New problems surface for Michael Voris and RealCatholicTV — UPDATE

Weeks after making headlines over his appearance at World Youth Day, Michael Voris of RealCatholic TV is in the news again, with reports of new troubles for his organization:

Michael Voris, the founder and host of RealCatholicTV, says he was completely unaware of recently discovered troubles within his organization, involving a staff apologist’s sexually explicit writings, and his nonprofit corporation’s loss of legal status two years ago.

“I don’t know what the issue is on any of this stuff,” said Voris, who is currently in Spain promoting his unofficial “No Bull in Madrid” meetings during World Youth Day.

Voris told CNA on August 16 that he had “no idea” his nonprofit corporation St. Michael’s Media had been automatically dissolved in 2009 after failing to file records with the state for two years. An official at the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs confirmed on August 10 that Voris’ nonprofit was “no longer registered and in good standing with the State of Michigan.”

As of August 16, St. Michael’s Media’s website stated: “We are a 501(c)3 company & donations are tax-deductible.” An earlier test donation, made through the website via PayPal, showed that the officially defunct entity was still receiving contributions.

Officials at the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs said they had no further information about the dissolved nonprofit corporation’s status or the legal consequences of continuing to accept donations. The department said that additional questions should be directed to the Michigan Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division.

Voris, President and CEO of Real Catholic TV, was equally surprised by evidence showing that his staff apologist and program host Simon Rafe – who is the webmaster at St. Michael’s Media, and co-authored its “Saint Michael’s Basic Training” apologetics course – had also written the “adult” role-playing game “Castle Dracula,” and fan-fiction depicting homosexuality in the Star Wars universe.

“I don’t know anything about this,” said Voris, when presented with descriptions of the works and evidence of Rafe’s authorship.

Read more.

UPDATE: Simon Rafe has posted his own personal apology on his own blog:

I regret writing the things in question and I have sought forgiveness in the sacrament of reconciliation. I humbly ask forgiveness from anyone who might have read the materials and been led to sin and those who are or were scandalized by reading them or hearing that I wrote them.

Although it is clearly the case writing material which is a near occasion of sin is wrong for any person, the matter of scandal is a serious one and I realize this. I apologize for having scandalized the faithful in any regard.

I do not, under any circumstances, seek to justify what I did or avoid responsibility. I did things which were wrong. I have done all in my power to rectify them (seeking forgiveness in confession, removing the material in question so it is not available for people to read and be tempted by). I did something which was wrong, and I am solely responsible for it.

ALSO: The Anchoress puts this in some helpful context. And she’s right: it’s unfortunate this broke just as WYD was cranking up.  Coincidence?  Somehow, I don’t think so.  And I can’t help but think that someone, somewhere fed this tidbit to CNA to try and discredit Voris and his operation.  But who??

Comments

  1. gerardnadal says:

    3 Things need to happen immediately:

    1. Mike needs to send notification of his organization’s lapsed 501(c)(3) status to every person who made a donation in that time and offer a refund. Chances are that most will not want the refund, but he needs to make the offer, and then make good on it.

    2. Mike needs to change the claim of 501(c)(3) status on that donor window, and ask for continued support as he works to fix his lapsed status. If he can’t fix things in Michigan, then he needs a new headquarters in a neighboring state.

    3. If Raphe hasn’t had the good sense to put his resignation letter on Mike’s desk, then Mike needs to demand it. Raphe could be forgiven a good number of sins prior to joining St. Michael’s, having repented, etc. Great sinners, having repented, make great evangelists. However, to have done this as a member of the staff, on MIKE’S staff, of all places, is intolerable. Personal loyalty to Raphe, coupled with Mike not knowing about his own status with the state is too high a hurdle to overcome. Raphe must go. Raphe’s salary line can then be used to start reimbursing people, or paying whatever fines may be coming Mike’s way.

    Mike’s two-edged sword has the potential to cut him off at the knees. He needs to cut the trip short, come home, and grab the helm. Now.

  2. I wish that the USCCB and our Bishops in general would focus on getting the Catholic Universities in their area in compliance with Pope John Paul II mandatum to ensure that they were presenting the actual Catholic teaching to their students in their universities than worrying about this person at World Youth Day. This goes on for a week, the universities have been damaging our kids for over a generation and honoring pro abortion politicians.

    Guess that this guy has made them squirm too often exposing their ongoing hypocritical positions and donations to pro abortion groups.

  3. Can’t speak about the non-profit status thing.

    But as for the RealCatholicTV apologist being involved with/authoring the sex-based video game website? Not surprised. You can only immerse yourself in fear-based theology and apologetics for so long before it becomes stifling and unreality. Traditional Catholics like Voris and his ilk get so obsessed with puritanical-styled takes on sex that it’s enough to make a person want to, well, have sex in some way, shape, or form. In this case, it was “virtual” sex, and kinky at that.

    I’m not saying that Voris et al is preaching untruth. They’re not. However, it’s the rhetoric, style, implications, fear and lack of mercy that accompany their message. It’s oppressive. There is never mercy, grace, and forgiveness preached alongside the truth. That’s what’s at the base of this story/revelation about RealCatholicTV’s staff member. All law, no grace. Traddie tripe.

  4. Deacon Greg Kandra says:

    Gerard …

    Well, I doubt Voris is going to leave Madrid before the end of WYD. He’s invested a lot of time, energy (and money) promoting the “No Bull in Madrid” programming. He indicated in the CNA article that he’ll deal with this next week.

    At the end of the day, it’s mostly just a big embarrassment. When you set yourself up to be constantly judging and criticizing others — especially those in authority — you really need to be more vigilant about keeping your own house in order. I’m not sure what the penalties are for this sort of thing; I suspect it varies from state to state. But at the very least, it will cost him in dollars, credibility and good will.

    Dcn. G.

  5. Prayers for all involved.

    From RealCatholicTV’s Facebook page, Simon Rafe has issued this personal statement:

    “I have issued a personal statement in my private capacity as a lay Catholic, and do NOT intend this to be taken as a statement from RealCatholicTV.com.

    http://proverbs-27-17.blogspot.com/2011/08/explanation.html

    I humbly apologize – I have let you all down and caused scandal to many of you. I am deeply regretful. I ask for your prayers.”

  6. johnplacette says:

    Simon Rafe’s situation is one issue.

    As far as the corporate status, if Michigan is similar to other states, something as simple as not filing a franchise tax report (even though no taxes were due) can place an entity in a non-compliance status.

    It may not mean that the corporation is “dissolved”.

    As far as the 501, C-3 status: that is a IRS status – It has nothing to do with his corporation’s status with the state.

    Probably, he can very easily come into compliance with the state.

    We are all trying to live out our Catholic faith. I would appeal to the other readers sense of charity.

    Situations like this seem to bring out the worst in persons inclined to judgementalism.

  7. It seems that some one or some people are going at length to find some dirt on the Real Catholic organization and they manage to find some.

    I am not put off by Voris and his group. I am disturbed by the effort from who knows who to find dirt, to seek and destroy. A pattern seems to be emerging of using the new media (and the old media too) to take out critics and silence them by destroying their reputation. While Voris may be judgmental and sometimes harsh, the effort to discredit him in such a manner is sickening. Voris in his harshness puts the cards on the table and airs his criticisms in the open, he does not go around using media proxies to do dirty business and discredit people.

    I guess the lesson is beware of criticizing the hierarchy openly, because your future may be darken by exposing dirt that will silence you.

  8. Married to a tax accountant, I have sympathy for Real Catholic’s difficulty with the Michigan “officials” having heard way too many nightmare scenerios of government customer service. More and more stories as government eclipses our lives.

    As for Simon Rafe, he sounds sincere.

  9. naturgesetz says:

    As I was driving to Mass this morning, I thought of Michael Voris’s going to Madrid for WYD and the old phrase “more Catholic than the Pope” came to mind.

  10. naturgesetz says:

    halle #3 — You write about Michael Voris’s presentations, “It’s oppressive. There is never mercy, grace, and forgiveness preached alongside the truth.” I’d quibble with your phrase “alongside the truth.” These things are not alongside the truth; they are the truth. The central proclamation of the apostles was that Jesus rose from the dead and is Lord. The immediate follow-on is that those who believe in him have forgiveness of sins and eternal life. We are not to live in fear but to grow into the perfect love which casts out fear.

    Again, this is not a disagreement with you; it is intended more as a development of what you said.

  11. Motive. Who has the more to win by putting Michael Voris out of commission destroying his reputation and credibility? Who wants to get back at him for past criticism or perceived aggravations ? Who dislikes him so much that would do this (and I can think of a couple of other Catholic bloggers). Whose ideological ax has been damaged that wants him out? Unfortunately Voris has plenty of enemies, right, center and middle, unorthodox and super-orthodox. But I tend to believe this comes from somewhere in the Catholic bureaucracy (and God forgive my if am wrong).

  12. On the day after the conference of blogger convened by the Vatican last May 2, a group of Catholic Bloggers met at the Scholars Lounge, an Irish Pub in Rome. It seemed to be organized for people who had not been invited to the Vatican conference, which was limited in number. Michael Voris claimed that he was invited to give the keynote address at the meeting.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bmx-afpZ0uE&feature=player_embedded

    I had an uneasy feeling then when I viewed his talk.

    Now, his “No Bull in Madrid” meetings during World Youth Day?

    I’m getting fed-up.

    Maybe, it’s because I am thinking about all the priests, nuns and laity I know, some personally, some not, who are teaching in our schools, working in poor parishes, ministering to the sick and marginalized. They are just doing their jobs: preaching, sometimes using words.

  13. youngcanadianrcmale says:

    Rudy, I do recall that Mark Shea posts a lot about him. But I do think you are onto something about someone in the Catholic bureaucracy having something against him. I’d place my bets on someone associated with the Archbishop of Detroit. He will never let him speak in an official diocesan capacity in his diocese.

    And now my two cents on the matter:
    $0.01 Simon Rafe: Yes Simon has personally apologised in this matter, and based on the text of his response on his personal blog, seems to have gone to Confession. However, if he truly and honestly wants to make amends for this situation, I agree with Dr. Nadal that he should submit his resume into Michael and leave RCTV for the rest of his professional career in whatever he does. He has discredited all the good work RCTV does and has made Voris look like a hypocrite, giving the hungry wolves of Satan more bloody meat to chew on. Personally, hey him and Voris could sit down over a beer and he can apologize and they can make up and on Michael’s choosing remain friends afterwards (unlikely as most of the time after something like that, the relationships disintegrate). Professionally, Mr. Rafe has crossed a line that would be no different in any other secular organization if an employee was caught creating or viewing anything remotely pornographic on company time. Furthermore, he was using the property of the St. Michael’s/RCTV studio to do this personal work and not his personal computer at home. If he stays on RCTV, this is a further disgrace on Michael and RCTV and will make everything he says in his Vortexes or otherwized tainted with hypocrisy and be discredited in the eyes of the company and his clients/viewers.

    $0.02 Spiritual Attacks. Should we be all suprized that this happened during a spiritual peak or critical RCTV project? No. In fact generally in the world and in the Catholic blogosphere, it seems as is “something is wrong”. Fr. Zuhlsdorf at WDTPRS even has been quoting 1 Peter 5: 8-9 these days:” Repetita iuvant: “Be sober, be watchful! For your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, goes about seeking someone to devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith.” “. Other Catholic bloggers even think we are heading into a 2nd major persecution or Chastizement”, even on Catholic Answers Live Patrick Madrid did a Live radio show about this last Wednesday. So I say that the Devil or the unwilling yet crafty helpers of the Devil’s temptations, lies and attacks in the form of liberal clergy and laity had a hand in this and really want Voris to go down in flames. Don’t get me wrong his style is abrasive and I agree with the criticisms CatholicCulture.com gives of his channel, but he is one of the few lay organizations out there saying our Faith like it is (most of the time, in pre-Vatican II style), BUT HE NEVER DESERVED TO BE SCREWED BY HIS OWN COMPANY IN THIS MANNER by those close to him. At that, I am sorry for him to have to come back from one of the greatest Catholic faith-building events in this modern world, dispirited, sorrowful, afraid, and upset that now he’ll be the target of controversy and need to clean up this mess. I say we should pray for him in this instance, regardless of our political/theological stances.

  14. Deacon Greg Kandra says:

    hms…

    Shortly after you left your comment I got an email from Hilary Jane Margaret White, who runs a blog called Orwell’s Picnic. She wanted to correct something in your comment about Voris and the gathering in Rome:

    This person, hms, by using the word “claimed” seems to be trying to imply that Michael Voris was not asked to give the keynote at the pub blognic. I can affirm right now that he was asked. I organised the pub blognic and I asked him. I was very happy with his talk as were the other bloggers present at that meeting.

    So there you have it.

    Deacon Greg

  15. Thank you, Greg and Jane Margaret White.

    I had written originally written “said,” then I thought I don’t know if what he said is true or not, so I changed to “claimed,” which I realize can be connoting something negative about his statement.

    We all need people to fact-check us lest we make comments that are innuendo.

  16. I had written originally written
    Meant to say I had written originally – much Better English

  17. Deacon Greg..

    “When you set yourself up to be constantly judging and criticizing others — especially those in authority — you really need to be more vigilant about keeping your own house in order. I’m not sure what the penalties are for this sort of thing; I suspect it varies from state to state. But at the very least, it will cost him in dollars, credibility and good will.”

    Very true. Voorhis often has posts about the bishops conference committee folks and how money is spent that ends up supporting abortion or gay special rights. It is well known that many on these committee’s, especially those who have been there a number of years, are very liberal and supportive of democratic candidates. This has caused them some embarrassment and forced changes in how they utilize money. As to having your house in order, the Catholic Bishops and the Church in general has learned this far more than what these minor things appear to entail with the abuse scandals. If this attack is traced to the same bishops groups caught supporting abortion or special rights for gays, I would hope it is front and center here and elsewhere for their house is far from clean. We all have paid a dear price for the failures of those Voorhis attacks. The real question should be were his attacks truthful and did they show those in the spotlight out of sync with Catholic teaching? John the Baptist certainly was open to criticism for attacking the king and his wife while eating locusts and grasshoppers which would place one today on very shaky ground in the world of the internet…Imagine Voorhis in camel hair loin cloth with the remains of locust and honey dripping from his chin. And yet what did Jesus say about John the Baptist??? Not saying Vorhiis is John, but you get the point about the media of today and attacking the messenger if the truth hurts…

  18. I would not rank Michael Voris and his crew as traditionalists . . .

  19. Daraknight says:

    “Furthermore, he was using the property of the St. Michael’s/RCTV studio to do this personal work and not his personal computer at home.”

    That is an untrue statement. I would like it retracted, please.

    I have no objection to being accused of things I have done – I will admit them (and have) – but it is unfair to make accusations which are untrue and for which you have no evidence.

    [Simon -- and I'm presuming from your email that you are the man in question here -- please respond, then, to this section of the CNA story:

    A domain name registry search showed that Simon Rafe, working from the physical address of St. Michael's Media, used the e-mail address “darknight@batcave.co.uk” to register at least one domain name.

    If you have a fuller statement on this matter, please let me know and I'll post it to clear up this misunderstanding. Thank you.

    Dcn. G. ]

  20. Even Jesus had Judas. Let’s be charitable and not rush to judgement until all facts are known.

  21. I will pray for you…..you are not awake enough to realize what is going on around you……..leave Michael alone, and stop trying to shoot the messenger………………..Charitably, TM

  22. Michael Voris is deeply traditional and complies meticulously with Church teaching whenever he puts views across. He speaks for all of us traditional Catholics who are sick and tired of liberal tripe and cowardly bishops – such as the Bishop of Detroit. Jesus said nothing would remain hidden. Those who live in darkness will be shown up for what they are. Keep it up Michael!!! God bless you!

    [Edited to remove unsubstantiated character attack on Archbishop of Detroit. -- Ed.]

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