Growing rift between observant parents and their children

Our Western capitalist world may have many problems and the youngsters may be the ping-pong ball in the game between parents and social media.

Everywhere in the Northern hemisphere we can see that youngsters may be tempted by lots of gadgets and lots of ‘video’s’ or films which lure them away from more serious thoughts of life. The family life is increasingly influenced by broader secular culture. It is experiencing a growing rift between observant parents and their children who feel far less attached to the institutional church. That detachment crosses economic and cultural lines and poses difficult questions for the future.

Perenye, The Roman Catholic Church

Perenye, The Roman Catholic Church (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Several church institutions do know that they are in serious decline and that it is high-time to do something about evangelizing and church growth. They also know that the biggest problem has to be looked for at the base of life, the family. For this matter the Roman Catholic Church wants to bring last years special synod to a proper end with this years meeting of Cardinals.

Important is to come closer to the minors, who have to be protected for all sorts of influences and against all sorts of acts which may be presented to them.

The Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors gathered in Plenary Assembly, October 9-11, 2015 in Rome. It is the second time that the full Commission has gathered together. at the same time there will be the continued discussion about the family for which Pope Francis wished to express his concern about the amount of loneliness this world is facing:

“the weightiest hour for one who finds himself face to face with his own loneliness, in the bitter twilight of shattered dreams and broken plans; how many people trudge through the day in the blind alley of resignation, of abandonment, even resentment: in how many homes the wine of joy has been less plentiful, and therefore, also the zest — the very wisdom — for life […]. Let us make our prayer heard for one another this evening, a prayer for all.”

The Plenary Assembly began with Mass with the Holy Father, Pope Francis, in Santa Marta. Members then focused their sessions on listening to and discussing progress reports presented by the Working Groups formed in the February 2015 Plenary.

These Working Groups covered key areas of the mission that has been entrusted to the Commission by the Holy Father, namely to advise him, his collaborators and the local church on the following areas of the protection of minors. The Working Groups talked about:

– Guidelines for the safeguarding and protection of minors;
– Healing and care for victims, survivors and their families;
– Formation of candidates to the priesthood and religious life and the education of Church leadership;
– Education of families and communities;
– Theology and spirituality;
– Canonical and civil norms.

Particular areas of focus of these working groups included research into the assessment and ongoing formation of candidates to the priesthood and religious life; the use of forensic assessments with people accused of a crime; the provision of liturgical materials for the pastoral care of victims, survivors and communities. Perhaps we can call it a missed chance that the Commission does not address individual cases and does not exercise oversight, not being a decision-making body.

The community needs a decision-making body and the Catholic church for sure also could use some better guidelines for the protection of minors and for judging those clergy who abused children.

Since its establishment, the Commission for the Protection of Minors has been invited by Church leaders to place the inter-disciplinary expertise of its members at the service of Church in various parts of the world.

Commission members have taken part in workshops, conferences and seminars on the protection of minors in Ireland, the UK, France, New Zealand, the Pacific Islands and recently in the Philippines, where 76 bishops attended. Next month, Commission members will also address all of the bishops of Central America.

Very positive feedback has been received from their participation in these initiatives. The Commission’s contribution has been seen as a resource for the local Church worldwide as Bishops’ Conferences continue to develop sound and culturally effective guidelines that reflect the local reality.

The Commission plans to hold its next Plenary Assembly in February, 2016.

The youngsters growing up in a increasingly pluralistic, multi-faith milieu, are more attracted by social media and lots of electronic gadgets. For them faith is not something to spend time at. The parents are not guiding them or helping them to find good ways of living with worthy ethics.

We may not forget that everything starts at the early beginning of life, i.e. in the family. But lots of children today have to grow up in split families were no ethical and certainly no religious Judeo Christian values are taken into account. In some countries many may still think a household headed by a married mother and father is an ideal situation for bringing up children, but in other countries this is not any more the main idea. Surveys show that large majorities think other kinds of families — those headed by parents who are single, divorced, unmarried or gay — are OK for raising children, too.

Today several children are also facing parents of the same sex. For many Christians they cannot be considered on the same footing as matrimony between man and woman. The Roman Catholic Church also acknowledged, in a section called “Welcoming homosexual persons,” there

“are cases in which mutual aid to the point of sacrifice constitutes a precious support in the life of the partners.”

For the ongoing synod on the family some cardinals also suggests that same-sex couples should never be discriminated against in ways that could impact their children. Those cardinals are part of a panel high-ranking Catholic officials which have proposed a dramatic change in the way the church treats gays and lesbians. The present synod, suggested the church is capable of

valuing their sexual orientation, without compromising Catholic doctrine.”

Besides the criticism of the “Euro-centric” approach to the working paper, these days also often is talked about the corrosive effect of Western secularism on families in developing countries. A French group warned

“A new ideology, often called gender ideology” that “the family, parenting and human love changes”.

The American family may be less under treat than the West European families. According to a Pew Research Center survey, one-in-four Catholics in the States have gone through a divorce. One-in-ten have not only divorced but also remarried. One-in-ten are living with a romantic partner, sans wedding, and more than four-in-ten have done so at some point in their lives. In the so called Catholic Belgium you may say 80% of the kids live in a new assembled family (“Nieuw samengesteld gezin”) and not many of them go to any church. Strangely enough, whilst in America [according Georgetown University’s Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) and the Pew Research Center] only 66 percent of parents say that it is ‘very’ important to them that their children celebrate their first communion, in Belgium still lots of parents, though not practising Catholics, want their children to have their first communion. Since the Catholic Church made the age higher to celebrate the second communion, lesser people are interested in that and in being confirmed.

Several Catholics may hope their church shall really try to come to a more open contemporary way of thinking and forgiving to divorcees, so that they can be called welcome again in the Catholic church in case they want to stay Catholic. Catholic civilians have put their hopes on this general assembly of cardinals coming together in Rome. For that church it is time that they consider how they can bring an acceptable ministry to divorced and remarried Catholics, remarrying even when they have already children, and interfaith marriages.

Other churches may also look at what for solutions the Catholic Church shall come forward with. But they also can do much more work to reach those people who are abandoned by the Roman Catholic Church because they could not keep their family together.

Followers of Christ have to be open minded to other feeling people, to people who have gender problems or family problems. they should stretch out their arm to be the first to help there were needed. At the same time they should show the better ways to build up a good family life and to find a way to a better future.

At the moment it does not look we may expect many changes from the Catholic Church. Though we may have seen a more open Pope, closer to the common folks, with a total different language than the last few popes, reflective of his more inclusive thinking on homosexuality. Earlier this year, Pope Francis hinted at support for civil unions for same-sex couples. Speaking specifically about gay priests last year, Francis I said

Who am I to judge [homosexual priests] if they’re seeking the Lord in good faith? They shouldn’t be marginalized. The tendency [to homosexuality] is not the problem… they’re our brothers.”

For much too long the Catholic Church had lots of anti-gay speakers who did not see what was going on in their own clergy. Instead of concentrating on the work of Jesus and trying to bring more people to insight by preaching of Jesus, of salvation, of the Word of God and proclaiming Good News concerning the future Kingdom.

Preaching is the essential element which has to be put first on the bucket list of every churchgoer. And those in charge of a church should be the first to have an ear for the needs and problems of our present society.

The push and pull of the larger culture has taken a hold over less practising families, leading to increased Catholic erosion, said Mary Ellen Konieczny, a sociologist at the University of Notre Dame. Conversely, secularism‘s cultural influence may not bother “highly practising Catholics,” she said, because “they find support” in their parish community.

On the other hand, devout Catholic parents may be deeply shaken if a son or daughter disaffiliates from the church.

Last century it was a huge problem when some child said to its parents it was going to leave the faith. Today there are more parents worrying when their children say they want to join a faith-group, be it a Christian denomination or for many worse, a Muslim community. That last faith-group is gaining grounds in Western Europe and the danger exist with the influx of refugees that there shall come more Islamic people to our regions demanding more Islamic rules and getting more Islamic converts.

We may wonder what attract youngsters to it but in Belgium we have lots of them who find something in Islam and several even are prepared to go to fight the jihad in Syria. Belgians in percentage of population are the biggest group of young European jihadis and ISIS fighters.

Today it is the task of believers in the One True God to show those youngsters that Christ Jesus is the Way and that we do not need Islam but do need a strong substantiated monotheist Judeo-Christian community.

All believers should try to convince others of their faith and stop the rise of “nones,” or people who answer “none” when asked,

“What’s your religion?”


Preceding article: Bisschoppensynode omtrent minderjarigen


Additional reading:

  1. Inculturation today calling for a different attitude
  2. Being Religious and Spiritual 8 Spiritual, Mystic and not or well religious
  3. A Synod to speak freely and to listen without reservations
  4. Two synods and life in the church community
  5. A synod not leading to doctrinal changes because it is about pastoral attention
  6. Different assessment criteria and a new language to be found for communicating the faith
  7. 2 Synod Fathers on the topic “The vocation and mission of the family in the Church and the contemporary world”
  8. Manifests for believers #1 Sex abuse setting fire to the powder
  9. Manifests for believers #2 Changing celibacy requirement
  10. Male domination and tyranny giving opportunities to defile the Name of God
  11. Forms of slavery, human trafficking and disrespectful attitude to creation to be changed
  12. Responsibility for children who were molested by clergy
  13. Pope Benedict will hide
  14. Catholic church asking for forgiveness and promising to take action against child-abusers
  15. Crisis man needed in this world
  16. Less for more
  17. Father and motherhood
  18. Importance of parents 1
  19. Importance of parents 2
  20. Marriage covenant
  21. Marriage vows
  22. Parenthood made more difficult
  23. Same-sex marriage or Gay marriage
  24. A philosophical error which rejects the body as part of the human person
  25. Helping against or causing more homophobia
  26. A so called man of God say Christ was wrong about marriage
  27. Study says highlighting gender leads to stereotypes
  28. A bird’s eye and reflecting from within
  29. Six Reasons Young Christians Leave Church
  30. Vile language and behaviour plus little secrets
  31. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #12 Prayer #10 Talk to A Friend
  32. A British judge rules that mother can’t indoctrinate son with religion
  33. Inner voice inside the soul of man
  34. Let you not be defined by the effect of your wrong choice
  35. .under the gazebo.
  36. Looking at the Source of joy
  37. God, my father, my closest friend
  38. If we, in our prosperity, neglect religious instruction and authority
  39. Funeral service only belongs in church building according to Catholic Church
  40. Looking on what is going on and not being of it
  41. Writers needed to preach to non-believers
  42. Positive Preaching Day 2015
  43. The Big Conversation
  44. Necessary to be known all over the earth
  45. Showing by the scriptures that …
  46. Hope by faith and free gift


Further reading:


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