Hard As Nails


#1

Has anyone heard of this ministry? I think the name of the gentleman who started it is Justin Fatica and they’re out on the east coast. I just watched a documentary on this Catholic ministry and it was very powerful…I was in tears.

They were banned by the Diocese from doing any work in the Vermont Catholic schools, which I thought was ridiculous, because a non-Christian counselor that works at one of schools thought it was too extreme:mad:!!!

How does someone who isn’t even a Christian get to work in a Catholic School:banghead: :banghead: :banghead: and then gets to dictate what the students will be exposed to? I didn’t see anything wrong with what they did…was it in your face…totally, but it was all Truth and kids need to hear it…especially because the biggest part of Justin’s message is that God/Jesus loves them!!!

Just wondering if anyone had heard of this ministry/group and what your opinion is about them.


#2

Some of the things that I’ve heard about the ministry make me wonder. I don’t like the sound of some of the things I’ve heard.

From Amy Welborn’s blog:

Though his ministry, called Hard as Nails, is aimed at Catholic teens, he sounds like an evangelical. His tactics include drill-sergeant-like assaults: “If you sin, you better have the courage to bash Jesus’ face in!” Fatica screams at one cherubic girl, pushing her to the verge of tears. “Have you sinned in the last 24 hours? Have ya?! HAVE YA?!” Fatica wants his disciples to feel the pain that Christ suffered for their sins. At one session, a kid picks up a metal folding chair and whacks Fatica—at his direction—on the back, as the minister repeatedly screams to another supplicant, “Jesus took all this pain for you!” He re-creates Calvary, ordering teens to carry heavy crosses up a hill, or asking them to stand, arms extended against the wood, while their peers pound the cross with a hammer and scream insults.

amywelborn.wordpress.com/2007/12/18/hard-as-nails/


#3

i read the same article as PP quotes.

his tactics seem to be sorely lacking in counsel, piety, and prudence.


#4

I saw the documentary of them on HBO, they seem like a very positive group. If only they had a chapter around here!

As far as the hitting with a chair, basically he was taking pain like Jesus did for our sins. He was showing that it is hard to hurt someone in person. I think overall it was effective. The only sad part seemed to be that his dad is an atheist? And it truly breaks his son’s heart.


#5

Hello Brothers and Sisters

I caught the show on HBO and at first I was happy to see someone not afraid to promote his Catholic faith…Then I started to think about the poor overweight girl that he brought up there and made cry. I know his attentions were to show what she goes through everyday in her mind, or by how others see her. The problem with that is…if he didn’t talk to her before the ridicule…how would he know if she did not see her self that way and she was content and in love with herself. What he could of done was bring out (the sadness) of what she already had defeated. I have no problem with Hard as Nails as long as they realize the status of the person they try to help.


#6

Watched some of this on HBO or showtime - I will wait until I see the entire thing, but, from what I did see - it did not sit well with me.


#7

Went to AmyWellborn’s and allher links, went to the Hard As Nails website, and to YouTube to catch the videos.

It reminds me way too much of evangelical protestants. I would not want my girls involved in this, to the point where if I was not informed that the school was having such a program and my girls went to it, I would be at the principal’s door the next day.

To my mind, it’s the 359 degree turn form the Kumbyah Movement- entirely different, but no real value as catechesis. That said, if it bears real fruit, who can stop it?


#8

Although he was a religion teacher of sorts for awhile, he obviously has a lot to learn about the faith. Not to mention his sad lack of humility. I wonder also if he has his bishop’s permission for this "ministry/apostolate. I would suggest, for starters, that he needs a real job in the real world.


#9

Actually the fat girl with them is in on the whole thing. She goes with them to each town when they speak.

Justin’s story about struggle with masturbation was very uplifting, I even started working out more! :eek:


#10

I wonder if anyone ever missed with the chair and hit a foot or two higher?

I don’t get HBO, so I never saw the entire documentary, but there was a discussion about this on another Catholic forum, and here are some other links:

abcnews.go.com/Nightline/FaithMatters/story?id=4013475&page=1

youtube.com/watch?v=ChdbXbOw_M4

youtube.com/watch?v=3R4k302AYpk&feature=related

I have no problem with using evangelical language to express Catholic truths; however, there are some items of serious concern I have here:

  1. Whenever someone feels he/she has been “chosen” for something, there is always the danger of cult-like behaviors/characteristics. Therefore, this dude and his ministry had better be under strict church supervision, especially since underage people are involved.

  2. If you look at one of the videos, about 16 seconds into it he is pushing a kid to the ground and kicking him. Now, this might be part of an “act”, but it still does not look like appropriate safety precautions have been taken.

Besides, I always laugh whenever some affluent suburban kid tries to pass himself off as some macho street tough. Remember Vanilla Ice?


#11

He is intense and I totally understand and approve because I have six kids who are lukewarm/indifferent toward God, and Jesus told us what He will do with those who are lukewarm.

That upsets me so much because they can’t be bothered about God when He gave His only-begotten Son to die for their salvation…and they DON’T CARE!

Well, Justin cares and he wants to make a difference. He is reaching out to teenagers and young adults in a way that will break through their barriers. Good luck to him because he recognises that only one thing is important - their immortal souls.

I can’t wait to read his book.

“Justin Fatica is a faith-filled disciple of the Lord who has helped many young people to reclaim their faith. His sincerity and personal witness have energized many to deepen their love of God and live their discipleship.”

Most Rev. Donald W. Trautman, STD, SSL
Bishop of Erie


#12

This reminds me of the movie Fat Camp. It was made in 1990’s, and the director of the camp - who was extremely skinny - was just like this Justin fellow.

He would make the campers do the most ridiculous tasks, and scream at them the whole time. I was keeping my hopes up the entire film that the director was just a misguided soul, but it was at the end of the film that his true colors showed - and it was the act of Justin being hit with a chair that connected with this scene and makes me think Justin is mentally insane.

The camp director brings all the campers to a cliff, where a little tree is at, the branches of which hang over the cliff. He told the campers they had to pass one final test before leaving camp: to hang onto the tree branches for five seconds.

“What if we…can’t?” one camper asked, making a big gulp.

“Well, then I guess you…” the director said and make a falling motion with his hand.

No one stepped forward to do the test, so the director decided to “show you how it’s done.” He jumped and grabbed onto a tree branch, and hung off it for ten seconds - and let me tell you, that tree wasn’t even strong enough to support a little kid!

Justin reminds me of this camp director: screaming, putting the campers to weird tasks, and beating himself up (getting beat with a chair) in order to appear good and pious.

There’s a saying Jesus told me, and I’ll never forget it: “Satan is always behind strange penances and bizaare spiritualities”.

This ministry is strange, and its name sounds more like a fitness program or an action movie than a Catholic movement or association. I wouldn’t enter it or support it.


#13

Though his ministry, called Hard as Nails, is aimed at Catholic teens, he sounds like an evangelical. His tactics include drill-sergeant-like assaults: “If you sin, you better have the courage to bash Jesus’ face in!” Fatica screams at one cherubic girl, pushing her to the verge of tears. “Have you sinned in the last 24 hours? Have ya?! HAVE YA?!” Fatica wants his disciples to feel the pain that Christ suffered for their sins. At one session, a kid picks up a metal folding chair and whacks Fatica—at his direction—on the back, as the minister repeatedly screams to another supplicant, “Jesus took all this pain for you!” He re-creates Calvary, ordering teens to carry heavy crosses up a hill, or asking them to stand, arms extended against the wood, while their peers pound the cross with a hammer and scream insults.

That seems a little intense to put into a school. I’d be scared out of my mind if that guy popped up at my old high school. I can’t blame the counselor; not even football coaches scream insults at players like that in mid-August.

I have to admit, the chair-whacking part makes him sound like Ben Stiller from Heavyweights, doing situps as Lars karate chops him in the stomach.


#14

Just to show how little I know, I thought Hard As Nails was only a brand of nail polish.

It is a quality nail polish, though.


#15

Have you read his book or met him? He does have his bishop’s permission and also works in conjunction with many approved and fruitful Catholic miniseries. I would suggest you take a look at how many struggling and desperate souls you have helped recently before you make comments about him getting a real job in the real world. There is no more real job in any more real world than bringing souls to Christ.


#16

I’ve met him in person on a few occasions.

He’s honest, real and powerful.

Unfortunatly he lacks tact, dosn’t accuratly convey God’s love (big focus on suffering and alot of “just get over it”).

Also he dosn’t seem to be all there

Definatly on a mission, definatly authentic at this point but he needs a good staff around him or this will turn into a cult.


#17

I just saw the documentary (here in Europe - sorry I’m a bit late to this thread).

So…it would appear that spreading Christ’s message is just a matter of screaming “god loves you” at bunch of impressionable teenagers whilst being bashed with a chair?

It certainly makes for a great show, yet if I were a principle I would never allow such anti-intellectual rubbish into my school. What on *earth *is that young man thinking?

Rather than “extreme” it looked decidedly “inappropriate”, and had all the hallmarks of a cult.


#18

I like what he does - I think the issue is more the audience. I do not think that Catholic school children is the appropriate demographic as they should (oh no I used the S word) have two Catholic parents at home (or one) teaching them faith. This should not be new to them. However, doing something like this in a prison reform where some of the convicts need the “scared straight” mentality might be helpful and not be damaging.


#19

I think the problem is that programs like that really don’t ever do much for those with a questioning nature - so one ends up with a collection of mindless zombies smashing chairs over one another.


#20

Justin’s program does a lot for kids who come from hard and abusive backgrounds. If you think that it only ends with zombies smashing chair over one another, I would question what your knowledge of such programs actually is. Justin is not perfect and neither is his program. But it bothers me excessively that so many people make snap judgments about his method of spreading the faith, especially since he reaches more people than most of his detractors combined…


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