The formation of the laity is a life-long process, consciously undertaken in faith, as Newman well knew, but there is a special problem in awakening, retaining and reviving the Faith among the young. The problem is not new. It faces every generation. There are several reasons for this youthful resistance. In the first instance there is the natural disinclination of the young to accept the beliefs and customs of their elders. But one of the more corrosive causes of unbelief in the young is the relentless barrage of secularist propaganda that bombards them. Another contributory factor can be the reluctance (often well intentioned) of adults to give ‘a reasoned defence (apologia)… with gentleness and reverence’ of the Faith they hold (cf. 1 Peter 3.15). The fact remains that many people fail to recover the Faith to which they were introduced when young. Catholics may form the largest religious group in the United States, but it is said that the second largest consists of lapsed Catholics.
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