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Catholic Education

‘The invent Vatican new’


Forty percent of today’s 62 million American Catholics are under 38, and more than half of those are teens or younger. How different, as Catholics and believers, those teens are from adults is captured in a comparison Mike Carotta, author of Sometimes We Dance, Sometimes We Wrestle: Embracing the Spirituality of Adolescents (Harcourt Religion), gave at one of his workshops at the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress in Anaheim, Calif.

The “we” refers to adults; “they” to teens:

We emphasize community; they value individual faith.

We teach with words and books; they learn with slogans and visuals.

We emphasize the knowing; they are interested in doing.

We offer a moral map; they want a moral compass.

We tell a story from start to finish; they see multiple plots with no resolution.

We stress our uniqueness; they value diversity and commonality.

We treasure our religion; they seek spirituality.

We value counseling; they seek confession.

We speak in theological language; they understand plain English.

We observe feasts and holy days; they interact, participate, create.

We value training and caution; they use delete.

We refer to Vatican II; they invent Vatican new.

National Catholic Reporter, March 30, 2001