At Charlotte Was Both, Amy Welborn recalled talking to a young teen who “had reluctantly determined that he must be an agnostic. Why? Because he didn’t and couldn’t seem to feel anything.”
That crystallised, Welborn said, her own unease with much youth ministry. “I thought about all of the youth ministry programmes that I see and am somewhat familiar with, that my kids are invited to participate in. They’re all emotionally based.”
That could mean “enjoyment and fun”; it could, at a later stage “emphasise other emotions – joy, remorse, connectedness, excitement – from retreats to Adoration events that feature praise music and personal witness.”
But that doesn’t work for everyone. “What if you’re a kid who searches for evidence of truth mostly through your head and not through your emotions?” You might then ask: “Does that mean I maybe don’t have faith?”
Diplomacy and risk
At Catholic World Report, George Weigel raised some concerns about the possible diplomatic agreement between China and the Holy See. For one thing, the regime, far from liberalising, “is relentlessly turning the screws on human rights activists, Christian dissidents and anyone else imagined to be a threat to regime stability”. For another, canon law states that governments have no right to appoint bishops. There’s a risk that that vital principle will be overthrown “to mollify totalitarians determined to make the Catholic Church a branch of the Chinese communist state”.
An agreement could risk the Church’s reputation as a defender of human rights, and deepen divisions with Chinese Catholicism. Instead, we might look to the example of “those Chinese ‘house churches’ that are flourishing despite no formal recognition from the Chinese government”.
The secular search
At Through Broken Roses, Leticia Adams recalled that her life changed when she picked up the Catechism. She dropped her preconceptions and “just read the thing. When I did that, I was shocked.” It led her to the realisation that God “made me and everything. He made me for a reason, He knows what that reason is and He is capable of preparing me for whatever He wants me to do with my life.”
Adams has realised that the secular memoirs she had read were by “people who are searching and searching for what I was once looking for. They are looking for it in the stars, in the rhythm of the ocean, in sunsets, in other books and in the mirror, and a lot of times they find a lot of things, but what they don’t find is the Truth. The Truth you can see, that breathes, that dies, that resurrects. The Truth with a name, His name is Jesus.”
Mark Wahlberg, the Oscar-nominated actor and committed Catholic, is planning a new film: a biopic of a retired boxer who became a much-loved priest. Wahlberg announced on Facebook that he and the director David O Russell were working on a film about Fr Stuart Long, who died of an auto-immune disease in 2014 at the age of 50.
Fr Long retired from prizefighting after a serious injury. He then nearly died in a motorcycle accident, after which he found God and then heard the call to the priesthood.
✣ Wahlberg, who says his Catholicism is “the most important aspect of my life” and that he can’t start the day without 10 minutes of prayer, was spotted at Mass last week – in Northumberland, where he has been filming.
One churchgoer at St Aidan’s, Seahouses, said Wahlberg “took Communion, he knelt at the altar for three or four minutes and prayed. He then left quietly.”
✣ Bruce Springsteen has talked about the Catholic influence on his songs. “The language, the ideas – a lot of it came out of a Catholic education,” he told Stephen Colbert on The Late Show. “The verses are the blues, the choruses are Gospel … you get a little transcendence in Gospel music that I hope finds itself into my songs.”
✣The week in quotations
[I am] willing to go to prison to defend the family Bishop Pedro Pablo Elizondo of Cancun, Mexico, where the government is trying to introduce same-sex marriage Crux
We are confident the Pope will give a great message for humanity Gabriel de Souza, a Catholic in Azerbaijan, about the Pope’s visit CNS
Taking away guns is the easy part Archbishop Charles Chaput Statement after another shooting spree in America
The failure of ecumenism imprisons mercy Anglican archbishop Justin Welby At the Assisi meeting
✣Statistic of the week
1 The number of Catholic churches in Azerbaijan (there are two chapels) catholic.az
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