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|Congregation for the Clergy|
General catechetical directory
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82 The period of adolescence and, in a larger sense, the so-called "phenomenon of youth" have very great importance (cf. AA, 12). In pre-industrial societies which have only a smaller number of schools, the transition from childhood to the adult community takes place as t were directly. In our time the custom is spreading more and more of extending the time of education in schools for adolescents. This custom creates in society a generation which is not immediately occupied with gainful labor, and which, though it already enjoys physical and intellectual vitality, is engaged in no activity other than study and preparation for a future profession. This social class has a great impact on adult society; and this creates no small problem.
This problem is also found in the Church, and although it takes different forms here, it is just as serious. Adolescents and young adults are less exposed to the danger of violently opposing the Church than they are to the temptation of leaving it. The fact that it is often difficult for adults to acknowledge that adolescents and young adults can contribute anything worthwhile is a further reason why this is a very serious problem in catechesis.
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