Believe me I know, having sat through those very lessons, put off by that very church, not truly understanding my Catholic heritage, Faith and morality.
Often in the guise of appealing to the youth, the worst kind of social worker garbage and rainbow-coloured tapestry covered church walls outrages have been allowed to occur.
I sometimes wonder if more young people would be in our churches, attending Mass, learning their catechisms, if the hierarchy/clergy left well alone when it comes to "youth initiatives."
Am I just an old cynic recalling the worst examples of past personal experiences? Perhaps we will see things change for the better, but reading personal accounts of events like the World Youth day in Australia, I am worried that lessons aren't being learnt.
Let me show you an example of what I mean by the 'social worker catholicism' which I find so disruptive (if not outright heretical!).
The bulletin 'Sunday Plus' is published by the Redemptorists (Redemptorist Publicatiuons, Alphonsus House, GU34 3HQ - www.rpbooks.co.uk) and is designed so parish priests can use it as a useful colourful page on the reverse side of which to publish their own parish weekly newsletter.
All well and good so far (I have seen some very uplifting varieties of this kind of affair, with stories of the Saints etc.).
This issue of Sunday Plus (30th Sunday in Ordinary Time, 24th October 2010) has a section "Meet Amy..." with a picture of a trendy looking young person, we assume (rightly?) is a Catholic.
So that I don't spoil the enjoyment for you, or get accused of partial editing, let me give you the whole text of the 'Meet Amy' bit, including the emboldened quote placed at the front so it stands out amongst the whole page:
"I think that Catholics would benefit from hearing more about what other religions have to offer."
Amy's mum is a Catholic and Amy was baptised as a baby, but she does not have a sense of a Catholic identity now. Although she is open to different religions and beliefs, she really rejects the prescriptive nature of Catholicism. Amy doesn't believe in a personal God, but believes in a higher power which binds living things together on earth. She reads her horoscopes every day and has recently started trying Buddhist prayer.
What are the Redemptorists trying to prove with this Grade A guff?
- That horoscopes are fine and dandy?
- That Buddhist prayers are fine?
- That losing one's Catholic identity is de rigueur?
- That being open to 'different beliefs' is welcome?
- That Catholicism is "prescriptive" and hence bad?
- That vague belief in a 'higher power' is sufficient?
All this is put out there by this Redemptorist publication without qualification, and so is being promoted by "Catholics" in Catholic churches to the Faithful, including young, impressionable Catholics,
And we wonder why so many youngsters are losing their Faith?
Click on the images here and read the piece for yourself.
Personally I think it is scandalous.
If someone told me this piece was written by a New Ager, an aggressive atheist or a homosexual militant as a means to draw young Catholics away from the Church by overwhelming them with meaningless goo, I would readily believe them.
Yet this was published by - if not written by! - Catholic priests with a duty of care to many Catholic souls.
It shows the terrible state of our Church that not one iota of outrage is expressed at this kind of material (never mind that it was published in the first place).
If we and our children really had to "Meet Amy" in the weekly newsletter (and I wonder how many parishes took this tripe) might we not have met her in the format of being instructed by a thoroughly Catholic priest? Could we have had right opposing wrong? Might we have expected some guidelines for Catholic children and teenagers on how to be loyal to the 'Faith of their Fathers' -- instead of what was dished up in the form of an uncritical advert for what GK Chesterton warned us of all so many decades ago:
When a Man stops believing in God he doesn't then believe in nothing, he believes anything....including horoscopes.