We have an epidemic of children leaving the Church as soon as they are 18, despite coming from seemingly normal, happy, Christian homes. Why is this the case?
Go to any Church, any. Go to the people who are the absolute most involved. Go find the members of the Women’s Guild, or the sacristans, or the secretary. Go find the bible studies and the people who seem to always be at Church. There you will find parents of children who no longer go to Church. We’ve all heard of the Catholic Grandmother who mourns daily for the children and grandchildren who have fallen away from the Church. The grandmother who has ten different altars in her home, she prays rosaries and Divine Mercy Chaplets and Novenas galore. Now, please note that there is absolutely nothing wrong with prayer and sacred places within your home. But, do the children understand why? Did she talk to them? Did she teach them about the gift the Lord has given us in the Holy Roman Catholic Church? Do they know, do they understand? Do they get it?
No. And that is why they leave.
Fortunately, some of them come back. Right off the top of my head I can think of five different people who I personally know who left the Church when they left home, a few came back, a few didn’t. However, all of the people who returned did so because at some point they were convicted to investigate for themselves why their families believe what they believe, and they did this despite receiving zero answers from their families.
I am all for investigating what you believe, I am all for checking the science and the philosophy and the morality to ensure that you are following the true path instead of just being blindly lead. What I am not for is children being blindly raised in an institution where the parents don’t understand what they are teaching their children.
If you are Roman Catholic, whether you are a parent or a child, answer the following questions for me.
- What is the Eucharist?
- How do we know the Eucharist is what it is? (Specifically, what verses in the Bible tell us so?)
- Who is Jesus Christ, and what type of relationship should we have with him? What specific Church councils clarified who he is amidst much controversy?
- Why are the books that are in the Bible in the Bible? At what council were these books chosen? By whom? By what authority?
- What does the Church believe about how the Universe was created?
- What are the Church’s teachings on Human Sexuality? On marriage? Why do they teach these things?
- Why do we have a Pope? What verses in the Bible establish the papacy as a succeeding office? What gives him Authority over the Church?
- Why do we go to confession? Specifically, what verses in the Bible establish the sacrament of confession?
- Why are the teachings of the Church Absolute Truth? Why is doctrine unchanging? What specific verses of the Bible establish them as such?
- Why do we revere Mary, Jesus’ mother, as the Mother of God? What specific verses in the Bible establish her as such? What Church teachings? At what Council was this determined?
- Why do we regard the Bible as accurate and reliable?
I’ll stop there. If you don’t know the answers to most of these questions, or at least where to find the answers, you are blindly following a faith that you do not understand. If you are a parent, you are doing your children a huge disservice.
Please, I beg you. Go, tonight, tomorrow, this week. Research the answers to these questions. It should only take you an hour. Google them, Go to Catholic Answers, buy a copy of the Catechism, open a Bible. Figure it out. Then, once you do, call a family meeting. Get your kids off the computer, turn off the TV, ask your spouse to support you in this. Then, share what you learned with them. Sit around the kitchen table and talk about what you believe and why you believe it. Show them that you are a leader they can follow, someone whose word they can believe in. Answer their questions. Tell them if you don’t know an answer, encourage them to research their questions, even research it with them.
Please, do this. Help us to stop the epidemic of people leaving a Church they do not understand, at risk of their salvation. Raise up a generation of people faithful to and able to defend the Holy Roman Catholic Church. We need you.