Saturday, December 3, 2011

We the Young Fogeys

My nickname around my office is Pollyanna. I'm sunny and optimistic by nature, but sometimes I think that kind of attitude is certainly called for.

Lately, I've been quite encouraged by the beautiful, patient witness of several of my Facebook friends concerning a certain article and video that are going viral around the Internet. Not being from the house of Gryffindor myself, I'm a bit of a mouse when it comes to engaging others in debate about such things and have mostly kept to the sidelines. But seeing my friends, in all their critical-thinking and patient-and-loving glory respond to people with whom they vehemently disagree but still love and respect, has been uplifting. The West is not dead yet.

In addition, I reflect on the other ways I see fellow young Catholics standing up for their faith and their Church.

For example, among all the hulaballo about the New Roman, Missal, the comboxes of the Catholic blogosphere sometimes resemble a warzone. But into the fray stomps Marc, all of 18 years old, and offers this beautiful solution instead. Sure, he's snarky when snarky is called for. But I love his blog because it gives me such hope for the future.

Remember the Harvard valedictorian who entered the Dominican Sisters of Mary last fall?

She's one of a steady stream of talented, educated, and dedicated young men and women entering consecrated life.

At the same time, we young laity seem to be stepping it up, not content to let the world around us crumble to an amoral wasteland for our children to inherit. Using techniques Pope Paul VI could have never imagined, the New Media will be a huge force in the coming renewal of the Church. (Encouragement examples: here, here, and here)

It can be easy - too easy -- to become discouraged. Parishes are still closing, sometimes at an alarming rate. Yes, there's a priest shortage. Yes, most Catholic young people are cohabitating and contracepting at a rate equal to their secular peers. Yes, fallen-away Catholics represent the largest religious demographic in the country. But amid all that bad news, we must remember there is always hope. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. The Holy Church he founded will certainly go through ups and downs along the way, but the gates of hell shall not prevail against her.

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