After last month’s statement from the Archdiocese of Detroit — saying that Michael Voris isn’t authorized by the archdiocese to use the word “Catholic” — there seems to be some disagreement about who actually has jurisdiction over Voris’s work. Details:
[Detroit] Archdiocesan Director of Communications Ned McGrath noted that concerns about Voris had been public since 2008; however, the release did not say anything about the nature of those concerns. To date the diocese has not made any specific allegations against RealCatholicTV or its programming.While the questions asked by most pertain to why the action was taken, the issue being discussed by canon lawyers is where jurisdiction over RealCatholicTV.com lies – with the Archdiocese of Detroit, where Michael Voris, the star of the show, lives and works, or in the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend, where the owner and financier of RealCatholicTV.com, Marc Brammer, resides.
Fr. Mark Gurtner, Judicial Vicar of the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend in Indiana spoke with LifeSiteNews, acknowledging that the diocese did know of Mr. Brammer’s enterprise of RealCatholicTV.com. When asked if the diocese had any complaints about RealCatholicTV.com, Gurner replied, “No, as far as I know there’s nothing.”
Speaking as a canon lawyer and not an official of the diocese, Gurtner also said he believes the jurisdiction of the case resides with the Indiana diocese. “It certainly seems to me that canonically Michael Voris would not be the one that this would be imposed on,” he said. “Even though he is the one that regularly appears on (the show) he, in a sense, is really just an employee of (RealCatholicTV.com).”
“It seems like if the Archdiocese of Detroit is trying to go after (Voris), that’s the wrong person to address this with, that would have to be with the owner of the website or blog,” he added.
“I suppose if this Marc Brammer is paying for and running, constructing his blog from our diocese in his home I suppose you could make the argument that we have jurisdiction canonically.”
When asked by LifeSiteNews what concerns the Detroit Archdiocese had about Voris and RealCatholicTV.com, Detroit Archdiocesan Director of Communications McGrath would not specify any concern other than the use of the word ‘Catholic’…
…Regarding the question of jurisdiction, McGrath directed LifeSiteNews to a blog post by canon lawyer Ed Peters, a professor at the AOD seminary, who has supported the archdiocese’s claims of having jurisdiction in the case.
In an initial blog post Peters, wrote, in his capacity as a canon lawyer and not as a representative of the diocese, about canon law 216, noting that the bishop has authority over the name Catholic. In a subsequent post, Peters took up the matter of jurisdiction, suggesting that Detroit is on “firm ground” in pursuing Voris.
“I have yet to see the ‘lack of jurisdiction’ claim being made by anyone who knows how canon law actually determines jurisdiction over persons and projects,” Peters wrote. “As a blog is not the place for me to attempt a pre-emptive tutorial on canonical jurisdiction, I’ll just say that, to the extent that jurisdiction is or might be an issue in this matter, I believe the [Archdiocese of Detroit] to be on firm ground.”
UPDATE: Michael Voris released the following video statement late today:
UPDATE II: Canon lawyer Ed Peters has an update on the subject at his blog. He concludes with this compelling thought:
If the Church has an interest in what happens on the internet, then canon law has an interest in what happens on the internet. The task before us, then, is to apply those laws in such a way that, while respecting the rights of Catholics to share in the mission of the Church, we carefully preserve the freedom of the Church to proclaim as she decides best the Good News that Christ left in her care.
UPDATE III: But wait! There’s more. Mark Shea today offers a tidbit from a reader regarding the man financing RealCatholicTV, complete with links to a radio interview with the fellow.