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The right to question and create change.

Amen. Asi sea. So be it.

As a child I did not always understand what was being said during Mass; I simply knew to say amen at the end of each prayer. In changing the liturgy from Latin to vernacular languages the council bishops signaled more than a fresh understanding of the Mass and other dogmatic practices. They had created an opening to the teachings.

As a Mexicana, similar openings increased my opportunity to contribute, for I could appreciate change of perspective in the church. The Second Vatican Council's changes allowed me to both recognize and question the teachings. I recognized that the preferential option for the poor, which also arose in Vatican II, paved the way to a new type of theology, one that sided with the poor and the marginalized, a theology that read the signs of the times.

It meant that as a female and a minority I now had a greater possibility of being heard, of participating. I could ask: When will the church as a whole side with the poor and demolish the division between the privileged and the poor?

Because of the council, what my generation of Catholics--who feel as I do--carry into the 21st century comes down to three major concerns:

* We want the church to become more understanding of our present-day struggle of staying committed to our beliefs while not deviating from our Catholic dogma, which will require an actualization of the church to modern day;

* The council concepts of openness, equality and engagement in the church should be seen for their attractive qualities of furthering community;

* There needs to be recognition of the value of each community member as an individual who is essential in the church--otherwise, Catholics are going to continue to leave the church.

Yet we detect a contrariness in church leadership in not reading the signs of the times, or place. This is an age when communication offers multiple ideas for advancement and collaboration. California creates and refines the world's technological future and media. That combines with another reality: There are more Catholics in California than in Britain and Ireland combined--31 percent of California's 37 million population is Catholic. And the majority of California's population is under 33 years of age.

Yet the church hesitates, cannot or does not adapt or change.

It is wrong to lose one Catholic. To lose my generation, the young, the energetic, the educated, robs the entire church of innovation and advancement.

For myself, I hope a decade from now to be in an active Christian community that is known for its equality, its dialogue and its charismatic spirituality. A place where movements are created and the common emphasis is social justice.

Yet I want to be able say confidently to the next generation: The church is not an authority, it is your community. You have the right, as a child of God, to question and to create change.

Amen. Asi sea. So be it.
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Title Annotation:YOUNGER VISIONS
Author:Ibarra, Genesis
Publication:National Catholic Reporter
Article Type:Essay
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Oct 11, 2012
Words:492
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