Monday, November 19, 2012

Teens Just Say No

You might have heard about this teen in my home state, Minnesota (don't blame us, we voted for Mondale), who either was denied confirmation or refused confirmation because of his questioning of the Church's rejection of same-sex civil marriage.  (You may recall that the move for a "one man one woman" amendment failed in Minnesota in early November, despite the threats of the bishops there.)

Well, turns out there were two.
In the letter, addressed to the parish of Assumption Church at 307 Front St. N., the Rev. Gary LaMoine says “a couple of candidates chose not to enter into full communion with the Catholic community because of their disagreement with the teaching of the Church concerning marriage.”
It's a little more complicated than "chose not to enter," including public rejection of the family of the first teen and the rather unsavory revelation of extensive FB cruising by the parish staff.  (Is this routine?)

However that may be, I suddenly had this thought:  What if there were an epidemic of teens refusing to be  confirmed because they did not want to be -- very publicly -- associated with the Church's position on same-sex civil marriage?  

Confirmation, we tell them over and over, is voluntary.  Your parents carried you to baptism and they more or less walked you through reconciliation and First Communion.  But Confirmation?  This is when you claim your faith publicly as an "adult."

But what if confirmation becomes synonymous with rejecting same-sex civil marriage?  How will this play with teens raised on Lady Gaga and Modern Family and numerous school assemblies against bullying? 

I am not encouraging such an epidemic.  But if the choice to complete the great sacramental arc of one's initiation into the Church is now viewed in the teen mind as a public statement of intolerance, the bishops will  have only themselves to blame.