Sunday, December 14, 2008

Generation Gap

I have had on my desk for two weeks now a copy of the Tablet, open at the letters page. As you may guess, I`m not a great fan of the Tablet but do find it useful to keep up with what is being said. In the edition for 29th November, the first letter was printed under the heading (surprise, surprise) of Loyal Dissent. The letter was written by one Peter Clifton in reaction to the recent thoughts of the sadly about-to-retire bishop of Lancaster, Patrick O`Donaghue. What interested me was the following:

In educating my children before university education, I confirmed myobvious
rejection of superstition, creationism, literal interpretation ofScripture and
the discipline of celibacy for priests that is depriving theChurch of the
sacraments, to name a few issues. More importantly for theirlives, I told them
my belief that there is nothing wrong in limiting your family and being a

Normal Tablet stuff so far. However what follows is more interesting.

It was all about a reality test on Christian faith. My children (some of them) could see that being a loyally dissenting Catholic was all right for me but it wasn`t for them. It is too damn complicated to say "I believe this but not that". They want the whole biscuit and to be able to make an easy appeal to the authority of the Church. I am proud that they accept and practise the teachings of compassion and peace of the Church, just as I am proud of the statements of Catholic bishops on these issues. But to be practising Catholics they need more.

Mr Clifton concludes:

We loyal dissenters are dying out

In my time I have met ecclesiastical authorities who struggle to undestand why the younger generation is often not interested in loyal dissent. They label them as being too conservative or rigid. Thanks to Mr Clifton for giving an insight why if younger people are going to bother with Catholicism at all they want `the whole biscuit` and don`t see the point of committing yourself to something half-heartedly.


gemoftheocean said...

:-D Too soon yet to tell if the kids are doing it out of conviction, or just to tick off dear old dad.

gemoftheocean said...

Ha-ah...the kids probably made fun of his Rolling Stones records too.