Sunday, December 14, 2008

Preaching to Young Adults Today

Clearing Away the Barriers: Preaching to Young Adults Today

The Carl J. Peter Lecture, given by Fr. J. Augustine Di Noia, O.P, at the Pontifical North American College 7 December 2008.

Fr. Di Noia identifies three primary barriers that must be overcome in preaching to young adults:

1.) Why we need the Savior who is not just any savior
The first barrier concerns Jesus Christ himself. The most fundamental and prevalent misunderstanding of the Catholic faith that we face, whether in young adults or in their elders, is the notion that it is arrogant to claim that Jesus Christ is the unique mediator of salvation. To ascribe a uniquely salvific role to Jesus Christ seems to constitute a denial of the salvific role of other religious founders and thus could be an affront to their communities.
2.) Why we need Christ to become authentically human
A second barrier concerns what it means to be human. Here the fundamental misunderstanding that blocks the path of many young people is shaped by what has been called the culture of authenticity. This is the idea that somehow being a Christian involves giving up or suppressing what is uniquely human in each one of us and accepting an external criterion or measure which is alien to one’s true self.
3.) Why the moral law is good for us
The third barrier I want to consider concerns the moral life. It is the idea that the moral law is a more or less arbitrary constraint in which certain things are permitted and certain things are forbidden, irrespective of the bearing of these injunctions on human goodness and flourishing.
Some good observations.

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