By Father Jean Joseph Brice
Anyone who takes some time to look can see the evidential crises facing our world today. On a broad perspective, it is clear that the search for meaning is becoming more and more difficult.
Many are locked within the confines of their own ego with no reference to the transcendent; relevance is preferred to truth; the most recent opinion is valued over critical evaluation; and many don’t take the time to answer the deepest questions of life anymore.
In the meantime, scientism — the reduction of all forms of knowledge to only the scientific form of knowledge — is attempting to relegate religious, theological, ethical truths and aesthetic knowledge to the corner of fantasy. It claims that technological progress has the answer to every aspects of the human life. Scientism asserts that it is just a matter of time before it provides the answer to everything.
Consequently, many, even those sincerely following Christ, doubt the relevance of God in their day-to-day activities. At the same time, what St. John Paul II described as “a veritable structure of sin” is becoming the “new normal.”
In this period of history, three young priests — burned with the fire of love, joyful, eager, hungry to share the faith, zealous for God — make themselves available to answer any questions people might have about Jesus, the Bible, the Church, life, love, human interests, etc.
Yet, not as many people as we had thought seems to have questions. This is puzzling to me!
That means no one really has questions about the best spiritual books to read, discernment, the best way to pray, how to grow in holiness in the midst of a cacophonous and tempting world, or the sacraments.
No young adults have questions about the hot topics such as sexual ethics, religious freedom, the devil, parish evangelization, environment, doctrine, and scandal in the church.
Can it be true that all the readers of the Rhode Island Catholic are so well formed in the faith that they have no need to deepen their faith? Rather is everyone just indifferent about religious questions?
While I am no fan of social research, there is much food for thought in Jean Twenge’s book, iGen: The 10 Trends Shaping Today’s Young People and the Nation. She found that the generation born between 1995 and 2012 is disconnected from everything that constituted the lodestar of previous generations.
The main reason for this is their acute preoccupation with individual choice and themselves; they have been taught from the cradle by practically every song, video, movie, talk show etc., to believe in themselves and follow their own dreams.
They are offered a dizzying array of choices in everything from food and clothes to gadgets and lifestyles. Consequently, she concludes, they cannot see why God, religious, and faith are relevant.
Now, the Church seems to be suffering the consequences. If her research is wrong, the R.I. Catholic readers need to prove that. Ask us questions! It doesn’t take that long to ask a good question. I don’t claim we have all the answers, but we can discuss, clarify, pray and grow together in this journey of faith.
The Christian life is so deep, there’s no way we can exhaust and clarify all there is to say about it. After years of explaining the faith to communities he established, the great St. Paul exclaims, “Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out!” (Rom. 11:33).
So, it cannot be true that we have nothing to say about this depthless ocean.
Have a question? Ask the Newly Ordained! Readers may submit questions by sending them to Editor@thericatholic.com
“Ask the Newly Ordained” features Fathers Brian Morris, Joseph Brice and Stephen Battey — who respond to questions about the faith from Rhode Island Catholic readers.