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Faith of our Fathers: Radicalising our Youth

The New York Post just ran a fascinating article, “How Trump Can End Brainwashing on US Campuses“, outlining how students are deliberately politicised to operate as tools of the political left. The author, F. H. Buckley, shows how our youth are being radicalised for particular causes, being systematically taught to be belligerent in the face of inherited social values, the standard view of history, and tradition in general. Buckley sites a newly released study by the National Association of Scholars which shows that the modern civics classroom “[seeks] to repurpose higher education away from the study of Western institutions, and even away from scholarship in general, in order to make little left-wing community organizers of our students.”

While the state of higher education in America is a topic worth discussing in other fora, it was the latter portion of the article that raised red flags for this Catholic who is lamenting the status of tradition in her own Church. Consider the core principle of the radicals, who prioritise “civic engagement” as a method of discussing every topic, allowing the students to weigh in on the value of every professor, the institution’s structures, and how money is spent on extracurricular activities. Students—ostensibly those who come to the academy to be taught what they don’t know—begin by sitting in judgement on the core principles of academia itself.

Since my primary concern is the Church, and the status of her catechesis, the alarm bells that this article set off were specifically related to what I have read about the next Synod. Crux explains that a “Synod on Youth, Faith, and Vocational Discernment” is scheduled to take place in Rome, 2018.

According to a Vatican statement, the chosen topic, an “expression of the Church’s pastoral concern for the young,” is in continuity with the findings of the two-fold synod on the family and Francis’s post-synodal document Amoris Laetitia.

As if that isn’t troubling enough—since the muddying of the waters caused by that very document is causing grievous confusion over the nature of the Sacraments, we are reminded:

As was the case for his predecessors, youth have been a key concern for Pope Francis since the beginning of his pontificate. He’s made it a point to ensure that most of his foreign trips include an encounter with the youth, which almost always becomes an off-the-cuff interaction between the young and the pope, who leaves his remarks aside and grabs pen and paper, quipping that “speeches are boring” and talking to them one-on-one.

“Swim against the tide,” he told them in his message for World Youth Day 2015. “Don’t be couch potatoes” is the advice he gave them in 2016. From addictions and crime to marriage, no topic is off the table during his encounters with the young.

I would beg to differ about that last sentence, because the patrimony of the Church and her settled doctrines have been noticeably absent for the duration of the papacy (unless used as foils for anti-rigid polemic), but that aside, we cannot forget his closing remarks to youth after his 2015 South American tour:

“They wrote a speech for me to give you. But speeches are boring,” the Argentine pontiff said to loud cheers, casting aside his script. “Make a mess, but then also help to tidy it up. A mess which gives us a free heart, a mess which gives us solidarity, a mess which gives us hope.”

It was not the first time Francis has called on young people to shake things up, repeating a mantra he voiced in Brazil in 2013 when he urged youngsters to demand a more outward-looking Catholic Church. “We don’t want young weaklings. We do not want young people who tire quickly, who live life worn out with faces of boredom. We want youths with hope and strength,” Francis told the crowd, as night fell over the banks of the Paraguay River outside the capital Asuncion.

There are so many troubling things about this approach—the spirit of chaos that runs contrary to peace (“the tranquility of order”), the reference to the written word as boring (thus subtly discouraging his audience from digging into the pooled wisdom over many centuries), and the call to be rebels without defining the precise nature of the “tide” to be rejected.

While the Church has always been the most ardent advocate of the beauty of the human person, in order to promote his good, one must understand that for which the person was created. If Francis were speaking to youth who had been properly catechised—especially about the dangers of individualism; if they were familiar with the reality of having been created to to know, love, and serve God; if they had a foundational respect for legitimate authority, the authentic family, and the Church as the bride of Christ; and if they believed that the state of one’s soul at death was of primary concern to his afterlife—then appeals to courage, steadfastness of spirit, and singularity of vision would be a call to holiness.

But to say, “make a mess,” “swim against the tide,” and “speeches are boring” to uncatechised youth, unchurched laity, and novelty seekers (who have been drawn to a celebrity pope) is dynamite—explosive material with the potential of blowing up the very institution he represents. This is especially true when he couples the appeal to “hope” with the instruction to look outside the Church. (It may not have been his intention, but that’s what we get with “off the cuff” remarks that are meant to stave off boredom.)

But even all of this is peripheral to my primary point: which is that Francis’ appeal to the youth is not terribly different than that of the leftist radicals on college campuses. There, the inherited wisdom is rejected without a hearing, the old categories are understood to be straitjackets to be cast off, and the youth are to decide what constitutes truth according to their own lights—no matter that they are ignorant, inexperienced, and dangerously self-absorbed. (Any college professor worth his salt recognises that hormones, a new-found distance from home, and exposure to wildly divergent ideas combine to create a tremendous destabilising effect. To take advantage of these elements—or worse, to leverage off of this stage of growth for nefarious ends–is pernicious.)

It is true that the youth of every age are idealistic and enthusiastic. Such is the nature of our world that this new energy is constantly brought into the body politic—to breathe new life into the status quo, to humbly remind us of our own omniscience at that age, and perhaps to reinvigorate dissipated goods. What is deeply frustrating is not that the Church pursues the worthy effort to hear what’s on the mind of young people today, but the ongoing pretense that they really can decide what “ought to be.”1 Contrast this approach with the rigours of scholasticism, in which students were required to become entirely familiar with all of Scripture, the Church Fathers, and a canon of commentaries before ever engaging in careful dialectic. Contemporary sources had little authority and could only be used anonymously in argumentation. Even Albert the Great was chastised by some peers for allowing his name to be used in academic disputations. No newly-minted MBA expects to change Wall Street, and yet Francis has managed through his short years of pontificate to suggest that the man in the pew is finally to decide what is true, what matters, and where the Church ought to go. For the first time in Church history, the protestant notion that each person is to decide whether he is “right with God” is taking firm root, and the clergy are being encouraged to stand down on teaching otherwise. To take this attitude into a youth conference will either set them up for deep disappointment or destroy what’s left of the Church.

Until now, the deposit of faith has been non-negotiable, but the upcoming synod seems to suggest that enthusiasm trumps obedience, and docility should give way to innovation. In Scripture the Prodigal Son thought he knew it all, and yet both he and his “pious” brother misunderstood what the love of the father entailed. Time and experience opened their eyes, as most of us admit happened in our own lives. Narcissism, envy, pride, and ignorance are usually vices to be fought tooth and nail (before they destroy the person), but as things stand, this foreboding event of 2018 is being offered to youth as a watershed moment, when they will be encouraged to build the Church anew, to set things right, and invest in a hope that will save the world. Shame on anyone who would mislead them—and the Church Militant—in this way!


1 Contrast this approach with the rigours of scholasticism, in which students were required to become entirely familiar with all of Scripture, the Church Fathers, and a canon of commentaries before ever engaging in careful dialectic. Contemporary sources had little authority and could only be used anonymously in argumentation. Even Albert the Great was chastised by some peers for allowing his name to be used in academic disputations.

30 thoughts on “Faith of our Fathers: Radicalising our Youth”

  1. From Lifesitenews,

    “Cardinal Baldisseri asked for feedback in the form of an online questionnaire to help shape the agenda. Questions include: “How can the values of the local culture be combined with the Christian proposal, with consideration of popular folklore?” and “How can the youth language be used in pastoral work, especially in the media, in sport, and in music?”

    “Cardinal Baldisseri, also involved in shaping the agenda at
    the last Synod for the Family, added that the Church must abandon her
    “highly complicated theological language” and step down to the level of
    the new generation.

    “The youth has her own language,” the 76-year-old Cardinal
    explained. “Sometimes the faith has a Eurocentric taste. We have
    included those questions to be able to deal with the cultural contexts

    God help us!! Sounds like a thorough dumbing down of the Church is in order, to reach out to the youth.

    • Baldisseri is full of nonsense, and he should know better. Have we not already tried to “step down to the level of the new generation” for the past 50 years? And that’s worked how well again?

      I don’t remember a damn thing from CCD/Life Teen/whatever the hell our parish was calling their youth ministry when I was in middle and high school. Well, actually, that’s not true. I remember thinking that the skits and music and “teen liturgy” were idiotic, that I was being treated like a moron who was too stupid to be taught the “highly complicated theological language” of the Faith, so I simply left the Church for eight years. Most of the other people in my age cohort simply left altogether.

      Cardinal Baldisseri, if you actually care about trying to reach out to young people, you need to understand that teenagers and college students resent being treated like idiots more than almost anything else. Give them liturgy—read, the Mass of the Ages—that conveys the impression that the priest and his ministers actually believe the Host is the Body of Christ and catechesis that actually challenges them to think and realize they may have to amend their lives and you may actually be able to reach them. Talk down to them and you’re simply wasting your time.

  2. Francis is a rebel without the cause of Christ.

    And it is best that the youth distance themselves from his “Castro-like” verbiage and manner and all those
    who run after him. I do not see purity and the goodness of Christ’s Church in his crusade.

  3. Youth will respond to Truth, because there is an inherent yearning for the Truth among those who have been adversely affected by the Lie, and this generation has been subjected to more devastating lies than any other. As to the Higher Educational System, it has been thoroughly corrupted, it must fall from its own weight and it will.

  4. His advice to “make a mess” is truly bizarre. Considering its the Church and people’s lives he’s talking about, it’s not a fun kind of mess but the kind of mess someone makes when they vandalize a person’s home. Hasn’t his generation done enough mess-making? Isn’t it bad enough that us younger people are left with the aftermath of their decades-long party, that now he’s telling the kids to trash the place again?

    • In submitting the five dubia the four cardinals are obeying Pope Francis. What a glorious mess they have made! Let the cleanup begin!

    • The Holy Spirit unites, the devil divides.

      There certainly is a spirit that guides the regime in the Vatican and it is becoming clearer and clearer that it is the spirit that we free people from during an exorcism.

      • Have you noticed, by the way, how often PF references the Holy Spirit, for the things he says and does. Almost as if he believes himself to be the appointed mouth piece of the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity. Scary!

  5. He is an addict for the zeitgeist, a prisoner of the sixties.
    This approach has failed in the entire spectrum of educational practice.
    The man is an pitiful idiot.

      • I find myself in this bind all the time.
        He and his crew are all craft — of that you are doubtlessly correct. In that sense he/they know what they are doing.
        But there is an element of risk not only to us, but to themselves. Their eternity is in jeopardy. Have they jettisoned that reality? Do they delude themselves?
        That is where I say he is an idiot. Senseless in the face of eternity.
        Perhaps the Bergoglians regard themselves courageous liberators of some sort when in reality they are merely virulent narcissists.

        • “regard themselves courageous liberators of some sort when in reality they are merely virulent narcissists.”

          You have defined the essence of Peronism which is the ideology that occupied his neuron long ago and lives there ever since. The single word “neuron” is not a mistake.

  6. I find Pope Francis at his most dangerous during his speeches aimed at youth. Read his message to youth in Havana–so disturbing. He sounds like a commie, and puts down religion incessantly. Doesn’t mention Jesus or sin. What faith is he teaching? The Vatican has done enough damage these last 3 years, even without the diabolical sex ed, but now this!? What a cop-out! You don’t have to teach anything when you’re holding a synod, because you all get to dialogue and share and make friends and drop all “stones”. That’s what this is all about: they don’t want to teach the FAITH anymore.

    Learn the faith well and teach it to your kids. No one else will. Forget the synod.

  7. Youth is ordinarily a time for ‘finding oneself’ which is usually difficult and painful. Youth today are urged to satisfy their whims, to protest against the unfairness of life, to look down on their elders, in other words, to remain juvenile just like their college professors. Now comes Pope Francis confirming the leftist professors advice to remain in state of self indulgent agitation. Surely, we expect better advice Pope Francis than to make a mess–something for which youth needs no encouragement.

    But no surprise really. What else should we expect from a Pope who waters down Catholic doctrine to appeal to the most selfish tendencies of his wandering flock. Who needs the devil when Pope Francis is available?

    Our Lady of Fatima please come to the aid of the Church.

  8. England was lost to the Faith, property confiscation and people were martyred for the sanctity of marriage. Christ explicitly called divorce and remarriage adultery which is mortally sinful. Approaching the Eucharist in mortal sin knowingly is a sacrilege and brings damnation on the person, if people are taught that their subjective judgement determines what is mortally sinful then all sin will be diminished and Confession will also disappear. If this sin falls all the other are put in question and the Church crumbles, everyone in the world will believe morality is now subjective and anything goes if “culturally” it is acceptable. The damage this jackass moron crosseyed buffoon is doing is incalcuable, he must ejected asap and the whole masonic structure forced out- the battle lines are drawn, real Catholic bishops you need to get moving now.


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