“The New Faithful”

Tonight I am glad I live in Baltimore. I went to a lecture at the Baltimore (Roman Catholic) Basilica of the Assumption where many people, old and young attended including Cardinal Keeler, the former Archbishop, Archbishop O’Brien, my current Archbishop, and George Weigel, whom I respect greatly as a faithful Catholic intellectual (He presented the second lecture in the series of three). The lecture I attended was the third in a new series entitled, “The John Carroll Lectures”. The presenter was Ms. Colleen Carroll Campbell, author of “The New Faithful: Why Young Adults are Embracing Christian Orthodoxy”.

In this post, I’ll present a couple sound bites that I found interesting. If you would like to view the entire lecture, it will most likely be posted here officially.

Many of the “new faithful” (NF) are not happy with the “God substitutes” of post-modern baby boomers. Being no strangers to scandals in the general culture and in their own lives, they know heartbreak and despair: they deeply believe in the presence of sin.

The NF ask tough questions regarding the beliefs of traditional religions in their quest for meaning. They have what is described as an “early mid-life crisis”. Coming out from this crisis and into a traditional faith, they seek not to escape from the word but to have a vision to transform it.

Many go to fashion shows with modest clothing while older parishioners call them a “bunch of old fogies”. Most of the people at John Paul the Great’s funeral were the NF.

The NF wished that youth pastors did not just entertain young adults but challenge them with the radical message of the gospel. They feel that the youth pastors strip the truth from the faith.

They try not to be privately pious but desire to change the culture (to a culture of life). A young nun wanted to be a nun because God “…demands everything of me”. They are sustained by a shared faith.

I encourage you to especially listen to the account of David who was a lawyer in the US Justice Department who graduated from Yale and became a (Roman Catholic) priest. It’s at the end of the lecture.

4 thoughts on ““The New Faithful”

  1. Funky Dung

    “George Weigel, whom I respect greatly as a faithful Catholic intellectual”

    Weigel is a neocon whose persistence in defending the war in Iraq, and the Bush administration in general, nauseates me.

  2. gbm3

    Weigel is a neocon whose persistence in defending the war in Iraq, and the Bush administration in general, nauseates me.

    I’m authentically curious. What references/sources do you have on this? I would like to read them.

    I know he writes much on just-war tradition to counter arguments from Christian pacifists (very Augustinian arguments), but I’m not aware of any writings after the lack-of-discovery of WMD’s where he supports W.

    Further, I wrote “I respect” him, not that “I agree” on everything from him. It’s only that he is faithful to the Church’s Tradition on just-war: all Catholics of course are at liberty to decide for themselves if any particular war is “just”.

    Finally, Weigel was also John Paul the Great’s critically acclaimed biographer.

  3. Tom Smith

    What’s particularly “new” about the “new faithful”? Every generation has something “new” about it, and there are “new faithful” in every generation. I recently acquired a ton of old Ecclesiastical Review volumes from 1911-1926, and the letters sections are filled with nothing but complaints about the young, “new” generation of priests and faithful written by old priests, and complaints about the older generation written by the younger priests.

    Similarly, in the same box, I acquired a number of books written by Cardinal Spellman; it seems every one attempts to make a minor cosmetic change to something (anything) that is old, and repackage it as new, be it chastity, the Mass, religious indifferentism… the list goes on.

    I guess the point I’m getting at is that you can find a “new faithful” every few years. There’s nothing special about the fact that we are alive today, as opposed to yesteryear or off in the future; there is certainly nothing “new” going on in 2008, if for no other reason that there really is nothing new under the sun. If you arrive at a certain religion, yet engage with the culture of the day while getting there, you are not a member of the “new faithful”; you are a convert. If you engage with the culture of the day as a Catholic, then you are only doing what every Catholic has done for the past 2000 years.

    I am skeptical of all this “new” everything we have today: the “New Springtime”, the “New Advent”, the “New Pentecost”, and, I suppose, the “New Faithful”. I am seriously getting tired of basically what amounts to either intellectual dishonesty or serious amounts of hubris. Was the first Pentecost not good enough? Is not each Mass a Pentecost? Just forget about calling it “new”. It’s not new! Likewise, there is no “new faithful”, only a faithful which is comprised of folks who happen to be devout Catholics but are otherwise quite average… In another age, one not obsessed with being “new”, we wouldn’t call these people the “new faithful”; they would be called simply Catholics.

  4. gbm3

    What’s particularly “new” about the “new faithful”?

    Notice the title of the book in question: “The New Faithful: Why Young Adults are Embracing Christian Orthodoxy” Within the last generations of Catholics, cafeteria Catholicism has been rampant. Before this, it was not too common for an entire generation to reject Church teaching. Yes, in, say, St. Frances’ time, people were immoral, but they still understood what the Church taught but ignored it. People from the last generations just thought the Church was outright wrong.
    This is where the “New Faithful” come in. They reject the old generation’s view of the Church’s teachings and embrace the teachings as the Truth revealed by the Holy Spirit that indwells within the Church that Christ founded on Peter.
    (Yes, Schlomo, http://alesrarus.funkydung.com/archives/2167#comment-82710, Christianity is an organized religion since its founding. If I remember correctly, Judaism is an organized religion of the Hebrew people and God fearers.)

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