Most would agree that young people are staying away from church in droves. None has been more affected by this phenomenon than the Catholic church.
What is the problem? It would seem there is an almost total disconnect between what the septuagarian celibates in the church leadership teach and the lived experience of young people especially in sexual matters. Rules and regulations from the top are simply irrelevant to the church’s youthful constituency.
Fortunately, every once in a while a church leader emerges who gets it. One such is the Jesuit Cardinal, Maria Martini, now a respected biblical scholar and theologian based in Jerusalem. It is reported that the Cardinal came second to Cardinal Ratzinger in the last papal conclave. (What a great pope, Martini would have made). The Cardinal says that instead of condemning sex before marriage, the Church needs to listen patiently to young people.
Cardinal Martini writes in a book of essays that outright bans on sex before marriage are alienating young people from the Church. He adds that many young people “no longer take the Church as a dialogue partner or its teachings seriously.”
“No bishop or priest can fail to notice the physical closeness between people before marriage. We must change our attitude on this (Italics mine) if we want to protect the family and promote marital faithfulness. Illusions and prohibitions will achieve nothing.”
Cardinal Martini adds that most parents have come to accept that their children cohabit before marriage, and that acknowledgement had brought the generations closer together, nurturing “a new tenderness.”
Do you agree with Cardinal Martini that the Church must change its attitude toward premarital sex?
Or do you continue to think that premarital sex is wrong?
Will outright bans on premarital sex help the situation?
Or would it be more helpful to rescind the prohibitions and listen to young people?