Kudos to Michael Voris

Kudos to Michael Voris March 18, 2014

When we debated back in October, one of the things I noticed about him was that he quietly and adamantly refused to attack Pope Francis (and that in a roomful of guys who showed no hesitation about registering their… disquiet… about the Holy Father). It impressed me then. It impresses me even more now. Why?

Because since that time, the Reactionary freakoutery about Francis has, if anything, only gotten worse, with nutjobs speculating that he is the false prophet of Revelation and people courting schism (all of them, of course, “faithful Catholics” who are waaaaaay better Catholics then the low caste slobs who go to the OF and need to be kicked out of the Church in order to maintain purity of essence).  The Perfecti seem to be coming to the conclusion that they must destroy the Church in order to save it.  And as they do they, with the cannibalistic instinct that always seem to come to the fore when Puritans begin a purge, have decided to begin by devouring anybody who thinks the Pope is, you know, the Vicar of Christ and our spiritual father.

And so, in a bizarre (and yet curiously hopeful) turn of  events, Michael Voris actually had the moxie to to issue a statement to the ravening pack of Francis haters on the Right that, no, he’s not going to attack the Holy Father since he’s, you know, the Pope and the Pharisaic Perfecti are not more Catholic than he is.  This controversial-to-nobody-but-insane-Reactionaries policy is now being met with increasing hostility, led by first class Francis-hater Louie Verecchio.

Voris refused to back down, issuing this video:

And so the grateful Verecchio, whom Voris has, in the past, been kind enough to promote, invested 30 pieces of silver in a video counter-attack on Voris for his mortal sin of charity to the Holy Father (title: “The Gore-Tex”. Get it?). Various other Reactionary kooks are joining in the struggle to save the Church from the pope and from the curses of faith, hope, and love. Ever ready to eat their own, the Reactionaries are–I am not making this up–seriously calling a Catholic’s failure to hate on the Pope “Vorisgate”. Insane. (Amusingly, a number of Reactionaries in the comboxes and around the web fixate on one figure as the archetypal demon with whom to compare Michael Voris’ betrayal of Truly True Purely Pure Catholicism: Yr. Obdt. Svt.

Meanwhile, Voris hits back, still refusing to be herded into the increasingly insane camp of Perfecti who seriously believe that to maintain their holier-than-thou purity Catholics must attack and even renounce even the pope.

It’s no secret that Mr. Voris and I have some real differences. But I have no hesitation at all about commending him when he does the right thing. Here, he is doing the right thing (and paying a real price for it as Reactionaries do their best to punish him socially and financially for not knuckling under to their poisonous and foolish hatred for the Holy Father. My hope is that this will be a time for CMTV to move forward with positive coverage of this fine man and not lose heart in the face these nasty people.

Well done, Mr. Voris!

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  • Let’s pray for him!

  • Gary Keith Chesterton

    Why do you hate the Church, Mark?

    • Biff Spiff

      Why do you beat your wife? What a completely baseless insinuation.

      • Andy, Bad Person

        Biff, context is necessary for GK’s post. He’s being completely facetious.

        • Biff Spiff

          Yep. Sorry I missed it. My bad. I was just in a very bad humor after having read that far down the combox.

      • Sean P. Dailey

        Why do you hate jokes, Biff?

  • BillyT92679

    Francis haters aren’t merely traditionalists. They’re are a ton of plain, everyday orthodox OF attenders who, at best, distrust Francis. The NC Register combox is FULL of them.

    • StumbleBumble

      One of the main reasons I stopped going/reading the NC Register. When they asked me to make a donation to their online publication, I replied to refuse due to the lack of charity and respect many of their comboxers have towards our Holy Father. No thanks!

      • Marthe Lépine

        A suggestion: Try this Catholic Register for a change:

        http://www.catholicregister.org/ You will find a much more balanced coverage. For the moment, though, they do not have a lot of comments, but my fellow Canadian Catholics do not seem to have those sharp divisions among themselves. Actually, I used to feel very “out of my depth” when I began reading Catholic blogs from the US, precisely because of those apparent divisions.

        • StumbleBumble

          Thank you. I will check out the link as time allows. ^^

    • MarylandBill

      True, lets say that there are plenty of people on the conservative side of orthodoxy who in this particular case are willing to align with some of the traditionalists.

    • said she

      One big group of Francis haters are those who put their political affiliation – Conservatism – above their faith. They get their opinions from the Right, and then panic when they hear the Pope say things that the Left likes.

      • She-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named

        Yes! Yes! Yes! This is why I tend to avoid the subject of politics even with my fellow Catholics. I usually find that they are very liberal or Rush Limbaugh-esque conservative and nothing in between. It’s very disheartening at times. My politics are informed by my Catholic faith and not the other way around. It’s hard to find other people who share my convictions on this.

        • Sherry Weddell

          SWMNBN – We’re out there. And there really are alot of us. But the fringe’s dominate the blogosphere which gives a very distorted sense of their numbers. Glad to know you are out there too!

          • Andy

            This is so true the loudest voices in my experience are usually few in number and use their loudness to intimidate others. I try to my best to let my understanding of the what the church teaches drive my political choices as well.

        • Biff Spiff

          She-Who, there is plenty of in-between, and off to one side and off to the other side, etc. For my own part, I have gone from indifferent cradle Catholic, to “on fire” evangelical Protestant, to “on fire” Catholic revert over the space of about 20 years. My politics have tracked my faith journey (to the confusion of the party hacks).

        • Francis

          It’s probably hard to find them because they are the quiet ones who go about their daily life not letting others’ opinions dictate their own. It’s nearly impossible to find those types on the internet.

    • iamlucky13

      Note in converse that traditionalists are not merely Francis haters. I only know a couple regular extraordinary form attendees, one particularly outspoken (not afraid to criticize lukewarm priests or bishops, loudly critical of those fail to respond to heresy in their dioceses or parishes, and who frequently lectures me on the drawbacks of the ordinary form), who I’ve yet to hear make any dramatic criticism of the Holy Father. I’m pretty sure he’s not her favorite pope, but I’m also pretty sure she see’s how much of the controversy is a result of the secular media deliberately distorting and taking out of context what he says.

      I think also she trusts, as I do, the Holy Spirit to send us Pope’s who emphasize things the Church needs emphasize in any given generation. I may be worried that Pope Francis is not as familiar with the challenges of the Church in the northern hemisphere as would be ideal, and wish for more clear statements on the morals most directly under attack in our hemisphere, and more liturgical continuity with Pope Benedict.

      Yet at the same time, just as I took Pope Benedict’s papacy as the Holy Spirit reminding us of our need for reverence, especially through our rich liturgical rituals, and deep (and accurate, I should not have to say) knowledge of our faith, I take Pope Francis’ papacy as the Holy Spirit reminding us, on top of what Pope Benedict taught, not replacing it, to do works of charity and have a prayer life that reflects a genuine desire for a relationship with God.

  • BillyT92679

    Reactionaries come in many stripes

  • RufusChoate

    Nice gesture, Mr. Shea. I have had a weird inclination for a very long time to never doubt the Holy Spirit’s movement in everything that touches my faith. Even in my struggle deepening my faith, I love Pope Francis along with the Reactionaries and Radicals for the exercise of my intellect and my faith by giving me the test of my faith and the openness to the truth.

    The odd thing is so many seem to be more incensed by Voris’s criticism than the people who have looted and polluted the church. I hope that works out for you but it is simply insane.

  • Peter Williams

    “Francis Haters”? I hadn’t heard that before. Although I am reminded of when Pope Francis charitably reached out to one of his most vocal Italian critics (the recently departed Mario Palmaro), telling him that he “understood that the critics had been moved by love for the Pope” after reading the article he co-authored entitled “The reason why we don’t like this Pope.” Pope Francis’ approach in this regard is telling: http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/pope-francis-calls-a-traditionalist-writer-who-criticized-him/

  • An Aaron, not The Aaron

    This is a positive move for Voris, but I can’t help thinking that his insistence on using the “Church of Nice” gimmick puts him in a tight spot. His struggle going forward is going to be drawing a clear line that enables him to attack the successors to the Apostles (and so continue his attack on the “Church of Nice”), but not the successor to Peter. Personally, I don’t think he can do it. This is probably why reactionaries have been going nuts about this. They’ve invested a lot in the hate-filled tirades against the “Church of Nice” in the past and likely feel they’ve had the rug pulled out from under them. How, they may ask, can Voris justify attacking, say, Cardinal Dolan for saying “who am I to judge?” (or something similar) but not the Pope for saying the same thing?
    The whole purpose of Voris’ shtick is pointing out that bishops, having the authority, and therefore, the responsibility, to defend the faith are failing to do so. How can he abandon that shtick when it comes to the one person who has even more authority? It doesn’t make sense to me and it doesn’t appear to make sense to reactionaries. Of course, I prefer that Voris abandon the idiotic and toxic “Church of Nice” vehicle altogether. From his statements on the Pope, it looks like he’s beginning to see how unnecessarily divisive it is. Hopefully he will take his decision on the Pope to its logical conclusion and dump it entirely. Unfortunately, he’s built a fan base that loves to hate, and they don’t appear to be in the mood to change any time soon, so I think he’s going to suffer some pretty heavy consequences, at least in the short term. God grant him the grace to amend anyway.

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    • Marthe Lépine

      Over the years, most people continue to mature and develop new understandings. This is probably the case for Mr. Voris, so “give him some slack”.Progress usually comes step by step. And with this position in favour of Pope Francis Mr. Voris is already doing something positive that will probably cost him a lot in every respect. Just wait, pray for him and for the people who follow, or used t follow, his work, and continue to express appreciation. A person entering into such a fight as he is doing now, for the truth, does need a lot of prayers and the support, not just comments that he maybe could something else from his usual attitude. That will come later, God willing.

      • StumbleBumble

        Agree…those very thoughts came to me as I watched these two videos. I will pray for him and those who follow him and for the rest of us as well.

      • An Aaron, not The Aaron

        It wasn’t my intent to kick him when he’s down. I simply intended to express the hope that he will keep moving in the direction he appears to be going.

    • RufusChoate

      Wow just wow. You’re hilariously totalitarian with your demand for uniformity with your opinion that the completely passive approach to the moral rot of our society and the Church, that is best encapsulated with the term of “Church of Nice”, is the optimal exposition of the Gospel. I would like to see an uniformly vitriolic attack on unsound and heretical teaching from you but I think I know the unlikelihood of discovering similar condemnation.

      What has been the cost to the Church for the Bishop’s failure to teach sound doctrine and discipline in their dioceses over the last Thirty years? Arius as well as a host of other apostates and heretics were also successors to Apostles. Were they entitled respectful obedience? Think about the Reformation in England for an example of widespread apostasy. So few Bishops stood against the Tudors that it was a scandal. Bishops are Shepherds but some are hirelings who fail their flocks. I don’t think you need to hear about them in America.

      You should google Father Michael Jude Fay who was the first Priest that I remember calling for the Church of Nice. His story is instructive. His enablers and mentors were Cardinal Egan and Archbishop Lori. The Church of Nice is among us.

      The accusation of hate is comically predictable.

      • An Aaron, not The Aaron

        Is this… parody? If so, it’s spot on. Well done!

        If not (my parody detector may be on the fritz), you may want to actually read my comment, since I was merely pointing out the inconsistency in approach if Voris wants to continue with his over-the-top criticism of the bishops while respecting the office of the Papacy. I think it leaves him teetering on a rather uncomfortable edge. He’s admitted that a shoot-first-ask-questions-later approach to the Pope isn’t always productive. I’m hoping that he realizes the same consideration applies to the rest of the episcopacy.

        And thank you for assuming I think heresy is just peachy. That’s what converts like me came into the Church to spread after all, as every reactionary knows.

        • RufusChoate

          Parody? Parody of what? You are asking for patient tolerance of men in the American Bishops conference who allowed the expropriation of over a billion dollars to pay for the misbehavior of a minority of Priests both bankrupting the American Catholic church financially and as a moral voice.

          In my diocese of Bridgeport, Connecticut we have had an endless stream of scandals of the senior men most closely related to the Bishop’s staff:Father Michael Jude Fay- An open Homosexual who propagated the Church of Nice was found guilty of embezzling over several million dollars for his lavish lifestyle with a string of boy friends and died in prison. With sense of insulting Irony, Fay was placed on the Sexual Abuse Panel by Egan and Lori and appointed to be a pastor of one of the most affluent parishes in the Country at a very young age.

          Lori and Egan’s right hand man and Personal Secretary to both: Monsignor Kevin Wallin was convicted of running a methamphetamine lab, a Porn shop and other criminals activities. Both Priests continued to receive their pay in prison while every orthodox priest who attempted to report their malfeasance to the Chancery were persecuted and driven from the Priesthood.

          Yes, Voris is clearly the problem and everything is a parody.

          • chezami

            Aside from a perpetual venting of fruitless rage and an encouragement of contempt for most of the Church’s members (now coming back to eat him in the form of holier-than-thou Reactionaries who have decided he is not one of the Perfecti) what does Voris constructively propose? When I debated him, he even rejected prayer, fasting, almsgiving, and the corporal and spiritual works of mercy as means of reform. Aside from a fountain of molten anger, CMTV seems to propose nothing. And neither do his followers, from what I can see. That’s why I’m happy that he’s drawing the line with venting mindless rage at our good and holy pope. My hope is that he will work backward from there and realize that his technique of attacking innocents as money-grubbing whores in the pocket of the Church of Nice will likewise taper off. Because the subculture that conceives of almost the entire Church as Impure Enemies is going to demonstrate that the difference between them and alligators is that alligators don’t eat their young.

            • RufusChoate

              You know no one remembers the sophisticated apologists and courtiers of the corrupt Avignon Papacy who ridiculed their critics but everyone remembers semi-literate and angry Catherine of Siena. Curious isn’t it?

              The American Church is in nadir and it isn’t the orthodox critics who accomplish this feat with their indignant and angry response to the rape and humiliation of their Church but the wicked and weak Bishops and their enablers.

              • chezami

                You guys always compare yourself to Catherine of Siena. I repeat me question: what exactly do you have to offer by way of a constructive proposal. You are anger addicts who seem to have nothing to say beyond your rage.

              • Heather

                Funny, I am not aware of any public campaign conducted by St. Catherine to lobby against the actions of the Church or to undermine the Church’s authority by declaring the Church’s widespread apostasy, even though there were plenty of clerical shenanigans to be had.

                She certainly wrote letters to the Pope with some stern and concrete advice. And she certainly was not shy about giving advice to others in positions of power. But the reason we still have those letters etc. is because they were preserved, not because they were widely distributed on her orders during a lifetime of irate pamphleteering. Her strategy for general reform tended to involve things like calling for prayer, fasting, and love of God, not undermining the authority of the Church she loved.

                • chezami

                  She also did not routinely smear innocent people as money-grubbing whores in the pay of the Church of Nice in order to whip a mob into a frenzy of hatred against people who had not hired her for a job. Nor did she then blame the mob for understanding her to say what she was obviously saying.

          • An Aaron, not The Aaron

            Um, ok … so not a parody. Well, Rufus, I’m still not seeing where I expressed comfort with the bad acts of bishops. My original comment (which I thought I clarified) pointed out what I think is a disconnect in Voris’ approach. One of the reasons he stated for refusing to criticize the Pope was that such criticism would tend to drive people away from the Church – that is the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. His “Church of Nice” gimmick, however, implies (unwittingly, most likely) that there is more than one Church. This is bad ecclesiology and sloppy theology. I’m sure Voris would be the first to wave his hands in the air and claim that is not what he meant, which is precisely why he should dump it. “Church of Nice” makes a demarcation of an institutional nature, rather than a distinction between persons as to their fidelity and competence in teaching and/or following the teachings of the Church.

            Starting from the understanding that all of those weak-willed bishops are members of the One Church (the Body of Christ), just like the rest of us, and not members of some different Church necessarily forces one to take a more measured approach, in the mode of fraternal correction. The “Church of Nice” gimmick, while catchy, lends itself to the belief that those bishops are “Other” and somehow not in the Church. “We are in the Church, you are out… neener, neener,” is the kind of response this gimmick gets and leads to something more akin to fratricide.

            Voris can’t say the Pope is the leader of the One Church, and at the same time imply that various bishops are not leaders in the same Church. It doesn’t work.

            My comments do not in any way keep you, Rufus, from haranguing your own bishop. Fire away, I guess, if that’s what floats your dinghy. But he is a bishop in the One Church, not a member of some “Church of Nice.” There is no such thing.

            • chezami

              You questioned the Perfecti. Therefore you are a whore for the Church of Nice. Your guilt has been determined. There is no appeal. You love child rape because you don’t think a cocktail of rage and anger is the only solution for the Church. Just admit it, you Church of Nice fake Catholic.

              • An Aaron, not The Aaron

                Guilty as charged, I guess. So, Imperfecti it is then.

    • chezami

      I guess my hope is that he will let his approach to Francis spread to influencing the rest of his approach rather than vice versa.

      • An Aaron, not The Aaron

        To be clear, I share that hope.

      • RufusChoate

        So there is nothing to complain about? Interesting. Welcome back from your coma and I hope there is no lasting damage. You might want to catch up on the news.

    • agnus dei

      Your comment is well thought out and makes a really good point.

    • BillyT92679

      Well I think he can get away with it in the sense that he can essentially go after that old bugaboo of collegiality while still falling back on traditional ultramontane affections.

      It’s easy to go after bishops, especially American bishops. It’s often shooting fish in a barrel, and often people are right to do so, as long as they do it with charity and not self-righteousness. Harder for us Catholics to criticize the Pope. At best for many of us who are orthodox. we’re Dollingerites. Plus, the orthodox were the staunchest defenders of the Sovereign pontiff during the past 35 years, against the progressives and SSPX types. Voris comes from that milieu.

      That’s why I find the non-trad Francis critics really hypocritical. At least traditionalists can fall back on the SSPX.

      • An Aaron, not The Aaron

        You may be right, but one of the reasons reactionaries are up in arms is because Voris is now, rightly, asserting that Pope Francis, even when he doesn’t do exactly what Voris would like, is one of us, while still trying to maintain the impression that other bishops who similarly fail to meet Voris-approved standards are “them.” He’s contradicting himself. Like I said, though, I hope he continues to ruminate on this and see the value of a measured approach to all bishops.

    • WilliamWeishaupt

      I’m late to the game here but I believe you hit the nail on the head.

      Voris is wise insofar as he recognizes that it is absolutely not his place to criticize the Pope. He would be even wiser, however, to realize that it is also absolutely not his place to criticize the bishops and other clergy of the Church.

      The reason for this is simple. All teaching authority is derived from the apostles and all teaching authority belongs to the bishops, insofar as they remain in union with the successor of Peter. Others have authority to teach insofar as such has been granted to them by the bishops. A stream cannot rise above its source. Insofar as he has taken it upon himself to judge Princes of the Church, he has grievously overstepped the bounds of Catholic propriety. Criticizing the clergy is not at all the same as, say, criticizing a politician.

      It is not the role of the laity to hold the bishops and other clergy “accountable”, at least not insofar as they are not doing anything illegal. It is not the role of a layman to decide which bishops are faithful to their calling and which bishops are not. It is not Michael Voris’s job to decide which interpretations of Catholic doctrine and practice are kosher and which are not, nor is it his job to determine which bishops are worth listening to and which are to be ignored or ridiculed. Such an attitude is Protestant to its core — it was the desire to do precisely this that drove Martin Luther to formulate his doctrine of Sola Scriptura as he knew he needed an authority above the Magisterium in order to “correct” it.

      A bishop is the highest authority in his own diocese. If a bishop errs in what he teaches or in the practices he allows, it is up to the other bishops, along with the pope, and them alone to correct him. If a priest or deacon errs in what he teaches or in the practices he allows, the right to correction belongs to his bishop and his bishop alone. The role of the faithful laity is obedient submission. One cannot be said to be practicing obedient submission when one picks and chooses which bishops deserve obedience and which deserve criticism. Such is simply another variety of cafeteria Catholicism.

      The Church is an aristocracy, not a plutocracy. I will accept Michael Voris’s criticisms of bishops when, and only when, the Church sees fit to bestow such authority upon him. Until then, he is no better than those he sees fit to criticize.

      As a quick aside before parting, I also take deep issue with language such as “Church of Nice”, as though niceness is something to be disdained. Those who care about niceness are derided for caring about “feelings”, as though that is something to be mocked, something standing in contrast to rationality. Niceness, along with concern for the feelings of others, is a function of empathy. Empathy for one’s neighbor is at the heart of loving one’s neighbor, as love divorced from empathy is no love at all. Rationality without consideration of empthy is not rational, as such is far more reflective of Satan than of Christ. It is, in fact, sociopathic by definition. To teach the Truth in harshness rather than empathy is not to teach the truth at all, as you will never convince someone to accept the Truth by engaging the very psychological defense mechanisms that will prevent someone from actually being able to hear and receive it.

  • StumbleBumble

    “Well done, Mr. Voris!”

    After watching these videos, I have to agree with you, Mark. Let’s hope Mr. Voris, continues in his own way, to defend the Holy Father from the divisive/negative onslaught.
    I have a new-found respect for him as a result. ^^

  • Dbom

    I’ve always liked what I’ve seen from Michael Voris and from Mark Shea.

    Not sure where they disagree (i guess I’ve not seen enough of either) but defending the Pope should be an automatic for a Catholic, wouldn’t you think?

  • tteague

    Being a recent convert to the Catholic Church I could easily be accused of too much Pope infatuation. Some might say that I am too much of a newbie to really get what’s going on, and therefore I have not yet become properly jaded. But when I look at the Pope I see the chair of Peter, the Vicar of Christ. And I also see a very human man, perhaps a wonderful man (I do think Pope Francis is wonderful), but a man nonetheless, and perhaps his humanity bothers some too much. And though I find Pope Francis to be a good pope, I still can’t help but be overjoyed at the office itself. I was raised to hate the Pope and the Catholic Church. Now I see what a gift God gave the Church. Protestantism, though not without many good things and certainly many good people, is a turbulent sea; it is a disunity of faith. With the Pope we have a profound ecclesial and spiritual center, a living leader and example who, in both his human imperfection and the Holy Spirit’s total perfection, provides inestimable value to the Body of Christ. Clearly Voris knows this and is rightly troubled at the shameful attacks on the Pope by professing Catholics. Perhaps he inadvertently played a part in fomenting some anti-Francis rebellion and is now doing what he can to set matters right. I don’t know enough about him, and I don’t follow his ministry, but in these videos he speaks Truth, and I am glad he said what he said. His message of the Pope’s place in the Church sums up some of what led me to become a convert.

    • StumbleBumble

      Beautifully said and welcome! Your commentary has made me happy today and grateful to God Almighty for your sharing and for affirming my own faith in the Vicar of Christ as well.

      Thank you!

  • Harri

    There is a name for the “perfecti”: Fundamentalist protestants.

  • Eerie de Veré

    I am glad you posted this Mark. I too have been very critical of Voris over the past year, not to mention openly suspicious of his playing footsie with the reactionary crowd. But his drawing a firm line with the reactionaries over Pope Francis has proven to me that Voris and his crew are for real, and that they have a set of stones of them. One thing I do pray is that Voris and his people avoid the temptation of trying to respond to every attack from Luigi V. It’s just a tar baby that is near impossible to get away from once one is engaged.

  • Zephyranth

    Thank you, Mr. Voris, for your critical analysis. The Extreme Right haters should not call themselves Christians or Catholics because their hatred and meanness of heart don’t conform to the teachings of Christ. Their vitriolic thoughts and words are more in line with the devil. Evidently, they project their evil thoughts and their very guilt always on the pope. It seems that’s the the only way they could feel good about themselves.

  • faithandfamilyfirst

    I’ve always suspected that Mr. Voris and Mr. Shea are one and the same. Have they ever been seen in the same room at the same time? Of course, even if they have, you can do that today with smoke and clouds and mirrors and such.

  • iamlucky13

    Mark, I admit I don’t have time to read all the back story to this, but having read Mr. Verecchio’s piece that you linked, I’m lost as to where your interpretation of “cannibalistic instinct” for a “Puritan purge” and “increasing hostility” come from, unless you’re treating his article and the articles you gave less emphasis too, which I did not read and admittedly might be more inflammatory, all together

    I’m unable to see this kind of exaggeration as being productive in unifying the church. It’s the same kind of language that turns mildly contentious political issues like education spending priorites into alleged cornerstones of opposing fiscal ideologies. We can’t even build a school these days without people going at each others’ throats, and that kind of polarization can be equally damaging to the Church.

    Mr. Verecchio’s criticism’s of Mr. Voris are respectful and fairly even-handed, although that does diminish a bit in his closing conspiracy speculation.

    I’m worried your exaggerated word choice in response will embolden those who want to water down our faith and deepen the polarization between them and those holding firm against modernism, while at the same time pushing those in SSPX further away from Rome in distaste of such a tone.

    For what it’s worth, I did skim some of his other blog posts and see his frequent and sometimes bewildering criticisms of our Holy Father. At the same time, he seems careful to make the same distinction that Mr. Voris does between criticizing the man and his (normally) fallible actions versus criticizing the office itself and he seems to still accept the legitimacy of Pope Francis’ election.

    As far as the appropriateness of criticizing the pope, while I’d be very hesitant to do so myself, especially based on my limited education, I’m not going to condemn a properly educated person with a legitimate criticism bringing it up in a way that won’t cause scandal (although I have to excuse them when the media spins a well-intentioned criticism specifically to create scandal), especially in light of Pope Francis openly thanking a couple of his critics recently.

  • Mark Shea, though I agree with you that Voris is definitely doing the right thing in not attacking the pope, But Voris is still in attack mode on every other part of Church Hierarchy. And his video makes it clear, if you listen between the lines, that he is not a fan of Pope Francis. He just did a Vortex in which he described St. Thomas More supporting Pope Alexander even though he was a terrible pope.

    I am sure you must have seen the scathing videos he did about Cdl Dolan last week. He called out the Cardinal and said Dolan needed to be giving Bravos to the Courage ministry. He either does not know or will not acknowledge that Cdl Dolan is on the national board of Courage and has spoken about them in public many times, including in this editorial in the NY Daily News:


    I appreciate your trying to reach out to Voris, but I think your kudos are misplaced. The tiger has not change his spots.

    • chezami

      Which is why I still disagree with Michael Voris gospel of anger. But as I say, he is doing the right thing here, so I encourage that.

    • Cypressclimber

      And his video makes it clear, if you listen between the lines, that he is not a fan of Pope Francis. He just did a Vortex in which he described St. Thomas More supporting Pope Alexander even though he was a terrible pope.

      There are many things to criticize Mr. Voris about; but I wasn’t aware that we’re not allowed to dislike anything Pope Francis may have said or decided or done.

  • Daniel O’Connell

    He also stooped to slandering Michael Matt, one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet.
    Did you see Matt’s reply? A class act.

  • Shea, it is so charitable to call people “nut jobs”, “kooks”, “Perfecti”, “Reactionaries” and so on. How did anyone not see that perfect humility in yourself and the Bishop of Rome previously? Who are they to judge? Real men like Matt, Verrecchio, etc have more faith in their little pinkies that you could have in a lifetime of your worship of man rather than God in NewChurch

  • Mark

    Mark, I must express some concern here about how you’re drawing the lines of your “categories of Catholics” as it were. You seem to be lumping liturgical traditionalism in with Francis-hating and ideological demagoguery but the reality is much more complex.

    Sure, the rorate crowd barely conceals it’s disdain for Francis, but I know plenty of trads who love him, and by far the biggest group that seems torn up about him are what I’ve seen referred to as the “neoconservatives” in the Church.

    But then, you yourself might be identified as a species of neocon (there’s always a split, in any class, between the nuanced type and the rabid fundamentalist type) and so you divert the blame for pope-bashing into the trads.

    This isn’t really fair and it’s pretty transparent. Yes, people are having a crisis now because in the past the neocons could define their faithfulness as “loyalty to the Holy Father” but now that the Pope himself is sort of dissing that very sort of authoritarian understanding of Catholicism, people on all fronts are scrambling to figure out how to restore their comfortable litmus tests. But Francis doesn’t seem to want such identities (“I belong to Paul, I belong to Apollo, I belong to Francis!”)

    Seismic shifts are happening in Catholic identities, and that’s going to require rethinking old categories and probably we’ll see some strange bedfellows. Trying to describe it by your old preconceived categories is beneath you. The “types” are shifting and so the tropes need to be updated (or, maybe, discarded entirely).

    • chezami

      I said nothing about all Traditionalists. I direct my words toward Francis-hating Reactionaries and them only. If the shoe does not fit, don’t wear it.

  • Jack

    What hurts and puzzles me is how radtrads don’t consider Eastern Catholics traditional Catholics.

  • tj.nelson

    I knew you two would become BFF’s! God bless you!

    • chezami

      Voris is still plenty wrong on a lot of stuff (not least the fact that his angry accusatory habit of smeaing innocents as gut whores in the pay of the Church of Nice is precisely what has created the Frankenstein Monster that now wishes to eat him. But it’s still a positive step that I hope will be followed by others.

      • tj.nelson

        I agree with you – just having fun at the same time.

      • Gofigure

        There are precisely zero catechumens and zero candidates for Easter Vigil in my 2,000 family this year. A situation to which my pastor contentedly quipped “We’ll just zip through the Easter Vigil this year.” Voris is right a lot more than he is wrong. Zero is a very lonely number for a big “Marty Haugen” based parish like ours.

        • Francis

          What happened to your responsibility to evangelize and catechize. The Great Commission applies to lay people just as much as it does to clergymen.

          • Gofigure

            That’s cute, Francis. I’ll tell you what happened to my responsibility. I was a sponsor for 3 years, when we did have some candidates and catechumens. I sat there in a circle, lights darkened, while we had both “empty plate prayer service” (put your sins on the empty plate and pass it to the next person in the circle) and the “hard rock prayer service” (Pass the rock around and realize how hard your heart is). Clergymen, as you put it, didn’t show most of the sessions. RCIA was run by a group of ladies. Pretty cute, huh? I am not familiar with new age nuttiness to the extent I could evangelize people into that spirituality. How about you, Francis? You a big fan of that stuff?

            • Francis

              No, I’m a big fan of praying and being a charitable person since you know, Jesus was kinda charitable Himself. I can see why there aren’t that many catechumens in your parish, now…and those crazy ladies aren’t the problem.

      • Francis

        I disagree with you. He is right on a lot of things but it is what it is. His club you over the head approach will turn off a lot of people but then again I’ve personally seen and lived his Church of Nice all of my life and have seen how most of my Catholic friends have left the faith at a pretty early ages because they either don’t believe in it or simply don’t feel it is important enough. To be honest I left the faith for the most part too and only came back through the help of God and certain experiences that I don’t feel like sharing. Now I find myself being the only practicing Catholic of my childhood friends some of which are “recovering Catholics.” For the few Protestant converts that I’ve known, they really can’t relate to growing up in a strongly catholic community in the Chicagoland area and see it just evaporate. Even the few friends that I still keep in touch with that study with me a few years in a Catholic seminary in Wisconsin are pretty much agnostic. Sad really.

  • Maggie

    You know, Mark, I could tell it was you just by the (snarky) introductory paragraph from New Advent. As usual your dislike for the Traditions of the Church and especially the people who wish to embrace them comes through. Some have deserved this but the blanket condemnation is unwarranted.

    • chezami

      I have, I now repeat for the billionth time, no dislike for the Tradition of the Church. I do have an intense dislike for the behavior of Reactionaries who behave like Pharisees and sit in condemnation of the entire Church, including the pope, and who lie–yes, lie–that anybody who criticizes their odious behavior is an enemy of the Tradition. Get off my blog, liar.

      • Jeff

        Yes they take pride in their humility

      • brwno

        Sure, I’m with Michael Vorris too on this one. But, about pharisaism, is it the same as hypocrisy and refusing to hear the – sometimes painful – truth. And, in that case, shouldn’t the pharisees rather be the “non-traditionalists” who for the moment remain sitting on the throne of Moses?

  • Dave

    Mark, I am sure glad you are “not going to judge” those “haters” on the right !!!!

    • chezami

      You project your own judgmentalism because it’s what you guys habitually do. I judge their words and actions because says to do so (“A tree is known by its fruits”). I don’t judge whether they should get to approach the altar (as they constantly do with others) and I don’t declare them “not really Catholic” (as they constantly do to others) and I don’t claim to know their eternal destiny.

  • Julia B

    I think the discussion of Chesterton’s writings about heresies explains a lot about what Francis is up to. #1 He’s looking for a balance. Getting fixated on one or two true points is what had lead people into heresy throughout church history.
    This discussion of Chesterton in light of Francis’ quote of him not long ago is most enlightening. http://www.crisismagazine.com/2014/pope-francis-quotes-chesterton-but-what-was-the-quote

    #2 JPII was a professor of philosphy and also an actor of the Polish classics. Benedict was also a professor and spent years dealing with the intellectual profession of theology. Francis is a highly educated Jesuit who also spent some time as a professor, but most of his life as a pastor in the trenches. He knows from personal experience that 90 – 95% of the people who hear him will tune him out if he gets into intellectual nitpicking. He speaks simply to get the attention of those, like most in my parish, who have never heard of the Venerable Bede (whose words Francis chose for his motto) or Chesterton or even John Allen and have never read an encyclical or exhortation. In the US, they might have listened to Archbishop Sheen.

    We are losing and driving away the non-intellectuals as well as the smarty-pants who think of Catholicism as only an intellectual pursuit. The 95% are worth saving, too, and Francis neither condescends nor hectors them. Benedict said we need to be the church of “yes” and Francis is just living that out. Benedict said we need to attract people to the faith, not make it feel like purgatory. Listening to you guys fight is not what Benedict had in mind, either.

  • poverello

    Mark, your use of the term “Perfecti” and its context just tickled me. I was giggling and my wife walked by the office, giving me “the look;” the “oh man, you’re reading Shea again” look. People publicly bad-mouthing the Pope do so at their souls’ peril, and Michael Voris’ refusal to do such is right behavior. Thanks for naming how I was feeling.

  • Theophilus2

    I’ve never heard of Mr. Voris before, but I don’t expose myself to very much and usually avoid articles and combox comments attacking the Holy Father. Why? It is simply too painful to endure. See, if I may correct Mr. Voris on one thing from the video, they are not playing a tug of war with the Pope in the middle, they are ripping and tearing at the Holy Body of Christ.

  • This is why I can do business with Shea. He’s an honest shooter.

  • Gary Rockwood

    I’m beginning to think Voris has been hanging out too much with E. Michael Jones & Co. This mindset is straight out of the nineteen eighties and was started in the pages of The Wanderer: Bishops are incompetent/evil/crooked but the pope is untouchable.

  • The_Monk

    Pope Francis is (mis)quoted saying the darnedest things. He’s almost like the Yogi Berra of the Sistene (“I really didn’t say everything I said. […] Then again, I might have said ’em, but you never know.” Yogi Berra) And a man as sharp as Voris can see through the foggy-bottomed press coverage….

  • David DeClue


    Please comment on the following:


    I direct you to this passage:

    Drawing attention to John Paul II’s experience with Marxism in Poland, which Benedict referred to as “the godmother of liberation theology,” the retired pontiff emphasized that it was “on the basis of his painful experience,” that made it “clear to him that it was necessary to fight that kind of ‘liberation.’”

    Although the article does not contain the entire interview, does it not seem to be a public comment on Pope Francis’s embrace of Fr. Gustavo Gutierrez?


    When I read these articles I was sure some blogger would notice what I thought was a public rebuke, but no one else has noticed.

    I would really like to know what you guys think of this.

    David A DeClue

  • ForChristAlone

    Would you care to offer a self-assessment of what Pope Francis might think if he were to read your comments here. Would be offer to himself a “Bravo?” Or might he think something else? (I do NOT ask what he might “say” since it would probably be along the lines of “Who am I to judge?”) But, rather, what would he think about your comments? I’d really be interested in your venturing a guess.

    • chezami

      We are commanded by Christ to judge fruits. The fruits of the Francis-haters are Pharisaic pride, condemnation of the pope, the council, 99% of the Church and most of the human race, coupled with endless self-pity.

      • ForChristAlone

        Is that what Francis would think?

        • chezami

          Sorry. Not here to do your homework assignments.

  • Alan Hardy

    I could say something nasty like “even a broken clock is right twice a day”, but I do not think this is what is going on here. Pope Francis is not changing the church, just the focus. He is really setting the Church up for a big push toward Evangelism. Which is something both Mark Shea and Michael Voris want to see become a powerful part of the Church’s ministry, if I am not mistaken.

  • David Naas

    These people , the Perfecti is it, are not anything I have a desire to encounter. Americans, are they not? Without wishing to slander any group, there is a peculiar blend of insanity current in the USA, which I see in religion, politics, and culture.
    It begins with a dedicated ignoramus with a megaphone, and tries to become so pure (“Are we Catholic enough?”; “Are we Conservative enough?”; “Are we Scientific enough?”) that it shrinks into irrelevant and isolated pockets of hate and invective.
    The patron saint of this (if you will) is someone very much like Fred Phelps, whose end is ironic, drawing smaller and smaller circles about his beliefs and hating everyone outside until only he is left.
    Uncle Screwtape is most pleased.

    • chezami

      You can also find them in the UK, Argentina, and France. I suspect Francis experiences of these people in Argentina has been… instructive.

  • Copeland

    I see both sides of this discussion. I myself am partial to the Latin Rite for reasons of reverence and I may be completely out of line here but it seems to me to be more prayerful. I am fairly new to the Latin Rite and I am still learning. However in my community I do NOT get the sense that the parishioners involved in this rite are hostile or even angry with anyone in the church. I have never picked up on any sense of spiritual pride from these people. Everyone I have met thus far has been very meek and humble of heart and EXTREMELY reverent. Now I am not saying that we don’t have our few that are extremists, maybe we do, but I haven’t met them. My personal view on this issue is that Christ gave us a church, a covenant, and a promise. The Church is Catholic. The covenant is in his Blood. and the promise is that the gates of hell will NEVER prevail against the Church. Now based on this promise I don’t care who the Pope is or how he acts or what he says, in fact I don’t care if he is the devil himself. (I am not implying anything in the previous statement.) The gates of hell will NEVER PREVAIL against the Church! For anyone to deny the historical fact that we have had some morally challenged and downright evil Popes in certain periods of the Churches history would be naïve. Also for someone to deny that somehow in this century we are immune to having such a Pope also would be naïve. Having said this I will state that I do not believe Francis is one of these Popes. At least he has yet to give me a reason believe in that manner. I feel that maybe when what he says is twisted by the media into something that it isn’t maybe he could be more proactive in quickly setting the record straight. You must admit when there is news going around on “Catholic” sites that re-married couples are going to get to receive communion and that we should make room for civil unions for homosexuals and these things are left un–addressed my the Supreme Shepherd of the Flock that sort of leaves us out here on a limb. Especially those such as myself who have homosexual relatives that we are trying to bring back to the truth of the Gospel. I may be wrong, but that makes it hard on the faithful.

  • Johann Salvadorus

    Dante Aligheri, one of the greatest Catholic writers of all time, attacked the pope of his era mercilessly in the Divine Comedy, implying that he would wind up in Hell (which is exactly where Dante put his predecessor in “The Inferno”)… clearly respect and reverence for the current occupant of the Seat of Peter isn’t a requirement for a Catholic, contra Voris and Shea (at least, not if we follow Dante’s lead)

    • chezami

      It would be good if Reactionaries could a) demonstrate that they are the equals of Dante and Catherine of Siena and b) demonstrate that Francis has done anything other than offend their towering Pharisaic pride before anointing themselves the defenders of the Church against the pope.

      • StumbleBumble


  • Copeland

    I believe that we have become so content in having a certain “type” of Pope that when all the newness, shock, and awe ware off and Pope Francis actually acts on the things that he has been saying many will then see if the boat will rock right or left. Right now it is hard to tell because it is all just “talk”. Do I think the Pope is off limits for criticism? No! And I believe that if he was out there committing adultery or racking up monetary treasures that you would agree with me. It is the Office that is Holy not the man.

  • Virginia Nelson

    1 Corinthians 13 but without Love…
    I love the Tridentine Mass but had to stop going because the community wanted to re-create the world in their own image.

  • Lynn

    I am a convert with traditionalist sympathies, but I’m in a middle of the road parish where there is really only one option. When I travel, I get to see great vestments and sing to a pipe organ 😉 I really appreciate what Voris is saying here, even though in general I am not a fan. Anyone who has ever spent any time in Latin America will likely realize that many of Pope Francis’ “missteps” are only missteps viewed through American cultural lenses. Even though he is Peter to the whole world, he speaks through a Latin American filter, and it may take time for him to speak in a way that is more savvy to Americans, should he choose to change in that way. Public criticism is wrong for the reason Voris states, about the Pope representing the whole Church, but also because I think most of these Perfecti don’t hear what he is actually saying, through the appropriate cultural lenses.

  • Mary

    I love the Extraordinary Form of the Mass. For me it embodies all the Mass should be but I am registered at a faith filled Ordinary Form Parish which does a beautiful Mass, and has a glorious adoration and benediction. I am uncomfortable Mark with your name calling because those of us who love all the masses offered in the Church, not matter the rite, should refrain from name calling. It serves no purpose whatsoever. And yes, even if others are name calling. I too am proud of Mr. Voris for standing firm and believing in the promise of Christ that the Church will not fall.

  • Rick Gutleber

    I disagree that not criticizing the Pope is sine qua non a good thing, if there is something legitimate to criticize. It is absolutely fair to say that His Holiness had made some questionable statements with respect to Catholic doctrine, and even if what he has said isn’t flat out wrong, he has sometimes done so in a way that fosters misinterpretation, especially by his (and the Church’s) enemies. Nevertheless, careful reading of what His Holiness has said, preached and taught leaves no doubt in my mind that he remains true to Church teaching.

    We owe our allegiance and obedience to Christ’s Vicar, and we owe respect to the office he holds, if not the man (although the man is clearly worthy of our respect). It shouldn’t be blind obedience, nor the near-worship that some succumb to, but we should understand the tremendous Office to which he has been elected, and the enormous responsibility he wields. He is not, and cannot be, perfect, but we must be patient and view what the Holy Father does in context and without the filters and distortions that the media invariably apply.

    The Holy Spirit Himself is guiding the Church and protecting her from destruction, and I believe that Pope Francis is taking his job seriously, prayerfully and faithfully.

    • Rosemary58

      Amen! Well said, too!

      • Gordon

        You need to watch the videos. The pope can be criticized just not in the public forum. Also, if you think that you are right and the Pope is wrong, unless you have a lot a experience, knowledge and holiness behind you even if you do, you are probable wrong. God is with Popes in a special way so that the church is spared. Michael Voris is right. Focus on bringing your soul to Christ then other souls. The church is not and has never been a democracy. It can’t be the Leader of the Church is Christ and his Vicar leads on Earth. Also unlike a democracy you don’t have a right to publicly criticize the Pope. You didn’t vote for him and he is responsible but not to you. Christ first, then the church in general but not any individual.

        • Rosemary

          Yes, I did see the video in which Voris says we should write to the Pope if we feel that he has said or has done something that should be addressed. All the same, private or public, it is still criticism.

          Why would I be wrong unless I had a “lot of experience…”? As the Pope recently said, our understanding is not necessarily based on intellectual capacity. God gives wisdom to the simple, as the OT says.

          And most certainly the Pope is responsible to me – and you! He is our shepherd, standing for The Lord, who guides him through the Holy Spirit. The Church is the Body of Christ, so it can’t be one without the other. When we serve Christ, we also serve the Church and vice versa.

          By the way, the Church does have democracy built into it because the Pope is elected by his fellow cardinals who are inspired by the Holy Spirit.

  • Hola

    Another “catholic blogger” with zero authority pretending to be a bishop.