Michael Voris Again Smears an Innocent Catholic

Michael Voris Again Smears an Innocent Catholic October 31, 2013

When we think of menaces to the Church or obvious dissenters, who should we think of? Pelosi? Sebelius? Islamic murderers of Christians? Apostate theologians who say Jesus was eaten by wild dogs? Crony capitalists destroying families with unjust wages?

Of course not! No the huge threat we face are the best evangelists of our generation. So Michael Voris sets about the task of ginning up a mob against none other than Fr. Robert Barron as a heretic for his views on hell, just as he recently set about ginning up a mob about those equally dangerous people Karl Keating, Jimmy Akin, Al Kresta their ilk–again providing evidence that Reactionaries are, at bottom, most frightened of evangelists.

Here is what Fr. Barron actually has to say. You will note that what he has to say is basically identical to what Pope Benedict has to say in Spe Salvi. It is, as it is with Benedict, a speculation, not a forecast or a doctrine. Voris, to his credit cannot bring himself to declare Benedict “wrong” but does not hesitate to bring up Barron on heresy charges for his audience. The problem is, Barron is guilty of no heresy, has said nothing “wrong” and is perfectly within the pale of orthodox speculation. No. Really:

Now those, such as Ralph Martin who speculate that few will be saved are also (obviously) also within the pale of orthodoxy and share their opinion with not a few Fathers and theologians. But at the end of the day, that’s all you have: two schools of opinion–both of which are allowed by the Church.

But Voris is certain that somehow Benedict’s and Barron’s speculation is not *really* allowed by the Church and so set about portraying his opinion, not merely as “different but within the pale of orthodoxy” but as “wrong”:

The problem is, as we discuss here at some length, Barron is not “wrong” in his speculations just as Benedict is not wrong. They (and numerous other Catholics) are guilty of no dissent against Church teaching whatsoever. Yet Voris attacks all who share Barron’s opinion as guilty of precisely this.

Reader Joe Grabowski comments:

I would critique and refine Barron’s presentation of this matter in some regards, to be sure – and I am personally a champion of the theory that we can hope that all men may be saved. But it is one alternative of two equally allowable theological positions in an open question, and neither side can claim a slam-dunk victory in this matter because it is simply not definitely settled at this point.

And that’s what makes Voris’s presentation here (par for the course for him) malicious, unfair, ham-fisted, offensive, insulting, and stupid.

The exasperating thing about Voris’ consistent method is that he targets, not heretics or enemies of the Faith, but innocent people, disobedient to no precept of Holy Church, and dissenting from no doctrine of Holy Church, and then maliciously smears them with the suggestion (and in this case the flat declaration), that they are believing, living (and in Barron’s case) teaching error. Whether it’s Barron (as here), or Keating, Akin, Kresta et al (for the “sin” of making a living), or people who receive communion in the hand (who are somehow associated with Priscillianist heresy) or people who happen to like “Amazing Grace” (Protestantism!), Voris’ method is not to defend the Church from heresy, but to accuse innocents of heresy and sic his audience on them. It’s sinful and it should stop.

And before somebody says something stupid like “Why aren’t you taking this to Michael Voris directly?”, remember two things.

1.  I did, when he launched exactly this malicious attack at the Argument of the Month Club and I told him to his face that Fr. Robert Barron is not the enemy and this sort of fratricidal nonsense is purely destructive.

2. Lemme ask you, Gentle Reader, if you are wringing you hands over a public response to a public attack on an innocent man, have you gone to Michael Voris and asked him if he took this smear to Fr. Barron before recklessly launching this video today or whether he took his smears of Keating, Akin, Kresta et al to them to verify that there was, in fact, anything wrong with their personal incomes before broadcasting them to the universe with the suggestion that they are money-grubbing whores and gutless cowards in the pay of the Church of Nice?

This stuff is poison and needs to stop.

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