Saturday, April 21, 2012

How Do We Help Our Young People Get Beyond "Grinding" ?

If you have a child not in high school yet, there will be a part of you that will wish you didn't know what grinding is.

I thought I was well-versed in the ways of the world of young people when I came to Ritter three years ago.  I had just been at another Catholic school prior to seminary only about 5 years earlier.  When I went to chaperone the prom that first year at Ritter, though, I couldn't believe what I was seeing.  It is basically summed up in this picture below.



Some would argue that dance has always been sexual, which I grant, but there is a serious line that is crossed (as most rational people will grant) when dance devolves into the "grinding" illustrated in the 2011 photo.

I missed prom last year at Ritter, and so I kind of forgot about "grinding" but a few parents reminded me about it in the run up to prom this year, and I knew I was supposed to do something.

We met with the young people and told them grinding = being kicked out of prom, and that if all did it, then we'd shut prom down.  I had several students thank me afterwards.  One girl noted "Father, thanks, it is kind of hard to dance when two people are basically having sex right next to you."

This post isn't about what we did at Ritter this week; I want it to be about what all schools (especially Catholic) can do about the issue.

We did a nice job with step 1 at Ritter - stop the bleeding.  At some point there has to be from schools the nuclear option, the "if you do this you're done" talk with a serious intent to follow through.  I was fully prepared to throw some kids out last night, but thankfully none of them tested our resolve (did I mention I'm EXTREMELY proud of our young people?)

Every Catholic school needs to implement the nuclear option as a school wide policy for next year as step 1.

Now...and much more difficult and time consuming and requiring a lot more creative energy and passion is step 2 - teaching our young people HOW to act at formal dances and so forth.

As I was thinking about prom yesterday and praying about it, I'd like to share the "vision" that came to mind.

What if we, in the run up to prom, brought in someone to teach our young people formal business dining etiquette?  When I was in college, the Hanover business school (very well respected nationally) always brought in people to train our business students in the ways of etiquette.  Again, our kids did a great job last night, but I noticed a lot of them getting up and running around to other tables.  I remember my own prom and never being taught how to carry on a conversation with a table of people and I remember it was sort of awkward.  Often times, even those young people who carry a conversation do so to the exclusion of others at the table by relying on inside stories and so forth with only some at the table.  Other issues would be as simple as which fork do you use?  Where does the bread go?  Where can I reach, and when do I have to ask someone to pass something?

The men could have a whole separate talk about opening car doors, holding an umbrella for a lady, polite conversation and not swearing in front of a lady, offering an arm, helping a woman get seated, etc.

While the young men are getting talked to the ladies could be taught about modesty and finding a dress that is appropriate and so forth.

Then, there could be a presentation on how to dance.  This is the biggy - we can't just tell them "don't grind" we also need to start showing them HOW to dance and have a good time.  Do our young people know how to swing dance?  Have they ever even heard jazz?

Then, at the actual prom, we need to shell out the extra dollars and bring in a live band.  A live band can help side step the problem of the horrible lyrics that are being played when a DJ is involved.  Even if the cuss words are blanked out, what is being said in the rest of the song is typically problematic.

Anybody who has been to a reception with a live band knows it can actually be a lot more fun. 

Perhaps this "vision" could still be done by parishes for public school proms.  The parish might even be able to host a formal dinner before hand for all of the young people to attend.

We need to be pro-active with all of this.

"Thou shalt not grind" is a good start, but we need to be doing a lot more to help our young know how much fun is possible.



75 comments:

  1. As a Mom of two boys at Ritter,(whom have complained to me about this same thing after the dances they have attended), thank you for bringing up this problem and offering a solution. I didn't realize it was such a problem until my boys brought it to my attention. In fact one of them refuses to attend anymore dances because of this behavior. As an adult, I find this kind of dance offensive and would feel uncomfortable if people were dancing around me in this way, say at a wedding reception or something. As a teenage, I don't even know what I would have thought. Not to sound like an old fuddy dud, but in the 80's and first of the 90s (when I graduated) we didn't dance like that. First off, Sister Rita would have stopped anything remotely close to such behavior before it even started. Secondly, although I was far from perfect I wouldn't have had the guts (if that's what you'd call it) to act like that in front of my peers, let alone teachers or other adults. Thank you again for your great influence on my boys and all the kids of Ritter.

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  2. My children are all grown, but I do have teenage grandchildren. Times have certaqinly changed since my high school prom, where we had to pass inspection by several nuns who had rolls of satin to add to any offending dress. Thi seems to be on a downward spiral. Can it get much worse? Your ideas are great and should be implemented at all Catholic schools. Do you have a means of sharing this with them? God will certainly bless you for your efforts.

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    1. I'll try to talk to our Office of Catholic Education

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    2. you are from a different time, of course its going to be way different and we do not need an inspection to check our dresses and what not. after reading all of these comments just tells me this is so stupid. and if you had a problem with stuff at prom, why go? cause clearly its an issue to see these "horrific" things.

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  3. My husband, a retired AF Colonel, is the instructor for JROTC at our local public High School (a school of 2000 students).

    Every year JROTC puts on a Military Ball. The JROTC kids LOVE the Mil Ball and actually prefer it to the prom. It involves a formal dinner, ceremony (a changing of command of the student cadet commander from Fall Semester to Spring) and followed by a dance.

    The week prior to the ball my husband gives a detailed etiquette lesson--he brings in a dinner place setting, discusses rules of proper conversation, proper introductions and expects every cadet to attempt to introduce their date to him and me (the "Colonels' wife) at some point during the evening. He plays hilarious video clips of poor table manners (our favorite is Andy Griffith and Aunt Bea attempting to teach Ernest T Bass table manners).

    Finally, my husband gives a frank power point presentation on dance etiquette. He covers every form of vulgar dancing out there..."freaking," "Grinding," etc. His final statement is: "There will be NO DANCING that appears to simulate any sex act, period. If there is, I will instruct the DJ to start playing Johnny Cash, Buck Owens or my personal favorite, Vivaldi. You will be approached if I decide your dancing is inappropriate."

    This last ball was the first time the new rules were implemented (my husband just started two years ago). Several kids thanked the Colonel for the new rules...it tunes out that many of kids who engage in the lewd behavior are simply products of little guidance from home...they are happy to comply and it turns out to be a learning moment for them about how their behavior is perceived by others.

    Angie Vogt

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  4. I graduated in 1991 from a public school. I'm an introvert and I just don't like social events, even when I was in school. In public school I still remember wanting to have my hands all over the girl I was at the dance with, even though I refused to dance.
    I can't even imagine the remote possibility of going to a private school as the above posts describe. The blessing would have been tremendous.
    My wife and I homeschool our children precisely because of our public school experiences. I simply refuse to have our children within miles of a public school.
    I guess my point is that the behavior is not just offensive, but spiritually it is a death sentence for children. I know. I was there.
    Having said that, being proactive in their education is a must. We were never taught anything beyond 'square dancing' in the late '70s (Can you say "square" dancing?). Looking back, I would have truly appreciated knowing etiqeuette that would have prepared me with more civilized abilities. Heck, considering it was public school, I would have appreciated having been taught how to spell it correctly.

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    1. I would have appreciated some etiquette training as well

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  5. Well, I just want to thank you again!! My kids no longer have to feel like they are so alone, standing in the background to get away from this mess!! I always believed in the Ritter kids~this was the only area that just went so far away from all the other good stuff...God will truly bless them for their efforts and yours!! Real dancing is so much more fun, and they can keep their self respect too!!

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  6. Reminds me now of the Seinfeld Episode, where Elaine Tried to dance and get the Party started.

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  7. I graduated from Ritter several years ago, and I am so glad that this rule was not implemented when I was attending, because I would not have gone to the prom. I guarantee that the few students who liked this rule were the major minority compared to the students upset about it. It's sad that you are trying to turn it into some kind of etiquette lesson. I think having proper etiquette is extremely important, but prom is supposed to be a place to have fun and goof around with your friends. I think Father Peter had the right approach. He taught us what the church teaches, but didn't force it down our throats.

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    1. You obviously have a lot of maturing left to do. On one hand you're saying you want to "have fun" as you call it and on the other hand you want what the Church teaches but, only the way you think it should be presented to you. And maybe my sons are in the minority on the subject of grinding. (A fact I am proud of) But like St. Augustine said, "right is right even if no one is doing it and wrong is wrong even if everyone is doing it"

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    2. No, I am interested in hearing what the church teaches; that doesn't mean I want to be forced into following it. If you sons don't like grinding, then they don't have to do it.
      You obviously don't know me at all to tell me that I have a lot of maturing to do. I was not trying to pass any judgment on you or your sons, so I would appreciate if you don't judge my opinion as immature, because it is different from yours. My parents actually agree with me on this issue too, and I don't think you would accuse them of being immature.

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    3. Actually, no one is forcing anyone to do anything, because no one is forced to go to prom. And while prom may be a time to "goof around" with friends, there is a limit. The reason there is a limit is because there is school oversight and because of that, every thing that goes on during it either directly or indirectly has support from the school. And they can no more turn a blind eye to grinding than I can watch a pack of hooligans overturn my neighbor's car and set it on fire and not call the cops.

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    4. Ritter grad - ask the kids who are there if they feel like it is getting forced down their throats.

      You don't have a clue about what you are saying. Sin always leads to pain, that is what we are trying to help our young people avoid. If you don't like what I do, call the bishop and let him know.

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    5. It may be best if Ritter just didn't have a prom to begin with. I find it interesting that a Catholic high school allows teenage kids with hormones(that in this point in their life can go sky high) to dance with each other rather closely. Then they leave together afterward and what will some of them do in their vehicles? I think we all know the answer to that one....and it aint sayin Hail Marys together. So what does the Catholic prom mean for teenage Catholics? It's what the church calls a "near occasion of sin."

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    6. okay really? since we are catholic doesnt mean we cant enjoy life? taking away a prom or other privileges just because we want to have fun is stupid. its called letting us live our lives. high school is about a time we make mistakes and grow from them. and yes i agree with the ritter grad because as a student, i defiantly feel like faith is being shoved down our throats. I
      guarantee majority of the school feels this way. WHat ritter grad stated that they dont mind learning the faith, but they feel like they are forced to believe everything. I 100% agree with that. Going to a catholic school doesnt mean i have to agree with everything the church teaches.

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    7. This is becoming sad and frankly ludicrous. You are embarrassing yourself and your grammar is embarrassing Ritter, but more importantly your temper tantrum is really quite childish. "The faith is being shoved down your throat" --- really??? We pray before each class, you have a theology class every other day (which certainly doesn't have anything to do with actually ACCEPTING the Faith for yourself because without fail my best students have always been non-Catholic and my worst students were always Catholic), and we have Mass ONCE a month, and at school dances we don't let the girls bend over in front of our guys and let them rub genitals.

      You sound like a whiny baby and you need to grow up. You sound like a kid whose parents get them a car, gas money, rent, a cell phone, food, and an education but you still complain when they try to teach you something.

      And whoever said high school is for screwing up - did you get that from an Avril Lavigne song or something...give me a break. Everybody is called to sainthood and lots of teens have been saints, and there are a lot of saints walking the halls at Ritter - don't blame your inability to get the courage up to make adult decisions on the fact that you are in this phase of life that was created for "making mistakes" - that's called a cop out. The same people that feed you that garbage about "hey, we're young, let's enjoy it and make mistakes"...those are the people who are like you but older...they too lack the courage to grow up and think that by dragging other people down with them they can make it seem like it's "a part of life."

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    8. I find it quite funny that the priest has to turn to calling someone a "whiny baby" while the topic has been about immaturity. I attended Catholic high school, although I am not Catholic, and even after the four years of Catholic teachings, I still believe that the Catholic Church should reconsider their approach to teaching the youth of today. As most adults should be able to remember, they did not respond well to threats and other similar tactics to convince them when they were young. The best approach to teaching young people is to inform well and let them choose what is best for them. That is the only way that kids will truly learn. As far as the anonymous person who said Catholic schools just shouldn't have a prom period, that is what is truly ludicrous. Prom has been an event that is expected and almost necessary for years. Think of how students would react were Ritter to take away prom. This would not keep them from throwing their own parties, where they can grind free of the watchful eye of an intimidating priest. In fact, it would only exacerbate those activities most likely. I definitely agree wholeheartedly with everything the Ritter grad said, and although the anonymous who commented could have used better grammar, their point was still a good one. The fact that you have to attack their grammar in the first place exemplifies that you cannot follow up with a good enough argument to "win". If I had been attending Ritter this year, I more than likely would not have attended prom either; instead I would have rallied the juniors and seniors to opt for our own prom we could plan ourselves, without the supervision of the school if the priest were to implement such dated rules. When you think about what you're trying to force these kids into doing, you will realize you cannot stop them from it once they get to college. Everything the high school students do is their own decision, whether at the Ritter prom or at a house party or a frat. At least while at the Ritter prom, the act of grinding as a dance is not intended to be overly sexual and promiscuous, like later in life at college parties. The people you attend prom with are sober, and you have known them for years. It is more innocent than you are making it out to be. I think you should listen to the students more instead of just taking the opinions of students who approach you in thanks, who, I can speak from experience, are probably saying what they think you want to hear instead of having the courage to voice their real opinions.

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    9. My point on the grammar is this - if you are going to engage in a discussion in the real world, and you have grammatical errors every third word then you will be laughed out of the building. I'm saying this now so that the person will understand that their English teachers aren't just teaching them grammar because they happen to enjoy teaching it; they're trying to save them the embarrassment that comes along with frequent grammatical errors.

      Of course there are crazy parties in college and of course there is debauchery and drunkenness and sex; my goal is to let young people at Ritter know that it ISN'T normal and it isn't okay just because "everyone" is doing it. There were LOTS of people in college who DIDN'T do that stuff, and your narcissism shines through in that you think because you go to those types of parties then everyone in college goes to them as well. Not everyone in college DOES do such things, and I can guarantee that there were some kids who heard my speech who will be forever changed by it and it will have prevented some of our young people from going down a road they would have one day seriously regretted.

      I am not trying to be the cool mom from Mean Girls, I'm trying to be their Father and their Priest. I don't believe that every one of them was happy with my decision, but I also know that some of those who won't will one day find themselves puking in a frat toilet at 3 in the morning or crying their eyes out because they lost their virginity the night before or will look around them at some college party and see what is really going on and they will have a St. Paul moment and will recognize sin for what it really is, namely misery, and will remember back to me and their parents and teachers telling them and warning them that sin = misery, and they will come back to God. My goal is to speak the Truth with Love, not to have some 20 year old kid think I'm a cool priest.

      Grinding is dead at Ritter, and I think, because of our lead, other high schools throughout the Archdiocese are joining us in that fight.

      "Grinding at Catholic school dances....RIP"

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    10. You're making assumptions about me when you have no idea what goes on in my life. I never once said that I was one of those people to go to parties and get drunk or take part in promiscuous behaviors. My point was simply that every student will end up making their own decisions about what they will do at prom well into when they make it to college, regardless of you banning grinding at prom. The one being narcissistic here is not me, but rather you, for thinking that your title of Catholic priest gives you the right to pass judgment on others.

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    11. Father Hollowell,
      I suggest that the hedonistic (let us have fun, fun, fun, crowd) must be ignored at this point. I applaud you for your attempt at bringing some sanity into an insane world. These "children" (I use quotes because 100 years ago 17 and 18 year old people already had many responsibilities and didn't even think about having nothing but fun, fun, fun) are meant to be kept as children; intellectually and spiritually. If you haven't read the book titled, "The Leipzig Connection" by Paolo Lionni, I recommend it. It's a short but very powerful book. In addition, anything by John Taylor Gatto and Charlotte Iserbyte would be useful. Lastly, I also very much recommend you peruse the website www.cuttingthrough the matrix.com at your earliest convenience. It is a real education. (Excuse me for being "anonymous"--I am reticent about signing up for IDs..) God Bless you.

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  9. Thank you for taking steps at Ritter to correct this problem. I spoke with a Ritter mom a few days before prom, she was very concerned about this. I had never heard the word "grind" use in the context of dancing...the word itself in that context is obscene, I can't imagine actually watching this go on. You are a blessing to our youth. God bless you Father.

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  10. We would love to help in your efforts for next year. My husband and I could help with teaching the basics in swing dancing. We worked with a small group of homeschoolers on the south side last year to get them started in swing dancing.

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    1. LOL!!! I think the 1960's went out a long time ago.....

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    2. HAHAHA. no teenager will ever want to swing dance today. im sorry to tell you that. this 2012, not 1950s

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    3. Narcissists typically think that what they like is what everyone likes and what they don't like no one else likes either.

      There may have been some who were upset by the "no grinding" rule, but there were also a lot of students who THANKED me. There would be some students who wouldn't like dancing with a live band, but there would be a lot of others who would. Don't think that you understand what every other person will like or won't like at that school.

      It is grossly arrogant when people presume to speak "for the young"

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    4. HAHAHA. no teenager will ever want to swing dance today

      Actually, at a college where my wife taught, the students had a swing club and got the college jazz band to play at dances. They all dressed like 40's mafiaosi and when the drum intro of "Sing Sing Sing" started up, they tore the roof off the place with their moves.

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    5. im telling you right now mr scott w. at a dance like prom, TEEANGERS want to dance to something with a little more rhythm. not saying that swing dancing is not fun, its just not what a general teenager likes to or will do. and excuse me, im not a narcissit. im speaking on behalf of alot of teenagers who felt this way.

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    6. I can't read your mind Anonymous, so when you say point-blank NO teenager will ever want to swing dance, I'm going to respond to that. Teenagers want more rhythm. Ok, but that gets me back to the original point of this entry. What does that have to do with putting a stop on grinding?

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  11. LOL!!! I think the 1960's went out a long time ago.....

    Yes, but Catholics are still called to modesty and chastity. As Chesterton put it, "An imbecile habit has risen in modern controversy of saying that such and such a creed can be held in one age but cannot be held in another. Some dogma was credible in the twelfth century, but is not credible in the twentieth. You might as well say that a certain philosophy can be believed on Mondays, but cannot be believed on Tuesdays."

    I used to teach CCD. When we got to the unit on chastity, I asked the young students how many wanted to be married in the future. Most raised their hands. I pointed out that most who wanted to be married would be married. Then I asked them to imagine their spouse and reminded them that in all likelihood they were actually alive and walking around right now. Then I asked them to imagine their future spouse on a date right now with someone else and their date is trying to paw them or otherwise do stuff to them. I asked for a show of hands of many would rather their spouse wait for them than do something sexual with someone else. All raised their hands but one who had a history of arguing about everything including the color of the sky.

    Point is, in my experience I've heard plenty of people say they wished they had waited. The only ones I've heard say otherwise were bitter and cynical. God made you in His image to be fully human and did not make you to act like an overheated monkey in the jungle. Believe Our Lord's promises.

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  12. As a Ritter student, I feel as if the Catholic faith is being shoved down our throats. As a non-catholic I can see the educational benefits of going to a private institution, but as I have seen, a pretty good percentage of Ritter's student population feels this way as well. As for prom, I enjoyed myself, free of grinding too. However, the feeling of being watched by the man in black (not johnny cash) was definitely a bit awkward. As a teenager, grinding has become just another part of the dance scene. It happens, and if you don't like it, don't do it.

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    1. Crazy that a Catholic school would ask its students to live Catholic values. The Church in the U.S. shells out 8 billion a year to help educate people - it doesn't all come from your parents so if you want to go here you won't publicly rub your genitals against each other. I know that's really mean and cruel, but it is the line we are drawing in the sand.

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    2. 8 BILLION dollars? That's a LOT of money! WOWZA!!!!!!!!!! No wonder there are still people in desperate need in this country.....it all went for education and proms so kids can be monitored for lewd dancing.............

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    3. Good work Stunned, you just discovered another one of those Chestertonian paradoxes. (For example, one guy will complain that Christianity is too merciless, and then later complain it's too merciful). I don't know how many times I hear the complaint that the Church is a tight-wad about money and that they should sell all their assests and give them to the poor. Now, when it is discovered the Church spends freely on (gasp!) education, suddenly the Church isn't tight-wad enough. That made my day. :)

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    4. Aww, my link didn't work. Try http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Orthodoxy/Chapter_6

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    5. this scott w. is really pissing me off.....

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    6. When you look at dollars spent per day on any item you will discover that the greatest luxury in the world, by far, is an education. Whereas we might spend 2 bucks a day on cable, 2 bucks a day on cell phone, maybe 15 bucks a day on food, we spend 60-70 dollars on education, which is why most of the world looks at your schooling jealously. It is really sickening to see people then complaining about their world class education because at their school dance they weren't allowed to rub their genitals on one another.

      Again, the average Ritter student was thankful and had a great time.

      Here's the true irony - every year, without fail, it is the students like you who "couldn't wait to get away from Ritter" who "were horribly oppressed by the school" and "had Catholicism shoved down your throat" it is ALWAYS those kids who are back visiting like a month after school starts.

      Some day you'll be glad you went here...until then know that whether or not you care I pray for you daily and everything I do for you is done because I love you as a Father.

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    7. this scott w. is really pissing me off.....

      I don't know why I should be. I'm speaking as honestly as I can, not calling anyone names. It is a mark of maturity to be able to listen or read anything without getting angry. A good tip I've found is to read everyone as if they were speaking with a Mr. Spock voice. :)

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  13. Prom is about a time of fun and formal put together. We are only teenagers and this is a time of our lifes. Telling us not to grind and dance properly is one thing, but addressing the fact that there was not any dining etiquette was false. I believe that EVERYONE wanted to be with their friends and its hard to do that if u have to sit down the whole time. Again i will say, we are teenagers, we just want to have fun. Now the music is another problem. The music we hear today is much different than that was played ages ago and is continuing to change everyday. There is a very different kind of rhythm and beat that changes the way we dance. Its faster and defiantly more catchy. I hear that the lyrics in the songs are changing us young people but that actually is proven to be false. Not to long ago, i discussed with my friends about how no one listens to the lyrics as much today, more the rhythm and beat. They completely agreed because when we dance,we want something that has a sick rhythm. On the other hand, i wanted to state how i felt on how the women were not modest enough. I believe that there was not one single lady that looked provocative or immodest. Taking in to consideration that FASHION is changing today and this is what is accepted in this generation. I want to state that every lady looked beautiful and their dresses were perfect. I understand what your intentions are, but our understanding is that you dont want us to feel free and experience new things. As a CATHOLIC student, i feel that there is faith being pushed on everyone and that everything seems to be wrong. I did feel uncomfortable being watched when its a night about us students, not by a man who thinks this night is a total disaster. Lets us live our lifes and experience new things, and if you dont like it, dont do it.

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    1. If you had the wrong impression that I think the night is or was a total disaster you have neither talked to me about it nor have you read anything I wrote about the evening.

      As regards the lyrics people often say "they don't affect me" but that doesn't mean they aren't. Are you lobbying to let us play the unedited version of songs.

      Finally, I will stand before God one day and will have to answer for the fate of your soul...when it comes down to it I couldn't care less what you think of me right now or that you feel like I'm not cool enough or don't let you do enough - that is the same complaint against every good dad in the history of the world.

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  14. It happens, and if you don't like it, don't do it.

    That's not how it works. No one is stopping someone from hosting a dance party somewhere else and turning a blind eye to simulated sex acts disguised as dancing. If fact, kids themselves could probably do such things outside of school and the men in black aren't going to hunt them down. But the moment any activity is endorsed by the school, the school officials have a responsibility to the students to make sure what goes on is modest and chaste. This falls under the maxim "silence gives consent", and no reasonable school official can give consent to grinding by silence. Being watched makes people feel akward? Tough noogies. Objective responsibilities don't disappear based on feelings.

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    1. but its funny, the priest that so calls "works for our school" actually doesnt and he even said himself. he works on behalf of the archdiocese and attended prom on behalf of himself. and maybe you should live life a little more and realize how much more there is to live for.

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    2. to clarify my role I was noting that I don't work UNDER the principal or the president or the dean - I am the representative of the bishop at the school, and so in that sense I still work AT the school. I actually have more responsibility at that school than any teacher, principal or president because the Church teaches that on judgment day I, as your chaplain, will have to stand up and explain how I did or didn't do all that I could to help all of you end up in heaven. The Church does NOT teach that any principal, teacher, president or guidance counselor will have to stand before God and say anything similar. I'm not saying that I'm the hardest worker at Ritter, but I'm saying what I've just explained guides everything I do, and so does the fact that, whether you know it or not, I seek to love every student at Ritter and be motivated by love as well. Love very often dictates that one do the UNpopular thing at the time.

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    3. Respectfully, that's a distinction without a difference. Anything in an archdiocese that presumes to be a Catholic institution is under diocesan oversight when it comes to faith and morals.

      I'm having trouble understanding your last statement whether it was directed at that priest or at me. If at me, let me state for the record that I am a 44 year-old father of 3. And that is by a miracle because before converting, I wasn't exactly the choir boy. So I've been there, and there is no living in living for fornication (which includes everything that is a prelude like grinding). If I had had a good priest correct me in my youth, I may still not have listened, but at least I would have had a shot at not making the mistakes I did and the regrets I have to live with for life. Be grateful that you have faithful and caring priests.

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    4. i made my point loud and clear. ur 44. im 18. you were born in a different generation. and so was i!

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    5. anonymous, you didn't make your point, and if you are going to get in a grown up discussion, you need to maturely engage. What, exactly, was your point?

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  15. Tough noogies, nice. Naturally, when an activity is endorsed by the school, the catholic part is going to kick into overdrive and begin to tighten its fingers around anything they can. A discussion about it would have been far better tactic to use than being THREATENED. Much like how the Catholic church operates is through fear and the use of threats.

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    1. Since the Garden of Eden the question has been this - "do God's laws oppress people or do they set people free."

      Those who sin do so because they think of God's laws as strict and oppressive and so they rebel.

      Those who choose to do the right thing recognize that God's laws lead to freedom, joy, and happiness. I had TONS of prom attendees thank me and tell me it was a lot more fun.

      Sure, I'd love to be able to take 2 hours and explain it, but sometimes you just have to stand up and say "this will not take place...is that understood." I also did explain, if you'll remember, the why, and that a man should at least have the courage to look a woman in the eyes, but maybe in your anger with me you had tuned me out already.

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  16. Tough noogies, nice.

    I can think of much worse that would be justifiable. I'm not saying feelings are stupid. They are neither right nor wrong; they just are. But becasue feelings are fickle, they are not reliable guides to truth.

    Naturally, when an activity is endorsed by the school, the catholic part is going to kick into overdrive and begin to tighten its fingers around anything they can.

    No, just things that are unacceptable like simulated sex acts disguised as dancing.

    A discussion about it would have been far better tactic to use than being THREATENED.

    Uhh...tell me exactly how that discussion was supposed to go. Like:

    Cleavage Girl: "We want to grind dance."

    Adult with head screwed on right: "No you don't. You want to simulate sex acts in public and have us ignore our responsibilites to you and your parents and pretend nothing unseemly is going on."

    Much like how the Catholic church operates is through fear and the use of threats.

    I think you know this is a wild caricature. To wit: If I decide to skip Mass, I'm not going to be arrested by 12 Swiss Guards. One person complained about how unfree this feels. This is nonsense because, as I said, the kids are not always under the school administration's watch.

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  17. LOL Reminds me of the Song by Billy Joel, Only the Good Die Young. LOL

    Growing up, and older? seems the Catholic Boys and Girls are the worst when it comes to sex,

    LOL, Most of the Parents I know, are so Holy and, High and Mighty, But? as one who grew up with some of these High and Mighty?

    They did the same things as the kids are doing now,

    Riding around with the Hot stud, in the fast car, Parking, condoms, sex and drinking. Having to get married quietly.

    Now? as they move away and are in a new community? or are around those who are having fuzzy memories themselves? LOL

    They Pretend to be so pious and holy, and their children are going to be prim and proper. LOL

    Kids are all Hormones , and are supercharged at this age.

    They are going to bump and grind, be it at the dance, or in the back of a Dodge,

    You can only give them the basics in Religion and self control, and hope for the best....

    You get them with a Hot young stud, or a Wild developed young woman, and nature will do what nature does.

    some will be good and wait? others will give in and go with it...

    Bottom line is how you all deal with the days when the dance is over???

    Kids are going to be kids.

    Like what they do or not? The end of the day? whatever they get into? we still have to love em...

    We were all Young once, even if we don't recall all the memories ;-)

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    1. @Anonymous721 That's quite a litany you've given us, but I don't see what it has to do with prohibiting simulated sex acts at prom. It seems to be suggesting something like if one were to say to a cop, "Since you probably did plenty of speeding when you were young, and kids are going to speed anyway, when you see someone tearing through a school zone at 90, you should just sit there and eat your donut."

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  18. A message to the Angry boy Scott,
    LOL You are young and full of hormones as well, a pretty normal guy, Hey, the Young Priest is trying to keep you on the straight and narrow, You have to commend him for it, He is looking after you is all, There are a lot of temptations out there, and You can ruin your whole life right now by screwing up, A few minutes of Fun can cause you and your date a rough time in 9 months,

    Yeah the Church is down on everyone, lots of rules and Threats, and issues.

    But some are for your own good, You might think your date is the ONE for now? But maybe not for the future,

    A buddy of mine was taken with this HOT girl and went to the prom with her, She was his Lover forever, until she ended it... Dated His Buddy the OTHER football star.. He was crushed....BUT? NOW, He now has a Great family and a great wife with the one that was Not even on his Radar.

    He is making big $ and has a great life,

    She? the Ex GF? Not so much, Had a kid with the Football Star, and is a single mother now.

    Get my Point?

    Use common sense...

    Be smart...

    The Good Father?

    He means well, trying to keep you all good kids...Doing his best...

    Here is a tip to remember, Before you get upset...

    Father was a Kid like you once,

    Growing up like a normal boy, having the same urges and hormones, and same needs...

    He has a Collar now? but he was still a kid too.

    He was insecure, and had the same worries, and doubts.

    Unless he was a Saint growing up?

    he masturbated, and took a peek in the shower, and compared, he checked out the female classmates, and had the same thoughts. (or male) who knows...lol

    He was a man growing up just like you, and every other man.

    He became a Priest, and has responsibilities, he has to teach you the rules and the teachings HE was once taught.

    Bottom line is?

    He wants you to be a good Guy, respect women, respect yourself.

    be a decent man.

    I bet you one day, grow up to be a leader in Your community, and a decent man, You had the right upbringing,

    But remember when YOU become the adult?

    Don't forget how you were when you grew up....

    then smile...... Like we all do ....

    we can look back ans see ourselves....

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    1. LOL!!!!!! Looks like ole Snotty Scotty got PWND!!!!! JUST MADE MY NIGHT!! :D

      Delete
    2. A message to the Angry boy Scott,

      Let's clear up some misconceptions. As I mentioned a few comments up, I am a 44-year old father. Second, I'm not sure where you are interpreting anger in any of my responses. As I also mentioned above, try reading my responses and think of the voice of Mr. Spock. :) Here is my response and note that I am squishing some the line breaks together so this response does scroll to Terre Haute.

      LOL You are young and full of hormones as well, a pretty normal guy, Hey, the Young Priest is trying to keep you on the straight and narrow, You have to commend him for it, He is looking after you is all, There are a lot of temptations out there, and You can ruin your whole life right now by screwing up, A few minutes of Fun can cause you and your date a rough time in 9 months,

      Apart from the idea that I am young, I basically agree with everything so far.

      Yeah the Church is down on everyone, lots of rules and Threats, and issues.

      I see this more as a Hollywood caricature of the Church than what the Church actually is, but perhaps we will revisit this as I respond to more of your comment.

      But some are for your own good, You might think your date is the ONE for now? But maybe not for the future,

      Letting the characterizing of the Church's teachings as "rules and threats" slide for a moment, I think you make an excellent point. If Love isn't intended to be permanent (i.e. Marriage), then it's not Love at all, but Lust.

      A buddy of mine was taken with this HOT girl and went to the prom with her, She was his Lover forever, until she ended it... Dated His Buddy the OTHER football star.. He was crushed....BUT? NOW, He now has a Great family and a great wife with the one that was Not even on his Radar.

      He is making big $ and has a great life,

      She? the Ex GF? Not so much, Had a kid with the Football Star, and is a single mother now.

      Get my Point?


      I think so. Basically, that even after making mistakes, you can put your life back together. I agree.

      To be continued...

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    3. You are shut down - any future posts from you will be deleted. You have no idea what my childhood was like, nor do you have the faintest idea of my motivations now.

      I have never masturbated my entire life. So who is the one talking about stuff he actually has no idea about? That would be you.

      You have demonstrated that you lack common sense, and I'm saddened that these comments have deteriorated so quickly, but I'll leave these comments up just so that parents can understand that there are people out there who think like this.

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    4. Really ? I remember getting an erection and it just kind of happened. Really curious as to how one could know that it is wrong at the age of 7? Always wondered why the body does things on its own that are so "wrong". For example if I don't masturbate, I will have a wet dream, therefore I am still sinning because of I'm "wasting" sperm/life. No win situation.

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    5. a wet dream is totally different than masturbation. One is an act of the will, you can only choose to masturbate, it never happens accidentally. One can not choose what happens during sleep, and so how could someone be held responsible for something they aren't choosing to have happen to them? Answer: they can't be.

      Delete
  19. As a mother of four sons I am feeling faintly sick after reading these comments. Although I am raising teens in these dark days I cannot seem to get used to the depths to which some of today's youth have fallen.

    I am appalled that the young people have no respect for their elders or for the teachings of our LORD. I am horrified that they would come to their priest and teacher's blog and speak to him in such a childish and disrespectful manner. The grinding on the dance floor is no worse than the darkness in their hearts, but the priest and the school have a right to demand decency on school grounds whether they can show the children the LIGHT or not.

    The disrespect is so ugly and vain. So worldly, so lost and so sad.

    There is another way for young people to live: In godliness and righteousness, giving glory to Christ, honoring parents and pastors, respecting self and serving others, ...

    I'll pray that these young and worldly commenters will find Jesus Christ and know Him. I pray that they will be changed, and their hearts of stone exchanged for hearts of flesh.

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  20. Use common sense...Be smart...

    The Good Father? He means well, trying to keep you all good kids...Doing his best...


    Nothing objectionable here as far as it goes.

    Here is a tip to remember, Before you get upset...

    Father was a Kid like you once,


    Again, this is based on two errors. One that I am a teenager and two, that I am upset. So what follows is going to be hard to track since we are so far off the rails to begin with, but I will try.

    Growing up like a normal boy, having the same urges and hormones, and same needs...

    I agree with one caveat: what do you think those needs are?

    He has a Collar now? but he was still a kid too. He was insecure, and had the same worries, and doubts.

    I'll stipulate for now.

    Unless he was a Saint growing up?

    There is precedent...

    he masturbated, and took a peek in the shower, and compared, he checked out the female classmates, and had the same thoughts. (or male) who knows...lol

    Sorry, that's too presumptuous. And let me add a slightly tangential caution to youngsters. Beware of those soliciting or revealing explicit personal behavoir of what we call "confessional material" outside of the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Especially when it comes from an adult. It's a grooming technique used by predators. Anyway, back to the subject...

    He was a man growing up just like you, and every other man. He became a Priest, and has responsibilities, he has to teach you the rules and the teachings HE was once taught. Bottom line is? He wants you to be a good Guy, respect women, respect yourself. be a decent man.

    We are so much on the same page I'm now wondering if you actually meant this response to be directed at me.

    I bet you one day, grow up to be a leader in Your community, and a decent man, You had the right upbringing, But remember when YOU become the adult?
    Don't forget how you were when you grew up....then smile...... Like we all do ....
    we can look back ans see ourselves....


    Yes, I hopefully cleared up the two misconceptions above. I'm not sure what all this has to do with not allowing simulated sex acts at prom.

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    Replies
    1. Scott, these comments don't have anything to do with sex acts at prom, as you know. It has everything to do with someone who lacks the courage to control himself and who lacks the courage to try to live virtuously trying to justify his cowardice by telling himself (and anyone who will listen) that "everyone is a coward just like me...all kids do what I did when I was a kid!"

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  21. so father hollowell...your telling me that you NEVER partied are just lived your life with out worrying about the consequences? well if you didnt, then u missed a whole period of life experiencing and making mistakes. because honestly you cant try to help people if you never been in similar situations. AKA your sex talks, and this prom thing.

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    Replies
    1. There's a saying that goes, "I don't have to drink a whole gallon of milk to know it is spoiled when one whiff will do." Likewise, while the testimony of ex-criminals is useful when counseling other criminals currently in the pokey, it is not a requirement that a counsellor go out and rob a bank before he is qualified to counsel crooks. Same with issues of modesty and chastity. This things can be known by reason, revelation, and common sense. Does one really need to douse oneself in gasoline and play with matches before telling others that doing so is a bad idea? Hardly, and besides, if one just has to have testimony from people who walked on the wild side (like St. Augustine for instance), there are plenty of resources to draw upon. Try Dawn Eden's book, The Thrill of the Chaste and material by Jason Everett and his wife.

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    2. Does a brain surgeon have to have brain surgery before he can operate on other people?

      Does a doctor have to have Syphilis before he can help someone avoid it?

      By your logic, Jesus couldn't help anyone then, right? He never sinned so he was a worthless teacher???

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  22. Dear Cardinal Ritter students who feel that Father Hollowell, and other staff are shoving the Catholic faith down your throat, have you ever talk with these adults? The staff at this school is top notch, and Father Hollowell is one of the kindest men I have met. My wish for you is to just sit down with Father and talk. I believe his deepest wish is that you would come to know Jesus and find the freedom in following Gods law. You are in my prayers, not because you are a BAD Guy, but because you are still a young man that has many years ahead of you, and I want those years to be ones you can look back on, and be proud.

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  23. Scott, I got to have breakfast with Dawn one morning in the seminary when she came to visit for the day and wow...what a testimony!!! Most of the kids commenting on here haven't done 10% of what Dawn got into...she is a modern day St. Augustine, and I know for a fact she would tell everyone to simply steer clear of crap ahead of time...it is the Devil who tells people they need "experience"

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  24. RIP Grinding at Ritter...may it rest in peace!

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  25. Thank you. This gives me some faith in faith :)

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  26. Wow,some of those comments were very uncharitable. What a messed up world we live in.

    Father- I love the suggestion of having a live band. We chose a live band for our wedding, and it was classy and beautiful! At another wedding we attended they chose to have a Sinatra impersonator. It was awesome!

    I would like to add the suggestion, if no one has yet, that kids should learn ballroom dancing in school during PE. Why not, it is a big hit on TV, and kids like to dance. I think grinding comes from lack of knowing how to dance.

    No one wants to go to a school dance and admit they don't know how. Grinding takes no skill. So teach them how!

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  27. I love this in high school I hated dances since I didn't know how to dance or at least that's how I felt.
    In the past year in college I found a free organization that teaches ballroom dancing although we primarily dance west coast swing, by knowing this dances are more of event and I don't feel as lost and have much more fun. The first step is teaching students how to dance formally. Swing dance is great!

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  28. Father, grinding isn't new. I'm 45 and we had this dance back in the 80s. We were more honest and called it the Dog. We were also smarter than todays kids because it never occured to anybody to do it in front adults.

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  29. Father, grinding isn't new. I'm 45 and we had this dance back in the 80s. We were more honest and called it the Dog. We were also smarter than todays kids because it never occured to anybody to do it in front adults.

    Another child of the 80's! I should point out however, that it isn't a question of intelligence, but what happened here was run-of-the-mill boundary testing. I've discovered that kids not completely given over to depravity respond well to boundaries and it looks as if we can be thankful the Father enforced the boundaries.

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