Monday, August 17, 2009

Religious Life Study Discovers Sky Very Big, Ocean Quite Wet

John Allen, being unintentionally funny about the religious life,

says of that study we were talking about last week that it

"contains plenty of nuggets about 'best practices' in fostering and sustaining vocations that will be of specialized interest to vocation directors and anyone involved in formation."

The first thought that popped out of my brain was, "Yeah, like, they've got to be, you know, Catholic and stuff."

With regard to theological and spiritual outlooks, the CARA study found clear differences between the “Millennial Generation,” meaning religious born after 1982, and the “Vatican II Generation,” meaning religious men and women born between 1943 and 1960.
I think the term in general use is "JPII generation". Kind of like the Coca Cola generation, but with less tooth decay and more clapping.

Millennials are far more likely to say they entered religious life out of a desire for commitment to the church, and that they entered their specific community because of its reputation for fidelity to the church. They’re more likely to wear habits, more likely to say that devotions such as Eucharistic adoration and the Liturgy of the Hours are “very important,” less eager to do ministry in non-Catholic or non-confessional settings, and more positive in their attitudes about authority.
More likely to say that they think dancing around trees and worshipping the four directions is, well, dumb. That you don't get to make up your religion as you go along and still call it Catholicism. That there are more immediately beneficial things to be doing with your time than protesting at logging camps, tie-dyeing table cloths or learning Tai Chi.

That country-club religious life just. isn't. appealing. That the people who were born of the tie-dye, peace-love-groovy-man generation have had a belly-full of the solipsism-as-lifestyle-choice of their parents' generation, and having seen the catastrophe it has brought about are giving it a pass, thanks.

The corollary is that religious orders which foster a more traditional ethos tend to have better luck attracting younger members.
Ja think?!

One sign of which way the winds are blowing: Just one percent of women’s communities belonging to the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, known for having a more liberal outlook, currently have more than 10 new members in initial formation, whereas a robust 28 percent of communities belonging to the Conference of Major Superiors of Women, known for being more conservative, have 10 or more members in the early stages of membership.

To put all this into a sound-bite, the next generation of religious will be more ethnically diverse and more traditional.

He complains gently about the sarcasm of "conservatives" on this subject.

Its just that it's been FORTY YEARS. For Pete sake, how long can a group of people keep their eyes screwed shut?

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