Saturday, March 29, 2014

Michael Voris Instructs The Holy Spirit

Michael Voris basically makes his living from criticism of Church hierarchy. He has recently made a public statement that he is drawing the line at the Pope and will not engage in public criticism of the Holy Father. His followers, rightfully, have asked how he can justify tearing into the bishops but not the Holy Father when the Pope is saying the same things about which Voris is so critical of the bishops.  Voris says it doesn't matter how bad the pope is, we are not free to criticize him. In effect, Voris is not saying that he likes or agrees with the pope, but since the pope does sit in the Chair of Peter, Voris will refrain from criticizing him.

And Voris wonders why his followers cannot understand him.

I for one, am glad Michael Voris has decided to draw some kind of line in the sand, even if it is too little and too late. However, Voris has now stepped into a new area of criticism in that he is now giving the Church advice on how she should choose the men who are to be priests. He recently did a Vortex episode in which he maintains that if a man does not have a strong father figure in his life, he should be rejected for the priesthood because he is not a strong man.

First, it should be stated that Holy Mother Church definitely has set down rules as to who is allowed to enter the priesthood. Not every man who enters the seminary is actually called by the Holy Spirit. There are men who enter the seminary in order to run away from something.  No man can enter the priesthood without a direct calling from the Holy Spirit. The Church in her wisdom realizes this. And because of the abuse scandal, the Church has placed certain restrictions on homosexuals entering the priesthood. But this is directed towards those who have not fully renounced their homosexuality.  This is from the 2005 document, which you can read HERE:
In the light of such teaching, this Dicastery, in accord with the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, believes it necessary to state clearly that the Church, while profoundly respecting the persons in question cannot admit to the seminary or to holy orders those who practise homosexuality, present deep-seated homosexual tendencies or support the so-called "gay culture."
As a further clarification, the document says:
Different, however, would be the case in which one were dealing with homosexual tendencies that were only the expression of a transitory problem - for example, that of an adolescence not yet superseded. Nevertheless, such tendencies must be clearly overcome at least three years before ordination to the diaconate.  
The document also states:
There are two inseparable elements in every priestly vocation: the free gift of God and the responsible freedom of the man. A vocation is a gift of divine grace, received through the Church, in the Church and for the service of the Church. In responding to the call of God, the man offers himself freely to him in love. The desire alone to become a priest is not sufficient, and there does not exist a right to receive sacred ordination. It belongs to the Church - in her responsibility to define the necessary requirements for receiving the sacraments instituted by Christ - to discern the suitability of him who desires to enter the seminary, to accompany him during his years of formation, and to call him to holy orders if he is judged to possess the necessary qualities.
However, Michael Voris does not seem to believe in the process of discernment. He feels that if someone lacked a strong father figure, that automatically disqualifies a man for the priesthood. Voris starts out by explaining how the lack of a strong father figure can hurt the development of boys into men. And he actually makes some good points. But he then uses this reasoning to say that no one who was without a strong father figure while growing up is eligible for the priesthood.

From Voris:
The culture is awash in these young men – many of whom have physically matured now into middle aged men and even older.
And they have also entered the Catholic clergy, in some places in droves.
And there is little else more dangerous than a man who does not know how to harness his masculinity .. presenting himself before a congregation with a roman collar on his neck.
Weak men being ordained .. and even consecrated to bishop has been the bane of the Church for the past 50 years.
I have looked throughout the Bible, and nowhere do I find anything that says if you don't have a strong father figure, then you better not even think about being a priest. In fact, there is that pesky statement that says with God all things are possible. Michael Voris, however, evidently does not believe this. According to him, The Holy Spirit is not enough. Men who did not have strong father figures are beyond the transforming power of the Holy Spirit and should not be in the priesthood.

Voris then goes on to explain just why these "fatherless" men are so unqualified for the priesthood:
We call them “Father”, but they are ill-equipped to bear such a noble title – not totally their own fault. The anger some of these men feel is not entirely unjustified.
They were victimized in their youth. Turning around to look for a father to draw them up out of their silly selfish boyhoods, they had no one. They deserved – had a right to such a man – but one was not there.
No one was available. So they had to go in search of something or someone to fill the role of father. Often enraged while at the same time despondent of their lot in life, they could encounter all kinds of mischief – and the diabolical is always prowling around doing its best to ensure they did.
Many men in the priesthood and the episcopate have undergone this kind psychological stress – they are truly victims. Having been ordained, they carry this trauma into their priesthood and become paralyzed in their new found role of father or shepherd.
Father Donald Calloway
Father Don Calloway is a member of the Marians of the Immaculate Conception.  You can find Fr. Calloway's story HERE.  The story starts out as follows:
Heroine, cocaine, opium, marijuana, excessive alcohol, not to mention hallucinogenic drugs like mushrooms (psilocybin) and LSD – he consumed most of these before the age of 18, many before he turned 14, the addictions growing stronger as the existential emptiness deepened. What sounds like an introduction to a Hunter S. Thompson novel actually constitutes the autobiography of a Catholic priest. Fr. Donald Calloway of the Marians of the Immaculate Conception retells his dramatic and heart-wrenching life story in No Turning Back: A Witness to Mercy.
As a destructive youth, Calloway spent his adolescence succumbing to temptations large and small, from sins of the flesh with constant promiscuity, to crimes against the law with thousands of dollars of grand theft in stolen merchandise, as well as nightly partying with friends consuming all forms of drugs and addictives while listening to heavy-metal music.
Michael Voris would tell us that a man such a Father Don Calloway would be eminently unqualified to be a priest. He lived such a debauched life that there is no way he could ever lead a congregation. Voris needs to tell this to all the tens of thousands of people that Father Calloway is leading to God.

Then, of course, there is St. Augustine. This is the story of his father, which you can read HERE:
Patricius, the father of Augustine, was a man whose darker qualities sorely tested the Christian charity of his wife and his older son. ...

Patricius (Patrick) worked in the local Roman administration.

He was a decurion, which meant that he was a town councillor with the duty of collecting taxes.
Although he belonged to the influential class in the local society, Patricius lived in difficult financial circumstances.

Augustine said that his father owned only a small amount of land.

His vineyards were worked by slaves, and Augustine had a slave (called a pedagogue) who took him to school.  Patricius seems to have had nothing remarkable either in mental ability or in character.

He was a lively and sensual person, and one who easily became angry.

He was entirely taken up with his daily concerns. He was hostile to the Christian church until the end of his life.

Thanks to the efforts of Monica, Patricius died a baptised Christian.
The father of St. Augustine seems to have died a holy death, but he sure didn't live a holy life.  So, according to Michael Voris, St. Augustine should have most definitely been rejected from the priesthood.

Voris explains why "weak men" must be barred from the priesthood:
Weak men, psychologically and emotionally weak men, who have never been taught how to be a father, can lead the flock astray with little effort because they do not understand because they have never been taught, that a father lives for his children and not himself.
But a weak man, is weak specifically BECAUSE he has this paradigm totally backwards. He lives for himself, for his own desire to be accepted and not rejected. And too many men in authority in the Church are unwilling to eschew this basic human desire, fueled by rage and self-doubt, in favor of the needs of their flock.
They crave being admired – or advancement up the clerical ranks – clinging to these things in the belief they are loveable.
So a paralysis has set in, where the most common approach on the part of leaders is to offend as few of the faithful as possible. The RATIONALIZATION is of course, that this is done for the sake of unity.
I wonder if Michael Voris has ever read the Gospel accounts of the apostles. Men don't come a whole lot weaker than those who were handpicked by Jesus Christ to found His Church. The first apostle to be chosen, Matthew, was a tax collector, which meant he was a professional thief who collected large amounts of money and then kept most of it for himself. They all, with only one exception, ran away when Christ needed them most. They argued about who would be greatest. Our Lord even accused Peter of working for Satan when Peter said he would never allow Christ to be crucified. None of these men were admirable, respectable men in society. They were just a rag tag bunch with major character flaws whom most would dismiss as insignificant and unimportant men.

Yet, Judas was the only one to be lost from this bunch of weak, vain and cowardly men. The rest went on to become strong men of God willing to give up their very lives for the Gospel. That is the power of the Holy Spirit. Our own personal weaknesses and failings mean nothing to God. The key is how much we submit to the power of the Holy Spirit to TRANSFORM who we are. To dismiss a man from the priesthood just because of his background without any discernment of his heart and attitude goes against everything God says.

It is interesting that Michael Voris, whether he realizes it or not, is portraying the priesthood as just another profession in which we need "qualified" men.   Yes, we do need qualified men for the priesthood, but as stated earlier, the only real qualification is a calling by and submission to the Holy Spirit.  Our Lord decides where we will be in His Body, the Church. And as He tells us, he does not look at who we are or the things as we do.

When the prophet Samuel was choosing a king for Israel, God told Samuel:
"Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart."  (I Sam. 16:7)   
Isaiah 55:8 tells us, 
"'For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,' declares the LORD."  
In fact, St. Paul writes that God purposely picks those the world considers weak to achieve His purposes:
Instead, God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful.  (I Cor. 1:27)
In this Vortex episode, Voris pronounces his usual judgment on the priests and bishops:
We need to pray and sacrifice mightily for our priests and bishops my fellow Catholics – the Church will be impotent in fighting the powers of hell, of storming the gates of hell with weak men as leaders.
Everyone has psychological junk to deal with. But there comes a time in the lives of some, when it must be dealt with and laid aside – or those incapable of dealing with it must at the very least recognize it and STEP aside.
Again, Voris totally discounts the work of the Holy Spirit with the statement, "the Church will be impotent in fighting the powers of hell, of storming the gates of hell with weak men as leaders." Just where does Voris think our strength as a Church comes from? Is this the Church of Strong, Manly Men or the Church of God? And again, Voris takes it upon himself to tell duly ordained priests and bishops to "STEP aside." When did Michael Voris become judge and jury over people's souls?

This is certainly not to say that we don't have weak priests among us. We always have and we always will. Judas was only the first. But does this weakness come from the lack of a strong father figure and/or some other character flaw, as Voris would have us believe? Or is it the result of abandoning their relationship with their Heavenly Father? Doesn't weakness in all of us, not just priests, come from the fact that we have not totally submitted ourselves to Our Lord, that we are trying to do things "our way" instead of allowing the Holy Spirit to work within us?

Not every man is qualified for the priesthood.  In fact, only a tiny percentage of men are actually called into this great vocation.  But let's leave it to the power of the Holy Spirit and Holy Mother Church to make this decision, not lay people like Michael Voris.

Every time I think Michael Voris has jumped the shark, he goes even further. His hubris seems to know no bounds. He condemns and criticizes priests and bishops with abandon, telling them that they are headed for hell and they need to get out of the church. Voris tells us that the institutional church we see around is nothing but a sham, and that only he and others who think like him constitute the true church. They are the only "faithful" Catholics. If you don't agree with Voris, you belong to the "Church of Nice", which he says is the great false church of our time.

There is a reason why Voris is not allowed by his bishop to use the word "Catholic" in his organization. I use to be a loyal follower of Voris, and I understand his appeal. He seems to give concrete answers to all the confusion around us. But I have learned that we need to stay far away from anyone who stands in constant criticism of the Church and purports to know more than those who have been ordained to watch over our souls.

It doesn't matter what has happened to you in life. It doesn't matter how low you have sunk. The Holy Spirit can completely remake you into a child of God. Don't listen to people like Voris who say you don't have what it takes. Alone, you don't have it. But if you submit your will to God, He will raise you up and use you in ways you would have never dreamed.

6 comments:

  1. I, too, used to follow Michael Voris. Then I grew tired of his incessant negativity. This is a man who spends most of his waking hours searching for dirt and things to criticize about our bishops. He has a particular animus toward Cardinal Dolan. Cardinal Dolan's joy and charity is more Christlike than the bitterness spewed by Voris. Michael Voris has elevated himself above his station of layman. Those who follow him for long have a tendency to adopt his negative attitude. Some of them strike out at anyone who dares to disagree with Voris. He's taken on a bit of a cult following which I suspect he doesn't discourage. Voris is promoting an image of the rogue Catholic acting the part of courageous knight riding in to save the masses (and the Mass). Jesus Christ is our savior, not Michael Voris. I'm sorry there are Catholics so blind and lost that they seek solace in his unjustifiably harsh and often inaccurate pronouncements against ordained men. They rally around him and join the "Church of Voris", defiantly and uncharitably calling for upheaval to cleanse the Church of any ordained man who isn't perfect in their eyes. I'm sorry there are Catholics so lacking in trust in Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit that they think a Michael Voris is needed to "save" the Church. I'm glad I saw the light and stopped following him.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is so well said. Thank you. It expresses exactly what I have come to believe about this misguided man. I think he is extremely dangerous to the Catholic faith, and I am amazed at how many people are taken in by him.

      Like you, I thank God quite literally that I also saw Voris for what he is and stopped following him.

      Delete
    2. I also believe that Michael Voris is a detriment to the Catholic Faith and what is most sad about this is that I really think that he actually could the total opposite instead. ChurchMilitantTV reports on issues most media outlets including many of the Catholic ones seem to miss. Getting these issues out to the Faithful is a very important service. It is only his personal editorial on these issues that becomes the problem.
      I am also amazed at the extent that his fans follow him. I was listening to an old web radio blog program that is hosted by one of Michael Voris' very ardent fan. Also on the program was Terry Carroll, Executive Producer at ChurchMilitantTV. They were talking against the USCCB touting immigration reform. This topic segued into Terry Carroll telling a story of when a while back AZ immigration reform was a big deal that a significant number of people would email Michael Voris for what they should do.
      It would an understatement to say that I find this to be very spiritually concerning.

      Delete
  2. Thank you for the reference to Fr. Calloway. I had never heard of him before, though I may have met him on my travels in D.C.

    Michael Voris is wrong on so many levels, he's really hard to track. I do watch him from time to time, mostly to check to see what he's up to. He has a bully pulpit and a big stick to beat the modern Church with, but I always note that a lot of his YouTube sites have comments disabled. I'm sure he doesn't want reality to intrude on his reality.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Christopher A. Ferrara has said, "In pre-conciliar times, [John] Corapi would not even have been considered as a candidate for the priesthood, no matter how sincere his conversion and repentance."

    Source: http://www.remnantnewspaper.com/Archives/2011-0715-ferrara-ewtn-corapi.htm

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That really shows how wrong Ferrara is. He would have probably rejected St. Augustine as well, and most of the apostles. We are not judged by past and forgiven sins. Yes, Fr. Corapi was and is a very troubled person, but that doesn't necessarily mean he cannot be a priest.

      Listening to or reading Chris Ferrara is pure torture for me.

      Delete

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...