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Teens Don't Still Worship Elvis?

To be published this week: Soul Searching: The Religious and Spiritual Lives of American Teenagers (Oxford University Press). The book is based on a comprehensive four-year study by 133 researchers and consultants. It appears Catholic youth won't fare well:

"On most of the measured criteria, Mormon youths -- whose church runs daily high school religion classes -- were the most engaged in practicing their faith, followed in order by evangelical Protestants, black Protestants, mainline Protestants, Catholics and Jews.

"An entire chapter of the book examines Catholic youths, described as fairly weak 'on most measures of religious faith, belief, experience and practice.' The problem is attributed largely to ineffective youth programs and 'the relative religious laxity of their parents.'"

Which is about what we see around our parish. It's not uncommon for parents with their kids in Sunday School to drop the kids off for obligatory Mass then pick them up afterwards. What goes through the parents' minds is difficult to say, but we suspect it's a lot of TV and outdoor sports, not to mention newspaper reading that gives them a feeling of being learned and above all that serious religious stuff. The kids need it, but not them.

Click here for the complete story about the forthcoming book.