Magazine article National Catholic Reporter

Passing on the Faith

Magazine article National Catholic Reporter

Passing on the Faith

Article excerpt

Much of today's paper is about kids, our kids and the dedicated educators who are showing us a way to leave no child out. Whether or not you have children, the stories make everyone a parent and equally responsible for the young in our midst and in our lives. I can't say for certain, but I suspect this issue of NCR will get read and passed around more than some of our other issues. Why? Because the stories touch the core of family life. If I'm wrong, let me know.

You might be surprised to know that the most consistent concern I hear as publisher is about children. I'm often asked about what our readers want and, as expected, the conversation will focus on issues of institutional church, politics, Vatican pronouncements, and other church-related questions that reflect frustration--and this issue has its share of that sort of content too. But in fact, the one topic that stirs the most interest in just about all our readers is their concern for their children and grandchildren. How do we pass on the faith to the next generation? And for those without children of their own, I hear the same concern for nieces and nephews.

But here's the most fascinating part. Even if readers feel upset or angry about authority questions and institutional problems, let the subject change to that of our children and grandchildren and it's as if a switch has been flipped. The focus goes from fury to a simple, heartfelt desire to pass on the message of the social Gospel and the compassion of Jesus. If you want to get people to talk about their faith life, ask them about their children and all the young people in their lives. …

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