Seeking the causes for the exodus of youth
It’s one of the most important, and least-understood subjects: why young people stop practising the Faith. Now an in-depth study, from St Mary’s Press and the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University, has interviewed 214 lapsed Catholics aged from 15 to 25, to ask why they stopped practising.
“We heard young people describe the beginnings of their questioning and doubts as early as fifth grade [10-11 years old], some even younger,” said John Vitek, one of the authors of the study, in remarks reported at catholicworldreport.com.
Vitek said that adults are often oblivious to young people’s struggles: “Many of the young people also told us that they never talked about their doubts and questions with their parents or their Church leaders.”
A strange story of chess and priesthood
At ncregister.com, Kevin Di Camillo described the story of the chess grandmaster who became a priest. William Lombardy was, before the rise of Bobby Fischer, the best American chess player of his generation. While a priest, he served as Fischer’s second during his historic encounter with the USSR’s Boris Spassky. But in 1980 he renounced the priesthood and married. His marriage fell apart and he became estranged from his son. He went into debt and became homeless.
When Di Camillo contacted Lombardy, he was desperate, and so Di Camillo got in touch with the Archdiocese of New York, which found a place in a care home.
Di Camillo hoped that Lombardy would “live out his golden years under the aegis of the archdiocese he’d once served as a priest”. It was not to be. Soon after, he left the home to stay with a friend in California. In October he died of apparent heart failure.
Di Camillo wrote: “I’m glad and proud that the Church came to the aid of one of her (former) priests – despite the fact that apparently the help wasn’t wanted or much appreciated.”
The Catholic king who inspired a tech brand
Bluetooth, wrote Billy Ryan at uCatholic.com, is present on almost every device we own. Yet few of us realise it is named after the first Christian Viking king.
King Harald “Bluetooth” Gormsson ruled Norway and Denmark from 958 to 986. His nickname came from having a rotten tooth that appeared to be blue. He converted after being asked to prove his faith in Christ – he supposedly did so by carrying a great weight of hot iron without being burned. After his conversion his people followed suit, abandoning their pagan gods.
Jim Kardach, founder of Bluetooth SIG, which manages the technology, “chose the name because King Harald was famous for unifying Denmark and Norway, much like Bluetooth was intended to be a unifying technology”. The logo is formed from combining the runes representing H and B, for Hagall Bjarkan, Harald’s initials.
✣ A church in Paris has introduced contactless card payments for its Mass collections.
The archdiocese said Massgoers could choose on a screen how much they wanted to donate – from €2 to €10 – and that their payment would be processed “in one second”.
The move, at the Church of St Francois de Molitor in the city’s well-heeled 16th arrondissement, “remains extremely close to the usual” format, the diocese said, as faithful will still be able to pay by cash. It said the Mass collection accounted for 14 per cent of its income and that the move was meant to “anticipate the gradual disappearance of cash money”.
✣ Polish priests have taken part in an skiing tournament in honour of St John Paul II.
The Polish pope was known as an avid skiier. The annual event begins with priests skiing down the slopes in their black cassocks. The competitors then swap their clerical garb for ski suits for the 800m slalom itself.
The competition was revived in 1998 by a group of Franciscans in memory of a similar tournament in the past. One competitor, 76-year-old Fr Władysław Nowobilski, told the BBC: “Sometimes there were successes, sometimes there were falls, even some when I could barely get up. But I’m persistent.”
✣The week in quotations
It is understandable that Pope Francis’s statements … were a source of great pain for survivors of sexual abuse Cardinal Seán O’Malley Press statement
They fall through the cracks and are often not helped Exorcist Fr Pat Collins on people who may be afflicted by evil spirits Irish Catholic
We deplore the use of force on demonstrators armed only with Bibles, rosaries and branches Fr Donatien Nshole, secretary general of the Congolese bishops’ conference Religion News Service
✣Statistic of the week
1.3m The number of people at the Pope’s final Mass in Peru Official estimate
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