Question on 'Youth for Christ'

Authored By: Tillotson & Guindon

YOUTH FOR CHRIST?

(CRNET members, Ken Guindon and Teresa Tillotson, respond to the following question posted on the Catholic Resource Network.)

>I am told you are familiar with "youth for christ". A young friend of ours >asked us to donate to her upcoming trip to Barcelona Spain, and although I >think she is a fine young christian, I did wonder about just who the group >would be targeting in Spain. Jeff Mirus confirmed my fears that they might >going after catholics. Can you tell me more about "youth for christ's" >mission?

Thanks for asking. I am sensitive to this question since I returned to the Catholic Church after working as a fundamentalist Baptist paster in Southern France. We actually live about 180 kilometers from Barcelona and I know the city very well. I have co-operated with groups in Barcelona or thereabouts in Evangelism in that area and have also observed the moonies and the mormons doing evangelism in Barcelona. As we all know Barcelona is a Catalan City with a long history of Catholicism. The problem there in Spain like elsewhere is that many do not practice their religion.

But... basically the people are Catholic and any mission there will be endeavoring to preach the protestant fundamentalist brand of Christianity to a Catholic population. I do believe the Spanish need to hear gospel, but from Catholics like the Legionaries of Christ and others who do go on "missions" in Spain. These are the people we Catholics need to support, not those who are taking Catholics and making Baptists or Pentecostals or something else out of them.

As for Youth for Christ.

This movement goes back at least to the 1940s and has had a lot of big name evangelicals involved with it (like Billy Graham, a Baptist who really became famous after working with Youth for Christ ). They did a lot of outreach to the young through dramas and getting sports figures to identify with them... to appeal to the youth.

Their objective to reach impressionable young people is a real problem for us Catholics who would like to reach our own youth. These will be lost to the Church because of the fundamentalist groups like Youth for Christ who will indoctrinate them against the Catholic Church. Hope this helps some. Yours in Christ, Ken Guindon

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I'd definitely avoid Youth for Christ. That was the road I took in high school and I left the Church for several years, partly because of faulty info I received from them.

They were very kind to me, but let me know often and gently that the Catholic Church was NOT a bible believing Church, that one could not be "saved" in the Catholic Church, they provided me with reading materials, which steered me away from the Church.

Don't get me wrong, the kids and leaders were very sincere and kind, fun to be around and on fire for Christ. But you are very right, they will be trying to lead this young person AWAY from the Catholic Church.

I have heard that YMI retreats are really wonderful, very orthodox, and the kids LOVE them. If you could find a way for her to get to one of these retreats, it would be GREAT. I've seen messages about the YMI retreats on CRNET, but can't remember where I saw it, I think in the bulletins section. I think Jeff Mirus the SYSOP could tell you where to get info on the YMI retreats.

God bless.

Teresa Tillotson

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