Is the Vatican listening to young people? Part II

The young man who questioned whether the final presynodal document accurately reflected the concerns expressed by his fellow young Catholics online has appended this note to the relevant paragraph:

(Edit: for those into online conspiracy theories, we were passed the phrase ‘Extraordinary Form’ by the Synod social media team, and we changed it based on the above translation issue, an edit among many. No Vatican cover up to see here folks.)

“Conspiracy theories” aside, it is nonetheless apparent that there exists for the benefit of the Church’s bishops a huge amount of raw data, written by young Catholics, explaining to the listening Magisterium exactly what is on their minds.

Fifteen THOUSAND young people took time to express themselves in Facebook groups.

Edit: According to interviews conducted by Crux, volunteers reduced the 1000+ responses from each of the Facebook groups into summaries of only one (Portuguese) to three (English) pages.

This is more information than can be summarized for a working group, drafting three versions of a final document, in one week.

Since the organizers of the presynodal meeting are eager that the Church be “a transparent, welcoming, honest, inviting, communicative, accessible, joyful and interactive community,” why not “listen,” in a thorough way, to what these thousands of young people have said?

This would certainly be valuable information whether there were a synod or not. Shouldn’t the Facebook groups’  input be given to an independent organization of sociologists, accustomed to transforming enormous amounts of raw ecclesial data into useful reports?

Edit 2: Crux reports today that the five volunteers who compiled the Facebook posts for their language groups mentioned “Extraordinary Form” 3 times in their summaries.

One Reply to “Is the Vatican listening to young people? Part II”

  1. Kathleen,

    I read this post when you created it last week. As a young person who contributed to my diocese's questionnaire last year, I have generally been very disappointed and even disturbed by the lack of transparency surrounding all of this as well. My diocese's Synod website says they'll release a document compiled from everyone's responses sometime in September, and I'm sure it will be a very brief summary of statements, which I doubt will have any statistical value or demographic data on participants. The whole process has been so obscure that I didn't even realize English-language Facebook groups were a "thing" until about a week ago, and I gather that the questionnaires that dioceses conducted aren't at all taken into consideration in the work that has been accomplished thus far. Apparently the documents that have been compiled privately or released publicly to this point have been based on the social media discussion.

    Rather than lamenting this lack of transparency or the general incomprehensibility around what the process is, what methodologies are being used to analyze and report on the responses, or even what people's responses have been, I thought I would prepare a survey of my own. I hold a graduate degree and have some rudimentary experience with conducting formal research, and I have a lot of work and volunteer experience for the church, so I thought I might at least try my hand at conducting a more rigorous and transparent process as part of the "ongoing conversation."

    I wanted to see if I can share a link to my open letter inviting people to join this process. People can read my thoughts and learn a little about my plans here:

    I'm worried I may come across as a little nutty or over-zealous, but I really want people to feel like there's a real discussion… I know I've felt in all of this like I stand facing a corner talking to myself. I am especially concerned that the emphasis on reaching "all" young people means that the voices of faithful young Catholics will be drowned out, perhaps by design. So I want to start a conversation that pointedly targets faithful youth who want to be heard as young people living out their faith, not just under a broad umbrella of "young people".

    I hope it's not altogether inappropriate to leave this comment here, but I'm not really a social media guru who can just blast a link out to my "followers" and hope to get responses. I thought perhaps the people of this blog might read my open letter and contribute themselves, if they are young, and refer others to contribute regardless of their age.

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