A COMPLETELY new way had to be found to absorb the energies, enthusiasms and desire-to-know found in young people today, Bishop Worlock of Portsmouth, president of the National Laity Commission, told the commission's 21st meeting in London last weekend.
The commission has launched a study of how best it can help young people to make their full contribution to the life and work of the Church. Young people, said the bishop, often showed a striking sense of fellowship and community; he asked how the commission could take note of this and give proper help and direction.
Dr. Kevin McDonnell, convener of this study group, said that only young people could 'be apostles to other young people. The Commission needed to make a breakthrough in understanding, so as to keep pace with 'the changing world of modern youth. Would young people readily participate in the work of this commission, or should there be a special youth commission to deal with their particular problems? Dr. McDonnell, who is in charge of a university hostel, Will be joined by Austin Winkley, representing youth
organisations, Dr. Cicily Clarke, who will deal with medical and psychological aspects, and Ronald Brech, who will contribute research information. Together they will study the special position and problems of youth in the Church.
Mr. Brech said there had been a dramatic change in the way children related to their parents; we had got to the stage where there was a new generation every five years. Young people's values might be different, but they were true to them he said. The parent-child
relationship might have changed to one of friendship rather than dominance, but whenever the reason, the churches were losing their youth. The commission is therefore going to work with the Education Commission on the rights and duties of Catholic parents.
The commission also discussed lay formation projects, the social role of the church, and the role of the priest today as seen by the laity.
The commission was told of
progress in setting up pilot projects designed to show whether lay people who do not belong to any Catholic organisation can be made to take a full share in the life and work of the Church and so live their lives fully in the light of the Gospel.
There have been lay formation rprojects in the Leeds, Middlesbrough and Portsmouth dioceses. A special project is under way in Consen, Co. Durham, and in Birmingham and Swansea, parish representatives are about to hold their first meetings.
Another working party of the Commission, convened by Austin Winkley, has been studying how the Church can help public servants and other people in authority with their work. They have been meeting councillors in three parts of the country to discuss this and to seek new ways of helping them. There will be a Commission report on this aspect of Christian living as soon as the working party has codified its findings about Christian motivation in public life. The report will also ask questions on the use of leisure time and the quality of Christian family life.