She goes on to say that this "disconnection" should act as a wake up call to Church leaders. That's what's at stake is the vitality of the Church in America. A wake up call in deed, but in which regard and for whom?
Every nation, state, culture, etc., from the beginning of time has known that the children were the keys to their future. Everyone has looked to the children. Hitler had the Hitler Youth, designed to steep them and indoctrinate them in Nazi ideology and the "worship" of Adolf Hitler as the Fuehrer (leader). In the Soviet Union, we saw the Young Pioneers. Again, designed to indoctrinate the young of Russia into the ideologies of Marxist Communism. And yes, even the Church looked to the young. CYO and other organizations, were set up to try and help her children come to a deeper faith.
"Teach...your children well" was a line from a song by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. Who is teaching our children a faith full of vitality and joy? The Church teaches that parents are the main teachers of the young. But reality often hits us where we wish it wouldn't.
A sixth grade public school class is in rapt attention as their teacher tells them that the world is over-populated and what the consequences of that going to be. He doesn't say we have to support abortion, euthanasia, or forced sterilization. There's no need to. At this point, the "fact" is enough for now. The "seed" is planted. (This actually occurred in my daughter's class) Later on, other "teachers" will give them what they need to make the "logical, reasoned" conclusion.
In the secular world, it's hard enough for parents to teach their children when other "authority" figures tell them the opposite. But this supposes that the parents aren't themselves the product of this "miseducation." And here we see the real tragedy and the true "roots" of the "disconnection" of Catholic youth.
It began over 30 years ago. Before the ink was dry on the teachings of Vatican II, people were busy misinterpreting it, looking for loopholes, and re-inventing it. Consider how we care for a new born child. We don't give them a steak dinner at one week old. They receive milk first, then slowly, gradually, we bring them to more solid food. First a little rice cereal, then a bit more, then cereal with mashed up carrots, and on and on. So it is with this. Vatican II wanted us to realize what a loving God we had. Too often before, we saw Him as a big guy with a flowing beard holding a ledger, giving us demerits for every little infraction. However, though some in the Church often portrayed Him such, the Church never did. Yes, we will come before Him as the Divine Judge, but a just and compassionate one. Not a "hanging judge." But this was not what was later taught. First, it was that we have a loving God, but this "truth" was as far as it got. No where would they mention that we have a responsibility to live our lives according to His will and commands.
They were taught that "we are the Church," and again, this truth was quickly hacked and distorted into something it isn't. Yes, WE are the Church, as members of His Body. However: "For the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot should say, 'Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,' that would not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear should say, 'Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,' that would not make it any less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would be the hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? But as it is, God arranged the organs in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single organ, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, yet one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, 'I have no need of you,' nor again the head to the feet, 'I have no need of you.' On the contrary, the parts of the body which seem to be weaker are indispensable, and those parts of the body which we think less honorable we invest with the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving the greater honor to the inferior part, that there may be no discord in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together" (1 Corinthians 12: 14-26).
According to a Sister Mary Johnson of Emmanuel College; "The Second Vatican Council told us the church is 'the people of God,' not the church hierarchy." Yet Vatican II actually teaches that the Church IS hierarchical. It even devotes an entire chapter to it in the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Lumen Gentium. Chapter three has the title "ON THE HIERARCHICAL STRUCTURE OF THE CHURCH." Now if Vatican II says what Sister Johnson says it does, why this chapter? Why state in that chapter; "religious submission of mind and will must be shown in a special way to the authentic Magisterium of the Roman Pontiff, even when he is not speaking ex cathedra;....And this infallibility with which the Divine Redeemer willed His Church to be endowed in defining doctrine of faith and morals, extends as far as the deposit of Revelation extends, which must be religiously guarded and faithfully expounded. And this is the infallibility which the Roman Pontiff, the head of the college of bishops, enjoys in virtue of his office, when, as the supreme shepherd and teacher of all the faithful, who confirms his brethren in their faith, by a definitive act he proclaims a doctrine of faith or morals. And therefore his definitions, of themselves, and not from the consent of the Church, are justly styled irreformable, since they are pronounced with the assistance of the Holy Spirit, promised to him in blessed Peter, and therefore they need no approval of others, nor do they allow an appeal to any other judgment. For then the Roman Pontiff is not pronouncing judgment as a private person, but as the supreme teacher of the universal Church, in whom the charism of infallibility of the Church itself is individually present, he is expounding or defending a doctrine of Catholic faith" (Lumen Gentium, Chap. 3, #25).
From this basic premise, we, and our children have been taught that the Church is an "institutional church," not the Church promised by God to lead His people in His ways and truths. Why? Because we won't sit idly by and let a lie be given as a truth. Because it won't, it's further portrayed as "a stern disciplinarian, scolding them for straying from church teachings." Instead of a loving mother trying to help her children grow as their Father wishes them to.
Why do the young feel disconnected? Is it because of the Church as Johnson and Bombardieri (and others) assert? Or is it because they have disconnected them from the Church? Are they like the electrician who says you don't need to plug in your television set to get a picture? Are their "teachings" of dissent and miseducation causing the young to feel disconnected? Is it the cause of the loss of vocations in religious life? If, after all, the religious of no importance, then what do we need them for? After all, "WE" are the Church. And if that is so, then why push for women priests, or more women in places of authority (bishops and cardinals?). After all, these places of authority are of no consequence....right?
So, many of these "disconnected" youth attend Mass sporadically, don't get involved in their parishes, and even leave the Church for other faiths. After all, as Dean Hoge of Catholic University says, "It's important to convey that it's not a total package where if you don't follow everything, you're not ok." If it isn't, then we are free to make up our own. To pick and choose. Not only what teachings we'll accept, but even which faith best suits our needs. But again, Vatican II didn't teach that, did it?!? "religious submission of mind and will must be shown in a special way to the authentic Magisterium of the Roman Pontiff, even when he is not speaking ex cathedra... This is even more clearly verified when, gathered together in an ecumenical council, they (the Magisterium) are teachers and judges of faith and morals for the universal Church, whose definitions must be adhered to with the submission of faith" (Lumen Gentium, Chap 3, #25)
Recently, the National Council of Catholic Bishops voted to implement the Pope's call that teachers of Catholic children must teach Catholic teaching. This is a first, but the battle is not over. After all, according to Johnson, Hoge, Ruether, Curran, et al, they are teaching Catholic teachings. It took 30 years or us to get were we are now. It may take another 30, and maybe even a schism, before we get back to where we should be.
Pax Christi, Pat
God sees us, and watches over us with loving care. God preserves and governs the world. If He were to take away for one instant His sustaining power, the whole creation would at once fall back into nothingness.
It is as if He held us in His hand. If He withdrew it for a moment, we would be nothing. "When thou shalt take away their breath, they shall die, and return again to the dust" (Psalms 103:29).
Nothing happens without the will or permission of God. Our Lord tells us that not one sparrow falls to the ground without the will of our Heavenly Father, and that the very hairs of our head are numbered.God is to the world and men as the engine is to a train, as the pilot is to a ship. He guides the whole universe and all creatures. He guides the nations. "Cast all your anxiety upon him, because He cares for you" (1 Peter 5:7).
God's loving care for us is called Divine Providence, His plan for guiding creatures to their proper end. Divine Providence is good, constant, and just. It watches over even the humblest and most despised creature on earth. Of the paternal tenderness of God, Holy Scripture speaks thus: "Can a woman forget her infant, so as not to have pity on the son of her womb? And if she should forget, yet will not I forget thee. Behold, I have graven thee in my hands; thy walls are always before my eyes" (Isaiah 49:15, 16).
God has special care for those who are poor, despised, and forgotten by the world. He has often shown forth His glory by means of the humble. So poor shepherds were the first to receive news of the birth of the Savior. So poor fishermen were His apostles. So a poor maiden was His Mother. Physical evils are often the result of the weakness of creatures in body and mind.
Although we often do not understand God's arrangements, we must have faith and exclaim with the Apostle: "How incomprehensible are God's judgments, and how unsearchable His ways!" (Romans 11:33). Physical evil is partly a punishment for actual sin. It serve to sanctify the good, and helps them attain eternal salvation. The greatest sufferers have often been the greatest saints. God sends suffering to the just man in order to prove his love. So holy Job lost everything he had, yet loved God more. So Tobias became blind and poor, and only proved his love for God.
God never sends anyone suffering beyong his strength. To gain merit, we must be patient and resigned under sufffering. Let us imitate Our Lord in the Garden, whose prayer was, "Father, not My will, but Thine, be done!" Our Lord taught us to say, in the Our Father, "Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven."
God often sends physical evil to sinners in order to bring them back into the right way. It serves as a warning to them. Among those who were converted through bodily sickness, we may mention Saint Francis of Assisi and Saint Ignatius of Loyola.
Sufferings can be a boon, and should be welcomed. By sufferings, patiently accepted, the punishment due for sin is diminished or cancelled. The more we suffer in this world, the less would we have to pay in the next life, in Purgatory. As Saint Paul said, "I am filled with comfort; I overflow with joy in all our troubles" (2 Corinthians 7:4). "For I reckon that the sufferings of the present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory to come that will be revealed in us." And St. Ignatius spoke from experience when he said, "When God sends us some great trouble, it is a sign that He designs great things for us, to raise us to great holiness."
The misfortunes and satisfactions of the world are not real and lasting, and cannot gauge God's justice. No sinner has true happiness; his conscience will not give him inner peace. Riches, honor, and pleasures can never give peace to the spirit. On the other hand, no lover of God has true misery, for he possesses inner peace and a good conscience. Real reward and punishment begin only after death. On earth sinners are rewarded for whatever good they do. Their good fortune lasts only for this life. The just are punished on earth for whatever sins they may have committed. Their reward is full in the other life.
We must therefore resign ourselves lovingly to the will of God. Thus we shall have peace of mind even in the midst of the greatest trials. Suffering should remind us that this is not our true home, and that we are citizens of Heaven.
"The Lord ruleth me, and I shall want nothing" (Psalm 22:1). "In thee, O Lord, have I hoped, because Thou hast saved my soul" (Psalm 30: 1, 8). God is not responsible for sin; sin is the result of man's wrong use of his free will. God does not will or cause sin; He forbids it and will punish the sinner. He permits sin for His own reasons, to sanctify the good, by trying them and giving them opportunities for more faithful obedience.
God created man free to choose good or evil. He wishes us to choose good, in order that we may merit heaven. But since we are free, we can, if we so wish, choose evil. God is not responsible for our sins.
Even the evil that God permits to happen, He turns to our good. He draws good out of evil. The wicked persecutions of the Church make the Gospel better known and loved among the just. Thus the patriarch Joseph said to his brothers, "You thought evil against me, but God turned it into good" (Genesis 50:20). "For those who love God, all things work together unto good" (Romans 8:28).
In 1971 Pope Paul VI appointed him Director of the Vatican Library where he oversaw construction of a basement depository to store ancient manuscripts. In this position he also served as an expert at the Second Vatican Council. On November 1, 1983 Pope John Paul II made him Titular Bishop of Bolsena with the personal title of Archbishop. A year later he was made Pro-Librarian and Pro-Archivist as well as being declared a cardinal in the Consistory of May 25, 1985. He received the titular church of St. George in Velabo. On May 27, 1985 he became Librarian and Archivist of the Holy Roman Church where he remained until July 1, 1988 when he retired at the age of 78. On January 29, 1996 his status as cardinal deacon was transferred to cardinal priest. He resides in retirement still at Piazza del San Uffizio 11 in Rome.