The theme of youth in society and the Church has been taken up in several documents. The title of today’s GDC section references a good handful: General Catechetical Directory 82; Evangelii Nuntiandi 72; 1977 Synod of Bishops, Message to the People of God 3; Catechesi Tradendae 38-39; Christifedeles Laici 46; Tertio Millennio Adveniente 58. Keep in mind we are still on the topic of people of ages pre-adolescent to young adult as we read:
182. The Church, while regarding young people as “hope”, also sees them as “a great challenge for the future of the Church” (Gravissimum Educationis 2; Christifedeles Laici 46) herself. The rapid and tumultuous socio-cultural change, increase in numbers, self-affirmation for a consistent period before taking up adult responsibilities, unemployment, in certain countries conditions of permanent under-development, the pressures of consumer society—all contribute to make of youth a world in waiting, not infrequently a world of disenchantment, of boredom, of angst and of marginalization. Alienation from the Church, or a least diffidence in her regard, lurks in many as a fundamental attitude. Often this reflects lack of spiritual and moral support in the family and weaknesses in the catechesis which they have received. On the other hand, many of them are driven by a strong impetus to find meaning, solidarity, social commitment and even religious experience.
Why are young people important? Because these years are formative, socially and psychologically. And also because they are formative from a religious view. People who fall away from faith often do so during times of alienation. Clearly, this sense drove a good portion of the personal mission of Pope John Paul II. It should be a concern to all believers.
183. Some consequences for catechesis arise from this. The service of the faith notes above all the contrasts in the condition of youth as found concretely in various regions and environments. The heart of catechesis is the explicit proposal of Christ to the young man in the Gospel; (Cf. Mt 19:16-22; Parati Semper) it is a direct proposal to all young people in terms appropriate to young people, and with considered understanding of their problems. In the Gospel young people in fact speak directly to Christ, who reveals to them their “singular richness” and calls them to an enterprise of personal and community growth, of decisive value for the fate of society and of the Church.(Cf. Parati semper 3) Therefore young people cannot be considered only objects of catechesis, but also active subjects and protagonists of evangelization and artisans of social renewal.(Christifedeles Laici 46; General Catechetical Directory 89)
The Apostolic Letter to Youth Parati Semper is referenced for the first time. I looked for a direct link to it, but didn’t locate it. If you have one, post it in the comments, please.
One very positive statement I see in GDC 183 is the notion that young believers are called to be active in evangelization and “artisans of renewal.”
Comments on this? Too much attention given to youth? Too little? Or just enough?