Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Michael Voris: Spiritual Warrior or Great Divider?

Michael Voris
Michael Voris of Churchmilitant.tv is a very controversial figure among Catholics.  He is a one-time fallen-away Catholic who has come back to the church in full force and formed his own internet media company whose self-proclaimed mission is "to promote the faith given to humanity by Jesus Christ, the Son of God, God and the Messiah. This faith is the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church led by the heir of Saint Peter, Pope Benedict XVI."  Sounds like a good thing.  The problem many have with him is that he seems to have a terrible habit of attacking fellow Catholics and specifically, the hierarchy of the Catholic Church, i.e. priests and bishops.

I, like Michael Voris, am a "cradle" Catholic (I don't really like that term) who left and then came back to the Church after 38 years.  I could barely recognize the Catholic Church as the same one I had known as a child.  The church buildings looked completely different, with tables in place of the glorious high altars I had known as a kid, most of the statues seemed to have been removed, the magnificent Stations of the Cross had been replaced with little stick figure stations and many of the confessionals were now storage closets, to name just a few of the changes.  I was stunned at people's demeanor in church, from the kind of clothes they were wearing to the fact that no one seemed to have any qualms about holding loud and disruptive conversations before and after Mass (and sometimes during Mass), children playing with toys during Mass, and almost no one bowing or genuflecting in front of the Tabernacle.

These are the kinds of issues that Michael Voris speaks to, so he really captured my attention.  I felt like he gave a real voice to my feelings and frustrations.

Lately, though, I have begun to feel differently about the way in which Voris defends the Church.  He is a lot like talk radio in that he creates an "us versus them" mentality, and the "them", more often than not, is not even those in the secular world world who actively oppose the Church, but our own bishops and priests.  Voris actually seems to relish pointing out the spiritual failings of the bishops and priests of the "Church of Nice" as he calls it.

On January 3 Voris produced a video to explain the mission of his organization.   He entitled this, "Slaying Dragons."  You can watch the video here.  As he explains, he sees the role of the Church as basically a militant warrior destroying evil wherever it is found:
We are prepared to do battle against the forces of darkness .. namely the kingdom of Hell and Satan which hates humanity because we are God’s most precious and beloved creatures. As the Old testament says of God .. “it is my delight to strive with the sons of men.” Imagine.
Michael Voris says we should all look like
beat up warriors at the end of each day
In this statement Voris rightly points out that our enemy is Satan, but then he follows this up with saying that God delights to "strive with the sons of men."  Voris has us nodding in agreement with the first part of the statement, and then without realizing it, we are suddenly agreeing with him on a complete contradiction.

[UPDATE:  FidesSpesCaritas and Christine in the combox below pointed out that I have misunderstood this statement from Voris that "As the Old testament says of God .. 'it is my delight to strive with the sons of men.' Imagine.", and I believe they are right.  I think Voris was trying to make a positive statement about God's relationship with man and was actually using a bad translation of Proverbs 8:31 which says, "my delights were to be with the children of men."  I was very confused by Voris' statement because it is very similar to Genesis 6:3 which says, "My Spirit shall not always strive with man", which would seem to contradict Voris.   But upon reflection, I think Voris did mean this in a positive light, and he means God wants to be with man and yes, it is absolutely amazing that God chooses to have a relationship with sinful and weak human beings.  I apologize for misunderstanding and mischaracterizing Michael Voris' statement here.]

Michael further expounds on what he sees as the Church's role:
Its role is to fight .. its charter to attack and tear down the kingdom of Satan .. the empire of lies and falsehood and heresies that so dominate the world today .. in short .. the mission of the Church and Her members is to slay dragons.
The great commission given to the church by Jesus Christ is found in Matthew 28:19-20:  "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."  Yes, we are to do battle with the forces of darkness, but where did Christ tell us to "attack and tear down the kingdom of Satan...to slay dragons"?  Is it our role to be like some great military hero, slashing and burning our way through the world?   Ephesians 6:12 says:  "This is not a wrestling match against a human opponent. We are wrestling with rulers, authorities, the powers who govern this world of darkness, and spiritual forces that control evil in the heavenly world."

In James 4:7 we are told, "Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you."  The most effective way to defeat Satan is not to go on the attack against all that we perceive to be wrong in others, but, as James the brother of Christ told us, to submit to the Will of God in our own personal lives.  We don't "attack and tear down" as much as we enlighten the world through the preaching of the Gospel.  That certainly does involve pointing out sin and evil in the world, but this must always be done with love and concern for the souls of others.  We are not told that we are the nuclear weapon of the world but rather, a light set on a hill.  A light illumines, it does not destroy.  Christ also called his followers the salt of the earth, salt being a preservative, not something which destroys.  As for any fighting that may be involved, Deuteronomy 20:4 says:  "For the Lord your God is he that goeth with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you."  Jesus defeated Satan through His Death on the Cross.  He is the one who fights.  Our job is to preach His Message.

And please, we most certainly should not be attacking and tearing down one another in the Church, and yet Michael Voris seems to take particular delight in doing just this.

An example of Michael Voris' delight in attacking others in the church is a Vortex episode he did in December entitled, "Trendy Catholics."  You can watch this episode here.  This episode is promoted as follows:  "The clock is ticking on the Church of Nice. It won't be long now."  He referenced an article in the Economist magazine which said that Traditional Catholicism is becoming more and more popular in the Church:
Traditional Catholicism is all the rage .. at least in England.  But that is the case all over the western world. It’s avant-garde .. trendy .. almost like a hipster to actually bow before God and receive His Body and Blood on your tongue.  It’s fashion forward for priests to be in cassocks and nuns in habits. Oh My. Imagine the shock all and horror bouncing off the walls of the Church of Nice. Unable to hold or inspire their own flagging parishes .. where are these other “nut job” Catholics coming from.
Voris describes the Church of Nice as follows:
the saccharine syrupy hand holding ultra-feminized altar girl protestant hymn singing social justice priest facing with his back to God staring at the people staring back at him Church – in short practically every parish in the western world.
Is this really what Our Lord wants us to do, to attack fellow believers?  I am also very concerned about the blanket statement Voris makes here:  "in short, practically every parish in the western world."  By making this statement Voris is, in effect, setting himself up as judge and juror over the entire contemporary Church.  Painting the entire Church with one broad brush stroke is prejudicial to say the least and, as can be seen, leads to very judgmental thinking.  If we really believe that "practically every parish in the western world" is in spiritual trouble, shouldn't we, with great humility and mindful of our own sinfulness, be reaching out to them with love and compassion and praying that they will turn from error instead of just gleefully pointing out how wrong they are?

Voris recently produced another Vortex episode that I felt was even more cutting against fellow Catholics.  This one is entitled, "Dead Branches."  You can watch this episode here.  Once again, he is attacking what he has labeled the "Church of Nice," this time telling us that they are all dead branches that need to be thrown out.
Take a good look around the Church these days .. look up and down the disastrous parish life that predominates the Catholic life on the ground. Take a look at the educational establishment .. universities and local religious ed departments. Closely examine the sprawling infrastructures and bureaucracies that permeate every diocese and archdiocese. Take a good long look at them all .. and then prepare to say goodbye. There is simply no way in 20 years .. most likely less that this sprawling behemoth is still going to be around. It has simply abandoned its mission of saving souls and making saints and as such .. the need for it no longer exists.
There can be no denying the truth of what he says about the spiritual condition of many parishes and dioceses.  But should we be rejoicing over the fact that those who are running these institutions are going to "get what they have coming" as Voris says here:
For a crowd so bent on social justice .. it’s actually good to see a little meted out to them.  Not good that the faith has been eviscerated, but that many who have done the eviscerating get to see their life’s work crumble around them.  And so it will go, with ever increasing pace and rapidity as the next few years roll along.

The leadership of these dioceses around the nation can fool themselves all they want that they have developed some new marketing plan or restructured evangelizing platform ..and give it all kinds of corporate sounding jingo names like parish “clusters” and new “collaboratives” .. neither of which by the way is a term from canon law .. but does sound very Madison Avenue .. go ahead and keep kidding yourselves. The old modernism is vanishing like the morning dew .. thank God. These people who have bought into this fake Catholicism and promote it until their dying breath have wreaked havoc on untold millions upon millions of souls .. betrayed Our Lord and are now receiving their just desserts.
And while it’s a pity that they made these choices .. it is NOT a pity that it has come to this. How can Our Blessed Lord continue to bless dead branches.  They must be cut off and thrown into the fire .. and that is exactly what is happening and frankly .. too bad it didn't happen sooner.
We absolutely do need to hold the Church hierarchy accountable for their actions.   Should we be rejoicing when they get their "just desserts?  Should we be saying "too bad it didn't happen sooner"?  Shouldn't we instead be praying that they will repent of any wrongdoing, and shouldn't we mourn the choices they made instead of applauding their destruction?  Voris would have us believe that the Church hierarchy is our enemy.  But St. Paul specifically tells us in Ephesians 6:12:  "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms."

Michael Voris comparing the hierarchy of the
church to dead branches and saying they must be burned up
It is most definitely not the job of the laity to label our bishops and priests as "dead branches" that "must be cut off and thrown into the fire."  How can the Church survive when we are attacking one another in this manner?

It is an interesting contrast to look at how our Lord treated his betrayer, Judas Iscariot.  He always knew Judas was going to betray him.  But that didn't stop Jesus from treating Judas just as he did all the other Apostles.  In fact, Christ even honored Judas by making him the treasurer, entrusting him with money.  At the last supper, Jesus washed Judas' feet and even gave him Communion with the other apostles.  All of this, we can be sure, was Jesus' way of attempting to draw Judas to repentance.  And when Judas finally got his "just desserts", did our Lord take joy in it?  Hardly.

Voris defends his statements with the following:
Think of all the human misery .. temporal and especially eternal that most assuredly would have been prevented if this demonic mischief and chicanery had been exposed and cleared away with sooner.
We should never refer to any human being as "dead branches" as Michael Voris has done.  That is the equivalent of condemning a person to hell.  The only one who can make that judgment is God.  Only God knows the state of a person's soul and what they are capable of.  We know that the greatest enemies of the Church can sometimes become our biggest saints, as in the case of St. Paul, who was actually killing Christians before he repented.  We need to be in prayer for the souls of those whom we think have gone off the track.

In this Vortex episode, Michael Voris actually makes the following statement about the hierarchy of the Catholic Church:
Too much of the establishment in the Church have turned to dead branches and the sooner they are cut off and become fuel for the fire .. the better for the rest of the vine.
David spares Saul's life
Credit\:  http://lavistachurchofchrist.org
Michael Voris is talking about priests and bishops - men ordained by the Holy Spirit - when he says they are dead branches who should be "cut off and become fuel for the fire."  Michael might do well to look at the story of David and Saul.  Saul was anointed the first king of Israel and was a total failure at it.  David was then chosen to replace him, and Saul reacted by trying to have David killed.  At one point David had a chance to kill his mortal enemy, Saul, and David was urged to do so by his men.  But David's answer to this was, "The Lord forbid that I should do such a thing to my master, the Lord’s anointed, or lay my hand on him; for he is the anointed of the Lord."

Our Catholic bishops and priests have been specially ordained by God.  We have no right in making any judgments about their souls and hoping for the day that "they are cut off and become fuel for the fire."  We certainly need to call them out when they are disobedient to the Church, but we must never, never rejoice in their destruction.

We live in very evil times when the Church is under attack.  And we undoubtedly have enemies inside the Church as well as outside.  But it is not our job to judge any one's soul and then to actually rejoice when they "get what they deserve."  Our Lord showed us how to treat our enemies in the very fact that he did not rejoice but mourned the fate of Judas, the one who betrayed him.

I supported Michael Voris and his organization for a long time.  And he does some good work.  But his penchant for attacking the hierarchy of the Church has really started to bother me. I have personally been guilty of this sin as well, and I truly repent of that  I hope Michael Voris will do the same.


Credit:  http://www.catholicprayercards.org


51 comments:

  1. You are surely on the right track. Very good - and very charitable essay here.

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    1. Thanks so much, Terry. Your opinion means a lot to me.

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    2. I dunno. I don't watch him that much but I think if you read some of the saints throughout the centuries, they said a lot of things like he says. I agree that he shouldn't be judging people's souls but I don't know if he really means that. He's probably just saying, look at their fruits and this has been a bad harvest for the past 50 years or so. I don't think it's a stretch at all to say that most parishes in the West are terrible. That doesn't mean there aren't people in them that are trying to do good, but you have to look at reality and the reality ain't good. I don't think we've gotten very far these past few decades with being nice about this stuff. I think we need tough love more than false charity.

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    3. I mean yeah he says some tough stuff but at least he's not out there like Fr. Barron saying everyone might end up in heaven. That is the epitome of false charity. Fr. Barron does a lot of good work and is very insightful and smart...but spreading the idea of universal salvation is worse than anything Voris has said that you have quoted.

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    4. Do you have a link to Fr. Barron saying this? I watched his entire Catholicism series and can't recall this idea being discussed.

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    5. Freyr,

      Fr. Barron has many, many videos on Youtube, in which he goes into more theological detail on his views, at times, than he does in his "Catholicism" series. This is the video to which Rebecca is referring, I believe: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dmsa0sg4Od4 I have qualms with some of the things that MIchael Voris says, but I am also greatly troubled by the position which Fr. Barron takes on the issue discussed in the video (and I write that as one who loves much of Fr.'s work).

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    6. I have only listened to a few of Michael Voris video. I like what I see because I hear what he is saying. And it is ironic that those who maybe "used" to oppose him or don't like him anymore (he's negative, etc.) are behaving exactly the way Michael Voris is describing. What happened to the church? Where are the stalwart defenders from of old? Have we become the Church of "nice" or "that is too negative just get away from me?" Isn't that What Voris is trying to point out? For instance, as I perused this article I notice down below this article a tagline which read, "speaker cancelled because he is criticizing Islam" and I thought, is that the Church of "nice" operating because we have become so thin skinned that we cannot take criticism? What if a speaker came to one of our churches of "nice" and said something that was critical of Our Church or Islam or something else but what he said was true? Would that be okay? I mean if it is true is that okay? Or are we just going to be the Church of "nice" and only listen to things that we like to hear, whether true or not? I remember a time when priests and bishops told our parishes necessary things we needed to hear and they were hard to take. But they were true. I mean some of them did not deliver their sermons with any sugar. We had to listen. Then we had to go away and ponder what the TRuTH of the sermon was. But now? Geez. If the priest or bishop or visiting speaker doesn't roll it in sugar and dip it in chocolate and sprinkle it with pink sprinkles people reject it. They don't even listen to the TRuTH of what the speaker or preach is saying. They just feel a prick in their conscience and yell, "not nice! not nice! " and reject it. But then what is the outcome? Lukewarm Christianity and the insidious church or "nice" where everything deemed "negative" and "harsh" is thrown out even if true. Have we become spineless? Thin skinned? Easily offended? Addicted to sugar? Addicted to "nice?' Cause if that is the case I want out. Michael Voris is operating in the role of PROPHET and prophets always called the church back to repentance for sin. Isn't that what the Church needs right now? Cause it seems that with this culture of 'nicey and nice' we have gotten way off track and I for one have a royal bellyache from all the phony sweet stuff.

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  2. I too was a Michael Voris fan for some time but lately, I seem to have hit the wall on it. I agree that his 'passion' does get a bit strong (even for me!) and the show itself is striking me as a little too gimicky. God bless him for his love of the Faith but I'm taking a break from him nowadays. Thanks for a very well written essay expressing a lot of what I had been feeling also!

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    1. I actually had to respond to his calling Marian apparition followers as lunatics. Sure we must be careful but to call people lunatics when you know nothing about them is becoming prideful and uncharitable.

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  3. Thank you for this. You expressed it what has been going wrong very charitably. I came back to the Church after many, many years away in July 2008 (actually I had stuck my toe in the water a few times previously but was really taken aback with the way things had changed and would leave again...). I finally couldn't resist the pull of the Eucharist, the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ. I believe that so much of what Michael Voris reports on is true, but his tone and disdain just turns me off. I read what Pope Benedict said the other day: http://www.catholicnews.com/data/stories/cns/1300292.htm

    and now your post, and I've decided I've had enough for now. I've unsubscribed from the ChurchMilitant site. There are also people who attack him, and are just as at fault.

    I'd like to thank you again for putting this in perspective.

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  4. Fr. Mark Kirby, OSB, has recently written about this kind of phenomenon: http://vultus.stblogs.org/2013/01/sitting-on-the-basket.html

    Personally, I don't think the Catholic 'blogosphere' has anything necessarily to do with living out the Faith at all.

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  5. While I agree with the general point of your post here, I have some minor disagreements that I just want to get out.

    You say "God takes no delight at all in "striving" with men"... According to Dictionary.com to strive is to "Make great efforts to achieve or obtain something." or to "Struggle or fight vigorously" so to say that God delights in striving WITH men is accurate in the context used by Michael Voris.

    Second, we are called to be salt and light in the world but how does salt preserve and how does light illumine? Salt preserves by destroying that which causes decay (gross oversimplification used for the purpose of emphasis) while light illumines by driving out darkness. (Light could also be said to illumine by filling the void, allowing the vacuum to be ended by giving something) Both of these can be taken as violent, militant, acts. This is especially true when considering the three "Churches": The Church Militant, the Church Suffering, and the Church Triumphant. We are not called to be the Church Acquiescent or the Church Ecumenical. We on earth are called to be the Church Militant and to wage war against the forces of evil.

    That being said, the greatest of all warriors for God and His Kingdom are the saints and if one were to analyze the lives of all the saints there would be found very few who openly and directly assaulted any member of the hierarchy in the way Mr. Voris does. I especially agree with your take on Voris' "Dead branches" issue. It is one thing to say "the Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away, blessed be the name of the Lord" and quite another to say "the Lord should taketh" this person or that group. The first is an acceptance of the Will of God as being Good, the second is an attempt to cause God to obey your will.

    I think my disagreement with Michael Voris (and perhaps yours as well?) can be summed up as his mistaking the Church Militant for the Church Aggressive. So many of the saints have been religious who had little contact with those outside their orders and made no aggressive overtures. So many of the saints became saints by persevering in the face of a corrupt and offensive hierarchy. So many of the saints caused ENORMOUS change for the better in that corrupt and offensive hierarchy through their passivity and acceptance of the evils done to them as Gods will.

    Perhaps we should look to the Saints for our Cults of Personality instead of popular culture warriors? Men and women like St. Theresa, St. Alphonsus, St. Philip Neri, St. Thomas, and all the saints.

    Anyway, thats just one mans opinion.

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    1. FidesSpesCaritas - I agree with you until you get to the saints. The saints you list are indeed great and some of my personal favorites and my heros. However, have you not read about St. Theresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross? These are but two who many saints openly criticized the hierarchy (all the way to the pope) when needed (as souls were being lead to damnation.) In many cases, Voris is quite mild compared to what the saints have said to priests, bishops, cardinals, and even popes. Soon to be canonized Archbishop Fulton Sheen has said it is up to us (the laity) to keep the priests, bishops, and cardinals in line. This would be an impossible task if we do not know our faith.

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    2. @FidesSpesCaritas - You are absolutely right about the statement concerning God striving with man. I misunderstood what Voris was saying and I have corrected it.

      Thank you.

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  6. He's been this way from day 1. And yes, there are priests and bishops who need correcting, but their own peers are not doing it. You don't like it because he is doing it alone. Still no change in our local U.S.A. churches....... tick tock tick tock.... still no change......He's right where he belongs.

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  7. Thank you for this post. I am reminded of the book "Prodigal Daughters" in which multiple women write essays concerning their reversions. One such story is about a woman whose stray from the church was not in leaving her for another church, but in becoming hyperfocused on the "orthodox" and the sins she confesses in the essay are much like the ones you describe of Michael Vorris in this post. (This is not to say that either you or I am personally judging Michael's "sins;" I am merely trying to draw the parallel.)

    My point is that, the spirit in which Michael tends to criticize fellow Catholics is just as much a stray from the church as any other. I pray that he, and all of us, will be prevented from such judgement upon others, as we strive for a healthier and more unified Church on earth.

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    1. Hi KJL! I think I might be the person who wrote the story in Prodigal Daughters to which you are referring? I updated my story on my blog… see if it's the same one you remember:

      http://littlecatholicbubble.blogspot.com/2012/11/this-is-my-story-it-might-be-your-story.html

      My experience is typical of my generation. As for connecting my story with Voris, I guess I'm confused. Yes, I am critical of the lack of catechetics that I received as a child (the bishops themselves have admitted in retrospect that the ball was dropped), and yes, I think that lack of catechesis (as well as too many dissenters teaching wrongly, esp. in the '70s and '80s) has caused a great exodus from the Church.

      I don't watch Voris, I don't like his style, and (in case you think me some rigid traditionalist) I much prefer my Novus Ordo parish to the Tridentine Mass (though I don't begrudge anyone the right to participate in the older rites). I'm not sure why I was brought up in relationship to Voris, but I'm happy to hear more of what you have to say and discuss it. Thanks so much!

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    2. And forgive me if you are thinking of another woman's story in the book. I haven't read the other ladies' stories in many years, but I think I was the only one who didn't actually leave the Church, so I am assuming by your words you mean me. :) Forgive me if I am mistaken!

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  8. Another well written post that truly resonates. I grow weary of Michael Voris sweeping generalizations and 'filthy half-blood' accusations. His videos seem to give his adherents license to behave just as badly or even worse. What I truly don't get is why he and his following only spit venom at our Church and never seem to turn their artful vehemence toward media like NcR? His adherents love wreaking havoc at NCRegister whenever their leader is criticized. Dissent or criticism will not be tolerated.

    Oh well, I suppose if they managed to muzzle real dissent like that of the NcR they'd quickly become obsolete and ruin their fun.

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    1. Dismas - if you are a regular viewer of the vortex, (and even more if you are able to watch all of the other shows), then you would see that he does, but you have to clean your own house first. I am only a casual watcher of his shows, but it never fails that when I do, he hits the nail on the head every time.

      As I am only a casual watcher of his shows, perhaps I have missed where he has said anything that is NOT taught by the Magisterium. Can you point me in the right direction, perhaps a date of a vortex where he says something heretical?

      What I have seen is that he calls a spade a spade. (Sort of like Jesus himself did when speaking to the pharisees) and also like the saints have done throughout history (admittedly Voris is much tamer then Christ or many of the saints were.) Let me know what I am missing....

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    2. Edge, heretical? Really? That's what you think this is about? First, let's think about why he changed his letter head. All his combox acolytes immediately tried to defend him, with a bold face lie, and say that their self-canonized saint was only making a smart business move. Yeah, that's it, he was spending thousands of dollars to suit his new business plan, they still do. You yourself have already self-canonized him in a previous post and then wonder if I think he's a heretic because I criticize him for his obvious distortions of truth? Not even you can detect a problem with balance and perception asking that question?

      This article does a very good job highlighting many distortions of truth (lies?)in just ONE of his videos. He presents things as Gospel truth that he can't and doesn't know. His accusations and detractions are beyond the pale. He DOES NOT call a spade a spade. He sees a spade and calls it a bulldozer.

      No, I don't watch Voris videos. I have my own struggle with sins of detraction, perception and lying, I see no need to participate in his or yours.

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    3. Dismas - I am not sure why you are claiming that I self-canonized him, as that is the role of the church. Second, I do not see any examples from you as I had hoped to see.

      My point, and one I hope everyone who reads this asks - what is it they do not like? You state "he and his following only spit venom at our Church". I find this statement curious - are you a member of the church or nice as Mr. Voris calls it?

      Do terms like GIRM, Hell, Purgatory, Bible AND Tradition, have any meaning to you? I ask, because I am apparently missing something. He has stated often that there are those in the hierarchy that ARE leading souls to hell. Are you OK with them being led to hell? If you are, then that is all I need to know, and our conversation is done. If you are concerned with these souls being deceived by those in the hierarchy of the church (from laity, priest, bishop, and cardinal), then what should we do to save those souls?

      Have you sat in the pew and heard how abortion, contraception, premarital sex, stealing, etc are all wrong and will damn a soul to hell if they do not repent? Have you ever seen or worse yet, ever attended a clown Mass? Have you ever had a priest have you self-Communicate (take the body of Christ in place of receiving it)?

      No one can argue (if they have eyes to see and ears to hear) that the Catholics in the west have it VERY bad right now. So how do you propose we save the souls of these Catholics?

      As I said before, I only watch the Vortex on occasion, and have watched a couple of his other programs on the site, and have not even once found "error" (that which goes against the teaching of the church) in what he has said. I can tell you with all honesty, I have looked.

      Those who love the idea of women priests, so called gay marriage, and think sin has no consequences would find fault with the message from ChurchMilitant.tv. However, those who see the evil that has entered the church KNOW that souls are in peril. Mr. Voris has pointed many of the errors out. Things he has said on his show that gave me a moment of pause, I have verified is in fact Church teaching.

      So I guess the real question here is, what does Voris say that you disagree with?

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    4. Edge - I, miserable sinner, am a member of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. I give fidelity and assent of faith to Sacred Tradition, Sacred Scripture and the Magisterium of the Holy Roman Catholic Church in all the fullness of truth she professes and teaches.

      Someday I hope Michael Voris, you and the rest of his acolytes will stop implying that I am a heretic and join us as well.

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  9. This is interesting. I do have a couple of questions though. First, are you really from Brooklyn? The reason I ask is your statement "salt being a preservative, not something which destroys." Have you seen the east coast cars - salt is very destructive, especially this time of year.

    Are you really Catholic? I ask because of your statement "as James the brother of Christ" which sounds "protest"ant. Jesus had no earthly (by blood) siblings, so teaches the infallible Catholic Church.

    I agree with you that we should love one another, but what is love? Is love letting evil persist? We are instructed to "call" sin what it is, and to rebuke the sinner. No one likes to be told what they are doing is wrong, because pride interferes. No one knows better than a (good) parent that disciplining a child is more difficult than just letting the bad behavior go unchallenged. But later, perhaps many years later, the one who disobeyed and was corrected has matured and can see that they were in fact in error. The rejoicing is not in the discipline and teaching, it is the converting of the one in error that is the cause for celebration.

    Do you not rejoice when a serial rapist is stopped? One would rejoice in this case because the evil the perp commits has been stopped. (note that reforming of them is only a consideration AFTER they are stopped.) Likewise, when the dead branches are finally removed, the evil and erroneous teaching that have entered the Church are stopped. (How many popes acknowledged the smoke of satan has entered the church.) Since this has occurred, Catholics have not been catechized, and the false teachings pushed on the laity are leading many souls to hell. Yes we should pray for the conversions of those in the Church (both religious and laity alike) who are teaching what is NOT from the Magisterium, but we must also stop the harm they are doing. Stopping the harm (leading souls to hell) IS worth cheering for and celebrating.

    You have right here on this page a quote from Pope Pius XII. Have you forgotten that the Church calls us Church Militant. It is for good reason. Perhaps if you watched ALL of the programs on Curchmilitant.tv, you would better understand what is really at stake here.

    God Bless!!

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    1. Yes, I really do live in Brooklyn. And you're right, salt can corrode, but it is also used as a preservative. Do you think Jesus sends us into the world to destroy men or help to preserve their souls?

      I don't know how you can look at my blog and assume I am anything but Catholic. I absolutely believe in the perpetual virginity of Mary. James is often called the brother of Christ. Some think James was the son of Joseph from a prior marriage. Mark 3:31-32 talks about Jesus' brothers: "Then Jesus’ mother and brothers arrived. Standing outside, they sent someone in to call him. A crowd was sitting around him, and they told him, “Your mother and brothers are outside looking for you.”

      We need to be very careful about correcting those ordained by the Holy Spirit. And you certainly cannot agree that they are all dead wood suitable only to be thrown into the fire. We should never judge anyone that way. Everything we do should be done in love and always to bring others to repentance. That is the example given to us by Jesus Christ.

      Church Militant does not mean the same thing as they world defines militant. We are not a destroying army, but one which looks to preserve men's souls.

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    2. Edge, you said, "Have you seen the east coast cars - salt is very destructive, especially this time of year." I can't imagine you truly view the Body of Christ or any of God's creatures as corroded car chassis? Perhaps you would be well advised to revisit, rework and rethink this abhorrent analogy?

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    3. Dismas - No, I do not view the Body of Christ or any of God's creatures as a corroded car chassis (LOL) but was making the point that salt is not just a preservative. FidesSpesCaritas really gives a description more in depth of what I was saying, so read his comment above.

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    4. Catholic in Brooklyn - first, thank you for allowing my comment to be posted. I am new to your blog, and will stay and look around. Also, thanks for the reply. The questions of residence and religion where more tongue in cheek, and I apologize as I had originally typed it all up, had a "technical difficulty" and in retyping it I see I forgot a line that made that more clear. (This comment has vanished 3 times as I have been experiencing power hick-ups, but I think I finally have the issue fixed.)

      Further explanation of my comment regarding James, yes, a direct quote states brother, and the translation from the original text and a word that was used multiple ways to a word that means only one thing in our vernacular makes the term an open season for those in protest (protestant - all 36K variations at last count several years back - probably higher today). So many Catholics today have fallen for the errors of our Christian brethren (who do not follow the chair Jesus himself put in charge) due to the almost no-existant catechesis for almost two generations.

      On to the heart of the matter. I will post a couple of replies to address as a single reply would be too long. Here is the first one:

      What do we do to correct the issue of error filled teaching and silence in the face of evil by our religious? Do we simply lock ourselves up and pray? Not very Catholic of us, if we follow the examples given by Jesus and the saints. (Note, the pray part is correct, but locking ourselves up and not saying anything, not so much, unless you are a cloistered nun. But on the other hand, even a Poor St. Claire cloistered nun in our lifetime proved that much can be done.)

      What this world has done is fallen for some very big lies. Most do not believe in satan anymore, that we all will go to Heaven no matter what we do here, and that it is a sin to offend people. (Just curious, do you think the pharisees were offended?)

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    5. "We need to be very careful about correcting those ordained by the Holy Spirit."

      Um, why? (just kidding.) Those chosen by God (priest, nun, brother, deacon) have been marked by God and are his. The are NOT just regular people (another lie that satan has convinced the world including many religious who think it was just a career choice.) They have been ordained are are no longer just one of us. However, as they are the shepherds, their errors are larger and drag more souls to hell than one who is not ordained. (though through this very media, many lay can lead folks up or down as well. Another reason we must get the Catholics catechized.

      "And you certainly cannot agree that they are all dead wood suitable only to be thrown into the fire."

      If anyone is leading a soul to hell, that is tragic. There are some great religious out there doing the work that God ordained them to, but there are many others that are not. In fact, I recommend you look up and read about Archbishop Fulton Sheen. He told of many atheist and communist men who entered the priesthood in order to destroy the church from the inside. (Nit talking one or two, but in the thousands over many years.) He converted many of them himself, but so many more were never discovered. (But we know them from the fruits they produce. The push for an internal destruction by outside forces (diabolically influenced) again put men suffering from the illness of homosexuality into the seminaries. Both groups (now aged) are the ones running many parishes, teaching at catholic colleges (little "c" intentionally), and running the seminaries. That is what we (ALL faithful Catholics).

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    6. "We should never judge anyone that way."

      We shall know them by the fruit they produce. Read some sermons from St. John Vianney (cure de ars). His sermons were typical from all religious from the early Church Fathers through last century. But that changed, because satan was given the time and power. The Devil is cunning and knows language. He knows how to twist it to make people think it means what it doesn't. We are called to Judge - that is both biblical and in tradition. In fact, you make judgements all day long. What we cannot due is decide someone IS going to Heaven or to hell. That is for Jesus alone. HOWEVER - if they someone we know is sinning, and we fail to rebuke (a work of mercy) them (and we had to judge that what they are doing is a sin), then we also share in the guilt of their sin.

      If we as Catholics do not rebuke the sinners (including the religious) when we see it, we are guilty of that sin as well. So when a priest has a clown mass, or a bishop fails in his duties it is every (true) Catholic to speak up. Again, Look to Archbishop Fulton Sheen, as he said as much.

      "Everything we do should be done in love and always to bring others to repentance. That is the example given to us by Jesus Christ."

      Absolutely - a look at St. Joan of Arc shows that when she wet to battle for the glory of God, she was victorious. When she became prideful, she lost the battle. However, loving someone is not always huncky-doory (sp?). Tell a drug addict in the most loving way that he is harming himself, and he will feel you are attaching him. The only way to make that drug addict satisfied is to leave them alone, or even better (in their mind) to help them get more drugs.

      The truth hurts, the cross hurts, the fire that cleanses (purgatory) hurts. It does NOT show love or help when things are sugar coated. That is the point that Voris makes. The diabolical takes that sugarcoated message and twists it to something it is not. Should you physically stop the toddler from sticking the fork into the socket, or make nice and ask really pretty like. Choose the later and the toddler is dead. Should you rebuke the priest who tells the congregation that masturbation is good and not sinful, or should you just not say anything. (BTW - that is a mortal sin, and per Mary (Mother of God) more souls are lost due to sexual sin.)

      This making nice is why we are where we are. The ones who demand it and condemn folks who tell the truth are usually the same ones who want to be allowed to continue in their sinful way - and the stuff that comes from within them is anything BUT nice.

      You seem to be on the right track (the push for the Latin Mass, the GK Chesterton quotes, and other signs here on this blog). I do recommend you read some of the sermons from those not only ordained by God, but those who have been declared a saint - e.g St. John Vianney. Voris is tame in comparison.

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    7. "Church Militant does not mean the same thing as they world defines militant. We are not a destroying army, but one which looks to preserve men's souls."

      History (including Church history) from the time of creation to now teaches us. The saints got it, but then again, only the saints make it to heaven, for nothing impure can enter the presence of God. So those who die with a single mortal sin, will NOT enter into heaven. In fact, the infallible teachings of the church teach that even a single un-repented mortal sin keeps a soul out of purgatory as well. You say we should preserve men's souls, I tell you we ARE at war with the diabolical in order to do that. Any religious who leads the flock to perdition needs to be rebuked, corrected, and removed from further harm. B16 knows this, and is making great strides, and why many believe 20 years the church will be back on track. In fact as a Cardinal, he said that the church may need to shrink in order to grow, be pruned as it were. (paraphrased of course.)

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    8. So what are you saying Edge? Sin can't and won't be tolerated unless it's the sin of the sainted Michael Voris and his acolytes?

      Poison is no less deadly masked in the wine of truth. The wine only makes the venom more palatable and it's effects more stealth.

      Idolize Michael Voris if you must, but you'll have to forgive my non-participation, from my view he's just a golden calf.

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    9. Interesting - you seem to be a bit testy over this. Allow me to clarify, as a Catholic, we are not to idolize. I simply would like to know what Voris says that you disagree with. The handful of times I have watched him, he has not said ANYTHING that was outside of what the Church herself teaches. You apparently disagree - so please provide me an example, not just generalizations like "twisting the truth (lies)".

      Each soul will face judgement... mine, yours, Voris, Pope B16, Hitler, and Fr. nice. :)

      ... and no, sin will not be tolerated in passing from this life to the next. If you believe it will, then you are not familiar with Catholic teaching.

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    10. Testy? Of course it's to be assumed anyone who correctly and accurately criticizes Michael Voris is to be painted as heretical and testy. More false accusations from the Voris camp? I began this conversation in my first post with "I grow weary of Michael Voris' sweeping generalizations and 'filthy half-blood' accusations. His videos seem to give his adherents license to behave just as badly or even worse."

      Edge, you prove and illistrate my point. You have accomplished nothing more than to increase my weariness. I wish to engage you no further in your implications that I am some kind of heretical less than Catholic. I'm not a filthy half blood and I'm tired of your misdirection and distortions of truth, not to mention your divisiveness and disrespect.


      Our Church is not the enemy Edge, neither am I, could it be you?


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  10. Edge, there's another post this week on CatholicStand.com that investigates Pope Paul VI remarks in his homily about the smoke of Satan entering the Church. I think you may find it interesting, below are some excerpts. Perhaps if YOU considered ALL of Pope Paul VI's remarks you would better understand what is really at stake here?

    http://catholicstand.com/109/

    Referring to the situation of the Church today, the Holy Father affirms that he has a sense that “from some fissure the smoke of Satan has entered the temple of God.” There is doubt, incertitude, problematic, disquiet, dissatisfaction, confrontation. There is no longer trust of the Church; they trust the first profane prophet who speaks in some journal or some social movement, and they run after him and ask him if he has the formula of true life. And we are not alert to the fact that we are already the owners and masters of the formula of true life. Doubt has entered our consciences, and it entered by windows that should have been open to the light. Science exists to give us truths that do not separate from God, but make us seek him all the more and celebrate him with greater intensity; instead, science gives us criticism and doubt.....

    This state of uncertainty even holds sway in the Church. There was the belief that after the Council there would be a day of sunshine for the history of the Church. Instead, it is the arrival of a day of clouds, of tempest, of darkness, of research, of uncertainty. We preach ecumenism but we constantly separate ourselves from others. We seek to dig abysses instead of filling them in.

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  11. I suggest all of you read Ezekiel 34, 1 Samuel 2: 12-36 and Matthew 23. Do you seriously believe that God takes lightly the misuse of His Name by those who claim to act by it? Do you seriously believe that a holy, righteous God will *not* act when clerics sacrifice their spiritual patrimony for intellectual fashion, political power, secular prestige, wealth and monarchist pretentions (complete with the trappings and arrogance)?

    I also suggest you do some research on Pope Leo XIII's vision about Christ giving Satan permission to destroy the Catholic Church within a century. That's the vision on which the Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel is based. Yet if the archangels are loyal subordinates to the Triune God, and if one Person of the Triune God give Satan permission to do anything, will that archangelic subordinate have the temerity to countermand such permission?

    The Church hierarchy needs to repent of its centuries-old dalliance with "the world" (and with its own inflated view of itself) and re-dedicate itself to Christ passionately. Otherwise, these clerics could well be among the branches that are cut off and placed in the fire.

    Not for nothing did St. John Chrysostom say, "the road to Hell is paved with the skulls of bishops...."

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  12. Great article! Well reasoned and well written; thanks for doing so much work on this. This will surely help the next time a friend tells me I just *have* to watch the next Michael Voris video. God bless you!

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  13. I want to commend you on two accounts.

    First, for writing a critique of Mr. Voris that is free from emotion and strives to live up to the ideals that you feel Mr. Voris could also focus upon. That is not the norm among his Catholic blogosphere critics by any means.

    Second, in an earlier critique of him, I pointed out to you on another blog that an element of your post was inaccurate. You fixed the inaccuracy which again make your critique and you much more credible.

    I think you have provide a truly thoughtful piece which I would like to see Mr. Voris provide a thoughtful reply in return. I also think you provide a good example that his more vocal critics should emulate in terms of tone and reason.

    Hats off to you and God Bless.

    -Stu

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  14. I love my bishop and I love listening to Michael Voris. This is not all that he talks about. I need him to counteract the toilet bowl of anti-Catholic depressing media that surrounds me. My faith as a Catholic is unwavering; his commentary is the only thing I can tolerate lately and I find it interesting.

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  15. The Catechism states that charity obliges us to interpret others' statements in the best light possible.

    You have unfortunately misconstrued a number of things Voris has said. His statement about God delighting to "strive" with man was meant in a positive context, which he clearly explains in one of the talks he gave in Canada earlier this year (I believe it's this one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=33pwV5bnc-I). He meant it in the sense of "work strenously with" or "endeavor with"--in a mutual relationship of friendship and love.

    You wrote: "But it is not our job to judge any one's soul and then to actually rejoice when they 'get what they deserve.' "

    NOWHERE does Voris claim any particular person is going to hell, nor would he ever rejoice over that prospect. What he rejoices over is the downfall of organizations or structures that have misled the faithful and harmed the Church.

    You also said that "no one" should refer to others as dead branches. Well, considering Voris is merely repeating the words of Our Lord Himself, who refers to others as "dead branches" that need to be pruned, you are implicitly condemning Jesus for using that language.

    You also objected to Voris's message that we need to fight spiritual battles: "Jesus defeated Satan through His Death on the Cross. He is the one who fights. Our job is to preach His Message."

    I can only think you must be joking here. Are you not aware of Eph. 6:10-17, which is replete with imagery involving spiritual warfare that applies to us--sword, armor, breastplate, arrows? This is a spiritual battle, and we are called to fight, to wage war against sin and against the diabolical, through prayer, sacrifice, preaching, and teaching. Scripture explicitly tells us to "fight the good fight of the faith." 1 Tim. 6:12

    It is simply false for you to state that we are NOT called to fight; you explicitly contradict Scripture in saying that.

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    1. Christine, I think you are actually right about your definition of "strive." What threw me is that I don't find the translation Voris gave anywhere, but I believe you are right and that he did mean this in a positive context, and I am going to make that correction in this post.

      However, there is no getting around the fact that he is completely dumping on the bishops and priests and just wants them all out of the way. It is just wrong to refer to anyone as "dead wood that should be cut off and thrown into the fire." This is very dangerous talk. We do need to hold those in authority accountable for their actions, but Voris has gone beyond that and actually said they need to be thrown out like dead branches. I certainly feel we need to fight the evil in the world and in the church. I just don't think we need to be fighting and condemning one another, and I have sadly come to the conclusion that this is what Michael Voris does.

      Look at the statement that he makes:

      Too much of the establishment in the Church have turned to dead branches and the sooner they are cut off and become fuel for the fire .. the better for the rest of the vine.

      No one in this world has the right to make a judgment about any human being that they are "dead branches" and fit only as fuel for the fire. Only God has the right to make that judgment. Voris shows absolutely no concern for the souls of those in the hierarchy in the Church and is basically urging the rest of us to just turn our backs on those whom God has placed in leadership positions. This is very dangerous.

      We need to be about the business of saving souls, even souls within the church.

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    2. Thank you for correcting your interpretation of "strive."

      You wrote: "Voris shows absolutely no concern for the souls of those in the hierarchy in the Church..."

      You could not be more wrong about him. He is absolutely concerned about their souls, and in fact often encourages us to pray for the bishops. He is also very forthright in his praise of good bishops. His one aim is the salvation of souls, both inside and outside the Church. I know him, and this is absolutely the case. It greatly grieves him--as it should any Catholic--to see bishops leading their flock astray, endangering souls, by failing to teach the immorality of same-sex relationships, contraception, sex outside of marriage, etc. and he will indeed express that frustration in strong language--but that should never be taken to mean that he simply doesn't care about them.

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    3. I understand what you're saying, Christine, but it is just wrong to say that the hierarchy of the Church - which is the priests and even more specifically bishops - are nothing but dead wood that need to be burned up, and the sooner the better. As I said in my post, it is our duty to hold the leaders in our Church responsible for their words and actions, but to say they need to be "burned up" is way out of line.

      Michael Voris says a lot of good things, and I was a paid subscriber to his website because I believed in him. But I cannot deny that he has gone too far with these statements, and they need to be recognized for what they are.

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    4. Catholic in Brooklyn - So we are on the same page, do you agree that there is major turmoil in the church today? Do you believe that masses dedicated to the elevation of homosexuality conflicts with church teaching? Do you know that souls fooled into thinking sin is acceptable and die with out repentance will be thrown into the fire?

      The language of "dead branches" is from Christ himself. I see another commenter here has addressed this so I will not rehash it. But I will ask, should those in the hierarchy (from priest to cardinal) that ARE leading souls to hell through willful acceptance of sin, apathy towards sinners, and teaching sin in place of truth be allowed to continue to do so without being told to repent?

      If you are against what Voris says, how should it be done then?

      Can you accept that the souls they are leading astray are lost forever?

      Let us look at this another way. The homosexual abuse of the children is a perfect example. These men who were priests and bishops raped young males, but they were ordained by God to the priesthood, as they were part of the hierarchy (according to your words.) Should they have been left in place and left unchallenged because they were ordained by God? Of corse not, and these men were simply (in context) attacking the body. We were warned by Christ to fear those who can harm both the body and the soul. Do you sleep better at night and are happy that they have been removed so they can no longer do harm? So it should be with the religious (nuns, priests, bishops, cardinal) that lead souls to hell.

      You made the statement above "However, there is no getting around the fact that he is completely dumping on the bishops and priests and just wants them all out of the way." The questions I have about this statement are, do you really believe he wants ALL of them out of the way (total destruction of the Catholic Church), or just ALL that are teaching heresy? Next, if the ALL refers to just the ones leading souls to hell, why would you disagree with that? In the example from above, I believe you would want ALL of those who have harmed the "body" of the children out, so why would the same not be true of those who harm the soul?

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    5. One more point, I have seen many priests and bishops publicly stated that the work Voris is doing is good and have encouraged him to continue, many more than those who have criticized him. I believe that looking at the fruits produced by both camps speaks volumes to those who have ears to hear and eyes to see. Should these priests and bishops be ignored and dismissed?

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    6. Hi Edge - you certainly have been busy, and have obviously given this a lot of thought.

      There are tremendous problems in the Church. There is no way I can or would even want to deny that.

      My post is about Voris' attitude towards the hierarchy in the Church. These are ordained men of God. They are not politicians that we can just get rid of when they don't do their job. That is why I gave the example of Saul and David. Saul was a terrible king and he actually wanted to kill David. But David still treated him with utmost respect because Saul was anointed by God.

      This is how we must treat our bishops. Yes, we most definitely need to call out bishops and priests when they are not in conformity with Church teaching. But it must be done in a respectful tone, and we can't just lump them altogether and label them "The Establishment." We cannot be referring to them as dead branches that need to be thrown in the fire.

      That is my entire argument. There really is nothing more to say.

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  16. Too bad a Voris troll has taken over this discussion, which is always what happens when anything remotely anti-Voris makes the rounds.

    Anyway, I have been incredibly damaged by watching Voris videos and pal-ing around with similar minded in the Catholic blogosphere. I went from someone who reverted in a spirit of desiring truth to a mean spirited judgemental jerk that cast an eye of suspicion on anyone and anything labeled Catholic.
    It was soul destroying and uncharitable, and I almost despaired of my Catholic faith for quite some time.

    What you've written here I am grateful for. It reminds me to keep my eyes on my own paper and that Christ's love is the ultimate conversion tool. Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners.

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    1. That's funny, Charlotte, because Voris has done the exact opposite for me; he's helped me take my faith more seriously; he's caused me to fall more deeply in love with my faith, to pray more, to sacrifice more, to love God and to love souls more, and to show GREATER charity towards my neighbor--not less.

      I happen to know him & some on the board of directors of ChurchMilitant.TV personally, so I think I have a more accurate knowledge of what they are about--which is one thing: the salvation of souls. Voris is as good-hearted and humble a soul as you will find. Laugh if you will, but it's true--his heart is on fire with love for souls, and it is love for the Church that drives him. If you know his conversion story, you will understand why.

      For those who would like to better understand Voris the man (instead of Voris the caricature), I encourage you to listen to this interview he gave to Colleen Hammond last year:

      http://www.blogtalkradio.com/up-close/2012/05/01/up-close-with-michael-voris

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  17. I know that I do not pray enough for my bishop and all the bishops. My bishop, who I have reason to believe is a truly pious man, has made some very bad mistakes. Cannot say that I would have done any better if I had been in his shoes. My resolve is to pray more and rouse myself to write a personal letter to him the next time I have any concerns.

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  18. You just have no idea how bad it really is. If you did, you would support Voris with every penny you've got.

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