More on Michael Voris and “safeguarding ‘Catholicity’”

From canon lawyer Ed Peters, one month into the Michael Voris/RealCatholicTV/Archdiocese of Detroit standoff:

Canon 216 embraces “any undertaking” not just “any undertaking that seems to be heterodox”. Most of what Voris/RCTV produces would probably pass doctrinal muster, but that happy fact counts for little in the face of the undoubted canonical requirement to secure ecclesiastical permission before claiming the title “Catholic” for an undertaking. Consider: regardless of how safe an appliance actually is, a manufacturer mayn’t attach the UL approval seal to its product until UL says it can. Similarly, it doesn’t matter how orthodox an undertaking is, it mayn’t confer the title “Catholic” on its operations and products unless and until ecclesiastical authority says it can.

Further: some seem to think that, provided the ‘verbal content’ of a message is free of doc- trinal error, it qualifies, or should very quickly qualify, for ecclesiastical approval. Not so fast. The Church’s duty to safeguard the “catholicity” of the Good News is about more than making sure that a given religious message can pass a theology exam. The catholicity of an under- taking is not only about what is said, it’s also about how things are said; it’s about the balance achieved (or not) while saying it, it’s about what topics are chosen for treatment, and why, and what topics are not talked about, and why not. All of these considerations, and many others besides, combine to form, as experts in the media know, a unified message, and all of them impact on the Catholic character of content proclaimed as being really Catholic.

It is, of course, very difficult to incorporate so many diverse considerations into the planning for and operation of an undertaking concerned with, of all things, broadcast news, religious and social commentary, and opinions on current events and culture. Much better, I think, to leave human genius to work out such emphases and nuances for itself. But to expressly and repeatedly and prominently claim the title “Catholic” (nay Real Catholic!) for a significant media undertaking like that described above is to force ecclesiastical authority to take notice of that undertaking. Exactly as happened here.

There’s much more.  Check it out. The portion excerpted above is from a lengthy pdf you’ll find linked at the bottom of his blogpost.

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Comments

  1. I agree that Voris is too in-your-face; but Dr. Peters’ point would be accepted more enthusiastically, had there been an equally clear response to Catholics for a Free Choice, the Rainbow Sash Movement, Call to Action, or the American Catholic Council (which was repudiated but allowed to keep its name).

  2. Paul Stokell says:

    “Mayn’t?” Sheesh.

  3. Diane K says:

    Kathy,

    Tthe American Catholic Council was visiting Detroit for one weekend for a conference. The AoD’s extensive campaign to warn area Catholics and clergy about it I think went as far as this archdiocese could go.

    I was trying to find out where they were located to see if there was a diocesan statement elsewhere, but it seems the ACC site is down or defunct.

    With regards to Catholics for a Free Choice, the USCCB (then NCCB) issued a statement back in 2000 that included this wording:

    “On a number of occasions the National Conference of Catholic Bishops (NCCB) has stated publicly that CFFC is not a Catholic organization, does not speak for the Catholic Church, and in fact promotes positions contrary to the teaching of the Church as articulated by the Holy See and the NCCB

    [snip]

    “As the Catholic Bishops of the United States have stated for many years, the use of the name Catholic as a platform for promoting the taking of innocent human life and ridiculing the Church is offensive not only to Catholics, but to all who expect honesty and forthrightness in public discourse. We state once again with the strongest emphasis: `Because of its opposition to the human rights of some of the most defenseless members of the human race, and because its purposes and activities deliberately contradict essential teachings of the Catholic faith,….Catholics for a Free Choice merits no recognition or support as a Catholic organization” (Administrative Committee, National Conference of Catholic Bishops, 1993).”

    On Rainbow Sash, which is an international group, I do not see anything on the USCCB website. I feel it is deeply problematic that bishops are not of one mind on how to deal with them when they show up to protest during Communion. I believe Cardinal George got it right in 2004 (but the same article shows the variation with which others have dealt with the matter.

    I could find nothing on the USCCB site, or the Archdiocese of Chicago on Call to Action (I believe they are now based in Chicago, even though they have their origins in Detroit).

  4. kevin says:

    This is a joke. National “Catholic” Reporter has been operating without any reprimand for 30 years.

  5. Ad Orientem says:

    Actually thy have been repeatedly ordered to drop the word “Catholic” from their masthead. They have just been ignoring the order.

  6. Fiergenholt says:

    Hmm:

    Never heard that before. Can you prove that statement ?

  7. Ed Peters says:

    hi F. It’s common knowledge, I’d say, but it’s linked in my webpost, too. Best, edp.

  8. naturgesetz says:

    Rainbow Sash and Call to Action do not take the name Catholic in their organizational title. Therefore Canon 216 does not apply to them.

  9. “But to expressly and repeatedly and prominently claim the title ‘Catholic’ (nay Real Catholic!) for a significant media undertaking like that described above is to force ecclesiastical authority to take notice of that undertaking.”
    —-

    So Voris and Brammer have their million dollars in free publicity, continue to create more divisiveness in the Catholic community and prove that you can smugly flout the authority of the Church, publicly commit serious sin by purposely creating scandal, as long as you have some public opinion on your side. How is this different from what other dissident groups are doing?

    And how on earth can anyone call it “Catholic?” I suppose that is the point.

  10. vox borealis says:

    I agree 100% with Ed Peters’ reasoning, as usual. However, I think that he misses the more interesting question: why did the AoD decide to make this particular public statement about this particular Catholic venture at this particular time. That is, I am not so interested in the *legal* argument—clearly the AoD is within its legal rights. Rather, I am interested in the *historical* or perhaps even the *political* question.

    Indeed, I think that most defenders of Voris, in their own confused manner, are probably thinking the same thing whether they articulate it as such. Is Voris’ the only venture in the AoD that has not sought ecclesial approval, or was his singled out? If yes to either question, then why? Why did the AoD feel the particular need to make a public statement, and right before Christmas, about RCTV? Was there a specific trigger event? Is this SOP for the AoD? And so on.

    I am far more curious about these questions. But then, I am more historian than lawyer.

    Since there no comments on Peters’ blog: keep up the awesome work, professor!

  11. Henry Karlson says:

    In what was quoted above, I think Ed pointed out the problem quite well: A major, vocal group with a large number of followers calling themselves “Real Catholic” will get the attention of ecclesial authorities. That is all it takes. However, when Voris is constantly calling himself “Real Catholic” while putting himself in opposition to the USCCB/bishops/things coming out of the Vatican (environmentalism, for example), then that label becomes even more problematic. Simple as that.

  12. vox borealis says:

    Ah, I missed that last little bit. Although frankly, plenty of groups and individuals claim the mantle “(Real) Catholic”, both implicitly and explicitly, and Voris is not the only strident voice (e.g. Mark Shea).

    I think the more important factor is as you write: “a major, vocal group with large numbers of followers…” The reality, it seems, is that Voris has tapped into real feelings of frustration by a a not small number of laity, and as a result has attracted a very large following.

    Whether this is a good thing or not is, of course, open to debate. I tend to see Voris and company as basically fifty years in the making.

  13. Henry Karlson says:

    Well, he did enough to get an official response against him from World Youth Day. Again and again, he is pushing himself into places and of course, if someone constantly does that, they get noticed and a response. So it is not just the followers but also how he acts himself.

  14. vox borealis says:

    I disagree that the issue is how he acts himself. Plenty of individuals share his strident tone, all over the religious and political spectrum. He is only worthy of attention, I would argue, because he HAS made himself noticed and noticeable—mainly because he is popular (or notorious, depending on your point of view).

    Heck, the fact that every time he sneezes, it seems, Mark Shea or Deacon Greg report on it is only more proof that he is “important” (in a political or historical sense).

  15. teresa says:

    Obedience belongs to being an orthodox Catholic. If Michael Voris want to be the voice for orthodox Catholicism, he should obey, and like Dr. Peters pointed out, the Canon Law is on the side of the Diocese. Pointing fingers to the ultra-liberals and say “look they never obey” is already a bad sign. Do you want to behave like the ultra-liberals? Yes or no?

  16. vox borealis says:

    Oops. I must confess that I did not read Prof. Peters’ entire essay before posting. I read the section that was online on his blog. When I saw the link below it for his complete thoughts on the matter, I thought that it only sent readers to his previous entries. Mea culpa!

    I have since read the entire essay, which does in fact deal more with the historical-political questions than I had previous thought.

    As usual his arguments are sound and balanced. I do quibble with one point. He analogizes the possible “unfair” treatment of Voris with the feelings one has when pulled over for speeding or whatever. The guilty driver thinks…

    There are so many worse drivers out there than me!” Maybe there are. But a few seconds’ reflection suffices to show how little that argument will accomplish in traffic court, and a few minutes’ more reflection usually suffices to show that drivers doing exactly what I am being ticketed for, in fact, cause serious accidents and hurt innocent people, even if they didn’t mean to.

    This argument only goes so far, however. There have been times in the history of US law when a law or penalty that has been unfairly administered to a gross degree, or when it has been applied only to certain groups in a discriminating (in the negative sense of the word) fashion. In such cases the application of the law has been deemed essentially illegal. The most obvious case is the suspension of the death penalty in the 1970s by the supreme court, largely because of its inconsistent application.

    Similarly, it is my (non legal professional understanding) that in the common law tradition, how a law or statute is regularly applied carries greater weight than the letter of the law. For example, if the villagers have always gather firewood from the forest for generations, and suddenly an old medieval law forbidding them is discovered still on the books, the old law would probably no longer be in force because the customary and accepted practice outweighs it.

    So, I do not think that it is *unreasonable* to at least question a little the inconsistent application of canon law…if indeed it has in this case been applied inconsistently. Heck, for all I know RCTV is the *only* outfit not to get ecclesial approval.

  17. Kevin says:

    Rorate caeli already posted an excellent analysis of why this action is unjust several weeks ago, regardless of whether canon law technically allows it. I also have never found voris ‘strident,’ in massive distinction with converts like mark shea, who also use ‘catholic’ to promote attention to their writing. We have chuch’s closings by the thousands, open dissent, poor catechesis, and this is what our august hierarchy is going to focus on? Ok.

  18. vox borealis says:

    I agree by and large. But of course there IS a danger perhaps in obedience. What if, in an extremely theoretical and hypothetical case, all of the orthodox meekly obey and are silenced while the ultra-dissenters run free to create more scandal. Is it really wrong for the orthodox to say, “wait a minute, something is not fair here”?

    Much of this has to do, of course, with how much the laity—ultra-orthodox and ultra-dissenters and all the rest of us in between—trust the bishops. Right now, the answer is not very much. Voris in effect claims that he is being targeted by nebulous forces within the episcopal hierarchy *because* he is orthodox (or so he claims). Now, this *should* strike all of us as crazy. And yet for a considerable group of Catholics, it does not. Why? Because they are all paranoid or delusional or prone to believe conspiracy? Because they put personal politics and agendas over the good of the universal church? Perhaps yes to both.

    But it can not be denied, I think, that if the bishops hadn’t made such a hash of things over the last fifty years or so, someone like Voris would not be so popular and appear so credible.

    Like I said above, Voris has been fifty years in the making.

  19. vox borealis says:

    Shea amuses me. He accuses Voris of being a bully when he is in my mind on the biggest bullies on the Catholic blogosphere block. He accuses Voris of oversimplifying matters and resorting to ad hominem attacks, then turns around and accuses /calls this or that politician a “war monger” and “torturer.”

    Voris sometimes grates on me, so I simply stopped watching his pieces all that regularly. Shea often grates on me, and likewise I have simply stopped reading him.

  20. teresa says:

    @vox borealis, you have written something very insightful and important, I think. I agree that obedience shouldn’t be practised blindly. But I think there must be a better way to point out the errors and deficits which exist in the Church without causing an anarchic situation which is now widely spread among the laity. There seems to be a knee-jerk reaction among lay people, and whenever something is wrong they will search among the clergy to find someone to blame. The situation is worsened by the fact that most lay people lack sufficient information and training to make a more objective assessment. They tend to over-simplify and quite a few of them just want to let out their frustration. This has very destructive efforts.

  21. jkm says:

    The same applies to CFFC. “Catholics” is a collective noun describing a group of individuals who identify themselves as Catholic, whether or not that identification is orthodox. “Catholic” is an adjective. The canon guides the use of the adjective–especially in the sense that it conveys identification with the authority of the Church.

  22. Henry Karlson says:

    However, when dealing with religious people with actual authority, that is a different thing than Voris claiming to be the “Real Catholic” as opposed to the bishops. He is constantly making it as the bishops are not the authority, he is. When he keeps doing that with the name “Real Catholic,” again, it’s quite clear — he is doing wrong.

  23. teresa says:

    Another note to lay apostolate, I do believe lay people need the direction of priests, trained theologians to be able to fulfil this very demanding task. We are not evangelicals who go to door to door and impose upon people their own personal ideas of God. When we speak publicly as Catholics, we are speaking for the Church so we should always keep a humble spirit in evangelizing. As vox borealis pointed out, many miss the common good of the Church but rather like to see themselves in limelight or have some other more worldly intentions while they claim to be a higher authority than the Conference of Bishops or even the Magisterium. Here I am of course speaking of a small fringe of the laity but they are quite loud and so are disturbing enough.

    When I think about my own experience: six years ago I used to belong to an Ecclesia Dei group which promoted the Old Mass. I love the Tridentine Mass but the organisation of this group was totally in the hand of a layman. We didn’t have any clerical supervision. The priests just came to say the Mass, many of them were very old. And this group was quite radical. Later I went to another town and the Tridentine Mass group got a lot of help from a very good priest of around 50 with a great dose of common sense and sound theological education. And it feels quite differently in this group now I am in. It is incomparable better! In the first group one has the feeling that one is in a club with some strange views, but in the second group one feels that one is in the Church, a member of Her, what a great difference!

  24. This is the question I asked on this very blog when it first came out: Why? What is the reason?

    The only response that I see from anyone is “Because.”

    Deep down, like many others, I suspect that he had too much of a vocal following who did not think anything of writing an email, or making a phone call.

  25. vox borealis says:

    Whether he is wrong or not is not really the point, at least of what I am saying. If called his outfit Real Catholic and appointed himself the authority on all things Catholic, but no one listened to him, the bishops likely wouldn’t lift a finger about him. There are plenty of splinter ‘Catholic” churches in the US, many of them traditionalist in some way. Indeed, when I lived in Columbus, OH there was one right down the street. And yet I never saw any sort of Diocesan statement clarifying that the outfit was not properly Catholic. Why, because it was little more than a store front church with only a handful of attendees dressed up in Roman Catholic trappings.

    Put another way, if Michael Voris makes a Vortex episode in the forest and no one sees it, does he really exist?

    Voris has drawn fire almost certainly because he has also drawn a significant following.

  26. Ed Peters says:

    “The only response that I see from anyone is “Because.””

    You need to read more widely. The internet is awash with theories as to why. Some of those theories are specious, of course. Others (like mine?) are quite sound. But nobody’s simply saying ‘Because.”

  27. jcd says:

    Here is an interesting “take” on Dr. Peters and Mr.Voris:
    http://skellmeyer.blogspot.com/2012/01/but-for-grace-of-god.html

  28. Oregon Catholic says:

    I agree. Voris is too proud and uncharitable even when he’s right and I never got interested in him. Shea’s hypocrisy is glaring and I’m at the point where I think I will have to stop reading him. It’s too bad because I agree with a lot of what he says and I admire his ability to put some of my thoughts into words so much better than I could do.

    It’s always risky when rules/laws are not enforced uniformly. The bishops need to tread very lightly and fairly or they will end up looking hypocritical too.

  29. John B says:

    Don’t waste your time going to this poster’s blog. It is the typical snarky diatribe that Voris’s supporters have been using throughout the blogosphere to spread slander against ethical persons of the highest intergrity.

  30. nate says:

    vox,
    Thing is, I like Shea tremendously, even when I think he’s wrong. I’d be careful throwing around the ‘bully’ charge. I think an internet bully can too often be wrongly defined as someone who argues forcefully on an opinion you disagree with. He’s a great writer and has a knack for putting things in a fun way. And no, I don’t always agree with Shea.

    I also like Voris. I don’t think there’s ever been a time where I’ve watched Voris and thought, “Yeah, that’s how I’d put it too,” even when I agree with what Voris is saying (which is most of the time). But the same goes for Shea. I like them both quite a bit, and agree with them both more than I don’t, but they both adopt a style that is foreign to my own idiom.

    But hey, that’s ok. I don’t think that either of them are bullies, and I’m not offended by their passion.

    Moreover, I happen to like this Deacon Greg fellow. I sometimes scratch my head at both Shea and Kandra’s transparent distaste for Voris. But hey, whatever. Both Shea and Kandra are wrong on this point, but they are both worth reading, even though they are wrong (on this point, anyway). :)

    I sometimes think the word ‘divisive’ should be more accurately replaced with something less severe.

  31. vox borealis says:

    To clarify, I think Shea is a combox bully. He is notorious for banning commentors, often for the flimsiest of reasons. His combox acolytes can say pretty much anything, but woe to those who disagree. He also distorts the arguments of those with whom he disagrees. That may be bullying, or it may be sloppiness, or it may be passion. Call it whatever, I grew tired of his act long ago.

  32. vox borealis says:

    Also, I used the term “bully” on purpose because that is the precise term Shea used to describe Voris in one of his several long anti-Voris posts. If Voris is a bully, then what does that make Shea?

  33. nate says:

    Fair enough, vox. Point taken.

  34. Richard W Comerford says:

    Re: The Apparent Hypocrisy problem for Archbishop of Detroit

    For any law to have weight, justice and meaning both in court and the eyes of the public it must be enforced by proper the authority on all parties in a fair and uniform manner. The good Archbishop of Detroit (if he is in fact behind the current Voris kerfuffle) will have a hard time justly enforcing the Canon in question (if in fact the good Archbishop even has jurisdiction in this matter. A Canon Lawyer from the Diocese of South Bend [where the alleged owner of RCTV resides] has publicly opined that Detroit does not have jurisdiction) without appearing to he a hypocrite.

    In 1968 the local Ordinary condemned the National Catholic Reporter (a.k.a. “Fish Wrap”) and denied said Fish Wrap the right to use the word Catholic. He called on his brother Bishops to assist him in this matter.

    See: http://www.greenspun.com/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg.tcl?msg_id=00Cofv

    In response the auxiliary of Detroit (Gumbleton) published numerous articles in Fish Wrap advocating graves evils like artificial contraception and sodomy while attacking the Vicars of Christ. The good Bishop became so active in Fish Wrap that his smiling face now appears on the front of every edition.

    The current Archbishop of Detroit (like his predecessors) has allowed Bishop Gumbleton to promote heresy in a condemned publication that was ordered to stop using the word “Catholic” almost a half century ago. Detroit has for years also paid Fish Wrap to place advertisements for Diocesan jobs in its pages thus materially supporting a condemned publication with money.

    So if Archbishop Vigneron is actually behind this kerfuffle he may find himself opening a very big can of worms indeed. If Archbishop Vigneron is not behind the Voris kerfuffle then it raises the question as to who is actually running things in Detroity – and other Dioceses.

    God bless

    Richard W Comerford

  35. Richard W Comerford says:

    Re: Mr. Shea & The Defense of Human Life

    There are above in this threads some less than flattering comments about Mark P/ Shea. It should not be forgotten that at a time when more than a few American Catholics lacet their political ideology above the clear teachings of the Church regarding human life Mr Shea has heroically defended said teachings – and he has taken no little flack for doing so.

    Courage, in an age of cowardice, should be respected.

    God bless

    Richard W Comerford

  36. Deacon Greg Kandra says:

    This is starting to go off the rails.

    Ladies and gentlemen: kindly refrain from griping about another blogger in the comments. If you have an issue, comment over at his blog, not this one.

    Thank you.

    Dcn. G.

  37. Mark says:

    This site and others that continue to bring up Real Catholic should get something from that company for advertising. Their hits go up every time it is brought up somewhere else within the Catholic blog world. Same is true of the AOD and their paid attorney Peters. Keep it coming has to be the tone of the marketing over at Real Catholic. Of course this is also the type of post that Catholic blogs use to drive up their comment numbers along with anything to do with Republicans.

    If this is how Catholic Bishops are going to conduct their diocese, it does not bode well for the Catholic Church. If you asked how many sites using the name Catholic in any way have written permission to operate with that name, the number would be close to zero. Most Catholics do not have a problem with what Voris is producing and those who do not care for his style can simply stop going there. I find many so called katholic sites and seldom go back. Why the action of this diocese run by a dissenting liberal bishop for years? We all know the answer. Voris is shining a strong light on their open dissent to Catholic teaching and the failure of the USCCB in general with some diocese singled out that were supporting open dissent from Church teaching. Rather than challenge it showing it was clearly not true, they come up with this lame attack based on the use of the Catholic name without permission which is a laugh as many have pointed out how the USCCB has allowed continuing use of the Catholic name and identity to those in ongoing open dissent on Magesterial teaching.

  38. M.Z. says:

    Probably the single greatest factor that prompted the public notice was the desire of RCTV to do events at parishes and offer events sponsored by parishes. For those with a somewhat decent memory, you’ll recall several RCTV events needing to be rescheduled to private facilitates after parishes were contacted. Like dare I say all things of this nature, this action has been preceded by many private communications, admonishments, etc.

  39. Mark says:

    Peters argument “possible ‘unfair’ treatment of Voris with the feelings one has when pulled over for speeding or whatever” does not hold up to reasonable comparison argument.
    One would assume that the police pull over those they catch with supporting proof that they are guilty. If the police for decades sit beside the road while cars passed not only obviously speeding, but weaving around openly showing total disdain for the laws chose then to pull someone out for having a license where the paperwork was in error, it would more accurately be what is being done here.

    We have watched “catholic” named organizations in wide open dissent, even when they thumb their nose at what the Pope and the USCCB have specifically taught for decades like the drunken weaving driver speeding down the highway and now see someone in full alignment with Catholic teaching get pulled over for license violation. And they wonder why respect for Bishops are dropping?

  40. Mark says:

    Imagine if a known conservative Bishop went after a well known dissenting popular liberal katholic blog site with the intent to use some excuse like not having applied for approval. How would Shea and maybe even this site handle it? We know how the MSM would handle it. I think it is instructive to remember Obama to ND for speaking and honors. The USCCB had very strongly and in writing instructed all the Bishops not to allow pro abortion speakers to be given a platform in “Catholic” institutions. This of course included “Catholic” Universities which had ignored the Popes call for the “Catholic” Universities have professors teaching religion get a mandatum from the local Bishop that they ignored. ND thus was an open challenge to the official USCCB statement. Many Bishops, I think the count was about 73, came out openly calling for “Catholic” ND to cancel that invite. The local Bishop over ND advised them to cancel it. ND in essence told the Bishops to shove it. Nothing happened. What position did those sites now against Voris for his use of Catholic name report on this and how did they handle it. Did they go on with anti ND posts for months? Not being a reader at the time, don’t know how it was handled in the “Catholic” blogesphere, either with the mandatum requirement or the USCCB clear message to not have “Catholic” organizations give platforms to the likes of pro abortion Obama.

  41. Ed Peters says:

    hi Mark. Your rebuttal analogy does not meet the reasonable comparison argument. Ecclesiastical authority has NOT sat by for decades while the word “Catholic” has been appropriated. Several efforts to curb usurpation of the word “Catholic” have been made, and more so in recent years than we saw for some time. Of course, enforcement of such directives is always a challenge for a Church who stands before men with little but the truth in her arsenal, unlike cops who can choose to effect their will pretty much anytime they want. I grant that more should have been done in the past, but that does not excuse today’s leaders from applying the law as best they can.

  42. Dr. Dr. Peters for your comment, as I went to the link and read your .pdf about four times.

    I found two items most interesting…and maybe others may have to.

    1. “The catholicity of an under-taking is not only about what is said, it’s also about how things are said; it’s about the balance achieved (or not) while saying it, it’s about what topics are chosen for treatment, and why, and what topics are not talked about, and why not. All of these considerations, and many others besides, combine to form, as experts in the media know, a unified message, and all of them impact on the Catholic character of content proclaimed as being really Catholic.”

    These sentences really tell me (at least it is my opinion) that Mr. Voris et al. has gotten under the skin of a number of Cardinals and Bishops on a number of issues, such as CCHD and Holy Communion for pro-abortion politicans. For a number of them, Voris et al, has embarrassed them long enough and it is high time to stop him. Can’t stop him by saying don’t watch. Can’t stop him by refusing to accept letters to the editor or advertisement in the local Catholic paper. Can’t stop him from speaking in non-Church venues. Therefore, one way to stop him is by not alllowing him to use the word Catholic. (Am wondering when I am going to get a letter from AoW, although I am small fry, as they say.)

    2. “Another forum will decide whether the AOD has jurisdiction to do what it has done. I’m content to let that forum render, if things come to that, a decision in due course.”

    Sounds to me like something else is in the works. Could there be some sort of agreement being worked out by AoD and the other Diocese? Will we hear from Rome on this, as to who has jurisdiction.

    Inquiring minds want to know…

  43. Sorry for the poor grammar and spelling. But I think you get the drift…

  44. Oregon Catholic says:

    You hit the nail on the head IMO. In the case of the National Catholic Reporter, the Bishop outlined specific offending articles and stances taken that disagreed with the Church. It clearly was about the Church, not about offending or embarassing any personalities. We haven’t seen that yet in the case of RCTV. Will we – I wonder?

  45. Ed Peters says:

    Hi guys (ladies?). People luv to read between the lines. I understand that, it’s fun! But I try to avoid that tact when writing. I comment only on my own ‘authority’ and only about what is publicly-known on this case or that. People are responsible for their own ruminations, if any, past that. Best, edp.

  46. Andy says:

    I think the problem is far simpler. RCTV is a for profit institution/organization. If it wasn’t making money by trading on the name Catholic, not much would be going on. Maybe my cynical view.

  47. Matt says:

    My two cents….

    The purpose of Canon Law 216 (to me anyway) is to prevent individuals or organizations from misleading people into believing that they speak from a position of authority in the Church (i.e. It’s not about an organization using the word ‘Catholic’ in its name…..it’s about an organization which has the word ‘Catholic’ in its name and presents itself as having legitimate authority within the Church to teach). As a lay Catholic I have a right to form my own opinions but I have no teaching authority in the church. I have a right to express my views, but they are merely that…. my views. Only the magisterium of the Church (the Pope and Bishops united to him) has authority to teach and the power to give authority to others to teach.

    I’ve seen clips of RealCatholicTV on the internet and I was never under the delusion that I was listening to anything other than a group of lay Catholics giving their personal opinions about Catholic matters. So, even though they have the word ‘Catholic’ in the name of their organization, and even though they are called ‘RealCatholicTV’……..I think that most reasonable people recognize that they don’t have any authority within the Church. I don’t believe that it is their intention to mislead or deceive.

    I personally think that this has less to do with a Bishop being concerned about Catholics being deceived, and more to do with Michael Voris’s criticism of people in a position of authority within the Church. It appears to be an overly rigid application of a legitimate Church Law to punish an organization from doing something (i.e. shedding some much needed light on corruption within the Church) that is necessary.

  48. John B says:

    Matt wrote: “It’s not about an organization using the word ‘Catholic’ in its name…..it’s about an organization which has the word ‘Catholic’ in its name and presents itself as having legitimate authority within the Church to teach).”

    Exactly. I think this is the root of the problem that deeply concerns the AoD. Someone commented earlier that maybe Rome will respond. Does anyone remember Pope Pius XII’s letter to the Archbishop of Boston over erroneous teachings of Fr. Leonard Feeney? We have another Feeney here, in my opinion, who purports to teach false Catholicism via a massive enterprise that outreaches to reaches many souls . . . all under the name of REAL Catholicism. I don’t believe we have seen the end of this, and I pray the Archdiocese will do all in their power to protect the faithful who are being misled.

  49. Richard W Comerford says:

    Mr. John B:

    “Does anyone remember Pope Pius XII’s letter to the Archbishop of Boston over erroneous teachings of Fr. Leonard Feeney? ”

    Yes. Father Feeney met with his Bishop face to face. He was ordered to Rome But refused to go. Mr. Voris claims that Archbishop Vigneron will not respond to his requests to met with him.

    “We have another Feeney here, in my opinion, who purports to teach false Catholicism”

    Father Feeney’s Bishop found that he was teaching heresy. No such finding has been made by either Archbishop Vigneron or Rome.

    “I pray the Archdiocese will do all in their power to protect the faithful who are being misled.”

    Well so far all we have is the Diosesan PR guy, one week before the kick off of the Diocesan fund drive, claiming that Mr. Voris does is not authorized to use the word “Catholic”. That is it. Nothing about misleading the faithful.

    God bless

    Richard W Comerford

  50. John B says:

    Richard Comerford: “That is it. Nothing about misleading the faithful.”
    …..YET!!! However, it’s no secret; it’s just not public….YET.
    But some of the faithful are very well aware of the errors. Do you read very many blogs, forums, podcasts that explain what they are?
    Richard, does it strike you as ‘spiritual’ that anyone who prowls about seeking to discover the sins of others, is acting under the influence of the HOLY Spirit? Voris was involved in a lawsuit a decade ago due to his ventures in the Fox “Hall of Shame.” Nothing has changed – he just applies his slander to prelates and Catholics whom he believes deserve public exposure for not meeting his standard of righteousness.
    James 2:13, “Judgment is without mercy to him who has not shown mercy.”

  51. Richard W Comerford says:

    Re:

    Reading between the lines

    As of thus date, reading between the lines, two things are evident:

    1. The archbishop of Detroit, Allen Vigneron, has not condemned Mr. Voris & Company for teaching heresy.

    2. Neither has the Archbishop of Detroit, Allen Vigneron, condemned retried Detroit Auxilary Bishop Gumbleton for teaching heresy in a formally condemned publication, National Catholic Reporter (“Fish Wrap”). Said Fish Wrap continues to use the word “Catholic” After it was stripped of its right to do so nearly half a century ago by its local Ordinary. Nor has the Archbishop of Detroit, Allen Vigneron, stopped advertising in (and thus funding heresy) Fish Wrap.

    Reading between the lines it appears that in the Archdiocese of Detroit heresy is of little matter while bureaucratic procedure is of great matter.

    May God protect us from Scribes & Pharacies.

    God bless

    Richard W Comerford

  52. HMS says:

    John B:
    Your question: “does it strike you as ‘spiritual’ that anyone who prowls about seeking to discover the sins of others, is acting under the influence of the HOLY Spirit?”

    You have said exactly the issue that I have with Michael Voris and other “apologists” who are like him. Also, I don’t know where he gets the information that he proclaims with such authority.

    This may be a minor example but in the video in which he talks about receiving the Eucharist in the hand, he says the early Christians never touched the Eucharist with their fingers. Now we know from some primary sources that they used to take the Eucharist home to those who could not attend the services. It does not seem reasonable that they carried the Eucharistic bread in their palms without touching it with their fingers.

  53. HMS says:

    Richard W Comerford:
    Re your description of National Catholic Reporter as “Fish Wrap”

    While visiting England years ago the BEST fish (and chips) I ate was wrapped in newspaper.

  54. John B says:

    Jimmy Akin has a podcast refuting Voris’s contemptible style in that video, wherein he deliberately misquoted Cardinal Llovera to make his own point seem more believable … all in the name of the Cardinal, who never said such things. Deception at its best. http://www.jimmyakin.org/2011/08/podcast-episode-007-is-michael-voris-right-about-kneeling.html

    Thanks for your comments.

  55. Richard W Comerford says:

    Mr John B :

    “However, it’s no secret; it’s just not public….YET”

    If Mr. Voris & Company are preaching heresy as you purport then then the Bishops are remiss in their duties as Shepherds in nor condemning Mr. Voris. And the archbishop of Detroit allen vigneron is remiss in not publicly condemning his retired Auxiliary Bishop (Gumbleton) for preaching heresy in the pages of a publciation which was formally condemned almost a half century ago.

    “But some of the faithful are very well aware of the errors”

    These days the term “faithful” can cover many. many people not all of which are in full communion with the Vicar of Christ.

    “does it strike you as ‘spiritual’ that anyone who prowls about seeking to discover the sins of others, is acting under the influence of the HOLY Spirit? ”

    “Do you read very many blogs, forums, podcasts that explain what they are?

    Now who is playing the Grand Inquisitor: Mr. B or Mr. Voris?

    “does it strike you as ‘spiritual’ that anyone who prowls about seeking to discover the sins of others, is acting under the influence of the HOLY Spirit?”

    Has Mr Voris made a public, subjexctive judgement recording the state of someone’s immortal soul?

    “Voris was involved in a lawsuit a decade ago due to his ventures in the Fox “Hall of Shame.””

    And this has what to do with spreading purported heresy?

    “he just applies his slander to prelates and Catholics whom he believes deserve public exposure for not meeting his standard of righteousness.”

    If in fact Mr Voris has slanderedso many parties then why have not at least one of these same parties sued Mr. Voris?

    “James 2:13, “Judgment is without mercy to him who has not shown mercy”.”

    I am glad that you are not judging Mr. Voris.

    God bless

    Richard W Comerford

  56. Richard W Comerford says:

    Mr HMS:

    “While visiting England years ago the BEST fish (and chips) I ate was wrapped in newspaper.”

    What a coincidence! Fish Wrap was formally condemned by its Bishop about 48-years ago. It has been teaching heresy ever since. And its teaching of heresy has been materially supported for almost a half century by the Cardinal-Archbishops of Detroit. Maybe this is why the entire Voris case stinks to high heaven – like long dead fish?

    God bless

    Richard W COmerford

  57. John B says:

    “If in fact Mr Voris has slandered so many parties then why have not at least one of these same parties sued Mr. Voris?”
    Ask him. He answers all calls, I’m told.
    It is difficult to bring a lawsuit out of state, and very costly compared to the satisfaction of regaining one’s reputation. The Michigan lawsuit was brought for just such a reason – defamation! Reporters typically feed in holes of dishonor to gain notoriety and acquire emmy awards, trapping lies and falsehoods, for which Voris has no more worthy endeavors.

  58. Richard W Comerford says:

    mr. John B:

    “Ask him. He answers all calls, I’m told.”

    How in the world is Mr. Voris going to know why parties he has purportedly slandered not sued him?

    “It is difficult to bring a lawsuit out of state”

    Not if you can cough up the filing fee. But Mr. Voris has commented on many parties in his own State. Why have they not sued him for alleged slander?

    “and very costly compared to the satisfaction of regaining one’s reputation.”

    Well, if a person’s good name is not worth enough for him to take the effort to protect it then why bother to whine and complain in teh first place?

    “The Michigan lawsuit was brought for just such a reason – defamation!”

    I thought you said this case involved Fox News not RCTV?

    “Reporters typically feed in holes of dishonor to gain notoriety and acquire emmy awards”

    And this has what to do with teaching heresy?

    I am told that the first and best defense against the accusation of slander is that the purported slanderer told the truth. Perhaps the reason Mr. Voris & RCTV have not been sued for slander is that they have told no lies?

    God bless

    Richard W Comerford

  59. Richard W Comerford says:

    Mr. John B:

    “wherein he deliberately misquoted Cardinal Llovera”

    Mr Atkin, in the linked podcast, points out that the CNS article on which Mr Voris commented is itself deficient in quotation marks and confusing.

    “all in the name of the Cardinal, who never said such things. Deception at its best.”

    Deception indeed. The primary problem Mr. Atkin identified was in Mr. Voris’ alleged interpenetration of GRIM.

    God bless

    Richard W Comerford

  60. Richard W Comerford says:

    Re: Text of NCR Condemnation: Bishop Helmsing charges Heresy

    See: http://www.greenspun.com/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg.tcl?msg_id=00Cofv

    Which raises the question: “Why has the Archdiocese of Detroit enthusiastically supported for 48-years a condemned media which has also been stripped of its right to use teh word “Catholic”; but the nannounces to eh world that RCTV has not been authorized to use the word “Catholic”.

    Double standard?

    God bless

    Richard W Comerford

  61. John B says:

    The lawsuit was filed against Fox and primarily Mr. Voris who worked for them – I never said it was RCTV. I merely pointed out that the character traits existing at the time of the defamation lawsuit are still present in Voris, as a self-appointed C.I.A. hound seeking to pursue people’s sins within the Church, rather than within society. The psalmist prays, “Lord, if YOU make known our sins, WHO can stand?” Amen.
    This is serioiusly off topic, and I’m not going to entertain any further defenses you bring in order to idolize Voris. Good-day.

  62. Richard W Comerford says:

    Mr. John B

    “The lawsuit was filed against Fox and primarily Mr. Voris who worked for them – I never said it was RCTV.”

    Good. Glad we got that clearaed up.

    “I merely pointed out that the character traits existing at the time of the defamation lawsuit are still present in Voris”

    Just because a party is named as a defendant in a defamation suit does not mean said party is guilty. Was a judgement entered against Mr. Voris?

    “seeking to pursue people’s sins within the Church”

    Exactly who has Mr. Voris accused of sinning?

    “Lord, if YOU make known our sins, WHO can stand?”

    We are all sinners. Even Mr. Voris’ critiques.

    “This is serioiusly off topic,”

    Your accusations that Mr. Voris is guilty of slander & defamation are quite on topic.

    “I’m not going to entertain any further defenses you bring in order to idolize Voris”

    As I have pointed out repeatedly the Church in the USA does not need celebrity Catholcis to survive. It does need Bishops. In particular holy Bishops. Saints. Will the Archbishop of Detroit act as a Saint in this matter? That is teh crucial question.

    God bless

    Richard W Comerford

  63. John B says:

    Mr. Comerford, maybe you are naive and uniformed, so against my better judgment to indulge your rhetoric, I offer for those following this blog the answer to your question, “Exactly who has Mr. Voris accused of sinning?” It is only one of many examples that are in blog world, but it is a good start.

    Exhibit B: This attempt to slime perfectly obedient Catholics as Priscillianist heretics:
    And if you get rid of all the stuff about Priscillianism in the video, exactly what is the point?” That Michael Voris really likes communion on the tongue? Duly noted. So exactly why bring in the Priscillianist heresy?
    Answer: To suggestively tar honest and faithful Catholics with the odor of heresy while denying he is doing it, that’s why.
    But note the main thing: Once again, Voris is not attacking genuine dissent. He is not attacking pro-abort lefties, or people who hold the Church’s teaching on ordination or sex or the sacraments in naked contempt. He is attacking faithful orthodox Catholics who are DIS-obedient to NO precept and in dissent from NO doctrine of Holy Mother Church. And he does it, yet again, by suggesting (but not quite saying) they are tainted with dissent or HERESY.
    Read more: http://www.ncregister.com/blog/in-criticism-of-michael-voris/#ixzz1k9D1nIm7
    And I suggest you watch the video in the link to catch the spirit of the author. He does not espouse Catholic teaching in this matter whatsoever!

  64. Richard W Comerford says:

    Mr. John B;

    “Mr. Comerford, maybe you are naive and uniformed”

    Always

    “This attempt to slime perfectly obedient Catholics as Priscillianist heretics”

    No names? No judgement of particular persons? No damnation of individuals? What exactly is Mr. Voris doing wrong?

    “He is not attacking pro-abort lefties”

    Well Mr. Voris regularly defends the Church’s teaching on life and does in fact the political left for allegedly being anti-life.

    “And he does it, yet again, by suggesting (but not quite saying) they are tainted with dissent or HERESY.”

    If Mr. Voris is allegedly suggesting or inferring or hinting; but not clearly claiming heresy, then his alleged hints, suggestions and inferences are merely a matter of the opinion of his listeners.

    I do not quite understand why you are unhappy with Mr. Voris. If you do not l9ike him then ignore him. But Mr. Voris is not (Thank God) teaching heresy. No small matter in this age of dissent and rebellion.

    God bless

    Richard W Comerford

  65. Christine says:

    Ned McGrath, communications director for the archdiocese, has said that he does not know of a single application of canon 216 in the past 20 years in Detroit–until now.

  66. Christine says:
  67. Christine says:

    Who has Mr. Voris slandered?

    Can you name names?

    Of course not. Because he has slandered no one.

  68. Christine says:

    You’re slavishly following Mr. Shea’s interpretation, when this is not at all what Mr. Voris meant. Why don’t you call him up and ask him yourself? I’m sure Mr. Voris would gladly clear things up for you. He would NEVER accuse (or even hint at) orthodox Catholics who receive communion in the hand of heresy. Mr. Shea is so off the mark here it’s ridiculous, and I’ve told him so–but he doesn’t listen. Oh well. He’s simply wrong.

    If people would like an accurate record of events with regard to Mr. Voris and the archdiocese of Detroit, see this:

    http://veneremurcernui.wordpress.com/2012/01/16/the-action-of-the-archdiocese-of-detroit-against-rctv-is-nonsensical-and-unjust/

  69. Parasum says:

    @teresa:

    “I agree that obedience shouldn’t be practised blindly. But I think there must be a better way to point out the errors and deficits which exist in the Church without causing an anarchic situation which is now widely spread among the laity.”

    ## Maybe the problem is in the top-down structure of the CC, combined with the clericalism that took for granted that “good Catholics” would obey whatever the clergy said. There seem to be, in the CC, none of the social structures, or (better by far), the attitudes, that could have prevented the current mess. STM it’s a problem that was long in the making, & would show itself in the right circumstances – & now the chickens have come home to roost.

    There *might* not be this anarchy, if Catholicism had been less concerned to be Catholic – understanding by that, “not Protestant” – & much more Christian & evangelical. Treating Catholicism as akin to an ethnicity – something one is born to naturally, instead of graciously & super-naturally – doesn’t help.

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