Monday, February 22, 2010

Spent today... a school as one of a team of speakers giving a presentation on chastity.

The problem when doing this is not that the young people reject the message, or even challenge it to any very great degree - rather, it is simply the human reality with which they have to live. They do not see marriage presented as an attractive - or even a realistic - option in the world in which they are growing up: not on the TV soaps, not in the lives of the soi-disant "celebs" whose activities are chronicled in the junk-magazines haunting all the supermarkets, and not, alas, in many of the homes and families of their own everyday experience. Sometimes school is the only place where it will even be presented for discussion in any significant way.

The Church has so much to offer here that is healing, inspiring, and life-changing. Unfortunately too often, the young have the idea that the Church simply presents a set of negative rules which are essentially for her own members, who then apply them rather smugly. Breaking through the barrier of ignorance and prejudice which surrounds the image of the Church is itself something that takes time and good humour and prayer and patience. But it can be done...


Anonymous said...

Of corse we are struggling with same issue in US. We are taking our daughter to a "purity Ball" in near future. There are activities and books for girls and boys to read on purity and I feel as they see other peers joining in it gives them encoragement and strength. They need more than to be talked at. They need real envolvement in this pledge toward self respect and good judgement.

Malcolm Mclean said...

I don't know what you said.

However the problem is deeper than most, well-meaning Catholics realise.

We've broken the link between independence and self-sufficiency. In the past only a few young men from the upper classes were independent without being self-sufficient. They got allowances from their fathers which were enough to pay for their studies at Oxford, but not enough to settle and have a family. Naturally, most of them took girlfriends. However they were a small minority.

Now huge numbers of people are in that position. It's getting harder and harder to be self-sufficent, whilst, rightly, young people don't want to live under their parents' authority when they are no longer children. However people are now in education until 21 or 22, and then a career job does not fall into their lap. Often they are still living with parents, on and off, until well into their 30s.