Labor pains—UPDATED

Just in time for Labor Day, Michael Voris offers this gift to the workers of the world, especially those he calls “professional Catholics”:

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My blog neighbor Fr. Dwight Longenecker wasn’t impressed:

The most worrying thing about Voris’ attack on Catholic Answers, EWTN and others is that it seems like some kind of sick revenge thing. So the guys at Catholic Answers had just one program criticizing the lunatic fringe of the traditionalist movement and a counter attack is launched? For what end? To destroy Catholic Answers and EWTN? To bring down Al Kresta? Within Voris’ video I sensed a kind of gloating glee that Catholic Answers was in financial trouble and the implication that they were down because of their criticism of the traditionalist movement and that it was because traditionalists had withheld donations that CA was going down.

I have to be blunt. There is a certain type of personality that is never happy unless it has an enemy, and the enemy they like best are the ones around their own table. This dynamic exists in many different types of groups, but I’ve seen it most in many religious situations. A little group gathers together and they all feel good about their group because they’re right. However, they are never secure in their rectitude. They always feel a bit insecure and the most insecure even feel paranoid. So they begin to blame everyone else for being wrong, for being heretics, for being apostates. Then they feel snug and warm and good about themselves and their little religious group for a little while until the next “enemy” appears. Then they can go on the attack again with their smug self righteousness.

Even less impressed was Elizabeth Scalia: 

Really? Even the “good” bishops are no good if they don’t fall in line with the Church Militant as embodied in this one operation? I can’t help noting the irony of Voris kicking back in retaliation at someone kicking back in retaliation at his kicking! As though that’s not human nature, and the church isn’t full of humans.

Really? We’re going to huff and puff because professional, trained media people — lay men and women using their skills and (quite often) their vast expertise to spread the gospel, teach the truth of Catholicism, and be visible, credible, approachable faces and voices of the Catholic Church — are being paid enough to support their families?

Again, Really?

Gasp! EWTN’s Raymond Arroyo, a husband and father with little kids, makes $100,000 a year! So? He’s using his skills in the Catholic market, because he loves the church, when he could likely earn a great deal more than that in secular media, and this is a scandal?

Gasp! Radio Host Al Kresta makes $115,000 a year! So? Al Kresta is a writer and a media professional, and a guy in a wheelchair who needs an assistant to help him travel and meet up with interesting Catholics in interesting venues for the edification (and entertainment) of the listening faithful. We’re going to begrudge him a living when his health may not hold out?

Gasp! Some of these people actually have retirement packages! Oh, stop the world, it’s too much! I’m plotzing! Retirement packages! Why that’s just Un-American and Un-Godly! What a freaking scandal! Oh, wait — even priests and religious get to retire.

You’ll want to read it all.  

UPDATE: Elizabeth tonight says something that has needed to be said about the Voris phenomenon for a while:

It is wholly legitimate — and important — to continue to point out where things are lacking in our church (or to ask our bishops to clarify their pastoral judgements when controversies arise) but not to pretend that great things — for example, the growing number of layfolk (particularly our younger members) engaged in learning and sharing the faith, and the convents and seminaries that are filling, once again — are not happening.

Such a willingness to ignore all that good news — and a seeming call to purge rather than re-think our propagation — seems unpastoral, to me. It doesn’t give much hope.

But then, as I said, We just see things differently. Mr. Voris sees a need for militancy because all around him he perceives conflagration: a fire of crisis and calumny, and he wants to stamp it out. I, on the other hand, did see the fire, too — and it was terrifying — but I perceive it as being brought under control; with slow, steady applications of gospel, catechism, truth and mercy, the blaze is diminishing, things are improving, and I want to encourage that. Put us together in the same pew, and he’s going to see the fire and I’m going to see the water, but we’ll both still be Catholics in love with the church and striving to serve it. I’m not sure it would be either of our jobs to browbeat the other by saying, “no, but do it my way, because your way is all wrong, and you’re hurting the church.” I think that would be a hell of a charge, and a combustible one, to make. The Holy Spirit moves where he will, uses what he will, how he will, to God’s purposes. I’ll trust the Holy Spirit to guide people in media, rather than tell them how they ought to do it, myself.

The Church Militant needs to be balanced with Mercy because balance is what keeps the Cross of Christ alive in the world. And the Cross is formed in the precise intersection between Justice and Mercy where they are embodied and balanced by Christ.

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