LIKE DAY AND NIGHT: Two Catholic Groups in Detroit This Weekend

This weekend, there will be two major Catholic conferences in the Archdiocese of Detroit.  Because I think the Detroit News coverage has been so patently slanted, I wanted to point out important differences between them.


The Call To Holiness Conference conference will be held on Saturday, June 11, at Burton Manor Conference Center in Livonia.  Call To Holiness, which draws hundreds or thousands of participants each year, is one of the most dynamic events in the Catholic Church in the Archdiocese of Detroit.

CTH features solid Catholic speakers who are in conformity with the teachings of the Catholic Church, including (among others):

  • Al Kresta, host of “Kresta In the Afternoon” on Ave Maria Radio
  • Jeff Cavins, founding host of EWTN’s “Life On the Rock” and Relevant Radio’s “Morning Air” and author of popular books on Catholic apologetics
  • Raymond de Souza, founder and director of the international apostolate St. Gabriel Media, host of a program on EWTN, progam director for Human Life International
  • Johnette Benkovic, founder and president of Living His Life Abundantly, a Catholic apostolate with outreaches in television, radio, print and internet communications, and founder of Women of Grace, a Catholic women’s apostolate
  • Fr. Clement Machado, S.O.L.T., who has served as parochial vicar in Montreal and as parochial administrator in Ottawa, and who now works with Vatican Radio in Rome. 
  • Fr. Edmund McCaffrey, Ob.S.D., Ph.D., president Eternal Life, political scientist, scholar, writer, retreat master.  Strong proponent of Marian devotion.


Archbishop Vigneron has sent a message of welcome to Call To Holiness, saying,

“It is a blessing for me to be able to greet all of you who are participating in the 13th annual Call To Holiness Conference, “Call to Fidelity: The Power of Truth.”  This conference promises to be a powerful catalyst for growth in holiness and a deepened conviction about our need, particularly in these difficult times, to persevere in fidelity to Jesus Christ who is the truth incarnate.  Please know of my prayers for all of you.”


The American Catholic Council meets June 10-12 at Cobo Hall.  Declaring itself a “grassroots movement of Catholics,” the dissident group is releasing their own “Catholic Bill of Rights and Responsibilities” demanding, among other things:

  • Primacy of Conscience – Every Catholic has the right and responsibility to develop an informed conscience and to act in accord with it.  (No need to follow the laws of the Church.)
  • Community – Every Catholic has the right and responsibility to participate in a Eucharistic community and the right to responsible pastoral care. 
  • Freedom of Expression – Every Catholic has the right and responsibility to freedom of expression and the freedom to dissent.
  • Sacraments – Every Catholic has the right and responsibility to participate in the fullness of the liturgical and sacramental life of the Church.  (No doubt, here again comes the “women’s ordination” canard, as well as priesthood for women, communion for divorced, etc.)
  • Reputation – Every Catholic has the right to a good name and to due process.  (Hailing back to handling of the clergy abuse crisis.)
  • Governance – Every Catholic and every Catholic community has the right to a meaningful participation in decision making, including the selection of leaders.  (They would like the community to elect pastors and bishops.)
  • Participation – Every Catholic has the right and responsibility to share in the interpretation of the Gospel and Church tradition.  (So you get to decide what the scripture really means.)
  • Councils.  Every Catholic has the right to intervene and speak in assemblies where diverse voices can be heard.
  • Social Justice.  Every Catholic has the right and the responsibility to promote social justice in the world at large as well as within the structures of the Church.

 I think there is a church like that– It’s just not the Catholic Church. 

Speakers at the ACC Conference include:

  • Hans Kung, widely-recognized and highly controversial Swiss theologian/priest.  The Vatican has rescinded his authority to teach Catholic theology, but he retains the title of “professor of ecumenical theology.”
  • Anthony Padovano, former Catholic priest, founder of CORPUS, now pastor of The Inclusive Community where Catholics and Protestants worship together
  • Jeanette Rodriguez, scholar whose work specializes in liberation theology (denounced by the Church), previous chair of Pax Christi, a peace group which advocates civil disobedience.
  • James Carroll, scholar-in-residence at Suffolk University, columnist for the Boston Globe.  In a 2009 book, he denounced Pope Benedict XVI as “the chief sponsor of the new Catholic fundamentalism, enforced with no regard for the real cost to human beings.”
  • Kathleen Kennedy-Townsend, eldest daughter of Robert and Ethel Kennedy, vociferously pro-abortion former Lieut. Gov. of Maryland.
  • Joan Chittister, Benedictine nun, author and speaker.  Outspoken advocate for women’s ordination, etc.  Founder of Benetvision, which encourages spirituality through a feminist perspective.
  • Matthew Fox, former Dominican priest, now a member of the Episcopal church.  Advocate for New Age “Creation Spirituality,” which is aligned with ecological and environmental movements and with a focus on “deep ecumenism” that embraces numerous spiritual traditions around the world, including Buddhism, Judaism, Sufism, and Native American teachings.


Archbishop Vigneron has cautioned Catholics about this so-called “Catholic” group and has issued a strong warning to priests and deacons not to participate in their liturgy this weekend.  He writes, in part:

In order to fulfill my responsibilities, so clearly enunciated by the Second Vatican Council, of fostering of communion with both the local and the universal Church, I am compelled to caution any priests or deacons who may be considering participation in this liturgy.  It is not being celebrated with my permission as required by the law and the good order of the People of God.  Further, clergy should be aware of the impact of forbidden concelebration with those who are not in full communion (canons 908 and 1365).  This is a serious delict, for which recourse to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is required, and which may result in dismissal from the clerical state (cf. Sacramentorum Sanctitatis Tutela, 2001 and 2010). 

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  • 2005wsoxfan .

    If you don’t agree with what the Catholic Church teaches just leave. I don’t see where membership is mandatory. I don’t get what the dissenters are trying to do. They want to change the Church to their vision of it. However, there are millions who are happy with what the Church now teaches. We have to leave? Doesn’t make sense. If you are that unhappy with the Church leave, start your own but, stop scandalizing the rest of us who do believe what the Church teaches and are happy being here.