This reflection is now available in Daniel P. Horan, OFM’s book Franciscan Spirituality for the 21st Century: Selected Reflections from the Dating God Blog and Other Essays, Volume One (Koinonia Press, 2013).



  1. Excerpt from

    ***He said, “young followers of Jesus must be aided to remain firm in the faith”, without hiding their Christian identity, “living together with other legitimate choices in a spirit of respect while at the same time demanding due respect for one’s own choices”.

    The Pope addressed the challenges of today’s world, a “prevailing superficiality, consumerism and hedonism, the widespread banalization of sexuality, the lack of solidarity, the corruption”. He spoke of the concerns specific to young people: world conflicts, the undermining of the value of the human person because of “selfish, material and ideological interests”; environmental degradation, uncertainty over their future, an increasingly precarious workplace, drug abuse. “There are even some”, said Pope Benedict “who because of their faith in Christ, suffer discrimination which leads to contempt and persecution, open or hidden, which they endure in various regions and countries. They are harassed to give him up, depriving them of the signs of his presence in public life, not allowing even the mention of his holy name”. To them he said “again he said to them; do not be ashamed of the Lord. He did not spare himself in becoming one like us and in experiencing our anguish so as to lift it up to God, and in this way he saved us”. ***

    Just my perspective, as an “older” person, I think the Holy Father and the Church are well aware of the issues facing young people. I would venture that the issues are pretty much the same issues that have faced every generation. However, previous generations did not have the digital speed to get information (correct or incorrect as that information may be). Nor, did they have such a decimation or flagrant attack of traditional values, which IMHO is nothing more that the continuation of the radical 60s and 70s. And, furthermore, with such a “liberation”, the lack of solid catechisis both from the pulpit and at home, moreover the challenge to form a right conscience in children before they are indundated by the leftist agenda of the public schools — you are correct, there are a great many challenges facing the Church.

    Respectfully, by supposing the Holy Father and the Church are perhaps not-capable of addressing the concerns because the generational gap, is In essence, “age” discrimination. If it is old and traditional, it must be archeic and useless, and obviously out-of-touch with reality or cannot relate to the youth. Given this premise, anyone over the age of say 50 should not be in roles of responsibility or teaching for that matter, as they certainly cannot “relate” to the younger generation. That certainly would be a sad state if the youth and young adults of Aristotle or St. Augustine felt the same way. I would also submit that by default this theory is a rather temporal, and may be discounting the power of the Holy Spirit which guides the Church: the men (and women) are merely His tools.

    An aside: What is the true definition and difference between a bureacrat and politician (not using the communist derogatory term nor the modern-day definition)? Bureacrats are those career professionals that know what works and what doesn’t in government. They ensure stability and progress. A politician is suppose to bring in new ideas and concerns from their constituents, broker/compromise deals, implement changes, and the bureacrats make sure the politicians don’t upset the apple cart, or turn the ship sharply. It is the same in any hierarchical organization, and of course this is not a critique or insult to the Church, just an organizational reality.

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