I have a lot of regard for Michael Voris which made me even more disappointed with this apology which seems misguided to me. You can be in full communion with the Church, respect the papacy, and still criticize the wrong actions of a pope. Of course we are called to respect, pray for, and love the pope as he says. But criticizing the pope's actions is not the same thing as undermining love for the Church or denying that Pope Francis is the duly elected pope. To say otherwise seems to me to be an error.
So what if others have used the pope's scandalous situation to gleefully malign him? Wrong as that is, it seems to me to be irrelevant and a red herring with regard to legitimate questioning of papal actions.
And to say the laity never have the right to criticize a pope is pure, unadulterated clericalism. Why should it stop at the pope? May the laity question any actions by any clerics? Or are we back to the "pay, pray, and obey" mentality? Consider that Voris has no problem criticizing many other clerics. (I was somewhat shocked at the level of vitriol aimed at Cardinal Dolan in one Vortex, even though I think Dolan's actions are disgraceful.) So is it okay for the laity to criticize deacons, priests, bishops, archbishops, and cardinals, but must be muzzled when it comes to the pope? Did the laity have no voice when Arians and other scandalous men occupied the chair of Peter? That seems absurd to me.
Watching the video, I remembered a conversation I once had with a wife and mother whose husband occasionally verbally mocked and abused her even in public. I once said, "You don't have to take that!" Her response was, "What should I do -- divorce him?" My response was, "Don't you think there's something between tolerating abusive behavior and divorce?" I could think of lots of things: Telling him she loved him, but his behavior was wrong and he was a bad example for his children -- that whenever he started she would walk away and even leave the house for a time. She could go to the church to pray the rosary for him. Once when I observed the behavior (in front of another couple who were mutual friends) she began to shake and cry. So I took her by the arm, told him, "She doesn't have to listen to this!"and walked away with her. Anyway, you get the idea. I think she did a disservice to her children to allow her husband to show such disrespect for their mother. But was it really my business? Should I have been silent in the face of what I saw as a grievous wrong against my friend?
Pope Francis has definitely created confusion for many of the faithful in the Church. His obvious manipulation of the Synod could hardly be missed and the fact that he did the right thing in the end, while laudable, reminds me of Cardinal Bernardin and his damage control when caught in the wrong.
It is not an attack on the Church or the papacy to point out that every statement of a pope is not infallible or even prudent. Neither is it wrong for the laity, like dutiful adult children, to correct the
But what put me off the most in this Vortex was Voris' statement that he didn't go to Communion on Sunday and went to Confession. I'm sure he didn't mean it that way, but it came across as sanctimonious to me. That's a private matter between him and God and better left unsaid. Why did he say it anyway? No doubt he is sincere, but he is giving the impression that anyone who feels differently must be morally wrong and in need of Confession as well. (And isn't this entire Vortex about the impressions he's giving?) At least, that's how the whole thing came across to me. How many people, I wonder, were profoundly disheartened by the episode as I certainly was.
I had briefly considered going on the Retreat at Sea, but this Vortex made it impossible. I would rather send the money to charity and "retreat" with the Lord at my little parish church here in Woodstock. The idea that we can never use our reason to make judgments about papal actions that do, in fact, "harm the Church" flies in the face of 2000 years of Church history riddled with papal scandals. Fr. Hardon often advised us to "live in the real world." The Burke interview did just that. Pulling it returned us to the pretend world where every Catholic knee must bend to every papal statement.
Yes, let us pray every day for Pope Francis that when we use the term "Holy" Father we can see it not only in the broad context of his relationship to the bride of Christ, "Holy Mother Church," but a statement that describes the actions of a pope walking in the footsteps of so many before him who suffered to the point of martyrdom. Let us exhort all the pope saints in heaven to intercede for Pope Francis.