Today, we are surrounded by a lukewarm epidemic. But many of the faithful are now waking up and realizing that we can no longer be both people of the world and people of God – we must pick a side. Recently in Australia, over 200 Catholic university students and alumni have penned an Open Letter to the Synod on Youth, saying that young people want the truth. The unambiguous truth. Not watered down teachings, false embellishments, weak instruction, and a Church that changes with the times. But rather, a Church that changes the times.
The letter written by the Australian Catholic Students Association (ACSA) calls for greater formation and direction in a world entangled in confusion.
“The world is confused. And in this confusion, the young have nothing to grasp,” they say, “We want the Synod Fathers to remind the world that God will only deliver us when we cling to Him in love.”
While we are being robbed of our religious freedoms, hunted mercilessly by the media, silenced by the regressive Left in our own schools, university campuses and in the workplace – many of these truth-seekers have realized that faith in Christ, His Church, and His teachings are the only way to navigate through our rather turbulent world.
“We need a reliable moral compass. For this, the young need to be well-formed in the truth”, the letter read, “We cannot shape the Church when we are not formed. Formless minds will manifest a shapeless Church, constantly evading the truth.”
But the devout youth describe how the deliberate ‘ambiguous language’ in statements by senior prelates on controversial issues of “contraception, sexuality, communion for divorcees and non-Catholics, married priests and female ordination” is doing more harm than good. It creates confusion, doubt, and inconsistency.
“Such confusion is borne from senior prelates purposefully employing ambiguous language when addressing such issues, even in the face of Christ’s teachings, the Church Fathers and the clear dogma of the Church”, the letter-writers say, “The Church should not discourage young people following its rules in love, nor its priests from teaching them.”
Today, there is a growing movement in our Church – a countercultural wave of young people who reject this banal, people-pleasing approach to Catholicism. These youths refuse to succumb to the culture of political correctness that has crippled our Church and the world today. They do not want our rich history, tradition, and culture to be buried away and forgotten.
As such, the faithful Australian youth pray “for an increase in practices which help satisfy the sacramental needs of our bodies and souls – pilgrimages, confession, devotions, adoration, sacred art, music, and architecture”. Their letter continues with, “The world can be an ugly place, and the outward beauty of our churches should be rays of light in our communities, particularly in the lives of the poor.”
There is no denying that our Church is going through a dark, cold winter. But ultimately, the restoration of tradition, transparency, and truth will allow our Church to welcome a long-awaited springtime and will undoubtedly rekindle the faith of many, particularly the youth. They conclude the letter with “We will not find heaven wandering the wasteland around us. We will find it by being born again in Baptism, nurtured by the Sacraments and sheltered by the Truth in the Mystical Body of Christ, the Church.”
As such, Church leaders need to work with the youth to ensure that young people can participate in Church life, grow in holiness and come to a deeper understanding of the fullness of truth. Cardinal Robert Sarah, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, perfectly expressed this need at the Youth Synod on October 16, when he said that the Church should “courageously propose the Christian ideal corresponding to Catholic moral doctrine and not water it down, hiding the truth to attract young people to the bosom of the church.”
The early disciples set the world ablaze through their courage to go forth and proclaim the true word of God, for Christ came to the world to bear witness to the truth. Today’s watered-down version of Catholicism purposes only to destabilize this truth which has stood for over two thousand years. If we want to change the world and be instruments of God’s light and love, we must cling to His truth.
Mr. Christopher Wilks from Sydney, Australia, president of ACSA and one of the authors of this powerful open letter, says “a generation which is growing up in an age of high polarisation need and want definite truth to believe and defend. The Catholic Church has the fullness of Truth, so we should proclaim it in love, but without compromise.”
This heartfelt open letter signed by 217 young Australian Catholics serves as a reminder that there are still faithful youth scattered throughout our world, desperately searching for meaning, direction, and formation. It is a reminder that in our world of confusion and chaos, it is the truth that will ultimately set us free.