Young Catholic Writes Open Letter to Pope After Youth Pre-Synod

by David Nussman  •  •  April 4, 2018   

Defends theological orthodoxy and traditional liturgy

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DETROIT ( - A young Catholic is defending Tradition in an open letter to the Holy Father.

In a piece published March 29, John Monaco addressed Pope Francis, citing the pope's calls for young people to speak openly and "make a mess." Monaco wrote, "It is in this spirit that I bring you three points regarding the upcoming Synod 2018 on Young People, the Faith and Vocational Discernment."

The letter's first point was that young people desire a return to tradition. Monaco wrote, "Young people today are not the young people of the 1960s. The Second Vatican Council tried its best to speak to 'modern man' but modern man of the 1960s and 1970s is now himself in his 70s."

He continued, "If the 1960s youth were marked by a sense of rebellion and anarchy, the youth of today desire stability, orthodoxy and order."

The author noted, "Truly, this is a turbulent time for the youth. We have inherited and experienced massive changes within our common life. Seismic shifts in socio-political institutions, the burden of economic insecurity and the rapidly growing irreligious population among our peers have placed us in a situation unlike any prior generation's."

Monaco also wrote in the open letter:

Tradition is for the young. Many of us find ourselves attending the Traditional Latin Mass for its sublime beauty, rich symbolism and unquestionable sense of sacred worship. Unfortunately, when many of us express our love for Tradition, we are insulted and unfairly labeled "ultra-conservatives." We attend the Latin Mass not because we seek to escape from the world but rather because we wish to sanctify it by being nourished through intentional, purposeful and transcendent worship.

He continued to defend young traditionalists, saying, "The young people who desire tradition are not 'rigid.' In fact, the real rigidity is in our experiences with many liturgies in the Novus Ordo."

Monaco explained, "Mini-homilies at the beginning of Mass, anthropocentricism and iconoclasm, priests making up their own words during the prayers, irreverent and banal music — all of this (and more) has led many a youth to explore the rich heritage of our Church's liturgical tradition."

The second of Monaco's three points was a call for greater adherence to sound Catholic theology: "Therefore, we youth desire truth, clarity and right teaching regarding matters of faith and morals. Because what we believe has eternal consequences, we look to you, Holy Father, as the point of unity, the shepherd for Christ's flock."

The third and final point of Monaco's open letter was the need that young people have for aid in vocational discernment. He stated, "But in order to respond to God's call, we must first hear and discern it. Therefore, I propose three Ss which can help young people in this endeavor: silence, support and sanctity."

Tradition is for the young.

Monaco concluded the open letter, "Holy Father, I write these words after much prayer and reflection. I pray that the Holy Spirit guides and protects you and the Synod 2018. May it be a time of great renewal of the Church's mission for the salvation of souls. And may we, the youth, serve at the vanguard."

Monaco's letter comes in the wake of the Vatican's recent Pre-Synod on the Youth. The Pre-Synod tried to present young people's thoughts on religion and Catholicism to the bishops of the world in the lead-up to the Synod itself later this year.

The participants in the Pre-Synod were youth from around the world. They gathered in Rome in April to compose a document to be presented to the bishops. To do this, they gathered opinions from thousands of other young people via Facebook groups and other social media.

A number of people in these Facebook groups were disappointed when the Pre-Synod document came out. These young Catholics had been advocating for theological orthodoxy and traditional liturgy and felt that their voice was marginalized and downplayed in the official Pre-Synod document.

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