Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Critique of Three Highly Questionable Statements from Michael Voris About the State of the Church

Note: all italicized emphases in the original (verbal emphasis). Voris' words, transcribed from the videos, will be in blue. My comments and critiques will be in black.

The Whole Rotten Mess (21 June 2013)



4:20 The Catholic Church in the West: the establishment Catholic Church, no longer operates with the same set of first principles that we once did [sic]. The entire self-understanding, our own self-conception has been jettisoned, and been replaced by an entirely new and rotten sense: rotten to the proverbial core. Leaders have traded away the notions of truth and goodness and beauty in exchange for accommodation and indifferentism and political correctness.

Truth, beauty, and goodness inspire zeal and apostolic fervor. There's almost none of that left, because those core constituents; those first principles are gone. What is left is a type of Church within a Church; a small remnant of those who still cling tenaciously to those first principles, and all that they necessarily admit of: all of it. This small remnant of a Church within a Church finds itself surrounded by an obese, overinflated bureaucracy of engineers, who keep the wheels spinning, and run from one fire to another, . . . those who sit atop this decaying structure and their allies are either fools, naive, or ill-intentioned. . . . When the Church is in such a calamitous state -- which it is -- it means the culture has succeeded in converting the Church: at least large portions of it. . . .

This exhibits an alarming lack of faith and hope, which is highly characteristic of the modernists within the Church and also Protestants who attack the Church.

For Voris, only a tiny bit of the Catholic Church ("small remnant") is even left. Extreme language abounds. Truth and goodness in the Church? "Almost none" is left, so he informs us, because "those first principles are gone."

See a paper of mine on indefectibility.  I deal most directly with this topic in chapters 7 and 8 of my book, Biblical Proofs for an Infallible Church and Papacy (about 18 pages). Also, see my posting of most of the chapter on indefectibility from my book, Reflections on Radical Catholic Reactionaries (2002). Voris is not asserting defectibility, but at some point, the more pessimistic we are about the Church and her state, it can become, in some respects, a sort of "quasi-defectibility" outlook.

Voris must be held accountable for his words. He says a lot of true stuff, mixed in with extreme statements such as these. He goes far beyond simply attacking nominalism and liberalism in the Church, among however many members fall into those. He goes after the Church herself at times, it seems to me.  That's what distinguishes the RadCathR (and some mainstream "traditionalists") from the plain old orthodox Catholic like myself, who detests modernism every bit as much as Voris does (I can assure all).

So Voris and his many thousands of followers don't see anything positive around them to highlight? All they can do is moan and groan and complain about the Church, and if anyone points that out, they have their head in the sand and are pretending that everything is perfect (as if that's ever been the case at any time in the history of the Church)?

Voris is not just pointing out failings. He seems to think there is barely any Church left. It's the same as always: if we don't learn from history, we're doomed to repeat it: the same old dangerous errors recycled again for our time. People love the gloom-and-doom message. For the life of me, I don't know why, but something in human nature resonates with that.

I haven't claimed that Voris is leading people into schism (someone on my Facebook page thought that I did). He's the one who talks about a "Church within a Church," etc. I think he'll lead many people to despair, however, if he keeps this up, especially if he attacks the New Mass, as he did in at least one video (which directly contradicted Pope Benedict). This is not without ill effect.
Welcome, Angel of Death (25 June 2013) 




1:38 Here seems to be the root of the issue. There are many leaders in the Church today who seem to have simply traded out the authentic gospel for a fake gospel and in so doing have erected a kind of false church: one that has many trappings of the Church of Rome, but only a shadow of her teachings. There has been a substitution of the one true faith for a more comfortable, all-embracing faith: the focus of which is more tied to the things of earth than the things of heaven. This pseudo-catholic church has some hallmarks which distinguish it greatly from the authentic faith.


I understand that Voris has liberal dissidents in mind when he states this. I have stated many times (on my blog or in my books) that I agreed with Fr. John A. Hardon's statement that modernism was the greatest crisis in the history of the Church. Thus, I'm not denying the reality of the liberal / modernist / dissident corruption or rebellion that exists on the ground. I can't possibly be subject to the standard RadCathR polemic: "you have your head in the sand and think everything is perfect" canard. But I don't believe that things are nearly as bleak and hopeless as Voris thinks they are.

This reflects my following of the thought of the ultra-orthodox and saintly Fr. Hardon, who was my mentor (he received me into the Church and endorsed my first book, A Biblical Defense of Catholicism in the Foreword), and an advisor to Venerable Pope Paul VI and Blessed Mother Teresa. When asked if things were as bad as Malachi Martin (another RadCathR given to great exaggeration) made them out to be, he quickly replied, "no." I agree with him on both scores, and I submit that he had far more "inside information" about the Church than layman Voris thinks he does.

I had a discussion with two supporters of Voris, in which I pressed the point of lack of specificity in Voris' claims, and wondered what good it does to make such grandiose, pessimistic, "oh woe is us" claims without providing detailed, particular information, so that the layperson can avoid the "false church" and the "pseudo catholic church."

Gay Clergy and The Catholic Media (18 June 2013)



1:16 The establishment Catholic media is not composed of journalists, strictly speaking, but of lapdog careerists . . . these people are not concerned with bringing you one shred of news about the troubles inside the Church, but, protecting their own financial interests by painting a dubious picture of things being kind of okay in the Church. See, it's actually very simple. When you tune into big-name Catholic TV outlets or radio shows with big-name professional Catholics . . . you hear all kinds of great things and solid talks about the teachings of the Church, and let me underscore, they are very solid talks. But you won't hear a word . . . about the real problems in the Church. That's because if they open their mouths about these other problems, they will be disinvited, their books won't be published, their articles will be pulled from official Catholic papers and websites, or they will be off the air . . . In short, they won't tell you the truth, because they're too cowardly to pay the personal financial cost.

U-huh: like Voris is not now a "big name": with (by his own reckoning in the last few weeks) 16 million views of his videos? Like, uh, he's not making any money doing what he does, or is not "professional" himself in almost the same sense that he trashes when others do it?

I could just as easily say (if I wanted to be as cynical as Voris often is), that there is no reason for Voris to mess with his own formula of relentless gloom-and-doom / "oh woe is us" fare. It's not likely he'll change anytime soon, either. I don't mind someone thriving at what they do; I do mind a great deal that he's thriving on exaggerating the extent of the problems we face (both it's real and imagined problems), in public.

Folks who "tell the real truth" like Voris says he does are off the air at EWTN [Voris named it in the video, along with Ave Maria Radio, Immaculate Heart Radio, Catholic Answers, and National Catholic Register]? Well, let's take an example of that. That happened to Robert Sungenis. Was it because he told God's honest truth and all the sissy Frisbee-tossing "neo-Catholics" couldn't take it?

Well, not quite. It's because Robert has chosen to pursue wacko, extremist views of geocentrism (the sun goes around the earth and the 10,000-year-old earth doesn't rotate), anti-Semitism, the silly notion that God can change His mind (which is rank heresy, in violation of the de fide doctrines of divine immutability and simplicity), faked moon landings, trashing of the canonization of Blessed Pope John Paul II the Great; even going after Pope Benedict XVI (usually the darling of RadCathRs and "traditionalists" alike) because he beatified him. Recently Bob claimed on his site that Ven. Pope Paul VI was a practicing sodomite. All par for the course . . .

Nothing here in the least objectionable, is there? Was it only that the big boys at EWTN couldn't handle Bob's relentless truthtelling and the profundities of his scientific wisdom and heresies concerning the very doctrine of God? Bob specializes in talking about the "real problems" in the Church: you know, stuff like Pope Paul VI being a sodomite and Pope John Paul the Great being one of the worst popes in history . . .

Granted, he is a rather extreme example, but he is an example, nevertheless, of someone who was "run off of" EWTN: one that doesn't fit into the sweeping picture that Voris creates about who is and isn't allowed in these major Catholic venues.


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