I found a few things. If you didn't catch it in my last post, here's the link to Greeley's infamous article on the Young Fogeys; unfortunately to get the full text you have to be a subscriber to Atlantic Monthly. Bummer.

But I did find a much appreciated rebuttal by George Weigel- not a rebuttal of Greeley's data, mind you, but a rebuttal of his interpretations of those statistics- available in its entirety here. Preach it, Georgie!

Furthermore I found this online review of another book noting today's trend in young adult Catholics, aptly titled, Young and Catholic: The Face of Tomorrow's Church.

The reviewer confirms from his own experience many of the observations made in the book. Two things jumped off the screen at me:

The first was a reference to the Companions of the Cross. They are one of the communities I've encountered in my vocational discernment. That alone would seem to support the claim that young men, like myself, are drawn to religious communities that are faithful to the New Evangelization, such as the Companions of the Cross.

The second was an extended excerpt from the book quoted by the reviewer. Without seeming absurd, I would like to quote the reviewer quoting the text:

In reviewing Young and Catholic, I discovered these experiences have become common across North America. Whether the purpose is prayer, catechesis, or socialization among young Catholics, Tim documents several examples of young orthodox Catholics banding together. “Teens gather by the hundreds to attend special youth Masses in parishes around the country,” he shares, “often on Saturday or Sunday evenings.... Young adults get together to discuss theology on a Saturday night in Newark, Ohio, and to study the Holy Father’s encyclicals in New York, Minneapolis, and Kansas City. Young Catholic leaders gather annually in Chicago and in Canada to network and collaborate with one another.

“They are converting to the Faith in large numbers on both secular and Catholic college campuses in California, Texas, and Illinois. They are swelling the ranks of religious orders in Tennessee, Ohio, Michigan, and New York — to such an extent that some orders don’t have space for all of the new members. They are also being ordained priests in dioceses such as Denver, Baltimore, and Lincoln, Nebraska.”

In what will no doubt give Andrew Greeley ulcers, Tim spends the rest of the book documenting and supporting the above claims. Thus I cannot recommend Tim’s book highly enough.
That last comment indicates I'm onto something here. First George and now this.

Also, I find it rather curious that this isn't the first time I've heard the Dioceses of Denver and Lincoln specifically mentioned as places where numbers are on the rise. I Googlesearched for some evidence that I've seen this before, and two sources popped up, though I haven't read either of these sources before: 1 and 2.

I would like to zero in on one statement in the preceding quote, and here I will paraphrase: "Young adults are getting together to discuss theology and to study the Holy Father's encyclicals." When I was in college, I helped start a group called Catholic Discovery in response to the dire lack of proper catechesis among my peers. Basic, basic doctrine of the Church was foreign to many of the students on my campus. Meanwhile I was avidly reading the many papal encyclicals and USCCB documents available in the campus library's pamphlet files. Catholic Discovery grew out of a desire to read those profound words within a group setting.

In my work with young adult ministry at my parish, I led a group of peers seeking to know more about the teachings of the Church. We read Oscar Lukefahr's survey of the Catechism over a period of months. One of the signature events crucial to any young adult ministry is Theology-on-Tap, a concept originated in Chicago and duplicated in many dioceses, including my own. It consists of a group of young adults gathering together to discuss theology, usually in a bar (hence the name). The idea is to go where the young adults already are, engage them on an intellectual level, and draw them deeper into their faith.

So right away, I find my own life experience entirely consistent with the observations being reported in these books and articles. And I encourage you to get to know the future of the Church. Read these books and then go talk to a Young Adult sitting in the pew. Try and see what underlies that mystifying realization that some of us in the Church really do like being Catholic, we really do like the Pope, and we really do believe what the Church teaches.

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