Reform Of The Catholic Church In The US Will Start in Campus Ministry

Reform Of The Catholic Church In The US Will Start in Campus Ministry
From Aggie Catholics
  • Morality is relative.
  • Right and wrong depend on the situation and people. As long as they do their best, they can't do wrong.
  • What is true for you may not be true for me.
  • That might have been considered wrong in the past, but we have progressed beyond such ancient fears.
  • Dogmatically proclaiming you are right and everyone else is wrong is really the worst sin.
  • We shouldn't judge others, but should each follow our own conscience
The biggest issue in our culture today.

Relativism is the belief that truth is relative. It can change depending on people, situations, cultures, time, etc. Truth, especially moral truth, is subjective and not objective. It can change and there is no objective truth that transcends people or experience.

Why is this a problem? Because without moral absolutes, there can be no sin. No action can be wrong at all times. It leads to a society with moral license and each individual can do whatever they please - damn the consequences. It is a philosophy that will ultimately be the end of any society that owns it.

Relativism is getting worse in our society. From the Barna Research Group:
"We are witnessing the development and acceptance of a new moral code in America....The moral code began to disintegrate when the generation before them - the Baby Busters - pushed the limits that had been challenged by their parents - the Baby Boomers. The result is that without much fanfare or visible leadership, the U.S. has created a moral system based on convenience, feelings, and selfishness.
But, it isn't just outside the society as a whole - it is inside the Catholic Church. From a recent poll done about the Millenial Generation and the Catholic Church:
**82% of Catholic millenials believe morals are “relative.”

Here is how that is lived out - Catholic Millenials believed the following practices are "morally acceptable" at these percentages:
  • 61% - a Catholic to practice more than one religion
  • 33% - having a baby outside of marriage
  • 35% - same sex marriage
  • 37% - medical research using stem cells obtained from human embryos
  • 20% - euthanasia
We, the Catholic Church and our allies against relativism, have a lot of work to do. As Pope Benedict said:
To have a clear faith, according to the creed of the Church, is often labeled as fundamentalism. While relativism, that is, allowing oneself to be carried about with every wind of "doctrine," seems to be the only attitude that is fashionable. A dictatorship of relativism is being constituted that recognizes nothing as absolute and which only leaves the "I" and its whims as the ultimate measure.

We have another measure: the Son of God, true man. He is the measure of true humanism. "Adult" is not a faith that follows the waves in fashion and the latest novelty. Adult and mature is a faith profoundly rooted in friendship with Christ. This friendship opens us to all that is good and gives us the measure to discern between what is true and what is false, between deceit and truth.

We must mature in this adult faith; we must lead the flock of Christ to this faith.
The questions then arise:
Where is the tide against relativism being fought?
Where can the Catholic Church hope to turn the tide?

My thesis is this - I believe it MUST be done in the young adult stage of life. Previous research shows that college-age adults are more open to ideas and change than at later stages in life. If we miss this chance, we lose the culture war.

So, how can the Catholic Church best meet the challenges in this age with young adults? Many argue it must be done in Catholic universities. I agree that having a good system of Catholic colleges and universities is a great way to form Catholics. The Catholic Church started the university. But, here is the problem - Catholic universities are not doing the job.

First of all, I am not saying to toss the baby out with the bathwater. Catholic colleges and universities play an indispensable roll in our Church and country. We cannot give away higher education to secularism. Nor can theology or Catholic philosophy be maintained in non-Catholic schools. But, the tide isn't turning in the Church's favor quick enough at Catholic institutions.

Studies show that female students are MORE promiscuous at Catholic universities and Catholic colleges and universities not forming students any better than secular universities in the Catholic faith.

This is shameful. Especially when we stop to consider the state of campus ministries in the USA and the way resources are distributed. A few numbers:
  • On average, the largest campus ministry professional/ministerial staff sizes are on Catholic campuses (almost nine staff members)
  • 12 percent of campus minsitry sites report no Masses anytime during the week or weekend.
Some others in campus ministry label the average campus ministry as "pizza and Mass". I don't even know if it is this good. Many schools have zero, zilch, nada. Others have what I call "pizza and Communion service". Yes, we have to start somewhere, but this is shameful. Generations of Catholics are being lost.

80% of Catholic university and college students go to non-Catholic schools.
If we are to reform the Church, then we need reform to start where young Catholic students are going to school - at non-Catholic institutions.

Even if we start to turn the tide in some of the Catholic universities that are losing (or have already lost) their Catholic identity, it will take generations to turn them around. On the other hand, a campus ministry at a non-Catholic school can be ratcheted up quickly, within a few years - if it has the right leadership (starting with the Bishop) and enough monetary support (built by a good development office).

We need a paradigm shift.
  • We need to re-focus our priorities of ministering to the millenial generation toward the non-Catholic campus ministry centers.
  • We can no longer be satisfied with pizza parties and Communion services.
  • We need dynamic and orthodox leaders to start programs that challenge and form Catholics to go out into the world and change it - not be changed by it.
Pray for Catholic higher education and campus ministry.

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