The Voris Brouhaha

Because I’m having trouble keeping up with almost everything, right now, I am late to this story, which the deacon picked up last night, to whit:

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

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

Voris told CNA on August 16 that he had “no idea” his nonprofit corporation St. Michael’s Media had been automatically dissolved in 2009 after failing to file records with the state for two years. […]
Voris, President and CEO of Real Catholic TV, was equally surprised by evidence showing that his staff apologist and program host Simon Rafe – who is the webmaster at St. Michael’s Media, and co-authored its “Saint Michael’s Basic Training” apologetics course – had also written the “adult” role-playing game “Castle Dracula,” and fan-fiction depicting homosexuality in the Star Wars universe.

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

I believe him. I think the guy is in Madrid, trying to do his thing, and he was sideswiped with this news, and is stunned to learn it.

And I take exception to the “gotcha”-breathlessness of the article. Papers weren’t filed? Oh noes! Human imagination created a gay character in outer-space? We’re all gonna die!

This is why every media outlet has “talent” and “suits”
— the “talent” keeps everyone watching/thinking/talking and the “suits” make sure the money’s collected, the books balance, the appropriate papers are filed and the paychecks go out. If Voris is the founder and CEO of the company, I’m not sure he’s the one who is supposed to keep track of filings. Someone surely dropped the ball, but these things happen, and I’m sure the mistake will be quickly rectified.

Some of us are very bad with paperwork. I’d call this a tempest in a teapot.

This bit with Simon Rafe’s Dracula game is dicier:

As recently as August 15, the website batcave.co.uk hosted the text of “Castle Dracula: A Tunnels & Trolls Solo Adventure by Simon Rafe.” Signed and dated “Simon ‘The Darknight’ Rafe, Baptism of Our Lord, 2010,” the work contains a paragraph vividly describing a sexual encounter with “a beautiful Elven woman” revealed to be “Asrel, the goddess of love, life, health, healing, beauty and sex.”

Rafe gives the player a series of options in the scenario: “If you would like strength and vitality, turn to 70. If you would like health and life, turn to 383. If you would like true love, turn to 467. If you would like sex appeal, turn to 203. If you would like sexual potency, turn to 366. If you would like make love to the goddess (even if you are female – Asrel is an equal-opportunity lover!), turn to 11.”

A domain name registry search showed that Simon Rafe, working from the physical address of St. Michael’s Media, used the e-mail address “darknight@batcave.co.uk” to register at least one domain name. It was for a Catholic organization whose stated aim was to oppose “promotion of heresy in many Catholic educational establishments and other venues which should be a source of Catholic orthodoxy.”

Well, if the dude was writing and playing video games on company stuff, on company time, that’s certainly got to be looked into. By videogame standards this seems fairly tame — from what I understand of these sorts of role-playing things, there is all sorts of vicarious-living going on within them, some of it much worse than an “equal opportunity goddess” in outerspace. It’s kind of sad, really, and — I suspect — disorienting to one’s perceptions of oneself; disorienting to the spirit.

The game is a work of imagination, and goodness knows, our individual imaginings can become much more lurid than what is described here — thank you, Lord Jesus Christ, for your mercy and your gift of the sacrament of confession.

That said, anytime we create scenarios like this, we risk not only losing control of our own imaginings but also tempting others into sin, as well — and that is a valid concern. As with a pebble tossed into a pond, our sins ripple outward, to ends and effects we cannot know or control. People laugh at Catholics who guard themselves against “occasions of sin” but when we don’t, we put our souls at risk, and the souls of all we invite along for the ride.

Rafe has acknowledged this error, and he says he’s confessed it with true contrition. Whether he resigns, or Voris decides to fire him or forgive him makes no nevermind to me.

It’s true that I sometimes disagree with Voris; just as often I actually do appreciate something he says but am put-off by his methods.

He’s not my cup of tea. So, what? There’s one body, with many parts, and we’re both doing our things. I don’t have to like how Voris works, and he doesn’t have to like how I work. But I think he’s an honest fellow who has been blindsided, here. I am confident that Voris will do whatever needs to be done to set things right, in this ugly little story. I’m just sad the story broke in time to distract from good things happening at WYD

Mark Shea is also writing on this. Of course he is a famous “Voris-hater” so obviously he’s going to be leading a charge, or something, right? Heh.

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About Elizabeth Scalia