French bishops tell Vatican that youths mostly divorced from Church14 November 2017 | by Tom Heneghan
'For young believers, growing and affirming one’s Christian faith in a multicultural and multireligious world remains a a big challenge'Most French youths expect nothing from the Catholic Church because they are not connected to it, the French bishops have said in their response to the Vatican’s Youth Synod survey.
The response drawn up from dioceses, religious communities, Church movements and Catholic schools also showed serious hurdles to vocations in France.
“The large majority of youths distant from the Church demand nothing from the Church,” it said a the report presented to the episcopal conference’s autumn plenary.
“Many pastoral workers have a hard time meeting youths for whom the Church is distant,” it said. “For young believers, growing and affirming one’s Christian faith in a multicultural and multireligious world remains a a big challenge.”
Clearly reacting to scandals of recent years, practicing young Catholics said they wanted an exemplary, coherent and irreproachable Church that projects “a message of hope”.
Many of them mentioned more responsibilities for women, more openness to remarried Catholics and homosexuals and an end to clerical celibacy. “Some also asked for a less clerical and hierarchical Church,” the report said.
Among the challenges they saw facing society today were ecology, poverty and peace, while few expressed interest in interreligious dialogue, even with Islam, the second religion in France.
The report noted that Catholic families showed ”a certain distrust” of vocations, considering the question almost taboo, because the term seemed synonymous with “isolation, recruitment or indoctrination”. Most parents stress school and professional success rather than vocations.