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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Please, Michael, Say it Ain't So?

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 scandalous unfortunate impressions left in the minds of the masses by the pope's actions. I'm thinking specifically of the "who am I to judge" statement and the dismissive impression left by saying there are other issues in the Church besides contraception, abortion, and homosexuality, the very issues that attack the family at its root. Since then, I've seen dissident groups spouting these statements over and over ad nauseum to trivialize them and promote change to doctrine. Thank you, Holy Father.

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.


Anonymous said...

I was disappointed by the apology too (but I am still going on the Retreat At Sea. Don't necessarily throw the baby out with the sea water. I went on the first R@S and it was a great retreat with a capital R).

I like what you said in your response though. I am not afraid to disagree and be very unhappy with what the Pope says and how he says it. I don't like his style. Especially I do not understand his spirituality. It never brings me closer to Christ.

The Synod commotion only exacerbated my sense that the Holy Father is, at best, a man who is hard to know and for me, not easy to feel close to. He does not know my voice.

Neither do I discount that in some fashion, we each bring our own family experiences of dad to the pope as head of the Church family. Probably why I ignore Pope Francis about as much as I ignored my own father.

Anyway, I'm glad you responded quickly. You don't have an ax to grind when it comes to Voris and I'm glad for that.

Anonymous said...

There have been many bad popes, bishops and priests and there is absolutely nothing wrong with criticizing their wrongful actions. Too many Catholic laity have a "hear no evil, see no evil" attitude when it comes to the clergy. As I see it, this amounts to sticking one's head in the sand.

Mary Ann Kreitzer said...

Well, Anonymous, I will give the retreat some more thought, but I was already ambivalent over the price for me and my husband. We are campers and for the same price can take a 4-6 week "pilgrimage" around a section of the country visiting churches, shrines, and also sightseeing. And thank you both for your imput.

Philip Dunton said...

Someone at a high level within the Church must have gotten to Michael Voris for him to humiliate himself with such a pitiful apology. Next, will likely be a "smear job' and that will mark the end of another reliable voice of truth.

Anonymous said...

By the time the Retreat at Sea rolls around, Michael Voris will probably be hiding on Fr. Corapi's ranch in Montana!

Michael said...


It may not be my place, but I'd avoid the Voris fantasy cruise and opt for the reflective and fun camping trip.

Anonymous said...

Paul corrected Peter publicly when it was necessary. Cardinal Burke is in the same vein. I don't understand how Voris allows the characterization of himself saying the pope is hurting the Church. It was Burke who said it, not him... so is Cardinal Burke needing to go to confession or what it truth spoken in charity?

Voris needs to find some consistency between his railing on bishops but not daring to critique the pope's several confusing and even incorrect comments. It is an opportunity to catechize the faithful on what the pope is and what he is not when we say he enjoys infallibility.

Mary Ann Kreitzer said...

Well, Michael, I confess the camping trip has more appeal, especially since I'm taking autoimmune suppressants and I think about exposure to all those germs, not to mention the cruises that end up with legionnaires disease.

Scott Woltze said...

I like what the most recent anonymous had to say: so it's ok to stridently criticize the successors to Sts. Andrew, James, John, Jude, etc, but not Peter? Nonsense, especially when we have an example of publicly correcting the pope in St. Paul.

I do think we need to pick our spots and give the benefit of the doubt where possible, but when all the evidence points in one direction, then it's time to make a mess. That's basically what Cardinal Pell did, right?

Christine Niles said...

"Someone at a high level within the Church must have gotten to Michael Voris for him to humiliate himself with such a pitiful apology."

I really wish these absurd conspiracy theories would stop.

No one--at any level, low or high--"got" to Michael. He made this decision of his own free will. The man can think for himself.

In any case, thank you, Mary Ann, for your thoughtful response. I hope you will reconsider attending the Retreat at Sea. I will be there, and would be glad to meet you.

God bless.
Christine Niles

Timothy O'Keefe said...

Very well said. What has always bothered me about Voris, and the reason I seldom listen to his videos, is his redundant ranting about "what's wrong with the Church." I think we know only too well what has gone wrong, and just who is to blame. It's all been well documented, and the reporting continues to the last detail. But repeating these ugly facts over and over as he does seems compulsive, obsessive, and pointless. I agree with the whole miserable long list of sins and crimes against truth. But repeating it over and over? It's time to provide the solution - meaning, sound and courageous catechesis and apologetics.

The way Voris dwells on the blame issue is vain, and it borders on sin, since his statements, at times, are quite emotional and unnecessarily disrespectful, especially regarding Cardinal Dolan ("What the hell is wrong with you?"). I agree with most of what Voris says, but repeating it over and over is just pointlessly obsessive. A few repetitions would be enough, but instead he makes a career out of it.

To put all of this on the bishops, but then to remove the pope from all blame, is a double standard. Whatever respect motivates him to back off the pope should also motivate him to be more moderate in the way he addresses the bishops. But the notion that they bear everything and the pope nothing, this is just absurd.

Connecticut Catholic Corner said...

Voris HAS to follow his conscience, if he feels he's done harm to a single Catholic because of his words then he is right to apologize and attempt to make it right.

I think Voris has a great deal of fear that one day he will stand before God and have to answer to ANY and ALL souls his Vortex shows MIGHT have played a part is disheartening a fellow Catholic to the point of them walking away from the Faith.

That burden is not something I see Voris taking lightly. I admire him for apologizing, even though I disagree with him and have no such troubles myself in protesting the words and actions of our current pope.

In Christ,

Julie @ Connecticut Catholic Corner

Anonymous said...

The real problem, as I see it, is that in removing the video about Cardinal Burke he is not only stating that negative things should not be said about the pope (sinful to do so - according to him), he is condemning Burke as well.

After all, if it is wrong to question the pope's actions or accuse him of wrongdoing, then the Cardinal was wrong. The elephant in the room is: why do we get upset with our priests, bishops, and cardinals when they say and do the very things that the Pope does?

Salvelinus fontinalis said...

I'm right there with you. I had also considered the retreat at sea. Not now.
In fact, I'm debating canceling my premium membership.
There is something strange going on over there at CMTV.
I'll bet that a person that holds the purse strings... maybe the person that shelled out for the new studio, is forcing this pathetic behavior.
When Voris attacked Michael Matt and others by name as "soft sede" I almost left CMTV.
Now I'm planning on it this month.
Shame on you CMTV

Anonymous said...

I too was disappointed. It would not be the first time a Pope was corrected by the laity. For example, "Catherine visited Avignon in 1376 and told Pope Gregory XI that he had no business to live away from Rome. He heeded her advice," What can I say? That says it all. Pray for the Pope.

Anonymous said...

I'm proud that Michael is humble to recognize when he has done wrong even if unintended.It takes humility to do this.We all make mistakes, it's how you handle them that counts and Michael handle his well...keep the good work going Michael.

Ben said...

Respect Voris' conscience. This is one of those times that we can agree to disagree with someone.

TTC said...

There are so many things disturbing about the vortex, one hardly knows where to begin. The duplicity is only the tip of the iceberg.

I have been a tremendous supporter of Michael's over the years and he has been very helpful to Boston Catholics but I think he has crossed the Rubicon.

Kathleen Wimmer said...

I would advise those that were not happy with the apology to call Church Militant as I did and I also commented on the Facebook site. The apology that he made was not needed and I feel that his apology made light of what Cardinal Burke said. If anything Cardinal Burke needs the support of all who love the Doctrine of or Faith as given to us by Christ.

Buzz Beez said...

A superb article, MAK.

A sincere Mea Culpa requires humility, not acting like a Pharisee in announcing one's spiritual actions for all to see and applaud. Adding more insult to this is the wrongly lambasting of others for exercising appropriate and respectful fraternal correction that Voris mistakenly believes is wrong. It is also a cheap shot to lump in good people who do indeed rightly exercise fraternal correction with those who mock the Pope, but Voris has no problem in putting all in the same camp and advising them of a "likely" ticket to hell for doing what the Church teaches is the right thing to do involving any member of the Church.

Tom Venditti said...

Michael was humbled by our Blessed Mother....but he needs to not only stop criticizing Pope Francis, but embrace what he is doing to liberate the Church from clericalism

'DIS & 'DAT said...

Michael Voris should not apologize for anything he said about Cardinal Burke. Cardinal Burke was right; the Pope wrong. All orthodox Catholics know that to be true. Michael has damaged his credibility by his apology. Could Opus Dei have been involved in his retraction?

Michael Dowd

Anonymous said...

I was confused as well. I started to second guess myself in my criticisms of Pope Francis' outrageous interviews and actions, until I remembered what a good number of our great saints said about the subject. We are, I thought, obligated to 'call out' ANY prelate that either IS in error or even seems to be for clarification. (which we have NEVER seen from this Pope) Yes, he is correct in that there have been things written that have gone too far in personal attacks and terribly uncharitable, which of course is blatantly wrong. Sinful really. One has to be careful and to keep in charity, but.........we are supposed to walk off the cliff with the herd? I think not.

Michael has no problem criticizing other prelates for error and sometimes with an anger and passion that is aggravatingly confrontational, although I understand where he's coming from, he is passionate about the Church, but he does walk a fine line at times. He can criticize other clergy in an angry way, but he cannot report on another Cardinal's criticism of the Pope? I don't really get it.

And, how does he really know for a fact that this Pope was even validly elected? How do any of us know this for a fact? Was he there in the conclave? None of us were. The circumstances of this election were strange at best. Not to say he was not, but I don't think I'd bet money one way or the other. Strange things have happened in conclaves in the past 2000 years, and they would not happen now? Benedict abdicating the Papacy suddenly shocking the world is a normal event? Pope Francis walking on to the balcony refusing traditional vestments a normal event? Francis' irregular (to say the least) interviews and actions without clarification normal actions for the Vicar of Christ? NONE of this has been normal and has cause for at least concern. (normally speaking) :)

Blessings, TLM

Anonymous said...

I agree it is important to call out error and to teach critical thinking, but I think he is just trying to be humble. Yes, we could ask why and attempt to discover some underlying motive, but what if he just felt guilt for being impulsive (I am not saying he Was impulsive, he seems to imply he was), and is trying to humble himself? Does everything have to be of political intent at all times?

I could honestly see St. Francis of Assisi weeping and apologizing over something similar, out of fear of having harmed someone.

No, my head is not buried in the sand, but we could get so focused on the evils we have experienced by the phonies, that we see it everywhere.

Mary Ann Kreitzer said...

I don't think there is any question that the pope was validly elected. He is Peter, the rock. That doesn't mean every decision he makes is a good one. It does mean he is our spiritual father and we are called to love him as the fourth commandment enjoins.

We need to pray for him every day and unceasingly. I am going to try to remember that and make little petitions throughout my day. The devil is especially zealous in attacking anointed ministers, especially the pope. We owe him our prayers and sacrifices.

c matt said...

An argument could be made that the worse a pope is, the more he needs our prayers.

TLM said...

I completely agree Mary Ann. He needs our prayers constantly. Maybe he is being sabbataged by prelates surrounding him. There are a million reasons that 'could be' for all the confusion he has caused, but I don't think anyone has the actual 'inside scoop'. Things sometimes are not what they 'appear' to be. The only thing that I believe we are called to do is to be faithful followers of Christ in His Church, and to declair error where applicapable, no matter who or where it is coming from. I am not at all ashamed to do that. We are called to do that. I will do that with charity and respect, but I will do that.

Carlos said...

From the pages of the Letter to the Galatians, and the Gospels; we hear positive criticism of Peter our first Pope. Even leaving aside the fact that the Lord Himself called on Peter very strongly (Matthew 16)Peter was never exempted form sincere criticism.

Now, I know there are loonies that are calling Francis an Antipope, even the Antichrist, etc. I file those along with the Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormons, Jack Chick and all that crowd of the mentally unstable with a religious bent. His Holiness has a thick skin and, by the way, those ignorant insults come with the territory and the Pope knows it.

Having said that, I found NO HARM in the words of Mr Voris whom I respect tremendously because he is most evidently NOT a phony like some of the creeps we see on some so called Catholic TV programs.

One can criticize the Pope. A Catholic can criticize ANYONE respectfully and fairly. I did not sign a non-disparage clause when I got baptized, on the contrary I promised to fight for TRUTH and if ti comes to that DIE for the sake of truth.

Now there is a gang of Cardinals, the works of whom we are all familiar with, that want us to open the door with a smile, tolerate, and even consecrate the abominations of the modern world. I am referring to sodomites. The same sodomites that infiltrated the Church, disguised themselves a priests, sodomized our children by the hundreds, and then caused enormous financial damage to our communities by making the Church the target for ambulance chasers that are now in the more profitable business of chasing cassocks. Some like Fr Gordon MacRae are paying with decades of prison for crimes they did not commit while the sodomites outside were put away in safe places.

Michael can apologize and even confess to killing JFK if he wants but I am already blacklisted, broke, and persecuted by the "correct" Catholics so I can say this without aggravating my situation one iota: the maneuvers to ease the homosexuals into our churches through some ill conceived heretic document WAS A DISGRACE and Pope Francis should have called it what it was. He did not. He must have said something clearly but he wants -- in Peter's fashion -- to please everyone even that synagogue of Satan that is standing in holy robes on a holy place.

The Pope told us "hagan lío" raise a ruckus! Well here I am raising a ruckus, and I am ashamed of those who don't. Not only I am a Catholic I was also born in the same country the Pope was born and I know his background well. Because I don't close my mouth Soviet-style about the temerity of so many heretics and sodomites infecting our Holy Church, I am blacklisted, not employed since 2008, and not exactly living the life of Riley. But I still, defiantly shout loud an clear: repent, ask for forgiveness, correct course or something VERY BAD is going to hit you soon and I am talking to all Catholics even Pope Francis.

I am a sinner, even the foremost sinner there is, but while I have life in me I am not going to beat around the bushes and let some creep carry souls into Hell. No matter what the creep is wearing and even if he wears an apostolic ring. Remember that if you chose to be like Monsignor Judas Iscariot you are most likely to hang like him.

We are getting tired of this. Now get a nice cup of orthodoxy and start acting Catholic or else.

Mr Voris, you are a gentleman but rest assured your words were not misunderstood by the faithful.

phil dunton said...

Christine Niles, Someone at a high level in the church getting to Voris is not an absurd conspiracy theory. If you don't believe this happens on a frequent basis, you are being very naive.

Stmykearchangel said...

We recently discontinued or subscription to CMTV they must be getting a lot because the lady on the phone asked if we were mad at them too. I will pray MV sees the light.

Carol said...

I always enjoyed listening to Michael. His passion and zeal for the Faith is wonderful; however, I am somewhat discerning listening to any future videos with Michael. I have been praying to St. Francis deSales for someone, and I have recently found myself discerning about certain articles written on certain blogs. Do they completely miss the mark and does it actually bring a soul closer to Christ? Do they present themselves of having a bloated ego? I know of those knee-jerk reactions because of how much we love the Lord and the Church. Also, I do love how God made us beautifully unique as men and women. It certainly does not mean, however, that I will never listen to Michael again in the future. I think of St. John the Baptist! I agree, Mary Ann, more prayers are needed for the Holy Father, as well as all our cardinals, bishops and priests.

thepiousstateman said...

I think it is a shame that Voris doubled down on benadryl after having managed to open one eyelid.

The actions of the pope must be criticized if they are contrary to the faith. Visible signs say a lot. They are what speak more clearly--even more than words to the faithful. When Pope John Paul kissed the Koran, he had to be rightfully criticized. As you say, it is not to deny these men of the cloth do not need prayers. it just means that we are putting into action our faith. Our faith does not call us to be silent in the face of insults thrown at Our Lord, because ultimately, we suffer because Our Beloved is being maligned and disrespected and disregarded. What is the truth to us if it is not something to fight for and defend? Pope, cardinal, parish priest are all subservient to this truth. A false sense of obedience is what plagues the faithful today, it is what we need to escape from. When Wuerl and kasper speak for the pope, and are lauded by him, we cannot point fingers at Wuerl and Kasper and stop short of the pope who blesses them and promotes them. Athanasius must have had followers who prayed for him and for the work he was doing to preserve the faith on his own. They followed him not out of worship, but out of the fact that he was exemplifying to them what it meant to fight for and defend the truth.

TLM said...

Interesting you should say this Phil...didn't the same sort of thing happen to Mother Angelica? Seems to me there was a huge crisis that happened to Mother for her speaking out against prelates that were modernist heretics. Somone correct me if I am mistaken. All of a sudden she had to sell the network.

Now that said, I am not AT ALL saying this is happening to Michael Voris. He doesn't seem the type to put up with it, but IT DOES IN FACT HAPPEN to the faithful that are trying to stand up for the faith that are in the public eye. And it happens more than people realize.

Phil Dunton said...

Patrick Buchanan, in his most recent commentary, does a very good job of summing up this sad mess. It is entitled: "The Price of Papal Popularity". As opposed to Michael Voris, he doesn't make an apologies and I doubt he felt the need to go Confession after he wrote the article!

Christine Niles said...

Phil Dunton wrote: "Someone at a high level in the church getting to Voris is not an absurd conspiracy theory."

Yes it is, as applied to Michael.

I work here at ChurchMilitant.TV. We've been seeing rumors floating around like yours for some time--that someone higher up controlling the purse strings has "gotten" to him and he is cowing under this mysterious person's pressure. Some people are saying it's the "resident menace," others are saying it's Opus Dei, etc., etc.


I know for a fact this is FALSE. Michael acts of his own free will. There is no one exercising "control."

These ridiculous rumors need to be laid to rest.

Mary Ann Kreitzer said...

I certainly don't doubt Michael's sincerity and I appreciate his work; I just disagree with some of his conclusions. If one is forbidden to make a critical remark about a pope, why may one criticize a cardinal? He may one day be pope. And why can one criticize an Archbishop or a bishop or a priest? They are all the Lord's anointed. The Pieta Prayer Book says you can never criticize a priest, but my friend Jim Fritz at The Defender has a great article refuting it. Scroll down to the second article at this url:

Buzz Beez said...

To Christine Niles:

Okay, Christine. I accept your claim that Michael acts of his own free will, so I hope you do, too, when it comes to the issue of faithfully and respectfully criticizing the Pope.

Do you agree with Michael's position on this? Does everyone with CMTV have to adopt this position even if they don't accept it of their own free will?

Do you agree with Michael's name-calling of bishops? In today's Vortex he called Cardinal Kasper a liar (in addition to what others have said along the same lines, he was not just quoting others). Doesn't "liar" indicate a person with a proclivity to lying on a repeated or regular basis?

Also, why does Michael frequently criticize various prelates via ad hominem personal attacks and mocking them instead of charitably just criticizing their statements and actions? Is this also necessary to work for CMTV? Can you freely criticize Michael for doing this, or is he beyond such criticism, kinda like his version of how to approach the Pope?

Lastly at this time, I got a big belly laugh over Michael calling out somebody for possibly compelling somebody else to take down a video interview. Can you imagine anyone pulling a legitimate video interview....never mind. Perhaps they were exercising their own free will, too, right?

One thing about free will is that, unfortunately, it can sometimes be blind free will, and such free will can easily lead one astray.

'DIS & 'DAT said...

I think Michael Voris has stated in the past that it is his policy not to criticize the Pope. Seems to me this is not a rational position in view of his 2990broad condemnation of nearly all the Bishops. If so many Bishops are bad something must also be wrong with their leader.

Michael Dowd

Anonymous said...

Re. "The Clarification" Michael Voris. The disturbing factor to me, anyway, was the insinuation that had Voris sourced his report on Cardinal's Burke's comments from the "Catholic" media, instead of the "secular" media, all would be rosy. As in, Cardinal Burke wouldn t have REALLY said the Pope is harming the Church and Michael would not have misunderstood a "catholic" source. Was the Cardinal talking in Latin - six words - The Pope is harming the Church - that was somehow MISTRANSLATED by the "secular" media. Can six words be so misunderstood and misconstrued as to wring out such a crawling and abject apology?
Give us a break! Where I come from the Fish rots from the Head
and you can't pretend it doesn't smell!