Revealing? Arch-liberal Blase Cupich to keynote 2016 Dallas Ministry Conference April 13, 2016Posted by Tantumblogo in catachesis, Dallas Diocese, disaster, episcopate, error, foolishness, General Catholic, Revolution, scandals, secularism, self-serving, Society, the struggle for the Church.
There are a lot of local wags and cultural observers who have noted for decades that there are many influential elements in Dallas who would really, really like to see this city be another Los Angeles. I think Cactus Pryor and Becky Patterson Crouch both noted this, and I’ve heard it many other places besides.
In that spirit, perhaps, it’s not terribly surprising that several years ago the Diocese of Dallas started a “ministry conference” that emulated the infamous religious education conferences sponsored by the Archdiocese of Los Angeles every year. Heretofore, this conference had been run formally in conjunction with the still somewhat orthodox University of Dallas and also in conjunction with the Diocese of Fort Worth, but this year the conference was renamed just the Dallas Ministry Conference (instead of the UD ministry conference), and perhaps more significantly, the Diocese of Fort Worth also terminated their association with this annual event. Of the two separations, the latter is probably more telling.
Folks I know in the Diocese of Fort Worth, who would be well placed to know, have long had problems with the Dallas Ministry Conference. Every year, apparently, it was something of a fight to get good speakers/lecturers brought in, and keep bad ones out. As an example, the very problematic – I would say heretical – Fr. Ron Rolheiser spoke at the conference in 2011. And this year, the arch-liberal Archbishop Blase Cupich has been brought in to give the keynote speech. I’m not certain whether it was the Cupich invite, or just general frustration (again, as I have been told) that caused Fort Worth to back out of their monetary support for the conference, but I doubt it helped. It’s a bit telling, perhaps, that Fort Worth Bishop Michael Olson, who was previously rector of the Dallas seminary, would make this decision, however. One can imagine the tenor of the discussion which may have preceded this decision.
Another factor concerning the Dallas Ministry Conference is that it has become very much an insider event. The large minority, if not clear majority, of attendees are either employed as teachers/catechists at regional parishes, or individuals who have significant volunteer roles involving same. That is to say, this is essentially a glitzy teacher’s conference for the schools of the Diocese of Dallas. That’s being a bit reductive, but is another complaint regarding the conference from diocesan insiders themselves. Many people attend simply because their parish, under diocesan impetus, buys a block of tickets, and then hands the tickets out to teachers and catechists. They get in free, and are supposedly receiving solid formation at diocesan expense. While the quality of speakers varies wildly, one thing is certain: the orthodox Faith of the Ages is rarely taught in its completeness or with the clarity and force it both deserves and requires. This is a conference mired in the post-conciliar ethos, with all that entails, little of it, from my perspective, good. Thus, the big grey machine just keeps stammering along, its motion propelled less by its own energy but more by the momentum it inherited from the “bad old Church.” Events like this are inherently problematic from my point of view, being, by their nature, “of the bureaucracy, by the bureaucracy, and for the bureaucracy.”
I don’t think I need to go on at length regarding the myriad problems of inviting a man like Blase Cupich to keynote a conference on religious education. He is the darling of the most progressive, I would even say left-wing, elements in the Church. He has already given scandal on numerous occasions, belittling if not directly contradicting Church Doctrine on subjects ranging from the sanctity of the Blessed Sacrament to the sanctity of marriage. His presence gravely undermines whatever good more orthodox conference speakers – almost entirely lay people whose moral authority is thus greatly limited – manage to communicate. I don’t know if there will be any pre-review or approval of his intended speech text, but I think it poses a threat to communicate beliefs potentially hazardous to many if not all listeners. Faith comes by hearing (Rom x:17), but so does error and beliefs tending towards loss of faith. I fear what this speech portends, since it seems part of a series of decisions by Bishop Farrell of late that indicate a turn towards the progressive.
It seems an eon ago since Bishop Farrell, in conjunction with then Bishop Kevin Vann, issued their strong pastoral document in the run-up to the 2008 election making it clear that Catholics could never, under any circumstances, vote for a pro-abort politician. Now, instead of that, we get massive overreactions to legitimate firearms legislation and blanket bans on firearms possession in diocesan facilities. Interesting, as they say. Revealing? I think so. Bishop Farrell has long had the reputation of being very attuned to internal Church politics and he can easily see which way the wind is blowing.
And so can Bishop Olson. Just sayin’.
On a personal note, starting a new job has of course been a very busy time. Things are starting to settle just a bit, so I hope to do a post or two every day or so at least for a while. Some days there will be none. It won’t be like it was for the foreseeable future. I’ll do what I can. Thank you for your patience.