Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Another way of reaching the young

Readers will probably have read the recent interview with bishop Kieran Conry and his views on how to draw young people to the Church. Here is another recent view this time from Dominican Father Augustine DiNoia, undersecretary of the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. You will find the whole story here, courtesy of CNS. Here`s a sample.

"In our conversations with young people, we have to avoid the temptation to fudge -- to adapt the Catholic faith so as to make it palatable to modern tastes and expectations," Father DiNoia said.

"This so-called 'accommodationist' approach generally fails, and it fails doubly with young people. There is a risk in this approach that the Christian message becomes indistinguishable from everything else on offer in the market stalls of secularized religious faith," he said.

Father DiNoia examined what he said were the three biggest obstacles to evangelizing young people today. The first, he said, is "the notion that it is arrogant to claim that Jesus Christ is the unique mediator of salvation."

He said that in confronting this barrier the church needs to first make clear that faith in Christ's uniqueness does not devalue other religions, which are worthy of respect and study as "monuments to the search for God.

"But what makes Christianity different is that it is principally about "God's search for us" and God's desire to give human beings a share in divine life, he said.

"Given that salvation in the Christian sense of the term involves both reconciliation of sinners and the elevation of creaturely persons to a new kind of life, it cannot come from within this world. Saviors are a dime a dozen when one fails to grasp what's really at stake. We need to be delivered not just from error, or suffering, or desire, or injustice, or poverty," he said.

"God desires nothing less than to share his life with us," he said. Only Jesus Christ could accomplish that, he said, and Christians need to affirm that in bringing salvation for them and for others, Jesus is "not just any savior."


PeterHWright said...

I couldn't agree more with what Fr. Augustine DiNoia says.

I would single out this bit of his speech :

"No one in his or her right mind will be interested in a faith of which its exponents seem too embarrassed to speak forthrightly."

Jackie Parkes MJ said...

Thanks for this we are thinking of ways in which to reach our youth..

Anonymous said...

As Peter notes: "No one in his or her right mind will be interested in a faith of which its exponents seem too embarrassed to speak forthrightly." a sentence which goes some way (a long way) towards explaining the state of the Church is this country today. Let us hope and pray that Fr DiNoia's words will be heard.

maris said...

The last one is also crucial, because we obey, not that we enjoy following rules, but because we trust:

"Young people need to know that the church rejects this "culture of legalism" in theology, and that Catholic teachings are aimed primarily at fostering virtue, not instilling obedience. Like an athlete's exercise and diet regime, which prepares him for a good performance, the church's moral teachings are designed to lead the person to goodness and happiness."

Paulinus said...

The best lack all conviction while the worst (Dawkins and his ilk) are full of passionate intensity, as someone nearly said once.