The Poisonous Fruit of Michael Voris’ Work

The Poisonous Fruit of Michael Voris’ Work June 19, 2012

Lifesite News issues a bulletin instructing the faithful to do what Voris acolytes always do: delude themselves that in attacking faithful Catholics they are bravely standing up to a shadowy liberal conspiracy when in fact they are living in a fantasy world. Readers in the combox immediately comply, slandering good Abp. Vigneron, just as, at the bidding of Voris, they previously slandered good Bp. Mulvey, SOLT, EWTN, the Register, CNA, and lots of other good and faithful Catholics who have dared to question or criticize… Michael Voris.

Ahem. Nothing in this pattern has changed since last year:

What’s going on then? Only this: Voris and his defenders in the comboxes are not really attacking Progressive Dissenters in this and several other contretemps. They are, by and large, attacking faithful Catholics in conservative Catholic media and labeling them as Progressive Dissenters.

Consider: …Would any normal healthy Catholic say that the Catholic News Agency is staffed by people devoted to “PC enforcement, demonizing of outspoken orthodoxy, and propagation of modernism”? Could any sane person talk as though the Register is dedicated to the protection of “libs and progressives and dishonest people who hate what he says about Catholic doctrine.” Only people who either cannot think or cannot grasp minimal standards of honesty and decency can say that is staffed by CINOs and socialists who “support abortion, gay marriage and a host of issues that are DIAMETRICALLY OPPOSED TO CHURCH TEACHING.”

Seriously, people need to think about how absolutely ridiculous that looks to any normal healthy Catholic. So why do so many Voris fans fling such wild charges despite the fact that there is absolutely no evidence for them?

Answer: They write such things because Michael Voris urges them to think and say such things. For it is his perennial habit to declare that his mission is to trap and expose “lies and falsehoods” — not mistakes, differences in taste or approach, or well-intended but poorly executed prudential actions: lies and falsehoods. In short, he begins by characterizing those he criticizes as heretics, enemies of the Church and fifth columnists who must be “exposed.” Yet he often does so in such a way as to give himself a backdoor for denying that he is poisoning the well.

Exhibit A: Mr. Voris’ analysis of the Fr. Corapi scandal. Short story for those who missed it: Fr. Corapi was a popular priest who, as investigation showed, was behaving in ways which made him “unfit for the priesthood” as SOLT put it. His bishop (Mulvey of Corpus Christi) and superiors in SOLT took a whole lot of abuse from fans who refused to consider the possibility that Fr. Corapi could possibly be in the wrong. Eventually, Fr. Corapi abandoned his priesthood, was discovered to have been engaged in fornication and drug abuse (among other things), betrayed his vows, attacked his bishop as a libeler and a blackmailer and started the process of reinventing himself as the absurd superhero “The Black Sheepdog.”

How did Michael Voris respond? Referring to Corapi, he cast the whole thing in his standard Culture War template and suggestively told his followers who the real villains and hero in this drama were. Eulogizing Corapi, Mr. Voris declared, “He unabashedly talked about the angry homosexual subculture that controls so much of what goes on. He blasted unfaithful bishops … meaning not only the obvious ones but also the ones who quietly and cowardly sit back and let heterodoxy and heresy spread unchecked. It isn’t a stretch of the imagination to conclude many of the enemies he made and noses he got out of joint among the bishops and their lapdog media lackies are glad to see all of this going on.”

Does this sound familiar? It should. It’s the exact same scenario regurgitated in the combox entries cited above: Righteous Truthteller Persecuted by Corrupt and Sinister Liberal Cabal. Nor did the Corapians (as these sectarians now call themselves) fail to get the message. Mulvey and SOLT=evil. Corapi=Persecuted Saint. My comboxes (among others) swelled up and burst with denunciations of the persecution of Corapi by those horrid liberal bishops and their liberal media lapdog lackeys (meaning Mulvey, since he was the only one responsible for the investigation, and those in Catholic media who covered the actual facts as they emerged).

And emerge they did. It turns out Corapi was, in fact, unfit to be a priest and Mulvey and SOLT were absolutely right to call him to heel. Are there progressive dissenters who don’t much like Corapi? Sure. But was this, in fact, what brought Corapi down? No. It was Corapi’s own sins and rebellion against his bishop and superiors that did that. So why exactly did Michael Voris make the link with angry homosexuals and heterodox enemies if they had nothing whatsoever to do with the subject at hand? Because Fr. Corapi was a useful tool for doing what Voris always does: attacking the bishops as a shadowy cabal of liberals. It fit the template, so he ran with it and his audience, who believe every attack on a bishop Voris launches, ran with it too.

Only here’s the thing: Voris wound up siccing the angry mob not on “progressive dissenters” but on faithful Catholics who were concerned about the integrity of the Church’s witness — including Bishop Mulvey and the conservative and orthodox Catholic media who covered the story. In short, there was no cabal. There was only a brave orthodox and good bishop named Mulvey enduring tons of abuse from fans of both Corapi and Voris, but who stuck to his guns, thus exposing a fraud and a knave unfit to be a priest. Similarly, there were no liberal media lapdog lackeys. There was just conservative, orthodox, and faithful EWTN and the Register , which likewise caught an awful lot of flack from the energized followers of Corapi and Voris, who bought the complete myth that their entirely fair and just coverage of Corapi’s self-destruction was somehow part of a sinister liberal lapdog lackey conspiracy.

Bottom line: Mr. Voris’ picture, painted with the colors of hint and suggestion, that the story of Corapi was one of a Brave Truthteller vs. a Corrupt Shadowy Gay Cabal, was dangerously and recklessly false — and Mr. Voris has never noted nor retracted a word of it. Brave bishop Mulvey and the SOLT investigators (and the conservative Catholic press who covered the story) did the right thing with absolutely no thanks to Mr. Voris and the followers he egged on against a non-existent liberal cabal.

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