Wednesday, May 4, 2011

An error of judgement

I feel I committed an error of judgement in publishing a post about Life Teen Masses on April 28th. Although I think my views concerning the liturgy have merit, good people were offended. I regret this and apologise.

I have also received many supportive comments whether verbally, via facebook, etc. But because good people were offended, good people who put such a lot of effort into the formation of our teens, I am deleting the post. I shall probably re-work it into a better thought-out blog post on liturgy and teens/young people in general.

I should like to make it clear that my misgivings concern only the liturgy (I had already made some reference to this here), not the other formational aspects of Life Teen which seem to be pretty solid doctrinally. One may have one's views on style of delivery etc. but the content is solid, and all those I know who are involved in the Life Teen programme are unquestionably orthodox in their Catholic faith.

It's a glorious sunny day here. May the Light of the Risen Christ shine upon all my readers. Please remember me in your prayers as I remember you.


  1. Thanks, Father! As you reflect and prepare for that new piece on Eucharist and our youth, take a look at the Holy Father's thoughts in the last section of Chapter 5 of his volume 2 Jesus of Nazareth. Fellowship is not our tradtion.

  2. Dear Father:

    I understand your desire to not offend the faithful. Putting aside the theme of the Life Teen mass for one moment, the attitude of many or most in the pews (& some at the altar)(Latin mass generally excluded) is not sufficiently reverential. There is no sense of awe. There is lack of the idea of holiness. Some examples - talking in the pews, clapping, reviewing in depth the weekly bulletin at the end of the mass, waving to each other as a sign of peace, the celebrant chatting too much, etc.

    These issues are not isolated to the Life Teen mass, but they are still ailments that have "watered down" the liturgy. A serious error that is more noticeable in the Life Teen mass is the inappropriate music.

    These sad truths needs to be remedied.



  3. I appreciate your sensitivity, but don't let them fool you, Father! Who cares if they are "offended"? Did you tell the truth? From what I read, you did! That's the real reason they are offended. Ask them to counter your points with concrete examples or reasoned arguments. Being "offended" is not a rational argument.

  4. No, but there has been a lot of poor catechesis on liturgy for many years, not to say decades. Good and orthodox catholics are simply following what they have been told is good liturgy for teens. There needs to be extensive re-catechesis. This re-catechesis is a matter of justice. It is hard to be told that the way things have been done are no longer the way things will be done. Those of us on the more traditional side of the fence appreciate how hard it was to hear that when all that we held dear was cast aside.

  5. Some of these comments seem to be motivated by more of a desire to "win" rather than by Christian charity. In response to David Werling's comments (rather rude ones, in my opinion)--this is not solely an academic debate- you are talking about faith-filled people who are doing what has not only been allowed but encouraged by the very same Church leadership that they now perceive to be doing a complete 180. I believe much of the frustration and pain comes from feeling that the rules have suddenly been changed -- it's like if a child finally began to make his bed every morning as he had been taught to the approbration of his mother and then suddenly out of the blue one day she starts punishing him for it-the rug is completely pulled out from under him! And yes, as Fr. Boyle states, catechesis has been poor. It is the responsibility of the hierarchy to teach. If the Cardinal Wuerl in DC presides at a "Lifeteen-style" liturgy, I am left with the impression (correct or not) that the bishops themselves disagree. Overall, I'm more confused than ever and WANT better instruction from Church leadership.

  6. Katie: You have summed up the problem perfectly. Thanks. I make an argument for continuity and changelessness in the liturgy at here. When what is most sacred to us is changed, we question its sacredness - either the sacredness of what went before or that of what is to come.


Please avoid being 'anonymous' if at all possible.


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