“When I told my friends that I was preparing for baptism, we’re not going to lie to each other, they thought I was a bit crazy. For them, it was a little weird to be interested in religion when we still spend our time going out and we start having guys. Charlotte admits, she didn’t quite know how to mix the need for faith with her adolescent desires. “In truth, the only really delighted were my parents. Maybe they thought it was going to calm my teenage crisis! “says the young woman with a smile.
“I was looking for something a little mystical”
At 16, she has been preparing for baptism for a year, scheduled for next year. Her parents, Catholics, had chosen not to baptize her as a child to give her the possibility of turning, or not, to a religion. At home, practices were limited to major holidays like Christmas and Easter.
Those baptized late are more and more numerous: + 30% between 2021 and 2022 among 18-25 year olds according to the survey of the Conference of Bishops of France, who alone represent almost a third of these newly baptized, against just over 20% in 2005.
baptized between 2021 and 2022
Conference of Bishops of France
Audrey is also part of it. Baptized at the age of 24, religion in her family does not exist. Educated in a private Catholic establishment, “only for Chinese”, she has long remained impervious to the practices of her classmates. Four years ago, she met her future husband on the school benches and discovered religion.
“I was looking for things that were a bit mystical because I hadn’t had any openings on all that in my life,” confides Audrey, “I thought about it for a little less than a year. I thought this religion was magnificent, but I admired it, let’s say, from the outside. And then I didn’t want to fall into the cliché of the girl who changes and converts for her boyfriend! »
Insta, TikTok, we dematerialize the Church
Big difference with the older generations: we no longer practice exclusively in the church. Charles Mercier, professor of contemporary history at the University of Bordeaux observes: “In reality, the attendance of 15-25 year olds at mass, churches, catechism or chaplaincy, has not increased significantly. significant. It is more the rise of a fairly free religion, which is not necessarily exercised within the institution as such. »
Not necessarily within the institution, it is on the networks that they go: they offer, in particular since the start of the Covid19 pandemic, a new way to display one’s faith and to meet other believers. “The Internet has become a new space for the practice of religion”, he explains: “There has been, since the pandemic, the idea that one could be part of a virtual religious community by being in a environment not at all believing. »
In an attempt to give the Catholic religion a facelift, some priests and nuns are investing in the networks, TikTok and Instagram in the lead. What does a nun live on, the place of women in the Church, an explanation of the highlights of the Catholic year… Sister Albertine27 years old and 72,000 subscribers, covers multiple subjects in her short videos, which respect all the codes of social networks, thus dusting off the traditional image of nuns.
“The anonymity that can exist on social networks allows them to question me without fear”, explains Father Gaspard, 7000 subscribers on Instagram and more than 37,000 on TikTok. In his videos, he regularly answers religious questions. “The networks and in particular Tiktok allow us to dive into reality. People are really frank, sometimes quite easily aggressive, ”he confides. “It forces us to be ourselves, honest. We really get naked, so of course, it’s not always comfortable, but in the end, Jesus castigates the hypocrites, but social networks too. »
“At first it was just to motivate ourselves for Lent”
In addition to the networks, the Church comes to slip into the applications of our smartphones. Audrey has downloaded several: meditation to accompany prayer time, the Bible and the Magnificat, a monthly booklet of daily prayers. “It’s extremely well done, there are plenty of thematic routes. For meditation there are a lot of breathing exercises to be able to put yourself in a good perspective of prayer, because it is not always easy. »
The young woman also connects to her faith… on Instagram, “I created a private account, on which I only follow Catholic accounts. Small families who post content about their lives, accounts that share inspiring or motivating biblical quotes, ”says the young baptized. “It allows me to be able to scroll when I feel like it to relax, without scrolling crappy stuff, it’s healthier. »
Charlotte uses WhatsApp more, where she has created a group with her fellow believers. “At first it was just to get motivated for Lent because it’s really hard to last these 40 days. And then finally, once Easter was over, we continued to write to each other to share photos of texts that we like, to encourage each other in the event of a hard blow, to talk about our doubts, ”says the teenager: “This n It’s not necessarily easy to claim to be Catholic in high school. It’s a bit old-fashioned religion, not really fashionable. »
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When Jesus returns in grace… with TikTok and Insta
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