Conservative heavyweights meeting to shape Catholic Moment

Next month a conference on the theme “This Catholic Moment” will be held at the Napa Institute, the so-called headquarters for the anti-Pope Francis resistance in the United States.

John Meyer, the Executive Director of the Institute, says the conference will be an opportunity to discuss “Catholic renewal in a time of great crisis in the Church”.

Among the speakers is one of the “dubia cardinals“, Cardinal Raymond Burke, who challenged Francis about opening communion for divorced and remarried couples in the apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia.

Other conservative Catholic figures – George Weigel, Jim Daly and Father Robert Spitzer – will also speak at the conference.

In terms of the “crisis of accountability in the Church,” Meyer says the Institute plans on putting a special emphasis on the role of laity in the Church.

He denies the conference and its organisers are against Francis and his pontificate.

Rather, Meyer says he welcomes the opportunity for dialogue with progressive and liberal Catholics instead of being stuck “in echo-chambers”.

“It’s wrong and it’s really the work of the devil that we are divided over these issues, instead of working together for the common good,” he says.

“We choose to bicker about small things, rather than fight together for the big ones.”

Meyer says the idea for the conference itself came out of a letter Archbishop Chaput wrote 10 years ago, where he said that it was going to be difficult if not prohibitive to live out the Catholic values for a Catholic leader in this country, especially for a secular Catholic leader.

“We try to inform people on these issues so that they know how to meaningfully defend the faith, not just knowing what the Church believes on critical issues but why, Meyer says.

Explaining the Catholic Moment theme of next month’s conference, Meyer says it has been chosen as the overarching theme “because we are kind of at a critical point in our Church history and we want to look at this Catholic moment, and how to renew the Church from various aspects”.

The theme, as he describes it, will move from personal renewal to society and then the parish as a model of renewing the Church at a difficult time.

Meyer says the conference will open with Weigel and Burke offering their thoughts in the state-of-the-Church address.

Then the discussion will move to the true role of the laity – “not the kind of role that has been thrown out there, but the need for lay saints in this time and the role of the laity in the universal call to holiness,” Meyer says.

“The second day we are going to be looking more at the cultural issues, renewing the culture as well as the Church, so we are going to have a conversation with Jim Daly from Focus on the Family and Alan Sears [Founder of Alliance Defending Freedom].”

Meyer says the final day will focus on practical issues, such as parish renewal.

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