As the Roman Catholic Church’s 20th World Youth Day in Cologne, Germany, approaches, we asked young Catholics about their expectations for their church. Past World Youth Days have drawn hundreds of thousands of people to meet and share their faith. This year’s festivities begin August 16, and Pope Benedict XVI will celebrate a Mass to close the gathering on August 21. Among those who plan to be in Cologne are Alex Paiva, 20, of Fall River, a senior at Boston University, and Joe Tierney, 18, of Wellesley, a graduate of Boston College High School headed to Le Moyne College in Syracuse, New York, this fall. The Globe Magazine invited Paiva, Tierney, and three other young Catholics – Alison Bane, 21, of Manchester-by-the-Sea, a junior at Boston College; Shatica Chinn, 16, of Mattapan, a junior at Cathedral High School; and Diana Pelaez, 15, of Dorchester, a sophomore at the Academy of the Pacific Rim – to talk about their faith and the challenges facing their church. [Source]
And not surprisingly they are rather uninformed about their faith and a reminder that those attending World Youth Day are not all exactly all orthodox in their faith. Though World Youth Day has been a starting point for a deeper conversion for many Catholic youths once attended. Of course I am also not supervised that the magazine could not fully faithful Catholic to interview since that wouldn’t fit in with agenda journalism.
BANE It is a difficult issue. I was the first altar girl in my church, but that was a baby step. I understand historically why ordination of women hasn’t happened yet, but women are equally capable.
Exactly why female altar servers was not a prudent idea. It only encouraged the baby step idea of advancing towards the priesthood. If your are going to go with female altar servers than it should be made abundantly clear to them from the start that this has not a training program towards women’s ordinations.
CHINN The way I see it, the church sees more in a man than a woman, and I disagree with that. If it was left up to me, and I wanted to be a priest, I would go for it.
So I guess a vocation to the priesthood would have nothing to do with it?
BANE Being in a college setting, the topic involving the church that most of my peers talk about is birth control. I know a lot of Catholics who take birth control and have trouble with the fact they are doing that, and I know a lot of Catholics who are having sex and won’t take birth control, and they are troubled by the risks they’re taking. I guess that the church does not want to condone birth control because that may be seen as endorsing sexual activity among teenagers, but it’s one of the most immediate issues facing the church.
Well I see she is getting a fine Catholic education at Boston College as a junior. To guess that the church doesn’t like birth control because it endorses sexual activity among teenagers is just to be totally ignorant about what the Church teaches and why the Church teaches that birth control is sinful. To be able to disagree with Church teaching you should at least find out what it is first.
PELAEZ Birth control should be allowed, because young people are having sex and there are diseases you don’t want them to get.
Wow! Why didn’t Pope Paul VI think of that instead of wasting his time writing Humanae Vitae.
TIERNEY On birth control, I don’t think the church should be against it. But on abortion, I take a conservative stance. I’m prolife.
But abortafacients like the pill are okay I guess. Yep that is really being pro-life.
BANE My view on abortion has evolved since high school. In situations like rape, I am prochoice. I feel every woman should be entitled to that choice. That’s something I have trouble reconciling with my faith, because I do understand the Catholic view on this and, personally, I could never have an abortion.
CHINN Birth control is needed. Nobody’s ready at a young age to be a parent. But some kids I go to school with, they do things like that. But abortion? You lay up and have a baby, you should be able to take care of it.
So people at a young age aren’t ready to become parents but they are ready for sexual relations and STDs such as HIV.
PELAEZ I get why the church doesn’t want abortion, but what if a girl gets raped? You can give the baby up for adoption, but then she’s still having to carry the child of someone she didn’t want to have sex with. That’s not right.
PAIVA I’ve been very prolife my entire life. Whether it be rape, incest, sexual abuse, or whatever, it’s still a life.
Bravo Paiva. Unfortunately too many consider the death penalty for those conceived as the result of rape.
BANE One issue I wish that the Catholic faith were a little more open is being gay. I have a lot of friends who are gay, and a lot of them are also very strong in their Catholic faith. It makes me so sad at times that the church is so much more willing for me to engage in certain activities in a Mass than they can without the sense of alienation that they now feel. Their hearts are no different, their souls are no different.
PAIVA What’s sinful is not the feeling or the tendency of the person to be homosexual. It’s the act. Whether it’s homosexual or heterosexual activity, both are against the church. Maybe I’m too conservative about it. Though it doesn’t feel wrong, it’s still sinful in the eyes of the church, and that’s the definition I’ve been taught.
CHINN [Gay] people sometimes feel left out. It shouldn’t be a sin just to feel something for someone.
TIERNEY I know people who are gay, and I’m fine with it. I’m for gay rights and things of that nature. This is one area where I don’t agree with the church 100 percent.
TIERNEY I say, "How can you judge something if you haven’t tried it and haven’t experienced it for yourself?" The church in my town doesn’t have to reach out. The offer is on the table. It’s whether people want to accept it.
It is amazing that anybody can actually say something so vapid as "How can you judge something if you haven’t tried it and haven’t experienced it for yourself?" Unfortunately this is an all too common argument. Morality by experience is not exactly wise. That you would have to murder someone first before you can judge whether murder is wrong. Serving on a jury would require you to do the same crime as the person being judged.
But then who am I to say anything. After all I have been judged by Fr. O’Leary to be one of the rising Neocaths and am part of "one of the most disturbing phenomena in Roman Catholicism today". [Via Against the Grain]