I don't usually do this, but I want to post the comments somebody left for me on my NCYC write up last week. This person thoroughly enjoyed NCYC, thought it was a great event and thought I was being too narrow minded in my critique of it. I take all of these criticisms in good nature, although I think they are wrong, for reasons which I will demonstrate. Below you will find this person comments in their entirety (they posted anonymously, so I have no idea who they are). Please note the ecclesiological view of the Church that this person seems to hold:
I happened to have a wonderful time there. and i thnk it was just what some catholic teens needed. to get away from tradition and praise God through diverse song and worship. it saddens me to hear your immature remarks at the end of this particular blog. i beleive everyone did a great job there and my kids have come back with so many memories, new friends, and the word of God to spread to others. i hope that maybe next time you can be more open minded,or maybe just not even go. God does not focuz on denomination and while yes, i am very proud to be catholic...CHRISTIANITY is the religion, dont compromise it with denomination. God Bless!
Okay, first thing: as I told this person in my response, it is great that they had a wonderful time, but what does that have to do with anything at all? I had a wonderful time as well. Does that in any way affect whether or not the content was wholesome? Only if you hold a Protestantized view that values things for their entertainment value (and entertainment is different from true spiritual edification).
Second, you think the teens needed to get away from tradition and praise God through diverse song and worship? Okay, what tradition are they getting away from? What I mean is this: if teens are "getting away" from tradition by going to NCYC, then that presupposes that where they came from they were getting tradition. However, I bet most kids coming to NCYC do not come from traditional parishes. So where are they getting this exposure to tradition that they need to get away from? Have they ever been exposed to the tradition? I doubt it.
Furthermore, if you think that Catholic teens ought to get away from tradition, then you are not thinking with the mind of the Church. The Church itself exists because of tradition, and herself is kind of one giant Tradition. You cannot be Catholic and despise Tradition so effortlessly. GK Chesterton (whom with Aquinas is the only Catholic writer I quote from with almost complete certainty that he is always correct) said, "The Church has defended tradition in a time which stupidly denied and despised tradition. But that is simply because the Church is always the only thing defending whatever is at the moment stupidly despised." You cannot be a Catholic and seek to free yourself from tradition when to be Catholic means to hold to tradition. To despise Tradition is to think like a Protestant.
Third, this person said, "i beleive everyone did a great job there and my kids have come back with so many memories, new friends, and the word of God to spread to others." Again, with great memories and new friends, what does that have to do with anything? The Islamic kids going to Islamic summer camp could say the same thing. Also, as for the Word of God being spread to others, I don't know what "Word of God" they were hearing at NCYC, because the only message preached over and over again was that God loves you and that with God, you can do anything. That's a good, positive message, one that Joel Olsteen could be proud of. But that's all it is: merely good on a human level. And I'd say it's limited goodness was offset by the amount of quasi-heretical statements they heard.
This person's last comment is the most offensive: God does not focuz [sic] on denomination and while yes, i am very proud to be catholic...CHRISTIANITY is the religion, dont compromise it with denomination." They think the Catholic Church is just another Christian denomination! Aghhh! That is the worst thing expressed in this lamentable post. This is a Protestant view: that the real Church is spiritual and consists of all Christians united spiritually; denominations and visible institutions are just historical accidents that can be modified or dispensed with. Let's again turn to Chesterton for the remedy to this:
"It is simply a historic fact that the Roman Church is the Church and is not a sect. Nor is there anything narrow or unreasonable in saying that the Church is the Church. It may be a good thing that the Roman Empire broke up into nations; but it certainly was not one of the nations into which it broke up. And even a person who thinks it fortunate that the Church broke up into sects ought to be able to distinguish between the little things he likes and the big thing he has broken" (Catholic Church & Conversion).
The Church is absolutely not a denomination. It is the Church. Every other Christian body is some kind of break off from the Church or some kind of deviation of the Church's teaching. Let's remember that until the Reformation, Christian and Catholic meant the same thing. Regarding Protestants, Chesterton has an amusing saying: "Protestants are Catholics gone wrong; that is what is really meant by saying they are Christians."
All of this blogger's comments reveal a staggering misunderstanding of Catholic ecclesiology. That wouldn't be so bad, if it weren't for the fact that this ecclesiology is what is being promoted by NCYC and is what is being taught to young Catholics, that we are just one denomination among many and that it is "Christianity" that really counts. But once you take the Catholicism out of Christianity, what is left? A Protestantized version of the Church. Almost every view this "Catholic" person expressed was a Protestant view. If this is what people are getting out of NCYC, then we should have no part of it.