Mandeville, LA – [Editor’s note: The following is an excerpt from a letter written by 7 young and newly ordained, catholic priests. –MC-Ed.] The Synod’s Instrumentum Laboris (working document) concedes too much to the sexual revolution, which has caused such great harm to young people. Our generation comes from “liquid” modernity. We have grown up in a culture hostile to all that the Church proposes: the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ; the truths contained within Scripture; and the Church’s tradition as handed down from the Apostles until today, including her moral witness. We do our best to teach, preach, proclaim, and live these realities. So do many of our fellow young people.
When we read the Instrumentum Laboris, we do not find an extensive analysis of models that have proved successful in forming young people in the faith. Nor do we find guidance on how the socio-cultural concerns of young people can be raised and oriented toward a supernatural end. We find instead vague references to “some young people” who wish for this or that part of the Church’s teaching to change. But we know many young people who do not want the Church’s teachings to change, who instead want them proclaimed more vigorously—precisely because they see them as the antidote to the cultural wasteland in which we live. For this reason, we believe the Instrumentum needs substantial rethinking and revision. Only a powerful encounter with Jesus Christ and a joyful proclamation of the orthodox faith of the Church can inspire young hearts and fire young people to mission. Sociological analysis cannot achieve this.
We, as young people, know the toll of the sexual revolution in a visceral way: divorce, the unchecked pursuit of pleasure, objectification of women, sex trafficking, pornography, all of the horrors that precipitated the #MeToo movement, listlessness, despair, addiction. We already see the effects trickling into the next generation through smartphone addiction, teen depression and anxiety, and social media bullying. We don’t view these effects as liberating; we view them as shackling. And we think our peers are with us.
Rev. Eric J. Banecker
Parochial Vicar, St. Pius X Parish, Broomall, PA
Archdiocese of Philadelphia
Rev. Christopher Coffiey
Parochial Vicar, St. John the Beloved Parish, Wilmington, DE
Diocese of Wilmington
Reverend Michael G. DeSaye
Parochial Vicar, Saint Joan of Arc Parish, Marlton, NJ
Diocese of Trenton
Rev. Richard W. James
Graduate Studies, University of Saint Thomas, Rome
Diocese of Allentown
Rev. Bryan J. Kerns, O.S.A.
Theology Faculty, St. Augustine Preparatory School, Richland, NJ
Order of Saint Augustine
Rev. Aleksandr J. Schrenk
Parochial Vicar pro tem, St. Peter, St. Paul, and St. Michael Parishes, Butler, PA
Diocese of Pittsburgh
Rev. Stephen W. Spencer, O.S.J.
Parochial Vicar, Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish, Bakersfield, CA
Oblates of Saint Joseph