Growing Up As a "Post-Vatican II Catholic"

November 1996By Leila Miller

Leila Miller is a stay-at-home mom and writer in Phoenix, Arizona. Copyright © 1996 by Leila Miller.

I was robbed. I am a “Generation X” Catholic, raised and catechized in the tumultuous aftermath of Vatican II. I was a victim of experimentation and “reform” gone awry, and so were my peers. With great regret and without exaggeration, I can say that the results have been catastrophic for my generation. The overwhelming majority of young Catholics don’t seem to have even a rudimentary understanding of their Faith.

Let me give you an overview of my upbringing, which will sound familiar to countless young Catholics. I was raised in a believing and practicing Catholic home, and my sister and I were taught by our parents to love our Faith. Barring illness, we attended Sunday Mass and holy days of obligation without exception. We attended public schools, but were enrolled in weekly CCD classes at our parish. I have no doubt that my parents and other parents were confident that their children’s catechesis was sound, that consciences were being properly formed and that souls were learning the way to sanctification. Even my parish priest, I believe, could not have known how the new, more “enlightened” philosophy of catechism would affect the moral development of those in his charge.

I can tell you in three phrases the theological content of my catechesis: God is good, Jesus loves you, and love your neighbor. (All very good and true, don’t get me wrong, but if you read your Bible you’ll see that that’s only part of the Gospel. And sometimes part of the truth is more deceptive and hazardous than an outright lie.) We saw a lot of slideshows depicting Jesus and His parables, and I have nice images of the Good Samaritan and Jesus’ empty tomb. But I don’t remember anything particularly Catholic about the presentations, aside from a foray into the Sacraments when it was time for First Communion or Confirmation.

My parents’ faith, combined with the common themes of my religious education, did instill some important truths nonetheless: I never wavered in my belief in God Almighty and in the Incarnation and Resurrection of His Son.

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