Thursday, August 13, 2009

The Flowering Of Tradition

And the graying of the innovators.

Thanks to Dave Hartline at The Catholic Report for uncovering this one.

It's a New York Times piece about how the new nuns and priests are ethnically diverse, but united in their return to tradition.

A new study of Roman Catholic nuns and priests in the United States shows that an aging, predominantly white generation is being succeeded by a smaller group of more racially and ethnically diverse recruits who are attracted to the religious orders that practice traditional prayer rituals and wear habits.

“We’ve heard anecdotally that the youngest people coming to religious life are distinctive, and they really are,” said Sister Mary Bendyna, executive director of the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate. “They’re more attracted to a traditional style of religious life, where there is community living, common prayer, having Mass together, praying the Liturgy of the Hours together. They are much more likely to say fidelity to the church is important to them. And they really are looking for communities where members wear habits.”

Wait a minute. I thought young people wanted Disco Liturgy and pizza parties. Something I've noticed is that, in all this talk about "Church youth," it doesn't seem like many people have asked the youth anything. Or, at the very least, even attempted to expose them to something other than the MTV Mass. It's sort of like the old yarn about how all older Catholics secretly loathed teh pre-conciliar Church because the Mass was in Latin. I still haven't found any of those people, and I've been looking for them for over a decade.

The article does mention retention problems:

Of women who recently entered religious orders, the average age is 32; for men, it is 30. But retaining new recruits is a challenge. About half of those who have entered religious orders since 1990 have not stayed, and almost all who left did so before making their final vows.

This actually doesn't bother me so much. The fact that so many are considering it in the first place is a big deal. Not to mention that most of the other reports I recall hearing have said that the recent surge in vocations overall wasn't until 2003-2006 or so.

Regardless, this is good news.


Haskovec said...

People leaving before taking vows seems like a healthy thing. It is good that people that aren't really being called to that life figure that out before they make a vow. It reminds me of when Sofi and I were in our retreat prior to getting married there were 1 or 2 couples that left early and decided not to get married after going through the process which they told us to expect.

Gabriella said...

Very good news!
Praise the Lord :)
and thank God for the U.S.! :)