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2005-08-18

Church Youth and 1968 

I have become old, very old. I emphatically enjoy the cultural pessimism of conservative German daily Die Welt, as in this essay by Matthias Kamann [DE] on the occasion of the Catholic Youth Festival in Cologne these days, which features the Pope as its star-performer. Kamann celebrates the few remaining church-oriented teenagers as the last heirs to the moralist rigor of the '68er'-weirdos (no friends of Die Welt for sure):
It was not always like this: Between around 1965 and 1990, intellectually agile and critical boys and girls did not think immediately of Jugendkolping [religious youth organisation] when they were looking for energetic and interesting people of their own age. There were the youth organisations of the political parties, there were flourishing civic action groups, town newspapers, Third World groups, all the associations at the teenage-doorstep of the student and alternative movements. But little has remained of all this, and even where staying power still exists, things are homey as at the Greenpeace-kids, or aerodynamic as in the party-youth. At the same time, youth pop culture is oriented towards entertainment and consumption, and it decays more and more towards the unoriginal and boring, towards the giggling handbag-girls and the rowdy video-boys, by far not only from the underclass. Where is there still space for soul-searching conversations, for serious idealism, and for that world-revolutionary sadness that so often arrests the more thoughtful young and embellishes them?
The whole idyllic intergenerational symmetry is unfortunately ruined by fact, as commenter 'Rose' at Apocalypso [DE] points out: the catholic church youth of today couldn't care less about 68 and its critical concerns.


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