One of my hobbies is listening in on the conversations of frustrated young Catholics. They have a lot of hopes for the Church moving forward, and like young people everywhere they have beautifully high ideals.
These are some of the characteristics of the Church of the future many young Catholics would like to see going forward.
- Authenticity. Young Catholics are looking for leaders deeply attuned to the Gospel, who speak the truth in love.
- Artistry. Young people admire beauty in art, architecture, and music. They are opposed to flat cartoons and other puerilities, rushed and casual ceremony, and badly strummed guitars. Eurotrash is out; polyphony is in.
- A sense of occasion. Jesus Christ the Lord, and all His saints and angels, are present in glory at every Mass. So Mass should not have the casual demeanor of a junior high school talent show.
- Respect for the Blessed Sacrament.
Young people constantly complain that their opportunities for reverence are often opposed and even thwarted by adults. Why is this? Often, ironically, reverence is thwarted by adults claiming that they are trying to attract young people. Irreverence, bad art, and erroneous teaching do not do that.
Anyone paying attention to the young Church will notice that beauty is the growth industry of Catholicism. Moving forward, the way to appeal to the young is to keep faith with the past, reclaiming the lost art of liturgy.