Twelve years ago, when Pope John Paul II lit up an arena packed with cheering throngs of teens and 20-somethings in downtown St. Louis, I was working a few blocks away as the youngest member of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch editorial board. My colleagues, most of whom were Baby Boomers and self-professed secular humanists, were stumped by the Pope’s popularity. Why, they asked me, were young Catholics stampeding to see this frail, palsied pope who sermonized about sexual purity and self-sacrifice? Isn’t youth the time to rebel against religious authority? What’s with young people today, anyway?
Many Baby Boomer Catholics had been asking similar questions since 1993, when hundreds of...READ MORE