I. Well, no, Chiranjeevi and Ambika have not been "approved" by the officialdom to perform at World Youth Day in Madrid, starting today. However, considering what's been allowed to eventuate at previous WYDs, say like this in Toronto 2002, I wouldn't be surprised if some careerist ecumanianc manages to get a last minute booking for the two megastars. This isn't to slight Bollywood. It's a lot of fun, specifically the 70s to 80s action stuff, that is if you can withstand sensory overload for 2 to 3 hour durations. I've always been mesmerized by pagan cheese enhanced by high technology. Yes, that sounds condescending. I'm not denying that there's a dignity and a particular genius in it all. Many find it enjoyable. So there's something there. Anyhow, the high technology facilitating the production and broadcasting of paganism derives from a science Western in origin. Specifically, a Catholic origin during the Middle Ages. Just read Fr. Jaki's books. Highly recommended. Accordingly, it is good and acceptable to enjoy cheese once in a while.
II. Yet this blogger is one of those people who recoils at the oversaturated cheesiness of contemporary "Christian rock" music with its attendant irreverence, emotionalism and inauthentic "party transcendent" atmosphere, evidently occurrent at WYD's of the past. Give me Rush or Brahms anytime. There are times when I need to be secular and existentially immanent, you know. It's called "alone time", as the psychologists say. A little of Kierkegaard's "dialect of inwardness" is occasionally helpful (not for everyone, admittedly). And keep sacred music separate and sacred - organ and voice. Does anyone recall Matthew 22:21? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller? Heathens, pagan or Mohammedan, do not make the secular/sacred distinction. Notice the gaudy set design of the tacky masterpiece posted for your viewing pleasure. In that dance sequence Ambika portrays a goddess and Chiru is human. Hear how the Hindustani music intro segues into Western genres of the late 20th century. Pagans are expected to blur the two poles of the dualism into one. Catholics are not. Permission not granted. It is the law. Christian rock concerts and their associated events transgress this law. And for heaven's sake, at least dispose of those vomit-actuating acoustic guitars and tambourines during Mass or whatever devotion. You hippies can compensate by watching re-runs of The Partridge Family on some retro channel.
III. Presently, however, our concern is not with World Youth Day as an appropriate or even legitimate Catholic event. My opinion is that its whole rock concert format is conducive to all kinds of abuses, liturgical and otherwise. But that is altogether another debate. WYD Madrid is happening whether we like it or not, whether you approve of it or not. Speaking of "approve" - a word where our interest does lie, it appears that the luvvies at the USCCB and two allied organizations (names withheld, hint: Knights of Columbus, Salt and Light Media Foundation) do not approve of this guy:
That's quite a sword you're wielding there, Mike. Good for skewing heretics. Perhaps he brought it to Madrid just in case he meets up with (cough) the regulars. Anyway, take a gander at a recent noticia issued by the Madrid 2011 website:
It has come to our attention that Michael Voris, a US based media producer, is scheduled to offer independent catechesis sessions out of a hotel in Madrid during World Youth Day 2011. There has been some confusion regarding his affiliation with World Youth Day. Michael Voris, the clergy and the laity associated with him, and their media efforts "Real Catholic TV" and "No Bull in Madrid" are not in any way recognized or approved by World Youth Day 2011.The "our attention" specifically means "some assistant to the Secretariat for Laity of the USCCB", according to the No Bull in Madrid website and, good grief, Voris and guests are to conduct their covert activities "out of a hotel". How classless, seedy, petit bourgeois. Haven't the important venues already been booked? My guess is that USCCB reps are now lavishing it up at the 5-star Hotel Ritz, Plaza de la Lealtad 5, 28014 Madrid, at pewsitter expense of course. "Vodka martinis for everyone! Let's party like it's 1969". Continuing:
Catechesis at World Youth Day is offered by Bishops of the Catholic Church in union with Pope Benedict XVI, who has invited the young people of the world to join him in Madrid for this celebration of faith and life. The Vatican's Pontifical Council for the Laity selects and invites Bishops, and only Bishops, from around the world to conduct Catechesis sessions at WYD in various languages.The bishops may be "in union" with B16, though I have a hunch that there are some unified mainly by word, not necessarily deed. Big difference there. After decryption, the message reads that Voris and RCTV are somehow at odds with the Magisterium because, well, they aren't part of "the club". You know. Basically, the USCBB despises them for being stridently Catholic. Yup. That's about it. The high-flying representatives of Catholic mediocrity do not like to be upstaged by an orthodox upstart gaining in popularity. Onward:
Participants in the World Youth Day 2011 Cultural Program must be recognized and endorsed by the Bishops and Episcopal Conferences of their respective countries. Participants were selected for Cultural program by the World Youth Day organization in close collaboration with the Pontifical Council for the Laity. Those groups participating in the World Youth Day 2011 Cultural Festival have been selected because, through their various activities, they promote the authentic teaching and unity of the Roman Catholic Church and have been endorsed by their local Bishop and Espiscopal conference. Michael Voris, "Real Catholic TV" and "No Bull in Madrid" did not receive such endorsement from their Bishop or Episcopal Conference.For the USCCB to put "authentic teaching" and "Episcopal conference" in the same sentence is oxymoronic, if not laughable. If anything, episcopal conferences themselves have been responsible for inhibiting a return to authentic Catholicity. Pick any one of the following: setting up road blocks to Summorum Pontificum, tolerating heretics, inaction with respect to liturgical abuses galore, reluctantly implementing with the new missal, downplaying or ignoring moral/life issues, getting enraptured with 20th tier issues like "climate change" and anti-bottled water campaigns, and so forth ad nauseum.
IV. The main message is restated as the article concludes:
Michael Voris, "Real Catholic TV" and the program "No Bull in Madrid" are not accredited or recognized by World Youth Day 2011. World Youth Day Madrid 2011 invites and encourages all pilgrims attending this celebration of faith to visit the vast array of events that make up the official World Youth Day 2011 Cultural Festival and are endorsed by the Pontifical Council for the Laity, the WYD organization and their respective Bishops conferences.So why was RCTV not "approved"? It never applied for approval. So why was a single person/group anathematized, never before done in the whole 27-year history of World Youth Day? There are, let us say, certain sectors in the sphere of the professional Catholic class that feel threatened. So why weren't other groups - existent at past WYD's and antagonistic to orthodox Catholicism - singled out as unapproved by the USCCB? Because there is sympathy to dissent in the inner ranks.
V. The most striking aspect of the Madrid 2011 post was the number of times it emphasized the need for approval. In an article of just 329 words, six times was it mentioned: "not in any way recognized or approved", "must be recognized and endorsed", "have been endorsed", "did not receive such endorsement", "not accredited or recognized", "are endorsed". The repetitiveness is a giveaway. As Chiranjeevi so eloquently enunciated at the outset: "no no no no no no no no nooooo nooooo nooooo!" The whole thing backfired, of course. Afterward RCTV thanked "the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops for drawing attention to our existence and scheduled contributions to the upcoming World Youth Day". A nice, lighthearted retort with a wink to the opponent. However, it's doubtful that smiles were reciprocated by the latte-sipping darlings at USCCB headquarters.
VI. Voris has that blunt Belloc quality about him and he's a big time troublemaker, which is alright in my books. There have been a couple of Vortex's where I differ in view somewhat. But hey, if he can induce a certain salesman apologist to devote one of his bi-weekly conniptions to him, you know Voris is doing a good job. Even Damian Thompson doesn't like him. As reported in the Catholic Herald, Voris is soon to visit London. Young Damian commented thusly: "Was Voris' magnificent rug also God-given?" That statement reflects why the Church Times once called Damian a "blood-crazed ferret". But he's alright most of the time.
VII. Now what would a TH2 post be without reference to our friends at Salt and Light TV? For it appears that program host Pedro Guevara-Mann blogged about the officialdom's disapproval of Voris and crew. The Vox got a conversation going on the matter at his blog and it would be worthwhile to pop on over. Still, I'd like to make some comments of my own.
VIII. Check this title out: "On the event not approved by WYD Madrid". That Guevara-Mann did not explicitly state RCTV is telling. There's a certain arrogance here in that the manifest party under scrutiny is not even worth being named. But let's begin fisking [TH2 analysis in bolded square brackets]:
The business of being Church is not an easy one. ["being Church" phraseology reminiscent of "We Are Church", liberal kitsch talk, "we are the world", "Gather Us In", etc.]IX. After receiving few comments on his post, all of which were positive toward Voris/RCTV, Guevara-Mann back pedaled and added another paragraph to his post. All he did, unfortunately, was to dig his hole even deeper:
I discovered this while working for the WYD2002 office. I have said on numerous occasions that this amazing experience was a great blessing for me and for my family. One of the blessings is that I got to see the best of the Church. At the same time, I got to see the worst of the Church.[This works under the dubious assumption that Guevara-Mann is qualified to determine the "best" and "worst" of the Church. An employee of Salt + Light TV as such does not make one qualified. Although, one of the prerequisites of being an employee at Canada's "Channel of Hope" is - à la Fr. Rosica - to frown upon orthodoxy, so you already know what Guevara-Mann will deem as "best" and "worst"]
Maybe that's what the parable of the weeds and the wheat is all about [not necessarily, it could be about Political Correctness, being so-called "moderate"]: in order for the best to be best, the worst has to grow alongside it. And maybe that's what being Church is.[please stop with the "being Church", it really is an offensive term]
At WYD2002 I was in charge of all the artistic programming. [the benefits of working for Fr. Rosica, the comptroller at WYD2002] The largest component of this was the Youth Festival. [well, it is called "World Youth Day"] We dealt with hundreds of groups, thousands of artists, from over 30 countries and in 8 different languages. The main task was to select the groups that would participate. This was no easy task. There are many thousands of wonderful individuals, groups, music ministers, lay associations and movements, and communities that are doing great work for the Church. It was very hard to narrow the long list down to the 200 or so who would make the final cut.
One way to do this is to ask for a letter of support from the local Bishop or from the Episcopal Conference. I cannot begin to tell you the number of times that we had to rely on that reference, to be sure.[There is no way Voris' bishop in Detroit would have given him "support". There is a history of friction. The chancery office detests him so it would have been useless to even request a letter. That he is detested bespeaks much, of course] And still, we had some potential problems. Lastly, the Pontifical Council for the Laity, the Vatican department that oversees World Youth Days, had to approve the final list.
It meant that some did not get selected. [RCTV never applied for selection. So how can it be deselected if it was not selected in the first place?]
Another problem that we had was dealing with groups for whom World Youth Day is an opportunity to do their own thing. It's simple logic: "This is the chance that we have to gather all our members from around the world. They're going to WYD anyway, so why not have our own event at the same time?" Or, "There will be lots of Catholics there, so why not run our event at the same time?" I am not saying that these groups are taking advantage of WYD or out to divide WYD [Then why did you take the time to write a post "On the event not approved by WYD Madrid", singling it out No Bull in Madrid? There must be a reason.] – but inadvertently, when one creates an event that is parallel to WYD, that's the danger. And that does not contribute to the unity of the Church.[See how Guevara-Mann, like the USCCB, subtly works to make Voris/RCTV as divisive, even schismatic]
This has been the case with every World Youth Day. [Then why weren't official statements of disapproval issued for other hostile groups at past WYDs?] Everyone thinks that their event is important. Everyone wants to promote their event (and they should, since they're spending a lot of money and resources to put on the event). But we can't lose sight of the larger event, the real reason for World Youth Day.[...and what, pray tell, would that be? Please explain.]
And so, when the Madrid WYD office put out a statement earlier this week titled "U.S. Based Media Producer Not Approved by WYD 2011", I was not surprised. [...and I bet you were grinning with delight, eh buddy?]
If the organizers of that event [again, not explicitly referring to Voris/RCTV. Why? The contempt overflows] are surprised at the statement, it's not surprising – again, why would they think that this is a problem? [Who said there is a "problem"? You did hotshot. Only you and your careerist colleagues see RCTV as a problem. Let's be clear on that]. There is so much happening in Madrid during August 16-21 that all pilgrims will be overwhelmed with the choices.[How do you know that? Life is full of many choices] It will mean that some events will not be very well attended – especially those immediately following all the main events.
And when someone advertises that they will be at World Youth Day and says that their event is open to all World Youth Day pilgrims, it is hard not to see that event as an official Youth Festival event, or not to be confused by it.[No Bull in Madrid in no way inferred that it was an "official" or "approved" event. I think most kids are intelligent enough to figure this out, whether they are inclined to attend or not. Apparently, you don't.]
Part of our job at the WYD2002 programming office was to clear some of the confusion. There are official WYD events and there are some events that are not official.[Yes, you've made this very obvious.]
The official ones have all been approved by local bishops, Episcopal Conferences, and the Pontifical Council for the Laity. Hopefully that means that they will promote the authentic teaching and unity of the Roman Catholic Church[! ... if they've already been approved by supposedly qualified people who've filtered away the "worst" from the "best", then why hope for this? Why allow for the possibility it might not happen? Does not approval from the officialdom infer a 100% guarantee?]. The Bishops are the authentic teachers of the Church in communion with the Pope.[That is correct, so long as they are in communion with the Pope. Who says that all the bishops who have given "approval" for whatever WYD event, past or that present, are in full communion the Pope? I don't. If you do, Mr. Guevara-Mann, then I suggest you stop getting your Catholic news from CNS] It is the Pope who teaches at World Youth Day in communion with the bishops of the world. Any group that sets itself to "teach" in the midst of WYD is giving a very mixed message–as if the other teaching is deficient or incorrect.[The evidence shows that there is deficiency and incorrectness in teaching to a significant degree throughout North America and beyond. RCTV has been spotlighting this for quite some time - and Guevara-Mann and his friends don't like it.]
I'm not commenting one way or the other on the event in question. I am not saying that it is unorthodox or that the organisers of that event are out to create division in the Church. I am merely trying to understand where the WYD National Office is coming from when releasing such a statement. If an event is not official, it doesn't mean that it will not promote the authentic teaching and unity of the Roman Catholic Church, but, there is no guarantee."Trying to understand". Give me a break. No question that the post was a supplementary hit piece to bolster the USCCB-originated condemnation. And there is absolutely no way this side of the Van Allen Belt that Guevara-Mann could have posted the article without the permission of Salt and Light's CEO. It could even be that the blog post was prompted by Fr. Rosica, although he delegated the task to one of his "yes men", considering the blowback he's received from controversial statements made over the last two years. Apparently he's keeping a low profile these days, leaving his underlings to deal with retaliations from the blogosphere.
X. Why does Voris need canonical approval? To my knowledge he's never advocated anything tantamount to heresy. Moreover, RCTV/No Bull in Madrid never has advertised itself as an official teaching authority of the Catholic Church. Disregarding WYD, why are not other Catholic speakers, bloggers and writers ever singled out as not having official approval? Does not every Catholic have the right to be a witness to the Faith? It seems that this right is reserved only for those that adhere to the party line, itself not always in conformity with magisterial teaching. Does the reader see what's happening here? Guevara-Mann and company are creating a false scenario to divert attention away from the fact the issue has nothing to do with official approval, but with the establishment's fear and disdain of RCTV and those Catholics of like mind. That this is even being done betrays an atmosphere of desperation within the hallways of officialdom. This is a good thing. Time is running out and they know it.