Monday, April 25, 2011

How the young evangelize the ... not as young

Talk about an example of the JPII Generation ("Raising our parents Catholic," as one friend likes to quip)! Three New York dioceses recently sponsored a video competition to promote a day of confession during lent. The response was extraordinary. In an article about the effects of the contest, Msgr. Kieran Harrington noted,

“We looked at the demographics, and could see that the people creating these films were basically from 14 to 25. The people who were watching online were mostly from 45 to 54.”

He continued:

“This campaign really touched people who needed to hear about coming to confession. And I didn't need to say it – it was their neighbor's kid.”

He believes that the search for God's mercy is a deep undercurrent in modern culture, where alternate forms of “confession” – from tell-all interviews, to Facebook posts – pop up everywhere.

“Take a look at talk shows, and social media. Every element of people's lives is exposed, particularly for young people. Recently, everything – even sin – is out there for everyone to see. That's what it is to be the 'Twitter generation.'”

But the conventional wisdom of secular culture, urging people to “forgive themselves” and “move on,” fails to satisfy the real need to receive absolution and do penance, he said.

“I don't have the right to 'forgive myself' for something I've done wrong,” Msgr. Harrington noted, “whether it's an uncharitable word, stealing something, treating someone as a object.”

“Someone else has that right – I can convince myself that I can just forgive myself for these things, but I know it doesn't sit well with me … The reality is that sin weighs us down. Talking about confession enables us to get in touch with what's really going on at a deeper level.”

The monsignor is glad to see young people embracing the value and necessity of confession in a frequently permissive culture. “If you take a look at the videos, you can see that young people get it. A lot of them feel very overwhelmed by sin.”

“But God's grace is here. God is with us in the midst of sinful circumstances, offering us forgiveness and reconciliation.”
Read the entire story here.

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