Echoes, Etc.

Echoes, Etc.

A December 30, 2021 memo from the bishop offers “A Year’s End Peek into 2022.”

If you’re curious what the Listening Church(TM) will be up to, here you go:

Pastoral Vision Plans (PVP): As I continue to review these drafts I am encouraged by your diligent efforts. I can hear echoes within the Uniting in Heart 2030 work; there are echoes of the Global Synod listening and the Eucharistic Renewal at the local and USCCB levels. The PVP’s are imagining new horizons very clearly, but I also want to affirm the many life-giving efforts that are already firmly established, some as parish committees or ministries, but also many that are not parish sponsored but are reflected in parishioner’s self-sacrificing activities on behalf of families, the needy, school and community boards and elective offices. It is important to highlight what grace already helps us do well!

In 2022, expect communications from my desk on the following subjects as matters flowing from or into parochial, school, and chancery interests. Among these:

Traditiones Custodes (July 2021) and the Responsa (December 2021)

Further reflection on the November 2021 USCCB statement, “The Mystery of the Eucharist in the Life of the Church.”

The prolonged effects of COVID-19 and public health directives on our present understanding of social co-responsibility.

Additional revised Diocesan Policies after they complete review paths through the chancery department directors, the Consultors, and the Presbyteral Council.

The role of the Indiana Catholic Conference and strengthening of the networking between parish and ICC efforts regarding schools, conscience rights for healthcare workers, cooperation in environment and ecology initiatives, communicating Catholic values to inform and benefit legislative proposals.

I think “echoes” was an apt choice of words here. Echoes happen when the sound which one hears was produced, generally speaking, by oneself, and produced under environmental circumstances where it could not be otherwise.

Reorganization of parishes. New personnel. New pastors. Scores of tasks to be checked off a list. Consultants, paid by the diocese, to oversee the pastors’ decision making, i.e. a hired stranger running your parish.

These function excellently as steep canyon walls that enable one to pretend that the returning voice belongs to another.

The thing to which some of us cannot help objecting is the false pretense of listening, when one’s plan has already been set in stone and no one’s voice matters a jot.

Or perhaps it is a strange, sincerely-held belief that they are actually listening?

Listening synodally, as described here by our bishop, would mean “being among people,” “listening to hearts … the way Jesus listened,” “healing their cares,” understanding their “afflictions.”

Honestly, it’s hard to believe this, coming from the mouths of certain Church leaders of today. It doesn’t give one any joy to say that.

It’s especially difficult to believe locally, after all the close-mouthed ploys of UiH, that listening to people was ever considered important. (Important to avoid, maybe, so that no one could register anxiety or disagreement or alternative suggestions ahead of the fait accompli.)

We were on the receiving end of some very scathing, clericalist-type comments in the early days of RWR, which made very clear that we as laity had no right to expect to be listened to, notified, involved, etc. in any of the decisions that we live with in our parishes & pastorates today. We were treated just as we deserved, in this view, as data to be managed. Our “afflicted hearts” didn’t come into it in the slightest, despite the plan’s ironic name.

Recall that anyone given any information got it with the warning that they were not to say anything critical of it either “in public or in private.” People who heard that knew quite well where they should keep their “hearts,” “afflictions,” “cares,” etc. during this process.

So an about-face to a warm, tender, & listening heart seems, well, not so plausible now. One cannot have it both ways.

Are they really listening, or are they building themselves some more canyon walls to reverberate their own sound?

44 Replies to “Echoes, Etc.”

  1. We just received St. Elizabeth Seton in Carmel’s Pastoral Vision Plan. Hilariously, much of it is essentially striving to get back to where the parish was before the cowardly Bishop locked the doors and then fired Father Ted for daring to say the quiet part out loud.

  2. I’m a newcomer and I have looked at entry after entry. I guess it comes down to UiH and the retreat center as pressure points. The first I don’t understand. I tried multiple readings and I could not get my brain around it and I ran a business for 33 years. I don’t see anything tangible after year one. The post on Tipton was very informative. Thank you. But beyond that all I see is our own brand of echo chamber. I’m not trying to critical but seems like more is needed. What are we trying to accomplish? And how? Seems to me a website might be a much better venue, maybe like the Corpus Christi Unity and Peace group. It would be nice to have links to good analysis like the retreat house analysis. Thoughts?

  3. I have signed up for one of the Listening Sessions in my parish, which are meant ultimately to provide input for the Synod in Rome to be held in October of 2023. On the topic of Synodality. Which isn’t much help in finding out what the actual topics of discussion will be in Rome or at my local parish. In fact, a synod on synodality sounds sort of circular. The announcement for sign-ups did not provide much help. So I set about finding out the topics. The article in The Catholic Moment of October 3, 2021, which was mentioned in the announcement, was long and turgid (as usual), so I still don’t know what the topics of discussion are.
    One interpretation of this lacuna is that it is up to the parishioners, the members of each parish, to raise their concerns for consideration. Actually, this sounds like a great idea.
    I write to urge people to sign up for these listening sessions, but only with a concrete idea of what they want to talk about. Each person should speak of his own areas of concern. For me, the topics I hope to bring up are: 1) Free access to the Tridentine Mass; 2) Sound, unequivocal cathechesis throughout the Church; 3) A recognition of the fundamental need for beauty in church architecture, interiors, music, dress, and a correction of faddish post-Vatican II mistakes in these matters.
    I urge everyone to think of what he would like to see happen in the Church, and to sign up, before the slots are filled, for a Listening Session.

    1. In case anyone thinks that bringing up topics of concern to himself, which, however, don’t seem to fit into the purpose of the Synod on Synodality: there is no need to worry. The article in The Catholic Moment of October 3, 2021 actually tells us what the purpose of the synod is: “The purpose of the Synod is to explore synodality—that is to encourage conversations and consultations that help the whole Church, clergy and laity, to journey together better.” So we can relax about raising any topic. That covers absolutely everything. The Catholic Moment specializes in saying nothing in many, many words. I admit, it’s a skill that must take effort to acquire.

    2. We simply can’t wait to attend the listening session at my AMAZING PARISH. The Synodal Synod on Syndolization is the most inspiring thing to come from the church since liturgical dancing. Why, we haven’t been this excited about church since our AMAZING PARISH council declared all masses to be “for the vulnerable” which ensured no one under 65-years-old will ever show up (especially those young, mean, rigid, veil-wearing, Latin-loving, baby-juggling, communion-on-the-tongue-kneeling rad-trads). We’ve been trying to get our pastor to declare every other church ministry in our AMAZING PARISH to be “for the vulnerable”, but father has twelve other parishes he serves now and he can only spend about 20-minutes per day in each one and it’s hard to pin him down. We’ll keep trying, because it’s important that everyone who’s not vulnerable not come to church for any reason unless you’re childless, sit in the back alone, don’t participate, and wear an AMAZING PARISH-provided World War I gas mask.

      Anyway, some of the issues I plan on bringing to our AMAZING PARISH listening session “for the vulnerable” (which happens to be our only listening session) include:
      1. All pews shall be roped-off or removed except the front pew where the parish council sits.
      2. Tambourines shall take the place of the missalettes in the pews.
      3. Only play Marty Haugen and David Haas songs at mass from the cassette tapes located in the choir loft.
      4. Add breathing exercises at the beginning of mass like that priest down in Florida does.
      5. In his homilies, father is only allowed to talk about what was on CNN yesterday.
      6. Communion wafers shall be put into small zip-lock sandwich bags and distributed from the collection basket that we’ll pass around while “We Remember” is playing in the background.
      7. Start a new USCCB-approved catechetical study class “for the vulnerable” called: “Traditionis Custodes: How Cutting Off the Only Growing Branches of the Church Will Save the Tree”

      It’s going to be AMAZING! Almost as AMAZING as the big birthday coming up this fall on October 11, 2022: The date the Catholic Church turns 60!

      1. Staaahp! You’re hurting my side from LOLing. But seriously, it is so frustrating. However, where our diocese’s leadership falls in the Orthodox vs. Modernist scale does seem to be getting clearer as the days progress. It will be interesting to see if our bishop calls out Francis in his recent claims of who is (and remains) inside the Catholic Church–contradicting Pope Pius XII. While it is his duty to clarify and public heresies, I’m thinking we won’t see much in this regard. Strange times. Strange times, indeed.

    3. The synodal listening sessions will have about as much positive impact as the UiH listening sessions had leading up to the implementation of UiH. Consultants have counseled the leadership that, to provide cover and the illusion of giving a damn, the diocese should hold listening sessions to, you know, hear from the “little people” when, in actuality, the “little people” that are paying attention know exactly that the fix is in: Just like the UiH listening sessions resulted in a plan no one wanted, so the synod on synods will result in a church no one wants. The truth is they (the leadership) are not listening and they don’t really care about where you and your loved ones spend eternity. It’s a sad and painful truth and God will, no doubt, intervene at some point (see Matthew 16:18 and Matthew 18:6) and when He does…well….pity those who have led so many astray.

      And it’s not to say don’t attend the listening sessions. By all means, go and tell them what you want: reverent masses, orthodox teaching, latin mass, devotionals, etc… They need to hear it. Just don’t be surprised when they release the “results” and they’re surprisingly connected to the UiH pillars and how people want more Alpha, etc… And as for the “results” the Vatican will unleash on us next year when this synodal dumpster fire finally flies off a cliff, do not be surprised that the “vast majority” of dioceses around the world want a more worldly church that demands “reinterpretations” of the sixth and ninth commandments. The document was probably already written before the synod even began.

      So let them tempt God with their chaos and marginalization of the faithful. God will put things right. Just keep the faith handed down to us from the Apostles and live your life so that you can echo St. Paul’s words when your time on this earth is done:

      “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.” – 2 Timothy 4:7

  4. Over the river and through the woods to bishops’ ambiguity house we go (see “Diocese Reflects…”, Feb. 6 issue Catholic Moment). In all the the charity I can muster, his writing desperately needs a proofreader. At the end, we can do pastorates and consultants all day long. The bishop and yes men and women can satisfy their ego needs for practicing corporate-speak in the diocesan paper all they want. Yet I still don’t know the issues surrounding the retreat center (enlightenment anyone?). I at least like the idea of a retreat house as Gethsemani is the closest alternative I know of. My main concern with UiH, by far, is having the Mass deteriorate more than we already experience, owing to a fish hook buried in UiH and the synodal dumpster fire. No one I know jumps in the car to head out to our diocese for an incredible Mass experience versus, say, St John Cantius, Chicago. I’m all for relieving priests of administrative duties, a goal implicit somewhere in UiH, but I had this this notion–silly me–that reverent Masses celebrated by fervent tradition-friendly priests whose homilies contain actual catechesis (Real Presence anyone??) would do more than UiH ever could to evangelize.

    1. I agree with this writer. And as for consultants and programs, can anyone tell me how much the diocese has spent in total on these things? Matching Eli Lily funds + Partner’s Edge + that feasibility study to see if the bishop should launch his $80 million endowment fund? How much money has gone outside the diocese? How much money has been wasted on people telling them how to run the diocese like a business rather than how to save souls? Can anyone come up with a figure? Is that in any diocesan statement anywhere?

      1. At the moment I’m trying to take things one at a time. Everyone here seems to know what I don’t. What’s the story on the retreat center?

        1. That it was a poor investment that cost/is costing a crazy amount of money, which then has to be squeezed out of us. We have paid more than it is worth & it is most likely losing money, being bailed out by the Diocese. Its hard to tell because they aren’t real transparent about what is income vs. “donations”/bailouts. Whatever amount the Diocese asks from a parish, they are going to take it one way or another and that isn’t right if its being taken to pay for a big mistake.

    2. Of course reverent Masses celebrated by fervent tradition-friendly priests whose homilies contain actual catechesis would do more than UiH ever could to evangelize. But in our leadership’s mind, that’s why they must be stopped. At some point, all the faithful are going to have reconcile with the fact that the primary mission of the Church (the salvation of souls) is not shared by everyone in the Church because there is no longer any agreement on what that means anymore, particularly within the Church’s hierarchy. This became so painfully obvious during the pandemic church closures: The one refuge souls have counted on for 2,000 years to be there for them when the world falls apart was shuttered by the very shepherds in charge. And when they finally and reluctantly reopened the churches, there was no apology, no admission of wrongdoing, no remorse. In fact, in this diocese the leadership decided that “reopening time” would be a great time to kick off a massive fundraising campaign! Is there a more clearer example of how out-of-touch and contemptuous of souls they are than this?

  5. Another year, another pathetic attempt to prop up the retreat center in Tipton via the new annual Catholic Ministries Appeal and its inane slogan: “Our Grateful Response”. What a destructive, disrespectful mockery this leadership makes of everything it touches. What on earth do any of the faithful have to be grateful for? They closed the churches. They robbed us of access to the sacraments. They browbeat and disrespect good priests. They ended the seminarian fund. They bought a retreat center that they couldn’t afford, that no one wanted, and that no one visits. They combine parishes that should have been closed 10 years ago, keeping priests always on the road and preventing any catholic culture from taking root. They’ve mismanaged the vocations office for years and the proof is in the declining number of pictures in each succeeding year’s vocations poster. They hire non-Catholic consultants who, with no skin in the game, treat our diocese like a failing department store chain as they push their “decline management” programs and plans.

    Yep! So much to be grateful for!

    No, I will not be giving to the bottomless pit known as “Our Grateful Response”. Their ineptitude will not be rewarded. Their pledge card and envelope is in the trash with the Catholic Moment. My tithe will go to places in the Universal Church where I know it will be respectfully used to save souls.

    1. Like so much of social media, words are just tossed out there with no proof, context or basis of truth. What one types often reveals where ones’ heart is. As for me and my house, we’ve already sent in “Our Grateful Response” in one lump sum for the year.

      1. Well, if only the Bishop had taken the bold and Biblically justified move of wanting to cap interest rates at 34%, I’d be stroking him a big check. Since he wimped out and went with Big Loan Shark’s 36% compromise, I can’t in my well-formed conscience send him anything.

        I bet if he offered the retreat center to people who rely on payday loans some of us would support that, but something tells me payday loan recipients are smarter than taking on the liabilities associated with that “asset”.

      2. Received my glossy solicitation in the mail the other day for the (now) Annual Catholic Ministries Appeal. Given all that’s going on in the world right now, it was a good laugh. Pretty sleazy to combine separate appeals that I would have contributed to, but I guess that’s how the shell game can operate legally—one pot for them to decide how the faithful’s money is spent.

        1. Exactly! The quiet elimination of the seminarian fund is a true scandal. There will be scores of duped faithful that will hand over their money thinking it will be used to attract and nurture new priestly vocations when instead it goes to repair some broken pipes in the empty St. Joseph Retreat Center. My only consolation on this disastrous state of affairs in this diocese is that, in the end, the Just Judge will render an accounting of all those who contributed to this mess and perfect justice will be meted out.

          1. This is garbage about the seminarian fund. It is alive and well, also well funded. Get your facts straight!

    2. Since the Tipton facility is no longer being used as a coven (its description by a deceased priest friend of blessed memory, Fr. Borawski) maybe it will be viable with a thorough exorcism. By the way has there ever been any interest in starting a Catholics United for the Faith chapter in our diocese?

      1. The leadership takes it personally if you try to start something they themselves hadn’t already thought of. CUF is not mentioned in the “plan”; therefore, it is not approved of. It’s a simple, sad rule of thumb to go by while we wait for our bishop to retire and this whole house of cards to come tumbling down. About three and a half years to go now…

        1. A CUF chapter is independent of the diocese. It is not without reason I have avoided any entangling alliances with the Church generally and he diocese specifically. I’m not good at obedience.

    1. Now these are the hot button issues that will fire up the Catholic youth to become fearless defenders of the One True Faith!

  6. I wonder if Bishop and Co even realize anymore they can’t tell the truth, the full-truth and nothing but the truth.

    So…any truth to the rumor that the diocese itself endowed the failed retreat center with $1M to make it appear successful?

    The last thing this diocese needs is a self-made financial disaster like the St. Joseph Retreat Center.

    Remember: when the reality doesn’t match the narrative, another line-item will be added, money will be shifted from here to there, etc.

    No transparency. And they forget – people talk. Truth gets out, but not from our leaders.

    1. Not much new with this post. Of course the diocese is propping up the leadership’s failed vanity project known as the St. Joseph Retreat Center. Of course they’re not going to come out and say it. Of course they are hiding the truth. Of course they think they’ve all pulled a fast one on us. Of course they operate with complete unaccountability. The laity are witnessing a very disgusting and vicious form of clericalism. I pray for these men, but am increasingly tiresome of their predictable antics. They are so detached from the realities of the laity that they’ve become completely unrelatable, empty clerical suits. Sadness and apathy have set in when I pray for them now: Sadness over the souls they’ve lost and driven away, and apathy that they seem hell-bent on risking their own salvation over money and power.

      When, O Lord, will you bring this clown-show to an end? How much longer will you allow this abuse and mockery of your Holy Bride to continue? We need shepherds who will die for their sheep!

      1. I’ve got to share a heinous story about the Tipton Center — founded by the Sisters of St Joseph and their home for many decades … Some of the surviving members want to get together at their old home next summer — and the dear women WILL HAVE TO PAY TO STAY THERE!!! Lodging and food are to be charged — if only the powers that be would extend a modicum of good will to these women!

        1. Listen, money doesn’t grow on trees. That might’ve worked in the old diocese, but not in the one transformed into a bastion of Mission, Community and Witness! You’ve no idea how much those Brides of Christ consume in their daily diet. The church can’t be footing the bill for such expenses, even if those gals do live in voluntary poverty after a life of service and go around in loafers they purchased at Kmart in 1998. Nuns should cough up like the rest of us!

  7. Additional definition:

    “An echo chamber is an environment where a person only encounters information or opinions that reflect and reinforce their own. Echo chambers can create misinformation and distort a person’s perspective so they have difficulty considering opposing viewpoints and discussing complicated topics. They’re fueled in part by confirmation bias, which is the tendency to favor info that reinforces existing beliefs.”

    I personally love that UinH has invoked the Wisdom of the Holy Spirit to echo in its chamber.

  8. 1. The bishop’s prose is often incoherent.
    2. Why comment on Custodes Traditiones in a diocese of anything even remotely approaching Mass in the Extraordinary Form?
    3. The only program the Church needs is one with the single minded goal of fixing the stat with the awful taint: Only 30% of Catholics believe in the Real Presence. Everything else is an utter waste.

  9. What we need from our bishop for 2022 is a commitment to never again close down our churches and bar the faithful from the Sacraments for anything other than that there are no priests to administer them.

    Another thing would be a willingness to condemn the evil COVID-19 regime in its entirety. The lies, the lies and the lies, with consequences of more sickness and unnecessary deaths, and deaths without the Sacraments.

    1. Expecting Bishop Doherty to condemn the evil COVID-19 regime ain’t gonna happen. He said he will write on:

      “The prolonged effects of COVID-19 and public health directives on our present understanding of social co-responsibility.”

      “Social co-responsibility” means the Church and you will follow the dictates of the state, even if it goes against your personal well-formed conscience regarding use of fetal cells in the development and testing of experimental state-mandated injectable substances of which the long term effects are totally unknown. Social co-responsibility means going along with the charade that the God-given natural immunity that has kept the planet inhabited for tens of thousands of years is of no value – to be ignored. Social co-responsibility means going along with “follow the science.” It is questionable the amount of real science in COVID decisions, and what real science there is, is always changing as new data is analyzed. There is no such thing as “settled science.” Social co-responsibility means thumbing your nose at the intelligence that God gifted you and submitting instead to the Artificial Intelligence of the State’s robotic programmers. Social co-responsibility means keeping your mouth shut when receiving Communion even though there is no scientific evidence of how or if God gives you COVID when receiving Communion.

  10. Don’t know of anyone that listens to this bishop
    Bunch of chancery employed who have never directly served in a parish
    Or were given responsibilities not only over their head and qualifications but we’re allowed ruff shod over well managed parishes than use $ for poor management
    Most priests are not skilled to manage parishes on their own, that in life’s chancery employees
    Now we have priests with no management background running the largest parishes and firing or letting go the personnel that made a particular parish successful.
    Attendance continues to decline as do collections
    Liturgies are average and good imaginative homilies nor existent. Some suspect are copies of homily subscriptions. Boring,

    1. Boy, you said it. BORING! I’m about as excited for this synod as I am about the next time I throw my back out. Apart from our Blessed Lord Himself and Our Lady, I am only consoled by two things during these dark times: The fact that the gates of hell will not prevail against the church and the fact that the revolution in the church that started with the Boomers is going to die with the Boomers. They do not have the young, the future. The hippy-dippy, springtime of the new advent, church of accompaniment has run out of gas. The youth today are either total pagans or all-in for Catholic orthodoxy. There is no middle. They either want the full truth or they want to fight the full truth. That’s why anything short of bold preaching, reverent liturgies, and a palpable holiness of life is so repulsive to the youth. Even the pagans respect people who are genuine about their beliefs and live them. And that’s exactly what’s wrong in the hierarchy: Nobody takes them seriously. They present “the faith” but nobody buys it, because it’s pretty obvious they don’t really believe it; or if they do they’re too cowardly to show it. The youth are not fooled. They see right through them. That’s why Rome’s silly synods are a dud. That’s why “Uniting in Heart” with its meaningless jargon is such a dud. That’s why watered-down evangelization programs that “reach out to the margins” are duds. That’s why checked-out priests who offer the sacraments with a barely a pulse or overachieving priests who couldn’t strike a genuine chord with people if their life depended on it are complete duds. In the youth’s eyes, you either get real or get off the stage. Authenticity is the new coin of the realm.

      Come, Lord Jesus.


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