Blogger and writer Patrick Madrid uncovered this news and describes it as “perhaps unprecedented”: the organizers of WYD have officially disavowed any connection with one of the people appearing there.
From the WYD web site:
WYD Cultural Program Participants Must Be Endorsed by Bishops’ Conferences
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.
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.
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.
Michael Voris, “Real Catholic TV” and the program “No Bull in Madrid” are not accredited to 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.
One of the readers of Patrick’s blog has left the following comment there. He identifies himself as Marc Brammer and says he co-founded RCTV (Real Catholic TV) with Voris in 2008:
Nothing RealCatholicTV.com has ever done has been done with “approval” owing to the fact that “approval” is not required. The laity, or their efforts, do not operate as ecclesial bodies or functionaries (e.g., prayer groups and Catholic Bible Studies do not need “permission” or “approval” before commencing activities) nor is there any real mechanism in place for obtaining such approval.
For instance, not a single Vortex episode (nearly 800 to date) has ever been “approved” in the sense of receiving some official endorsement by the Church, nor are they required to be “approved” unless there is a claim to be speaking for the Church (which there is not).
Our efforts in Madrid are solely our own undertaking, as is everything that we do. We consult greatly and regularly with various clergy and religious in many of our endeavors, and we are very happy for their support.
The work of the laity, however, is NOT the work of the clergy.
Additionally, even with the “approval” of the Church on the work of various “official” Church undertakings, we see clearly that in many instances (as with “catholic” universities and hospitals and social justice efforts) this official seal of “approval” is rendered meaningless by the actions or intentions of some of those involved.
So, while we grateful for the clarification on the part of WYD officials that our efforts are not “approved,” our response is, “Thank you for clearing up a matter that we failed to see needed clarification. We never said we were “approved” and “approval” is not required for lay endeavors on behalf of the Faith.”