Friday, August 1, 2014

Voris: Forget the Pope, Train All Guns On Bishops

As everyone knows, Church Militant TV does not criticize the Pope, and doesn't like it when other people do. In today's Vortex, Michael Voris says criticizing the Pope is not going to make him change, but bishops, now they're a different kettle of fish (this being Friday)! 
As a kicker, he says that criticism of the Pope is chasing some confused Catholics into the arms of irregular groups (presumably the SSPX or Pope Billy Bob I in at the I-57 diner in Kankakee). 

Watch the episode for yourself and make up your own mind. The Bear is fair. But three points.

First, the Bear does not expect the Pope to be checking out Pewsitter one morning, click on a link to St. Corbinian's Bear, and suddenly realize the error of his ways. No, while the trajectory of Pope Francis' papacy is wobbly, the launch is a done deal and the direction is clear. 

At this point, bloggers like the Bear are pretty much shouting "Oh the humanity," into the microphone as a papacy goes down in flames. We know we can't put the Hindenburg back into the sky over Lakehurst. What we can do is chronicle the "total disaster," as the Bear's friend thetimman from St. Louis Catholic called it, and warn people to get out of the way.

Second, the Bear is not even a traditionalist. Hardly a day goes by that he doesn't beg readers to nail their foot to the floor in front of their favorite pew and die there. The Bear counsels a stubborn piety of the hardy weed that grows through the cracks in the Franciscan Church. Far from driving people away, the Bear hopes every outrage makes his readers that much more stubborn.

Finally, who has heaped more criticism on the heads of the bishops than -- you guessed it -- Michael Voris? He, above all people, should know how ineffective criticism of bishops is. 

We have a Pope who calls a housewife living in an irregular relationship, and reaches out to TV preachers and critical journalists. While the Bear wouldn't advise holding your breath in either case, between bishops insulated from reality in their chanceries, and a lovable joker-up-both-sleeves pontiff known for surprises, it is by no means certain who is more likely to respond.


  1. I suspect that Voris has been feeling increasing pressure from his apostolate’s supporters (of which I’m one) to speak bluntly re the harm Francis is doing. I recall that when he first broke his silence on the subject, he addressed it in oblique terms that obviously reflected the dilemma that the entire stunned flock is faced with: this man who is scaring the daylights out of us is the POPE. Imo that ought to have been Voris’s last word on the subject, and he now needs to pursue with even greater vigor his mission of promoting the authentic Faith, which effort at this point is like administering triage. Just keep suturing those wounds and pouring nutrients into the patient. Let someone else, whose work is less vital, be sidetracked by the Pope Francis Show.

    1. Church Militant TV is a great resource, and I respect their position.I have a Premium Membership and bought same for my Army sons. I happen to disagree with them on this issue. But what the Bear can get away with and what a legitimate outfit can do are two different things.

      The one big benefit of having outlets that are orthodox and not obviously insane exploring the problems with the Pope is that ordinary Catholics can say, "Wow, it's NOT just me," and "I can handle this and stay IN the Church."

      The Bear always encourages people to stay in the Church, even as he discusses real problems with the Pope. There is not a Catholic alive (except MAYBE the Pope) who can explain Pope Francis' view of the Church. At BEST it seems to be primus inter pares.At worst it is just another face on his polyhedron.

      What really irritates the Bear is when the Patheos crowd starts calling anyone who notices and comments on these real problems
      "cafeteria Catholics."

      Poor Bear. He must sail between two enemy fleets, receiving fire from both sides: the Traditionalists on the right and the ultramontanists on the left.

    2. You are right, of course, Bear, about the ability of unconstrained discussion (well, constrained only by the demands of civility :-) to fortify the discernment processes of people like me who truly depend on the blogosphere for that kind of help.

      And if anyone considers Michael Voris more legitimate than St. Corbinian’s Bear, let him or her be anathema :- )

      I do think that, to avoid fatally wounding themselves in the foot, high-profile Catholic media figures like Michael Voris or Catholic media outlets like EWTN, who attract huge audiences and wield significant influence, must exercise particular caution when it comes to discussing the antics of Pope Francis. Why? I guess part of the reason is the Pope’s – any Pope’s – theological uniqueness, and the tricky emotional and mental circuitry that creates in us. We can easily become panicky if somebody seems to be fiddling with the light switches. (When it's the Pope fiddling with them, rather than a tipsy party guest or our mischievous little nephew, we just can't allow ourselves to believe it's really happening.)

      We’re afraid of the dark, and I really fear that if Voris or EWTN were to pass a certain point in critiquing the Pope, no matter how objectively justified they might be in doing so, they would permanently scare off a great many people who - now more than ever - need them to be a dependable light source.

  2. My Constitutional law professor, decades ago, in describing how to at times explain the Supreme Court's often contradictory reasoning from one case said "You need to become comfortable with ambiguity". I can expect a government body to be unclear in nearly anything. I prefer my Faith like the proverbial Rock, solid, ageless and some that can serve as an anchor. I fear Vatican III is on the horizon.

  3. You can't be all things to all people if you tie yourself down to one particular set of doctrines.

    Sometimes I think the unmarried suits our prelates more than married life would. They seem to have difficulty committing to one religion.


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