Open Letter to Priests by Young Catholics

[ 92 ] September 21, AD 2012 |

Dear Fathers,

We are writing this letter to you today because we have some things we want to say to you. Some things are easier to say than others, but here you go.

Before that, though, a HUGE thank you. Thank you for having the courage to say yes to your counter-cultural vocation. We are forever grateful and will never be able to repay you. We’re also grateful for your energy and enthusiasm you have for us as young Catholics.  There are few people that value us for who we are and encourage us toward greatness and holiness as you do.

But as you are well aware, times are tough for our generation of Catholics in America. Numbers of weekly Mass attenders are small these days.  Some studies show that only 10% of young adults in their twenties are attending Mass regularly. This is very concerning, to say the least.

With that, here are some things we want to share with you. You may know this already as some of you are from our generation. But we want to share anyway, just in case you don’t know.

First, we love orthodoxy. We’re hungry for the truth. We’re hungry for sane logic, common sense, and Jesus Christ.

A huge number of us love the traditions of the Church that our parents and Grandparents didn’t like so much. You know why? Because practices that are distinctly Catholic help us stand out in a world that is obsessed with mediocrity, fitting in, and being “normal.”

The practices that make us distinctly Catholic – like frequent confession, adoration, the Rosary, and even the regular use of incense at Mass – in a mysterious way, these things  help build up our identity as Catholics in the world.

While you may think there’s too much of it, we think there is far too little.

Second, prayer is tough for us.  The world we grew up in is a world unlike anything you can ever imagine. We don’t remember a time without the Internet in our homes. Our attention spans are embarassingly short, and silence is almost non-existent in our day-to-day lives.

We never learned how to just sit and ‘waste time’ with God.

Pray with us. Offer more times for adoration. Teach us the prayers of the Church, like the liturgy of the hours, adoration, and the countless novenas. We are thirsty for this stuff, and truly desire to make our parishes houses of prayer.

Third, we need help dealing with porn, sex, and relationships. The culture of death is here, and although we know Christ is triumphant in the end, it’s winning in a lot of our lives right now. We need help, and we need it fast.

More then confession, we need more resources and support to combat the slavery of porn. Let’s be honest here: a majority of guys in our generation are hooked on it.

It’s not enough to tell us in confession that we need to pray more, use more blockers, or do something nice for somebody else as a penance. Those are great, but the problem is still getting worse.

What we need are people in our lives who will help us fight it. It’s embarrassing to ask for help, or to talk about this outside of the confessional, so please start organizing programs, groups, and mobilizing men and women who are steadfast to engage our generation for mentorship and spiritual direction. If you don’t, who will?

Fourth, don’t be afraid to teach and preach NFP. The Church’s teaching about sex and sexuality is good news. A recent study showed that a majority of Catholic women still don’t agree with the Church about certain aspects of the teaching on articifical contraception. However, those same women are open to hearing why the church teaches what she does.

We’re used to hearing about sex, but from all the wrong sources. The Church’s wisdom is saving grace, and we want more of it.

Fifth, preach more about Jesus, and that he is alive. So many of us went to Catholic schools, but so few of us realize that Jesus is actually, really alive.

This is concerning, because this is why we are Christians.

This basic fact about our faith is not known. Given the fact that most Catholics learn about God from the ten minute homily, which often leave more to be desired in terms of content, we can see why.

Lastly, we need more opportunities for the sacraments in general. It’s difficult for anybody of any generation to make the 3:30pm confession time on Saturday afternoon, especially for those of us who have two jobs and a young family to take care of. Appointments are great, too, but having at least one more opportunity once in a while would be ideal.

We know, you’re busy too. But if the sacraments actually are what we say they are, then they need to be more widely available. The world is quenching us, and we’re thirsty for the Fountain of Life.

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Ryan Eggenberger is a partner at Little Flower Strategies, LLC. He writes about travel, marketing, and his terrible parking skills. Follow him on twitter at @RyanEggenberger.
  • http://www.jjpg.com Jason Gennaro

    So very well said, Ryan.

    • http://www.RyanEggenberger.com Ryan Eggenberger

      Thanks, Jason. I appreciate the comments! Great to connect with you on twitter, too!

  • http://listeningfortheshepherd.blogspot.com Thomas

    AMEN!!! I AGREE, I AGREE, I AGREE!

    On that last note: I’ve often heard it recommended to go to confession once a month, but most parishes encourage/promote going to confession only during a single hour each week. That’s time for maybe 15 confessions. That’s 60 confessions a month. If we want a 1000+ parishioners confessing a month, we’re sure not acting like it.

    • http://www.RyanEggenberger.com Ryan Eggenberger

      Thomas, hit the nail on the head brother. Glad you saw this post, too! ;)

  • Adele

    Great point about the constant noise of modern society. That’s why I’m grateful for the return of the Latin Mass. At least one hour every Sunday of near silence to be with God. I agree, we need more Adoration and confession, too. Half an hour on Saturday afternoons isn’t sufficient. Great article! Thanks for posting! :)

    • Blake Helgoth

      Um, we have always had the Latin Mass in the Latin Rite. I think what you meant was the Extraodrinary Form. That being said, while in the Latin Rite there are suppossed to be ample times for silence, the Mass is public worship and involves much in the way of singing and response. It is not a private act of devotion and silence. The “low” Mass is an anomaly. The liturgy should be sung! So, that being said – please fathers, do something about improving the quality a nature of the music offered at Mass!

      • Linsey

        I’m nitpicking, but I don’t think that you can really say that the Low Mass in the Extraordinary form of the Latin Rite is an anomaly. When you use the word ‘anomaly’ I’m assuming you mean that it is a departure from the norm, which is simply not true. The Low mass is virtually the same as the High Mass with the exclusion of the sung proper and ordinary of the mass (there are a few posture changes also and the exclusion of the parts like the Credo and Gloria that are specific to Sundays and feasts and also the addition of the prayers after Low mass). I guess my argument is that I just don’t think that its proper to say that the liturgy should always be sung. While it does add a certain element of elevation its simply not in compliance with the traditions of the church. We have unsung masses every single day, in the Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms. I love liturgical music, I study it, have devoted my life to it, and have been participating in it for a decade, therefore I whole heatedly agree with your comment that we should do something about the quality of music offered, I just don’t believe that we can rightly say that without it the Mass is an anomaly.

      • 9thCenturion

        Ummm, Blake.  The Extraordinary name is a relatively new name; traditionally it was commonly known as the Latin Mass – especially so after Vatican II.

        As for silence, there is supposed to be silence for prayer.  The Mass is first and foremost a PRAYER <- underline) of Sacrificial Offering; only with the novelties and abuses of Vatican II did we see the cacophony of noise passed of as joyous prayer introduced into the Bloodless Sacrificial Offering.

        Pay attention during the next Mass to something specific.  Notice how long the priest leaves for silent prayer and reflection after Communion.   How long does he wait for those who just received the body of our Lord before he again jumps up to tell everyone oh so "important" parish news and finish the Mass so folks can leave.  

        Now think about how much time the priest spends talking about social justice and other issues tangential to politics.

        Mother Church often teaches about sin defined as disorder.  Nothing is more deeply and spiritually disordered right now than the Mass.

        Thank God not even a priest in a state of mortal sin can influence or deny the presence of Jesus Christ's body and blood in the Eucharist!  

        For many who still go, that and obedience to the 3rd Commandment is the only reason to go.

        As for the music, I too hope and pray for better music.  Too many parish liturgists are like selfish high school kids, oblivious the music they love and think the greatest ever is banal or offensive to others.

        There are many in the pews who find the high school caliber of the music in many a Novus Ordo mass equally banal and offensive.  

    • http://www.RyanEggenberger.com Ryan Eggenberger

      Thanks, Adele! Great comments too. I appreciate them.

  • http://www.thecatholicbeat.com Gail Finke

    Great point about Jesus being really alive! Of course I “knew” that but I remember when I really, truly realized what that meant — and believe me, I was long past my 20s. I was what I would consider a “serious” Catholic and a regular Mass-goer who believed in the Real Presence, etc. But I didn’t believe or understand that — I really thought that Jesus had died as a man a long time ago and was alive in Heaven as some vague sort of spirit-man with whom we could communicate by prayer and in the Eucharist. But that’s not it AT ALL. It is something that people need to be taught, it makes all the difference.

  • http://www.ironiccatholic.com Ironic Catholic

    …works for this 45 year old too.

    • http://www.RyanEggenberger.com Ryan Eggenberger

      That’s good to hear! Thanks for the comment.

    • http://awingandaprayer.blogspot.com Ronald J. Rolling

      And for this 50-year old.

      • http://owenswain.com/2/ Owen

        And for this 52 year old, convert (7 years ago) and former Protestant minister.

      • Rosey

        …and this 51 y.o. convert (former secularist)

        I have to wonder though, where are the young faithful women (I know they are out there) and why don’t they find a collective voice to respectfully ask Cardinal Dolan to please cancel the dinner that is, moreso than any other group, a huge thumbing of the nose to them, the next generation of faithful women.

  • Lori C

    This is a strong and beautiful article. My favorite part was about NFP! I know some excellent priests and this really expresses honesty that they would appreciate- Great work :)

    • http://www.RyanEggenberger.com Ryan Eggenberger

      Wow, thanks Lori! I’m happy you liked it, and what kind words for the post- strong and beautiful. :)

  • Richard E

    Great article. Like Adele, 30 minutes before Saturday vigil mass just not enough time. I remember from my youth Confession was 3-4 hours on Saturday usually early afternoon.
    Blake mentioned music – since Vatican II the Church has started using more music from Protestant faith but there are many good Catholic music writers out there who have also published and or recorded liturgical music. One problem I have is when the organ is played they completely drownd out any vocal, I wonder at times if the organist thinks she is in St. Peters instead of a medium size church. Love chant but wish more of it was transulated to English so one would actually know what they are singing.
    After Vatican II the Latin Mass was never intended to be replaced by the by the form we see most today, thankfully through the petition of parishoners many Dioceses are allowing the Latin Mass to be offered with its pomp and glory, incense and bells. There is a beauty in the Latin Mass you won’t find in the post-Vatican II mass but it also has it good areas – more participation from those who show up.
    There is also a hunger for good sermons and homilies on many issues that priest seem to want to stay clear of in case they hurt the feeings of someone.

    • http://www.RyanEggenberger.com Ryan Eggenberger

      Great points, Richard. All of them good. I would agree, some homilies leave more to be desired. Others are great! But the study I referenced in the article do show that most people learn about God from the homily. With that being said, we need more attention placed on the preparation of the homilies I think. Just my opinion!

  • Panlo

    Thanks for the advise and comments. As a priest, time is very limited. I have delegated most all responsibilities that do not require a priest but still in comparison to the number of people with the number of priests it can get overwhelming. Any help you can provide by being ministers would help. To attend to the poor, the marginalized would benefit the whole community. To form community with all even those like St. Matthew who apparently do not live the faith. God bless and the harvest is plenty laborers few.

    • http://www.RyanEggenberger.com Ryan Eggenberger

      Father, thank you for leaving your comment. We are very, very blessed for your willingness to serve God and us as a priest.

    • juan

      Ministers? What kind of ministers? What kind of laborers do you need?

  • Anonymous

    i grew up in the pre-vatican church and i love the Latin Mass but i also love the new Mass. I am a daily Mass goer and daily rosary and Liturgy of the hours. NFP ia a wonderful and puts you in touch with your wonderful god given body in a special way.

    so glad to see your post and you can make it in the world today. problems have present since the beginning of time and God will be with you always.

  • James

    I hear confessions every day before mass. Very easy and I can pray or study when no one is coming to confession.

    • http://www.RyanEggenberger.com Ryan Eggenberger

      Father, thank you for your comment here, and for your willingness to hear confessions so often!! That is great to hear.

    • Sursum Corda

      Father, God bless you! Thank you for this!

  • Craig

    Deo gratias!

    • http://www.RyanEggenberger.com Ryan Eggenberger

      Indeed, Craig! ;)

  • http://notaminx.blogspot.com Trista

    Yes, yes, yes! Spot on!

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  • http://philotheaonphire.blogspot.com Jay Boyd

    Good points…except #4. I really hope and pray priests will preach the truth about God’s first marching orders to Adam and Eve: be fruitful and multiply! I pray priests will not be afraid to preach about the blessings of large families rather than NFP.

    • http://www.RyanEggenberger.com Ryan Eggenberger

      Great point, Jay!

      • SCK

        I agree that they should be preaching about the beauty of children and families of all sizes. But, as a woman who uses NFP, I think that the bigger problem right now is the contraceptive culture and truly only the teaching about NFP and the truthful teaching that the Church is not asking women to be fruitful to their own demise or illness can help. There needs to be the explanation that we can allow God into our marriages with regards to the number of children we have. That can refer to whether we should actively pursue having more or work diligently and prayerfully to accept the no if it comes.

      • waywardson

        One of the biggest problems that NFP promoters complain about is that they have trouble getting people to believe that NFP works to prevent pregnancy because many Catholic NFP users have a lot of children!

        NFP changes the “default” from avoiding pregnancy to pursuing new life. Abstaining is not easy and having the ability to pursue new life every month does make couples more open to life.

        The Church teaches that NFP is a good thing. Priests should not be more Catholic than the Pope.

      • SCK

        Exactly Waywardson. My husband and I probably have more children than my average girlfriend thinks she wants. That doesn’t mean that NFP can’t work for you if you need to prevent for proper reasons (or aren’t Catholic and simply want to avoid some of the nasty side effects of hormonal bc). We have used this beautiful method to get pregnant, to diagnose miscarriage, and to avoid when it is truly necessary. Would we have been open to a child in that time? Of course, or we would never stay the course with NFP, but, that is more about a change of heart than the method.

    • Sursum Corda

      Dr. Boyd, with all due respect, large families are indeed a blessing. But they are not the standard for everyone, and they are not the only way to “be fruitful and multiply” (priests, for example, are still called to this, even if in the Latin Rite, they sacrifice having a wife and children in order to embrace their calling to love in a more radical way). So I think this is more of a both-and situation regarding large families and NFP, and we should be careful not to exhort that large families, even though they are a wonderful blessing, are somehow the standard for being holy.

      A post earlier this year by a Byzantine Catholic priest’s wife (who is known online by the handle Priest’s Wife) wherein size of family is *not* at all indicative of the “contraception mentality” is timely and apt. Again, would anybody here like to tell the current Pope, “Psst! I think your Mom and Dad had a contraception mentality!” because there are only three Ratzinger children? I can think of many ways in which that family, even though poor, were fruitful and did multiply: look at all those books that the Holy Father has written that teach the faithful so much about the faith, and all the students he’s taught, for example. Why is it that everybody necessarily restricts fruits and multiplication in the family to the sense of counting heads, but not, say, spiritual gifts? Likewise, is a celibate priest who lives and loves his vocation, who inspires many a young man to the priesthood and who inspires people in their faith because of simple, humble dedication not “being fruitful and multiplying”?

      I think that some sensitivity is in order– namely, sensitivity to the fact that God’s plan is different for everyone, and only He knows what’s in another person’s heart, where they are along the road to conversion, and where they need to be. He can use NFP to convert someone who is not yet open to life or is scared from having had bad relationships in the past or having come off contraception. Furthermore, a wife can indeed be worn down and abused by having a big family, because that big family is a result of someone who thinks that he doesn’t have to control himself, and therefore crush her spirits and her soul, and therefore be detrimental to her spiritual life. Does having a big family, then, necessarily trump the virtue of self-control, particularly when we can all agree that it’s a good thing, but so many have yet to learn it? So a little charity, *please*.

      Furthermore, given that we so often talk about “trust in the Lord,” “the Lord will provide” and “trust in the Lord means trust in His timing,” why is it that we always afraid that God will give us more children than we can handle? Given that we are to prayerfully listen to that “still, small voice,” why is it that we never imagine that that “still, small voice” can tell us “no, not yet; wait” when it comes to the size of our families? One must be prudent and obedient, even if neither should be used as an excuse for being stingy. Again, prayer and learning to listen is crucial when it comes to being generous: what God wants for another Catholic family may not be what He wants for you, because He wants to give you something else. That there are things that are non-negotiable in the Catholic Church is not the same as saying that God likes uniform humanity (Melinda Selmys wrote a good article on this in the NCRegister).

  • potatogod

    The letter and the comments are spot on!

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  • http://fathershane.com/ Fr Shane Johnson, LC

    Preach it, Ryan!

    I think that most young priests today “get” what you’re saying. For example: I work with youth ministry and young adults ministry at a parish in Yonkers, NY, where we offer confession all of Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning (while one priest is saying Mass, the other is hearing Confessions). But of course there are 17 parishes in Yonkers alone…

    Another aspect too is that the Millennials are very culturally diverse; the parish I’m at is mostly Hispanic, and even the young adults are a mix of first- and second-generation here in the US, from a whole assortment of cultures. So not only are all the challenges you mention on priests’ minds (hopefully), but also other challenges about how to reach everyone with the Gospel the way they can best absorb it.

    The danger with the “open letter” format, of course, is that it doesn’t always reach the people you want it to get to. (Sometimes it can end up fueling frustration on the part of those it wasn’t intended for!) So here’s a challenge for you. :-) It’s easy to write a blog post, but what about finding a way to distribute this to the priests of your diocese, hopefully with the bishop’s blessing… or getting it to one of the bishops who blogs so that he can comment on it and give it more publicity? Just thinking in terms of how it can be most useful to the Church…

    May God bless you!!! And come visit us in Yonkers sometime. ;-)

    • http://www.RyanEggenberger.com Ryan Eggenberger

      I very well may take you up on that offer, Father! You on twitter?

      • http://fathershane.com/ Fr Shane Johnson, LC

        Yes! @Father_Shane. God bless you!

    • http://nfpc.org Fr Anthony Cutcher

      Or perhaps, Fr. Shane, the whole presbyterate of the United States? As President of the NFPC, I have that ability. Thank you Ryan for a very well-spoken article. Many times we mid-life priests who often feel overwhelmed with administrative duties and forget what it was like to be your age and hungry for the treasures of the Church. I do ask for patience as old habits can be hard to break.

  • http://whatcatholicwomenthink.com Mary Rice Hasson

    Great letter, Ryan. I hope that your words–and the faith of your peers–give courage and confidence to our priests.

    • http://www.RyanEggenberger.com Ryan Eggenberger

      Thanks, Mary!

  • Immaculate

    Well, where I go for mass, you can find a priest any time of the day from 8 am to 7pm for confessions. It’s always first priority. Everything is dropped the minute you call for confession!

  • Mouse

    Wonderful. May we print and share with priests (as printed from your print button, of course, showing where it came from, no alterations, etc.)?

    The thing is, in order to preach that Jesus is alive, in order to preach in an orthodox manner, and in order to have the zeal to make confessions available at a time people can and will actually come, a priest has to be full of faith himself. He has to really believe that sin is real, separates us from God, and that repentence is necessary, even for people who seem like “good folks.” He has to know the Lord not just as an idea but as a living Person with whom he has a relationship, which will make him burn with zeal to bring others into relationship with Him and fidelity to Him…including on matters like not using birth control.

    Some do not seem to have a living faith, and don’t realize that the Lord is just longing to give them these gifts, if they would only come to Him in prayer. They don’t realize that preaching with zeal may scare some people off, but sooner or later will result in revival in their parishes, because the truth moves souls.

    So we need to pray constantly for priests, for spiritual revival among priests…and in our parishes.

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  • http://www.bede.org Stefanie

    It is amusing that priests — from time to time — will use the homily to observe that ‘no one is going to Confession’ or to the Advent/Lent Penance Services (with private confessions for all) — but they never end the homily with, “And..because I feel so strongly that as your shepherd, I want to be available to you as your confessor…immediately after Mass, instead of meeting you outside, I will be in the Confessional, so that I may best serve your eternal soul.”

    Wouldn’t that create a buzz?

    We have good priests, but they are often bogged down with logistic business and with social events that are good in themselves, of course, but that’s not why priests are ordained. They have been given an amazing miraculous gift of absolution.

    BTW, I am a church staff member who knows full well how busy priests are before/after Holy Mass.

    • Sursum Corda

      “but they never end the homily with, “And..because I feel so strongly that as your shepherd, I want to be available to you as your confessor…immediately after Mass, instead of meeting you outside, I will be in the Confessional, so that I may best serve your eternal soul.””

      That’s a good point. I remember one priest who did, though, years back when I was a kid.

  • http://www.catholicfword.com Christine Dalessio

    This is beautifully done, and I am going to pass it on to all my priest friends. First, because they need encouragement for all the wonderful things they are doing right. Second, because they need courage to be the fathers and servants they have been called to be as sons of God. Keep praying for our priests, that they will serve the Bride in humility, in sacrifice, and in deep resounding love.
    And keep calling the people of this generation to stand up and be counted, to say thank you, to start groups and relationships and ask for support rather than sitting back and waiting for older people to know how to help, or worse, walking away as if they don’t have the right and responsibility to be church

  • http://www.preachingfriars.org Br. Thomas More, O.P.

    Ryan, thanks for the article!

    Even though I’m not a Dominican priest yet, thanks for your reminders! We need to stay connected with the laity and know what’s important to you, especially with things few want to talk about. Keep up the good work!

  • http://www.shipwrackharvest.blogspot.com Fr. C. M. Zelonis

    Ryan, I have linked this posting to my own blog. I very much appreciate hearing faithful young Catholics express their gratitude for the Church’s unadulterated Gospel, Sacraments, and Pastoral Care. As we young priests (I am nearly 36) get older, we must not become exasperated with the present scene to the point that we shirk in addressing the concerns you mentioned. The present becomes the future very quickly and imperceptibly. Let us persevere together in prayer and action!

  • http://www.theveilofchastity.com Cindy

    Wonderful post, Ryan. Thank you!

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  • Susan

    While I do not consider myself young (I am 51), I thoroughly agree with what you have said, especially the last point, the fact that in order to serve the noble mission of our church, we must have the Sacraments. I live in Northeast Ohio, which is well-populated with a good many Catholics and parishes, and yet there is very little or no opportunity for daily Mass for those of us who work, go to school or have families to care for. Almost all parishes in my city of 200,000 plus citizens only offer daily Mass at 8 or 9 AM, which makes it impossible for anyone outside of retirees to attend. If I could submit an open letter to the pastors in my Diocese (Cleveland), this is exactly what I would ask for.

    • Ryan Eggenberger

      Susan,

      HUGE point here. I understand you frustrations.

      Hopefully folks will see this dilemma. At my parish, the priests are very generous in offering a 6:30am, with no homily, and an 8am with adoration in between. Very, very blessed.

      Thanks for your comments!

  • http://www.thejoysofbeingcatholic.blogspot.com Teresa

    YEAHH!! I am so happy with your post. I am a new convert and agree with all you have said. We hunger and thirst for MORE truth, more orthodoxy, more of our wonderful traditions!! Not less!! Give us latin chants in church, more incense, more responsive chanting, more quiet and solemness as we live in times that require it!!

    God bless you!

    • http://www.RyanEggenberger.com Ryan Eggenberger

      Thanks Teresa! Welcome to the convert club. I’m on twitter and facebook too, links below in my profile, be sure to say hi! :)

  • Alex

    Excellent post, Ryan.

    It may surprise you that your post applies to non Catholics too.

    Your post captures the aspirations of Orthodox Christian youth accurately!

    Thank you.

  • trierw

    Some of us parents and grandparents desire and long for the traditions of the church also.

    • http://www.RyanEggenberger.com Ryan Eggenberger

      That’s great news! I can’t speak for folks not in my generation, so that is great to hear. Thanks!

  • http://www.postabortionwalk.blogspot.com InfiniteGrace

    Great letter! I would extend “young” to a very broad definition! I’d say this letter echoes also the needs and wants of those in their 30′s and 40′s, parents of young children who need the Church to turn to while being sandwiched between the care of children and the care of aging parents. I’d also ask our good priests to please tell us what you need from us! Don’t be afraid to ask for any help to make your lives as good shepherds easier in any way. I think we’ve all been walking on egg shells for so long that everyone is afraid to re-engage.

    • http://www.RyanEggenberger.com Ryan Eggenberger

      Great to hear! I can’t speak for those not in my generation, so I appreciate your comments. I also like your thought about asking priests what they need from us. More communication is key.

  • HV Observer

    “What we need are people in our lives who will help us fight it. It’s embarrassing to ask for help, or to talk about this outside of the confessional, so please start organizing programs, groups, and mobilizing men and women who are steadfast to engage our generation for mentorship and spiritual direction. If you don’t, who will?”

    Actually, in 1962, Father Morton Hill, SJ, did exactly that. He founded what became Morality in Media, Inc. (http://www.moralityinmedia.org/). For fifty years, MIM has been “the leading national organization opposing pornography and indecency through public education and the application of the law.” Morality In Media directs the War on Illegal Pornography Coalition, an effort with Congress to pressure the U.S. Department of Justice to enforce existing federal obscenity laws.

    MIM also maintains a research website (http://pornharmsresearch.com/) about the harms of pornography and regularly directs national awareness campaigns to help the public understand the consequences of pornography and find resources to aid in their struggles.

    To see MIM’s other current efforts, visit http://www.pornharms.com/

    • Lee-Ann

      Imagine how much worse our society would be without this worthy organiztion’s fight?!

  • http://realcatholicloveandsex.blogspot.com waywardson

    I agree very strongly about promoting NFP, not just for spiritual reasons, but as a matter of women’s health.

    Even secular women are tired of contraception and all its side effects. (For example, see http://sweeteningthepill.blogspot.com/ ) The Catholic Church has a better way.

    Plus, promoting NFP as science is essential to promoting Catholic sexual teachings. According to a recent study, one reason why many Catholic women reject the Church’s teachings on sexuality is that they believe that NFP doesn’t work. They are afraid that they will have serious reasons to prevent pregnancy (which the Church recognizes) but will not be able to do so. Perhaps they have had mothers, sisters, friends, etc. struggle with older methods of NFP or the ineffective and obsolete rhythm method, and think they will have the same problems.

    Pope Paul VI wanted couples to have an effective method of preventing pregnancy to show the truth of Church teaching and encouraged men of science to find one. Many have responded and modern methods of NFP are highly effective at preventing pregnancy. Plus, there are multiple methods in case one isn’t suitable for an individual woman or couple.

    And, yes, it is relationship changing and can be a very spiritual experience.

    • Sursum Corda

      I think NFP has to be promoted as a more all-rounded thing vis-a-vis what it enables: no, it’s not just about spirituality– women’s health is important, because as Catholics, we believe that the human person is both matter and spirit.

      Thank you for the link to SweeteningThePill, by the way.

      “They are afraid that they will have serious reasons to prevent pregnancy (which the Church recognizes) but will not be able to do so.”

      This was certainly my experience when I first began NFP. But it works in the heart, definitely, by making it more receptive not only to having children in general, but also to God’s healing grace, which is of course part of the culture of Life (I don’t think this gets talked about enough; NFP often gets promoted as the alternative to birth control, but little else. Furthermore, not everyone is at the same stage of ongoing conversion).

      The Sacraments therefore work more effectively. That grace is crucial to learning to trust the Lord, particularly if you’ve not had much experience trusting anyone at all– namely that He won’t give you anything that you can’t handle, be it having another child or needing to abstain. You learn detachment, wherein you learn to better appreciate both your spouse and sex as gifts that point beyond themselves to the Lord, the Giver of Life. As Catholics, we pray with everything we got and everything we’ve been given: we are to love the Lord with all our mind, all our heart, all our soul, and all our strength.

  • http://imperfectfollower.blogspot.com NickD

    I’m a teenager and this is how I feel! You hit the nail on the head. I will link and discuss this on my blog!!

  • Kelley N

    Im not a youth, but have several 22,21,17. Their friends are always over. I would add the following:
    1) Hire REAL youth ministers, and offer a salary that demands a full time committment to them. Just becasue you “love Jesus” does not make you a proper Minister. Youth Ministry that works, changes hearts to get past all the misleading and lure of secular faiths, to which so many young adults get wapped into.
    2) Rome: You NEED to make public and clear statements on the public disadent figures in our culture. They cause confusion to youth. The youth see no consequence on their actions and words against the church.

    • Lee-Ann

      Absolutely realistic!

  • BrianB

    Well stated, Ryan. Too many times our priests in the past have tried to replace orthodox teaching with the same feel-good cheerleading you find in protestant mega-churches. Remind me that I’m a sinner, that we are all sinners. Remind me that I have a cross to bear. And like you said, remind me that Jesus is alive. Don’t just say the words of consecration at mass, but give it the reverence that the true body, blood, soul, and divinity of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ deserves. I have been blessed recently to have met some very devout young priests who have done all of this. The only thing I would add is that there needs to be an open letter to young Catholic laity to encourage them to be supportive of priests. It is disappointing that most people, if they are going to Sunday mass, only see their priests once a week. Thanks for your evangelization efforts, and my family will pray for you if you pray for us.

    • BrianB

      Oh, and one last thing – young parents need to allow their kids to know priests and sisters, and to bring them up knowing that this is a possible calling that God has for them. We are all called to a priesthood through baptism, and it’s about time that parents work on sending more of our young people to seminaries, convents, and monestaries instead of to the universities and colleges that want to fill our youth with ideas of conformity with the ways of the world, instead of the ways of God.

  • Dan

    Mr Eggenburger:

    Thank you for a charming open letter, which I very much enjoyed reading. I would rather make the following comments to you privately, but there seems to be no way to do that, as I am neither a facebooker nor a twitterer.

    You make so many excellent points that it makes me feel almost caddish to have to point out one area in which you are walking into trouble. Please take this not as carping criticism but as the opening of a new area of thought for you. There are many Catholics who will not like what I and many others are saying but I only hope that they will begin to seriously reflect upon this point.

    That point is the real “third rail” issue in Catholicism today, NFP. My dear friend Ryan please understand what so many non-Catholics seem to understand, and that is that NFP is simply “Catholic contraception”. Yes, some go ballistic when that term is used. But please reflect upon it, and reflect upon it in this way: there are really two sins connected with artificial contraception, the abortifacient nature of it and…secondly, the refusal to accept the children God is sending you. Let us face the cold, hard facts: most people who use NFP are using it to “put off” having children, until they feel they are financially and psychologically ready to do so. They are not using it for the “grave” reasons that the Church has demanded. They are not honestly examining their consciences; they are looking at it from only the point of view of “me”.

    Obviously, I cannot change anyone’s mind in a short comment here. I can only hope that it will encourage study and reflection. Believe it or not, amid all the pro-NFP websites abounding, there are several that point out the tragic truth of this practice, and in the spirit of Catholicism. One particularly good site is http://www.philotheaonphire.blogspot.com/, which takes a charitable but honest look at this practice. I encourage you to visit it.

    Thank you again for your very fine open letter. All best wishes…

    • SCK

      I guess we can only be glad that God alone judges our use of dire reasons and not people who are not in our lives or medical history. I thank the Lord for the wonder that is NFP…something that has blessed so many childless couples or couples with great desire to increase their family with babies, so many women with improved health, and so many of us with the ability to space children when it seems necessary if it is God’s will.

      What is true is that NFP is only a method. In and of itself it is neither a definite good or a definite bad. The teachings of the Church revolve around the intentions of the heart. Perhaps that is what you should be encouraging people toward, Dan, rather than making judgement calls on the health, mental well being, and, yes, even financial well being of your fellow Catholics. Certainly there are those who will make wrong choices. However, that is not a good reason to denigrate a beautiful option.

    • http://realcatholicloveandsex.blogspot.com waywardson

      Several Popes, including John Paul II and Benedict XVI, have praised NFP as a way to build virtue as does the catechism (CCC 2370).

      If the Pope doesn’t consider NFP “tragic”, I would be wary of any Catholic who does.

      As for your assertion: “Let us face the cold, hard facts: most people who use NFP are using it to “put off” having children, until they feel they are financially and psychologically ready to do so.”, I will leave you with this from Humanae Vitae:

      “If therefore there are well-grounded reasons for spacing births, arising from the physical or psychological condition of husband or wife, or from external circumstances, the Church teaches that married people may then take advantage of the natural cycles immanent in the reproductive system and engage in marital intercourse only during those times that are infertile, thus controlling birth in a way which does not in the least offend the moral principles which We have just explained.”

      Not being financially or psychologically ready for children sounds like a pretty good reason to wait.

  • http://www.faithbook.co.nz Lamb Among Wolves

    What a beautiful post that says it all and then some. Thank you for breaking these points down and speaking the truth so directly but with love. :)

    God Bless

  • Jack Kane, C.M.

    This letter depressed me. Written by, supposedly, a young Catholic, it tells me all that the author wants or needs or is looking for. As I read and study the Gospels, I do not find that attitude in Jesus. In fact, doesn’t He say if “you want to follow me, you must first deny yourself, take up your cross and THEN, follow Me”?

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  • Shawna

    Amen!

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  • Fr.Gene Barrette, M.S.

    All that is said in the article may be well and good, BUT, it
    certainly does not conform to Jesus’ bottom line so clearly stated in Mt. 25:32-46. I’m afraid that many “faithful, traditional, and sadly ‘I’m here to save my soul’ Catholics’ are going to be in for a schock when the arrive at the final judgement, at least as I read that judgment scene, given in the Gospel by Jesus, and not through the cultural accretion of seemingly inward, personal serving devotions. So little of what the article talks about can be found or even hinted at in Scripture or the present papal, ecclesial thrust of “Evangelization.” A nostalgic look and emphasis on “cultural Catholic identity” also does not help our Spirit inspired call to look around us and recognize the wondrous reality of our brothers and sisters who have all rolled out of the same hands of our same “Abba”. If the letter/article is where our “youth” are at – perhaps it reflects their need and desire for “security” in the world of chaos and insecurity of which our generation have sadly deprived them. But the following of Christ is not a call to security and absolute. “Come follow me….” did not include a clear, but road map – it was a call to “trust” and believe that we would have the “Spirit” to guide us – not black and white Absolutes, not fixed, cultural identities. But only that wondrous life-producing value and quality – “See how they love one another.” Or perhaps that command – “Judge not one aother – that is my Father’s job.” I appreciate the desire to rally round the flag. But I appreciate more the seek, recognize and respond to Abba, Jesus and the Spirit present in all those “unexpected” places and to say “Yes” to that. That is where our “faith” is meant to be” That is where we manifest “trust.” That is where we hand ourselves over in “love.” And because of THAT, we will hear, “come into my father’s house …. you have helped me build our kingdon … on earth as it is in heaven….”

  • Fr.Gene Barrette, M.S.

    Fr.Gene Barrette, M.S. says:
    October 1, 2012 AD at 3:46pm
    All that is said in the article may be well and good, BUT, it
    certainly does not conform to Jesus’ bottom line so clearly stated in Mt. 25:32-46. I’m afraid that many “faithful, traditional, and sadly ‘I’m here to save my soul’ Catholics’ are going to be in for a schock when the arrive at the final judgement, at least as I read that judgment scene, given in the Gospel by Jesus, and not through the cultural accretion of seemingly inward, personal serving devotions. So little of what the article talks about can be found or even hinted at in Scripture or the present papal, ecclesial thrust of “Evangelization.” A nostalgic look and emphasis on “cultural Catholic identity” also does not help our Spirit inspired call to look around us and recognize the wondrous reality of our brothers and sisters who have all rolled out of the same hands of our same “Abba”. If the letter/article is where our “youth” are at – perhaps it reflects their need and desire for “security” in the world of chaos and insecurity of which our generation have sadly deprived them. But the following of Christ is not a call to security and absolute. “Come follow me….” did not include a clear, but road map – it was a call to “trust” and believe that we would have the “Spirit” to guide us – not black and white Absolutes, not fixed, cultural identities. But only that wondrous life-producing value and quality – “See how they love one another.” Or perhaps that command – “Judge not one aother – that is my Father’s job.” I appreciate the desire to rally round the flag. But I appreciate more the seek, recognize and respond to Abba, Jesus and the Spirit present in all those “unexpected” places and to say “Yes” to that. That is where our “faith” is meant to be” That is where we manifest “trust.” That is where we hand ourselves over in “love.” And because of THAT, we will hear, “come into my father’s house …. you have helped me build our kingdon … on earth as it is in heaven….”

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  • http://gconlanomi.livejournal.com Gerard Conlan OMI

    Thanks for speaking up and sharing your concerns and suggestions. It helps offset the negative criticism when we preach and try to do what you are asking for.

    PORN is a big problem here in Kenya and it is getting worse as mobile internet usage increases, and the culture is in a major transition time from village to urban/individualism. But people are keen to hear the truth and in our 15 schools we are sharing the dangers and encouraging youth to challenge each other… and it is working!

    Keep up the good work you are doing and all those like you!!

    Take care and God Bless, Fr Gerry

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  • Philomen

    Infidelities to the teachings of Holy Mother the Church are in the parochial schools. Beginning in kindergarten youth are taught they have a right to choose their style of sexual gratifications. This is intended to be shocking. Unsuspecting youth are being used to destroy Catholicism. Sexualized catechetics teaches youth how to sin. It does not get any better. Most of the teachers who collaborate with the U S Bishops in the implementing of scandalous materials do not accept the teachings of Holy Mother the Church in regards to birth controlling, abortion and remarriages. See “Tumultuous Times” by the Fathers Radecki. See motherswatch.net part 1 and part 2 in regards to the series “Growing In Love”. It’s horrific to believe that parents and People of God give weekly in support of what spoils youth and in fact is the raising of the new barbarians. Randy Engels speaks of this in her book, “Sex Education, The Final Plague”. Who will begin the crusade to defend our youth? I know for a fact it will not be any of the large well known pro-life organizations.

  • http://truthispeace89.wordpress.com James

    When it comes to “We Love Orthodoxy” I just want to throw in the room, the Traditional Latin Mass, if Priests would be more willing to practice that on a more consistent basis that would mean the world to me and I think many others, especially for evangelization purposes. So long as it is practiced in a highly reverent manner.

    • Philomen

      James, First if all there must be a legitimate priesthood and a priesthood that has not compromised with ecumenism, indifferentism, and universal salvation.

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  • http://RomanCatholicHomilies Fr. Larry

    One reason why I became a priest was because I was tired of bland homilies devoid of teaching. Please visit my website at http://www.romancatholichomilies.blogspot.com

  • Brett Page

    So the practices that ‘make us distinctly Catholic’ are frequent confession, adoration, the Rosary and using incense? Not selflessness and compassion? You must be reading from a different Gospel of Jesus to the one I am. You mention not a word about supporting policies which promote social justice. Not a word about supporting measures which at least tinker with wealth re-distribution from the wealthiest to the ‘least of my brothers’. Not a word about selflessness. Of giving to charity anonymously. Of praying in private, as Jesus commands us in Matthew 6. No wonder the majority of your generation are leaving in droves if all you talk about are the religious rituals and not about the hard things which actually require sacrifice.

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