By: Therese Bermpohl
Do young adults really run from organized religion? One might think so if they’ve read the most recent report put out by the Pew Research Center asserting that the majority of young adults born after 1980 are far more liberal when it comes to religion than older Americans. It found that the so-called “Millennial Generation” is “the least overtly religious American generation in modern times. One-in-four are unaffiliated with any religion, far more than the share of older adults when they were ages 18 to 29.”
But as many move further away from their Christian roots, there is a counter- movement of young adults within the Catholic Church that one might argue resembles more their grandparent’s generation in values and ideals than their secular counterparts. You can find a sampling of this movement right here in the Diocese of Arlington.
Walking into Pat Troy’s Irish Pub on a Monday night, it would not be unusual to see a number of young adults enjoying drinks and company. However, what might give you pause is that all of these “twenty- to thirty- somethings” are not only there to socialize, but also to listen to Fr. Paul Scalia, a dynamic priest, talking about the Catholic Church and homosexuality (listen to that talk and others here). What is even more striking is that the majority of them are there because they support the beauty of the Church’s teachings and they’ve come to learn how to explain and defend their faith to family, friends and co-workers who might not understand these issues.
Another event drawing in crowds of young people committed to their Catholic faith is the quarterly event known as Catholic Underground held at St. Charles Borromeo, where you can find hundreds of adults in their twenties and thirties kneeling in adoration before the Blessed Sacrament or waiting in line, sometimes 100 people deep, to avail themselves of the Sacrament of Confession/Reconciliation.
It seems evident that there is much work to be done in convincing young people (and old people alike) that Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth and the Life, but, at least in Arlington, there is a glimmer of hope that some are committed Catholics who love the Lord and the Church He founded and are ready to evangelize in word and deed.
The next Theology on Tap “six-pack” begins on July 12 at Pat Troy’s in Old Town Alexandria. Catholic Underground will be held on July 24 at St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church in the city of Arlington. For more info, contact Kateri Schmidt, Young Adult Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org.