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I am a Third Order Franciscan of the Province of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Generation John Paul II

Much commentary on the newest generation of priests emphasizes their "conservative" mindset. I have tended to notice this as well; though I don't know whether that is the nature of fewer men seeking to enter religious life, a desire to rebel against the more liberal attitude of the baby boomer generation, or something else.

I know that some have become quite concerned with the desire of many young Catholics to restore devotionals such as Eucharistic Adoration that had fallen by the wayside in many areas. They fear that the youth are trying to restore the very things that they had struggled to eliminate.

I think that in the earlier generation, faith was simply a matter of acceptance and a matter of tradition. Now, with so many options available for people - those who choose to be Catholic must really have good reasons, they must really make their faith decision part of their way of living. This applies not just to Catholicism but to any faith or ideology, the youth are becoming much more passionate.

My experience of seminary life also confirms this, the priests of the future are much more interested in orthodoxy and spirituality - they want to know about their faith and they want to be good priests. Will this breed difficulties with an older generation that tended to identify themselves more in terms of social justice than the younger generation's focus on ritual and liturgy? That remains to be seen.


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