According to a recently released study, visiting beautiful churches and cathedrals are one of the top reasons that influences the youth across the globe in deciding to convert to Christianity.
“The way of beauty, is a privileged and fascinating way to approach the Mystery of God. What is beauty, if not the reflection of the splendor of the Eternal Word made flesh?” – Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI
According to the study, commissioned by a British evangelization research group, thirteen percent of teenagers who decided to convert to Christianity did so because of their experience visiting and seeing the design of traditional churches and cathedrals. Encounters with beautiful architecture beat out the most common evangelization effort today – youth groups, along with attending weddings and speaking to other Christians about the Faith.
After seeing the “shocking results, the researchers concluded that “new methods invested in by the Church, such as youth groups, are less effective than prayer or visiting a church building in attracting children to the Church.” The group’s research adds evidence to rising trend of Catholic youth desiring traditional devotions and seeking to experience rich Church history: relics, the saints, liturgies, and beautiful churches.
In 2007, Pope Benedict XVI formally allowed the Traditional Latin Mass to be made more accessible to parishes. Since then, demand for tradition has only grown. While hard figures are not available, the trend is all but confirmed. The president of the the Foederatio Internationalis Una Voce, a federation of lay organizations dedicated to the Tridentine Mass, says “I think people are drawn to the Mass’ beauty and depth and its internal coherence.”
Father Joseph Kramer, a priest based in Rome who’s Parish only celebrates the Latin Mass, believes the same about enduring appeal of tradition to Catholics today.
“There is a movement among young Catholics to know, discover and preserve their Catholic heritage, and the traditional Latin Mass fits in with that. I think they are drawn to the liturgical richness of the past.”
It is no secret why not only the youth, but people of all ages are drawn to beauty, as all beauty comes from the original beauty that is God Himself. The Pontifical Council for Culture under Pope Benedict XVI writes in their document “The Via Pulchritudinis:”
“The way of beauty replies to the intimate desire for happiness that resides in the heart of every person. Opening infinite horizons, it prompts the human person to push outside of himself, from the routine of the ephemeral passing instant, to the Transcendent and Mystery, and seek, as the final goal of the ultimate quest for wellbeing and total nostalgia, this original beauty which is God Himself, creator of all created beauty.”