When I arrive at Mass with my wife and 7-month-old son, there’s something that keeps circling my thoughts when I look at the pews surrounding us. It’s not the age of the wood, the wear and tear of the Sunday Missals nor the noise of the A/C unit that is barely functioning. No, there is something much less visible.

Millennials.

I have friends, colleagues, classmates, and acquaintances who call themselves Catholic and yet I hardly see any of them at the end of the week. While I could easily make this into a list of fundamental tasks that they are failing to do, I more so want to unpack the culture that has permitted this type of behavior to endure. How could the Catholic Church, which has such rich history filled with the promise of eternal salvation be forgone for frivolities of our age? Why do we, specifically Millennials, just not care?

They do care, and they crave what the Church has.  They just don’t know it.

Most are now familiar with Dr. Jordan Peterson, a clinical psychologist, author, a professor of psychology and much more. In many of his speeches and his latest book, Twelve Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos, he talks about taking responsibility, seeking truth, and finding purpose in life. While the advice and speeches he gives are mainly for practical purposes, Dr. Peterson has an extensive understanding of Theology and Biblical interpretations (many of which can be found online on his Youtube channel). The intriguing part, of his relatively new stardom, is his viewership metrics. Per his own words, More than 90% of people who watch my videos on Youtube are men. Now, that’s weird because about 80% of Psychology students are women”. Why? Well as a man who is part of that demographic, the desire to better myself, take up my cross and follow Christ are the main driving forces behind my every decision. His message is attractive because it permits people to follow Christian standards of what a man should be, without having to label themselves as Christian.

He’s got a challenging message and he’s not afraid to speak it.  And the young men are responding to the challenge.  But, is the challenge of Christ not much greater, more fulfilling, and the deeper need in the heart of man?  The Church has what men need.  We just need to hear it.

It may seem like we’re the lazy generation who just needs a good pat on the head and a participation medal, this is far from the truth. We seek strong role models that speak with conviction and profess the faith in the truest forms of masculinity and femininity. Unfortunately, I’m seeing an absence of this on Sundays and I see my friends, colleagues, classmates, and acquaintances searching for it in worldly and secular affairs.

We want to be challenged. We want to know our purpose. We need direction. We’re looking for it.

  • Larry Bud

    Even though the author shows the sad tendency of millennials to focus only on themselves, the flow of folks out of the Church has been steady for 2 or 3 generations now. I’m nearly 50 and at most masses, I can count the people younger than me on one hand.

    The reason is simple. No, it’s not found in whatever book Jordan Peterson is selling. It’s not found in church-nerdy blather like Bishop Olmsted’s paper. The answer is that our parishes have become cold, unfriendly, uninteresting places. They offer no social events for the community to come together, for children to learn the importance of volunteering or how to interact with others, for singles to network and make friends and meet potential spouses and marry in the Church, thereby keeping the train on the track for the next generation.

    Parishes provided a strong social incentive until perhaps the 1970’s. When that all ended, people began to leave. It really is just that simple.

  • Stephen Greene

    Well said, brother! It is high time for the Catholic Jordan Peterson to step up and speak out! As you say, the audience is there, and the hunger, now where are the Catholic voices to sound the call to arms and mission? I would recommend starting with Bishop Thomas Olmsted’s apostolic exhortation, “Into the Breach”, which you can order or get as an audio download at http://www.intothebreach.org. Peace+

    • Into the breach is amazing and I’ll also suggest anything by Fr. Larry Richards.

    • Stephen Greene

      Anything by Pope St. John Paul II is great, too.

      • Phil Alcoceli

        Thank you so very much, Mr. Greene for that super excellent reference. I encourage everyone to read it and take it to heart and life. We need more Bishops like Reverend Olmsted. We also need to become Catholic Jordan Peterson’s, all of us, men and women, for our Church, families, children and even for charity toward those who hate us, as our silence is complicit and enabling and enthrones poisonous, destructive, hateful, demonic lies as unquestionable “truth”. For that we need to move away from passivity, false Catholic identity and fear, a Divine Power all available to us in the Mass, Sacraments, Saints, etc. and the Fraternal Community of Catholics, which is like a Divine Spartan Phalanx. With God we can do infinitely better than those brave Spartans. Like them we battle and must battle the “Hot Gates” of Hell.

  • Phil Alcoceli

    Thank you, Sir/Ma’am, for bringing Mr. Jordan Peterson to our attention. His heart is Catholic, as all who seek Real Truth, even though he’s not officially so. I am a fan of his work and highly recommend you watch him in YouTube or read his books, etc. Peterson describes himself as a philosophical existential pragmatist. Now that’s a mouthful but it is for the awesome Glory of God that such approach to teaching and life is leading to a rebellion against political correctness, identity politics, and moral relativism/post modernism, all declared enemies of our Faith in God. Even a more atheistic, “science’ focused Sam Harris agrees with him on these rebellions, even if they are philosophically at odds sometimes. Yes, they are not Catholics but they clearly show that, like this article above mentions, the search, thirst and hunger for Truth is very much alive and well, contrary to popular opinion and the overwhelming propaganda telling us that resistance is futile (James 4:7) and that urges us to surrender and to join Satan and his parasites (sin is sin and evil is evil even if we feel we are in a “love” crusade).

    Why do I recommend Jordan Peterson so strongly? Because directly or indirectly, intentionally or unintentionally, he shows the invincible reality of the Absolute Integrity and Absolute Consistency of the Absolute Truth of our Catholic Faith, and that we need so intensely to face the mob of today’s and the future challenges that the Catholic Church and each of us faces/will face. Be at peace, Peterson will not make you a liberal Catholic, but a Catholic willing and able to fight for Truth with a solid, total conviction and at any price, just like Peterson himself who has put himself in the dangerous line of fire and succeeded continuously. God’s Providence has brought him and those like him for such a time as this. All Real Truth comes from God and leads back to God, its only All-Powerful Source.