Cardinal Sarah to Synod Bishops: Young people want the truth, not watered-down teaching
ROME, October 22, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — Young people would rather strive for demanding ideals based on the truth of the Catholic Faith than receive watered-down doctrine that keeps them at the status quo, Cardinal Robert Sarah has said.
In his intervention last week at the Vatican Synod on Young People, Cardinal Sarah, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, reminded bishops that the teaching of the Catholic Church on homosexuality and other moral issues is very clear, but said a “lack of clarity” often comes from pastors who water it down in an attempt to attract young people to the Church.
Underestimating the “healthy idealism” of young people does them a great disservice, Cardinal Sarah said. It is by calling young people to seek the high and demanding ideal of Christian holiness that bishops and priests help them to grow, mature, and become the “most precious resource” of a flourishing society.
Here below is the full text of Cardinal Sarah’s intervention.
Young People and the Teaching on Moral Doctrine (IL 196-197)
Young people put forward various requests in the field of moral doctrine. On the one hand, they are demanding clarity from the Church regarding several questions of particular concern to them: freedom in all areas and not only in sexual relations, non-discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation, equality between men and women, even within the Church, etc., (cf. IL 53). On the other hand, they are calling for an open and unprejudiced discussion on moral questions, but even expect a radical change, a real reversal of the Church’s teaching in these areas. In practice, they are asking “that the Church change her teachings” (Final Document, Pre-Synodal Meeting, Part II, no. 5).
Yet the doctrine of the Church on the above questions is not lacking in clarity: it is enough to quote the Catechism of the Catholic Church (cf. Section Two, Chapter II, Art. 6). In particular, on the widely discussed issue today of homosexuality, the doctrine of the Church is clear (cf. CCC nos. 2357-2359; the two Documents of the CDF: Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons, 1986; Some Considerations Concerning the Response to Legislative Proposals on the Non-Discrimination of Homosexual Persons, 1992). That the content of these documents is not shared by the people to whom they refer is another issue, but the Church cannot be accused of a lack of clarity. If anything, there is a lack of clarity on the part of some pastors in the exposition of doctrine. In this case, one who exercises the munus docendi should make a profound examination of conscience before God.
It is a question, therefore, of proposing with courage and honesty the Christian ideal in conformity with Catholic moral doctrine, and not of watering it down by hiding the truth, in order to attract young people into the bosom of the Church. Young people themselves say this, in the final document of the pre-synodal meeting: “The young have many questions about the faith, but desire answers which are not watered-down, or which utilize pre-fabricated formulations.” (Final Document, Pre-Synodal Meeting, Part III, no. 11).
Perhaps we should keep more in mind that passage from the Gospel in which Jesus does not lower the demands of his call to the rich young man who wanted to follow him (cf. Mk 10:17-22). Besides, an unmistakable trait of the condition of young people is the desire to continually seek high and demanding ideals in all areas, not only in the personal realm of feelings and emotions or the professional sphere, but also in justice, in transparency in the fight against corruption, in respect for human dignity. Underestimating the healthy idealism of young people can be a grave disservice to them, as it closes the doors to a true process of growth, maturity and holiness. Thus, by respecting and promoting the idealism of young people, they can become the most precious resource for a society that wants to grow and improve.