The Church needs to engage its youth

Re: “Young people are leaving the Faith: Here’s why” (In Focus, Aug. 28).

To phrase this another way, “Why has the Church left young people?” I just retired as a Catholic school teacher. In those 19 years, never once did a priest come visit the classrooms. Students were taken to a weekday Mass when it was possible. Generally, there was a homily but not one to reach into the hearts of children. They never had the experience of seeing religious women living a conventual life. To be sure, we lay teachers did our very best to teach religion. It was a required subject just like every other one. At the last school, the parish church was shut down. The children heard over and over parents saying that they were done with the Catholic Church because they didn’t believe it cared about them.

The loss of the Faith among young people is much deeper, more personal than the challenge between faith and science. Our catechesis has been superficial. The relationships between vowed religious and the young people have been negligible at best. The good news is that it is never too late to change. With God’s help, we can pick up the pace, improve the quality of our catechetical programs, encourage parish priests to be involved with the students and search for orders of teaching nuns to come back to our empty convents.

Mary Arnold, via online comment

Fleeing the Faith

Re: “Young people are leaving the Faith: Here’s why” (In Focus, Aug. 28).

While CARA’s analysis is helpful, most telling is the age at which 12-13-year-olds are deciding for/against Jesus and religion — even before they are educated and informed. Is it because the individual now defines what is true and good and beautiful? In this age where “You decide!” and “Have it your way!” prevail, it’s no wonder.

Father Bernard J. Rosinski, Chamberlain, South Dakota

A Jesuit physics professor at St. Louis University, Father Robert Brungs, began an organization nearly 50 years ago to address science and faith issues. They are not incompatible but rather complementary. That is reflected in curricula developed to address these two components for grades K-8. That covers the key age range in which the story indicated many Catholic youths lose their faith thinking science makes sense but their Catholic faith does not. These curricula are free from the Institute for Theological Encounter with Science and Technology at

A. F. Kertz, Ph.D., Glendale, Missouri

How has the Church presented herself in recent years, which appear to be years of general decline, as opposed to how she presented herself previously when pews were overflowing? The pre-conciliar Church was about sacred solemnity that, especially on Sundays, lifted minds from the mundane with the beauty of the liturgical celebration in sight, sound and message. How is the Church presented now? Sacred liturgies are more like social gatherings. Music is often played on instruments more appropriate to pop concerts.

Had I not been born 90 years ago when we learned that the Catholic Faith persists in truth, not in externals, I might be inclined to leave the Church myself. 

Edward A. Rohde, St. Louis

Women’s movement

Re: “Abortion evolution” (Editorial, Aug. 21).

Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony and friends fought hard and long for women’s rights. Betty Friedan, Gloria Steinem and friends fought hard and long for equal opportunities.

What has all of this success cost us? Shame and modesty are unknown in our pop culture.

“Hooking up” and aggressive sexual behavior degrade women. The results are disastrous. Promoting abortion on demand was a tragic mistake of the feminist movement.

Rosalie Monaco, East Rockaway, New York
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