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Millenial faith

As cathartic as it can be to complain about the faith of “kids these days” (a pastime I think every generation has indulged in going back to the dawn of time) there are glimmers of hope brighter that one might have expected these days.

recent study of Catholic religious orders confirmed this trend. Sister Mary Bendyna, a member of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas and director of the Georgetown University-affiliated center that conducted the study, summarized the findings for TheNew York Times. Compared with older generations, she said, millennials who consider becoming priests or nuns are “more attracted to a traditional style of religious life, where there is community living, common prayer, having Mass together, praying the Liturgy of the Hours (the church’s daily cycle of Scripture readings and prayers) together.” “They are much more likely to say fidelity to the church is important to them,” she added. “And they really are looking for communities where members wear habits,” the age-old garb of monks and nuns.

But why?  Aren’t these the kids being raised by their televisions, surrounded by a culture so imbued with moral relativism its iconic movement is a shrug of the shoulders and a mumble over a cell phone whilst texting?  Indeed it is.  But some have seen through the thin veil of post-modernist gobbledygook and found their true home in the bosom of the Church.

More intellectually coherent than relativism, orthodoxy is also more demanding. It makes us place others above ourselves, the truth above what we’d like to be true, the fight for virtue above the pursuit of pleasure. In a word, it preaches sacrifice.

These themes will be prominent in Madrid this week, as Catholics of all nationalities gather for prayer and festivity. So why are they happy to be Catholic? Because they have concluded that the church’s teachings are, in fact, true, and because they’ve recognized that true freedom lies in self-sacrifice. Far from repressive, such realizations are — as millennials of other faiths can attest — thrilling.

Maybe… and as a parent of two kids rapidly approaching their tween years I shudder to say this, but maybe sometimes kids are wiser than their parents.

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