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 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 “” 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
  • Greta

    Wow, this matter sure brings out the fight in folks.

    In my 70 plus years, I have seen a very big swing in what an outside observer would call a Real Catholic as a result of Vatican II and changes in our society. I have been amazed at the encyclical Humane Vitae which hit about the time I was considering birth control. It caused me to stop thinking about birth control forever and in many ways, I wish all of the priests and bishops back then had chosen to get on board big time with this wonder of prophecy. I have seen Satan and his promises and big lies transform America into something that had we gone from 1955 to 2011 would have caused shock waves to all just on the culture. I remember hearing one of the Vietnam POW talk about his return to America and the shock he had over the changes in a very negative way while he was gone. Real Catholics and Real Americans should all be concerned about what we see today and all should be vocal about these changes. The frog has been boiling away and should have hopped out of the water long ago.

    It is slightly disturbing that when someone voices strong concern over where we are, what is going on, and what the Catholic Church actually teaches and has taught for generations, that they are looked on by many other Catholics as if they are the enemy. Pope Paul VI was one of the first victims of this attack with Humane Vitae and his stance on birth control even by priests and bishops that should have known better. Tolerance is supposed to be the state religion and the core teaching of the Catholic Church according to those on the left and some in the ill informed Center unless it is someone quoting actual words from the Cathechism. We hear about throwing stones as if Jesus is saying we are never to speak out when we see sin and or that he advised the woman to go forth and sin no more. Jesus without sin could speak, but we are to remain silent or be considered in the grave sin of not being tolerant if we call homosexual acts gravely disordered or abortion the murder of infants in the womb? I remember something about the stones speaking out if we remain silent. How are we to fulfull the calling of the layity to take our Church out into the world if we remain silent in the face of sin? We need to do it with humility and charity and that is what I think Anchoress is hoping to see more of in our comments. But lets also acknowledge that silence or restating a lie about what the Church actually teaches might be far a far worse sin based on the fear of sounding intolerant. I wonder what Jesus would have thought if those for whom tolerance is the greatest of all virtues would have screamed out at John the Baptist to tone down his rhetoric. I seem to remember Jesus held John the Baptist in very high regard and John was as blunt as anyone I know in calling out sin.

    What I like most about reading Anchoress is that you can always tell she is seeking to learn as much as to enlighten and that she is fair. If you read for a while, you will see she changes and grows better by her efforts. It is the mark of greatness and one I looked for in all my years as CEO of my company when hiring new people to join our merry band. I hope to still be learning when they are giving me last rights on my last day on earth. So lets not get to rigid, but pray we also do not get tolerant of evil. Have to run now to go eat more honey and locusts and apply lotion to my skin where the camels hair has irritated my sensitive skin…

  • Peterman

    I’m a Voris supporter because he gets under people’s skin, people like Mark Shea, and liberal Catholics and insurance salesmen who wear feathered caps. If you’re p’ing of this many people you must be doing something right.

    So his 4013c expired, big whup dee do. My LLC expired because I was ignorant and didn’t realize that a simple yearly report must be filed with the state. In my state they penalize you $600 to reestablish or you can simply create a new entity for about $50.

    As for the “apologist” on his staff with the perverted blog? Who cares, fire him, done, problem solved.

    Hopefully Michael Voris can get this resolved before Shea writes five articles saying what a “kook” he is because he had a pagan on staff and didn’t file some yearly bureaucratic paperwork.

    [How very generous you are to Mr. Shea, who today Defended Voris and has a piece coming up tomorrow defending him even more. What Christian charity. It's so much easier to just through a label out there, and condemn, isn't it? Do you do that as "a Voris supporter" or is this just how you roll? -admin]

  • Christine

    Todd wrote, on the reality of Satan:

    “I’m not aware of this being a talking point of any Christian Creed.”

    You might want to acquaint yourself with the Catechism of the Catholic Church on this point.

    Anyone who denies the reality of Satan is indeed on the heretical side of things. Voris called someone out on this, and she didn’t like it.

    His definition of charity may differ from yours; he believes charity requires speaking the truth, even if it causes offense. His greatest desire is to save souls, and he takes the reality of hell very, very seriously. (Frankly, too many Catholics today don’t, IMO.) If he thinks someone is following a path that may lead to eternal destruction, he will say so–not because he thinks he’s better or superior, or because he’s being judgmental, but because he truly cares about the salvation of souls.

    He has cited his mother’s words as a supreme example of charity: as she lay dying of cancer, and saw the dissolute life her son was leading, she said to him, “I don’t want to be in heaven knowing you’re in hell.” Those were certainly not politically correct words, and perhaps they were offensive at the time–but he knows they were the most charitable thing she could have said to him, because they stemmed from a genuine desire that his soul be saved.

    If more people understood that this is where Voris is coming from, they might not be so offended by his delivery.

  • Christine

    Something else like I’d to add: I read some critical remarks of Mark Shea left by a commentator at RealCatholicTV’s site, and I was very impressed by RCTV’s response. The administrator promptly came to Shea’s defense, stating that Shea was not present to defend himself, and that it would therefore not be fair to raise negative charges against him. RCTV acknowledged that it was aware of Shea’s criticism of Voris, but praised Shea’s apologetics work as valuable and and to be commended. RCTV also said it was troubled by the uncharitable remarks its own supporters had made about Shea elsewhere.

    I was very impressed, considering how loudly Shea has excoriated Voris for being “unintelligent”, cowardly (“lacks stones”), “sectarian”, “sneering”, etc. Voris’s own outfit refuses to take part in any of that, and displayed a charity and levelheadedness that is rare, even among Catholics!

  • Noah Moerbeek


    There was war in heaven. None of this surprises me with what has happened. As harsh as these criticisms might seem on Voris (or for other people) by Voris the judgement seat of God will be far more harsh (every idle word against all of us).

    Simon has been embarrassed and humiliated and he apologized instead of justifying. God must love him very much to involve so many parties in his correction.

  • J.D.

    One thing that continues to puzzle me about Voris fans is that many of Voris’ biggest critics (at least the ones that I read) are pro-life, orthodox, etc. In my mind Voris’ defenders immediately lose credibility when they make such outlandish claims. If Voris defenders want my support or for me to at least listen to their arguments they should at least acknowledge that their “attackers” are good, well-meaning, Catholics who just happen disagree with Voris’ method or his persecution complex and so on. I could be wrong, but my occasional perusals of the Reporter, America, etc. haven’t turned up any reports on Voris (unless I missed something). In other words, the real Catholic “liberals” don’t seem to really care or know about Michael Voris.

    I used to let Michael Voris get to me. I have since realized watching him is a near occasion of sin (he gets me angry) and so I stick to getting Catholic formation from the likes of Benedict XVI, Abp. Chaput, Abp. Gomez, etc. Is that so bad?

    Just my two cents.

  • David Wendell

    Thanks for your fairness towards Voris.