment for catechesis - so important for young people to hear.

  6. I agree on the lack of catechesis. Catechism provided the foundation on our belief, this is not emphasized in Catholics while other religions stresses its importance. More than that, there are a lot of solid youth groups that are active and dynamic in other religions which makes their faith look more exciting. Catholics lack youth groups. It is actually in this age that people will seek answers and this answers should be provided by credible and knowledgeable teachers.

  7. I just started teaching faith formation to high schoolers. I don't know what to say to them. I'm a convert...I converted when I was 21 and was raised with no faith and I never went to Church. I can't really relate to their experience. They don't know anything. I considered telling them my conversion story, but I don't know. All they want to do is 'activities' and 'skits' and play games and eat snacks. If I just try to teach, people say it's too boring for the kids.

  8. Also, the book they gave me to teach with is horrendous. It's just propaganda and has no substance.

  9. Rebecca, how old are you? If you converted only recently, you may want to wait to help others with catechesis. I wasn't raised with religion after age 7 and was only confirmed a few years ago so understand not relating but see that as a barrier to effective catechesis. You may want to wait until you're more grounded in Catholicism.

    1. I've been Catholic for ten years. I meant that since I didn't grow up Catholic, I don't know what their experience has been like.

  10. Tonight, I begin teaching my first year of second-grade PSR--Parish School of Religion, which is the new version of CCD. I have experience with the little ones with Eucharistic prep classes--where we put dayschool, homeschool, and public school kids from the parish together to get them ready for 1st communion and 1st penance/reconciliation. It isn't just practice--it's about understanding what the sacraments ARE.

    Our DRE was cleaning house and asked me to take over the PSR class. We are going back to basics, and we know we're evangelizing and teaching the parents as much as the children. It is a tremendous struggle.

    Instead of just going through the boring and not very useful textbook, we're using any resources at our disposal: the catechism, the bible, the church itself, the adoration chapel, etc. We are going to make this very real for them.

    We're all starting by focusing on the Mass. Many of them have no idea what's going on--in any grade level. Sadly, for many the parents are just checking off the sacrament boxes because grandma wants to see the little darling in the white outfit at the party in the spring. It's a shame. At 8th grade confirmation last year, we had one sponsor ask the DRE, "Do I have to stay for this whole frickin' mass?"

    The most interesting development was when we couldn't find anyone to teach the 6th grade class, and our pastor himself volunteered.

    And the Youth--They don't want pizza parties and guitars!! When will people learn? It is the MYSTERY that attracts the youth to the church. They are now drawn to the smells and bells and holy people in habits and the struggle with temptation and demons.

    Anyway, please pray for me and my comrades as we begin a new year and a new chapter in our very faithful parish on the East Side of Cleveland. Pray that we are open to the Holy Spirit and that He gives us the words we need to bring these children closer to Christ.


Please comment with charity and avoid ad hominem attacks. I exercise the right to delete comments I find inappropriate. If you use your real name there is a better chance your comment will stay put.