What Happens to a Church When the Members Won’t Grow Up? | R. Thomas Richard, Ph.D. | HPR
The problem for the Church is … the spiritual immaturity of men and of women in the Church, and the lack of guidance they are receiving on how to grow up to spiritual maturity as Catholic Christians.
What happens to a culture when the men refuse to grow up? What happens when no one is left to teach them how to grow up? What happens when the problem extends into the Church?
The situation in secular America is getting serious, according to a recent book by William Bennett, The Book of Man: Readings on the Path to Manhood. 1 Bennett wrote an article for CNN Online, 2 based on his book, and including these observations:
- For the first time in history, women are better educated, more ambitious, and arguably more successful than men.
- In 1950, five percent of men in the prime working age were unemployed. As of last year (2010), 20 percent were not working, the highest ever recorded.
- The out-of-wedlock birthrate is more than 40 percent in America.
- Men are less religious than ever before. According to Gallup polling, 39 percent of men reported attending church regularly in 2010, compared to 47 percent of women.
- Ask young women about men today. … their prolonged adolescence, and men who refuse to grow up. … “Where are the decent single men?”
- Today, 18- to-34-year-old men spend more time playing video games a day than 12- to-17-year-old boys. While women are graduating from college and finding good jobs, too many men are not going to work, not getting married, and not raising families.
- Movies offer stories of men who refuse to grow up or to take responsibility. … Men, some obsessed with sex, treat women as toys.
- Boys need to be guided through advice, habit, instruction, example, and correction, to become men.
- We need to say to many young men, “Get off the video games five hours a day, get yourself together, get a challenging job, and get married.” It’s time for men to man up.
The problem for the Church is not merely the increasing emotional and psychological immaturity of young men generally. More serious, although I suspect related, is the problem of the spiritual immaturity of men and of women in the Church, and the lack of guidance they are receiving on how to grow up to spiritual maturity as Catholic Christians.