A number of midwestern dioceses are sponsoring a young adult leadership conference this weekend. Innocuous enough. That is until you read the roster of speakers and find the following names:
The keynote speaker is Father Pat Brennan of Holy Family Church in Inverness, Illinois. He is a noted liberal dissenter who was profiled last year in an article entitled, “The perfect ‘model’ of a liberal priest.” Also on the speaker’s roster is Dawn Mayer, “pastoral associate at Holy Family Parish, Inverness,” who will speak on “‘Who Me… A Leader?’ Pastoral Leadership in a Church in the New Millennium.” There’s also Jim Accurso, “marketing manager at Holy Family Parish, Inverness.” Marketing manager? What exactly does a parish’s marketing manager do? Are we selling Catholic toothpaste now? He’ll speak on “Markeing and Public Relations in Young Adult Ministry.” Are you detecting a pattern in these people’s affiliations?
Here’s a great one: “Crystal Chan, Church Reform and Next Gen Organizer for Call to Action, and Linda Pieczynski, Media Spokesperson for Call to Action, based in Chicago.” They’re topic: “Putting Away the X-Box: How Being a Grown-Up Catholic Can Save the Church.” Apparently, Call to Action has noticed what the rest of us have noticed, that their group is dominated by aging Boomers and they’re destined to start dying off in the next few decades, leaving CTA to wither away. Must recruit X-ers! Of course, by joining CTA they wouldn’t be saving the Church, they’d be attacking her. And what arrogance! Who said the Church needs saving by the likes of them? The Holy Spirit can do a pretty fine job Himself.
Who’s sponsoring this liberal mess? First on the list is the National Catholic Young Adult Ministry Association, which if it’s like any of the rest of the “national ministry associations” is a liberal mess. Of course, there’s the ubiquitous Holy Family Church, Inverness. And then listed as partners are a whole bunch of midwestern dioceses: Chicago, Milwaukee, Joliet, Gary, Rockford, Green Bay, Lafayette, and the Ukrainian eparchy of St. Nicholas.
These dioceses really should have known better. More likely though, the chancery employees in these dioceses who agreed to sponsor and promote this mess are fully aware of the agenda at work here, but it’s their bishops who are clueless (or not, as the case may be.)