Looking back at @ChicagoTOT 2017’s kick-off

Tonight, the Archdiocese of Chicago kicks off its summer “Theology on Tap” (TOT) series for young adults. In an archdiocese that plays host to Mundelein Seminary, Loyola University, DePaul University, and numerous other schools, one would expect the opportunity to hear and speak with well-educated, seasoned theologians about the Faith.

Not only won’t you be hearing any discussion of theology at tonight’s event, you won’t be hearing from any theologians, much less speakers from the archdiocese or even America for that matter. No, instead, Peter Wojcik of the Archdiocese says he chose the speakers.

And they are Thomas Rosica from Canada, and Rob Galea from Australia. One assumes the archdiocese is picking up the tab for their airfare, transportation, housing, and feeding. Good thing the cardinal archbishop sold the cathedral parking lot for $110 million.

Rosica’s known for his poor, errant theology; lying to the media; threats to ruin a blogger with a lawsuit;  and for declaring Fr Gregory Baum his “hero,” among Rosica’s other exploits.

Regarding Baum, as Church Militant noted, he “publicly rejected Church teaching on contraception, homosexuality, devotion to Our Lady, Church authority and the nature of the Catholic priesthood.” It’s telling that the archdiocese’s Theology on Tap marketing materials for tonight’s kick off refer to Rosica as CEO of Salt + Light, a television station he runs in Canada. His credentials are secular; as a “business leader.”

Galea’s a young priest from Australia who plays the guitar and sings and competed in the X Factor reality TV show. He has a website that promotes himself and his music, with one omnipresent feature everywhere you go: A cart icon in the top corner.

This is Rosica’s second year in a row kicking off the Chicago archdiocese’s TOT series. In 2017, he joined Michael O’Loughlin, who writes for the Jesuit’s Amerika magazine. Spokane Bishop Blaise Cupich was supposed to join them, but had to attend a funeral out of town.

Last year’s kick off could be summed up as, “Two Queens and a Microphone.” Rosica and O’Loughlin sat on stools on a stage, Rosica’s bulging gut hanging out (must be from all that fasting and abstinence) and O’Loughlin in his tailored clothes, limp wrists flailing, with his stylish little socks and coiffed hair and designer eyeglasses, fawning over Pope Francis, endless plugging their television network and book (respectively), and generally embarrassing themselves.

If you were a young person, coming here with questions about your Faith, you didn’t get any answers. If you were a young person, on the fence about this whole Catholic thing, hearing two brag about themselves and gush about another man would not have compelled you to stay within the Church.

If you were an atheist, coming here with an open mind favorable to reason and intellectual arguments, you’d have walked away thinking the only reason to be a Roman Catholic is because we have a “cool Pope who kisses babies” and we seem to place an inordinate emphasis as of late on temporal issues such as the environment and immigration.

Neither speaker made an argument for being Catholic, other than we have a “cool” Pope (Rosica could not stop describing Francis with that adjective) and we’re for the little guy. The meaning of life? Is there a God? Forget about answers there.

Given the 400 to 500 people in the bar –  and yes this was held in a bar in downtown Chicago on a Monday night when most young people in the archdiocese would never have been able to attend, much like tonight’s – this such a missed opportunity.

Think about all the issues young Catholics face today, in a radically secular world that says it’s all about you, the individual, you are the center and God is on the peripheries or not even there; none of this was addressed.

You’re called to live a holy chaste life, to date and find a spouse, to enter into a sacramental marriage that participates in the creation of an immortal body that will contain an immortal soul. You’re not getting any advice or encouragement from Rosica or O’Loughlin (who mentioned Pope Francis’ dreadful “Who am I to judge?” statement on sodomites and also referred to the homosexual lifestyle as “a different sort of life” rather than reinforcing the Church’s immutable teaching that homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered and mortally sinful).

How do you strive for holiness in a culture that is hostile to your Faith? How can the sacraments of the Church sustain you and forge a saint out of you and aid you in achieving eternal salvation? Rosica, who we are told is an ordained priest, spoke nothing of these matters.

Some more essential topics for young Catholics that weren’t on the agenda:

  • Science and religion, reconciling them, proofs for God’s existence, defending the Faith’s connection to and importance to science;
  • With so many Millennials rejecting religion completely -the “Nones” – how do you defend the Faith and the Trinity’s existence against those who demand proof?
  • Fair and honest acknowledgement that some are critical of the pope;
  • Reclaiming a Catholic identity;
  • The Church Militant in the Middle East, its martyrs, praying for them;
  • How to interact with non-believers;
  • How to convert apostates and heretics;
  • How to deal with friends, family, coworkers who denigrate the Faith;
  • Being Catholic in the work place;
  • Anything Marian;
  • Prayer;
  • Sacraments;
  • The 10 commandments;
  • Defining and naming the various heresies rampant in the ordained & laity;
  • Vocations to the priesthood and religious;
  • Parish life – nothing about making your parish “vibrant;”
  • The seven deadly sins;
  • Virtue;
  • St Joseph as a model for men;
  • Our Lady as a model for women;
  • The reality of Hell;
  • Martyrdom, red or white (gay weddings and cakes; pharmacists and contraception prescriptions; Sisters of Charity forced to provide contraception; Charlie Good and euthanasia);
  • Dating;
  • Contraception;
  • Young Catholics and traditionalism – Chicago is an epicenter for the Extraordinary Form;
  • Suffering;
  • Dealing with friends who are sodomites;
  • The dignity of the worker;
  • Modesty and purity;
  • Raising Catholic children (young adult audience will be marrying, starting families) in a hostile secular culture;
  • Violence in society.

The papal idolatry demonstrated by Rosica and O’Loughlin was off the charts. They asked each other about their jobs, Rosica kept mentioning his “staff” at his business, trying to show how important he was. He’d ask O’Loughlin, “What was it like for you to meet Pope Francis and give him your book?” O’Loughlin asks Rosica about his role as a Vatican spokesman. It was all. about. them.

At one point, Rosica made a disgusting remark about Pope St John Paul II, describing him as “drooling because of the Parkinsons.”

Forty-five minutes in, we had heard nothing catechetical, nothing about holiness, nothing about the sacraments.


Discussion of the Synod on Youth came up. A breathless Rosica let out, “Tell us who we are… what you would like us to be!” Remake the Church in your own image, kids.

The last portion of the event was a pseudo question and answer session. It was highly scripted and controlled. We had to write our questions down on a piece of paper and the organizers selected which questions were chosen. There was no open mic, no opportunity to directly address Rosica or O’Loughlin. No dialogue. Answers pandered to the audience, weaving in tripe like the “seamless garment” at one point. We suspected the organizers wrote the questions and rehearsed the answers with Rosica and O’Loughlin well in advance.

In their closing remarks, O’Loughlin talked up his career (again) and thanked the organizers and us for attending, but did not thank the Lord or invoke any person of the Trinity. Rosica blathered on about the pope and the Church as a field hospital (not as the means to salvation) and did not invoke or thank any person of the Trinity. Finally Sneaky Pete gave his closing remarks (while O’Loughlin ignored him and tapped on his smartphone), ending with “God bless and good night.”

There was no closing prayer.