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The Catholic Youth Ministry Federation (CYMFed) was launched in 2009. The first Chairman was Fr Dominic Howarth who stated that it was set up to “form and serve the Catholic Youth Ministry community in England and Wales”. The idea of CYMFed is to “bring together youth service directors, representatives from new movements, organisations and religious orders working nationally with young people, and with Bishop Kieran Conry in his capacity as Bishop for Youth”. Flock readers will remember Bishop Kieran Conry as the card-carrying Modernist who infamously ran off with another man's wife; CYMFed is now overseen by Bishop Ralph Heskett, C.Ss.R. We are publishing this essay in response to our readers' requests for more information on how young people are being formed by the Church in England and Wales.
Ever since its foundation CYMFed has attracted valid criticism for presenting a banal, dumbed down version of Catholicism to our young people. Indeed, the experience so far has been enough to leave anyone with even a minimal formation in the Faith, cringing with embarrassment. A case in point was the first Flame Congress in 2012, attended by 8,000 young people, which was awful from a Catholic perspective, having virtually no content in line with our rich Catholic heritage, and the 2015 Flame 2 event attended by 10,000 young people was even worse.
As reported on the ‘Catholic and Loving It Blog’ by one participant at the first Flame event:
I went to the event and I have got to be honest it was pretty pagan. What was on offer was pretty humanistic and the best things that were said at the event were by two Protestants! The organisers of the events are all lefties and a lot of the Catholic speakers of the event as well were. There was little mention of Jesus or conversion at the event and sadly it was a missed opportunity. Although kudos for having Eucharistic Adoration at the end. But overall poor show guys - slick organisation, poor content!
The event was poor, simple as. I went in there with expectant faith, many people I spoke to about the event in the evening thought it was good, and about 40% of the people I spoke too thought it was awful (mainly priests and seminarians, I even spoke to someone from one of the contributing organisations and he was shocked at how bad it was).
The crux of the matter is this:
“We have 2,000 years of doctrine, liturgy, art, and music upon which to draw in order to bolster the faith and Catholic identity of our youth and we give them watered down doctrine, bad music, bad liturgy, and felt banners. Our youth deserve more.” (Steve Archbold)
The above quote clearly illustrates that the answer to the present crisis in the Church is simple: give young people authentic evangelisation, doctrine and liturgy rooted in the Church’s perennial tradition.
However, rather than address the elephant in the room, the Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales pays ‘trendy, professional, yoof officer Catholics’ from across the country to pack loads of ‘yoof’ into coaches and send them off with colourful t-shirts to dance around for a few hours at a musical jamboree called ‘Flame’, with a few ‘Catholic bits’ begrudgingly tagged on to hopefully pacify the genuine Catholics. Meanwhile these same young people continue to leave the Church in droves, and do so without any grasp of basic Catholic doctrine. Yet because the exit questionnaire says they ‘enjoyed’ the event, and in ‘yoof ministry’ that is all that matters, the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales, Cardinal Vincent and CYMFed can go on pretending that everything is rosy in the Church.
The fact is that young people have massive challenges in a world that is growing ever more hostile to authentic morality in general and Catholicism in particular, and CYMFed is doing absolutely nothing to prepare them for these challenges. The liberal clerics behind CYMFed project their hatred of the Magisterium, Tradition and Liturgy onto the young people, using the well-worn narrative 'we need to meet young people where they are at, and they don’t want any high-brow Latin liturgy stuff and anything too dark or depressing that mentions sin etc.' What these liberal clerics actually mean is, of course, “We don't really believe in anything ‘too Catholic’ ourselves, so we will project our own prejudices onto the young people and claim they don’t want it either.” It is true of course that events such as Flame do receive some positive feedback from young people, but this feedback will never include the fact that a young person experienced repentance or deepened their commitment to Christ and His Church.
There is a bizarre fetish in CYMFed for booking speakers who are obsessed with the sin of Sodomy (one of the sins which cry out to Heaven for vengeance). Fr Timothy Radcliffe, for example, who spoke at both the Flame Congress in 2012 and 2015, infamously made the following blasphemous claim about Sodomy:
“We cannot begin with the question of whether it is permitted or forbidden! We must ask what it means, and how far it is Eucharistic. Certainly it can be generous, vulnerable, tender, mutual and non-violent. So in many ways, I would think that it can be expressive of Christ’s self-gift.”
The fact that Fr. Timothy Radcliffe is seen as suitable for young Catholic children by a Bishops' Conference Agency following such a demonic statement, should send chills down the spine of every Catholic parent. Parents are the primary educators of their children and many parent have raised their concerns with the organising committee. Notwithstanding, displaying shocking arrogance, CYMFed continues to abuse and betray parents' trust by inviting those who embrace such loathsome views to form our young people.
Also speaking at Flame 2 was Fr. Dan Fitzpatrick and Fr. Marc Lyden-Smith part of the ‘Sunderland Podfathers’. Both these priests have put things out that seem to imply that they support the sodomite lifestyle. Looking at both of their Twitter feeds there is also lots of insinuation and digs at faithful Catholics who love the teaching of Christ, and support for sodomite supporters such as Fr. Timothy Radcliffe, Cardinal Kasper and Fr. James Martin SJ. Fr Dan Fitzpatrick recently abandoned the priesthood (no surprise there of course).
When one also looks at the social networking feeds of the Flame Congress organising committee, i.e. Fr. Dermott Donnelly (Hexham and Newcastle), Fr. Dominic Howarth (Brentwood) and Mr. John Toryuson (Southwark), one will struggle to find anything remotely Catholic, in fact one will be hard-pressed to find anything other than fluffy ‘yoof work’ initiatives and sentimental jargon that would be at home in an anti-Catholic publication such as The Tablet or The Guardian. Priest friends in the dioceses where these three men reside have also informed me that they have damaged many young people through the lack of priority they give to orthodox Catholic catechesis.
CYMFed membership is supposed to be made up of representatives from ‘new movements, organisations and religious orders working nationally with young people’. However, it is instructive to note just how few representatives on their website come from Catholic groups that one would consider orthodox. Self-evidently, the leaders of CYMFed have ‘cherry picked’ the groups that fit in with their liberal, lefty, fluffy agenda. Despite the fact that these liberals (like their Anglican counterparts) bang on endlessly about being a ‘broad church’ within their ‘ecclesiology’, what they actually mean is diversity among those who share their distaste for the perennial faith and traditions of the Catholic Church.
CYMFed is confirming young people in the spirit of this world, rather then preparing them for the demands of radical discipleship in Christ. Our young people ask for bread and are given stones; they deserve better.
[Of the eight clerics mention in the above essay, two (i.e. 25 percent) have already abandoned their ministry. Many readers, like me, will struggle to understand why men who so evidently loathe the orthodoxy and orthopraxis of our forefathers, nonetheless, sign up for a celibate priesthood. I suspect that their bizarre fixation with the sin of Sodom may be one of the keys that unlocks this particular mystery of iniquity. A concomitant mystery of iniquity is why our bishops are obviously deliberately excluding orthodox men, and continue to cherry pick clerics of this ilk, to minister to our young people. Are we not witnessing here the trademark arrogance of the Modernist cleric in action?