Thursday, September 5, 2013

They're Eating Their Own Young

Michael Voris--heading for conflict with the Church?
Yesterday I mentioned the alliance between American Life League’s Judie Brown and Michael Voris of Church Militant TV.  About a week ago Voris launched an incredibly foolhardy attack not only against CRS and CCHD but on his fellow Catholic Traditionalist Fora such as Al Kresta, EWTN, and Catholic Answers.  He then went on to attack the hierarchy in general and Archbishop Charles Chaput in particular in what will prove to be a suicidal assault. 
He attacks Kresta, Raymond Arroyo of EWTN, Karl Keating of Catholic Answers and others for their “enormous salaries” (generally in the neighborhood of $100,000 annual) which he contrasts to his own, $40,000 take home.  Now I am no fan of any of the above, but my objections are not about their salaries but rather the slant they often place on Church teaching.  Michael Voris cleverly does not distinguish between salary—his being $40,000.00—and income.  Many who are public personalities, as Voris has fashioned himself into, make more in speakers’ fees, royalties, and gifts from admirers than they are paid in salary.  A speaker like Voris can often command amounts up to $10,000 for a single talk.  Mr. Voris has had a number of foreign speaking tours in addition to the American circuit and now is advertising that one can take a luxury cruise with him.  And then there is the question of perks.  It is not uncommon for executives—and Voris is an executive of “Church Militant TV”—to be provided with housing, automobile, travel etc. above and beyond their salary.  In fact, there can also be the matter of bonuses.   I don’t begrudge Mr. Voris his $40,000 and I don’t begrudge him any additional income that floats his way. And speaking of floating, I sincerely hope he enjoys his cruise. He works hard—by all accounts 18 hours a day—and as the scripture says: you shall not muzzle the ox that treads out the corn.  I don’t begrudge Kresta, Keating, or Arroyo their income either.  That is not my point.  My point is that Michael Voris is an unreliable source for authentic Catholic teaching.  Some of his ideas—such as the United States should abandon its Constitution and become a Catholic Monarchy where only Catholics can have political voice—are just off the wall.  Many of his other ideas are in direct contradiction to the Teachings of the Church at the Second Vatican Council.   And some of them are contrary to Papal teaching as well.  His Bachelor’s in Sacred Theology granted by the Angelicum (The Dominican University in Rome) sounds impressive until you realize that even the average parish priest has a degree beyond the STB, and that while the degree in question was granted by the Angelicum it was earned at an American campus and not the famed Roman one atop the Quiranale (actually on one of the lesser peaks of the hill, somewhat down the road from the presidential palace)  a fact that Mr. Voris does not advertise. 
So what is his point in going after—not the liberals this time—but his “competition” among the neo-traditionalists?  The market is only so big and with the papacy of Francis it is shrinking as it is clear that Francis himself is not sympathetic to the neo-trad line.  When your potential revenue pool shrinks, you have to eliminate the competition.  The only danger he faces is that while Kresta and EWTN and the others work with the hierarchy—even when they disagree with it—Mr. Voris has been staking out independent territory undermining the legitimate leadership of the Church in his attacks on individual bishops as well as the work of the Bishops’ Conference.  This is a dangerous road to follow as it leads to open conflict with the hierarchy and you don’t win that war.  Or at least you don’t win that war and stay Catholic. Archbishop Chaput and other targets of Voris’ disinformation campaigns won’t hesitate to bring in the big guns from Rome and there will be a showdown in the O.K. Corral.  Good Luck, Michael.  Cruise while you can. 

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