Cardinal Sarah: Youth Don’t Want Watered-Down Teaching

“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).” Cardinal Robert Sarah to bishops at the Vatican Synod on Young People

In his intervention at the Vatican Synod on Young People, Cardinal Robert Sarah reminded bishops that the only “lack of clarity” on Church teaching regarding homosexuality and other moral issues is coming from pastors who water down the faith in an attempt to attract young people to the Church. is reporting on the Cardinals statement, which encouraged bishops to call today’s youth to seek the high and demanding ideal of Christian holiness rather than water down the truth just to keep the status quo.

In his intervention, entitled, “Young People and the Teaching on Moral Doctrine (IL 196-197), “ the Cardinal pointed out that young people are making various requests about 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),” he said.

“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).”

However, the doctrine of the Church on these questions is not lacking in clarity. In fact, it is enough just to quote from the Catechism, particularly Sec. 2357-2359. He also went on to list a variety of documents that clearly enunciate the Church’s position on homosexuality, such as the CDF Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons, issued in 1986 and Considerations Concerning the Response to Legislative Proposals on the Non-Discrimination of Homosexual Persons issued in 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 (task of teaching) should make a profound examination of conscience before God,” he continued.

“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).

He concluded by asking the bishops to keep in mind the Gospel passage in which Jesus does not lower His standards to attract the rich young man to follow Him. They should remember that “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,” he added.

“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.”

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