The La Croix survey of WYD participants confirms a major trend: these young Catholics – among the most committed – seem to be swimming against the tide of their elders. Their sensitivity to the liturgy, their relationship to the institution, their societal options: on all these subjects, they are mostly out of step with the generations that preceded them. The sociological mechanics are known. The family unit remains one of the ultimate places where transmission takes place. Those who have kept a strong religious practice are mostly from families most attached to traditions. Some worry that believers of more diverse sensibilities may feel excluded in increasingly homogeneous communities. This is a challenge for the unity and attractiveness of the Church.
However, it would be a mistake to stop at appearances. “Conservatives”, “classics”, “reactions”, “identities”… These convenient categories are not enough to account for the multiple dimensions of the life of faith. These young people from WYD are involved not only in the Church, but also in society, often with the poorest. They train themselves intellectually. And if there is one point on which they are aligned with their contemporaries, it is the expectation of benchmarks. In this sense, their fervor and their high standards are first and foremost encouraging signs of vitality.
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