.- World Youth Day organizers said July 25 that the independent catechesis sessions offered by U.S.-based media producer Michael Voris during World Youth Day 2011 are not approved by the event. Voris responded with puzzlement that the announcement was made, stating that his organization has never represented itself as linked to the event.
“Participants in the World Youth Day 2011 Cultural Program must be recognized and endorsed by the bishops and episcopal conferences of their respective countries,” read a July 25 statement from the event’s organizers.
There had been “some confusion” about Voris’ affiliation with World Youth Day, organizers said, further noting that “Real Catholic TV” and Michael Voris’ catechetical session “No Bull in Madrid” have not received endorsements from the group’s local bishop—Archbishop Allen Vigneron of Detroit—or the U.S. bishops’ conference.
They are “not in any way recognized or approved” by the official event. The Pontifical Council for the Laity selects and invites only bishops from around the world to conduct catechesis sessions at World Youth Day, the statement explained.
Participating organizations in the World Youth Day 2011 Cultural Festival are selected because they “promote the authentic teaching and unity” of the Catholic Church and have received the required endorsements.
Voris questioned why the announcement about his event had been made.
“We never said we were part of the official World Youth Day. I guess I’m puzzled as to why the announcement was issued,” he said in a July 25 interview with CNA.
He described himself as “a Catholic in good standing” with a theology degree from the Angelicum in Rome.
“Nothing that we have ever said has been challenged with regard to Church teaching,” he said.
Voris’ videos are often strident in tone, criticizing leading political, cultural and Church figures. One recent video criticized the Knights of Columbus’ national leadership for alleged inaction towards politicians who are pro-abortion rights and support “gay marriage,” and for an excessive focus on financial concerns.
He has also praised the institution of Catholic monarchy as a “benevolent dictatorship” and criticized democracy, saying the vote should be limited to those who are faithful Catholics.
In April two of his speaking events in the Diocese of Scranton were canceled on the grounds that his statements “certainly can be interpreted as being insensitive to people of other faiths,” the diocese said, without specifying the statements involved.
“I understand that some people don’t like the style,” Voris said, observing that this criticism can apply to any person.
“We’re just faithful Catholics who want to add to the voice of the Church and amplify the voice of the Church.”
Voris wondered if there was “something else at work,” since he has not seen any signs of confusion about his organization’s lack of affiliation with World Youth Day. The media producer added that he is willing to discuss his event with organizers.
The event in Madrid will address “hot-button topics” related to sex, Voris explained.
He said the “No Bull in Madrid” event is being held during World Youth Day because that is where there are large numbers of Catholic youth who are affected by today's over-sexed culture. Two late evening sessions will be held August 17 and 19 at the Melia Castilla Hotel and Convention Center.
He reported that a priest helping Real Catholic TV had contacted World Youth Day organizers several months ago to see how they could sign up to be a participant. The inquiry never advanced to the stage of seeking episcopal approval because there was no space for new groups.
Asked about his organization’s relationship to his local bishop, Archbishop Allen Vigneron of Detroit, Voris said he does not know what the relationship is because he has not been able to meet with him.
Voris said he has personally made six attempts to schedule a meeting with him. So far he has been unable to meet with the archbishop, which he blamed on interference from archdiocesan "bureaucracy."
In February 2011, Archdiocese of Detroit director of communications Ned McGrath said that the Real Catholic TV enterprise had yet to present itself or receive approval of its apostolate and programming from the archdiocese.