Monday, February 14, 2011

Reprise: Detroit's Archbishop Vigneron Warns Laity And Clergy About 2011 American Catholic Council


No matter how decked out the bus, the back seat of the bus is still the back seat.


This morning I was thinking about this article from October and the conference it refers to as I was watching the Redwings beat the Boston Bruins.  I was kind of thinking Stanley Cup Finals in June in Detroit when I remembered the US Catholic Conference was to meet in that same time frame.  I was also thinking I was going to have to do some serious work to find this original post when low and behold I checked for unpublished comments and there was one attached to the original post.  Lucky me.

Given the recent letter written by German theologians, now up to 247 signatories, I beginning to think this conference may actually be worth attending, so I'm giving it another push and saving my pennies in hopes of attending.

Archdiocese of Detroit: Stay away from liberal Catholic conference
By Niraj Warikoo - FREE PRESS STAFF WRITER -10/13/2010

Archdiocese of Detroit is warning Catholics in metro Detroit — including priests and ministers — to stay away from a national conference of liberal Catholics to be held in Detroit next year. And Archbishop of Detroit Allen Vigneron is calling upon organizers of the conference to cancel their plans, saying they are in opposition to the Catholic faith.

The American Catholic Council, which calls for church reforms and greater openness, is set to hold a national gathering in June 2011 featuring progressive Catholic leaders near the 35th anniversary of the ‘Call to Action,’ a Detroit gathering in 1976 that urged reform and was held by the late Cardinal John Dearden of Detroit.

The liberal group claims there is too much secrecy and hierarchy in the Church; it also calls for greater acceptance of gays and lesbians, and women in leadership roles. It wants women and married priests.

“Serious sexual and financial abuses have resulted,” from problems in the Catholic Church, the group says in a newsletter.

Their conference next year is to feature a range of Catholic speakers who have been critical of the Vatican, including controversial Swiss priest Hans Kung. The liberal group says its efforts are done in the spirit of the Second Vatican Council, whose 50th anniversary is also next year.

But in a statement released Tuesday, the Archdiocese of Detroit slammed the American Catholic Council, saying “the goals proposed are largely in opposition to the teachings of the Second Vatican Council.”

The Archdiocese, which oversees 1.3 million Catholics, says that some of the scheduled speakers at next year’s conference “espouse positions which are clearly contrary to Catholic faith.” (Views contrary to Catholic doctrine is more correct.)

“The Archdiocese of Detroit cautions any Catholic against participating in the American Catholic Council local listening sessions and national gathering in June 2011,” the archdiocese said in its statement. “Catholic parishes, schools, and institutions are not to host any meetings, gatherings, or listening sessions associated with the planning of the June 2011 American Catholic Council. Priests, deacons, and ecclesial lay ministers will want to avoid lending support to such a misguided effort.”

Archbishop Vigneron said “this national gathering…distorts the true Spirit of Vatican II.” ( The non distorted view of Vatican II is to pretend it never happened.)

Vigneron “asks us all to pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit so that we may embrace authentic development of faith and morals, and shun efforts which threaten unity,” the statement said. (There is no point in praying for the guidance of the Holy Spirit because leadership like Vigneron doesn't believe anything needs updating or reforming or guiding.)

A spokesman for the American Catholic Council was not available to comment Tuesday, but their website says the conference is set for June 10 to 12, Pentecost weekend. The group says on its website it wants to “celebrate the ideas of Vatican II.”


I wondered when the assault on this gathering was going to start.  Archbishop Vigneron is the logical choice to lob the first salvo, since it's going to happen in his Archdiocese.  I'm sure he sees it as a potentially large black mark on his otherwise spotless conservative record and the red hat is so close to his hands he can't be having any black marks.  In fact I keep wanting to type 'Cardinal' Vigneron.

Archbishop Vigneron is a bishop in the Raymond Burke, Thomas Olmstead, and Charles Chaput school of pastoral approach.  Don't be shocked if all of these men eventually sport red hats.  This is great if you are a very conservative Catholic who is terrified of Satan, terrified of going to hell for all eternity, and really believe obeying every utterance of the Vatican is paramount to your salvation.  This is not so great if you think love actually has something to do with what Christ taught.  If Jesus had truly believed obedience to authority was paramount for our salvation He would have become a Temple rabbi, a committed Pharisee, and one in love with the size of His phylactery. He would not have become their chief critic and Temple cleanser or taught love in terms of relating to people and not things.  Things like red hats.

One of the attitudes which irritates me no end about these conservative bishops is their constant appeals to the Holy Spirit.  For what are they appealing?  That the Holy Spirit will come down and burn every single non compliant thought out of our heads?  This is not about guidance from the Holy Spirit so much as it is about petitioning God to instill a form of institutional slavery.

I'll be the first to admit this intellectual slavery to the Vatican has resulted in fame and fortune for the above mentioned boyos.  The problem is that they expect me, a woman, to follow their path when their path leads exactly no where for me.  I get to play the Rosa Parks back seat of the bus role in Burke's and Vigneron's Catholicism.  I fully understand that is a very needed role if Vigneron's concept of hierarchical order is to have any meaning. Hierarchy by definition needs people forced to the back of the bus.  It's how the Vigneron's of the world know they have achieved the front seat, right behind Bennedict the bus driver. Vigneron also knows, by following this exact path, Benedict got to be the bus driver. Why not him? 

The one glaring aspect this path fails to compute is how many people this bus runs over and has run over. Those victims are legion in the long history of Catholicism and more are being created now.  I wish the Holy Spirit would enlighten the Vigneron type Catholics about the victims this bus of theirs creates. For instance, the kinds of victims this clerical bus ran over in the mad notion of saving their church from the scandals they created. 

I wish the Holy Spirit would guide all laity to the understanding that the Church Vigneron and his like minded bishops are defending is in these bishops minds, their church, and they are not saving it for the laity.  They are saving it for themselves.  It's their bus.  They get the front seats and elect the driver.  The rest of us are only along for the ride if they permit us and we pay their price.  The American Catholic Conference is being called to directly challenge the validity of the Catholic bus route to heaven being solely owned, operated, routed and driven by the self chosen.  No wonder Archbishop Vigneron is not enthused.


  1. Bruskewitz and his proteges will probably threaten any attendees with excommunication.

  2. Perhaps some 240 German theologians might be invited along with all non licensed (by an American Bishop) theologian. If then there are a significant number of the laity, there will be 2/3 of the magistrum of the RCC. An interesting event when 1/3 begins to condemn and excommunicate 2/3. Oh Trent are we headed there again? dennis

  3. One other thing. Vigneron is appealing to the same Holy Spirit that he and his like-minded colleagues are so obstinately ignoring.

  4. khughes, are there any progressives left in Lincoln that Bruskewitz hasn't excommunicated? I'll give him this much though, he did also excommunicate SSPX folks.

    I often wonder what some of these guys would do if they ever had their cozy religious world view completely blown out of the water. I don't suppose it's an accident that mystical experiences seem to avoid bishops.