Vorisgate: The Lowdown On The Letdown
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.