Saturday, December 24, 2011

Let's all play Diocesan Two-step

We've all done it, all been the recipient of it at one time or another...

- Catholic layman gets fed up with the disaster in the Church. Writes letter

- Letter ignored.

- Enterprising Layman sets up his own apostolate (like is says in Vatican II to do) and starts doing what he can to set things right.

- Local bishop gets wind of this from his pet heretical nun/vicar general/local priests or other deranged minions

- Bishop sends letter to Enterprising Layman telling him to knock all this Catholic stuff off or else...

- Layman asks for meeting with bishop to discuss it.

- Bishop ignores request.

- Layman carries on.

- Bishop sends more letters. Gets annoyed when letters ignored, issues press release telling Layman to stop and making sure all the world sees.

- Kerfuffle ensues in the media, layman asks for meeting with bishop, tells press.

- Bishop continues to ignore request for meeting and lets it be known that he is furious over the hundreds of calls and emails with which his office is suddenly flooded.

- Nuncio contacted... letters to Rome...


In recent years, however, the bishops have become vaguely aware of this thing called the "interwebs" or some such, and have been annoyed by swarms of people contacting their offices and upsetting the natural order of things by demanding meetings and action on various things. It is making their lives very difficult, I'm sure.

Bishops' favourite word for work like Michael's is "divisive". For some reason, they all think that the whole world is as terrified of the word as they are, and that it will induce laypeople to shut up and go with the flow.

Below is a classic, nay, textbook case illustrating this drearily familiar comedy routine.

In a press release
issued December 15 and signed by Communications officer Joe Kohn, the Archdiocese of Detroit states: “The Archdiocese has informed Mr. Voris and Real Catholic TV,, that it does not regard them as being authorized to use the word ‘Catholic’ to identify or promote their public activities."
[The correct response to this is to shrug. I am a Catholic layman, I am not opposing the Faith or obstructing the work of the bishop and I am acting according to the directives of the last Council and various papal encyclicals on the proper role of the laity. So, the only thing to say is, "Thank you very kindly, Bishop Vigneron, for your helpful advice. Be assured that I and my staff continue to include you and your intentions in our daily prayers, and we wish you and yours a very happy Christmas." Since the bishop has gone public, this letter should be produced on Enterprising Layman's website, along with a running tally of the number of formal requests for a meeting between Enterprising Layman and his spiritual father.]
Of note there are prominent ‘Catholic’ entities and even Catholic priests in the Archdiocese of Detroit directly flouting Church teaching without a comparable reprimand from the Archdiocese. One such entity is a group of priests of the Archdiocese who are publicly in favor of women’s ordination to the priesthood and against the Church’s teaching prohibiting contraception. The group is called “Elephants in the living room.”

There is however an interesting twist to this story. Michael Voris, while he may be the star of RealCatholicTV’s programming, is not the owner of the website. The owner is Marc Brammer who lives in South Bend Indiana in the diocese of Bishop Kevin Rhoades.

Brammer told LifeSiteNews, “I own I contracted with Michael Voris to produce video content for that website and I pay him for it. It is a business relationship between me and Michael. If all of a sudden now there’s this tussle over the use of the word ‘Catholic’ I’ll deal with it through competent ecclesial authority.”

Brammer noted that he had received a letter from the Archdiocese of Detroit acknowledging him as the owner of the website. He responded to that letter with a request for a meeting with the Archdiocese. He received no response. Brammer has not been asked by his bishop, Fort Wayne-South Bend Bishop Kevin Rhoades to cease using the word Catholic.

A LifeSiteNews request for an interview with the Archdiocese of Detroit was not returned, and the voice message noted that the office was on holiday till after Christmas.

The press release from the Archdiocese of Detroit notes, “The Church encourages the Christian faithful to promote or sustain a variety of apostolic undertakings but, nevertheless, prohibits any such undertaking from claiming the name Catholic without the consent of the competent ecclesiastical authority.”
[There is no law anywhere copyrighting the word "Catholic," nor is there any provision in canon law allowing a bishop to reprimand a layman in good standing with the Church for using the word publicly.]
The release adds, “For some time, the Archdiocese of Detroit has been in communication with Mr. Michael Voris and his media partner at Real Catholic TV regarding their prominent use of the word ‘Catholic’ in identifying and promoting their public activities disseminated from the enterprise’s production facility in Ferndale, Michigan.”

Voris says that communication was only one way – directives from the Archdiocese and refusal to meet with Voris or Brammer to discuss the matter. Voris told LifeSiteNews that he has requested a meeting with Archdiocesan officials seven times to discuss the matter, but each time he has been ignored or rebuffed.

According to its minutes, Elephants in the living room (the group of priests which publicly holds positions counter to Catholic teachings on women priests and contraception), met with Detroit Archbishop Allen Vigneron on February 1, 2011.

If you find yourself at loose ends during the holidays, perhaps you would enjoy playing the game too.

Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron
Chancery Building
Archdiocese of Detroit
1234 Washington Blvd.
Detroit, MI 48226

Phone: (313) 237-5800
Fax: (313) 237-4644