Totally Catholic Youth Ministers Lounge

Are you in youth ministry and you've had it with crazed parents? Rollin' your eyes at the pastoral council? Tired of administration work? Love youth? Love the Church? Appalled at parish politics? Looking for some good games? For a creative ways to teach a lesson for Religious Ed? Just need a place to veg out and say "phew! Someone outside of the parish to talk to!"? Grab y'r Starbucks, turn the computer away from the staff's eyes, grab a seat on a donated dusty couch and let it all go.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

True For Catholics Too?

I wish I wish I wish that there was better reporting and statistics for Catholic Youth Ministry. I think that when these statisics are taken the Catholic kids don't get asked these questions.

And frankly, I think that there would be vastly different answers.

In this article the National Study of Youth And Religion (website: or NYSR did a study :

Among the study’s most significant findings, two stood out. First, contrary to popular notions fueled by the media, most teens today are not religious “seekers” rebelling against their parents’ religion. Instead, they willingly accompany their parents to church. Second — here’s the troubling part — these teens, even those regularly attending Christian churches and youth groups, are hard-put to articulate the first thing about what they believe. And when coaxed by the study’s 17 trained interviewers, the teens eventually described a religion largely devoid of any notion of Jesus, grace, judgment, salvation, or the cross. Rather, the creed of their faith goes something like this: “God’s out there somewhere, and if you just do what makes you happy and avoid being really bad, you’ll go to heaven when you die.” This faith is characterized by what Smith and Denton call “benign whateverism,” otherwise known as indifference. “MTD is wide open, accepting, and tolerant,” says Smith, “so it fits well with the general whateverism we observed in the youth.”

Well, I totally understand the "whateverism". I mean, we keep telling these kids that there is no one religion with all the answers, no religion is better than the others, this is the group of kids that had to endure the "we give awards to every child so that no one feels left out" garbage-no one or no thing, no religion, no concept of God was worth emulating, recognizing as extraordinary or worthy of pursing and falling in love with. Why WOULD they be interested??

One researcher calls it “Moralistic Therapeutic Deism,” or MTD:

How has MTD gained such a hold on America’s youth? There appear to be two main culprits: an absence of biblical grounding and an absence of conversations about faith.

What grinds me most is not just that culturally we've spouted the annoying above stuff, but that it seems to be devoid of Catholic sensibility.

It is my firm belief that Catholic youth today are NOT embroiled in this MTD idea. Not when the Franciscan University High School Youth Conferences reach 33,000 kids each year at 15 national youth conferences (and a waiting list a mile long, really) LifeTeen is in 950 parishes globally and 120,000 kids go to weekly LifeTeen Masses, (the majority being in the US), and in a 9-month time period 1 NET TEam of 8 teams-ONE -will " facilitate close to 120 retreats * stay in 105 host homes * reach 8,500 young people one on one with the Gospel "

That's not even talking about all of the youth who are formed being involved in the leadership of these programs.

Hello?? Am I on to something here?

I believe the reason Catholic kids are so on fire is the very reason anyone Catholic is on fire. It is substance. It is depth. It is a physical, intellectual and spiritual reality all in one. It permeates not just Sunday or Wednesday, but EVERY part of our lives, everything we see, everything we do, everything in Creation. We live it in Art, in scholastic works, in our devotions, in our relationships with each other, with other Christians, and with the world, it affects our minds, our hearts, our emotions, our souls...Being Catholic is not about "whatever"

It is about "Ever-y-THING, PERSON, CREATION. It says YES Jesus is worth dying for (saints and martyrs) YES I sin and want to receieve Jesus into me (Sacraments) YES I want to understand this reality (theological and philosophical )

This isn't a faith you can remain "whatever" about. It is a faith that you can't find yourself living without once you've tasted it.


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