Last night at Catholic University I attended the Murnion Lecture sponsored by the Catholic Common Ground Initiative; this year it was given by Jill Kerr Conway, a personal description of the efforts of a small mission church in western Massachusetts to stay alive. It was a lovely portrait of a “common ground initiative” on the grass-roots level.
There were about 100 people in attendance, but I don’t think there were more than five of them under the age of 50, and the great majority seemed to be over 60. A couple of years ago I gave a talk for “The Upper Room,” a small reform-group in Westchester Co., NY, somewhat like Voice of the Faithful in aim. There too the vast majority were people well over fifty. I’ve given lots of talks over the last ten years on the Second Vatican Council. Almost always the audiences are of similar ages, as were almost all of the members of various groups that publicly protested the Vatican’s discipling of a French bishop some years ago.
I would like to know the age-distribution of the members of the Voice of the Faithful as well as of the subscribers to “Commonweal” and “America,” and, for that matter, of the “National Catholic Reporter.” In recent years “Commonweal” has made a notable effort to attract young readers. I wonder how successful it has been.
In any case, is there a significant generation-gap here?