In a sermon which one Catholic described as more spite than spirit, Bishop Steven Raica railed against apostolates such as Gaylord Diocesan Watch during a sermon at St. Anne’s Catholic Church in Cadillac on Saturday, April 6. Bishop Raica was at St. Anne’s as part of a conference sponsored by the Diocese of Gaylord’s Service Committee for Charismatic Renewal. He said the 4 PM mass.
In his sermon, Bishop Raica alluded to the gospel passage of the mass which dealt with the Pharisees trying to stump Jesus when presented with an adulterer. Jesus responded with the familiar phrase, “Let him who has no sin cast the first stone”. Bishop Raica compared social media to stones of the Pharisees, “stones in their strategic arsenal, like Twitter, Facebook, or blogs”. He stated that groups such as ours are like modern day Pharisees that “secretly, deceptively tape record every word to catch in making a mistake so that they spin our Lord’s words to their advantage. Or they could set up websites promoting themselves as the arbiters of truth and craft something such as Jesus Watch.” “They might even call press conferences to confuse the followers of Jesus and cast doubt about his ministry of divine mercy seeking to divide the good that is done and preventing hearts and souls from hearing the saving words of the master”. He later alluded to Pope Francis condemning those who accuse, and went on to describe watchdog groups such as Gaylord Diocesan Watch as evil. Regarding the Pope’s comments, Bishop Raica stated, “The great accuser of the bible, he (the Pope) said, is the devil. And people who did engage in this (watchdog group activity), he said, are the friends, cousins, and relatives of the devil, for the devil does not have children, only those relatives and friends, who intentionally align themselves with hate, with arrogance, pride, with jaundice views and seek to sow seeds of confusion and division.” He later stated that “their methods were calculated to undermine Jesus’ ministry of mercy and love and leverage the teaching of the law…”
Unfortunately, the Bishop did not offer any specific examples of secret and deceptive tape recording. Any quotes provided by Gaylord Diocesan Watch have been publicly spoken by the Bishop, such as at a meeting of Catholics or from a sermon. Both of these venues are not closed door venues. With regard to press conferences to confuse people, all public activities of Gaylord Diocesan Watch are clear and straightforward. We are not aware of any confusing information presented on our website. We have asked to meet with the Bishop to not only share our concerns but to hear from him. He declined our request. He also failed to mention any information about Father Matthew Cowan, the priest who was suspended after he went public about sexual abuse in the Gaylord Diocese. Father Cowan was an associate priest at St. Anne’s where Bishop Raica spoke.
We continue to work in presenting information as it is given to us. We do not believe that serious Catholics who are working to improve our Diocese are best served by labeling them as demonic. We will continue to bring information relevant to Catholics in our Diocese and invite the Bishop to reach out to us to make our Diocese better.