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It is the time of year that we commemorate the feast day of Pope Pius X and recall that he had famously warned about modernism -- attacks on the Church and Christian beliefs that would involve viewing the Church with worldly eyes (this is a way of defining modernism). That means forming it according to secular fashions and views, while the true way is to view the world with the Church's eyes. How far we have strayed! How much we have been attacked, as have our shepherds!

Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Denver recently indicated much the same when he exhorted resistance to the increasing intolerance of Christians and called for Catholics in America and Europe to oppose the rise of a “state-encouraged atheism.”

The move is on to minimize Christianity and replace it with neutral spirituality.

It is the rise of a "non-religion religion" -- taking full advantage of the priestly scandals -- and it is already fully underway with the youth, Me Generation, baby boomers in Europe and North America, as they structure a "spirituality" devoid of Christ and devoid of holiness. The momentum for this has been abetted greatly by the modernistic invasion of Catholicism, which has stripped it of mysticism (in conformance with modern scientism).

Our youth have noticed this vacancy and have fled to non-religious religiosity that combines the infinity of cyberspace with a mentality that is neutral -- "New Age." A great shift is taking place toward techno-spirituality. The computer is the sanctuary. For others, it is the television. Our warning: such a neutral, cyber-chic spirituality can form the religion of anti-christ and can be countered only by a return to pure Christian devotion -- piety, which makes the name Pius a bit ironic.

Right now, the Church is starving for it. Without it, we will lose the rest of our youth.

Will the Church die? Never. It will rise from its current malaise as it rose in the 17th century after the Reformation.

But what will occur before then?

As we have emphasized previously, as we have sought to be modern, we have become a mystical body without mysticism. We have allowed "book learning" -- the brain -- to obscure the doorway to the supernatural, which is the heart. In  the process we've obscured the Holy Spirit.

Perhaps this is why -- starting around the Sixties -- there was such an explosion of weeping statues and other phenomena -- as if Heaven was both trying to show that the supernatural still exists at the same time that Mary wept at what was transgressing in the Church, where besides abuse, pastors too often mishandled spirituality. Said one expert on phenomena, Father Albert J. Hebert of Louisiana, in 1993, "It should seem clear to any researcher that never in the history of our world have there been so many striking weepings of sacred images as in the past thirty years, and more particularly so, since around 1970." Translation: the onset of the aridity of modernism.

"Unity is urgent," famed mystic Maria Esperanza once stated in the early 1990s, "especially among our priests. We have to be more united than ever. This Church is holy, immaculate, perfect, but the men in it can be imperfect, sinners, with weaknesses. No one can destroy it. But they're going to try to destroy it."

And the attempt has been made by drawing the Church too close to the "world" -- in the mistaken notion that it could attract back those who have left by being "modern."

This misses the point entirely -- for young people sense (and respect) spirituality (not diocesan signs that say "renewal" or "welcome home"). We know this because efforts by Pentecostal-types to lure back youth by trying to be hip -- worldly -- are not working. There are pastors who refer to Lady Gaga, churches that screen R-rated movies, preachers who dress inappropriately while others Twitter and iPhone interaction during sermons, websites that deal with enhancing one's sex life, or even a webcam called featuring a webcam showing five weeks in the life of the pastor (24/7). Some are holding services in bars or nightclubs.

In Rome, the Vatican's unofficial newspaper has taken to lauding rock stars such as Michael Jackson and the Rolling Stones (they of "Honky Tonk Women").

None of this will work and will even prove to be counterproductive (creating resentment). In a 2007 study, Lifeway Research reckoned that seventy percent of young Protestant adults between eighteen and twenty-two had stopped attending church regularly. The "Facebook Youth" are even leaving those mega-churches. We need more than Youth Day.

What kids want is a sense of the mystical -- which is why they have flocked in droves to Harry Potter, vampires, ghost hunters, and other examples of the wrong kind of mysticism.

It is time to give them the right kind.

The right kind will be found only in a return to devotion. Deep spirituality is admired by kids -- even if they may feign an initial resistance. When one is sincere, one needs no slogans. One becomes cool by being uncool -- unlike everyone else, and not caring about that. Our youth do not want to learn spirituality out of an encyclical. They don't want to read anything. They want to feel. They want real contact. They want to see faith lived and not just taught.

And the best way of the Church doing that is to return to its roots, to pray, to be authentic -- which involves separation from the world as opposed to compromise with it.

[resources: Eucharistic Adoration Rosary]

[see also: God and a woman at Harvard, Archbishop Chaput urges resistance against intolerance of Christians, and How many Americans change faiths?]

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