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Sat Feb 16, 2013, 11:05 AM

Has anyone else noticed a collapse in Catholic identity in the youngest generation?

I don't know if it's the same everywhere like here, but in midst of all the debate about if one is "born into a religion" I don't see that AT ALL here. I mean there are plenty of people raised Catholic here, but very few who still practice, and of those that don't very few still identify that way, even those who haven't converted to something else but aren't atheist/agnostic will identify as just "Christian" or "Spiritual but not religious". I don't know of anyone on my Facebook friends who puts "Catholic" down for religious views. And furthermore if someone here goes to church only on Christmas and Easter, it's often not the Catholic church even then but most than likely some non-traditional and not denominationally affiliated type place (that could be just a Minneapolis thing though since we're far bigger on that type of stuff than most cities.)

This isn't surprising for obvious reasons. But in my area amongst my generation, Catholic identity and their family's culture and tradition don't seem to be very highly valued. It's not surprising that there was a huge round of Catholic parishes closing and merging here recently. As I noted elsewhere I go to a church now where the vast majority of people are under 35, while in many Catholic parishes the majority are people with gray hair.

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Reply Has anyone else noticed a collapse in Catholic identity in the youngest generation? (Original post)
ButterflyBlood Feb 2013 OP
shrike Feb 2013 #1
cbayer Feb 2013 #4
Buzz Clik Feb 2013 #2
susanr516 Feb 2013 #3
goldent Feb 2013 #5
bottomofthehill Feb 2013 #6
DinahMoeHum Feb 2013 #7
shrike Feb 2013 #8
DinahMoeHum Feb 2013 #9
goldent Feb 2013 #10
ButterflyBlood Feb 2013 #11

Response to ButterflyBlood (Original post)

Sat Feb 16, 2013, 11:21 AM

1. Not in the hispanic Catholic church I ended up in last Good Friday

Everyone on the altar was in their 20s, other than the priest. Maybe a few gray heads in the room. Everyone 30s and younger. And they have a u-tube channel, Facebook. And the priest was treated with the utmost respect.

Then again, the RCC is a largely Third World Church and has been for quite some time. Only 13 percent of Catholics live in the U.S. Two-thirds live in the developing world. That's where its future is.

The church I just mentioned was in the U.S., btw. And the mass was said in Spanish.

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Response to shrike (Reply #1)

Sat Feb 16, 2013, 11:28 AM

4. Agree. I live in a community with a very large Mexican/American population and their

ties to the church seem stronger than ever.

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Response to ButterflyBlood (Original post)

Sat Feb 16, 2013, 11:23 AM

2. No,

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Response to ButterflyBlood (Original post)

Sat Feb 16, 2013, 11:25 AM

3. I think a strong religious identity is dropping among younger adults

regardless of denominational ties, at least here in the US.

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Response to ButterflyBlood (Original post)

Sat Feb 16, 2013, 12:09 PM

5. I haven't seen it in my parish

At my parish, I would say the demographics at a typical Mass matches pretty much the surrounding community - a good mix of families, empty-nesters, and elderly. Our parish does not have a school - most of the children at Mass go to the local public school (a few live in our parish but go to a Catholic school of a neighboring parish). Our Christmas and Easter Masses are standing room only, as they have always been. But I've visited parishes where it is mostly older/elderly as you mention - I'm not sure what the difference but for sure in some cases the community itself is much older as kids move out once out of high school.

One difference here compared to where I grew up is that Catholics are more integrated into the general community. Community groups are happy to use our facilities for meetings, etc, and I think years ago it would not have been common.

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Response to ButterflyBlood (Original post)

Sat Feb 16, 2013, 12:15 PM

6. A group of friends were just talking about this.......

I self identified myself as an Irish Catholic Democrat for years, I no longer do. I dont know if is because I have outgrown labels or if I identify myself much less with the Catholic Church. The Catholic part has dropped, I still strongly self identify as a Democrat.

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Response to ButterflyBlood (Original post)

Sat Feb 16, 2013, 01:06 PM

7. I'm just curious, folks, what about the "Liberation Theology" branch

of the RCC?

Is it still popular among younger folks, or is that also declining?

Any thoughts here from those in the know are greatly appreciated.

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Response to DinahMoeHum (Reply #7)

Sat Feb 16, 2013, 02:31 PM

8. An article on the Pope and liberation theology worth reading, I think


http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2013/02/15/the-popes-mixed-legacy-with-latino-catholics/?iid=article_sidebar

snip

Benedict’s opposition to liberation theology was ironic because he shared many of its concerns, others say. He was critical of capitalism and thought that Christian leaders should be concerned with the economic and political liberation of their followers.
Benedict spoke out against unrestrained capitalism, income inequality and global warming. As recently as December, he said in a speech that Christians should work for a more “equitable sharing of the Earth’s resources.”

“Benedict was a vociferous advocate for the poor and strongly opposed income inequality,” says James Martin, a Jesuit priest and author of “The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything: A Spirituality for Real Life." “On that mark, he was as progressive as they come.”
Yet Benedict was suspicious of liberation theologians because some aligned themselves with political movements that sought to overthrow repressive governments in Latin America, other historians say.

The prospect of the church aligning itself with political movements alarmed Benedict because of his own upbringing, says Ramon Luzarraga, a religion professor at the University of Dayton in Ohio. He saw such an alliance between church and state destroy his native Germany. Catholic and Protestant leaders help put Hitler in power, Luzarraga says.

snip

There's also a discussion of liberation theology in Latin America itself. As always, the situation is more complicated than we think.

One bright spot in this story is the fact that most Latino Catholics support gay marriage. Given that 39 percent of all Catholics worldwide live in Latin America, that's a good sign.

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Response to shrike (Reply #8)

Sat Feb 16, 2013, 06:24 PM

9. Thanks, it makes a great case for the next pope to be Latin American. . .

If the Vatican were to do that, their next Pope might do what John Paul I did over 30 years ago in bringing the church up to the modern era.

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Response to shrike (Reply #8)

Sat Feb 16, 2013, 11:40 PM

10. I think many do not realize that

so many of the Church's positions would be viewed as very liberal, particularly in America. I was unaware of his opposition to the Church being aligned with political movements, based on his experience in Nazi Germany (and he's completely correct in my opinion).

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Response to DinahMoeHum (Reply #7)

Sun Feb 17, 2013, 12:22 AM

11. Funny, I once heard the emergent church described as...

"Liberation Theology for white people from a comfortable middle class background"

An extreme oversimplification, and not entirely accurate, but kind of makes the point well. Most young people active in any church (like I am) are doing it not in any traditional established church.

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