Wednesday, October 3, 2018


By age 9 or 10, she had her first doubts about the faith, and not long after, she felt confident telling her parents: The Catholic Church, Agata Leoniddi said, seemed “outdated and backwards.”

The language at Mass was archaic. The teaching was rigid and unwelcoming. And some of the issues most important to her — including gender equality — were not discussed in church, where the leaders were entirely male. Leoniddi had spent her childhood within the church, but more and more, she was reaching the conclusion of so many young people in the developed world who’ve abandoned organized religion and, in particular, the scandal-riddled Catholic faith.

“I don’t think the church understands my generation,” said Leoniddi, now 12, who lives in a village among rolling hills 50 miles outside of Rome. “We are not like our grandfathers.”

The failure to attract and retain young people has become a central focus this month as the Vatican holds a major summit on the topic of youths within the faith. Among the pressing questions is whether an institution often criticized as out of touch can regain relevance for a younger generation — and whether the church’s power brokers are willing to listen to what those people have to say.


Robert Kumpel said...

The Vatican SHOULD be worried that it is losing young people. Because the Church IS. They should be even MORE worried, however about their completely impotent approach to reaching young people. Compromising and trying to "get hip" is a proven failure. If little Miss Leoniddi's Church WAS doing its job, Catholic educators would have explained to her a long time ago the TRUTH about "gender equality" and done so in a way that articulates the Church's position and prepared Leoniddi to defend her faith rather than slowly move away from it.

In 1989, I was in graduate school, living in San Diego. I was very depressed and one of the reasons was because I felt like I was the last believing Catholic in my age group. I hung out sometimes at the Newman Center at my local university, but aside from Mass (always the guitar thing) it was just the same boilerplate social activist stuff. Many of the members despised what the Church taught and many openly defied the Church's teachings on, shall we say, certain moral issues.

One afternoon, I attended Mass at the Old Mission (Junipero Serra's first) and was approached by a fellow about my age. His name was Matt Pinto. He invited me to a new young adult group he was starting there. I was cynical, but figured, "What have I got to lose besides an hour or two?" Our first meeting attended by about 8 people, was called "Proud to be Catholic." Matt was an apologist with Catholic Answers (He is now the president and founder of Ascension Press) and he put us on fire for our faith. We began to get speakers come in and teach us about pro-life issues, sexual orientation controversies, how to deal with cult missionaries at your door, how to answer Evangelical Protestants, the truth about the Inquisition, and various other fascinating things about our faith we could not possibly have gotten anywhere else. We became active in the community. We did outreach to help unwed mothers, we did pro-life prayer vigils at Planned Parenthood and persuaded many women not to kill their babies. And we became defenders of our faith, not wimpy stutterers who passively watch their Church being publicly damned and do nothing about it. THAT IS HOW YOU GET AND KEEP YOUNG PEOPLE. YOU GIVE THEM THE REAL THING AND YOU TEACH THEM WHY IT ENDURES WHEN ALL ELSE IS PASSING AWAY.

And that is what our leaders refuse to do. So go listen to your "nothing is really a sin" homilies and dance to your "Christian rock" and other pointless pandering. The ship is sinking because we have no captain willing to take the helm and steer it in its proper direction. God help us.

Robert Kumpel said...

I forgot to mention. Within a month, we had over 40 people coming. Within a year, it was not uncommon to have meetings with more than 100 people.


Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Of course this is the secular view of what the Church should do and yes, you are correct that this child was not and is not being properly formed first by her parents in the domestic Church and then by the institutional Church. Apologetics has to be a part of our agenda in this highly individualistic time we live.

We can't forget that being Catholic, following Jesus, means conversion, a change of attitudes and practices that are contrary to the Gospel. And that means martyrdom sometimes.

Can you imagine first century martyrs reading this crap? The Church has never caved to paganism.

Catechist Kev said...

What Robert said!

Anonymous said...

Miss Leoniddi's statement sounds scripted, IMHO. Just maybe the reason young folks are leaving the Church is because a bunch of progressive old farts are telling them to.

Dan said...

I cant even imagine a 1950's Catholic reading this crapola.

Henry said...

Keep the Novus Ordo . . . Say goodbye to the young folks.