It’s really OK to admit that the Church has gotten better…UPDATES

So, in response to many “professional Catholics” taking exception to one of his recent videos (I wrote about it, here), Michael Voris has released a new video that clarifies his meaning, which is an acknowledgement, I guess, that his first video had gotten so caught up with salary and retirement details that it obscured his point, which was apparently — at bottom line — that Catholic mediafolk who are earning livable wages might (because they need to support their families) be too afraid to hammer the bishops into fixing every problem today and making the church perfect. They are “protecting a status quo” that is insufficient to the charge given to it by Christ. Except for Voris, the status quo is not just insufficient; it’s all calumny and apostasy, everywhere in the church, except where the Church Militant is guarding it.

Well, the church is imperfect and has always operated in a fashion insufficient to the charge given it, and there has always been a measure of calumny and apostasy carousing within it; that’s just proof that it exists through the grace of the Holy Spirit. Were he not, we humans would have destroyed the Church long ago.

I’m not sure what it is, exactly, that Voris wants. Does he want mediafolk to stop working for entities they don’t themselves own, so there can be no question of subservience to bishops and a “status quo”? Well, I do work for myself, as do all of the independent contractors here at Patheos (none of whom, by the way, are getting rich) and while I can’t speak for anyone else, being my own boss does not in any way make me feel inspired to run toward militancy. In fact, the longer I work in Catholic media, the more I find myself running to mercy, and leaving judgement to Christ. This is not me trying to say I’m “better” than Voris, only different. I couldn’t be Voris if I tried to be, and he couldn’t be me.

In a way, this Church Militant movement reminds me a little of the constant state of grievance in which Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson reside. They focus almost solely on the fact that the racial situation in America is still imperfect, and seem unable to acknowledge that, yes, things have gotten better since 1963. It is wholly legitimate — and important — to continue to address racial problems in the country, but not to pretend that, for example, requiring a photo id for voters would mean a return to Jim Crowe and poll taxes.

Similarly, Voris focuses almost solely on the fact that the church still has its share of internal problems, which stem from a poor implementation of the recommendations of the Second Vatican Council, and too many decades of timidity in addressing a period of cultural and moral upheaval. Like Jackson and Sharpton, he seems unable to acknowledge, though, that things have gotten better since 1979, and 1990, and 2002. It is wholly legitimate — and important — to continue to point out where things are lacking in our church (or to ask our bishops to clarify their pastoral judgements when controversies arise) but not to pretend that great things — for example, the growing number of layfolk (particularly our younger members) engaged in learning and sharing the faith, the unexpected conversions, and the convents and seminaries that are filling, once again — are not happening.

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

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

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

And we who reside in all of these pews and portions of the church — sharing membership if not always minds, or sharing minds but not always methods — need to remember that the Catechism, like the Holy Rule of St. Benedict, is there to instruct, guide and persuade. It is meant to help heal the bruised reeds, not to break them — to scrape rust off of neglected vessels, not to crush them.

Happy Labor Day Weekend!

UPDATE:
Third Order Dominican Will Duquette
has some excellent thoughts on the balance of acknowledging both error and beauty:

As on-line Catholics, we can spend our time writing about what is true, good, and beautiful, or writing about what is false, bad, and ugly. We can look for uplifting links to share or for horrible things to castigate.

I’d like to suggest that we only do the former—but I won’t. We need to stand against error where we find it, and that will sometimes involve being critical. Standing against error isn’t spiritually corrosive.

But I would suggest that a constant and single-minded pursuit of error in order to stand against it can be. It can lead you to see error where there is none, or at the least to magnify molehills into mountains if it’s a slow news day. And if you’re spending all of time looking for errors, you can begin to forget what the truth looks like.

Don’t just stand against the false, the bad, and the ugly. Stand for the true, the good, and beautiful, not simply in principle but also in practice. It’s better for you, and you’ll have less to repent of.

UPDATE II:
I’m done with this discussion, but it’s worth reading what Diane writes here. None of us are less than sinners.

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • Nicky

    Bravo, thank you!

  • http://ashesfromburntroses.blogspot.com/ Manny

    If Voris were just focusing on the problems within the church, it would be one thing. The problem with him is that he attributes the problems to malicious motives. His opening tag in his clips is this: “Welcome to the Vortex where lies and falsehoods are trapped and exposed.” That’s his core. Everyone who disagrees with him is a liar. Everyone who disagrees is a traitor. In essence he’s claiming that Bishops are colluding with “professional” or “corporate” Catholics to undermine the faith. He’s beyond Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton. He’s a Maximillion de Ropespierre where he sees conspiracy and traitors around every corner and he feels obliged to purge the heretics. I think he’s a paranoid. Sure there are problems within the Church, but what one billion membership of anything doesn’t have issues. I said somewhere else he’s all vinegar and no understanding. He lacks the wisdom to see that life is complex and there may not be a single cause and effect in a multifarious system that is life. Here’s the bottom line? Does anyone ever hear anything charitable come out of his mouth?

  • http://rosarynovice.stblogs.com/ Augustine

    I don’t really think that Vorbis is paranoid. I actually think that he taps, consciously or not, into the pain that every faithful Catholic feels when the Church is trashed even by those who were supposed to shepherd the flock.

    The problem is that such feeling can give rise to a morbid curiosity that intends to feed it because, since we are vain sinners filled with hubris, it furthers feelings of righteousness and good about ourselves, even better than others.

    Continuing the allegory, Vorbis perhaps thinks that he can fight the fire with fire, but all that he manages to achieve is scorching the earth, the pew, you…

  • Joseph W. Cunningham

    Talking about the salaries of people who are national and international Catholic news people or apologists is not productive, nor does it further our Church’s mission .I participated in a Catholic Answers Live program and received no money. I did not expect to get a penny, but I assumed the people running the station were adequately paid. Likewise, when I was on Mother Angelica Live in 1999, I did not receive a salary, nor did I expect one. I have a job as a Catholic high school teacher. I am satisfied with my salary. I hope that everyone at EWTN receives a salary much greater than mine as they are worthy of that salary. To be frank, I had never heard of Michael Voris before now. It anything, perhaps Mr Voris is being paid too much.

  • Jenny Oglethorpe

    Please, Elizabeth, “liveable wages”? You sound like those Republican politicians who think $200K/year is middle class. And donors should look into the salaries of the organization (Church and otherwise) they support. It should be part of the calculus of who you give to.

  • http://pegponderingagain.com/ Peg Demetris

    BEAUTIFUL! Thank you!

  • pjm

    “The collapse of Christian culture, as weak and ambiguous as it was in some ways, has profoundly affected the beliefs and actions of baptized Catholics.Whether it be the decline in Mass attendance, the radical drop in vocations, the widespread breakup of Catholic marriages, the increas- ing frequency of co-habitation by Catholics before or instead of marriage, the shrinking of family size and the concomitant practice of contraception, the statistics are widely known but nevertheless quite shocking.

    What these statistics indicate, among other things, is that there is something like an institutional collapse going on, evidenced by the vast numbers of schools closing, parishes merging, clustering and closing and the multi- ple assignments that many young priests now are asked to manage. Besides the institutional collapse, there is evidence of a widespread repudiation of the teaching of Christ and the Church by vast numbers of Catholics. Even those who attend Mass regularly often embody a set of beliefs that are closer to the beliefs of the secular elites than to the teaching of Christ.

    Despite many positive signs, the trends are not encouraging. The radical collapse of the Church in some of the traditionally most Catholic parts of the country—the northeast, the midwest, et cetera—is masked by the large Hispanic immigration that has kept the statistics reported on the total Catholic population relatively stable. But the same secularizing forces are at work among the traditionally Catholic immigrants, and the lack of sufficient numbers of Spanish-speaking priests doesn’t bode well for the future.” -Ralph Martin

  • Scott C. Wilmot

    Very well said Elizabeth, thank you.

  • Carole

    Thank you!

  • FrankieBeanPie

    “It is wholly legitimate — and important — to continue to address racial problems in the country, but not to pretend that, for example, requiring a photo id for voters would mean a return to Jim Crowe and poll taxes.”

    This made my morning. Fantastic observation!

  • vox borealis

    Well I for one don’t seen how the Church has gotten better since 1963 or 1979 or 2000 or whatever date you pick, so I don’t see how the Sharpton/racism comparison is valid. The Church today, at least in the western world, is a catastrophe. A few anecdotes of a strong-spined bishop here or an exciting new apostolate there don’t offset the staggering evidence that the Church in the west is lurching between collapse and widespread apostasy. Heck, Elizabeth, you yourself have predicted on this very blog the coming of a major schism called the American Church.

    I sure would like to see what you see, the conflagration under control, things getting better, etc, because that’s not what it looks like from the pew I sit in.

  • barbieahayes

    Elizabeth, I think there are many bloggers who are a little too happy-go-lucky about the state of the Church. We are in crisis, as Michael often tells us, and some of his readers find your posts, as well as the Deacon’s and even Father Longenecker’s a little lacking in the discussion and easement of the evils that indeed are in the Church. I love to watch EWTN and I read Catholic Answers almost daily. But I am very disappointed that there is little support and help from the Catholic media outlets to fight against abortion, the LBGT (and whatever) agenda, same-sex ”marriage,” contraception, liberalism, heterodoxy in the Catholic Church, etc. It is as if some Catholic bloggers take a hands-off approach to the crimes against the Church lest they are dragged into the sturm und drang (and really who nowadays wants to be in the thick of the battle?). Michael is knee-deep defending the Church against the culture wars, it is not just a shtick, and I think he could use some help. Won’t you lay down the sword of contention and take up the cause? Those of us who fight the good fight are pretty exhausted. Those of you who are prominent in the Catholic media have an obligation to call your readership to arms.

  • Billiamo

    I’m not a fan of Voris, Manny, but he is quite capable of charity, as seen here.

  • Fr. Richard Heilman

    My opinion is that Mr. Voris crossed a line when he identified the salaries of these people. There have been other times I feel he has crossed a line. However, I admire his desire to shine a light on areas left mostly hidden in our Church. Dr. Kreeft put it well: “Real love hates, like a doctor who loves his patient so much that he hates – and so aggressively attacks – the cancer that is killing him.”

    Also, I could not disagree more with the additional, unnecessary, disparaging remarks toward a so-called “Church Militant movement,” likening it to characters like Al Sharpton … as if those who are bravely choosing to stand against forces contrary to the Gospel are wayward. Actually, I reread, several times, the section above that downplayed the condition of our Church today, and it had the feel of watching MSNBC covering for the present administration.

    I was glad that the end of the article called for a balance of both justice AND mercy.

  • pjm

    The Church is improving? Ralph Martin disagrees with you:

    “The collapse of Christian culture, as weak and ambiguous as it was in some ways, has profoundly affected the beliefs and actions of baptized Catholics.Whether it be the decline in Mass attendance, the radical drop in vocations, the widespread breakup of Catholic marriages, the increas- ing frequency of co-habitation by Catholics before or instead of marriage, the shrinking of family size and the concomitant practice of contracep- tion, the statistics are widely known but nevertheless quite shocking.

    What these statistics indicate, among other things, is that there is some- thing like an institutional collapse going on, evidenced by the vast numbers of schools closing, parishes merging, clustering and closing and the multi- ple assignments that many young priests now are asked to manage. Besides the institutional collapse, there is evidence of a widespread repudiation of the teaching of Christ and the Church by vast numbers of Catholics. Even those who attend Mass regularly often embody a set of beliefs that are closer to the beliefs of the secular elites than to the teaching of Christ. Despite many positive signs, the trends are not encouraging. The radical collapse of the Church in some of the traditionally most Catholic parts of the country—the northeast, the midwest, et cetera—is masked by the large Hispanic immigration that has kept the statistics reported on the total Catholic population relatively stable. But the same secularizing forces are at work among the traditionally Catholic immigrants, and the lack of suffi- cient numbers of Spanish-speaking priests doesn’t bode well for the future.”

  • AnneG

    Thanks, Elizabeth. I know lots of “bruised reed” Catholics who I’m praying for to come back, first to God.

  • MeanLizzie

    Are you seriously accusing me of not writing enough about abortion and gay issues and the threats against our church from the government? Seriously? That’s astonishing. Since I clearly do write — often and often — about all of those issues, I can only assume that you don’t read me very much and/or that your issue with me is that I don’t write about them with a tone you’d prefer, and that resonates with you. But I write the way I write, and my tone is my tone. As I said in this piece, people are different; they perceive differently and they fight differently and they process differently. I tend to take the long view of things and I completely trust that God is in charge and that the Holy Spirit will never be defeated by the world, and that’s what informs my tone and perhaps keeps it from being dramatic enough, or crisis-driven enough for some tastes. So it goes. That’s why the world, and the church, needs all kinds of folk in it, approaching issues from all kinds of ways. My way has never been a particularly emotive one. Oh, well.

  • brnicolosi

    Who is this Voris guy, anyway, and why do so many of the Patheons obsess over him? Honestly, I never heard of him until Patheos and my thought is his constituency is probably very small. Is it really worth giving him so much free publicity? We have bigger fish to fry than to waste our energies in internecine distinction wars.

  • Fr. Richard Heilman

    It appears Dr. Peter Kreeft does not share your rose colored glasses view of things. “Nature abhors a vacuum … when we withdraw from the battlefield, someone else enters.”
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lz5zcAm47i4

  • Dave Smith

    While Voris can be seen as negative, I think he’s coming from a place of anguish in seeing what has really happened to the church in the last 50 years. I think he resonates with Catholics, especially traditional Catholics, who are pained to see the disintegration of the Church they love. On the opposite end, are the happy clappy Catholics who see the Church as thriving and growing. I ask, what alternate universe are they living in? I look around at my friends and family and see the collapse of faith. I see the pews emptying. Born and raised Catholic, I see the downward spiral and loss of faith. I see friends and family placing no importance on the sacraments. I see my nieces and nephews getting married, after having shacked up and then getting married without benefit of church or clergy. And this is happening to all my friends.

    50% of Catholics voted for the anti-life, infanticider-in-chief Obama and I can’t believe their lack of comprehension of the faith. I see Pelosi and Biden receive communion and see that the church has lost it’s moral authority while the happy clappy Catholics celebrate the spirit of Vatican II. “We are in renewel!” I go to mass and hear code words during the homily in support of social justice (dignity of the “undocumented worker”, the great tradition of “Catholic Social Justice). I hardly ever hear about sin and never hear about abortion or contraception. I see nuns on the bus supporting Obamacare and questioning the authority of Rome. I read that the number of seminarians is growing while I read of parishioners left broken-hearted after their parishes were condensed or their 100-plus year old churches were torn down or sold off.

    What growing Church is Elisabeth referring to? If it’s growing, in what direction?

    The church as Pope Benedict predicted, is getting smaller. After the politicians are done with implementing gay marriage in all the states, and after the further decline of morals, what is left will be small indeed.

    While I didn’t like Voris exposing salaries, I understood that he was trying to expose the failure of many in Catholic media to expose the hypocrisy of the
    church elites in contributing to the disintegration of the church because they can’t upset the boss!

    C’mon people. Get real. Seriously. Take the blinders off!

  • slainte

    Income Tax Returns of 501(c)(3) entities (such as EWTN and Catholic Answers) are a matter of public record and are available to anyone who wants to access them.
    Compensation data for the media personalities of these 501(c)(3) entities is included in the filed returns; and Voris references the returns as the source of the data he disclosed. Voris also appends to his site copies of those publicly available Income Tax returns.
    Since Voris disclosed only information that was already in the public domain, and did not breach anyone’s right to privacy, why all the fuss?

  • Fr. Richard Heilman

    It seems to me that the restlessness of many of these commenters is coming from a movement, in your article, from a legitimate concern as to whether Michael Voris should have revealed salaries to an assault on those who believe it is high time that voices be raised (beyond blogs) that stand against those forces contrary to the will of God (the “Militant Movement”).

    Also (and it is just my opinion), there’s that word “tone” again that the New York Times, etc. loved to lob at us to distinguish between Pope Benedict XVI (who they didn’t like) and Pope Francis. In the context of current events, it is received (at least by me) that the “proper” tone is yours, and not the one from the so-called “Militant Movement.”

  • http://rosarynovice.stblogs.com/ Augustine

    Anyone who has four meals a day and a roof over his head, but cannot stop working, belongs to the middle class. The poor have no food or shelter. The rich doesn’t have to work to have much more than he and his family needs.

  • MeanLizzie

    I’m not the NY Times and I don’ t use codewords. I write what I mean, and I mean tone. As in Voris has one tone. I have another. If you are seeing a measure or a value in there, you’re putting it in there yourself, padre.

  • MeanLizzie

    And the Holy Spirit, he has no hand in all of this? It’s all doom, doom, doom? I don’t believe that.

  • MeanLizzie

    I see seminaries in some areas full to bursting and traditionally-minded religious orders enjoying a resurgence of growth. I see the vile, conceited boomer generation reaching its culmination and coming to an end, and a younger generation embracing the church and putting themselves in a position to counter the culture, not acquiesce to it. I see an increasing awareness that our music and liturgies are not cutting it and need to be strengthened. I see new church buildings being erected that are re-embracing traditional designs and bringing meaning into every corner. I see all kinds of good things happening. Is there also apostasy? Of course. That’s always existed in the church. And yes, I see the potential for schism as gov’ts infringe on religious rights and the cowardly or the complacent run to the state-sanctioned churches. I also see a potential for schism from the right, and from people are are convinced that the holiness and remnant of the church resides in a precious few. I see a church that will probably be driven underground and experience martyrdom. And then…victory. I just see it differently than others. I don’t see doom and doom and doom and the need for weeping and gnashing of teeth. I see nothing but promise. But then, perhaps praying the Divine Office daily informs a lot of that. There is nothing new under the sun and I relearn that every day, in praying those 4,000 year old psalms.

    You know what? When I looked at the three million ppl on the beach with Pope Francis recently, I realized we don’t have to fret about every small breach of imperfection within the church. The Holy Spirit is moving, has been moving, continues to move. We cannot even begin to imagine what is in store for us. But Christ has already promised us glory. I read something like this and realize that to some extend all of our fretting his human conceit: http://www.patheos.com/Catholic/Oh-Love-Karen-Beattie-08-31-2013

  • http://pegponderingagain.com/ Peg Demetris

    Mea culpa, Mea culpa, I hope you don’t mind me placing this hear. This is from much earlier in August. http://pegponderingagain.com/2013/08/02/the-blame-game-fake-war/

  • Patti Day

    It seems we are on a constant roller coaster of good news/bad news about the church. In this case it’s a giant roller coaster, and some of those troughs knock the wind out of you. I remember vividly the days of Father Corapi, and how what I viewed as a personal hit me hard as a newly returned Catholic. I have tried since then to be more discerning and not pin my hopes or fears on one person or incident, but I don’t lean toward prudence, so often enough I find myself feeling sheepish and ashamed of some of the things I blurt out. I need someone who can be dispassionate and explain things calmly, which you do very competently in my opinion. This particular issue has raised some hackles on my back, as I have no tolerance for what I view as cheap shots, but I’m going to stand back and see how it resolves rather than getting all irate. Thank you, Elizabeth, oh and Mean Lizzie too.

  • MeanLizzie

    That’s really excellent, Peg. Hadn’t seen it before. Well done.

  • http://rosarynovice.stblogs.com/ Augustine

    When you listen to millions of youth right beside you chanting from the top of their lungs, pride in their faces and tears in their eyes: “Esta é a juventude to papa!”, you know that the Church is in good, true and holy hands.

  • http://pegponderingagain.com/ Peg Demetris

    Glory goes to God. :) Always

  • http://pegponderingagain.com/ Peg Demetris

    I think a good idea would be for all of us, regarding the “pay grade” to look into our Catholic Church’s history of wealthy Saints. Its not about how much you make or even what you do with the money as God provides for all of us, rich or poor. Its how attached you are to Him and how detached you are from the gifts that matter. The biggest driving force in regards to how much someone may be making is always jealousy. I don’t care about what someone is making as I share it with them anyway in my heart in the form of love because I KNOW our Lord provided for them too. Its a win win situation.

  • vox borealis

    “I see a church that will probably be driven underground and experience martyrdom. And then…victory.”

    OK, but what does that mean? The gates of hell will not prevail against the Church, that we know is true. And yes, for the martyrs, there will be salvation. I only hope that I have the strength to accept martyrdom. But that does not mean that the Church will not face collapse on a large scale before then. That does not mean that many if not most souls will be lost.

    I agree with you. The remnant (and *I* do believe it’s a remnant at this point) will be driven underground. Heck, they’ve effectively been driven there already. And for individuals there is the glory that Christ promises. That does not in any contradict the image of widespread collapse and apostasy.

    BTW, you say you see new church buildings going up. Where do you reside? I’m am being serious, not facetious. I ask because where I live, there hasn’t been a new church building in decades, except for a nice new Mormon temple. Instead I have seen many fine old churches sold off to other denominations of turned into condos or restaurants. I saw that derelict until someone burnt it down. Another that was so decrepit masses had to held in the basement while main floor slowly caved in. That burned down as well.

    There are more orthodox seminarians in the seminary, the one or two every few years who enter…and make it past the initial screening that tries too weed out the ones who are “too orthodox” (or so said my one youngish orthodox priest friend).

    Seriously, the Church where I live is in dire condition, all the while the powers that be sing a happy song and use lots of happy words like “vibrant.”

  • vox borealis

    Do we? Where will those youth be in five years? Ten years? I live now in Canada. Members of the Church here talk endlessly about World Youth Day in Toronto, the enthusiasm, the crowds, the youth. Well that was then, and today Church here is still in freefall.

  • MeanLizzie

    Believe it or not, I actually have work to do that I really need to get to, and I can’t spend any more time in the comboxes. I don’t mean to sound rude, and I’m not trying to be, but you’ll have to do a little research, but you will find it. You’ll have to do some google searching b/c I can’t remember things I’ve seen months ago, but in the American midwest and the American South there are a number of new church buildings going up that are reembracing traditional forms, likewise a number of new monastic houses and convents doing the same. Check out the book REBUILT to see how the growing awareness that we need to recapture what was lost is improving parishes. Yes, it’s going to take decades — generations, perhaps — but things actually are getting better. Have a good day, Vox, I really do have to work, now. This combox and hate mail have consumed my whole day to now. :-) See how these Christians shove one another.

  • http://rosarynovice.stblogs.com/ Augustine

    Has that youth abandoned the Church or embraced secularism? No. Are they the majority of the Church? Not yet, so it’s no wonder that they haven’t effected much yet. The blunt fact of the matter is that until the generation that brought about the state of things pass away, the Church will continue the fall that they started. But if you give up to despair and don’t hope that when that WYD generation’s turn come they’ll do more good to the Church than their predecessors, it’s up to you.

  • Nathan

    Father, in case you didn’t know, Voris did NOT reveal those salaries. He brought them up in a discussion about others that posted the salaries to a Catholic blog over a week (I think) earlier. See here for a good review of the events: http://connecticutcatholiccorner.blogspot.com/2013/08/frlongnecker-vs-michael-voris.html

  • Fr. Richard Heilman

    Yes, It’s probably just me. But, that buzz word did get under my skin, I hope you understand, as the media was “relieved” we have a new tone (translation, “we didn’t like the old tone”).

  • Romulus

    Amid all this indignation about the way certain prelates have not received the high respect that’s their due, has the word “clericalism” come up yet?

    And if not, why not?

    Look. Voris stirs the pot, and sometimes he upsets people. I seem to recall a lot of people were sick of the Old Covenant prophets. Man, was that a negative bunch. Always griping about something.

    Now, let’s not be silly. Voris is no prophet. He’s just a guy in front of a video camera. Kind of like a certain blunt-talking nun who got above herself and started talking to the whole world — over the heads of some very disgruntled bishops who did their worldly best to shut her down. Mother Angelica was a loose cannon. She was not a team player. She not only broke the rules, she re-wrote them. Am I the only one to recall how unpopular Mother Angelica made herself by calling out various clerical phonies, knuckleheads, and traitors? Thank God for her.

    Of course, EWTN is much more polite nowadays. There’s lots more good news, because surely everything is going super-well, and the collapse in baptisms, weddings, and confessions, not to mention the collapse in faith, does nothing to gainsay the fact that our hierarchy is a swell bunch of guys who can be totally relied upon to pass on the faith just as it was given to the apostles. Michael Voris is wrong and probably in violation of Vatican II or something for getting up on his hind legs and behaving this way.

    Yes, Mr. Voris still lacks the sleek polish EWTN has acquired since Mother Angelica was wheeled off. In time he too may learn prudence and good manners, virtues of the large and successful organization so different from the virtues of the shoestring gadfly.

    I hope not. I salute him.

  • http://ashesfromburntroses.blogspot.com/ Manny

    OK. I rarely see it.

  • Fr. Richard Heilman

    You see all this, but promote the book REBUILT? One chapter is “Pretty Churches and Other Lies.” They put down people trying to be devout. Their model is almost entirely Evangelical Protestants. Their growth, by and large, comes from it being a safe haven for those who find serious issues uncomfortable: “… we have not concerned ourselves with questions of ecclesiology, canon law, and catechetical practices. We steer entirely clear of difficult but settled issues, and we’ve tried to tread lightly through the minefield of liturgy (Preface: Rebuilt).”

    Allow me to translate – because I live in this world – while some priests are speaking the truth with love, people are discovering that they can go down the street where none of these topics are broached, and they are serving a latte to boot. And, if that weren’t enough. you should catch the entertainment! (N.B., If you research a little, you’ll see that their church is an high end neighborhood in a notoriously liberal area).

    This isn’t rebuilding Catholicism, this is repackaging the MegaChurch down the street. Let’s face it, MegaChurches are doing Protestantism very well, while our stripped out Catholic churches, with their little musical folk/rock bands and watered down sermons, are doing Protestantism very poorly. As long as it remains a competition of who does Protestantism the best, Catholics will continue to lose members to the impressive “Protestant” MegaChurches.

    http://taylormarshall.com/2013/08/megachurch-or-catholic-church.html

  • gilgilliam

    I hope we don’t have to go back to the days of Jim Crowe, he’s only just retired as CEO of Level 3. The guy probably needs some rest.

  • MeanLizzie

    Good heavens, Fr, do not appreciate the fact that 20 years ago — even 10 years ago REBUILT would not have been written because no one would even admit that there were issues? Change is happening. It’s not instantaneous. Wow.


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