Sunday, January 6, 2008

Fr. Fushek's folly

I'm sure many of you are familiar with Life Teen and St. Timothy's long time pastor who was its founder.
I also expect that you've heard of the allegations of sexual impropriety against Fr. Dale Fushek and how Bishop Thomas Olmsted has, in light of these allegations, removed him from active ministry.
As The Cafeteria is Closed reports Fr. Fushek is defying the diocese by holding non-Mass worship services at the Mesa Convention center. Considering the past history of the priest sex scandal why anyone would want to encourage their children to attend such a function is beyond me. That Catholics would in defiance of their bishop is even more so.
Fr. Fushek was removed from parish ministry. This implicitly should have prevented him from being in any way involved with young people. He is defying his bishop and worse he is the prima facta cause of other Catholics defying their bishop by supporting his actions.
My parish youth minister informs me that Life Teen has sent out a letter explaining that Fr. Fushek is no longer associated with Life Teen and urging youth ministers to warn their teens against attending these "Praise & Worship" events being run by Dale Fushek.
I've no doubt that individuals who have never been enamored with Life Teen's Charismatic approach to teem ministry will point to the scandal of Dale Fushek's actions and attempt to paint the whole program in the worst of all possible lights.
It is up to those who have seen the positive effects that Life Teen has had on young people, how the program has led youth to Christ, to point out that the program is more than the sins and bad decisions of any one individual. I have seen the Eucharist centered message of Life Teen reach teens who would other wise have been lost to the Church. Life Teen teaches serious messages. It's not all fun and games. Small Groups wrestle with hard issues, and the social ministry frame work of Life Teen often gives parents that backup which might be lacking in a classroom environment.
On September 19, 1846, about 3:00 in the afternoon, two children in the village of La Salette, France, beheld a vision of the Virgin Mary. Neither of the child visionaries led particularly saintly or religious lives after the apparitions. Maximin Giraud fell under the spell of unscrupulous people who used him for his notoriety. Mélanie Calvat attempted to live as a Carmelite nun a few times, but eventually returned to the secular world. She began to espouse her own prophecies and mystical dogmas and unsuccessfully tried to develop a personal following.
The point being that while even St. John Vianney, who at first excepted the apparition as real, began to doubt its autheticity after meeting Maximin Giraud, through the intercession of Our Lady of La Salette he latter recanted of his doubts. Our Lord does not need perfect tools to do his work. Luckily, for he would find his toolbox worriedly empty during most ages of the world. He is quite capable of using the most flawed of us to do His will.
Like Mélanie Calvat it appears Dale Fushek is attempting to build a personal following. As with Calvat these actions have no bearing on the sanctity of the prior work God entrusted to him.

1 comment:

Chris Faddis said...

This is a very well thought out point. Thank you for this. My wife and I appreciate this insight. I was a teen in LIFE TEEN while Dale was pastor at St. Tim's and I worked for him for awhile. I'm now a LIFE TEEN Youth Minister. I am saddened by Dale's actions of late and do not support him, but it is hurtful to me to see what is being said about LIFE TEEN due to this one man's sins.

The ministry of LIFE TEEN is in the hands of the Holy Spirit... that is where it belongs because that is who it belonged to from the beginning.