“Vorisgate”: A Message From CMTV
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.