New Book Contains 34 Letters of College Students Who Wrote to Pope Benedict

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Dr. John Kinkel collected letters from his students over a 4 year period; they ask the Pope to make changes in the Church. The Vatican's Msgr. Peter Wells has thanked everyone for sending a copy of the book to Pope Benedict.

A book of 34 letters from college students edited by Dr. John Kinkel of Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan calls on the Vatican to listen to the concerns of youth.

The book, "Letters to Pope Benedict: College Students Speak Out," features letters collected from students over the past four years. It was written by Dr. R. John Kinkel with the hope that sharing students' opinions about the state of the Catholic Church would encourage the pope to bring about change.

"The Catholic Church is really at a critical point in its history," said Kinkel. "Young people are growing increasingly disillusioned with its practices and policies, which are outdated and do not reflect the needs of modern families. If it doesn't act now, the church could lose an entire generation of believers."

While the opinions expressed in the book vary from person to person, the overall theme is that the Vatican needs reform. Many students feel that women should be ordained to the priesthood and that the church should adapt some of its more antiquated teachings that are not based on the principles of early Christianity.

According to Kinkel, taking seriously the opinions of these students—and of all young believers—is vital to the future of the church. His goal is to bring the ideals and viewpoints of these individuals to the forefront of church discussion, since these are the ones most upset with current Vatican policy. Feeling that church officials had largely ignored critics in Europe and the U.S., he decided to turn to the voices of youth.

Recently, Kinkel sent a letter and a copy of the book to Pope Benedict and received a reply from Msgr. Peter Wells, thanking him for the book and assuring him of the pope’s prayers and blessings. In addition a priest friend told him that the opinions in the book are what he had been telling his bishops for years, and that he hoped that the Pope and his supporters would reflect on the letters.

"When I received the letter from the Vatican, I told my students, 'The eagle has landed. Your letters are there,'" Kinkel said. "The opinions expressed in this book reflect the diverse background and various religious beliefs that make up the church’s college-educated constituency. Their frustrations really get to the heart of the problems the Vatican is having connecting with this generation."

"Letters to Pope Benedict" is available on Amazon. To learn more, visit

Please direct inquiries to:

John Kinkel, 586-945-8013 johnkinkel(at)msn(dot)com    

Newly Published Book Calls on Catholic Church to Listen to Young People

"Letters to Pope Benedict" shares letters to pontiff from college students


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