The Atlantic wants to know: Why would a millennial become a priest or a nun? Why would this young, self-absorbed generation take “lifelong vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience to God -- and to the Catholic Church, which, especially in their lifetimes, has been regularly plagued by scandal”?
It seems so radical for the sons and daughters of the sexual revolution and the feminist movement. Go, be free of the bonds of religious dogma and the patriarchy of the Catholic Church!
Yet they keep coming back to that oppressive two-thousand-year-old institution.
Here are the answers to the Atlantic’s eager question:
- To engage culture with the Gospel and the messages of the Church.
- To join an eternal community.
- To live intentionally.
It really is that simple.
Observe the constituency of the religious orders of the Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious, a group of traditional convents. Seventy-eight percent of their new members are under the age of 30.
These are the groups that wear the habits, that distinctly indicative marker of a daughter of Christ. As one of the training nuns explains:
[The habit] is attractive to me because I think that I need it. We have sisters who entered convent at 14, at 18, and have been sisters for 40, 50, 60 years. I've lived a pretty good portion of my life not in this way. For me, a habit is like a healthy reminder of who I've chosen to be.
These young men and women have chosen to live for God and to be conscious of their call every day of their glorious lives. I respect them immensely, and it teaches a key lesson: Our generation is not substantially different than any others in its desire for solidarity.