Ecumenical Youth Groups

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Catholics may not take Communion with non-Catholic Christian groups, except for Orthodox Churches in some very rare circumstances.

Non-Catholics may not take Catholic Communion, except for Orthodox Christians in some very rare circumstances.

Catholics may pray with non-Catholics, but not in such a way as to give the impression that they have left the Catholic Church or that they are in any way denying the teaching or jurisdictional authority of the Church.

Such ecumenical services will necessarily have the feel of a Protestant worship service as a consequence. Young men and women who become accustomed to such services may lose (or fail to develop) their awareness of the unique gift of Jesus' real presence in the Eucharist. The entertainment value of services designed to attract youth is very high, while the entertainment value in ordinary Sunday Masses is, on average, extremely low. The ecumenical services will often have the atmosphere of a rock concert, with a highly excited and very attractive young audience dominating the event. Roman Catholic Masses in the United States are much more subdued, in part by the design of the liturgy and in part, perhaps, by an unbalanced taste among parishioners not to show any emotion at Mass.


Brother Roger Schutz was a Calvinist pastor who was allowed to receive daily communion at the Catholic Mass in Taizé and who also received communion from Pope John Paul II and Cardinal Ratzinger (Benedict XVI). He was assassinated at age 90 during a worship service at Taizé. R.I.P.

Young Life

Young Life was founded by a Presbyterian minister in 1938. "Young Life's mission remains the same — to introduce adolescents to Jesus Christ and to help them grow in their faith. This happens when caring adults build genuine friendships and earn the right to be heard with their young friends. For more than six decades, God has blessed the Young Life staff, increasing its numbers from five to more than 3,300 — from one club in Texas to clubs in nearly every corner of the world."[1]

Young Life is allegedly non-denominational, but its "Statement of Faith" is very Protestant. It removes the idea of the Communion of Saints from its creed and holds that "God, by His Word and Spirit, calls us as sinful people into the fellowship of Christ's body. Thus He creates the one holy, catholic and apostolic church, united in the bonds of love, endowed with the gifts of the Spirit and summoned by Christ to preach the Gospel and to administer the sacraments, to carry on the ministry of reconciliation, to relieve human need and to strive for social justice." This suggests to me that Young Life sees itself as "the one holy, catholic, and apostolic church" and engages in sacramental ministry; if so, then it sees itself as a Church, and not a fellowship of believers from many different churches.

"Ministering to and With Catholic Young People."

This is the only sentence that made me momentarily uneasy; the rest of the Manual was clearly written by a Catholic and is an adequate representation of Catholic teaching.

"As is the case with many youth who have a history in a church body, there is often a need for young Catholic persons to be further evangelized by caring, responsible followers of Christ."

On the one hand, that is a definition of the New Evangelization--preaching the gospel to people who have already, in theory, heard the gospel, but whose faith is immature or otherwise underdeveloped.

On the other hand, I suspect that this gives license to enthusiastic anti-Catholic teens to preach against the Church, consciously or unconsciously.

The document is OK. I doubt that the kids who do the presentations really adhere to it. It is practically impossible for evangelical Protestants not to want to persuade Catholics to "come out" of the Church. So, too, evangelical Catholics want all Protestants to "come home." :o(

The Five Cs[2]

  • Contact: outreach
  • Club: weekly meetings
  • Camp: week-long retreat
  • Campaigners: weekly meeting for leaders
  • Committee: adult leaders