Voices of the Future – The Youth of the Church

The youth of today are the leaders of the future. The legacy they have inherited from previous generations is embedded in the multi-cultural and multi-religious environments that comprise the complex world of the 21st Century. It is imperative then that as well as recognising and valuing diversity and inclusiveness, present and future leaders possess a global vision and “an awareness of the interconnectedness of spiritual, existential and cosmic realities” (Fritjof Capra, 1996). The research is based on the opinions and thoughts of a select group of student leaders at an Australian Catholic College (High School), who completed a survey that focussed on the topic of women and leadership in the Catholic Church. The message of these young people is relevant to all who respond to the Gospel’s call to service within local, national and global communities.

The thread running through many of the responses emphasises social justice and reaching out to the poor, the disadvantaged and the marginalised. On behalf of those who have no voice, our youth are calling for dignity and respect through fairness, justness and equality and asking all leaders regardless of faith affiliation to respect all genders and to “uphold the dignity of the human person at all times” (Pope St Paul VI, Gaudium et Spes, 1965:Ch.1). Our youth are challenging the status quo and giving hope for the future. Let us heed the wisdom of our young people in discerning their needs as future leaders and followers in their mission of active discipleship within the Church! May their voices be heard!