A First Thoughts post on Tuesday highlighting resentment of Baby Boomers by directionless Millennials generated some strong criticisms of today’s youth and their propensity to blame their elders for our current economic and moral breakdown. But lest anyone conclude it’s only whining, hapless 20-somethings condemning their elders, consider the rhetoric in Catholic screenwriter Barbara Nicolosi’s piece on the need for Boomer repentance, published last year at Patheos and recently re-published with commentary by John-Henry Westen at LifeSiteNews.
Among many strongly polemical observations, Nicolosi suggests that Christian churches ought to exert pressure on our aging citizens and call them to account for “the way they self-righteously sacrificed all others” in pursuit of material comfort. But perhaps her most explosive point comes when she argues that Baby Boomers must now reckon with the consequences of their own philosophy on bioethical issues. Having placed expediency, “choice,” and personal comfort at the center of the abortion debate, Nicolosi wonders how this generation can credibly protest should today’s youth consider euthanizing vast swaths of their generation. After all, she notes:
the Entitled Generation will quickly morph into the Expensive Generation as they and Millennials are bent low under the weight of social programs that were strapped on their backs without their consent. [. . . ] History is devastatingly cyclical. The Boomers made the case that they should end their marriages and abort their children for the God Expediency. Their children, stripped of any attachment to a moral framework, will eye the old grey hairs, drooling and in diapers—but certainly still sneering—and consider expedient ‘Death with Dignity’ to be a sensible and pragmatic policy.
It’s not clear if Nicolosi is being facetious, quasi-facetious, or wholly serious, but this kind of panegyric—even if intended as a thought experiment—seems to undermine her earlier message of forgiveness and repentance. While the gap in Boomer logic she points out is very real, it’s doubtful that this kind of hypothetical will result in anything but entrenching existing positions and heightening distrust. Nevertheless, the strength of the sentiments expressed in this article expose the expanding ‘generation war’ and hint at the enormity of the nastiness on both sides of the age gap.
But does Nicolosi have a case that religious institutions might, through the curious, perhaps-novel act of summoning the elderly away from their wrongdoing, be able to mediate this divide?