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Sunday, January 6, 2008
Founder of LifeTeen Leaves Priesthood

Update (Dec. 2008): The founder of LifeTeen has been excommunicated.

The following news story is from AP/AZ Central. As a Traditional Catholic, I have never supported the Life Teen Movement since, in my experience, liturgies involving LifeTeen commonly foster a lack of piety and Catholicity through liberal, modernistic tendencies.

Above all, though, this news about founder of LifeTeen leaving the priesthood and the Catholic Church in order to offer "services" at a nondenominational Praise and Worship Center is highly disheartening. I encourage all people to pray for him.

The former pastor at a Mesa Catholic church who faces seven misdemeanor charges of sexual misconduct has started a new worship center and conducted his first services.

More than 500 worshippers gathered to hear Dale Fushek conduct a service at a Mesa hotel Thursday.

Known as "Monsignor Dale" during his 20 years at St. Timothy's, Fushek co-founded the national Life Teen program and served as vicar general of the Catholic Diocese of Phoenix.

But all that came tumbling down in late 2005, when he was arrested on one count of assault, five counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor and one count of indecent exposure. He is accused of engaging in sexually related discussions with teenagers during confessions and exposing himself to teens as he got into his hot tub.

Fushek was suspended by the diocese and is now resigning from the priesthood. He is tying to win the right to a jury trial on the charges and a hearing is pending on that issue before the Arizona Supreme Court.

On Thanksgiving Day, he said he was happy to be back before a group of worshippers.

"I feel alive again," he said after the two-hour morning service. "This was inspiring and beautiful. I thought there was a really good spirit among the people here."

Fushek said he started the nondenominational Praise and Worship Center as a place where people can come to worship between regular services, not as competition for the Catholic Church.

"This is not a church. It is not intended to draw people away from their denominations," he said.

People in attendance at the first service waited in long lines to personally thank Fushek for starting the center.

The following story is from Catholic World News:
Phoenix, Jan. 4, 2008 ( - Church leaders in Phoenix, Arizona, are discouraging Catholics from attending non-denominational services conducted by a suspended priest, the Arizona Republic reports.

Msgr. Dale Fushek, who has been suspended from public ministry by the Phoenix diocese, continues to lead services at the Mesa Convention Center, drawing several hundred participants, the newspaper reports. The flamboyant priest, who gained national prominence as the founder of the LifeTeen program, risks further disciplinary action by defying the terms of his suspension to preach at "Praise and Worship" services.

Fushek, who was once the vicar general of the Phoenix diocese, was suspended after he was accused of molesting a boy in his Arizona parish. Although the diocese settled the lawsuit based on that charge, Fushek still faces several other criminal charges involving sexual relations with teenage boys.


del_button January 7, 2008 at 12:48 AM
Mark said...

There have been nasty rumours abound for years now; and yes, I agree with you, any exclusionary programmes (whether for teens, pre-teens, whatever) tend to foster a lack of understanding and devotion instead of the opposite. It seems a good thing that this has now come to a head.

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