“Vorisgate”: A Message From CMTV

I receive this message from CMTV.

The text first. My comments below.

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No one can object to vigorous disagreement on matters of principle, as has been occurring for the past couple of weeks in response to CMTV’s commitment to not engage in public criticism of the Pope, but let’s stop with the idle speculations about causes.

CMTV has no “backers” or “funders” beyond their premium subscribers and revenue from sales of DVD’s and conference fees. Yes, there was one couple that purchased their studio for them ($200,000) and there was one completely anonymous donor whose name isn’t even known to them of $100,000, but that’s pretty much it.

Marc Brammer, who IS a member of Opus Dei, helped launch RealCatholicTV.com in 2008 with “funding” of $250,000, half to the development of the web site and half to staff and production, and they ran out of money, had to lay off just about everyone, within about six months. What staff they had lived on unemployment compensation for the next 12 to 18 months, through early 2011, when subscription revenues finally picked up. Neither Marc Brammer, nor Opus Dei, nor anyone else “funded” then RCTV through that time, and no one else did, either. All relationships with Marc Brammer were ended when the name change occurred in June 2012. Parting of the ways was completely amicable and was, in part, motivated by a desire to eliminate all the baseless speculation about “outside influences” such as Opus Dei, of which Michael Voris is not and never has been a member.

A key concern in our commitment to not engage in public criticism of the Pope — please note that it’s not a matter of “whether” the Pope can or should be criticized, only “how” and “where” — derives from a growing awareness that that there are “unintended consequences” to such criticism, e.g., an enabling and encouragement of “safe havens” that are a form of “Catholicism without a Pope.” When the manner of public criticism of the Pope produces Catholics who describe the Pope as “heretic/modernist/apostate/antipope/evil/enemy of the Church,” then one is creating a climate that, while honoring the Truth of the Catholic Faith, separates itself either formally or psychologically from the Chair of Peter. If that is an observable consequence of public criticism of the Pope, then one should either a) stop public criticism of the Pope altogether or 2) engage in such criticism in a different way to minimize the potential for such consequences.

There is too much historical precedent to conclude that one should never, under any circumstances, criticize the Pope. But if people are, in fact, being led out of the Church as a consequence of such criticism — whether to evangelical Protestantism, “Nonism” or one of the various flavors of independent Catholicism such as the SSPX — then one should seriously reconsider one’s “strategy,” and that is what CMTV is doing. We have had far worse Popes in the past than Pope Francis, but there wasn’t the proliferation of false “safe havens” available as we have today, so public criticism of the Pope lacked visibility (due to technological constraints) and available alternatives to visible union with the Chair of Peter.

You can pretty easily tell who is responding to your work and why by visiting the comboxes of blogs or Facebook or Youtube presences. Those objecting to our commitment not to engage in public criticism of the Pope have some undeniable common traits that coalesce around support for one or the other form of “independent Catholicism.” We are horrified that some would think us supportive of that and it’s only right that they stop supporting us. We are not ultramontanists, nor papolaters, nor will we ever attempt to defend the indefensible. What we will do is what you, in fact, thought we should do some months ago: speak the Truth clearly when it needs to be spoken, but not draw attention to the fact that we might be responding to something the Pope has said or done, which most people already know about anyway.

Maybe there is some comfort in hearing from others that they see and are troubled by the same things that you are, but we judge it both preferable and more charitable to speak the Truth of the Catholic Faith that needs to be spoken and not contribute to potential loss of faith in the Church Herself that seems to accompany the most shrill public criticism of the Pope.

I’m not writing with any expectation that you will post this, but because it’s the only way I know to communicate with you. There are many email exchanges with the most offended parties that I could share with you but they wouldn’t exactly fit in a combox! There is a direct response from Michael Voris to Christopher Ferrara that lays out very well why we have chosen the direction we have chosen. It’s not likely to change anyone’s mind, but it’s pretty clear and summarizes tomorrow’s episode of the Vortex titled “The Pope IS Different.”

Terry Carroll
ChurchMilitant.TV

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First of all, my thanks to Mr Carroll for taking the time to write.  I was, in fact, about to cancel the very long message (it is a reflex of mine by very long messages) unread; then I noticed the signature, and thought I would make an exception and, actually, read it. After reading, I have two points and a couple of suggestions.

1. On the matter of the finances.

It is not unreasonable to suppose that a publishing venture would need initial backing, it being very unreasonable that an initiative of this kind would be self-supporting from the start. In this case, it appears there were $250,000 from Mr Brammer, which were spent in six months, and what appear to be indirect donations for $300,000 (if I understand the one with the couple well). Everyone with some knowledge of this matter will know that there is the need for a starting capital, which by ventures of this kind can go on for years; and the question where it comes from is fully justified.

I take notice that you do not receive funds from the Opus Dei, and gladly publish the information. I also gladly publish the other information, that Mr Voris is not member of Opus Dei. I also take notice that, as you write this, CMTV is self-sufficient and in no need of external support.

I suggest you or Mr Voris take care of the “Wikipedia” entry concerning Michael Voris, which certainly encourages to think that Mr Brammer is the owner, and Mr Voris a a producer of content for a station still owned by Mr Brammer who, as you yourself state, is Opus Dei. You see this both in the part called “background” and in the part concerning the “name controversy”, which mentions Mr Brammer as the owner but does not mention any change of ownership at the moment of the name change.

2. On the matter of the criticism of the Pope

The matter of the criticism of the Pope is simply not the issue here. You think souls will get lost if you criticise the Pope, I and many others think souls  will be lost if you don’t. What I strongly object to is the insulting comparison of critics of the Pope – of whom Voris must know they are motivated by nothing else than love for Christ and His Church – with a bunch of nutcases like, as in the video, the nuns on the bus. Mind, I was not attacked personally as my micro-blog is far too little to attract this kind of attention, but the criticism of the likes of Christopher Ferrara, John Vennari, Michael Matt, and Louie Verrecchio is uncalled for, and completely unjustified. It is also, without the shadow of a doubt, indirectly directed at the likes of yours truly; of which there are many, blogging in their free time, gratis et amore dei.

Reasonable people may disagree on whether or how a Pope might be criticised, but a line was crossed here that demands something be done. Ferrara, Matt, Vennari and Verrecchio are no sedevacantists. Whatever the faults of sedevacantists – I have my combox populated by colourful characters, too – this is nothing to do with the unjust criticism moved directly to four people (Ferrara, Matt, Vennari and Verrecchio) and indirectly to many others, and the fact that by making their names they were not only directly and unjustly criticised, but also tainted by association by putting them in the same… “bus” as the mad nuns or the above mentioned colourful characters.

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Mr Carroll, I do not have any interest in quarreling either with you or with any other sender or blogger or journalist who is, broadly speaking, on the right side. But if your sender wants to avoid quarrels, it must stop looking for them.

If you were to ask my advice in the pub, sitting in front of a warm English beer, I would say to you that your and Mr Voris’ strategy is suicide. But hey, it’s not my TV channel. What I would – always sitting in front of the warm beer – also suggest that you do is apologise for the message appeared on the website and for the video, make very clear your criticism is not meant to people outside of particularly hateful sedevacantists, and express your respect for all those who, whilst following a line you do not think the best one, are doing what they think is best for the salvation of their own and their readers’ souls.

Lastly, allow me to say this: whilst I have, this time, dedicated to you more time than I ever did to a commenter, I do not want to start debates in the matter. In the very simple world in which I live, your sender has made a mistake and it is to your sender to remove it. You may do it or not, it’s your choice. But the army of sincere Catholics out there, who are neither nuts nor Sedevacantists, will look at your sender’s action and take notice.

If your sender shows the intention to avoid throwing away the child of good Catholics with the bathwater of resentful sedevacantists, I will gladly take notice of this, too. As it is, I think a breach of trust occurred, a vulnus that it is for your sender to heal.

Mundabor

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Posted on March 16, 2014, in Catholicism, Conservative Catholicism, Traditional Catholicism and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 27 Comments.

  1. They’re beginning to realise the gravity of their self-inflicted wound.

  2. Honorable and beautiful response, Mundy:+) My own two cents? A) What evidence do they have that proves criticizing a Pope leads people away from the Church? Recent…not Luther’s time. Versus the words and actions of our recent pontiffs that have driven away hundreds of millions from the faith? B) I can still be a Catholic, recognize the Pope as Pope but resist the human man occupying the office. C) Yes, the Pope is different…but he still isn’t God. D) Where is the trust and faith in speaking the truth in charity? Why so much fear? Or do they consider the sheep to be so utterly dumb and weak that they can’t handle a simple concept like separating the person from the office? Thank you for taking the time to respond to this Mundy. Michael Voris and CMTV have gone a little off to the side on this…and I hope it is our patience, kindness and truth to them (in front of a warm beer of course:+) that will help open their eyes. God bless you~

    • Personally I think that the question of the opportunity to criticise the Pope should be, for the moment, kept strictly separated from the real issues: that CMTV has attacked those who do.

      Disagreements as to what to do were there also in the past, but they were dealt with without personal attacks.

      I hope we will soon be there again.

      M

  3. CMTV is facing a dilemma. CMTV has been courageous and accurate in pointing out the failings of Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the most prominent Church of Nice bishop in the US. What will CMTV do now when Dolan continues his rapid descent on the slippery slope, paraphrasing the Pope’s famous “Who am I to judge?” Dolan did this very recently on TV in regard to a football player who declared himself gay; see http://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/national-international/Cardinal-Timothy-Dolan-Meet-the-Press-Michael-Sam-Pope-Francis-249042261.html

    • Yes, Dolan is particularly embarrassing for CMTV exactly because Dolan apes Francis.
      So a cardinal is fair target for just criticism, a Pope with an audience many times the Cardinal isn’t?
      M

  4. The people of CMTV, by refusing to have the balls to criticize the Pope, are creating a cultic mentality in the minds of it’s supporters. They’re defeating the purpose CMTV was created for, to confront the leadership of the Church about their shortcomings and the problems those shortcomings cause. The Pope is the only person in the Church who can provide the leadership to solve the problems. If he doesn’t do anything because he doesn’t care or is deliberately going against Church teaching, he’s part of the problem. Michael Voris, by telling his supporters not to notice this, has become the blind leading the blind. Unless he has an awakening, he will lose his effectiveness as a leader among us.

  5. I’m extremely saddened by Michael’s Vortex ‘ It always comes back to the Pope’. After the Bishop of Rome’s likeable reproaches (guess to whom ?) here come new agreeable ones. I’m afraid the apologies to The Remnant , Vennari, Verrecchio and -not so indirect anymore- Mundabor and the Italian ‘Lepanto’ Group ( Palmaro,Gnocchi,De Mattei,Deotto) will come not so soon…

  6. The focus of Mr. Carroll appears to criticism of the pope which is not where the bulk of the backlash is really coming from. Like you said Mundabor, it’s the daggers thrown at Ferrara, Vennari, and Verrecchio that is most insulting. I also received an email from Mr. Carroll who had this to say:

    “We did not “attack” Matt/Ferrara/Vennari and their publications but used specific articles as examples of what we judge shouldn’t be done, i.e., engage in public criticism of the Holy Father in a manner and forum that leads people to question their faith in the Catholic Church and seek refuge outside communion with Her, e.g., the SSPX.

    Only John Vennari is known to participate actively in SSPX settings and, in that sense, he cannot be defined as “in full communion with the Church.” Matt/Ferrara have stated publicly that they do not participate in SSPX settings but actively encourage others who do.”

    I am nonplussed by Mr. Carroll’s paranoia regarding combox posts critical of the pope. I would like to believe that viewers of CMTV have a slightly more mature faith than to fall victim to straw filled sedevacantist argument. I view SSPX members as Catholics in full communion with Catholicism. I consider the whole “soft-sedevacantist” as parroting propaganda. The SSPX are in an irregular situation and I recognize the dangers of this, but to suggest that they are no better than “nuns on a bus” types is insulting.

    If given the choice between a Jesuit priest or SSPX priest to teach my children the faith – I would undeniably go with the latter. Let’s just assume the Jesuit priest is “soft-sedevacantist” because of his rejection of Church doctrine and papal teachings. I think it’s a good, one that hopefully brings a little perspective to the likes of Carroll and Voris. For heavens sake, don’t criticize the pope if you don’t want to CMTV, just stop bad mouthing good Catholics and insinuating their writings are pitfalls to be avoided!

  7. Thank you for that, Mundabor. I was personally offended by his Vortex episode, and am far from any fringe. He really ought to apologize.

  8. greatpretender51

    IMHO, this Terry Carroll is a shallow, self-serving fraud. I had some personal correspondence with him several years ago regarding the TLM vs. the NO, after I inquired why CMTV (then RealCatholicTV) did not expose and denounce the NO for what it was. He claimed, outrageously enough and in the middle of our correspondence, to have studied and grasped the position of the SSPX literally overnight (an attempt which obviously failed). He then went on to contradict himself several times, and ended up by espousing heresy, using the same double-talk of Francis, Kasper the Friendly Apostate, and their ilk.

    This claim of “strategy” is just BS and a stall. CMTV is a group of sycophants and papolotrists. They should fold up their phony tent and go on a long Ignatian retreat, during which, one would hope, their self-deception, vanity and cowardice will get sucked into a certain vortex.

    • I wouldn’t be so harsh. Not for now at least.

      Mr Carroll wrote me a message some time ago, saying this blog is a daily read at CMTV. I doubt the reading was of much influence, though, because their positions have been moving further away from ours.

      It must be said, in fairness, that Francis is putting such a strain on all but the most outspoken out there. If we had had one in the mould of Benedict as his successor none of this would have happened.

      Still, it has happened, and to pretend there’s no problem at the top, or if there is one does not talk about it however huge, is logically absurd and, if you ask me, commercially self-defeating.

      M

  9. St. Benedict's Thistle

    To refrain from speaking a truth that is as plain as the nose on a face, is to encourage speculation that the Church is indeed dedicated to a cult of personality (in the form of the papacy).

    It seems a lack of humility to publicly disparage others who speak the truth and who let each individual decide what to do with that truth. The Lord did not refrain from speaking the truth about His body and blood, although it caused many to leave Him (John 6).

    I am a Catholic who has been strengthened in my faith by blogs such as this one. It is refreshing to find the plain truth, bluntly spoken. I always felt that about CMTV until the public attack on Vennari, et al.

    • If we were to shut up, would this be “charitable”? If the countless people who are confused by Francis’ statement, and do not know anymore whether what their grandmother told them and they always believed is right or wrong, go on the internet to find some answers, will we send them back with an invitation to be “charitable” to the Holy Father? Where is the Holy Father’s charity? Where is his care for the souls?

      No.

      He can make of himself a clown as much as he likes, but I will be here, calling him a clown. Much as it is a shock for a Catholic to read that the Pope is called a clown, he will have to recognise what is really shocking is the reality of his being a clown, not people caring for Truth saying things as they are.

      We live in strange times. The Emperor is dancing the tango, without clothes, on the altar. Those who speak are called “uncharitable”.

      Reality has this unpleasant trait, that it is not easy to ignore it for long.

      M

  10. After reading this, I couldn’t help myself. I went to their Facebook page to see what’s the latest topic of conversation. Naturally, it’s the Dolan thing. And further couldn’t help myself, I posted a very brief comment alluding to the fact that Dolan’s only aping the Pope, isn’t he? Wow, did I stir the hornet’s nest or what? I received a string of at least 5 or 6 posts from CMTV (whoever does the Facebook administration) lambasting that viewpoint and trying to show how utterly wrong that position and comment is. I know…very immature of me to do that :)

    • Apparently they are going to make another thingy on the matter.

      I don;t follow them anymore, so I won’t know first hand.

      If something new comes up, I will read about it around.

      They won’t change their editorial line on Francis. That much is, I think, certain.

      M

  11. greatpretender51

    Sorry if I am getting harsh – also losing patience with these people who refuse to understand that the crisis in the Church is a diabolical disorientation, not just “corruption” or “apostasy” or “liberalism,” or what-have-you, that can be fixed by fixing the status quo (which is essentially the CMTV position). The status quo – the Novus Ordo and the obscuring of the Magisterium through “pastoralism” – can’t be fixed by jerry-rigging some “hermeneutic,” it can only be rejected as anathema. Our Lady of Good Success told us that there would be one prelate who resisted this tidal wave of the Devil, and the identity of that prelate seems as obvious as the noses on our faces: Abp. Lefebvre. Thank God for the SSPX.

    • Do you have sources for Our Lady of Good Success?
      I never remember reading of “one man”. Again, I might be wrong.
      Anyway, I am afraid much worse is to come before all this comes to an end.

      M

  12. greatpretender51

    Mundabor: http://www.angelusonline.org/index.php?section=articles&subsection=print_article&article_id=1336

    From this website: “…pray that He will have compassion upon His servants, that He will bring an end to this terrible scourge by sending to the Church a prelate to renew the spirit of His priests. My Divine Son and I will surround this beloved son with a special love, we shall pour out a heap of many graces, graces of humility of heart and docility towards God’s inspirations, and the strength to defend the rights of the Church so that he will know how to defend the rights of the Church with a heart which enables him to behave like another Christ towards the mighty people of this world and the little people of this world without despising the unfortunate ones. He will, with a divine gentleness, lead into the convents and monasteries souls consecrated to God for the service of God without making the yoke of the Lord heavy upon them. He holds in his hands the scales of sanctity in order that everything happen according to weight and measure so that God be glorified. This prelate and father will form a counter-weight against the luke warmness of priests and religious who are meant to be dedicated to God.”

    • Thanks, interesting reading and more complete of what I had read before.

      Of course, the identification of the counter-weight with Archbishop Lefebvre appears arbitrary, if somewhat credible. It would remain to be seen, though, how the counterweight would still cause the situation to get worse and worse for decades after his death. One could as well think that the worst is yet to come, and with it the counterweight; like say, Fellay’s successor, or someone else.

      M

  13. I watched today’s Vortex, “The Pope IS different,” and was floored by his comment that “no one comes to the Church or leaves the Church because a Cardinal says something stupid, repeatedly.” REALLY? Why has he told Dolan to “STOP giving interviews”?
    Or, why has he repeatedly attacked something a priest, like Barron, has said?
    Isn’t he implying, then, that only the things the Pope SAYS, influences people to come to the church or leave the church? Why does he believe it wrong to address the Popes actions — namely, his words … that are clearly “causing the little ones to sin…?”
    He acknowledges in today’s Vortex that there are concerns and there are “ways to handle them,” but he fails to offer the ways in which we are to handle them.
    You are lucky… they responded to you. I asked these questions, but got no answers.
    I really am heartbroken over all this….
    Thank you for sharing this, Mundabor.

    • For one who leaves the Church because a Cardinal says something stupid, one hundred leave it because the Pope does it.
      Surely, Voris understands this?

      M

  14. The CMTV article used some very unsavoury imagery in association with Matt, Ferrara, Vennari et al: ie that their writings were ‘ecclesiastical porn’, which, I suppose, would make anyone who has read their articles ‘ecclesiastical masturbators’. Very, very offensive language. Very hard not to interpret such associations as an ‘attack’ on those mentioned.

  15. CMTV called Christopher Ferrara, John Vennari, Michael Matt, and their publications “spiritual pornography.” Think of the horrific evil of pornography. What a thing to call them. They need to apologize for this despicable calumny post haste.

  16. This Who-am-I-to judge Pope is confirming pervert, immoral sin which will damn many a soul. I have seen it. I hope Mr.Voris will think about that.

  17. Mr. Voris recently spoke at a Catholic Identity conference with Christopher Ferrara, John Vennari and Michael Matt. He didn’t seem to mind hanging out with the spiritual pornographers then. I subscribe to both The Remnant and CFN and have purchased most of Ferrara’s books. I’m a premium subscriber to CMTV, but have always wondered when Voris might go off the tracks. It sounds like he has. I’m soon going to be a former premium subscriber.

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