This year featured the Reverend Bryan Massingale:
Here's what that means to Fr. Massingale and he believes it should mean for catechists:
- Dismiss the Church's moral teaching regarding sexuality. They're "rules" and Catholics aren't bound by those rules. (Of course, that's the kind of literalism that Jesus condemned and Pope Francis has decried.)
- Catholics aren't duty-bound to obey Church teaching. It's all about "primacy of conscience." "Respectfully consider" conscience when making moral decisions and, if one's conclusions regarding vary with Church teaching, well that's fine. Why? Catholics are only duty-bound to "do the best they can, even if it goes against Church teaching." (Jesus must not have meant "Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.")
- Rather than teach those rules, catechists should form "adults in the faith [who] adapt the 'rules' to real-life circumstances in a messy and complex world." (Yes, that's the "¡Hagan lío!" ["messiness"] that Pope Francis has encouraged, beginning first with young people in Rio.)
No talk about countercultural witness to secularism, materialism, and consumerism and providing young Catholics the spiritual and moral tools they will need to provide that witness. Instead, just accommodate to the dominant culture when those "messy and complex" circumstances arise, all peppered with quotes from Pope Francis' encyclical Amoris Laetitia.
What's interesting to The Motley Monk about all of this is its negative view of young Catholics. It's as if they're doomed to failure, victims of the culture in which they've been growing up. So, rather than challenge young people to live virtuously and educate them about Scripture and Tradition and the happiness that's to be found in virtuous living so they can make informed decisions for themselves (that's "conscience formation"), the assumption is that young people are utterly and completely incapable of grasping and appreciating the beauty of truth and then rising to its challenges so they might experience true happiness and avoid becoming mired in those "messes."
One phrase comes to mind about the product of this approach to catechesis and faith formation: Milquetoast catholics in name only.
Let the discussion begin...