A Protestant Charismatic friend who read my Spirituality Without Spirits wrote me:
That is well-done and definitely says it in terms of the utter cop-out among many young people in terms of religious belief with teeth. Don’t you think this is where a lot of Catholic youth are at? Unless they’re at a university like Ave Maria or Christendom, I find the Notre Dame or Georgetown kind of students the exact sorts who want spirituality, not religion. I don’t like the young Calvinists either but at least they acknowledge the Trinity!
Im afraid she’s right about young Catholics. The heritage is very strong, even after a post-60s Catholic upbringing, but the adherence to the distinctives, doctrinal and disciplinary, of the faith weak. I think that has a lot to do not just with poor teaching, the usual reason given, but with the loss of the classic devotions, because those grounded the faith for them and made it personal.
But to be fair, the Young Calvinists are the Protestant equivalent of the Ave Maria or Christendom students, sociologically as well as theologically. The average Protestant kid is apparently a version of the kids at Notre Dame (if he’s not at Notre Dame), and even the average Evangelical kid is, judging from the Evangelical laments I’ve read, mostly a more culturally conservative version. In both cases, we have a minority who hold and live by the faith they’ve inherited, but I suspect this is true in every age, and we forget this because when we look back we look almost entirely at the faithful (and therefore creative and memorable) minority.
Speaking of “On the Square” articles, the discussions gratifyingly continue of Robert Benne’s Lutherans in Search of a Church , Archbishop Charles Chaput’s Suing the Church , George Weigel’s Storm Clouds in Ukraine , and Father Edward Oakes’s Atheism’s Just So Scenarios . I can’t promise that you will find every comment helpful, but I think that those of you who read the articles will find the continuing comments (as a whole) stimulating and useful.