Just as I was posting the last entry on Father James Martin and his “ten takeaways” from Pope Francis’ Amoris Laetitia, there was a not so startling public confession from self-proclaimed Catholic media apologist Michael Voris that he had, prior to his “reversion” to our Catholic faith “lived a life of live-in relationships with homosexual men.”
What prompted Mr. Voris to emerge from the closets of his former lovers is that apparently the Archdiocese of New York has been going to considerable lengths to investigate Voris who is an outspoken critic of the Cardinal-Archbishop of New York and many other American bishops. The Archdiocese—and its Cardinal Archbishop—apparently see a need to discredit Mr. Voris and are willing to get down into the mud to do it.
I am not surprised at Mr. Voris’ admission. I am a bit off-put by his avoidance of a deeper self-honesty, attributing his choices to being “confused about my own sexuality” and his claim that “From the outside, I lived the lifestyle and contributed to scandal in addition to the sexual sins. On the inside, I was deeply conflicted about all of it.” The implication is that others took advantage of “the deep pains of my youth.” It would not be fair to say that Mr. Voris should acknowledge his homosexuality because it seems from his statements that that he has yet to connect the dots of his past relationships to create an accurate self-portrait. I think he has been as honest, as remarkably honest, with his audience as he is with himself; the need is for him to do more homework on himself and come to understand better his own psycho-sexual identity.
I must admit that I am not surprised at Mr. Voris’ admission of having led a gay lifestyle for so long. His opposition to same-sex issues—gay priests and seminarians, same-sex marriage, a supportive policy of pastoral care of those with same-sex attraction, parishes such as Saint Francis Xavier in NYC that are “gay friendly”—has been so disproportionate to other issues as to identify homosexuality as one of Mr Voris’ obsessions, and an unhealthy obsession at that. Happy, well-adjusted heterosexual men don’t usually have the passion to wage homophobic campaigns that Mr. Voris had demonstrated.
I only wish that the wild and wooly sexual experiences of Mr. Voris’s past life had taught him compassion rather than had confirmed him in black and white judgment. By this I don’t mean that he should validate the LGBT socio-political agenda but rather that it is sad that he cannot look at the LGBT socio-political agenda and see not a niche for a cultural warrior to make a name for himself but to see the individual men and women who have all the challenges and confusions and “deep pains” of their youths that comprise the struggles of human lives, gay or straight. We all need to look beyond the categories into which we pigeonhole people and see each individual in his or her particular struggle to find the inner energy to love God and to love one’s neighbor. Life is just not lived in the black and white.What is the scandal in this story is not Mr. Voris’ past life. Every one of us has a past. What is the scandal is that the New York Archdiocese decided to snoop in various closets in order to discredit a detractor. I will be the first to say that the American hierarchy should have long ago sidelined Voris—along with the late Mother Angelica, Judy Brown, Michael Hichborn, Matt Abbott and others who set themselves up as an alternative magisterium, but do it without slinging mud and digging into individuals’ personal lives. Mud does not become Holy Mother Church; we have given our enemies enough mud to sling at us, we don’t need to play in it ourselves.