The Church is not a Democracy – UPDATED

As Holy Week approaches we can always count on provocative headlines, like Time Magazine’s Is Hell Dead? which looks at the latest book by Evangelical preacher Rob Bell. In October, it wouldn’t warrant a cover, I’m sure.

This entire Lent, however, the Catholic church in America has been roiling with Cult of Personality issues. The scandals of recent years have shaken the faithful; Rome seems distant to many and in our media-obsessed society a passionate orator proclaiming “the truth” as-you-want-to-hear-it can seem like the prophetic lone voice that will save the church from all her failings and foibles — or at least the ones that have you stewing in your pew, week after week.

Currently there are two very distinct stories playing out in our Catholic Theater of Hysteria. Both involve rabble-rousers playing to their respective crowds; both of them are eagerly tugging on the outflung arms of Christ — now to the left, now to the right — and rocking the upraised cross that saves. Pronouncing a wish to save the church from hierarchs or heretics, they both seem to be looking for excuses to split the Body of Christ by ripping their respective arm from the cross and toodling off with it, in schism.

In Chicago, Fr. Michael Pfleger (who you may remember as the Hillary-Clinton-imitating-priest who came to national prominence during the Obama presidential campaign) is making some noise about leaving the church because Cardinal Francis George wishes to transfer him to a new apostolate, away from the parish he has served for 30 years. What that apostolate is, is unclear at the moment; in an interview Pfleger said:

“I want to try to stay in the Catholic Church,” he said. “If they say, ‘You either take this principalship of [Leo High School] or pastorship there or leave,’ then I’ll have to look outside the Church.”

Well, what is it that Cardinal George wants Pfleger to take over, a “principalship” or a “pastorship”? Does he want Pfleger to become the school’s chaplain? I put a call in to the Cardinal’s office, for clarification. I am not sure why a priest with no background in education would be named a school principal, but then again, Pfleger’s made his reputation as a community-builder, and perhaps that’s what the school needs? Or perhaps the cardinal feels the humility of a chaplainship might feed his priest’s perspective? We don’t know. That’s all unclear.

What is not unclear, however, is Pfleger’s disdain for his own vow of obedience. It is unthinkable that any priest should be in the same parish for 30 years. Priests are moved around with some regularity precisely to prevent attachments from forming that can develop into ego-gratifying little fiefdoms or, personal possessions.

So, Fr. Pfleger, unhappy to consider that he made a vow, or that, in the Lord’s manifestly mysterious ways, it may simply be time for him to serve in another way (or reacquaint himself with the notion of obedience — which is, let’s face it, a discipline in humility) essentially says that if he does not get his own way, he will leave the church. Implicit in the threat, of course, is that he’ll take his followers with him.

Tugging on the right arm of the cross is a layman, Michael Voris, the founder of “REAL” Catholic TV, the one-man-arbiter of what is “real” Catholicism, and what is not. Increasingly, Voris seems to think the Pope is okay, but beyond that, he’s not too sure. He’s all hopped up, today about some stupid Earth Day memo that’s been sent to all Catholic parishes by the likes of Al Gore and Leonardo DiCaprio and which suggests that parishes use Good Friday, Easter Sunday or Divine Mercy Sunday to talk about cleaning parks and using crappy lightbulbs.

Most parishes will probably throw the thing into the circular filing cabinet without a second look, but Voris — quick to assume the worst (which seems un-Christlike to me) — uses the memo to fling a bunch of red meat to his followers, and encourage them in anticipating the worst, as well. With barely contained hysteria he tells his viewers that if any priest so much as “breathes a word” about the environment, the faithful should by-pass the collection plate and later resign from the parish.

Got that? Not “talk to the priest of your concerns,” not “meet with the pastor,” just hold on to your dimes and resign.

If you watch the video which, like the Pfleger video I find too grotesque to post here, you’ll see why some are wondering whether Voris is actually saying to leave the Catholic church, itself. I don’t think he meant to say that, but if he didn’t mean to, he should have redone his little spiel, because that is how it comes off.

Voris strikes me as a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
He says just enough that’s “right” to completely hook people who are already concerned, particularly if they’re politically angry, and then adds a layer of negativity and some seeds of cynicism — which is the easiest thing in the world to grow. Then, he recommends methods that smack more of Wisconsin Public Union tactics than Christian responses. “Resign from your parish” is like saying “have a teachers sick-out.”

Newsflash, Mr. Voris and Fr. Pfleger: the church is not a democracy and cannot respond to those tactics — which foment greater measures of doubt and confusion — without ultimately bringing destruction to the whole. But you both already know that; Voris dislikes democracy and is the one advocating for a “noble” Catholic monarchy to rule governments in a “benevolent dictatorship,” and Pfleger developed his little barony thanks to an overlong tenure encouraging entrenched and absolute power.

Both of these men are extremists, tugging at the Body of Christ. But if we look at the Crucifix, we see Jesus is neither right nor left. Jesus is Balance.

Mark Shea has a few things to say about putting too much trust in Catholic gasbaggery, and I concur:

Don’t put a mitre on the head of any loudmouth in the blogosphere or Catholic media, especially me. A gaggle of apologists and bigmouths like me is not the Magisterium!

Mark is a little more rough-n-tumble than I am, but I do agree. Though I get some pretty juicy hate mail from time-to-time, the really terrifying stuff is the “you might be a saint” email. Um, no, just ask the kids about the time I threw the chair. I know who I am, and all my darkest ways. “It is better to put your trust in the Lord…”

And if you’re a Catholic and you believe in the One, Holy, Apostolic church — the Eucharistic church and that whole bit about Jesus and Peter and the Keys to the Kingdom, and the gates of hell not prevailing, then just look at history — understand with clarity that the church has never been perfect, not from day one, when its Keymaster lied three times and all its priests but one ran away. Remember that in 2000 years, unrest and reform, scandal and more unrest have been the norm, and that those cozy nostalgic glory days of the mid-20th century were quite the aberration.

And then have a little charity for your imperfectly-administered church; she is hobbled by that humanity in which we all have a share — broken, faulty and sinful — but she is divinely ordained, and chugs along by the grace of the Holy Spirit.

And we know that with certainty, thanks to how imperfectly-run she is. Without the Holy Spirit, we’d never have lasted this long.

UPDATE: Another salient quote from Shea A “Shea-lient” point?

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • Keep Calm and Carry On

    Last year in England, there was a memo about having a “green Lent”. I think we all just pretty much ignored it and had a good old-fashioned “violet Lent.”

  • Stephen

    Michael Voris does an excellent job of the Spiritual Works of Mercy
    1. Gives consel to the doubtful
    2. Instructs the ignorant
    3. Admonishes sinners
    4. Comforts the afflicted
    5. Forgives offenses
    6. Bears patiently the troublesome
    7. Prays for the living and the dead

    One may wonder how Michael Voris may be patient, the root of the word means to undergo and/or bear suffering. Similarly the word nice has changed from its meaning, no knowledge, meaning ignorant, into meaning charitable, *nice does not mean charitable!*
    Meeting Michael in person he is forgiving to personal insults, yet he is very protective of the bride of Christ, the Church,
    God Bless him!

  • Jarod S

    I grew up in a “SOFT” church. Through the years I have seen the fruits of it. The faithful have lived up to what they were taught about their faith. Few have managed to dig deeper into the richness of what we believe.

    For the sake of my children we “shopped” and then attended a parish that was orthodox and taught the sacraments. It was “my” duty as the Church teaches I am the primary educator of my children.

    There are great blessings to standing firm and trying to change a parish. Now that my children are grown I can take on such a battle. There is still a need to occasionally attend a church where I know I can let my guard down and simply be in the presence of Jesus.

  • ChronicSinner

    Mr. Madigan, honored to oblige, particularly for somone who lives in a place where “…the dogma of the Faith will always be preserved etc.” God bless and Happy Easter!

  • michael

    I don’t quite follow your rant. You bashed both Fr. Pfleger and Michael Voris equally and then stated a need to follow the magisterium of the church, and then this:

    “And if you’re a Catholic and you believe in the One, Holy, Apostolic church — the Eucharistic church and that whole bit about Jesus and Peter and the Keys to the Kingdom, and the gates of hell not prevailing, then just look at history — understand with clarity that the church has never been perfect, not from day one, when its Keymaster lied three times and all its priests but one ran away.”

    What!?! The Keymaster!?! Priests running away!?! This all happened prior to Christ’s death and you equate that to the establishment of the Catholic Church? Did you forget about the resurrection of Jesus and the decent of the Holy Spirit upon the Disciples?

    Then you state:

    “And then have a little charity for your imperfectly-administered church; she is hobbled by that humanity in which we all have a share — broken, faulty and sinful — but she is divinely ordained, and chugs along by the grace of the Holy Spirit.

    And we know that with certainty, thanks to how imperfectly-run she is. Without the Holy Spirit, we’d never have lasted this long.”

    Talk about a contridiction. Either the Church is perfect and is led by the Holy Spirit or it isn’t. Granted there are people involved in the Church that leave a lot to be desired but the Church is perfect and not hobbled by humanity.

    It is time to pick a side. Either you’re disgusted with the apathy in the Church or you’re lukewarm in the faith and no concerns. Enough riding the fence and making nice. We are the Church Militant and that means calling a sin, a sin and making others uncomfortable by nudging them in the path of truth.

  • Robin

    “Jesus is balance.” Interesting observation. My guess is that if you were present when He said and did the following, that your thought would be “Jesus, that’s just not very balanced!”

    “You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.” Matt. 12:34

    “Jesus entered the temple courts and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. It is written,” he said to them, “‘My house will be called a house of prayer, but you are making it a den of robbers.” Matt. 21:12,13

    Would that there were some today who would do the same.

  • Randy

    I (along with Voris) am not a big fan of Pantheism. I don’t know why it belongs anywhere near an Easter homily. And considering who’s promoting the environmentalist message, it’s about much more than just environmental stewardship, and even that is not a topic for Easter. I watch Voris’ clips, and find very little to disagree with.

  • GEORGE KADLEC

    I personally believe Voris is an Orthodox Catholic and speaks the truth. Challenge what he says. Is he factual? I find him to be factual.

    Some quotes:

    G. K. Chesterton:

    “There are an infinite number of ways to fall, but there is only one way to stand.”

    “I believe in getting into hot water; it keeps you clean.”

    “Be careful not to be so open-minded that your brains fall out.”

    “I want a church that moves the world not one that moves with it”

    (Matt 13:27-30). How would we be sifted?

    Do not think that I have come to bring peace upon the earth. I have come to bring not peace but the sword. For I have come to set a man ‘against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and one’s enemies will be those of his household. (Matt 10:34-36)

    George Orwell stated “During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.”

    Hillaire Belloc stated “It is a nice question whether ignorance or stupidity play the greater part in human affairs.”

    St. Athanasius is the first recognized Doctor of the Church and has the title “Father of Orthodoxy.” The following quote has been attributed to him “The floor of hell is paved with the skulls of Bishops.”

    And finally, a LifeSiteNews reader sent us this excerpt from an address by Archbishop Fulton Sheen to the Supreme Convention of the Knights of Columbus in June 1972, “Who is going to save our Church? Not our bishops, not our priests and religious. It is up to you, the people. You have the minds, the eyes, and the ears to save the Church. Your mission is to see that your priests act like priests, your bishops act like bishops, and your religious act like religious.”

    Do our Bishops act like Bishops? How many of them authorize communion to pro-abortion politicians? How many so called Catholics vote the Democratic Party ticket and go to Holy Communion? Does a person think they can vote for abortion, homosexual marriage, fetal stem cell research, etc. and consider themselves a practicing Catholic? To claim to be a Catholic Democrat is akin to saying one could be a Catholic Nazi.

  • http://stubbornfacts.us Simon

    Karen, I don’t want to pick on you because your comment reflects a pervasive error among those criticizing the Anchoress’ post, but I have to ask: Do you not understand how parishes get that way? If all the conservatives leave Parish X, just who do you suppose will be handling that parish’s RCIA program (and its liturgy committee, musical choices, etc.)? You say that a parish is so liberal that you “would absolutely not have wanted my Catholic formation to occur there”; doesn’t it occur to you that those converts who are less sophisticated than you will not know the difference, and will soak up every drop of that heresy in the mistaken belief that it is the faith? If I think “liberal Catholicism” is fundamentally defective, how does it keep my brother if I and those who agree with me retreat to our keeps of a few conservative parishes, abandoning new converts to be hoovered up by the liberal parishes?

    Voris’ remedy, sadly supported by many comments above, is ultimately damaging to the agenda that he supports, and which I also support to a great extent. He means well, and many of his videos are helpful. This one isn’t.

  • Mike Malone

    Comparing Michael Voris and Fr. Pfleger is rediculous and I suspect no accident. It appears to me that Elizabeth is trying to marginalize Michael Voris.

    Let’s look at Fr. Pfleger….he subscribes to Liberation Theology; he has been openly disobedient and disrespectful to Cardinal George; he made and outrageous on stage appearances with Rev. Jeremiah Write and Louis Farrakhan; he has put on liturgies that certainly don’t comport with the General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM); he has publicly supported female ordination and he was subsequently forced to recant and apologize by Cardinal George; he later publicly reversed his apology; he is openly defying Church authority; he is threatening to leave the Church if he doesn’t get his way.

    Let’s look at Michael Voris…he is the photo opposite of Fr. Pfleger; he opposes every single point made above about Fr. Pfleger; He is very outspoken in his criticism of bishops, priests, the USCCB for their failure to defend the faith against public scandal spread by public figures who support abortion while all the time declaring they are faithful Catholics; he calls attention to liturgical abuses; he exposes clerics who teach or oppose Church teachings on abortion, contraception, homosexual marriage etc.; he produces programming that meticulously adheres to Scripture, Church doctrine and Magesterium teachings on these same subjects; he is a loud, plain spoken Catholic who is no longer sitting on his hands in the face of so much ‘junk’ Catholicism but seeking out abuses and shining a light on them.

    So with respect to the ‘Earth Day’ controversy Elizabeth chose to vilify Voris by comparing him to Fr. Pfleger….trying to marginalize him by saying he is as extreme as Pfleger. What hogwash! I think it is telling the Elizabeth didn’t say a word in opposition to using Easter Homilies to advance the ‘save the trees’ cranks instead of talking about the most amazing and miraculous event that has ever occurred. I think it is also telling that no-one attacks Voris over his religious content but snarl and snap at his heels over minutia.

    As for Michael Voris……it’s about time somebody stands up for the authentic faith and takes on the so-called Catholic bloggers and dripping liberal secular progressive relativists who want to fashion a Church based on pop-culture……I wonder is Elizabeth such a person? Sounds like it to me.

    Ain’t no talking to a priest that would give a homily about Earth Day on Easter Sunday….time to pick up your chips and find a ‘Catholic Parish’.

  • Georgia

    Anchoress, Should faithful Catholics also call Cardinal Burke a Catholic Gasbag? Have you read the many recent words of Cardinal Burke asking the the faithful to speak up and defend the faith? Would it make any difference for you to know that Cardinal Burke personally blessed the studio of Real Catholic TV and that Cardinal Burke supports the work being done at Real Catholic TV? I think you owe an apology for your own wolf-like Lenten attack. Please take the time and call the Real Catholic TV studio and ask if this is true. Maybe you can apologize to them also.

  • Michael

    Michael Voris is a good Catholic who tries his best to help others through the media. And I completely agree with him. If a parish is talking about global warming and not Christ on EASTER I would run away from that parish an the priests who staff it.
    How’s this, watch some of the stuff on RealCatholicTV.com that isn’t related to politics and heterodox priests.

  • http://whiterosebrian.deviantart.com Brian A Cook

    Sometime I might write to Cardinal Burke and voice my concerns about Michael Voris, especially the promotion of “benevolent dictatorship”.

  • jcd

    “Voris strikes me as a wolf in sheeps clothing”?
    Can you say anything good about him?
    An “extremist”? Jesus does not care for lukewarm: “the balanced”who are neither hot nor cold.
    I think your comments are very unfair and unkind.
    I think that you should write something kind about him.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01429351174719821413 Noah Moerbeek

    It seems funny to cast a stone against two men who have opinions and then proceed to share your own.

  • marieteresa

    Mike Malone: Very well said!
    Thank you Mike for a superbly articulate observation and defense of Mr. Voris and of our true Faith. I am sure you speak for hundreds us in regard to the demonizing of Mr. Voris.

  • James

    Amen Mike! very well said.

  • sam

    To publicize scandals is a sin. Why do you keep these tawdry scandals before the eyes of the public – Catholic and non-Catholic?
    It does nothing for the good of anyone. If you really are concerned about these things, and not keen on posting an “interesting” blog, you would find a way to do something positive w/the information. Repeating scandal is still sinful even if you are a blogger because you are contributing to the spread of it, informing those who do not know of it or the details, keeping the stories alive in the minds of all who dare to read your blog. It think your priorities need to be looked at for newsworthy items as a Catholic blogger.

  • Young Canadian RC Male

    Elizabeth, close the comments on this blog. This is getting really heated and I’m disgusted with the cleverly worded ad hominem attacks on you and others, personally because you do not subscrive to the “Voris camp”. No wonder Catholic Answers banned anything to do with Voris for a while.

    Mark Shea is right: “Don’t put a mitre on the head of any loudmouth in the blogosphere or Catholic media, especially me. A gaggle of apologists and bigmouths like me is not the Magisterium!”

    If there is anybody to defend vigourously and bleed for, its Pope Benedict XVI, our Holy Father.

  • http://N/A Eric den Biesen

    “Do not think that I come to bring the peace upon earth: I came not to send peace but the sword. For I come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and the man’s enemies shall be they of his own household. He, who loves father or mother more than Me, is not worthy of Me; and he, who loves son or daughter more than Me, is not worthy of Me. And he, who does not take up his cross and follow Me, is not worthy of Me” (Matthew 10: 34-38)

    ***********************************************

    Jesus was NOT about balance. The above quote from the
    bible illustrates that. Michael Voris is a member of the
    Church Militant. The Church of ‘Nice’ and ‘Peace’ has been
    tried for the past 40 years. Look where it’s gotten us. Maybe
    a bit of the ‘Militant’ part of the Church is called for at this\
    time.

  • momor

    When I read these comments about this bad bishop and this good bishop and it’s time to speak up and out it always calls to mind the words of Our Lady of Akita:

    “The work of the devil will infiltrate even into the Church in such a way that one will see cardinals opposing cardinals, bishops against other bishops. The priests who venerate me will be scorned and opposed by their confreres … churches and altars sacked; the Church will be full of those who accept compromises and the demon will press many priests and consecrated souls to leave the service of the Lord….”

    I’m afraid this is where we are headed. I think Our Lady’s call to pray, especially the rosary, is the first thing we should do before supporting any polarizing activism. The Holy Spirit is quite capable of protecting our Church and cleansing it of heresies and abuses. I suggest turning to that source rather than ourselves.

  • Young American RC Female

    sam…Pope Gregory said, “It is better for scandals to arise than the Truth be suppressed.” Sorry Young Canadian RC Male. What did Jesus say about the lukewarm? Are you now accusing Cardinal Burke of supporting something contrary to the Holy Father? Maybe you should close down your uncharitable and transparent attempt to silence Real Catholic TV.

  • Byzcat

    DC Scott: Jesus himself used a bit of hyperbole at times to make a point. It is not hyperbole to point out that we are in the midst of a mass falling away from the Faith, that seminaries are mostly empty, that many parishes spend much more time and money building new community centers than they do in spreading the gospel, that Satan is using the cafeteria Cahtolics to undermine the Church, and that the Bishops in the US as a whole have been asleep on the job. I don’t blame all Bishops, and the lukewarm laity have much to be held accountable for as well. What I do take issue with is Catholic Bloggers like Anchoress who try to characterize orthodox Catholics as somehow “right wing”. This is nonsense. There is no “right wing-left wing”. It is a false dichotomy. There is orthodxy and heterodoxy. Remember Athanasius (previously mentioned). He, of all the Eastern Bishops, was virtually alone in battling the Arian heresy in the Church. My point is that God will raise up a minority, a remnant, that will remain faithful to Him and preach the Gospel. Voris is certainly playing this role.
    I take issue with your criticism without having listened to Voris. He is a staunch defender of orthodoxy in the Church. It is good to have someone remind us of the reality of the four last things, and to have someone periodically point out our failings, to tell us that sin has consequences. He does this most effectively. The Old Testament prophets did the same thing. It is not surprising that Voris would be criticized by the mushy middle. Before you comment on Voris and the spurious criticism leveld by Anchoress, you should visit their Youtube channel and listen to a few of his talks.

  • William

    Anchoress, you do great dis-service to Michael Voris who is giving much good and necessary service to Holy Church. Some where in Sacred Writ there’s mention of the Lord spewing the lukewarm from His mouth. Mike Voris Rocks!

  • Barbara Peters

    “Church Militant?” Has anyone here actually read Matthew, Mark, Luke and John? Does anyone here remember the Beatitudes…you know “Blessed are the poor in spirit?” Blessed are the meek?” You see everyone else’s sin but never your own. Don’t you realize that every time you say “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us” you are praying that God will judge and treat you the way you have judged and treated others? Do you feel comfortable with that? I do not know Father Pflegar or the way he administers his parish but I do know that the parish is located in a tough inner city neighborhood in Chicago – how many of you have devoted your lives to bringing the body of Christ to such a place? Woe to you Pharisees.

  • Ann

    I think the letter to the priests encouraging them to promote earth day on Easter shows utter contempt for Catholicism. If a priest accepts the suggestion, maybe even uses their homily tips,
    he is demonstrating that he has lost a Catholic sensibility and can’t tell when someone has spit in the face of Catholicism or that he so disdains his parishioners that he thinks all they can understand is earth day stuff. Either stance is horrid but there will be some priests who will comply. This would be true sacrilege.

    We don’t need Hollywood or Washington to teach us about the earth and Easter: Jesus brings new life to human flesh and to all creation. This is our highest feast day. Why minimalize
    the secular threat to us?

  • Karen LH

    @Simon,

    I understand your point, but a Catholic’s first priority has to be his own spiritual well-being. It’s wrong to put the health of the parish — as important as that may be — before that. The transfer out of our geographical parish was not done for frivolous reasons. It really was pretty bad.

  • truefix

    I have a lot to say about Michael Voris, but I will only say a few things…I truly love Michael and the people at St Michael’s media. They have done such a wonderful service for our Lord and Savior. The material they produce is polished and holds true to the teachings of the Catholic church. Michael Voris doesn’t pretend to be anything but what a catholic is called to be and that is::: Love your faith-Evangelize the faith-Challenge Catholics to be Catholics-Provide a path for fellow brothers and sisters to follow via charitable and devotional work (With out recognition) -Speak the truth and hold all fellow Christians accountable for their actions (Another form of charity). Most people here don’t know Michael Voris and the ones that do…love him. I would comment on this article, but enough people already called Elizabeth Scalia out, so I find no need to add anything further……God bless you all and God bless Real Catholic Tv!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Dan Buckley

    Once upon a time a layman, Eusebius by name, disagreed with a sermon given by his bishop. The bishop was not just any bishop, but the Patriarch of Constantinople, one who wore a mitre. His name was Nestorius.
    Thank God for dedicated laymen.

  • Mark P. Shea

    Clearly, any priest who mentions Earth Day in a homily is the theological equivalent of Nestorius and anybody who urges the faithful to storm out of the parish in a huff is a saint like Eusebius. Unanswerable logic.

    So good to have some guy with a web cam to save us from our enemies, the priests and bishops of the Catholic Church.

  • http://whiterosebrian.deviantart.com Brian A Cook

    That’s it, I’m out of this thread.

  • http://www.realcommongood.wordpress.com Steven Yde

    Funny how we ALL judge, Ms. Scalia and me are no exception. I take great issue with you for vilifying Voris as a wolf and only commenting on one of the multitude of vile filth from Pflager seems unbalanced verging on the ridiculous. We are called to be the Church Militant and save men’s souls. This is NO easy matter and Christ does not call us to be NICE, but rather stand in face of EVIL. I have felt very uncomfortable with the political correctness and nudging to the left that has occurred in the Church since my childhood and I am absolutely thrilled that men like Voris, as well as many priests and Bishops, have found a pair and are finally standing up for the TRUTH. No they are not on the right, but the RIGHTEOUS. These men, as I, are only human and we will sin, but that does not mean their cause is and will not continue to be Righteous. Mistakes are always made, but that does not justify sliding back towards the social collective kumbaya heresy. Those that are uncomfortable with the TRUTH need not hear it by simply tuing out, but do so at your own peril. The left has no stomach for the “hard” part of being Catholic. You are right about one thing, though, and only one, the Church is NOT a democracy. It the Universal Church of Jesus Christ or Savior and it is waking up in the United States from 4 decades of hand ringing. God Bless Pope Benedict for the reforms he has brought in the Church in America. PS. Democracy is EVIL – if you understand the true meaning of the word.

  • Speck

    “So good to have some guy with a web cam to save us from our enemies, the priests and bishops of the Catholic Church.”

    Mr. Shea… didn’t you used to label many of your posts about bishops with “episicipol spine alert”?

    You’ve certainly called out archbishops before:
    http://markshea.blogspot.com/2009/05/lousy-bishop-wants-to-talk-about.html

    http://markshea.blogspot.com/2010/11/so-bp-kicanas-responded.html

    You’ve certainly criticisized archbiships’ approaches:
    http://markshea.blogspot.com/2011/04/true-eminence.html

    Not sure why you get in such a huff when Michael Voris does the same thing. Take a break from being the Official Catholic Blogsphere Civility Sheriff. I’m done with this thread also.

  • Mike

    I respectfully disagree with the Anchoress’ post.

    Fr. Pfleger is a hard leftist heretic who should be defrocked. His disgusting ‘sermon’ in Rev. Wright’s church is reason enough to remove him from the priesthood, not to mention his other heresy. He is an archetype of those who would destroy the church from within.

    Michael Voris is the anthesis of Pflager. Voris defends the church and orthodoxy. He rightfully encourages faithful Catholics to speak out against Bishops who fail to enforce or who even contradict Church teaching. He is a courageous man who loves the Lord and the Church.

    And you (Anchoress) should be ashamed of the rhetorical tactic you used to attack Voris. It’s a tactic particularly popular on the left. You (mildly but correctly) criticize some leftist nut for egregious behavior, and then try to equate perfectly acceptable behavior of someone critical of the left in order to argue that ‘both sides are wrong’.

    Pflager is wrong. Voris is right. And you need to understand the difference.

  • TerryC

    No Mr. Shea, the guy with the web cam is attempting to follow the call of Christ to save us from the snares of the Devil.
    First about leaving a heretical parish. As the head of the domestic church a father must determine if the faith is being taught at the parish church to which he is bringing his family. If the parish priest and ministers are not following the Magisterial teachings of the Church it is his responsibility to move his family to one that does. This is not “leaving the parish in a huff,” it is seeing to the spiritual well-being of those under his protection.
    Second, have you not been paying attention? For decades most of the bishops turned a blind eye to their own charity funding organizations which support immoral practices, such as contraception and abortion. This continued to occur even when they were informed this was happening.
    Some bishops hid abusers. Others actually engaged in abuse, or other immoral acts themselves. They have still failed as a group to admit that the abuse problem was in great measure a homosexual problem, and that it was overwhelmingly limited to the clergy, not the laity, something that the vast number of Virtus courses which lay volunteers must endure, fails to even mention.
    We won’t even talk about how many bishops have thrown the vast majority of innocent priests under the bus based on false accusations, in an effort to protect Church assets. The opposite pendulum swing from the earlier cover ups, and no more Christian in origin that the hiding of abuser priest were.
    As a group they have failed, at least in the United States, to clearly and forthrightly inform the laity that it is wrong for individuals who support abortion to present themselves for Communion, and take action when such individuals insist on presenting themselves anyway, often out of political motives. They have failed to state that it is immoral to support politicians who vote for abortion and take money from organizations who promote, and even perform abortions.
    As for the subject of Earth Day, last year our priest, a good and holy man, included in our bulletin a blurb on the environment with a link to a web page. It came from a flier sent to the parish from the USCCB. I checked the site out. Listed as supporters for the particular initiative were all the usual suspects of left-wing, heretical “Catholic” organizations, from the National “Catholic” Reporter to the “Catholic” Health Association. Many of the other organizations, on their own sites, had links to zero population sites, pro-abortion sites, etc.
    When I brought it to his attention his answer was “Well it must be alright, after all the bishops are supporting it.”
    How do you counteract that?
    Mr. Voris is an in your face commentator. His methods are not applicable in all instances, to all listeners. This shouldn’t be a surprise. You don’t deal with a politician who has supported abortion for twenty years the same way you deal with a teenage girl about to enter an abortion clinic. Their positions are not equivalent. The state of their souls is not equivalent.
    The bishops (and members of the laity) to whom Mr. Voris is addressing his words are not the Raymond Cardinal Burkes or the Mark Sheas, or even the Anchoresses. The bishops he is criticizing are ones to whom a strong word is necessary. His rebukes, I believe are examples of the Spiritual Works of Mercy. No one wants to be rebuked, not even out of love. For I don’t believe that one can love the Church and not love its errant members.
    Love isn’t always being “nice.” It’s not “nice” to tell your child you won’t enable some sinful behavior. It’s not “nice” to tell a partner you won’t cover up some immoral practice. But it can be a sign of love.

  • Elizabeth Scalia

    Yes, we’ve seen all sorts of “signs of love” in this thread, and now that everyone has had a chance to air their views I am going to close it, for the weekend, possibly for all of Holy Week, and perhaps even past that. May the sacrifice our of beautiful, suffering savior and our remembrances of his sorrowful passion teach us about mercy, humility and how utterly dependent we are upon him in the Holy Eucharist. May His light and clarity reach into our souls and melt our barriers and cleanse our faults.

    Those of you who have offered prayers for my son, please know my gratitude is immense, and I pray God blesses you for your charity and your generosity of spirit.


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