Will traditionally minded young people have a say at the synod?

In October the Vatican will hold a synod on “Young People, the Faith, and Vocational Discernment”. Some prelates have been eager to receive feedback from young Catholics. “With a synod of the world’s bishops focusing on young people scheduled for this October, hearing directly from the young and those engaged in guiding them can be a great resource,” said Archbishop Chaput of Philadelphia (pictured).

Others, particularly in Rome, appear less eager to heed their counsel, if the synod’s preliminary discussions are anything to go by. John Monaco, a student invited to part in the discussions on Facebook, wrote that, while all young Catholics were invited to participate, not all their voices were heard. “By and large, members … voiced a desire for orthodox teaching and reverent liturgy, including specific references to promoting the Extraordinary Form,” Monaco wrote at CatholicHerald.co.uk. “However, when the final document was released and made public, it seemed as if an entire group of the youth was simply ignored.”

For his part, Chaput appears concerned that Vatican organisers will not change their tack. The conservative archbishop will periodically offer his column in the diocesan newspaper to young Catholics so they can express their opinions publicly. An occasional article isn’t as impressive as a post-synodal document, granted; but evidently Chaput does not expect traditionally minded young people to find a place in the latter.

One must wonder what the organisers’ real objective is. Do they simply want to rubber-stamp a predetermined agenda with the seal of “youth” approval? Or would they be willing to change their course?

The latter seems unlikely, given the Pope’s views on “neo-Pelagians”. If Francis wants a more progressive, forward-looking Church, he ought to consult a much older demographic. For better or worse, young Catholics are more liturgically and theologically traditional. If the post-synodal document gives them as little a say as did the pre-synodal one, expect a chorus of under-30s crying foul play.

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