“This year’s primary speakers … have publicly aligned themselves with divisive political positions and have used their Catholic platforms to promote those positions.”
This news has been floating around for a few days, but NCR’s Brian Fraga got more details.
A Kentucky bishop has withdrawn from the speaker lineup of a Catholic men’s conference in Cincinnati that the local archdiocese is not sponsoring or participating in because of the “significant baggage” of its featured speakers, which include EWTN anchor Raymond Arroyo and “Passion of the Christ” actor Jim Caviezel.
The Cincinnati Men’s Conference, scheduled for April 2 at the University of Cincinnati Campus’ Fifth Third Arena, advertises Arroyo, a frequent Fox News contributor, and Caviezel, who recently spoke at a QAnon conference in Las Vegas, as its “headline speakers.”
Bishop John Iffert of Covington, Kentucky, had also originally been advertised as a featured speaker, but his name no longer appears on the conference’s website. A spokeswoman for the Diocese of Covington told NCR that Iffert withdrew as a speaker.
University of Cincinnati football coach Luke Fickell is listed as an “invited speaker” for the conference.
The Archdiocese of Cincinnati declined a request for an interview. A spokeswoman for the archdiocese told NCR in an email that there would be “no public statement at this time concerning this matter.”
On Jan. 3, the Archdiocese of Cincinnati emailed local clergy to inform them that the archdiocese would “not be sponsoring, promoting or participating” in this year’s conference because of its opposition “to attempts by either the right or the left to divide the Catholic Church by political position.”
The email — the text of which was obtained by NCR and confirmed by two knowledgeable sources in the archdiocese — said the event’s primary speakers carry “significant baggage” that the Archdiocese of Cincinnati “could not ignore.”
“We voiced concerns to the Cincinnati Men’s Conference organizers, who operate entirely independently from the archdiocese, that this year’s primary speakers, regardless of their otherwise outstanding characteristics, have publicly aligned themselves with divisive political positions and have used even their Catholic platforms to promote those positions,” the archdiocese said in the email.