The arguments in defence of the indefensible become more and more outlandish. I will leave all the side noise (I doubt Thomas More would have made a TV sender “where lies and falsehoods are trapped and exposed”, either…; but seriously, I won’t waste my time with that) on the side, and address one question:
should we limit ourselves to writing letters to the Pope?
No, we shouldn’t.
Firstly, the problem of a Pope giving scandal in public is only in a secondary and accessory manner the problem of the salvation of the Pope’s soul. It is in the first line a problem for the millions of souls who are confused by his outlandish or heretical statements. The Pope is one soul, but the souls who are endangered are millions. As we are taught that every soul has infinite value and dignity, there is no reason whatsoever to sacrifice one individual soul – much less, countless millions of individual souls – to any raison d’ Etat whatsoever.
If I were to write a letter to the Pope – which I won’t, because I am smarter than wasting my time in this way; then I might as well write a letter to Father Christmas; and honestly I can’t listen to certain suggestions without feeling treated like a child of the relevant age – this letter would not be read by, and would therefore not profit any, of the countless souls already mentioned.
I do not write a blog – nor does Michael Voris run a TV channel – to improve the Pope. We do it in order to allow a Catholic voice to reach an audience of immortal souls who would otherwise be confused and possibly led into perdition by the outlandish or outright heretical messages spread by the clergy. If one doesn’t write a blog or a TV channel in order to save souls, one wonders what it all is about. Voris himself states he is worried for the salvation of souls. Unless, it appears, the Pope is the one endangering millions of them. In that case, please limit yourself to a letter.
The salvation of souls is, though, the motivation for all of us, without any exception. If Michael Voris’ aim were simply to move Cardinal Dolan as an individual to behave in a Catholic way, he could simply write a polite letter to him stating a thing or two about Catholicism. But this is not what he does with his TV channel. The reason he runs an internet TV channel is exactly in order that he may reach an undetermined number of people and help saving their soul: either the pewsitters out there, or those who used to be such, or those who might become such. In everything a public Catholic outlet does – be that a widely known TV channel like CMTV, or an obscure blog like this one – the salvation of the souls concerned should be, I have always thought, the motivating factor and principal aim.
Catholics don’t live in solitary islands. Our faith teaches us to care for each other, to stay near each other. If the Pope confuses countless Catholics, I cannot consider this merely a matter between the Pope and myself, in the sense that my duty to give witness of sound Catholicism cannot be limited to – of all people – the Pope. Catholics are a like big cooperative. We are, literally, all in the same Barque. If my neighbour is struggling, I will help my neighbour as good as I can, I will not simply think “oh well, I have written a letter to the Captain, so I have done enough”. If I see that many in the barque are running the risk of falling overboard, I will not simply send a billet to the admiral; rather, I will help as many of those who are in the barque as I can.This is the only way of action I see, that is compatible with our Christian duties to instruct the ignorant, counsel the doubtful, and admonish the sinner. I positively refuse to blatantly ignore what is happening all around me just because the need to instruct, counsel or admonish has been originated by the Pope. To do so would be, in my eyes, a betrayal of those same values of brotherhood in Christ I claim to profess.
Secondly, it must be clear to the dimmest intelligence that the suggestion to write personal letters to the Pope is mere escapism. No intelligent person should ever give intelligent people suggestions that are so obviously, absurdly inadequate. Yes, Pope Francis might read one letter in three thousand that he receives, and if you are homosexual he might even phone you afterwards. But no intelligent person would suggest the mere act of writing a letter with an infinitely small chance of being ever read by the addressee is anything more than a very lame excuse to appease one’s conscience as countless souls are endangered by Francis’ antics.
Thirdly, the Pope does not confuse faithful individually (I mean, I am sure he does that, too; but this is not what we are talking about), but very publicly, worldwide. A TV channel does not produce for one video for every individual, but each video for many viewers, worldwide. A blog is not created to send individually written posts to individual readers, and so on.
The media are public. The papacy is public. The Church is very obviously public. To think that public problem may be pushed in the realm of private suggestions is nonsensical, mere escapism, and a very lame excuse for doing nothing.
No, such outlandish suggestions just do not make sense.
Educate yourself. Read good books about sound Catholicism. React to the confusion of these times by becoming better instructed, so that you may better resist the satanical influences of our times.
Save the stamp. Writing letters to the dust bin is not the answer.
Yesterday a third video appeared, “The Pope IS different”. I have examined Michael Voris’ last effort to square the circle. Predictably, he failed.
I have found in Mr Voris’ video no word of public excuse to the people already publicly blamed by him: Christopher Ferrara, John Vennari, Michael Matt, and Louie Verrecchio. Whilst these four gentlemen may be extremely charitable people and invite the Vortex viewers to not abandon Voris, or may have had private clarifications and reconciliations directly with him, I continue to be of the opinion that we should draw a line in the sand in front of such a behaviour; a behaviour damaging and insulting not only to the four gentlemen in question, but of Catholic Traditionalism as a whole. Therefore, I personally encourage my readers to stop the subscription to Mr Voris’ effort, and to cease any form of financial support if they were giving any. I suggest them to direct any help that they feel ready to give to authentic Traditionalist causes instead; first and foremost the SSPX itself, but also the ones of the four above mentioned gentlemen. You can’t call yourself a Traditionalist and keep feeding those who bite them. At some point, lines will have to be drawn.
For what it’s worth, I will be very glad to retire this suggestion when Mr Voris publicly gives sufficient satisfaction for the offence given to the Traditionalist cause.
On the matter itself
In his video, Mr Voris makes several arguments. I will allow myself to render them as well as I can, and to give my two cents on each.
1. “Pope equals Church”, because he has a pre-eminence of a very special nature.
This is a slogan. As every slogan, it may sound good but it does not say much. If the Pope says “atheists are saved if they follow their conscience”, does the Church say so? No, it doesn’t. The brutal truth is that the Pope is no incarnation of the Church, merely the first (the most pre-eminent) of God’s servants. A servant serves, he does not dispose of the teaching of His Master as he pleaseth. A servant who does not serve well is a bad servant, and love for the Master demands that this be said.
2. To criticise the Pope is perceived as an attack to the Church. Therefore, we must not criticise the Pope.
Perceptions can never be the metre of what is right and what is wrong. Particularly so, when the perceptions are wrong themselves. If this were so, then Cardinal Kasper would be justified in asking that communion be given to public adulterers. Not doing so is, very clearly, perceived by many horribly instructed Germans as intolerant and non-inclusive, so with this train of thoughts we should give communion to public adulterers.
If perceptions are allowed to become the metre of what is right and wrong, Mr Voris and all of us can pack our things and start dedicating ourselves to Classical Guitar, or Origami. On the contrary, I say that if the perception of the Pope is wrong it behooves every well-instructed Catholic, particularly if in a public role in the media, to work towards its correction. Otherwise, I can see no difference with the above mentioned Cardinal.
It is nothing less than astonishing that a sender constantly lamenting the dismal state of instruction in which the Church hierarchy leaves the faithful should justify its position with the same lack of instruction it ceaselessly condemns.
To counsel the ignorant is a work of mercy. To adapt to his ignorance is the work of the devil.
3. Our first duty to Christ is to lead souls where the Church is fully present.
I disagree again. I see my first duty as to contribute as much as I can to the salvation of my readers’ soul, not only amore Dei but actually in the hope this will help towards the salvation of my own one. Love of Christ and His Church and salvation of souls – which is the first law of the Church – is also the first inspiration of many of us who, in their free time, decide to sit at a keyboard instead of playing with the X-Box. If the Pope confuses souls and leads them to possible perdition I will most certainly not help Francis to confuse them further. On the contrary, whenever the Pope gives scandal, it is absolutely necessary that the faithful be alerted to it, so that they may follow Christ instead of being led by the blind. And in fact, Mr Voris’ suggestion amounts to this: that we should allow countless others to be led by the blind, because this blind here is a very special one.
Truth is non negotiable. Error has no rights. Whether they come from the Pope or not is neither here nor there.
4. Not everyone can understand nuances.
We are not talking “nuances” here. We are talking of dozens of occasions in which reckless, shameless scandal was given, and continues to be given without interruption. The confusion that Francis words’ spreads is so thick that, as the Italians say, can be cut with the knife. One year on, there is no sign whatever this could change. Not once has the Pope retracted one single word of what he has said. For one who listens to the confused and embarrassed explanations of Father Lombardi or Father Rosica, one thousand are already confused. The Holy Father just does not care.
5. Publicly criticising the Pope is dangerous for the souls.
The Pope’s scandals are not private ones. He is very, very public in giving scandal. A pope who privately entertains a mistress might well be rebuked privately so that no worse scandal ensues. But a Pope who publicly defies and sabotages the obvious understanding of the very basics of Christianity (like the ultimate destiny of those who die in their atheism, or a very basic fear of the Lord, and of our judgment) and everything that has been sacred to more than sixty generations of devout Catholics (from the Rosary to the Traditional Latin Mass) must be criticised publicly so that the very public confusion he engenders may be contained as much as we can.
To instruct the doubtful is a work of mercy. When Francis spreads so much doubt in public, the remedy cannot but be a very public one.
Similarly: silence is a way to be accessory to another’s sin. I have never known this comes with the qualification “unless you are silent concerning the Pope”.
6. Only the Great Saints can criticise the Pope.
Nonsense, obviously. Let’s keep this short: Pope Francis himself disagrees with this vision, as his phone call to his harsh critic, the great, late Mario Palmaro shows. I hope Mr Voris does not want to publicly disagree with the Pope in a matter from which, he says, salvation of souls may depend.
Besides, I doubt there was even one great Saint who in life ever thought “I am a future great Saint, therefore I can criticise the Pope”. Actually, great Saints are notable for this, that they are acutely aware of being wretched sinners; and the fact that they were, in fact, far less sinners than us does not change anything in the fact that not one of them would have stood up and said: “Look! I pass the Voris Standard! Therefore, I can criticise the Pope!”.
7. CMTV will not do anything that has potential to cause people to leave the Church. Therefore they will not criticise the Pope. Not going to happen.
With the same metre, all those who are persuaded that Mr Voris’ stance will cause the loss of infinitely more souls must feel bound in conscience to cease every form of support to his initiative. Because he will continue to watch as Francis leads countless souls to perdition.
8 (various warnings of the dangers of damnation of those who criticise the Pope).
Everyone can quote the Gospel, from the Devil down. The real question here is whether we are supposed to shut up whilst a Pope leads countless souls to confusion and possibly hell, or not.
I care very, very much for my salvation. Actually, there’s nothing else about which I care so much. There is no doubt in my mind the answer to the above question is an emphatic: not! If I were to be struck down today, I would infinitely prefer to die on my side of the barricade, than on Mr Voris’. I am, though, not saying he is being malicious. I believe in his good faith. It’s the reasoning that it’s flawed.
9. The matter of degrees.
We all know Popes are far more widely read and listened to than Cardinals or Bishops. We all know the public effect of Francis’ statements absolutely dwarfs the effect of every declaration made by a priest, a bishop or a Cardinal.
Therefore, Mr Voris’ work is absolutely dwarfed by Francis’ public scandal, and is therefore – as it is now – perfectly useless. If Mr Voris is of the opinion that when a Pope makes such a mess he feels bound not to react, in my eyes he should fold and wait for the next orthodox Pope, at which times his work might still make some sense. As it is, his criticism of, say, Cardinal Dolan whilst Francis has an infinitely wider audience makes as much sense as a child trying to chase away the coming tide with a small bucket.
I receive this message from CMTV.
The text first. My comments below.
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.”
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.
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.
I just had a wonderful publishing idea, that I think might make me an awful lot of money and bring me to immortal journalistic glory.
I will start a weekly magazine about the corruption of the Democratic Party in the USA.
Nothing will remain untouched: the creeping socialism, the handout mentality, the irreligiousness and the enmity to Christianity, the omnipresent political correctness, the economic incompetence, the corruption. Everything.
Only one thing I will always refuse to do: I will refuse to criticise Obama and, from 2016, Hillary.
Obama – and from 2016, Hillary – is the President, you see. One can’t criticise the President of the United States. It would be considered unpatriotic. You just don’t do that. The Nation is so important, I can’t allow it. When Obama does and say everything all the others say and do – which he does all the time – I will just look the other way. And so will you.
Actually, what I will do is to harshly criticise those who criticise Obama. I will compare them to Occupy, call their publication “unpatriotic porn”, and say to those who dare to criticise the President that they now are “out of the Nation”.
My readers will get all the scathing criticism about everyone else. Everyone else. But not the President. I will excoriate Hillary until the day before she is elected. After that, I will miraculously shut up. Can’t do that now, you see. So unpatriotic. I will teach my readers to see more and more clearly with one eye; and when they begin to see clearly, I will demand that they get completely blind with the other one. In time, I will have a generation of affectionate half-blind readers, whose brains are highly trained and critical to exactly half.
Looking to raise funds now.
The publishing revolution of the XXI Century.
What could go wrong?
The person of the Pope and the Papacy are separated. Of course they are. The latter is a divinely appointed office, the former is a fallible man elected by fallible men; men who may, or may not, ask for the guidance of the Holy Ghost during a Conclave.
Therefore, logic demands that it be allowed to criticise the fallible man – harshly, if his shortcomings are so extreme as to make it necessary – without this impinging on the sacred institution. On the contrary, the Pope is criticised exactly because of the damage he causes for the sacred institution of the Papacy and, by extension, of the Church.
It is rather disingenuous, and devoid of logic, to say that those who criticise the Pope damage the Papacy. They damage the Pope's credibility as a person – particularly if he has none, as in this case – but they do it to protect the Papacy, and by extension the Church and, ultimately, Her Bridegroom, Christ.
If, therefore, anyone were to say that the Pope cannot be criticised because this damages the Papacy, this would be tantamount as to say that the person of the Pope cannot be criticised if he damages – the current occupier, actually, insults or very obviously misrepresents – God. This borders on Papolatry, and makes no sense at all. Particularly then, when at the same time all the other ranks of the Church are considered fair game for criticism, and harsh criticism whenever necessary; only not the Pope, who does pretty much the same that the others do, but with infinitely more scandal as his every word is far more widely read and listened to.
Furthermore, it is not to be seen why criticism of the Pope would damage the Papacy, but criticism of the Successors of the Apostles or of Princes of the Church would not damage the Church. The Pope isn't a demigod on earth. In fact, the actual occupier of the office insists in seeing himself as a Bishop, and calling himself that way.
Either the Church is damaged by criticism to his prelates even when they are justified, or she isn't. Either it is allowed to criticise the Pope, or it is not allowed to criticise the bishops. Compulsory blindness when the line to the Pope has been crossed has never been the Church's way. Ask St Paul. Or St Peter, come to that. I wonder how many, today, would say to Paul that he can criticise everyone and everything, but he must stop in front of Peter.
It does not make any sense to compare traditionalist Catholics to Luther. The proof of the pudding is, as always, in the… Truth.
Traditionalist Catholics would stand the test of every generation of Catholics of the past. Luther wouldn't, and neither would Francis. You measure a Catholic according to his loyalty to Christ's Truth, not to his blind refusal to criticise the Pope.
Nor can it be said that the Pope is misread, the Cardinals aren't. Kasper is wrong, but Francis who supports him isn't. Homos within the Chutch are wrong, but Francis who shamelessly and publicly defends Ricca isn't. Liturgical wreckovators are wrong, but Bergoglio committing liturgical abuses – yes, it's a liturgical abuse even if one is Pope – isn't. I could go on.
It also does not make any sense to accuse friends of the SSPX to have “left the church”. They haven't, unless one is deranged enough to think that 2,000 years of Catholicism have left the Church. Again, adherence to Truth is what counts. Admirably, the SSPX practices this adherence to Truth in everything, including their obedience to the Pope whenever possible. But like every Catholic generation of the past, they do not let their obedience become blind Papolatry. Ask John XXII, or Pope Liberius, or Pope Honorius, whether this was the thinking of Catholics of the past.
Finally, it is very disappointing that someone who has been criticised in a very charitable way should accuse his opponents of outright malice.
Firstly, it is not clear why the same accusation could not be made to the same person when he criticises, say, Cardinal Dolan. Secondly, it has no basis in logic.
I do not accuse anyone of, say, not criticising the Pope because, say, his sponsors and donors – like, say, the Opus Dei - would stop giving money to him. I understand the thinking could simply be aligned. Similia similibus solvuntur. But I am rather grated when one who takes contributions to defend a certain line – contributions out of which his own livelihood is paid – accuses of ulterior motives many bloggers – and getting more numerous – who criticise the Pope out of sincere love for Christ and His Church; after working hours and sacrificing their own free time; and without any hope of monetary reward for their effort. Gratis et amore Dei.
It is astonishing, and utterly devoid of any logic, that one who is criticised for telling the Truth about anyone but the Pope should move the same accusations to those who do the same as he does, but with more coherence, and following 2,000 years of Church history from St Paul down.
I go as far to say that when such a malicious criticism is levelled, a breach of trust has occurred.
Avoid Michael Voris' channel.
As Francis’ antics continue unabated, the ranks of those who cry scandal grows. This puts those under pressure from whom it can be legitimately expected that they say something about it. I am not talking of blogging priests here – I have received messages of encouragement from several priests, all saying in various ways “we cannot criticise the Pope the way you do” -, for which obvious allowances must be made; rather I refer to those media outlets run by laymen, and without a hierarchical relationship with the Pope.
Most notable among those outlets is, of course, Michael Voris’ effort. Voris has, at least up to now, embraced a policy of almost total silence concerning the elephant in the room; or rather, the bull in the China shop.
When you visit Voris’ site, you still find very interesting contributions about the careless ways some of the employee handle the china, the way the windows are kept dirty and shabby, the chaos on the shelves and the lack of proper presentation of the china itself. What you do not find, is a word about the bull which, at the same time, is destroying the china with mucho gusto, and is being praised to the sky by those who wish to see the shop razed to the ground.
Now: Voris has all the right to ignore the bull, and I believe he is sincere in his thinking that to criticise said animal might do more damage than by allowing it to keep breaking china whilst complaining about the careless employees. I do take exception, though, when this arrives to the point of criticising those who criticise the Pope; because this means simply not to understand that those who criticise the Bishop of Rome do so out of love for Christ and His Church, and see in the criticism as much of a duty as Voris sees in his silence.
For some days now a statement has been circulating, that is unduly critical of all those good Catholics who think it their duty to protect the faithful from the devastations of the Humble Bull. Someone posted it on my comment box. I did not like it one bit, and found it not Voris-like. I think it should be removed.
The thinking does not make sense. The Pope is not some kind of Demi-God. He is the successor of Peter, but every Bishop is the successor of the Apostles. If, therefore, criticism of the successor of Peter can confuse the faithful, then criticism of the successors of the Apostles should also be avoided.
Furthermore, the idea that when a Pope gives scandal the best thing to do would be to be silent in front of the scandal is utterly outlandish. It is, in fact, scandalous. A bad Pope alone gives more scandal than thirty bad Cardinals together. If scandal must be fought against, than the Pope’s scandal first. If it is better to shut up, than it is better to always shut up.
Thirdly, the strange mixture of half-admission and half-denial will not work in the long term. To say “we have seen that there is a problem, we merely refuse to deal with it” will in time anger both those who see the problem, and those who don’t. Catholicism has a way of its own of putting one in front of a choice: one can’t approve of Christ and not disapprove of Francis. Not, at least, if he isn’t a priest, whose incardination in a hierarchical system gives him, so to speak, an added public duty that can probably be legitimately exercised as long as Francis’ antics do not reach the level of formal heresy.
I do not know exactly who runs the show at Church Militant TV, and whether Voris has the last say on what goes there, and what not. But certainly, whoever takes the decisions there is responsible for what is presented as the sender’s opinion, and by being the most public voice of CMTV Voris must also accept to be identified with such statements. Again, the thing to do would be to remove the mini-manifesto at once.
I have lost interest in Church Militant TV, and for a while now have not posted or commented on any of their videos. I am sure the quality is customarily high, and I am also sure of the honesty of most of the people involved; but it goes against my grain to watch a programme dealing with some problems in some parts of the vast Empire, whilst Rome itself is burning.
Rome will not be destroyed; but Rome is burning all right. We need for more and more followed public voices to take a clear stance and say that this has to stop. As the number of the critics grows, the public opinion will be made increasingly more aware about the issues on the ground. Countless are now confused, unable to understand this madness, desperately trying to find a logic in this absurd situation, or simply disappointed in what they see as merely another political party on a popularity drive. It is time to do what we can to put pressure on the Humble Bull, and let him understand that we don’t care for his more or less blood-chilling motivations, whatever they may be. We will never be sold on this rubbish.
We side with Catholicism as God commanded.
This fine Michael Voris video puts at the centre of our attention a very simple concept: some clergymen will not allow a small nuisance like Our Lord to get in the way of their own marketing effort.
This is very evident in the effort of Father Barron to downplay or even deny the existence of hell as a concrete possibility for the likes of you and me – and, very obviously, for the likes of him -.
Voris makes an obvious point: when you start to doubt Hell as a concrete possibility for everyone of us you have undermined the very core of the message of Christ. But then again, there are a lot of clergymen around (and I do not except the Bishop of Rome; most certainly not) who truly seem not to have any idea of what Christianity is about.
One must not agree with Voris’ every word, but it is very difficult to disagree with the message.
Personally, I am more optimistic than he is concerning the chances of salvation of baptised Catholics, following the opinion of Garrigou-Lagrange and his serene confidence God’s efficacious grace irresistibly takes many baptised Christians, and a bigger number of Catholics, out of the worst; but then again, when Garrigou-Lagrange thought of a generic “Christian” or “Catholic” in 1950 he had in mind a much different person from a generic “Catholic” in 2013; a time when, if you observe reality for what it is, not even the Pope gives a damn for orthodoxy.
I doubt Francis is any better than Barron. I truly do. I think the main difference between the two is that Francis is Pope and Barron isn’t, so the former can only clearly hint at what the second feels free to openly state.
The fact is that the Barrons of the world have created a fertile ground for Francis, but Francis’ Papacy in turn creates the conditions for many little Bergoglios (let’s call them the Bergoglini) to go on with their work of destruction undisturbed. Give Francis ten years (Lord: please, please not!) and you will see an astonishing number of Barrons around.
Wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat. It seems to me Francis’ and Barron’s way leadeth straight to the wall; or much, much worse.
I always liked Michael Voris’ attacks to the hypocrisy, cowardice and heresy of such a large part of the modern clergy. It is very good that some voice of the Media – God knows, there aren’t many – points out with energy and wit to the immense stupidity of too many of our shepherds, and to the damage they cause to countless souls.
Still, I see a growing problem in the fact that there is a huge elephant in the Catholic porcelain shop, and as far as I am aware Voris & Co. have not managed to express any real criticism to said (oh so humble) elephant. I do remember a mention of a “messy” papacy, but at least among the commentaries I have listened to I have found nothing of more import than that.
Now, I fully espouse – and I am sure most of my readers do – Voris’ thinking: the “Church of Nice” betrays Christ and destroys souls as it substitutes sound Catholicism with the fluffy, self-reassuring tale that provided you are nice you will be fine, and the only thing you have to do is to celebrate your niceness.
It is now perfectly evident, though, that one of the hypocritical, cowardly, and heretical prelates Voris so justly criticises has now become Pope. To make matter worse, the new man is not one to say things half. Every day that God sends, Francis promotes not only that very “church of nice” that Voris criticises, but an extreme version of it.
Can you imagine Voris’ reaction to an Archbishop blabbering around that to criticise is a “violent” and “criminal” behaviour? Such an archbishop would be pounded in no uncertain terms without much delay, and very rightly so. The same applies to prelates who were to go around saying “who are we to judge”, washing the feet of infidels, and obviously inventing a new “religion of conscience”.
Francis does all of this, and he does all of this all the time. Voris is a journalist, and therefore under no illusion that every time Francis publishes one of his letters or homilies or other utterances he (Francis) knows perfectly well which phrases will be picked up by the press and make headlines the world over.
Nor do I have any doubt that Voris does not agree with the narrative of the “misunderstood Pope”. Firstly because he is far too smart for that, and secondly because such a position would destroy his credibility altogether. If it is allowed, or just, or even “charitable” to twist Francis’ words to the point of making them unrecognisable but in some way “acceptable” as the moderate conservatives are now doing full-time (you know the reasoning: “Francis knows that atheists who die in their atheism go to hell, the journalists just did not pick the implicit Catholic message in his explicitly heretical words!” or the like), why should the same not be done for the bishop or archbishop? Why should we not take their own love ‘n peace, “church of nice” utterances under our tender loving care until we have made them say the contrary of what they obviously want to say, and blame the press for, once again, not seeing the (very carefully hidden) meaning of their words?
If the same triple saltos, bending over backwards and assorted equilibrisms that are made daily for Francis were made for the archbishops and bishops who talk in almost as heretical a manner as he does, we would have to conclude that the “church of nice”does not exist at all, or exists only in the fantasies of the secular press.
No. Voris clearly understands what is going on, and the fact he (as far as I am aware) has not even tried to defend the Pope in the last months whilst the sound Catholic blogosphere was continuously incensed at Francis’ antics is a clear indication he has recognised the problem. If this is the case, I do not think there is any real alternative to the acting on it.
Of course, this poses some problems, and I am not so naive or so fanatic as to think a TV outlet with a worldwide following should be using the same tones as an emotional, very assertive Italian blogger writing his emotional reflections in his free time. Est modus in rebus, and the approach of a professional media outlet must perforce be different from the approach of an amateur blogger. Still, with every day that passes this Pope becomes more of a circus attraction, and whilst I cannot imagine anything more stupid than comparing criticism of others to criminal activity, I am sure Francis has other circus numbers he wants to share with us. The problem will not go away until Francis does; therefore, every day that passes makes the ignoring of Francis’ antics a bigger threat to the channel’s credibility, or at least to its incisiveness.
If the people at “Church Militant” were to ask me – which they don’t, though I know the one or other reads me at times – I would allow myself to suggest the following steps:
A media outlet like Voris’ is an ideal vehicle to correct widespread prejudices concerning the Pope. He could regularly point out to the fact that Popes are not elected by the Holy Ghost, have historically tended to have the vices and virtues of their time, and have been heretical on several occasions. This, he could do again and again. In times, this would create a sound basis for a, if must be, crude analysis of the present situation. I notice time and again from the comments on my blog that some of my occasional (not regular) readers do not understand what I write because they do not have (yet, hopefully) the instruments: for example, they think criticism of the pope’s novelties is a self-defeating argument because… the Holy Ghost picked him and must perforce want whatever he does.
This requires the skilled and professional journalist, and I do not doubt the necessary competence is amply available in Voris’ shop. Still, it is possible to criticise the Pope in a deservedly devastating way without using tones that the majority of viewers might find inappropriate; a talent, this, that I cannot say I possess, but that can certainly be expected by a professional journalist. Some examples from the last times includes the excellent comment of Mr Archbold to Francis’ letter to Eugenio Scalfari, about which I have written a blog post, and the unforgettable comment of that distinguished Catholic layman – I forget the name – who stated he would never allow Francis to care for his children’s Catholic instruction. I know this pope is an utter disgrace and a pathetic clown; I know many of my readers agree, and I suspect Voris’ opinion might – just might – not be very dissimilar, particularly considering the way he comments on prelates who behave in a, if we are honest, far less scandalous way than Francis. But all this does not necessarily need to be said on a TV channel, and the unpleasant but salutary duty to call a clown a clown can, I think, be left to the amateurs’ blogs.
Voris is a theologian, and I do not doubt sound doctrinal knowledge is amply present among his troops. If he were to use his channel to present sound doctrine every time Francis dishes some heresy, he would do a huge service to his readership and greatly enhance the prestige of his channel. In time, his outlet would become the go-to place for sound instruction every time the Pope speaks out of his black shoes; which, I am afraid, will be very often. That this cannot be done without a comparison with, and criticism of, the Pope’s circus numbers is, though, rather obvious.
I am, and will remain, an affectionate follower of that worthy channel; but I do not think the dangers of the present Papacy can be further ignored or simply very mildly censored as “messy”. Once again, if Francis had made all his utterances of the last six months as an archbishop, he would have easily won the prize of worst bishop/archbishop around and not only Voris, but all conservative blogs would shoot at his heresies with all their cannons.
The worst of all heretical bishops is at the head of all of them. Whatever criticism is – justly – levelled at them must be levelled at him in the first place, because by behaving as he does Francis does not only confuses countless faithfuls and confirms infidels and atheists in their error, but he also encourages his priests and bishops to do the same.
The fish stinks from the head down. The head of this particular fish smells atrociously. It is time, I think, to look closely at the fish and recognise whence the stink comes.
Very interesting Vortex today, and Michael Voris is absolutely right in pointing out how difficult it must be nowadays to be a good priest without exposing oneself to sanctions or worse.
Outside of the SSPX, that is.
Particularly interesting, to me, is something Voris does not say but about which I would like to make a short reflection.
Listen to Voris from around 2:40, and tell me in what the prelate he describes diverges in his act and way of talking from the current Pontiff. I certainly can’t imagine the present successor of Peter behaving like the first one at Pentecost.
More likely, he would write a book together with Caiaphas, and receive a blessing from some of his colleagues.
Well, I thought it just had to be said.
And it came to pass that the credibility of the former priest who had denounced the existence of a ring of pedophile priests apparently was (and I quote from my previous post) “a whining queen desirous to slander as many as he can”. So much so, that Rorate reports the man is now under arrest.
My take on this, before the wetties begin to cry and to run to mamma:
1. It was not only very right, but the salt itself of Democracy that La7 (and Michael Voris) made the news public. The time of complicit silence towards the filth of the elites has gone, and the Vicariate barks at the moon if they think they can play victim now. The Vicar should not have had sodomite priests among his ranks (albeit defrocked in the meantime) in the first place. Let the Vicariate be worried about the homosexuals in their midst, rather than about the free Press of a free Country. The problem of sodomites within the Church is extremely serious and I have the impression the Vatican clergy are the only one who still do not get it, and try to deflect the attention instead.
2. The fact that the priest in question may turn up to be libellous does not mean everything he said was necessarily wrong. He might, for example, know some “meeting points”, and have slandered some of his enemies saying that they go there, and the like. As a faggot priest, he may well know enough to interest a prosecutor anyway, if said prosecutor thinks the ex priests has information leading to the discovery of criminal behaviour (pedophilia, but not sodomy, that Italy has stupidly decriminalised like almost everyone else in Europe).
3. The Vicar has expressed full confidence in the work of the judiciary. This is typical Italian parlance for ongoing investigations.
I will not publish any comment critical of the behaviour of the press. When people complain about the filth in the Vatican corridors but shoot at the free press that is one of the best checks to this corruption not only in the Vatican but the world over, it truly makes me sick.
Michael Voris was right. A major Italian Television channel has now confirmed all the main details: a ring of priests sleeping with minors – boys, but also girls -; one of them now singing like a canary bird with the Italian prosecution service; a big investigation in full swing as you read. Very probably, this was the object of the surprise morning meeting of a couple of days ago.
This day must, for us, be a day of rejoicing. It is good that such scandals happen. Actually, it is a blessing. The filth was there already, the scandal is merely the way the filth emerge, for all the world to know and for the culprits to be punished.
If you think the Italian prosecutors are as lame, or stupid, or corrupt as the many sissies sullying the magnificent offices of the Vatican, think again. Italy has the best justice system of the developed world, bar none; one in which prosecutors are completely protected from any undue influence from the Ministry of Justice, do not have to seek elections, and are part, together with judges, of a professional body called Magistratura, a body that is entirely self-governed. This is how an astonishingly rich tycoon can be in Government so many years, and the Prime Minister to boot, and never manage to shake them off his back.
Again, I do not know any other country in which neither the ministry of justice nor the fickle electorate decide what is important and what should (ahem, cough) better be left aside in order to get career rewards, or the means to fight the next election. In Italy?
Not. Going. To. Happen.
Of course, what we will have to see now is whether the canary bird is one with credible and verifiable information, or a whining queen desirous to slander as many as he can in order to drag as many of his enemies as he can in the mud with him.
Even if the latter is the case, this does not mean that there is no homosexual mafia within and without the Vatican; of course there is, don’t you listen to the “inclusive” and “charitable” sounds coming from the Vatican, and elsewhere? We merely don’t know who the perverts are.
Now, if anyone – from the Pope down – has ever thought this matter can be dealt with in the usual John Paul II way (that is: hush-hush, no scandals, send a couple of them away, and that’s that) the involvement of the Italian justice has put an end to this once and for all, and this someone will soon realise – if he is Italian, he has already realised – that he had better bracing himself for a new and rather harsh reality. As the entirety or almost the entirety of the criminal offences must for obvious reasons have been committed on Italian soil and involving Italian citizens, the Italian prosecutors will move the steamroller on this, and I can’t see a bunch of faggots succeeding where even Berlusconi has parlously failed for two decades. I actually doubt that many of the suspects have Vatican citizenship in the first place, which will make things easier; in addition, may I point out that the Italian justice system has trials in contumacia, meaning a bishop or Cardinal can be prosecuted, trialled and condemned even if absent. They might escape jail, but they will be destroyed. Ask Marcinkus.
If there is some truth in the allegations - a big “if” – you will soon see the difference between the way of the Vatican and the way of the Magistratura. Once again, not even a Vatican intervention with the Italian government would achieve anything. The Italian government is utterly powerless to stop or even influence any prosecution. This truly is one of the Italian traits of which yours truly has always been most proud.
Ask Berlusconi how does he like to have the Italian prosecutors on his back. Pause. And rejoice.
Oportet ut scandala eveniant.
This here is rather self-explanatory.
We will have to wait to see what emerges more in detail. But this could be huge. When the domino pieces start to fall, there’s no saying when they stop.
It is ironic that this huge scandal would – if the information is accurate – be started by a disgruntled sodomitical former priest.
The ways of the Lord, and all that…
I disagree with Voris’ in my eyes too extreme vision: Civilisation is practically at an end, abortion is not going to go away, the country is in the grasp of evil, & Co.
If you ask me, life is battle and there has never been an age where it wasn’t, and in a tragic way I feel privileged in being able to fight a fight many of my predecessors were spared from having to fight. God acts in mysterious ways.
Still, Voris is in my eyes spot on in saying that the 40-years long silence of the Church was certainly instrumental in what we are seeing today, and I think a process must be started now which might be very long in coming, but must be started anyway. The condemnation of the Guffawing Cardinal after 10:00 is certainly well-deserved, and the attitude epitomises everything that must be changed.
Catholic instruction and the support of sound priest must be the start of the answer, but in the long term the change can only come when the Pope starts appointing real men instead of frightened boys as Bishops.
I would have thought the possibly incoming persecution might wake them up, but I doubt it. Persecution will hit those faithful priests who have the gut to resist to the point of inviting persecution; the majority will bow to whatever attack, and find excuses for that.
I will write my thoughts on single aspects of the election by and by, as the matter is too complex to be tackled in one post.
I would like to remind anyone of the beautiful words a famous Italian prosecutor pronounced when he retired:
“Resistere, resistere, resistere!”