Office of Conciliation - Archdiocese of Chicago

F.Y.I.R. - For Your Information and Reflection

The Morality of Young Americans


The following excerpts are from a study of Americans aged 18 to 23 conducted by eminent sociologist Christian Smith of Notre Dame University:

1. “When asked to describe a moral dilemma they had faced, two-thirds of the young people either couldn’t answer the question or described problems that were not moral at all.”

2. “Moral thinking didn’t enter the picture, even when considering things like drunken driving, cheating in school or cheating on a partner.”

3. “The default position, which most of them came back to again and again, is that moral choices are just a matter of individual taste.”


“Morality was once revealed, inherited and shared, but now it’s thought of as something that emerges in the privacy of your own heart.”

While it may seem at times that you are yelling into a bottomless pit; a black and dark hole; you are a light—BELIEVE IT—a beacon, that is giving the youth and young adults of today a chance to lead authentic and moral adult lives and in truth for themselves to be beacons of right thinking in an otherwise often wrong-headed world.

Ralph Bonaccorsi