Here’s the title of an October 2008 National Catholic Reporter article: “Young Catholics more progressive than older ones, poll finds.” Despite my general hesitancy with reports claiming to explain the perspectives of young Catholics, when I saw the headline, I couldn’t help my first reaction: finally!! Yes!! Finally!!
Here’s the nuts and bolts: Public Religion Research surveyed just over 1200 Catholics between the ages of 18 and 34—the total study is somewhat cheesily called “The Young & the Faithful.” I haven’t read the full report yet; I look forward to it.
I’ve gotten tired of the sort of weathered stereotype that young Catholics are increasingly more conservative than our Vatican II counter-parts, shaped by a tendency to read the Catechism the way Protestant Evanglicals read the Bible. I am tired of being lumped as a group of apathetic kids who wouldn’t know a genuflect from a deep knee bend. I am relieved to have another perspective coming to light. Thank you, NCR.
I know, I know there are so many reasons talking about a conservative/liberal divide is extremely unhealthy when it comes to dialogue in the Church.
But take this nugget away: ‘”This is not the culture war generation,’ said Robert P. Jones, president of Public Religion Research, in drawing a broad conclusion from the study during a conference call. ‘From gay rights to the role of Americans around the world to working for the common good,’ the young people surveyed represent a group that ‘kind of works past the ideological divides’ that have characterized the political debate of recent years.”
This is super-hopeful to me! If we, as a generation, really are able to move away from ideological divides, shed ourselves of the culture wars, we really can change this country. There is a lot of hope for me in this!