Preachers and Profiteers

The influence of secular thought and ideas inside the Church; in her theology, liturgy, and apostolates, interests me greatly. There are certain problematic tendencies which are to be found in the Church these days:

Relativism in the form of cafeteria Catholicism, thinking that there is no real absolute truth to be adhered to in Revelation, or to be discovered in the natural life, leading to a pick and choose mentality, with all choices being equal and personally determined by one’s own individual evaluation of the faith;
Scientific Positivism in the form of a moral theology and Christian ethics developed purely from measurable phenomena in people, as often discovered and expressed in decadent psychology, leading to the rejection of the Church’s Traditional teaching on sexual ethics, especially homosexuality; and
Marxism in the form of a certain type of liberation theology, leading to a superficial social activism, and a reduction of measuring the fruitfulness of the Gospel in any given place by material well-being.

That’s only a few.

And, even the decadence of:
Capitalism, has found its way into the Church, and some of her well-regarded members, which we see in certain aspects of the American Catholic evangelists/speakers who charge the earth to speak around the world.

For example, if a Catholic speaker was invited to NZ, was having their airfares paid for by those inviting them, and was to give approximately 3 talks per 3 dioceses visited, but was to charge each diocese $7000 per visit, would we feel that this is acceptable from a Catholic viewpoint?

That’s $21,000 for a one week visit. $21,000 for one week of work, assuming of course, that a speaker actually worked for 40 hours during the visit. If the money was purely for the talks and time spent in related social tasks, then that loosely correlates to $2350 per talk event. That’s incredible money for these types of speakers.

Additionally, what if a particular speaker only gave one type of talk when they were to come? And what about if when they give these talks, they are exactly the same, exactly the same, like a formula, a script, or a recording, word for word? Word for word, as compared with other talks of theirs as found on YouTube, and as compared to other talks given during the same visit? With this approach, one begins to wonder whether such speakers are true witnesses who have deeply assimilated their material in Christ, or merely people who can read a speech well, remember some lines, and play a part. I don’t know to be honest. I do wonder though.

Do we feel that this is acceptable, and worth paying so much for? No matter what their own living conditions are, i.e., they have a family to feed, etc, or they have an apostolate to run and fund, is this too much?

Many of these speakers give a good message, are faithful to the Church, and their words have a good effect. As St Paul says, as long as the Gospel is being preached, he didn’t care too much for some of the dubious motives and practices involved with some who were doing it etc.

But even so, the question remains: Is this a good thing? Is it something to support? Is this worth it?

If a speaker was brought out here (airfares paid, which is normal), and a collection was taken, and in the process, a good amount was given, as a response to the quality of the talk/speaker, with people wishing to help in covering costs (at all levels), and wanting to support the person themselves, and the goodness and worth of their mission in future endeavors, and support the apostolate that they work for (back in their home country), then that seems very acceptable and normal.

But to charge that amount, a large amount, like an appearance fee, is troubling and worrying to me. Is this a type of commercialization of the Gospel? Is this where certain apostolates, run under certain business models, are thinking of their speakers like business gurus, with a certain expertise, who run seminars for companies, and charge immense amounts for very little actual work?

Is this mode of operating faithful to what Jesus taught regarding preaching the Gospel? $21,000 for multiple release of the same production-line talk.

Did the saints ever do this? That’s often a good starting point to look at. How have the saints acted?

What do others think? A worker deserves their wages for sure, but is this too much?

If a man can’t make a reasonable living giving talks on the faith, then find another profession, and leave it to those who are willing to be poor for the sake of the Gospel, so as to truly be a witness.

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    Comments: 67

    1. lizzyM October 7, 2010 at 2:22 pm

      Great post Filia.

      Very sad to hear about the earthquake in Christchurch and all those affected are in my prayers.

      However, re ‘relativism’ what is the point of the very last entry on this weblink which is headed Liturgy and Prayer Ideas as a help for Catholic schools after the recent earthquake? Surely it is more suited to Social Studies lesson.

      http://www.chch.catholic.org.nz/dox/events/Liturgy%20and%20prayer%20ideas%20for%20use%20following%20the%20earthquake.pdf

    2. FXD October 7, 2010 at 2:42 pm

      lizzyM, from your link about how to deal with the earthquake:

      ‘Create a prayer space: include candles (perhaps your school candle and smaller votive candles), bible, school banner, green prayer cloth, cross, bottled water, an item of food, a small piece of rock/brick, broken sticks etc…’

      What a load of nonsense!

      This is horrific…what on earth do they hope will be achieved by this idiocy? Forget the Blessed Sacrament, just put them in front of a broken stick, that’ll help.

      I hope someone isn’t being paid to write this drivel.

    3. lizzyM October 7, 2010 at 3:01 pm

      FXD

      thanks for your reply. Exactly!! Unfortunately that is what they ‘do’ at Catholic schools these days. But why the paragraph at the end about other ‘gods’?!! What about the first commandment?

      I believe it is put out by the local RE Office

    4. JJS October 7, 2010 at 3:02 pm

      Assumedly, this wasn’t supposed to exclude or replace the Blessed Sacrament?? It’s talking about something quite different.
      I presume the writer meant that even under straitened circumstances a sacred space suitable for prayer can be created. Hardly horrific??

    5. JJS October 7, 2010 at 3:03 pm

      That bit of Maori myth tacked on was only appropriate for social studies, I agree.

    6. dave morgan October 7, 2010 at 3:10 pm

      lizzyM

      howdy :)

      could you send it your bishop there in christchurch?

      bring it to his attention

      interesting post filia. i’ve heard that some of the big names from the usa charge a lot to come out here. the Eucharistic convention tried to get fr corapi and it would have cost something similar to your figures, but for only a weekend. christopher west is similar.

      a bit disturbing like you say

      :(

      peace

      ;)

    7. JJS October 7, 2010 at 3:19 pm

      could you send it your bishop there in christchurch?

      I don’t think she’s in Christchurch? She said

      Very sad to hear about the earthquake in Christchurch and all those affected are in my prayers.

    8. Les October 7, 2010 at 3:43 pm

      Very interesting post Filia and some excellent questions raised.

      I don’t see any problems with someone reading from a prepared script – indeed sometimes that is much preferable to people going off into flights of fancy and never covering the topic at hand. In any case, it is often the question sessions when the really great stuff comes out – that will be the proof of whether someone has truly assimilated their material.

      I agree that some questions certainly must be asked of those who demand large sums of money for religious speaking engagements. Beware of itinerant preachers!

      Our Lord told the Apostles to accept what was given them – the worker deserves his wages. He didn’t instruct them to demand an appearance fee!

    9. Les October 7, 2010 at 4:15 pm

      That schools document from Christchurch only confirms the pitiful state of the RE system in NZ. There is either woeful ignorance or deliberate skewing of what Catholics actually believe.

      Today the Church celebrates the feast of the Holy Rosary – a feast established in light of the great naval victory of Lepanto. The victory was attributed to the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary after the Rosary had been prayed for this intention throughout Catholic Europe.

      And what do we do today in the face of threats, natural or otherwise: we get the children to pray before a few broken sticks. Oh how very contemporary! And they thought we wouldn’t notice the pantheism thrown in at the end – or maybe they hoped we would?

      The Church calls us beyond symbols into sacramental reality. With a Cathedral dedicated to the Blessed Sacrament, surely the Catholic education gurus in the Christchurch diocese might have suggested some time in prayer before our Eucharistic King. But then again, it doesn’t take a religious education guru to come up with the tried and true forms of Catholic prayer and devotion.

      It is worth noting too, that whoever drew up that litany has taken it upon themselves to raise the late Pope John Paul II to the status of ‘Blessed’.

      Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary, pray for us!

    10. OP-ter October 7, 2010 at 6:43 pm

      the question remains: Is this a good thing? Is it something to support? Is this worth it?

      Good thing or not- Can be better
      Something to support or not- in terms of turning up to the event yes!
      Is this worth it or not- In the end, his/her work will only work with the grace of God… so yes and no…

      :-)

      I am assuming the speaker is preaching good doctrine :)

    11. Helens Bay October 7, 2010 at 7:19 pm

      Les
      “Today the Church celebrates the feast of the Holy Rosary – a feast established in light of the great naval victory of Lepanto. The victory was attributed to the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary after the Rosary had been prayed for this intention throughout Catholic Europe.”
      If you believe that Our Blessed Lady interceededed for the deaths of over 22000 people in the Battle of Lepanto methinks you have beeen out in the Sun too long.

    12. dave morgan October 7, 2010 at 8:14 pm

      hi helen,

      i don’t think that anybody who loves Our Lady would think that ;)

      Our Lady prayed that the evil intentions of the turks to take over europe and crush christianity would not come to fruition, and that God’s will be done in the situation

      :)

      peace

    13. Helens Bay October 7, 2010 at 9:53 pm

      dave
      Our Lady who watched her Son die on the cross and never raised her voice in proest interceded to have 15,ooo Turks killed.
      You are in lala land

    14. OP-ter October 7, 2010 at 11:33 pm

      Just a note on the history to HB… The Turks invaded…

      Anyway can we move back to the topic??? or you want to continue on?

    15. Chris Sullivan October 8, 2010 at 7:25 am

      From the first reading at this Sunday’s Holy Mass :-

      Naaman returned with his whole retinue to the man of God.
      On his arrival he stood before Elisha and said,
      “Now I know that there is no God in all the earth,
      except in Israel.
      Please accept a gift from your servant.”

      Elisha replied, “As the LORD lives whom I serve, I will not take it;”
      and despite Naaman’s urging, he still refused.

      2 Kings 5 goes on to relate how Gehazi does go after Nammaan for a gift, making the point that true prophets are not greedy for money.

      Our Lord taught:

      “You received without charge, give without charge.”

      I suggest that anyone charging excessively high fees is probably not preaching the full gospel, but a counterfeit gospel corrupted by wealth and power, a problem very much evident in certain well heeled U.S. conservative religious circles.

      We’ve heard of Fr Corapi and Christopher West, who else is charging these high fees ?

      And why are NZ apostolates even paying them ?

      God Bless

    16. OP-ter October 8, 2010 at 7:59 am

      wow that was a extreme comment Chris has there… and lots of judgement as well… who are you to judge that are they preaching the full gospel or not??? and who are you to judge that they peaching a counterfeit gospel corrupted by wealth and power???

      Is this a good thing? Is it something to support? Is this worth it?

      Is over charging a good thing- no
      Is it something to support- not the charging part… but the actual event (if it is good teaching)
      Is it worth it- yes and no, as these teachings will only work under the grace of God (assuming they are good teaching again)… and if they are not good teaching… then may God have mercy on those who organize and promote the event

      Again, one needs to remember that God can use evil to do good… although over charging is evil… the good is people who went to those good talks will be exposed to the truth and will be open to it… I heard SO MANY conversion from that series of talks (I assume I know who the author is talking about)… and is good… and one need to recognize it… and even the speaker in another talk saying that it is not he who are converting… it is the Holy Spirit…

    17. Chris Sullivan October 8, 2010 at 8:25 am

      Who is the speaker Filia talked about ?

      God Bless

    18. OP-ter October 8, 2010 at 9:27 am

      you need to ask Filia as I may be wrong :) (see the word assume?)

      and it doesn’t matter anyway… Filia did mention

      Many of these speakers give a good message, are faithful to the Church, and their words have a good effect.

    19. Voice in the wilderness October 8, 2010 at 12:04 pm

      Yes, it does seem like a large amount in the way you have described it. However, you will only really be able to judge whether it is or not if you see a breakdown of where the money goes to.

      examples could be…

      scenario one
      all the money goes to the speaker – potentially immoral and greedy. Potentially.

      scenario two
      the money is divided up fairly and justly to pay the person (or people) who have been organising the speaking tour for the previous 6-12 months, who have spent hundreds of hours working and deserve to be paid a decent wage.

    20. dave morgan October 8, 2010 at 2:58 pm

      howdy bruvvas and sistas!

      ;)

      haha, hope all is well in bf land

      helen, my pal, ;)

      Our Lady who watched her Son die on the cross and never raised her voice in proest interceded to have 15,ooo Turks killed.

      yes, Our Lady accepted the Father’s will for her Son, just as she prayed for God’s will to be done when the turks invaded, and accepted that. she didn’t pray/intercede for 15,000 turks to die. you are putting words in other’s mouths. please don’t.

      voice in the wilderness, my friend, ;)

      the money is divided up fairly and justly to pay the person (or people) who have been organising the speaking tour for the previous 6-12 months, who have spent hundreds of hours working and deserve to be paid a decent wage.

      i don’t know the landscape for this stuff too well, but neither of your scenarios seem to answer filia’s key question: $21,000 for what seems like 9 talks. that sounds weird to me, especially given that this is supposed to be a christian environment. that is what has been delivered – some talks. and from what filia says, the talks were all the same. so it seems like $21,000 for the same talk.

      if that is/was the case, then it would seem that there doesn’t need to be too much ‘background work’, ‘prep work’, whatever one calls it these days. all the speaker has to do is get on a plane, turn up, and deliver a pre-prepared talk that she/he/they has delivered many times before, then fly right on out. that doesn’t sound like a decent wage to me. that sounds like some background people getting a free ride on somebody else’s ticket, like these celebrities who charge massive appearance fees to be able to pay themselves a very comfortable living, and pay all their “supporters” who hang onto them, in the background.

      let’s find a analogy ;)

      it’s like purchasing a pair of shoes for $6000; and when bystanders say “what the! that’s sounds very dubious. you either got one hell of a pair of shoes designed by nasa, or you got ripped off”, the purchaser replies, “well, you know, that money also went to pay for all the other workers in the factory, the overheads, the transport costs, the rents, and the annual vacation allowance.”

      that’s when a normal person says, “that’s just plain stupid. it doesn’t cost $6000 to make a pair of shoes.”

      $21,000 for 9 talks sounds like a waste of some poor sucker’s good money; and that does not sound fair to me, but verging on unethical.

      peace vitw ;)

    21. JJS October 8, 2010 at 3:29 pm
    22. Les October 8, 2010 at 3:45 pm

      May I just say, Helens Bay, that I never said: “that Our Blessed Lady interceededed (sic) for the deaths of over 22000 people in the Battle of Lepanto.”

      The Christians were under attack and against all odds they were victorious over the much larger Turkish fleet. It was the Pope of the time who attributed the victory to the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

      “On October 7, the Roman Catholic Church will celebrate the yearly feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. Known for several centuries by the alternate title of “Our Lady of Victory,” the feast day takes place in honor of a 16th century naval victory which secured Europe against Turkish invasion. Pope St. Pius V attributed the victory to the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, who was invoked on the day of the battle through a campaign to pray the Rosary throughout Europe.” See the whole article: http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/marian-feast-on-october-7-commemorates-historic-naval-victory-at-lepanto/

      The reality is that the ‘care-bear Christianity’ that has been projected over the last few decades could not cope with the advancement of a fleet of bumble-bees, let alone a Turkish naval fleet!

      Our Lady of Victories, pray for us!

      And back on topic…

      Does anyone know roughly how much a priest/religious/lay person from NZ would expect to be paid for a religious speaking engagement?

      Also, do the speakers coming from the States travel ‘cattle class’ or business class?

    23. Helens Bay October 8, 2010 at 3:48 pm

      Dave
      Nor was it God`s will that thousands died in this battle.
      He sent his only Son who was born in Peace,lived in Peace and died in Peace.
      His life was PEACE

    24. JJS October 8, 2010 at 3:49 pm

      I charge $10,000 for a forty minute lecture. As yet, no takers. I may have to up my fee to compensate for the lack of business.

    25. JJS October 8, 2010 at 3:57 pm

      against all odds they were victorious over the much larger Turkish fleet

      It wasn’t against all odds, the Christians had more than double the number of guns, and a much larger stock of ammunition than the Turks.– It was the firepower, not the size of the fleet which proved more significant

    26. JJS October 8, 2010 at 4:00 pm
    27. dave morgan October 8, 2010 at 4:04 pm

      yeah i have the same issue jjs. ;)

      my particular topic of expertise is the night-life of the north american ground hog. i thought it would have been a hit :P

      helen, ;)

      Jesus died in terrible agony from the most horrific violence perpetrated on an innocent man that the world has ever seen. Mary, in incredible faith, hope and love, remained united to her Son in His last hours, and accepted in extreme poverty and humility, the will of the Father, in bringing about the redemption of the world. God allowed that violence to fall upon Jesus so as to bring about the greatest good. that’s why it’s called good friday. when Mary prayed for God’s will to be done in the defense of christian europe against the turks, she was praying for God to bring out of the situation what He desired for the good. that could have meant allowing the death of 15,000 turks

      peace

      :)

    28. JJS October 8, 2010 at 4:15 pm

      HB, Mary interceding in a battle that saved Christendom doesn’t mean she rejoiced in violence for its own sake. Pacifism can (sometimes) allow evil to flourish and lead to even greater suffering.

    29. JJS October 8, 2010 at 4:18 pm

      Sorry posted that before I read #27 :embarrassed_ee: well said Dave

    30. muerk October 8, 2010 at 4:30 pm

      I don’t have a problem with the earhquake prayer suggestions. The rocks and sticks are merely physical reminders. I’ll quote from the document –

      “In the broken sticks we recall that lives, communities and homes have been broken and we pray that these will be healed to give people the hope to reclaim their normal family and community lives.”

      It’s good for kids to have symbols to guide them in their prayer. However… the Maori spirituality at the end is a bit dodgy. I have no problem with kids learning about Maori gods BUT are they suggesting we should add them to our prayer, which the resource is about?

      Back to the question of speakers… If people are comfortable paying these prices then I’m happy to let them. I would not pay that much and if I wanted to hear what these people had to say I’d buy the DVD for much less.

    31. the enthusiastic border-collie October 8, 2010 at 5:11 pm

      FXD and lizzy, re sentimental quasi-pagan therapeutic Christianity…

      The Venerable Bede writing in 7th century Britain noted that the local Christians often reverted to paganism in times of stress.

      The more things change the more they stay the same.

      Your Sunday donation dollars at work.

      ———-
      I do have a problem with learning about the Maori gods as I’m starting to get teh impression that some people actually beleive in Taniwha and Tane. To wit, the National Radio special on the Earthquake found a kid that urged mum to pray to the god of earthquakes.

      __________

      Also, note this interview on National Radio (no, I don’t really listen to anything else!) with the mother of the boy healed with Mary MacKillop’s intercession. They, mother and son, leave today for the canonization in Rome.

      http://www.radionz.co.nz/audio/national/aft/2010/10/08/the_miracle

    32. JJS October 8, 2010 at 5:19 pm

      I do have a problem with learning about the Maori gods as I’m starting to get teh impression that some people actually beleive in Taniwha and Tane. To wit, the National Radio special on the Earthquake found a kid that urged mum to pray to the god of earthquakes.

      Everyone seems to agree that the section on Maori mythology was out of place in that document. But in,say, a social studies class it would be fine. You suggest that children shouldn’t learn about Maori Gods in case they end up believing in them??? Well I want my children to know the story of the Iliad — it’s important– and hardly involves the risk that they might turn pagan!!!!

    33. the enthusiastic border-collie October 8, 2010 at 5:35 pm

      I should clarify by asserting the position that learning about the pantheon of Maori gods in Catholic RE is appropriate for general knowledge and useful contrast. I have a problem with the suggestion that Tane or Tangaroa might be as real and potent and responsive to appeal as the Christian god (KA, fishe jump right in here!).

      I have no particular issue with it in Social Studies, or more widely, in other parts of the ‘secular’ NZ Curriculum. cest la vie.

      “Everyone seems to agree that the section on Maori mythology was out of place in that document”

      That’s fine and swell but no one here wrote and published that document!

      Neither is the consensus on social studies useful as it was and remains a RE resource published by the Catholic Church (i.e. not a Ministry social studies exemplar).
      I’d note that one might want to browse other documents from the same office!

    34. JJS October 8, 2010 at 5:43 pm

      Since I failed to footnote my post and decorate it with interminable qualifying subordinate phrases

      .1

      Well please correct this in future .2

      Footnotes

      1. the enthusiastic border-collie, post #33

      2. This correction would involve the future use of footnotes and interminable qualifying subordinate phrases, where appropriate.

      ;-)

    35. the enthusiastic border-collie October 8, 2010 at 5:45 pm

      Nice one. :)

    36. JJS October 8, 2010 at 5:52 pm

      Thanks for posting the link, there’s a good summary of the miracle here as well:

      http://www.theage.com.au/national/miracle-in-our-midst-says-vatican-20101005-1664k.html

    37. lizzyM October 9, 2010 at 6:26 am

      enthusiastic border-collie

      Did the Venerable Bede condone or encourage Christians returning to paganism in times of stress or was he lamenting the fact they felt the need to do so?

    38. the enthusiastic border-collie October 9, 2010 at 8:15 am

      The Venerable Bede was against the idea like I’m against a double mocha soy cappuccino with cinnamon sprinkles and a shot of strawberry syrup (he was critical of reversion to paganism).

    39. lizzyM October 9, 2010 at 11:52 am

      Deo gratias!

    40. Dei Verbum October 9, 2010 at 5:50 pm

      Talking about “preachers and profiteers” :)

      Does it also include Bishops (who preach against the Church’s teaching) making money from writing books that promote those novel teachings? (presumably in the Boss’s time?)

      Check out the latest NZ Catholic (still a CGR?)book review (page 16) as one diocesan (paid) worker promotes her poster boy, Bishop Matthew Clark, who it seems has an intersting history? http://www.thereoughttobealaw.net/. (and she is in charge of parish council formation?? say what???)

      What were you saying about integrity again?

    41. OP-ter October 9, 2010 at 5:59 pm

      RE: 19

      I assume I know who Filia is talking about

      It is scenario three

      Most of the money go to an organisation which produce talks and other resources (some of them are free resources) for Catholics around the world.

      Again (assuming I know who Filia is talking about) that speaker was invited (which means someone thinks it is worth the money) and those talks were very good. Engaging and the kids really get a lot from it.

    42. Voice in the wilderness October 9, 2010 at 7:14 pm

      $21,000 for what seems like 9 talks

      Before we can make ANY comment or judgement on the situation (in real life, rather than hypothetical scenario) we need facts.

      Re-reading the post, we have no real basis on which to judge whether the person in question is a preacher or a profiteer.

      Do we feel that this is acceptable, and worth paying so much for? No matter what their own living conditions are, i.e., they have a family to feed, etc, or they have an apostolate to run and fund, is this too much?

      There are too many assumptions in the hypothetical scenario to answer these questions aren’t there?

    43. dave morgan October 11, 2010 at 10:24 am

      voice in the wilderness, howdy ;)

      if you know the details, which you seem to imply, are you in a position to share them with us? to clarify?

      peace :P

      ;)

    44. FXD October 11, 2010 at 2:06 pm

      Well, put it this way…

      does anyone know how much NZ Catholic (or affiliates) paid for Bishop Anthony Fisher, (or, if they have had laypeople speaking, how much was paid to them) for the annual NZ Catholic lecture?

      It might make an interesting comparison.

    45. Gavin Abraham October 11, 2010 at 2:58 pm

      FXD,

      As the former editor, I won’t talk specific numbers. What I will say is that unlike politicians, bishops don’t fly for free and they don’t get free accommodation while travelling. There are costs associated with bringing a clergyman from overseas.

      It’s no secret that fees of US$1500 per day or more are charged by some of the more well-known lay Catholic speakers, e.g. Peter Kreeft. That’s after paying to bring someone to wherever it is they are speaking.

      I’d add a couple of thoughts to the discussion.

      1. No one is forced to bring a speaker to New Zealand — or a speaker from somewhere in New Zealand to another centre. If someone chooses to being a Peter Kreeft or a Scott Hahn to New Zealand and pays those fees, shouldn’t we be thanking them and be grateful it’s only costing us, say, $10 to hear a speaker of that calibre.

      2. It’s surely impossible to gauge how much a speaker is worth. Let’s say, hypothetically, that Peter Kreeft came to New Zealand and gave a series of talks. If he changes one heart, was it worth all that money? What it he changes five hearts? Twenty hearts?

      3. If a priest or a bishop or a college principal or a newspaper has made a decision that they believe catechesis/formation is worth investing in, isn’t the $10,000 (let’s say) a good use of money if they’re going to allow free entry to talks (less if they charge admission)? If the money I put into the plate on Sunday was used to fund the visit of a sound Catholic speaker to my parish, I would have no problem with that at all.

    46. Rosemarie October 11, 2010 at 7:23 pm

      Capitalism, has found its way into the Church, and some of her well-regarded members, which we see in certain aspects of the American Catholic evangelists/speakers who charge the earth to speak around the world…

      How about if instead, for example, this Catholic speaker who was invited to NZ, was was actually to give approximately 22 talks between 3 dioceses visited (with 3 different pre-prepared,polished talks), do radio interviews,driving most of the way between schools and parishes all around New Zealand in only one week, and was to charge each diocese $7000 per visit, would we feel that this is acceptable from a Catholic viewpoint?

      What if he not only gave these 22 talks, but answered questions and spoke to some people one-on-one after these talks when they felt his talks had practical applications to their situation in life?

      That’s $21,000 for a one week visit. In which thousands of Catholic school attends, parishioners and radio listeners were potentially touched and FINALLY given a good solid talk on faith matters. What if the amount not only covered the speakers wages to look after his family, but also contributed toward the organisation’s costs, for which he works? And which puts out a lot of excellent Catholic resources?

      Personally, if he’s making a difference on that scale, the money is not only going to him and those bringing him out are willing to pay that amount – I say it is worth it.

    47. Voice in the wilderness October 12, 2010 at 9:07 am

      Well, again assuming, it seems that Filia’s post is about Jason Evert, who came to NZ in May this year and spoke to approx 5000 people.

      Rosemarie seems to have explained the details quite well.

      I for one agree, and think it is very worth it.

    48. Gavin Abraham October 12, 2010 at 9:40 am

      Rosemarie and VITW,

      It may not have come through in my earlier post, but I think — again, assuming we’re talking about Jason Evert — it was worth the costs involved. In addition to coverage in the Christian media, there was also at least one fairly substantial story in The Press in Christchurch on Jason and his message.

      And, taking the 5000 attendees and the reported cost of $21,000, I think the $4.20 per person would have been money well spent.

    49. dave morgan October 12, 2010 at 10:49 am

      howdy peeps, ;)

      and cobbers :D

      ok, this is now humming along with some clarity ! :P

      i have just googled jason evert, and he seems like quite the star. is he employed by catholic answers?

      so he was the speaker who came out here, and filia’s post is about his visit? good. we have something tangible.

      rosemarie, thank you for your post. it helps give a bigger picture. and adds to what filia begun.

      it sounds like he got around to see a lot of people, and spoke to thousands, and many hopefully were touched by his message. i see that he speaks on ewtn. so he’s pretty well known. that’s great. it sounds like he really made an impact. :)

      but apart from the good effects of his visit and his talks, i think that the question still remains, and it also applies in a wider sense to other speakers. this is a wider issue i think, and i think that filia is right to raise it, so as to help us reflect. i know i have thought about it a bit since i saw it.

      gavin abraham has mentioned peter kreeft charging $1500 a day. i know that the Eucharistic convention tried to get fr corapi and that would have cost $20000 for a 3 day visit, not including the airfares, which would have cost around $2500-5000. most speakers bring out a travel companion, so that airfare normally gets factored in too. so $25000 for 3 days. i think other usa speakers are similar. christopher west is also similar.

      apart from the fact that these people are good speakers, give a good message most of the time, and help in changing people’s hearts and mind to Christ, are these still acceptable prices?

      i’m not talk about questioning the good people who organised this event, but questioning the modus operandi of this american style system

      i have my doubts

      jason evert (including arifares) would have cost approx $25000 for a week’s Gospel work. i am not personally conformable with that. but maybe i’m old school. that is no comment on those who have paid, and have done a lot of good work in bringing him here. i suspect some of those defending him here on bf were involved :)

      good work ! :P

      i just have a few questions in my heart and mind about these speakers, and the way they justify their costs

      i think this needs to be thought about carefully.

      gavin, things don’t normally get costed that way when it comes to Gospel preachers. one doesn’t cost out on a per capita basis, eg, 4.20 per person x 20000 persons in a stadium = $84000

      last sunday’s first reading speaks to this topic

      2 Kings 5:14-17

      Naaman the leper went down and immersed himself seven times in the Jordan, as Elisha had told him to do. And his flesh became clean once more like the flesh of a little child.
      Returning to Elisha with his whole escort, he went in and stood before him. ‘Now I know’ he said ‘that there is no God in all the earth except in Israel. Now, please, accept a present from your servant.’ But Elisha replied, ‘As the Lord lives, whom I serve, I will accept nothing.’ Naaman pressed him to accept, but he refused. Then Naaman said, ‘Since your answer is “No,” allow your servant to be given as much earth as two mules may carry, because your servant will no longer offer holocaust or sacrifice to any god except the Lord.’

      giving a good talk that has a good effect, does not make one exempt from any questions about monetary charges and the methods employed therein. some people got a lot out of it. that is excellent. there is no problem there in my view. thanks be to God for how He has used jason evert, and how Christ changed people’s lives through him.

      but don’t forget that people get a lot of stuff out of some of those evangelical churches in the usa (they actually change people’s lives too), but that doesn’t necessarily make what they do and how they operate acceptable, in the light of the truth

      some people get a lot out of destiny church (many have had their lives changed for the better), but does that make brian tamaki and his monetary methods acceptable, with his mansion, and yacht, and motorcycles?

      it’s not exactly the same as jason evert (i’m sure evert isn’t living like tamaki), we know that, it’s an analogy. but the principle still holds. just having good work done doesn’t justify necessarily, exorbitant charging and expenditure of money. it’s not just about the results, the effects, the fruits. it’s about the ethics of the method employed for the apostolate. is it acceptable in a christian sphere?

      the ends do not necessarily justify the means!

      if we were talking about modern day business, then this would be a great way to run things: send in your front man, your key-note speaker, your personality-man, your expert, who has a reputation and a good name; he is known, and seen by many from his tv appearances, and he does a week’s work, rakes in thousands, which pays for his whole company (including staff) for a month; then he goes out and does it every month, maybe every second week; and keeps the thing going so the company can keep sending out Catholic material, do good work, convert more people, inform many others, and pay for a lot of other Christ-centered stuff.

      look, from a business point of view, it’s a winner, and exactly what you want. it’s totally efficient: short-term work contract, inexpensively produced product, lots of monetary return. it’s a great business formula.

      it would very good business management: eg, find a great product, and sell it for as much as you can for as long as you can, so as to run your company, in order to also produce other stuff, and pay for as many staff as possible, so that Christ’s message gets out there as far and wide as possible. that’s how businesses work. some products carry the company, and make up for losses on other products. in this case, a bunch of good talks pays for a lot of freely distributed material.

      jason evert is totally behind his product. he is a faithful catholic, and is faithful to the church in his teaching (it would seem), and he has a great gift of speaking, and reaching young people. he is authentic in that regard. but is this the way we want apostolates run? for the sake of Christ?

      didn’t Jesus talk about doing it for no charge? just because others in the usa do it, does not make it automatically ok. let’s seek for the truth in these matters

      plus, from a business point, one would want to grow the business this way, so you would always factor in a profit margin, to make sure the company has some money in the bank, to keep going.

      but the Gospel (at its heart) is not about efficiency and productivity; it’s not business, it’s not about charging large amounts. it’s about gift, it’s about gratuity.

      if there is work involved in apostolate, for sure, there is need of efficiency at some level, like any work; but it should be efficiency at the service of gratuity, at the service of love.

      when efficiency dominates apostolate, then gratuity, and therefore contemplation, begins to disappear, and so does Christ. materialism then easily enters. then we end up in Apocalypse chap. 13, where the Beast of the Earth (materialism, naturalism) wields influence in the Church, and in her works, and it would seem that money is a big temptation in this sphere

      i’m not saying evert and his apostolate are corrupt. far from it. but it’s so easy to be blinded by these subtle mechanisms these days; and it’s very easy to justify this type of operation, by thinking that it is all for Christ

      1 TIM 6:9-10

      But those who want to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, and in their eagerness to be rich some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pains.

      the Gospel message is not a product that one sells !

      did Mother Teresa ever charge? she who had every good cause and every good reason to charge money for her apostolates, and for her work with the poor? no. she was faithful to Christ. she never charged when asked to speak. never. never.

      that’s what the saints do my friends.

      also, recall the actions of cardinal ratzinger, after having given a theology lecture to the Legion of Christ. they shoved an envelope into his hand containing a large amount of money (approx $10,000). he curtly refused.

      something to ponder anyway

      i repeat. this post is not about criticizing those who have worked hard for this visit of this guy evert, who has helped many people

      it is to raise a question about these people’s style of charging when to comes to giving the Gospel

      st paul never charged when preaching to the churches, but supported himself, and gave the Gospel free of charge (cf. 2 Cor 11:7-10)

      a worker deserves his wages, but a just wage for his work

      peace

      ;)

    50. John Jensen October 12, 2010 at 11:53 am

      Remember that for some of these people, paid work is very intermittent. In order to make a living income year-long they may have to charge high prices for the relatively small number of times they get to speak.

    51. Don the Kiwi October 12, 2010 at 11:57 am

      I hear what you’re saying Dave, and agree in large part.

      I too have had hesitance about the ‘Catholicity’ of these practices. Sure, a lot of good is done and the people are generally faithfull Catholics.

      I cast my mind back to 2003 when Mark Shea came over for the Eucharistic Convention – now I know his air fares were paid, and he stayed with a friend. I don’t know if he was paid a fee, but he came to Tauranga the following week and gave us an excellent address – and that was unpaid, except for donation – so I threw in $20, as others did.

      Does Robert Loretz charge? I don’t think so – he appears generally gratis and sells some of his stuff, and the balance is donation. His presentations are excellent.

      I thin kthis grew out of the TV Evangelical movement in the US, and has been to a degree copied here. Sure, I accept payment of costs, and maybe a small fee to cover living expenses etc. and the rest by donation. Tens of Thousands of dollars seems to me to be a bit over the top. I certainly would not encourage it in our parish/diocese.

    52. John Jensen October 12, 2010 at 12:19 pm

      Mark was paid a fee for speaking, yes. I was involved in the arrangements and he stayed with me.

      But, again, it depends on whether you make your living that way. Mark makes a lot of his income writing (and depends also on contributions and needs all the help you can give him – hint, hint, nudge, nudge, wink, wink!). Robbie has a job – he’s a schoolteacher.

      I don’t think it’s reasonable to decide about these things without knowing quite a lot more about the person’s living situation than most of us are liable to know.

      jj

    53. Chris Sullivan October 12, 2010 at 12:34 pm

      All roads lead to Karl Keating.

      http://www.catholic.com/seminars/evert.asp

      Off the Seminars / Speakers menu there’s a list of “products” and costs, including Akin, Shea, Guarendi et al.

      From what I’ve heard of Jason and Crystalina Evert on EWTN they are well worth listening to (the link has a free talk) but I do share Dave Morgan’s concerns about the commercialisation of the Gospel the end result of which is the neutering of the Gospel in the interests of business efficiency and keeping the money coming in.

      With Karl Keating there is, of course, an agenda. A very conservative, political, and well healed agenda.

      I am unconvinced that the charges here actually are excessive.

      God Bless

    54. Don the Kiwi October 12, 2010 at 12:38 pm

      Hi John.

      Speak of the devil, eh? ;-)

    55. John Jensen October 12, 2010 at 1:55 pm

      @Don:

      Hi John.

      Speak of the devil, eh?

      He charges more – but not necessarily money :-)

      jj

    56. dave morgan October 13, 2010 at 2:04 pm

      howdy mates, ;)

      john jensen

      I don’t think it’s reasonable to decide about these things without knowing quite a lot more about the person’s living situation than most of us are liable to know.

      i disagree. it doesn’t depend on their living conditions. from a catholic view on reality, we are expected to work for a living, yes, that’s work, not have a cool ride of working a couple of days a month and charging as if we have worked half a year ($21,000) !

      Remember that for some of these people, paid work is very intermittent. In order to make a living income year-long they may have to charge high prices for the relatively small number of times they get to speak.

      every person has a right to make living. but as to HOW they go about doing that, it can be put to scrutiny. if i have a very intermittent job, then i should look for more work, and i shouldn’t over charge for what my job is really worth. this is not about doing what one can get away with, or doing what others are happy to pay, or even about doing what others do and copying them, this is about entering into an ethical view of this situation

      a supply teacher doesn’t say to his “group” which organizes and jacks-up his supply work, “look, i can’t make a living on only 5 days work a month, i would like to charge myself out for $500 an hour to make up for the other days where i don’t work…i’m a great teacher, i have a lot to share, i really teach well, so i feel i should be able to charge 10 times what normal teachers get paid…”

      i doesn’t work that way. and if it is happening, it should be reflected upon, and the truth of what is ethical should be sought

      don, who is robert loretz?

      peace ;)

    57. JJS October 13, 2010 at 2:18 pm

      The early Church was rather strict on these matters

      3. Now with regard to the Apostles and Prophets, according to the decree (command) of the gospel, so do ye.

      4. Let every Apostle that cometh to you be received as the Lord.

      5. But he shall not remain [longer than] one day; and, if need be, another [day] also; but if he remain three [days] he is a false prophet.

      6. And when the Apostle departeth, let him take nothing except bread [enough] till he reach his lodging (night-quarters). But if he ask for money, he is a false prophet.

      Didache, circa A.D. 80

      ;-)

    58. Don the Kiwi October 13, 2010 at 2:23 pm

      Dave.

      John knows Robert better that I do. He is a guy who has spent time in France with the Brothers of St.John, is – as John says – a teacher. From time to time he visits various parishes with some great theological insights. The last one I attended with him here in Tauranga about 1-1/2 years ago was an explanation of the Book of Revelation – a thoroughly Catholic perspective and very insightful.
      He has a psuedonym and posts here occasionally. You may recognise it when he does ;-) but its not appropriate for me to divulge of course.

    59. JJS October 13, 2010 at 2:25 pm

      Is it “Chris” ? ;-)

      Sorry, I kid

      :mrgreen_wp:

    60. Don the Kiwi October 13, 2010 at 2:31 pm

      JJS.

      Fifty lashes, and thirty hail marys. ;-)

    61. dave morgan October 13, 2010 at 2:37 pm

      :P

      thanks don

      sounds like a good man. i’ll keep an eye out for his name in future.

      funny jjs :D

    62. dave morgan October 13, 2010 at 3:01 pm

      goombA! :)

      from your link above chris

      They speak to over 100,000 teens each year in Catholic, Christian, and public high schools around the country. Both Jason and Crystalina are full-time apologists with Catholic Answers, the nation’s largest lay-run apostolate for apologetics and evangelization.

      doesn’t sound like this guy, and his wife, are short of work

      so, that implies to me, that this charge-out rate is set by catholic answers, and is a way of making good money for a business, which deals in catholic material, and which promotes the gospel

      look, i have to say, when it comes to preaching, i don’t like this approach. i think it is bad.

      if you’re selling catholic books, and other such stuff, sure, sell the book for a reasonable rate, in order to make a living for good catholics ($10-100 per book) etc

      but charging that type of money for a one-off visit, is suspect in my opinion. it’s like trying to sell a book for $20000

      peace ;)

    63. John Jensen October 13, 2010 at 3:11 pm

      @dave morgan:

      sounds like a good man. i’ll keep an eye out for his name in future.

      Both Robbie Loretz and Mark Shea are amongst the best persons in the world. They, with a few others (and a little help from the Holy Spirit :-)) made me a Catholic.

      I don’t cite that as proof of their wonderfulness, by the way :-) Just one reason why they mean so much to me.

      jj

    64. Chris Sullivan October 13, 2010 at 4:56 pm

      Dave,

      You make some good points, but we don’t know how much of the $21,000 goes to Jason Evert and how much goes to Catholic Apologetics and the Karl Keating project.

      Maybe some went to fly out Jason’s wife to accompany him (perfectly legitimate IMHO) ?

      Catholic Apologetics has a web site to run, writers like Mark Shea to pay for content, and producing all those Catholic Apologetics Voting Guides (against the Bishops document Faithful Citizenship) trying to persuade Catholics to vote Republican (while very conveniently omitting the intrinsic evil of the Bush administration’s use of torture) can’t have come cheap either :)

      The bigger question is why are we paying these sorts of fees for this little work ?

      I know dioceses don’t pay their own staff anything like that money. There is an issue of fairness here.

      Anyone know who organised the tour and agreed to pay such a fee structure ?

      And who paid for it ? Did it come out of pew collections ?

      God Bless

    65. dave morgan October 13, 2010 at 5:02 pm

      john, :)

      wow, that’s sounds beautiful. what have you come from?

      peace

      :)

    66. Chris Sullivan October 13, 2010 at 5:34 pm

      According to this, Evert spoke at 22 events over 5 days. That sounds like very long days.

      http://www.voxy.co.nz/national/evert-save-sex-marriage/5/49342

      Factoring in travel time to from and to the U.S. he may well have spent 100 hours on the trip. Plus maybe 100 hours preparation ?

      That would work out at NZ$21,000 / 200 hours = NZ$105 / hour = US$75 / hour (as it is reasonable to expect to pay him in US$).

      Less if one factors in a cut for Catholic Apologetics.

      Nice money if one can get it, but still comparable to rates commonly paid to expert consultants with rare skills.

      God Bless

    67. John Jensen October 13, 2010 at 6:40 pm

      @dave morgan:

      wow, that’s sounds beautiful. what have you come from?

      From death to life :-)

      This isn’t very well edited, but if you are interested, this link tells something of the history up until about 1998 (warning: long-winded :-))

      jj