Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Research confirms attraction to traditional Catholicism

Maryangela Layman Roman reported in "our" Milwaukee Catholic Herald April 17, 2008 on Colleen Carroll Campbell's presentation at the second in this year's Pallium Lecture series. Ms. Campbell spoke on the results of her research interviews on "a growing trend toward deeper religiosity among young adults. She was the first to formally identify a trend among young Christians who seemed to be returning to traditional aspects of faith." While working for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, she wrote an editorial on World Youth Day 2000.
To Campbell, the attraction young people had to Pope John Paul II "made a lot of sense," she said, "but to my older colleagues, particularly in the newsroom, it was rather odd. I saw it as an extension of the spiritual hunger I had seen at Marquette [University], some of that which I felt myself, and as connected to other trends I saw in Protestant churches. I saw it as something bigger and that got me to researching it more intently."

Going into her research,
"... I thought it might be extremely small, young people who were bucking the trend," she said. "So I was very surprised as I actually got into it that it was more widespread than I thought and it was happening in places where I would least expect to find it."

Campbell identified the young adults as "new faithful" and found them drawn to the traditions and devotions of the church such as the rosary and eucharistic adoration.

She further characterized them as
embrac[ing] biblical morality, exhibited as a yearning for the Golden Rule, the Beatitudes and avoidance of premarital, extramarital and homosexual sex.

Putting this in perspective,
Campbell emphasized in the interview that while numbers of "new faithful" are on the rise, they represent a minority in their generation.

While some older Catholics are encouraged by the rise of the "new faithful", others are not.
...some of it is a sense among some older Catholics that the project of the 1960s is not being carried on by these young adults because they have a different sense of priorities.

"You don't hear them as much proclaiming, for instance, about the ordination of women to the priesthood. Catholics who thought those would be the changes they'd see in the coming years, I think, are disappointed by these young adults," she admitted [sic].

This might illustrate an inherent contradiction in the "project of the 1960s"; its continuation would have required some kind of evangelization, but opposition to evangelization was integral to it.

1 comment:

  1. its continuation would have required some kind of evangelization, but opposition to evangelization was integral to it

    One could add that 'its continuation would have required some sort of child-rearing, but opposition to children was integral to it.'