One of My Basic Arguments Tonight

One of My Basic Arguments Tonight October 8, 2013

…will be this: That a Church that is spending all its energies driving out the Impure is a Church that has no room for this guy:

And that is the guy Jesus died for. I became a Catholic, in no small measure, because I *love* that the Church is the communion of the riff raff–because I am totally riff raff.

"If your Diocese has a TL Mass, you should go one time (If you haven't).It's ..."

Rod Bennett on his new book ..."
"You, and Tom, and the very host of this blog are all avoiding my question. ..."

Some Reflections on the Crucifixion for ..."
"as I'm fond of saying, the Church and the truths she teaches belong to Christ, ..."

Rod Bennett on his new book ..."

Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!

What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Steve

    Will that argument be in opposition to a real person actually arguing that the Church should be spending ALL of its energies driving out the impure?

    Or is that just a parody of a real person actually arguing that SOME of the Church’s energies should be spent on disciplining people who are causing massive scandal?

    • Newp Ort

      It’s going to be presented to an actual person, live, in person who will be allowed to respond.

      Treatment of scandal and whether more should be done is a legitimate discussion. But it’s not scandalous to for example accept communion in the hand (if allowed by rightful church authority) and it is in fact scandalous to strongly imply that there is something wrong with it.

      • Stu

        You missed his point. Mark’s construct above no more represent the views of Michael Voris than if we characterized Mark’s position as being one which called for no standards at all. Part of having a good discussion is representing the viewpoints of all present in an accurate manner. Absent such, I guess you do have plenty of material to make scarecrows.

        • Newp Ort

          My point is this talk of strawmanning is silly. They’re going to debate face to face and if Voris thinks he’s being strawmanned he can say so.

          Mark knows Voris isn’t saying ALL the church’s energy should be used to drive out the impure and Voris knows Mark is not opposed to SOME of the church’s energies should be used to root out scandal.

          Hopefully the discussion will be about matters of degree and effective ways to bring people into the fold while at the same time avoiding and correcting scandal. Despite Mark’s bombastic blogging and Voris’ strident videos I suspect they are both decent men and will have a lively yet fair debate.

          Or maybe the whole thing will devolve into fisticuffs, what the heck do I know? Let’s give em a chance.

          • Stu

            Mark presented a strawman above. It it what it is.

            • Newp Ort

              Oh crap Stu you’re nitpicking. Mark didn’t mean the statement to say Voris is advocating such. If you give Mark the least benefit of the doubt it’s clearly simply a turn of phrase – “how are you gonna x if you use all your y doing z?” that type of thing. THAT is what it is.

              Mark’s welcome to show up and correct me if I’m mistaken.

              • Stu

                I’m nitpicking by actually responding to what he clearly wrote? If it’s simply a turn of phrase then it’s still not accurate? It would be like someone asking Mark, “How are you going to evangelize to sinners if you don’t believe in actual standards within the Church?” Is that simply a turn of phrase? If Mark objected to my characterization of his position would he be nitpicking?

                Let’s just strive to be accurate and plainspoken. It helps to avoid confusion and rabbit holes.

                • Newp Ort

                  You’re being pedantic. Stick that in your rabbit hole.

                  • Stu

                    Why do you want to tell lies about what other people say?

          • Pappy

            Well the venue is all you can eat and drink for $15, so fisticuffs is not out of the question 😉

          • Peter

            Here in one corner, we have “Nice Catholic” Mark Shea. And in the other corner, we have “Catholic Crusader” Michael Voris. Ding, ding, ding LETS GET READY TO RUMBLE!

        • Steve

          Unless Mark can produce an instance where Voris stated that all of the Church’s energy should be devoted to tossing out the impure, Mark will be responding to an extreme argument that no one made. I.e. Strawman.

          • enness

            Does he need to come out and say it explicitly, if it is implied by most of what he does?
            (I don’t watch. I’m just asking.)

            • Steve

              It’d certainly be preferable. If not, a high burden of proof rests on Mark to show that this inference is indeed what Voris was getting at and not just a figment of his own biased imagination.

              If I was engaging in a public debate, I’d simply stick with arguing against the actual words someone has said, rather than trying to convince the crowd of what he REALLY means.

              Because if you do, you’re going to run into the problem of the guy saying, “Ummm… I never said that. Nor do I believe that. Here’s what I do propose, how about you argue against that?”

  • Pappy

    I agree with Steve. With all due respect, if this is your basic argument, you’ll be arguing a straw man.

    In fact, If I was Michael Voris, I’d be recording your interview with Al Kresta

    to show that in fact, that it was the Church’s idea of authority that brought you into the Church.

    Again if I was Michael Voris (which I’m not — no really I’m not), that schlubs like you and me are precisely what the Church is for. We neither deny the disease nor the cure, I’d be arguing against those who are in the church and deny sin, or deny the church’s power to forgive those sins. I’d also argue that for the sake of the schlubs, the authority of the church must be used to prevent scandal.

  • John Barnes

    Thanks for posting this, Mark. It’s good to be reminded of some basic Christian realities that can get lost amidst pew politics.

  • Marthe Lépine

    I disagree with both of you. What do you call scandal? Not showing a good face? Daring to sit a the table and eat with sinners, as Jesus did, scandalizing the Pharisees? Remember, the definition of scandal is NOT doing things that other people disapprove of. It is doing things that will incite others to commit sins, such as teaching errors, or offering drugs to a drug addict – even if that drug addict is already sinning by using drugs regularly. Or going into a PP abortuary and pretending to be a pregnant woman in a desperate situation in order to catch the clinic’s employee saying something wrong, since it is also asking the employee to commit one more sin, e.g. one more abortion. So, I would like your explication of what you call “scandal” for which the church should be protected.

    • vox borealis

      I would imagine that Canon 915 is a starting point for this discussion.

    • Steve

      One example can be found in 1 Corinthians chapter 5. Tell me, if a Bishop spoke that way today, would you be supportive of him?

    • pappy

      By scandal I mean what Christ meant by scandal — an obstacle, a stumbling block. People in (or out of the church) who are sinners are not scandalous per se. When someone in the church, indicating by action and word that what the church calls sin is not sin – that is scandal.

      • Newp Ort

        Scandal can also mean indicating that what the church say is not sinful is actually sinful.

        • Pappy

          Agreed, I forgot the other side of the equation. Any willful misrepresentation of church teaching can lead to scandal.

  • Beefy Levinson

    And if I were Voris (I’m not, really) I would reply that I don’t want the Impure driven out; I want to see them converted and living a new life.

    • Newp Ort

      I get the feeling from what I’ve seen of Voris that he’d say that followed by “but…”

  • IF it were me, I would simply say this:

    The Church is in crisis. Institutional collapse crisis. Yet this isn’t the first time, and it won’t be the last. People need to hear about how to build up, not how much things suck.

    Mr. Voris does some good work, but does it really help when the main point of his “Vortex” series is how awesome his viewers are, and how “effeminate” and impure everyone that disagrees with him is?

    How is that different than Matatics, Sungenis, Corapi, and about a thousand voices who came before in crusade mode?

    • Stu

      So, you would say it’s a question of balance in messaging?

      I’m not privy to the entirety of the CMTV lineup so I wonder if the rest of the programming is similar to The Vortex. I suspect it isn’t and given the Vortex is their lead-in, it might give an unbalanced impression of CMTV’s content overall. But that being said, that still present a problem in messaging because the perception is still there.

      My remarks to Michael Voris would be the same as those I give to Mark. Delivery matters and hyping up tribalism doesn’t do much for bringing people into the fold. By all means, let’s be transparent about the problems. Get them all out there. But let’s make sure the message isn’t lost in the rhetoric.

      • Agree with a need for better rhetoric.

        Perhaps here’s something else, and this goes not just for Shea and Voris, but for most of the blogosphere.

        More often than not, the targets of the screeds aren’t the vices we have within ourselves, but the vices of the other, and they are targeted to whip up almost a lynch mob sentiment against the dreaded other.
        For all of his faults, Shea is conscious of this problem, even if I don’t always agree with the way he handles this. Mr. Voris seems this problem a feature of his ministry and not a bug. That worries me.

  • I’ll be praying for the guy in the video. Also: good luck with the debate. Play nice!

  • meunke

    I guess I’m missing something.

    No, I don’t think we there should be driving out of sinners.

    But at the same time, it seems like most people equate any kind of censure, regardless of cause, as something horribly against Church teaching.

    I thought that the official instruments of Church censure were meant to be medicinal anyway, or am I missing something?

    Do we ban anyone who was divorced from setting foot in the Church door? No, of course not. But how does that mean the Church should sit still and do nothing if, say, one of her priests began teaching publicly that the Resurrection was nothing but a myth? Does it have to be all or nothing?

    I don’t watch the Vorhis show, or whoever he is, so I’m probably missing the point here.

    • Newp Ort

      Doesn’t seem like you’re missing a thing. 🙂

  • thetrog

    I was really hoping to make it when I first heard you were going to be in town, but I have a previous commitment for tonight. However, if one of your basic arguments is a straw man, perhaps it’s just as well.

  • A church that drives out the impure, will be a church of one, the guy who doesn’t understand that he is impure.

    A church that fails to teach that sin is sin, is nothing more than a way to separate old people from their social security checks.

    We need something in between.

  • Had I known of this event two months in advance, as opposed to two weeks, I would have flown to St Paul just to see it. Really.

  • Rebecca Duncan

    Yes, all I encounter among Catholics are people who want to drive out the impure. :/

    More like, most people don’t care about sin or confession anymore, it isn’t preached from the pulpit and that is the biggest problem we’re facing. Not the bogeymen who are trying to drive people away who most likely only voice their concerns on the internet in very few numbers.

  • Pappy

    Well, what an evening ! It was standing room only inthe basement of St. Augustine’s church as a record crowd came to listen, eat and drink
    (and the ones that came early enough enjoyed cigars outside).

    Both sides drew blood in the opening remarks. Fortunately Mark did not go with the “strawman” argument – he was well prepared and in very good form (I was somewhat concerned about this. Mark you are a great write, but some of your radio interviews aren’t very good). Both Mark and Michael provided ample humor remarks (often self-deprecating) and presented their position
    clearly and elicited applause from all.

    After dinner, two local gentlemen joined Mark and Michael in a panel discussion, which was much less of a debate and more of a general encouragement to “let’s all just be good Catholics”.

    It’ll be interesting to see what Mark has to say about this.

    • Newp Ort

      anyone know if a recording or transcript will be available?

      • Pappy

        They normally do recordings and eventually post them to the website – the URL for the recordings is – but I wouldn’t bold my breath waiting for it 😉

        • Newp Ort


  • defiant12314

    I have no problem with the Church being a hospital for sinners, I have a problem with dissent being tolerated and not quashed. as “Protect the Pope” has put it, 50 years of swamping dissent with truth has not worked, better that we punish dissenters who refuse to recant their heresy instead of allowing them to remain in any position where they are a danger to souls