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.

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • http://laudemgloriae.blogspot.com Christine

    Elizabeth,
    Thanks for this balanced and kind assessment. I read Simon Rafe’s apology, and I have no reason to doubt his sincerity.

    “He who is without sin, cast the first stone.”

  • http://catholicsensibility.wordpress.com/ Todd Flowerday

    Mr Voris is also not my cup of tea. Two years ago, I attended a conference at which he spoke. The mother of a close friend approached him during a break and questioned him on one or two of his more strident points. During the next session he all but called her out (but not naming her) as a heretic–his word, not mine.

    This is another example of the hermeneutic of subtraction, and alas, Mr Voris and his effort live by the passions of tearing others down.

    It’s actually a mystery why this should sully WYD. He’s not an official part of it, right? Just another pilgrim, though a bit over age.

  • John

    I have had my issues with how Voris presents the faith, but that was a pretty lousy piece of journalism on the part of CNA.

  • 843058653

    You know, this was a very good point:

    “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!”

    Mistakes were made. Heartfelt mea culpa issued. Whether one likes Mr Voris or not…as Catholics we forgive, forget, and move along.

    Thank you for the balanced assessment, Elizabeth.

  • jcd

    As you know, (WDTPRS.com) Fr.Z is also under attack.
    http://hermeneutic-of-continuity.blogspot.com/2011/08/fr-z-under-attack.html

  • http://laudemgloriae.blogspot.com Christine

    Todd: Voris isn’t here to defend himself from your charge, which may or may not be accurate. I also find your claim that “Mr Voris and his effort live by the passions of tearing others down” to be totally inaccurate. I’ve watched many of his videos, and he is quick to praise bishops who defend the faith, as well as offer encouragement to the faithful.

  • jcd
  • http://defend-us-in-battle.blogspot.com Joseph K

    Ms. Scalia:

    I am grateful for your objective and level headed response to this. Not that I am shocked, or would expect otherwise, I just think that with your criticism regarding RCTV in the past, you speak volumes to the fact that you are attempting to speak truth and not serve some agenda.

    You have shown me why I continue to read you, even when at times I disagree with you.

    I couldn’t agree more that the timing and the “gotcha-esque” manner in which this article was written is a low. This wasn’t something that just popped up. It is clear from the article that this was something that was known, investigated, compiled and then popped on RCTV the day before their event in Madrid.

    How does that forward the cause of the faith?

    Thank you again, and let us not forget that we are an imperfect bunch trying to spread a perfect message.

  • Joe

    The most interesting thing about this is that the article came – not from the NC Reporter but from CNA – owned by EWTN now.

    [NCR -- National Catholic Register -- was taken over by EWTN. Not CNA. -admin]

  • rudy

    I don’t think CNA is owned by EWTN which does own Catholic Register. I could be wrong.

    In any case, I agree that this is a “hit” article with a lot of malicious intent. I guess it was intended to start a Catholic Cannibal Festival a la Corapi. But I think this time it will the “bomb” will explode in their faces instead of in the intended target. Wow, welcome to Catholic Christian fellowship.

  • Darknight

    Thank you. I must admit I cannot and will not agree with the somewhat dismissive tone of the portions of this post which address my sinful behavior (I would not, under any circumstances, wish to give the impression I was ever making light of what was a terrible lapse of judgment).

    However, I am very grateful indeed for the acceptance of my apology from many. I am deeply sorry and I pray that people are not widely scandalized by my sinful error.

    I humbly ask for forgiveness and prayers.

    [I don't think I was dismissive; I did a whole thing about occasions of sin and how seriously we put ourselves and others at risk when we lose custody of our imagination, and I have written and spoken many times about the especially disorienting power of the internet in these matters -- even linked to one of those talks in the piece. I do not believe in hysteria, which to my mind exhibits a lack of trust that in the end all things work to God's purposes, so I don't get the vapors at every hint of sexual sin; it's probably our most powerful temptation and our most common lapse. I do, however, believe in mercy, and so I don't trouble myself too much about the sins of others -- especially when contrition has been expressed. I'm too busy with my own sins, and too much in need of mercy, myself. -admin]

  • http://www.realcatholictv.com Simon Rafe

    The above post was personal, not in my capacity as what I post as now.

    “Two years ago, I attended a conference at which he spoke. The mother of a close friend approached him during a break and questioned him on one or two of his more strident points. During the next session he all but called her out (but not naming her) as a heretic–his word, not mine.”

    I was at that conference (assuming it is the same one, which I think it is as I have heard this story several times).

    The “strident point” the lady took objection to was the reality of Satan as a personal force. The lady took objection to this, saying Satan was not real. Michael pulled out the catechism and showed her the portion of the catechism dealing with it. She said she didn’t care and didn’t believe it. There were other issues of teaching she disagreed with, too, I believe.

    Michael called her a heretic; one who rejects a teaching of the faith.

    He then used this recent example to show that, yes, there are people who will deny truths of the faith and still claim to be Catholic.

    That might not be everyone’s cup of tea, and it might be really impolite to say “Then you’re a heretic!” right to someone’s face (I admit, I winced – it’s a technical term and one that should not be thrown around lightly. I don’t think it was used lightly, but a case could be made that the term might not be completely appropriate.

    In any case, this lady did not object to a strident point – she objected to a teaching of the Church.

    Heresy is not a nice word. It is also not a nice thing.

  • Deacon Greg Kandra

    FWIW: CNA has a partnership with EWTN, and they use many of the same resources. (And you’ll sometimes see CNA/EWTN listed as the news source on stories.) I get the impression that they would like to become an alternative to CNS (Catholic News Service), which is an arm of the USCCB.

    Deacon Greg

    [Thanks - I wasn't aware of that. EWTN certainly has got a long reach! -admin]

  • James

    Catholics advocating homosexuality? – meh

    Priests advocating homosexuality? – meh

    Catholics promoting the destruction of marriage? – meh

    Women ordaining themselves as “priests”? – meh

    Catholics advocating abortion? – meh

    Catholics advocating euthanasia? – meh

    Catholics advocating birth control? – *yawn*

    Catholics openly advocating socialism? – meh

    Catholics advocating anti-subsidiarity? – meh

    OMG!!! DID YOU HEAR ABOUT THAT CRAZY MICHAEL VORIS AND HIS CRAZY HYPOCRITICAL GROUP THAT PROMOTES “ORTHODOXY”?!!!

    ————-

    Yeah, we live in strange times.

    “These are the days when the Christian is expected to praise every creed except his own.” – G.K.Chesterton

    [Who are you directing that at, James? Are you accusing me of heterodoxy?-admin]

  • http://bethann231@sbcglobal.com Bethann

    I just have to say that nowhere… NOWHERE have I seen such kindness toward fellow Catholics who are just trying to do the right thing and build up the body of Christ. Bloggers usually tear one another apart at any misstep, and Catholics ladies seem to be at their catty worst when they blog.

    You, my dear, are a class act. Thank God for you.

    [Well, please don't praise me too highly. I'm not much of a lady, and when I feel the need to voice disagreement with Voris or his methods, I do so. My experience with Catholic bloggers, male and female, is quite different than your description, here. Catholic comboxes are another story! :-) admin]

  • Jeff Stevens

    James, almost no one I have read who even knows Michael Voris’ name is anything but terribly scandalized by all those things and soundly condemns them. Your dichotomy is, quite simply, not accurate.

    I believe that Voris does far more harm than good (for an example, see his sickening “Knights of Columbus” video), but this is a tempest in a teapot.

    [I haven't seen the Knights video -- does anyone have a link? I saw the Amazing Grace one, which I thought was just a time-waster for all involved, including myself for watching. -admin]

  • http://www.catholicvote.org Patrick Thornton

    Ms. Scalia,

    I posted this also in Mark Shea’s combox, but I think it fits here as well. Aside from whether or not Mr. Voris knew about his employee’s shady dealings (I assume he did not). I think the bigger issue is that people seem to be assuming that his organization (RealCatholicTV) is a non-profit. But this does not appear to be the case.

    It might be helpful to note that RealCatholicTV does not seem to operate as a non-profit. RealCatholicTV is a registered DBA name for Concept Communication LLC which is a limited liability company owned solely by Michael Voris. That means any donations made to “RealCatholicTV” are “donations” to a for-profit enterprise owned by Michael Voris.

    The fact that St. Michael’s Media has desolved doesn’t really matter because that’s not where the money appears to go anyway. The money generated by clicking “DONATE” on the RealCatholicTV website ties to “RealCatholicTV” on Paypal which is not a registered DBA for St. Michael’s Media, it’s a registered DBA for Concept Communication (Michael Voris).

    Hmmm…Now where have I heard of another Catholic speaker whose ministry was a for-profit enterprise?

    [Hi Patrick - this is all news to me, obviously. What are your sources for this? Maybe it's all over the 'net and I haven't seen it -- I've been all nose-to-the-grindstone over here, so if it's more commonly known than I realize, I apologize. -admin]

  • James

    [Who are you directing that at, James? Are you accusing me of heterodoxy?-admin]

    No Anchoress. I actually think you’ve done a pretty fair job with this story.

  • James

    (Jeff Stevens said – “James, almost no one I have read who even knows Michael Voris’ name is anything but terribly scandalized by all those things and soundly condemns them. Your dichotomy is, quite simply, not accurate.”)

    There are plenty of Liberal Catholics who promote any number of those things. And yet- where is the outrage? Where is the media coverage?

    (“I believe that Voris does far more harm than good (for an example, see his sickening “Knights of Columbus” video), but this is a tempest in a teapot.”)

    And I think there are plenty of Liberal Clergy members and Liberal Catholic politicians who do far more harm. But of course- where’s the outrage towards them?

  • Jeff Stevens

    Elizabeth,

    Here’s the link to Voris’ video about the Knights of Columbus:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZZduFsbwN84

  • James

    (Jeff Stevens – “I believe that Voris does far more harm than good (for an example, see his sickening “Knights of Columbus” video”)

    I’ve never seen it. What was so sickening about it?

  • http://www.catholicvote.org Patrick Thornton

    Elizabeth,

    It’s not commonly known as far as I know.

    It’s something I looked into for a story a few weeks ago, and now it seems especially pertinent.

    [Well, it seems to me if you're going to make these sorts of charges, you need to be able to back them up with sources; I'm not about to allow my site to become exposed to charges of slander, so if you have such sources, would you mind sharing them? -admin]

  • James

    I just watched The ‘Knights of Columbus’ video Jeff and I heard nothing that was out of line.

    Which leads to the ultimate question here:

    Does the title “Roman Catholic” mean anything anymore?

  • Jeff Stevens

    James – “There are plenty of Liberal Catholics who promote any number of those things. And yet- where is the outrage? Where is the media coverage?”

    Where’s the outrage? Have you read this blog? That of a thousand other orthodox Catholics? The forum postings of tens of thousands of orthodox Catholics? We’re all scandalized by those liberal Catholics and we’re absolutely speaking out about it. Our priests are speaking out about it, our bishops are speaking out about it. I don’t know how you could have missed it.

  • James

    (Jeff said – “That of a thousand other orthodox Catholics? The forum postings of tens of thousands of orthodox Catholics? We’re all scandalized by those liberal Catholics and we’re absolutely speaking out about it. Our priests are speaking out about it, our bishops are speaking out about it. I don’t know how you could have missed it.”)

    Really? Where can I find these “thousands”?

    Because I can’t think of 20.

    And while you’re at it, explain this:

    New Poll Shows Strong Catholic Support for Gay Rights

    http://www.religiondispatches.org/dispatches/candacechellew-hodge/4417/new_poll_shows_strong_catholic_support_for_gay_rights/

  • James

    Oh and Jeff?

    There’s this:

    POLL: Catholics Similar to Mainstream on Abortion, Stem Cells

    http://www.gallup.com/poll/117154/catholics-similar-mainstream-abortion-stem-cells.aspx

  • http://www.catholicvote.org Patrick Thornton

    Elizabeth,

    I’m not trying to slander anyone.

    Public records for the state of Michigan:

    http://www.dleg.state.mi.us/bcs_corp/sr_corp.asp

    [Heh. I don't know how to use that stuff and, as I've said all week, I am absolutely slammed for time, so if you could post the citations, I'd appreciate it. I do note that the Real Catholic TV site has this note:

    RealCatholicTV.com greatly appreciates any and all donations. Donations and investments allow you to participate in our mission in a very real and substantial way. RealCatholicTV.com is not a non-profit organization and so your donation to RealCatholicTV.com is not tax deductible.

    Then there is a big PAYPAL button. Then a plug for merchandise. Then, below that, one reads this:

    If you wish to make a tax deductible donation, you may do so by donating to Saint Michael's Media, a Catholic television production company who make a number of programs on RealCatholicTV.com. To make a donation to this 501(c)3 company, click here.

    So, clearly the site makes it much easier to donate to the for-profit side of things than the not-for-profit. A big "donate" button is much easier than a link. Also, the first thing you get when you open the site is a recommendation that you "signup" for free content or for a "premium" membership ($10 per month) giving one access to "hundreds of hours" of content.

    I will say the site's lack of enthusiasm for not-for-profit donations may go a ways toward explaining their forgetfulness about filing up-to-date paperwork -- but then I'm Irish, that way. Thanks for the heads up. It does now make me a deal more curious than I was. -admin]

  • http://catholicsensibility.wordpress.com/ Todd

    Well, I suppose Christine must be convinced by now.

    “The ‘strident point’ the lady took objection to was the reality of Satan as a personal force.”

    I’m not aware of this being a talking point of any Christian Creed. Beliefs or speculation about the Evil One are not much concern to many believers who are more focus on virtue, holiness, and Christ.

    “Michael called her a heretic; one who rejects a teaching of the faith.”

    Calling someone a heretic, as he did, is not something the Church easily bandies about, especially as a result of a coffee-break comment.

    “He then used this recent example to show that, yes, there are people who will deny truths of the faith and still claim to be Catholic.”

    Being Catholic is not defined by a perfect adherence to all matters of doctrine, or even morals. People do sin and falter. People even persist in ignorance while professing being a Catholic.

    Mr Voris, for all his internet presence, remains a minor player in the bigger picture of Catholicism, like Fr Corapi and many other controversial figures before him.

    It does have a bit of a taste of justice to have Mr Voris touched by the same type of insinuation, shadow, and attack he seems to relish delivering from his own pulpit. I’m less concerned about the “fortuitous” timing of these revelations. Mr Voris put himself rather prominently in the news lately. It’s not surprising a scandal monger would think, “Hmm, this dude. Let’s nail him.”

    Did Mr Voris go after CCHD in November? Is that bad form too?

  • James

    (Todd – “Being Catholic is not defined by a perfect adherence to all matters of doctrine, or even morals. People do sin and falter. People even persist in ignorance while professing being a Catholic.”)

    Really Todd?

    So does being “Catholic” mean a person can out-right reject the basic precepts of Catholicism such as artificial contraception, abortion, or the grave disordered state of homosexuality?

  • James

    (Todd said – “It does have a bit of a taste of justice to have Mr Voris touched by the same type of insinuation, shadow, and attack he seems to relish delivering from his own pulpit. I’m less concerned about the “fortuitous” timing of these revelations. Mr Voris put himself rather prominently in the news lately. It’s not surprising a scandal monger would think, “Hmm, this dude. Let’s nail him.”)

    So, you bask in schadenfreude when a Catholic who calls for orthodoxy is cast in a bad light, but you remain unconcerned about the obvious rejection of the basic precepts of the Church by a growing number of Catholics.

    Does that about sum up your position?

    Or am I missing something?

  • Rosermarie

    +J.M.J+

    When I was six years old, I was very afraid of Satan, as I suppose many kids are. One day, during an arts and crafts project in (public) school, I started talking out loud about how scared I was of the devil (I can’t remember how the subject came up). As I persisted in expressing my fears, the teacher finally brusquely replied “There is no devil!” (I don’t really blame here; she was probably rightly worried that I was frightening the other kids in my first grade class!)

    That thought felt very consoling at the time, so I decided she was right. For the next four years or so, I didn’t believe in the existence of the devil.

    Granted, I did eventually come to accept that he existed, and I don’t know for sure that my case is anything like that woman’s. Yet if I ever encountered someone who doesn’t “accept the reality of Satan as a personal force,” I’d be interested in finding out exactly why. Is it because she was poorly catechetized? Does she envision the devil as an imp in red pajamas sticking people in the backside with a pitchfork, so she’s really rejecting a silly, cartoonish idea of him? Is it because someone she greatly loved and respected once told her he doesn’t exist and she accepted that? For her to change her mind, then, would be admitting that person was wrong, and for whatever reason she just can’t or won’t do that. Or maybe, like me, she once inordinately feared Satan and so is comforted by the thought of his non-existence? Perhaps Mr Voris’s insistence that there is a devil raised an old specter of fear for her which she then reflexively beat back by firmly insisting that he doesn’t exist.

    I guess what I’m saying is that people don’t necessarily embrace heterodox beliefs out of some kind of malice. They could have other motives, so it’s better to try to uncover those motives and work through them with the person than to make a snap judgment on them based on a discussion during intermission. Like Todd said, the Church does not make such judgments lightly; we should do the same. I’d hate to think she might have been turned off to the Faith by what happened at that conference.

  • James

    (Todd said – “Did Mr Voris go after CCHD in November? Is that bad form too?”)

    Is this bad form Todd?

    Catholic Campaign for Human Development’s Ties Pro-Abortion Group Blasted

    LifeSiteNews – “More startling evidence has been unearthed about the Catholic Campaign for Human development that shows a disturbing pattern of cooperation between the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and groups that advocate abortion and same-sex marriage.

    Two reports, released yesterday by the American Life League (ALL) and Bellarmine Veritas Ministry (BVM), reveal that the Center for Community Change (CCC), an organization recommended for support by the USCCB, has consistently taken positions opposed to the bishops’ teachings on abortion, marriage, contraception, and sexuality.”

    http://www.lifenews.com/2010/02/02/nat-5954/

  • Jason

    I stopped reading CNA a long time ago.

    And it shouldn’t surprise anyone in the “modern” age that people are ruffled by the truth.

    You have Cardinals talking about women priests and there’s no uproar.

    But Michael Voris doesn’t file some paperwork and the heterodox like that hack Mark Shea come out in force.

  • Mark P. Shea

    “But Michael Voris doesn’t file some paperwork and the heterodox like that hack Mark Shea come out in force.”

    Jason:

    You can feel free to sheepishly apologize anytime.

  • mortimerzilch

    I have heard Michael Voris on TV state that his company was a for profit company. He’s said it. It’s not in print on the page.
    But it is clearly a dot com. and he has said it.

  • James

    (Mark P. Shea said – “You can feel free to sheepishly apologize anytime.”)

    You first Mr Shea:

    “Voris’ sole message is “I am the measure of Real Catholicism and those who agree with me have the right to call themselves Catholic, while those who disagree are liars and lukewarm fake Catholics”.

    His method is to begin, not by proclaiming the Faith, but by proclaiming that whoever has been chosen for denunciation in today’s video is a liar whose lies are about to be trapped and exposed. In short, they are the Enemy, the watered-down, the fifth column. This posture of sneering hostility established he then sets to work, inviting the viewer to join him in mocking whatever it is he is going to mock today.” – Mark Shea

    http://markshea.blogspot.com/2011/07/michael-voris-offer-unintelligent-and.html

    [James, none of that makes Shea a "heterodox hack" does it? No, it does not. If Shea is heterodox, then I am too. And I'm not. -admin]

  • http://catholicsensibility.wordpress.com/ Todd

    “Or am I missing something?”

    Yep. Missing something.

  • James

    (Rosermarie said – “I guess what I’m saying is that people don’t necessarily embrace heterodox beliefs out of some kind of malice. They could have other motives…..”)

    Let’s list the possible motives:

    Pride? Selfishness? Stubbornness? Or maybe…yes, Malice?

    The only motive that would not be sinful would be ignorance I suppose. But is that really an excuse in this day and age when the Catechism is right at the touch of a keyboard?

    [Yes, James, ignorance really IS an excuse (and an "invincible" one, in some cases). Faith is a gift; lots of people don't even know they should ask for it. It is the Holy Spirit who prompts us to curiosity and investigation of what and why we believe as we do. For millions of people, that gift has been unasked for, because they don't know they can ask for it, or don't think they need to, either b/c they think heterodoxy is just plain "common sense" or they're trained to see any opinion outside the conventional wisdom as "ignorant" themselves. And that is why mercy matters, and why it is not our place to determine the state of someone else's soul. Jesus himself said that in the end there are going to be lots of surprising people making it into heaven while the ones who figured themselves shoo-ins stood outside saying, "hey!" The other day you said that don't know all you do not know. That's a good start. The problem with hanging out in the Catholic ghetto is that you start to believe that it's a pretty simple world, and everything is pretty black and white. In truth, our faith is a tremendous invitation to light, and the path there, while direct, is nuanced as all get-out. It is thoughtless to simply say "anyone can find out the truth by using their keyboards." In this age of relativism, it's really not that simple. Justice is important, but it is ultimately God's to mete out. Our job is more about mercy. And please don't tell me Jesus got the knotted cord out in the temple. He did that with an authority none of us possess. He never told any of us to use it. From us, mercy, mercy, mercy. -admin]

  • James

    (Todd said – “Yep. Missing something.”)

    Like what?

  • Young Canadian RC Male

    OKay James, I’ve seen enough. I’m calling you out as a “die-hard” Voris supporter and one who detests anybody who invalidly or validly criticises your idol. Now are you or are you not?

  • James

    [James, none of that makes Shea a "heterodox hack" does it? No, it does not. If Shea is heterodox, then I am too. And I'm not. -admin]

    Well first of all Anchoress, you didn’t say this:

    Shea said – “Voris’ sole message is “I am the measure of Real Catholicism and those who agree with me have the right to call themselves Catholic, while those who disagree are liars and lukewarm fake Catholics”.

    In the corresponding video Voris is clearly stating historical fact about a Protestant song and it’s relevance to the Catholic Church’s precepts that are clearly stated in the Catechism.

    Which begs the question: Is a Catholic who rejects the basic precepts of Catholicism really a Catholic?

    [Well, first off, Shea's description is correct. Whether he "means" to or not, Voris often does make it sound like he's the arbiter of all things "real" Catholic, and anyone who disagrees with him is a heretic who ought to be run out of the church. That would be news to, say...Pope Benedict. As to the video, I recall there were more than one article written suggesting that Voris made his argument from a very narrow perspective. My own feeling was that complaining about Catholics "dressing Protestant" -- among other bits of the rant -- was just silly and overreaching demagoguery. And yes, he did go rather narrow with the song, carrying on about "how precious did that grace appear, the hour I first believed". It appeared freaking precious to me, the hour I first realized that I believed with my whole heart, and was saved and forgiven, I can tell you that, regardless of when the grace was bestowed.

    It was, in the end, a silly and extreme fight -- and one, let me warn you, I'm not going to host and have rehashed HERE, so you're warned -- and I really don't think we get to determine who is or is not a "real" Catholic by virtue of whether or not they like a Protestant hymn at mass. I hope to have the thing sung at my funeral. You can come. If you call me heterodox when my sons begin to play it on their guitar and their sax...I will haunt you forever! :-) -admin]

  • James

    (“OKay James, I’ve seen enough. I’m calling you out as a “die-hard” Voris supporter and one who detests anybody who invalidly or validly criticises your idol. Now are you or are you not?”)

    No I’m not. Before this thread I’ve only seen about 2 or 3 of his videos. Other than that, I really know very little about him.

    But what if I were? What exactly would be wrong with that?

    Now I’m calling YOU out as someone who possibly rejects at least one of the basic premises of Catholicism. Now do you, or do you not?

    [That's enough! Both of you to the corners! Nobody is "calling anyone out" on my blog and their especially not going to demand some sort of loyalty oath to the church based on THIS crap! You guys settle down and let's remember we're Christians here, who love each other (!) or the thread is gonna go away. I've said it before, and I'll say it again, I'll be DAMNED if my blog is going to be used for heretic-hunting! -admin]

  • JC Kapla

    Hmmm…. I’m no Voris defender, but this is nothing but cheapshot journalism, so let’s see:

    Catholic News Agency claims to be a 501(c)3 based in Englewood, CO, yet there is no record of them under that name or ACI Prensa in Colorado. In addition, there is no record of either one on any charity watchdog site, such as GuideStar or Charity Navigator.

    A search for their address on Google turns up two other Catholic organizations apparently located in the same building: Christ in the City Missionaries and Association for Catholic Info.

    No business records exist for Christ in the City Missionaries either, but they do exist for Association for Catholic Info.

    A man by the name of Jorge Luna incorporated AfCI and his name appears on several AfCI documents. His name also appears several times on the Catholic News Agency website, so they appear to be connected.

    http://www.google.com/search?q=jorge+luna+site%3Awww.catholicnewsagency.com&qscrl=1

    And what do you know!!! Lo and behold…

    AfCI failed FOUR YEARS IN A ROW to file its annual report with the state of Colorado. It’s all right there on the State of Colorado’s website:

    http://bit.ly/oTngLc

    HYPOCRISY #FAIL

  • James

    (“And that is why mercy matters, and why it is not our place to determine the state of someone else’s soul.”)

    Please Anchoress, stop. I’m not determining the state of anyone’s soul, I’m determining the state of people actions and professed beliefs. And that’s what is looks like Voris is doing as well.

    Look, after all of this talk of mercy and compassion, at the end of all of this, our beliefs and our actions are either sinful or they are not. Are we (as Catholic brothers and sister) NOT to call out these sins? If we truly love each other, then why WOULDN’T we call these sins out? If not, then why should any of us even go to a Catholic Church? What does it even mean to be Catholic?

    (Anchoress then said – “Whether he “means” to or not, Voris often does make it sound like he’s the arbiter of all things “real” Catholic, and anyone who disagrees with him is a heretic who ought to be run out of the church.”)

    So in this statement Anchoress, are YOU determining the state of Voris’ soul? Because you are clearly giving your interpretation of Voris’ words as they “sound like” to you.

    Are you not?

    [First of all, I didn't say you specifically were determining the state of anyone's soul -- I merely said that we are not free to do that -- but you were demanding some sort of public statement of orthodoxy that i don't think it's your place to demand of anyone -- or MINE. And yes, we ARE supposed to "instruct and admonish" each other but only "in wisdom made perfect" through love -- too much "instuction and admonishment" is going one with that that crucial perfect wisdom. And no, I am not saying a word about his soul, or whether he is a "real" or "not real" Catholic. I'm saying he often seems to be setting himself as the lone source of what "real" Catholicism is. And I don't see how you argue he does not. But that's not judging the man's soul. I have no issues with his soul. But I don't believe he's the arbiter of deciding who is "really" Catholic and who is not. I'm starting to lose my sense of humor and my patience, James. I think you should back off, now.-admin]

  • James

    [Anchoress said - "I've said it before, and I'll say it again, I'll be DAMNED if my blog is going to be used for heretic-hunting!" -admin]

    Right. Orthodox-Hypocrite hunting is fine.

    However, any inference to anything heretical is STRICTLY VERBOTEN!!!!

    Apparently Heresy is the new racism.

    I’m learning something new every time I come here……..

    [O.M.G. Really? Do you SEE what you're saying? Will you back off, take a freaking breath and LISTEN to yourself? James I suggest you sign off for the night, and maybe go pray for everyone here and then be quiet and LISTEN interiorly for a while...because you're way out of whack, and if you let yourself think about it, you'd know it. You're --once again -- running on emotion and flailing out. I'm tired, now; I've worked very hard today and my patience is wearing thin. So I really, really think you need to calm down or sign off. -admin]

  • James

    [Anchoress said - "The other day you said that don't know all you do not know. That's a good start."]

    Who are you to presume to know my soul? You’re doing the exact thing that you so despise in people like Voris.

    What you don’t seem to realize Anchoress is the paradox of your own position:

    Your utter contempt of judgmental orthodoxy is in fact, your very OWN version of judgmental orthodoxy.

    And no, I’m not telling you how to run your site. This is your house, you wield all the power. Do what you will with my comments.

    Socrates knew he was the wisest man in the land because “I am very conscious that I am not wise at all”

    Others were taught how to teach, but forgot how to learn….

    [Dead wrong. When I say it's a "good start" to admit all you do not know, I include myself in that. And yes, I do have a "contempt of judgmental orthodoxy" because by it's very nature, ORTHODOXY would hang itself not simply on the letter of the law but its spirit as well, and that means that correction and admonishment would be delivered with humility, generosity and love (That "mercy" you so hate to hear about) and not with red meat. Recall Jesus' story of the publican and the pharisee. Recall Jesus' warning that the ones to enter heaven would not be the ones who said "but we did everything right..." but did not love. Recall "if I have not love I am but a clanging cymbal..." Why don't you go read God and the World by Benedict and Peter Seewald and then come back and tell me how "judgmental orthodoxy" is what we're supposed to be all about. And I didn't say you were telling me how to run my site. I was telling you to take a damn breath. WHich you're clearly still not doing. -admin]

  • James

    [Anchoress said - "I'm saying he often seems to be setting himself as the lone source of what "real" Catholicism is. And I don't see how you argue he does not."]

    He’s simply stating what is in the Catechism is he not?

    [Oh, sure he is. And often I agree with him. But he misses a lot. Again, it's the "letter of the law vs the spirit" thing. You know, we have laws in our world. It's a crime to commit murder, but there are varying degrees of the crime. Outright murder is not the same as manslaughter. It's like that with our sin, too, and even with our understanding of the faith and our "crimes against the catechism." It seems to me it's possible to know nothing of the Catechism and still know a great deal about God, love, the church and holiness...and it's possible to know the Catechism backward and forward, and still have no idea what it means. I think it's amazing that this post was about defending Voris -- ME defending Voris, and now I have to defend myself, once again, as a hater of Voris and the SUPREME ORTHODOXY. Yeah, I think you should call it a night. -admin]

  • James

    I’m signing off.

  • James

    (The Anchoress said – “and that means that correction and admonishment would be delivered with humility, generosity and love (That “mercy” you so hate to hear about) and not with red meat.”)

    In which she concluded:

    (“I was telling you to take a damn breath. WHich you’re clearly still not doing. -admin”)

    Thanks for teaching me humility, generosity and love.

    Oh and that “mercy” I so hate to hear about.

    [That actually WAS love and mercy. And a lot friendlier than you realize. But one more like this...and I'm done. -admin]

  • James

    [Anchoress said - "I think it's amazing that this post was about defending Voris -- ME defending Voris, and now I have to defend myself, once again, as a hater of Voris and the SUPREME ORTHODOXY. Yeah, I think you should call it a night. -admin]

    Yeah, it sucks when your own hypocrisy is thrown back in your face doesn’t it.

    Oh but, you’re beyond that aren’t you. You have a special hot-line to God. You couldn’t possibly be wrong about this could you.

    Maybe YOU should have a long talk with God about this as well.

    [I'm not beyond hypocrisy. And yes, I need to have long talks with God about many things. But you know what I am beyond? Entertaining this stuff. You've had your say. You've flung all your pearls. Now, goodnight, James, before it's goodbye. ]


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