Catholicism could be shifting from a culture-shaping authority to a more passionate and proactive subculture, which can challenge the status quo of mainstream society, according to a column by John L Allen Jr. on the National Catholic Reporter’s website.
Allen also talks about a changing of the guard in the “millennial generation” of young Catholics who appear more fervent and embracing of the Church’s customs and traditions — like the 15 million who showed up for World Youth Day in Spain — possibly a reaction to the lack of unity and tradition found in our post-post-modern world.
The recent pro-life flash mob is a good example of Catholicism challenging the status-quo, as are the many blogs started by young Catholics.
This could mean some of Catholicism’s best years are ahead if the practitioners are living it more from the heart than the head.
Allen had many other insights which you can read here.
I’ve just returned from World Youth Day in Madrid, a gathering of roughly a million and a half young Catholics around Pope Benedict XVI. It was one of the most thrilling weeks of my life. Friends back in this country told me there was very little coverage in the mainstream media here (take a look at my most recent column to get my take on why that was the case), but I can assure you that World Youth Day 2011 was a rousing affirmation of the enduring power of the Catholic Church and its message of salvation.
But it also spoke a deeply encouraging word to our ministry. I gave a series of five presentations at World Youth Day, including a screening of one of our episodes of CATHOLICISM in both English and Spanish, and I brought with me a group of five from our Word On Fire team.
From the moment we appeared in the 20,000 seat arena for English-speaking pilgrims until the moment we left, we were mobbed by young people from all over the world: Americans, Canadians, Filipinos, British, Dutch, Nigerians, Chinese, etc. Time and again, in their various accents, they told us how much they appreciate the YouTube videos, podcasts, and sermons. And almost to a person, they knew about the CATHOLICISM film series and were looking forward to its broadcast.
This shows the extraordinary power of the internet and the new media to bring the message of Christ twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, all over the world.
After my last presentation, I spoke individually to enthusiastic kids for about half an hour. Mind you, I’m saying all of this not to show off, but to let all of you know – you who have done so much to support us over the years – that Word On Fire has had a significant impact, especially on the next generation. And for this, I am immensely grateful to God, to our patron saints, and to you, who have made our work possible.
Fr. Robert Barron
If you haven’t heard of Random Acts of Culture, it is a program which is striving to have 1,000 performances of culture and art randomly, throughout the country. They have done 379 to date. I’m waiting to see one of these some day.