Poorly catechizing our youth


What should a parent do when the Youth Ministry Coordinator teaches the youth of the parish that it is not a requirement to go to church on Sundays? And that praying to God is an acceptable substitution to our Sunday obligation?

Do we just continue, as parents, to teach our children what the Catechism states and leave it be? Or is it our responsibility to bring it to the pastor’s attention so that the coordinator doesn’t continue teaching error and causing our youth to believe it as truth?




First, check with the Youth Minister to see if what you are being told is true or a version of the truth.

Many times teens require parents to drive them. If a parent refuses, then the teen does not commit a sin when they do not go to Mass.

My youth minister had to say this many times because teenagers would be driven to CCD, learn they had to go to Mass and had parents who couldn’t care less and would “forget” or even tease them about being “too holy”. So I can see where a youth minister would say that their requirement is negated because they must depend their parent.

After that is cleared up THEN go to the pastor.


That is a blatant WRONG. PLEASE take this to the Pastor ASAP. This is the kind of thing that causes so many youth to leave the Church.



Now, as a youth leader I have had to say to kids “if your parent forbids you to go to Mass, and there is no other way you can go, then it reduces your culpability”.


Yes, it might be a good idea to ask the Youth Ministry Coordinator exactly what he or she said. It might have lost some context along the way.


Yes. A child cannot be held liable if their parent refuses to bring them. 99% of the time kids who make the effort to attend a Youth Group would make the effort to go to Mass if it were up to them.

The saddest thing I ever saw was my boss’ 7yo. She had him make his First Communion because she wanted a cute picture of him in a suit. They never went to Mass, even on holidays.

For two solid months after his First Communion, he’d cry and beg to go to Mass. Refuse to do things he liked and made childish ‘threats’ which my boss found hysterical. (SICK!) It broke my heart. I couldn’t afford to drive to my boss’ house to take him, but I think his aunt did for a while.

He had no sin on his poor little heart. And I pray that he keeps his fervor even if his parents continue to fail him.


Is @pianistclare around? I’m sure she’ll have advice.


Not for another week or so.


The youth ministry coordinator was explaining
"Franciscan Spirituality" and that she doubts the saints, who practiced this spirituality, went to church every Sunday. She said the love of God in our hearts is more valuable than going to church out of obligation.

Unfortunately, the other teens were agreeing with her interpretation. Her false message seems to be far-reaching as our parish is the 3rd largest in our diocese, yet there were only about 10 students in attendance.




If it’s truly a case of poor catechesis, I would report it to the pastor.


It’s rather like saying that as long as you love your mom and dad in your heart, everything is fine, even if you never visit them.


I think the obvious answer is going to the priest, and if he ignores you, the bishop.

If the youth group is failing, it might also be something to bring to the Parish council. They will not want to fund a lackluster experience for a few children.


Missing Sunday mass and holy days of obligation are mortal sins (with full knowledge and consent of the will) which bars one from receiving Holy Communion, cuts oneself from God, loses heaven, gains hell, makes one a slave of the devil, kills the spiritual life of the soul, and makes all of our prayers and good works void. The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass cannot be replaced by a few prayers. It is important to teach children the importance of the Mass and the Holy Eucharist.


Best of Luck there. My PASTOR would not let me teach (to Confirmation kids) that missing Mass could be a mortal sin (if the other conditions are met). He said it was more important that people attend Mass because they wanted to not out of an obligation.

As far as the comment that 99% of the kids that attend youth group would attend Mass if able does not play out in my experience. Often times the “youth group” in my church is made up of games and food and many attend INSTEAD of Mass because it is fun and Mass is not. Parents are happy the are in the church even if it is in the basement and also consider is a good alternative to Mass.

As far as advice, remember YOU are your child’s teacher of the faith. The catechist should offer support but ultimately it is up to YOU as the parent. Google the obligation and show the kids the youth minister is wrong. I would also volunteer to teach your child’s class. Then you know what is being taught and can correct misstatement as soon as they are made. If push comes to shove, you can ALWAYS homeschool your child for confirmation.


If it was me I’d talk to the Parish Priest first and voice your concerns. Certainly nobody working in catechesis should be giving out false information. If the Paris Priest seems unwilling to make a fuss then I’d just write to the Bishop directly.

I would be very annoyed if some “parish youth minister” was giving out this information.

As a Religious Educaton teacher, I am trying to undo the damage of bad catechesis. The last thing that’s needed in parishes is more bad catechesis.


To be fair, while missing Mass without a good excuse such as illness is indeed a sin (so I was taught), I think there is a difference of opinion among different cultures and even different individual Catholics as to whether it is generally a mortal sin. Just about any sin can be “mortal” if done with the attitude of rejecting our relationship with God, and missing Mass is no exception, but I myself was never taught that missing Mass rose to the level of mortal sin generally. By contrast, there are other places where the priests will state from the pulpit that if you missed without a good excuse like illness, then you’re in mortal sin and can’t receive Communion until you first go to confession. I only became aware of this after overhearing two people in a confession line getting into a debate about it.


Every Diocese has an “office of youth ministry”. There is someone in that office who is a good escalation point for parishioners.


No, missing Sunday/obligation days is serious matter that MAY BE mortally sinful if the other conditions are met.


I was appalled that she would teach “our children” (ALL of the church’s youth) such blatant error. The teens were not questioning whether they were guilty if they missed Mass because of their parents. She alluded that it was not pleasing to God to attend Mass out of obligation and it was preferable to raise your heart to God instead. She also “informed” the kids that they are not required to go to church this year on Christmas Day because Christmas Eve (the Sunday evening Mass) would suffice for going. It seems that she’s trying to provide every single loophole so that the kids could “get out of” going to Mass. She hasn’t taught them of the importance, beauty, and power that going to Mass offers, much less fostering a love of the faith. It’s very disheartening.

In response to your reply, we homeschool our children and, to be honest, they simply attend youth ministry for fellowship with the youth of our parish. We don’t send them for catechesis as they receive that here at home. I was more furious for all the other youth that may not be taught at home and are learning what little they can from a very misguided and misinformed teacher.

I emailed our pastor and he sent a copy of my email to the director of Faith Formation. He said he would follow-up to ensure it has been addressed. I’m not sure where that will go, but I felt compelled to bring that into the light as she has reached many young souls and I shudder to think of what damage she has caused, either purposefully or ignorantly.

I just wasn’t 100% sure if I overstepped my bounds by emailing the pastor. I also wondered if doing so would put the “bullseye” on my children at youth ministry where they would be ostracized by the teachers or staff. Nevertheless, I sent the email and pray it brings about a positive change.




Then she should be sacked from that position.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.