Is There A RIGHT Reason For Young Catholics To Leave The Church?

From the Scottish Catholic Observer, 2nd March…

Young people are ‘leaving the Church in droves,’ says Scots delegate to Vatican youth synod  By James Farrell

Young people are ‘leaving the Church in droves for all the wrong reasons,’ according to Scotland’s representative to a global Vatican meeting of young people.
Sean Deighan, 23, a youth worker for Glasgow Archdiocese, will be one of 300 young representatives to attend the Synod on Young People, the Faith, and Vocational Discernment to be held in Rome from March 19 to 24.

The meeting is being held ahead of a Synod of Bishops in October that will focus on youth.

“I didn’t realise it was such a select group [attending the meeting] and it’s a great privilege,” Mr Deighan said. “I hope that my voice will be heard and by extension I hope the representative voice of all young people in Scotland will be heard. I’m optimistic that real results will materialise from the pre-synodal meeting. I think what needs to be addressed is that young people are leaving the Church in droves for all the wrong reasons.

“They are leaving the Church because of what they think the Church is and not the reality. If we want to pursue the new evangelisation authentically then we need to present the Church ­authentically and young people need to see that.”
“When young people see the Church being presented authentically, it’s attractive,” Mr Deighan said. “We have never had to dress things up or use false pretences to get people in the Church. It has always been the reality of the Church’s message which they are attracted to.”

At the Angelus on Sunday February 18, Pope Francis called on young people from around the world to take part in the preparatory work of the upcoming synod.
“I strongly desire that all young people might be the protagonists of this preparation,” Pope Francis said. “And so they will be able to contribute online through linguistic groups moderated by other young people.”

The Pope was referring to an initiative promoted by the Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops, under the direction of its general secretary, Cardinal Lorenzo Baldiserri. Young people have been invited to join a Facebook group through the Synod website,, and from March 12 will have the ­opportunity to send questions to Pope Francis for the Synod on the group page.

“Pope Francis insisted on showing great concern for the ‘distant’—the young people of the ‘peripheries,’ those who are not part of our network of Catholics faithful,” Cardinal Baldisseri said in conversation with the Vatican website.

“The participants will be able to ask questions, propose ideas and therefore act as intermediaries between the ecclesial institution that derives from the people of God and secular society. The experience that will be proposed to them will consist in getting to know the Church better, discovering what we are more deeply.”

At the end of the youth meeting representatives will approve a document, the result of the work of the entire week, which will express their point of view on the reality of youth in the Church and present their expectations, their doubts and their hopes. This document will then help guide reflections at the synod in October.  Source – SCO


I know it’s been a while, but when I was a schoolgirl we were taught about the Faith, that we were Catholics and should be knowledgeable and be able to explain it to those we met outside of school, friends etc. and later, in the workplace, colleagues.  There was no mention of, let alone emphasis on, the fact that we were “young Catholics”, a separate type of Catholic from everyone else.  We didn’t have “special” Masses for the young, etc. That’s the beauty of the Traditional Latin Mass, with which I grew up – it cannot be manipulated into a performance tailored to particular groups. We were simply Catholics. This contemporary emphasis on reaching out to the young as if they ARE a different type of Catholic has led to a great deal of muddled thinking, beginning with this…

Those young people identified in the above SCO report, are not leaving the Church because they are young. They are leaving it – as the author writes – for all the wrong reasons, and that is because, there IS no “right reason” to leave Christ and His Church.  Someone needs to clarify for those youngsters who say they believe in Jesus, admire Jesus etc. but just don’t like the Church or “institutionalised religion” that, like love and marriage, as the old song goes, you can’t have one without the other.  Christ cannot be separated from His Church – that’s the way HE has arranged things. 

Think of your favourite quotes from Scripture and from saints, to drive home this message to the young.  Plenty read this blog, I’m told, so how would YOU convince them that, not only is there no right reason to leave Christ’s Church, but there is no “wrong” reason either – leaving the Church for any reason means  that they are risking damnation  – spelt out, they are risking suffering Hell fire for all eternity.  Not cool.  Convince them to begin their journey to the fullness of the Faith which they have manifestly not been taught and which, if they truly knew it, would love it and never dream of leaving it.  What’s the first thing you would advise a young person seeking the Faith in its fullness to do… where’s the best place to begin that journey?


32 responses

  1. I think I would begin by explaining that the Fathers of the Church taught the dogma “outside the Catholic Church there is no salvation” and that if they leave it, they cannot be saved.

    Obviously, those in ignorance of the Church’s teaching through no fault of their own, won’t be damned, but if they’re saved it is through the Church.

    I think that’s how I would begin the conversation.

    • Margaret Mary,

      Yes, that does need to be explained as soon as possible to the young but properly so that they don’t think God is unreasonable and all non-Catholics cannot be saved. It needs to be clearly explained, but yes, I agree, if they don’t see the necessity of the Church for salvation, why bother with it?

    • That is the key doctrine. This life is short; eternity is forever!

      I’d also point out Our Lord’s words, “No one can come to the Father except through me” and “if you love me you will obey my commandments”.

      • Petrus,

        Well said. It’s absolutely the case that Our Lord’s own words, as quoted by you today, should, in and by themselves, be sufficient to bring any serious student of salvation into the Catholic Church.

  2. If it was to talk to any young person about the best way to get to the real, authentic Catholic religion, I would say to watch this video (from the CT website, links page) and compare it with their parish Mass. I would then ask them to think over which of the two Masses was most in keeping with the kind of worship we should offer to God, which Mass would God like best?

    • That’s a beautiful video. The dignity is just superb. There just isn’t any comparison between that and the novus ordo. It’s a case of no contest. Just think if this was happening in every parish – the change in everyone would be amazing. It would transform parishes and thus the world. Pope Paul VI has something to answer for, for doing away with this Mass and replacing it with the so-called “ordinary form”. It’s definitely ordinary when compared with this beautiful rite.

      • Allan,

        I agree, that is a beautiful Mass, absolutely beautiful and there’s just no comparison with the novus ordo. It’s a black and white difference, IMHO. They are two different Masses, and I honestly believe young people experiencing a Mass like the one in the video would opt in.

  3. I think if we could get the young people to attend the Pilgrimage to Chartres (some sponsorship is available), they would be alongside plenty of young people and more importantly educated possibly for the first time in “Catholic” doctrine and tradition!

  4. Young people really only think of the Church as a kind of social work department. They see it as being responsible for doing good to people, helping the poor and needy and the “marginalised” which is how they’ve come to accept sins such as LGBT and even abortion which is now touted as a “right”.

    It’s such a mess that it’s hard to know how to help young people to see that this is not what the Church is for.

    I think I would suggest that they say one Hail Mary a day to ask Our Lady to guide them to the truth.

  5. There can never be any right or wrong reason to leave the Church, obviously, I think what the young man in the introduction article means is that young people are leaving the Church in droves because they are believing the rubbish spawned by the media (and helped by some Catholics, of course, as well) that by preaching purity and fidelity in marriage etc. the Church is somehow punishing the divorced and “remarried”, single mothers, and homosexuals. All of those lies need to be disentangled for them before they can really get to an understanding of what the Church is all about, which is saving souls from Hell. So, if any young person spoke to me about this, I would do my best to disentangle the lies and explain why God gave us the Church. I would try as early as possible to tell them about Fatima so that they understand God has not abandoned his Church, that he sent his mother to give us advance warning of this crisis. That’s very important, IMHO.

    • I agree about disentangling the lies.

      I also agree about Fatima and I always do find a way to introduce the topic of the Fatima apparitions when I’m with young people. I find they are always really interested, as young people really always are interested in supernatural occurrences.

      Once they hear that Our Lady prophesied a crisis in the Church at Fatima, you can lead them towards some understanding of what the Church is really all about.

      It’s really terrible that the schools are not teaching the faith to them properly to begin with. A day of reckoning will come to teachers and priests who have let the young down badly.

  6. Yes, I think there is a right reason for young Catholics to leave the Church, with two provisos: one, that we are talking about leaving the modern Church, and two, that when they leave the modern Church they get themselves to a traditional chapel.

    I apologize to any readers who think that they are still practicing the Catholic Faith in modern parishes: they are not. And I apologize further to any readers who see through the pseudo-Protestant fraud concocted by the enemy within, with the invaluable aid of their useful idiots, like Paul VI…yet who, for whatever reason, are unable to break free of this farce.

    I think the logic of the SSPX is useful here, namely, that there can be no obligation to attend a liturgy which is harmful to our faith (see Fr. McDonald’s videos, somewhere on the USA District website) ( a claim which aroused the ire of certain papolotrists…).

    Likewise, can there be any obligation to participate in a “religion” which, as Allan pointed out (thank you, Allan), is little more than a social work department? A “religion” which, long ago, ran up the white flag to the world, and esp. to her mortal enemies, Communism, Islam and Martin Luther? A “religion” which now rationalizes away and excuses every form of mortal sin? A “religion” in which man celebrates and congratulates himself?

    Young Catholics are leaving, and will continue to leave the modern Church because there is nothing sacred or supernatural about what is offered there. Witness the appalling casual irreverence of the “Mass of Paul VI.”

    I hope the traditionalist apologists are armed and ready to counter the utter rubbish that will surely emerge from this so-called Synod (it will all be based on “feelings”). I also hope they figure out how to reach large numbers of youth – that is, if any of them are paying attention. From what I hear, the response to the preliminaries has been a complete dud. Finally, I hope that those who are voting with their feet can be intercepted before they start exploring the new age or eastern religion baloney. That would be going from bad to worse.

    • Totally agree with every word RCA Victor….I am righteously angry for being duped for so many years. Neo Catholics and in particular CHURCHMEN,do NOT believe what I was taught as a child (and some of the people who taught me, only recently passed away and they by their words, actions and omissions stopped believing towards the end, or perhaps only pretended to believe in the beginning of their priesthood and now can’t even be bothered to keep up the pretence any longer).

      Still waiting for Cardinal Burke to eschew the Capa Magna and get the finger out with the Dubia.

    • RCA Victor,

      “Yes, I think there is a right reason for young Catholics to leave the Church, with two provisos: one, that we are talking about leaving the modern Church”

      I think that’s a bit dangerous, especially since the rise of extreme groups like sedevacantists and “resistance” to SSPX (who are usually sedes in my experience.)

      There is only ONE Church. At other points in the Church’s history there have been crises – e.g. the Arian crisis – but nobody spoke as if there were two churches. We still don’t do that even though the majority of bishops went along with the heresy.

      Our Lady at Fatima spoke about the crisis (Third Secret) but when Sr Lucia was quoting her, she spoke about a “diabolical disorientation” in “the Church” so if Our Lady didn’t talk about two Churches, I don’t think we should, either.

      There’s enough confusion around, and it would only make young people even more confused to speak as if there was another Church, and it would make it easy for priests to say they were listening to schismatics, so I prefer to explain to them that there is a crisis in the Church, explain Fatima, as others have said, and then recommend Fr Gruner’s book “Crucial Truths to save your soul” – assuming they are around 15/16 at least, and bright enough to be able to read and understand it, somewhat.

      I also think it does help to speak very early on about the Mass. I’ve been in the company of young people when this has come up and they do seem very interested that this new Mass is only a few years old, so it’s probably a good way into talking about the crisis.

      • Michaela,

        Good points, although by the time we’ve explained the entire situation to the youngsters, they WILL think there are two Churches!

        What is very important, it seems to me, is to quote St Vincent of Lerins on sticking to Tradition when times of crisis come, including any situation where even the majority of the Church falls into error. Explaining that Scripture and Tradition are the two pillars of Catholicism, of equal weight, should help the lights to go on in their sweet heads!

        I once heard it explained like this; in ordinary life, those entering a race on land need to work hard to run faster than their competitors. Running fast is the key. However, in swimming, it’s the opposite. A strong push off, heads down and easy movements towards the finish, will see the winner through.

        Similarly, while in modern life it’s usually the newest, most up to date machinery etc that is a sign of “the best”, in Christianity, it’s the opposite. We do what St Vincent of Lerins says, and look to what has always been taught and believed, at all times, everywhere and by all – that is to say “the oldest” not the “newest” is the test of what doctrines we should believe.

        That’s different from practice, of course – while the first Christians may have taken Holy Communion in the hand (albeit not as it is taken today), gradually, as the Holy Ghost enlightened the Church on the nature of the Blessed Sacrament, which is Jesus truly present, whole and entire, in every particle, under the appearance of bread and wine, then the Church amended its practice to safeguard the Sacred Species.

        Young people are not daft. They are not fooled by gimmicky stunts – at least not often and not for long. They respond to the truth because God had made them FOR the truth. It’s a pity so many churchmen don’t realise that and fail to tailor their homilies and youth activities to present the truths of the Faith clearly and without apology – exhorting the young people to embrace them and live their lives as Our Lord has instructed: “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” Easy…

        Well, you know what I mean… 😀

      • St Miguel,

        Would you mind putting that comment on a relevant thread. This is not IT. If you can’t find a Pope Francis thread (scroll down, there are plenty) then put it on the General Discussion thread. It can irritate readers trying to follow a specific topic, to find other issues raised that have nothing to do with it. People reading my reply to Michaela have first to wonder what on earth the Pope Francis movie has to do with anything. Catholics being urged to boycott a movie about Pope Francis has nothing to do with this topic. When you move yours, I’ll delete this. Thank you.

        Here – I scrolled down and there’s a Pope Francis thread near the top

      • Michaela,

        Good points – I didn’t mean to suggest that there were two Churches. My point was that young Catholics will not receive the Faith from mainstream churches, but they will from traditional chapels…which are, after all, not a second Church, just a small remnant who cling to the true Faith and the true Mass.

        I don’t know how we go about inviting youth to the traditional Mass via this blog, but I agree that would be a good start for them. They can see for themselves how radically different it is from the watered-down, secularized PC pablum that the mainstream church offers them.

        I think these youth are hungry for the sacred. I also think that some unknown number of them are aware that the “sacred’ is nowhere to be found in the agenda of this Youth Synod. On the contrary, it seems to be an open invitation for self-centered cranks and malcontents who demand to be “heard.”

        • RCA Victor,

          Well said. You are right about the young being hungry for the sacred, so let’s hope that some of them, at least, find the ideas offered on this blog helpful in enabling them to find the truths of the Faith and to comprehend what is going on in this current diabolical crisis. Who knows, I may receive an email or twenty from some young people asking for details about the traditional Mass attended by some of the bloggers here, my unworthy self included – especially if I tell them (as I’m now doing!) that the time has changed from the earlier 9.45.a.m. to later,10.30 am.

          There are some newcomers planning to attend, but their teenage years are well and truly gone. Still, what has age got to do with anything, really…

          • Reply to myself above!

            I’m feeling very humbled after receiving an email suggesting that the new Mass time in the Glasgow SSPX chapel is thanks to my endeavours. What?!**!! * If only I had that much (or any!) clout! So, in case that rumour is doing the rounds, as I think it might…I’ve been getting funny looks – I mean, “funnier” than usual – in some quarters, so let me assure the blogosphere that there is ….

            Not a chance. We have a new priest, and the only change I suggested (before he had time to open the front door of the chapel) was a new church, much bigger than what we have at present, without the steps, with a carpark and with a long leather sofa in the ladies’…(that’s in case I feel faint during sermons. All this talk of sin and hell, you know, my novus ordo days have left me weakened in that respect…) It’s under active consideration, Father said, but not because I asked – apparently, it’s been under active consideration for a long time now. Well, I’ve been asking for a long time now! I can’t take credit for the later Mass time but I definitely want credit for the new church when that glorious day dawns!

            The Mass change, though – nope. That, I suspect, is Father’s own idea, having realised that there are several large families, parents and children, having to travel into Glasgow city centre from various places, including semi-far flung, and realising that it would be helpful to those parents not to have to rush to get to Mass, at least, not rush any more than necessary. Nobody should be rushing anywhere on Sundays. Day of rest, remember?

            Certainly, the idea wasn’t suggested by anybody I know, although warmly welcomed by many, including parents with several children, once Father asked us from the pulpit to let him know if there was a market for changing the time of Sunday Mass. As a first step in him deciding whether or not to change the time, we were just to say “yes” or “no” quickly to him after Mass, because he was hurrying away, so I caught him in passing and said “yes, yes, yes, YES!” Adding merely that, in all honesty, it didn’t matter much to me for myself, but for the families with children, especially those coming by public transport, and would he begin the cause for my canonisation soon?

            Still, I’m not counting my chickens just yet…

    • RCA Victor,

      Young Catholics are leaving, and will continue to leave the modern Church because there is nothing sacred or supernatural about what is offered there.


  7. Of course there is no right reason for people (the young especially) to leave the Church, but they will continue to do so for as long as the mainstream Church insists on presenting itself as an empty vessel.

    The Church should be an important teacher and guide at all stages of our lives, but with its modern strategy of “accompaniment” – where it advances no ideals and rushes to make excuses for any and all mortal sins – it is offering the young nothing. All this represents is a drain on people’s finances via asking for donations.

  8. I have a friend who on Facebook mentioned a conversation she overhead between her daughter and a cousin. My friend is a struggling divorcee and the cousin also is from a single family and she has three siblings from different fathers. Anyway my friend’s daughter was telling her cousin that she believed in God because nothing could be without him. The cousin replied “Well I do not, because if there was a God our families would not be in such a mess.” This girl was only 12 and suffered from depression. Neither girl goes to Mass. The reason is they both are hurting.

    When Catholic schools stopped teaching the Catholic Faith, they left a moral vacuum which the secular state filled. For over 50 years I have been waiting for priests to tell young people why sex outside marriage is wrong. Perhaps I will hear it one day. What I do hear are stories of priests who tell parents that really if their sons are daughters are living together outside marriage then they should not worry, if they give to the poor they will be OK. A priest mentioning chastity is a very rare occurrence. What Christ said in the Gospel is irrelevant to these priests – they just want to make the people happy and believe that this is their mission. So the couple living together without real commitment break up and perhaps we have more children left hurting. But of course they are strong, they can get over it, they will be OK. What rubbish. WE must show our love for Christ by following his teachings. If you love me keep my Commandments. No,no Jesus says Father modern, we must leave them to their conscience.

    • John,

      Well said. I highlighted this sentence for comment:

      ” So the couple living together without real commitment break up and perhaps we have more children left hurting.”

      There’s no “perhaps” about it, sorry to say. Some years ago, when I took up a post in a school in the north of England, the Head, telling me about the social problems of the catchment area, which, of course, included a majority of broken/single parent families (usually mothers) said: “Nobody will convince me that these children are not going to be long term damaged…”

      Yet, when I included the “indissolubility of marriage” in the programme for teaching on marriage, all Hell broke loose thanks to the usual suspects – a mixture of lapsed and modernist “Catholics” – exerting undue influence at every level. Their concern wasn’t for the long-term wellbeing of the children but for their immediate “feelings”. Don’t let’s make them feel that there is anything wrong with their situation, that they have a string of half-brothers/sisters due to their mother’s promiscuity which, in turn, stems from HER lack of proper Catholic education and (dreaded, forbidden word) formation. It’s a scandal of monumental proportions.

      It’s absolutely the case that young people could sue the Catholic education authorities (specifically each diocesan bishop who holds overall responsibility for everything in his diocese) – they could sue under the advertising standards legislation for advertising a service that they simply do not deliver, and often deliberately so, or, at best, they fail to deliver through culpable ignorance.

      Drives me nuts.

  9. Speaking of the modern Church portraying itself as an “empty vessel,” as Gabriel Syme posts above, what the hierarchy (who, by their false ideology and corrupt behavior, should be re-named the “lower-archy”) is doing is an exact imitation of the deranged thought of Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Rousseau, in his Social Contract, taught that in his new world, no one could function as a teacher to the student. The student had to learn everything from his own experience, without the benefit of the teacher’s prior knowledge. In fact, the teacher’s prior knowledge was deemed by Rousseau as harmful to the growth of the student!

    Likewise, the modern Church has abandoned her role as teacher, and now merely “listens,” as if she knows nothing about fallen human nature after 2,000 years, as if her Founder had no divinely revealed doctrine or truth to impart, as if her infallible Magisterium was useless, archaic and irrelevant. It is an utterly false and distorted conception of “servant.”

    Especially favored, it turns out, in this listening process is the whining and complaining of those furthest from the Church and furthest from the state of grace, including her enemies. Homosexuals, atheists, Marxists and socialists, abortionists, environmental fanatics, etc. – all of whom, naturally, will clamor for the Church to surrender even more of her sacred deposit of faith and accept their errors.

    “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!” “We have no king but….SIN!”

    And it’s not the enemies of the Church, the cranks and malcontents, who are leading this mob rule outcry. It is the Pope himself…..

  10. Thank you, Editor for you comment. It was helpful to me. What they fail to understand is that the children already know, as my little friend said, that their family is in a mess. They are looking for help out of their situation, but the priests and the teachers let them down and present to them no other vision of life. The result is that many of these children grow up to be in the same situation as their parent. I think the figure now is about 50% in Catholic Schools. It may be higher according to where the school is but this is the figure in Conservative Hampshire. I am friends with the young girl who is now 14. She goes to a small group school where she gets ’emotional support’ These are springing up all over the place. But they are no substitute for a normal loving family life. I cannot remember chapter and verse but Jesus did say “Beware any one who scandalises one of these little ones, it would be better if a hatter was tied around his neck and he was thrown into the sea’ There are many of our ‘educated elite’ who need to read this passage.

    • John,

      ““Beware any one who scandalises one of these little ones, it would be better if a hatter was tied around his neck and he was thrown into the sea’ There are many of our ‘educated elite’ who need to read this passage.”

      Or learn to swim, with a millstone round their neck!

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