More on Life Teen

More on Life Teen

I’ve adapted and expanded my blog entry from Monday on Life Teen’s adaptations for the new GIRM into a longer article for Catholic World News (subscription required, but you can get a free trial). The comments on the story are somewhat interesting as well.

  • Personally, I can’t stand the style of worship, and I never thought I’d be speaking up to defend them, but in my experience one would have to be blind not to notice the positive aspects of the LifeTeen program.

    It’s strange, then, that all the occasion for the grumbling about LifeTeen we’re suddenly hearing is the decision by the program to obey a directive to cease the practices its critics find so objectionable.  Mr. Bettinelli, you’ve acknowledged in this program that apart from the liturgical abuses the program is solid and that you’ve found the youth ministers involved in it to be generally orthodox.  So now that the liturgical abuses are being addressed, what you have left is a solid program with orthodox ministers.

    But instead of “Good for LifeTeen”, what I’m hearing is “sounds good, but will they do what they say they’re going to do?” I can’t for the life of me figure out where the suspicion and hostility is coming from. Then at the “Off the Record” area of CWNews, some pseudonymous pundit (whose clever writing style closely resembles that of WSJ art critic Terry Teachout) is attempting to tie the LifeTeen “controversy” in with the sexual abuse scandal. This commentator dredges up a two year old story about an unproved allegation of sexual harassment by an adult staff member of dubious credibility against the LifeTeen founder. The CWNews readers pick up on the insinuation and run with it; in the comment box one states “let’s assign [the LifeTeen founder] to a remote solitary-confinement hermitage for life-long prayer/penance/reparation. In fact, let’s assign to such hermitages all the priests & bishops who’ve directly perpetuated/advanced the Scandal in the Church.” Obviously the reader understands what CWNews is getting at and had no trouble making the connection.

    I’m not trying to pick a fight with the blog owner, whose own comments have been more civil and balanced. I’m just scratching my head: what exactly is CWNews’s problem with LifeTeen, and why unleash this all now at the very moment the program is making a commendable effort to conform itself even more closely to the policies of the universal Church?

  • Not everyone at CWN is convinced of Life Teen’s positive aspects. And even I’m worried that the positive elements are sometimes outweighed by the free-wheeling style of some youth ministers.

    The suspicion also comes from the fact that the claim is made that these changes are to be in compliance with the new GIRM, when in fact they were in violation of the old GIRM too. That’s not exactly lying, but it’s not exactly full disclosure either.

    As for the insinuations about Fushek, I purposefully did not include them in my piece. Diogenes thought them to be relevant and included them in what he had to say. (Don’t bother trying speculating on his identity, by the way; he’s not famous enough for most people to know.) But he’s probably making the point that liturgical abuse has often gone hand in hand with other kinds of abuse and that while settlements are not admissions of guilt, neither are they necessarily signs of innocence, especially when accompanied by talk of boundary violations.

  • It’s a tacit admission that they were not in compliance before.  I’m not sure they meant it to be read that way, but words have meanings, grammatical structures are logical structures and this is what their statement means.

    Many people knew that they weren’t in compliance, but it’s another issue for them to admit it openly as they have done.  It can be used openly now as an admitted FACT.