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BALTIMORE (ChurchMilitant.com) - As the U.S. bishops meet in Baltimore, young Catholics on social media said what keeps them Catholic is the Traditional Latin Mass.
The social media accounts for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) posed the question, "If you are a young Catholic who is still Catholic, what has made you stay?"
The question received thousands of responses, many of them advocating for tradition and orthodoxy.
Many young Catholics cited the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, confession, the Rosary, beautiful churches, reverent liturgy and the Traditional Latin Mass (TLM) as important for their faith.
One Twitter user emphasized, "The Eucharist and holding fast to Sacred Tradition."
He went on to say that he wanted to see more churches "bring back ad orientem, altar rails and beautiful Latin chant, so that kids will truly believe that Jesus is present in the Eucharist. What we present externally affects what we believe internally."
The Eucharist and holding fast to Sacred Tradition. Bring back ad orientem, altar rails, and beautiful latin chant so that kids will truly believe that Jesus is present in the Eucharist. What we present externally affects what we believe internally.— cathALEC (@CatholicAlec) June 11, 2019
For instance, one convert said the Eucharist was the most important thing for which she came to the Catholic faith.
"Didn't start out Catholic, but I'll answer anyway," she tweeted. "I came for the liturgy and the sacraments, and most of all, [the] Eucharist."
Didn’t start out Catholic, but I’ll answer anyway. I came for the liturgy and the sacraments, and most of all, Eucharist.— Megan Thomas (@Megan_rthomas) June 11, 2019
One Catholic replied to the USCCB's Twitter account, "I was taught salvation history by a good priest, the Bible started to make sense to me, and ultimately this directed me to the Eucharist."
I was taught salvation history by a good priest, the Bible started to make sense to me, and ultimately this directed me to the Eucharist.— Betsy Willing (@betsywilling) June 11, 2019
A young Dominican priest emphasized the importance of tradition, theology and liturgy, saying in a tweet, "Pope Benedict XVI saved me during college; during high school it was discovering the Extraordinary Form."
Pope Benedict XVI saved me during college; during high school it was discovering the Extraordinary Form.— Fr. Thomas Aquinas Pickett, O.P. (@ThomasAquinasOP) June 12, 2019
Many of those responding simply said they love Catholicism because it is the truth.
For instance, one Twitter user stated, "Traditional Catholic teachings, doctrines, and values. Because they are The Truth."
Traditional Catholic teachings, doctrines, and values. Because they are The Truth.— �������� ���������������� (@dgonzalez777) June 11, 2019
Many young Catholics were of the opinion that traditional liturgy goes hand in hand with sound Catholic teaching.
"I found the beauty of intellectual truth in the teachings of the Church, the True Presence of the Eucharist, and the manifestation of both of these things in the reverence and beauty of the Extraordinary Form of the Mass," wrote one Catholic Twitter user.
Because I found the beauty of intellectual truth in the teachings of the Church, the True Presence of the Eucharist, and the manifestation of both of these things in the reverence and beauty of the Extraordinary Form of the Mass.— Jeremiah Poff (@JJ_Poff) June 11, 2019
A Catholic mother commented on the USCCB's Facebook post, "I'm 38 and a practicing Catholic. I stay because I know it is the One True Faith. The reverence of the TLM is what encourages me, as well as seeing so many young families with many children at Mass every week."
Another young Catholic gave a three-word comment on Twitter: "the Latin Mass."
Some of the young adults brought up issues that they have encountered in the Church, with many criticizing heterodoxy and superficial efforts to make the Church more appealing to youth.
One Twitter user complained that he had to teach himself Catholic doctrine out of the Baltimore Catechism after a director of religious education tried to teach him heresy about Christ.
32...as a teen I watched my friends fall away one by one...I drove almost an hour into an unsafe neighborhood for an early morning Old Mass...I taught myself the faith out of the Baltimore Catechism after the DRE at my local parish tried telling us Jesus had sins...— Michael Kramer (@miamimaniak16) June 11, 2019
"I taught myself the faith out of the Baltimore Catechism," the 32-year-old complained, "after the DRE at my local parish tried telling us Jesus had sins."
Many responses also complained about liturgical abuses and bad liturgical music.
After a busy few days on social media, some mainstream Catholic media outfits did reports on who was responsible for managing the USCCB's social media accounts.
The person mainly responsible for the accounts, 31-year-old Connie Poulos, said in an interview this week that it was recently decided to use social media to "engage" with ordinary Catholics.
It has been widely observed that traditional liturgy is increasingly popular among youth and young adults.
A survey of more than 1,000 Latin Mass attendees published earlier this year found that a huge majority of them embrace Catholic morality and theology. It also found that they have an estimated fertility rate of 6 children per woman — in contrast with the 2.3 children per woman fertility rate of U.S. Catholics as a whole.
Father Donald Kloster, the Connecticut priest responsible for the study, told Church Militant back in February, "Even if my study has a large margin of error, the numbers themselves speak volumes to anyone who has no interference from their own bias or ideology."
The number of parishes offering the TLM exploded after 2007 when Pope Benedict XVI issued a document called Summorum Pontificum, which made it much easier for parishes to have TLM on a regular basis. In a letter to bishops explaining Summorum Pontificum, Benedict noted that the old version of the Missal "was never juridically abrogated and, consequently, in principle, was always permitted."
In other words, the TLM was always broadly allowed in theory, even though Church leaders tried to restrict it in practice.
Last year, some TLM parishes were given special permission to revive the pre-1955 liturgical customs for Holy Week.
In 1955, the Holy Week liturgies were changed by the removal and simplification of various rituals. Some argue that the 1955 Holy Week revision established a precedent for the later changes to the liturgy that brought about the Novus Ordo. Others point even farther back, to changes that Pope St. Pius X made to the Liturgy of the Hours.