Saturday, November 24, 2007

Life-Teen Founder Turns Protestant Minister

This hits pretty close to home and I'm not terribly surprised.

The former pastor at a Mesa Catholic church who faces seven misdemeanor charges of sexual misconduct has started a new worship center and conducted his first services.

More than 500 worshippers gathered to hear Dale Fushek conduct a service at a Mesa hotel Thursday.Known as "Monsignor Dale" during his 20 years at St. Timothy's, Fushek co-founded the national Life Teen program and served as vicar general of the Catholic Diocese of Phoenix

But all that came tumbling down in late 2005, when he was arrested on one count of assault, five counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor and one count of indecent exposure. He is accused of engaging in sexually related discussions with teenagers during confessions and exposing himself to teens as he got into his hot tub.

Fushek was suspended by the diocese (God bless Bishop Olmsted) and is now resigning from the priesthood. He is tying to win the right to a jury trial on the charges and a hearing is pending on that issue before the Arizona Supreme Court.

On Thanksgiving Day, he said he was happy to be back before a group of worshippers.

Well I guess we know what he really wants. Aside from flashing minors that is. The want for an audience takes precedence over the True Presence of Jesus Christ. Seems to be a growing trend over the past, oh, 40 or so years.

Is it really any big surprise that the founder of a quasi-Catholic protestant-esque youth ministry would turn protestant when the going got tough? The founder of a Catholic youth ministry to teach Catholicism to teens leaves the Church to start a protestant denomination. Anyone else see the irony?

I think it's obvious he really didn't care about teaching the truth (seeing as he doesn't believe it himself) as much as he just wanted to get near kids. Which is really quite fitting seeing as Life Teen doesn't teach anything.

I live in teh Phoenix diocese and Life Teen was over a decade old when I went through it. And I can honestly say to you that it is worthless. 'Hip' songs and charismatic hand-waving does not teach Catholic doctrine. I was confirmed after the program's close and I had no idea what a dogma even was, let alone what any of them were. I came away from Life Teen in the same state as when I entered it, only more embarassed.

If you want to reach kids, don't make them sing cheesy songs, perform stupid skits, or ask stupid questions like "How does this express Jesus' love for us?"

If there's one thing teens fear more than the devil that is embarassment in front of their peers. All of those things accomplish that. Lame attempts at 'reaching' teens only turns into patronization.

Of course, I think Flashing Fushek had a different idea about 'reaching' teens...

Last words:

Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus, Dale.

Enjoy the barbeque.


Dymphna said...

You've said everything I want to know about Life Teen. If it ever gets introduced at my parish I'm protesting.

Unitas said...


If a program that's meant to teach teens their faith can't accomplish that then it's a waste of time. They might make some friends but that's about it.

All I can suggest is parents try to teach their kids alongside it, to make sure they learn what they need to know.

(Heh, think about that: not only is home-schooling kids a better option but so is home-catechizing!)

Seeing as it's hard enough to get them to eat dinner together I wish everyone the best of luck.