This interesting essay “Time for Liberal Catholics to Quit?” comes at a time when I’m already wondering if we’re doing enough.
My two older children (ages 16 and 20) are at that point in their lives (and faith) where Church just seems to be a bunch of rules for them to follow; rules that don’t have much meaning behind them. So I feel like we haven’t done enough. They both went to Catholic school, from pre-K through the present (Big Brother’s at a Catholic college, even).
So they didn’t get it in school.
My guess is that the kids in CCD (oops, sorry, “Faith Formation”) get even less. In our parish, they attend 14 sessions. 14 3-hour sessions, one hour of which is Mass. So they get 28 hours of instruction, less “move-around time” for a full year. Are they getting it there?
And clearly the Big Kids didn’t get it at home. We take them to Mass on Sundays and encourage them to serve in different ways. They see examples of prayer, custom, and involvement in service from us and from others in the community. But do they connect it to church?
Maybe it’s just their age and stage. But I think that many people never get past this stage. If the Church doesn’t form them well enough to want what is there, they’re never going to take a second look. They may stick around out of laziness, habit, a deep (but unrealized) interior need for the Eucharist and all the rest that they can only get at our church, or even out of arrogance. They may stay, but they won’t love it.
Can we teach them to love their faith? Can we teach them to live their faith? Are we doing enough?