Congratulations all those who commented last week regarding my article on whether cussing is a sin were thoughtful, witty, insightful and learned. A great collection of scholarly work came in for which I am very grateful. So grateful am I that I’m going to ask you something.
Let me ask particularly our Catholic readers (of which there are a good number) …if you haven’t already…watch one Michael Voris on Internet TV and give me your thoughts about this man who is fast becoming a tremendous educative influence in the Church.
If you’re not aware of Michael Voris you should be. In my humble opinion, he is the best thing to happen to the Catholic Church since Fulton Sheen. Sheen was incomparable but Voris has more bite than Sheen about laxity in the Church. Of course, Sheen was a high ecclesiastic and couldn’t be expected to criticize his colleague bishops (although he had a monumental fight with his superior, Francis Cardinal Spellman, over access to monies raised by the Society for the Propagation of the Faith which wound up in Rome with the Pope deciding in favor of Sheen).
Voris is a layman with a theology degree, is a former Fox TV producer and reporter and has a real snap in his commentaries.
Voris can be seen on his relatively new website RealCatholicTV.com. If you haven’t done so, do yourself a favor and go to the website and get a taste of some of his commentary. .
Here’s an example of Voris at his best.
Fr. Michael Rodriguez, a parish priest in the El Paso diocese wrote a letter to the El Paso Times and outlined with particular specificity the mortal sin that is homosexuality—expressing compassion and solicitude for those caught up in the practice but also echoing the Catechism in warning Catholics that it is not to be dismissed lightly. He pronounced it without rancor but cited orthodox theology, saying that the probability short of divine mercy is that one who dies without having confessed the sin and having received absolution, faces the grave possibility of hell.
No sooner had the article appeared than the bishop of El Paso, the Rt. Rev. Armando X Ochoa, wrote to the same paper undercutting Fr. Rodriguez and spewing the usual polite palaver so common to liberal churchmen and politicians. No words of condemnation but an excursion in politically correct, feel-good rhetoric.
Here’s the bishop’s response. My own views are contained within in [brackets].
“As Church [liberals and unregenerate radicals in the Church never say “THE Church” but “Church” as in “woman Church” etc. Why? They don’t want to indicate that Catholicism is THE Church, so as not to offend others] we want to journey with everyone as they search for meaning in their lives. We believe that Christ offers this meaning. The use of harsh words of condemnation is not the approach Christ invites us to have toward one another. Intolerance [i.e. contrasting right from wrong] closes the door to learning and deeper understanding or one another. Furthermore, it leads to divisiveness [God knows we don’t want that: we want “unity.” Christ never tangled with anyone did He? He never engaged in divisiveness, did He? Naw. He was get-along-go-along]. Too many people have suffered because of a profound lack of compassion and a perceived arrogant indifference.”
Ochoa’s statement was covered very favorably in the dallasvoice.com, which bills itself as “the premier media source for LGBT Texas.” Now I invite you to look at Michael Voris’ commentary on this.
Frankly, very little of Michael Voris involves what shocked establishment Catholics call “bishop bashing.” The only other recent one was also excellent, to my mind. A parish in New York city has been infamous for its near-celebration of homosexuality…so much so that it is an open question whether it is facilitating the practice. When Archbishop Timothy Dolan was at Mass, the proud members of Dignity were singled out with praise and a TV clip caught the archbishop smiling and applauding. Voris used the event to criticize the obvious support and scandal Dolan had given…which prompted Dolan to issue the weakest, most nebbish-like statement you ever saw.
He’s Too Tough for Catholic Answers.
To me, Voris was doing what any alert and well-informed layman should do. But it was enough for Catholic Answers, the Karl Keating-founded resource of apologetics to ditch Voris’ stuff from its video library. Now I have great respect for Catholic Answers and for Keating…but it was in no mood to support criticism of certain bishops. .
One of the finest presentations by Voris shows how the often fraudulent “spirit of Vatican II” was hijacked. As I lived through that time and saw the American heretical beginning at St. John’s with a then so-called “great” theologian, Fr. Godfrey Diekmann OSB…who ultimately refused to sanctionHumanae Vitae, it taught me things I never really knew about what was happening in Rome between the eras of John XXIII and Paul VI. Voris goes into great deal about one who may well have been an ultra-liberal saboteur in the Church, the main conspirator for so radically changing the liturgy of the Mass—Archbishop Annibale Bugnini of whom Dietrich von Hildebrand said:
“Truly, if one of the devils in C. S. Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters have been entrusted with the ruin of the liturgy he could not have done it better” than Burgnini (who died in 1982). In 1960 he was placed in a job that enabled him to exert a decisive influence on the liturgy, Secretary to the Preparatory Commission for the Liturgy of the 2nd Vatican Council. But he was evidently moving too fast and too radically because he was summarily fired by John XXIII. Rumors then abounded and continue to this day that Bugnini was a Freemason, one dedicated to secret antithetical hostility to the Church.
Whether he was a Freemason or not, after John XXIII’s death, Bugnini was just as speedily rehired by Paul VI. Then he carried on until the great denouement.
One presentation by Voris have been criticized recently. One was a brief 2-1/2 minute or so talk where he seemingly despaired of democracy and expressed the wish that an all-wise oligarchy should run this country i.e. supposedly make it a theocratic state. It didn’t bother me because I recognized the idea from Aristotle’s Politics where he cites the various forms of government—monarchy, oligarchy, democracy—and says that all have faults but…as an ideal…an oligarchy composed of supremely wise men is to be preferred…declaring at the same time that perfection is not attainable.
Aristotle wasn’t talking about a theocratic state, of course (he was a pagan) but of an oligarchy of so-called wise men to win the state. He so much as admitted that this would not be possible because men can not be wise all the time…but that was the ideal.
To me Voris’ speculative opinion is much the same. Who among us…looking at the nitwits in major chunks of both political parties…have not speculated on how these jerks ever got elected and in the midst of despair about failed economic, social and international policies growled that a few conservatives with good ideas who wouldn’t have to worry about placating an insouciant electorate could save this country? I know I have—knowing all the time that it is wistful thinking and that I was not calling for a theocratic state or an oligarchy.
Voris killed that tape after semi-apologizing it with a “mea culpa” but I think he was a little too susceptible to the criticism that came not from it but from misunderstanding of it. Were I he, I would not have pulled it but explained that it was a speculative view akin to that of Aristotle in his Politics.
Enough for now. Click on Michael Voris and sample a few delicious commentaries which run on average of only a few minutes apiece.
*: Saint Fiacre of Brie, Patron Saint of Cab Drivers (circa 304). He was reared near an Irish monastery, the brother of one who would also become a saint, Syra of Troyes. He initially went to study in the monastery because in the 4th century they were the only repositories of learning. What caught Fiacre’s attention was the science of healing herbs. Soon he became quite an authority on them. Because people believed his skill with the herbs tied him to the healing arts, they began to interfere with his privacy—for if he was anything, Fiacre was a recluse. So tired out with crowds of people coming to visit him and his alchemy in the monastery, he decided to flee to France where he planned to live as a hermit.
When he arrived in France he applied to the Abbot of a monastery for permission to use a portion of its land for the raising and study of healing herbs. There he was just as unlucky as he was in Ireland with flocks of sick people who came to see him to sample his herbs. Because his herbs healed some, the legend grew that Fiacre himself was a healer which got him into trouble because one old woman claimed he was an intercessory of the devil. But the Abbot defended him and pointed out that Fiacre seemed to have personal healing power which would have to come from God not Satan.
The legend grew that he had the gift of healing by laying on his hands. Frenchmen claimed by doing this he cured blindness, polypus and fevers and a type of tumor called “le fic de S. Fiacre.”
Then Fincre became known as patron of many disabilities. For example even today in France he is known as the patron of…fertility (against barrenness)…patron of healing hemorrhoids…healing piles…healing syphilis…healing all venereal disease.
And he is seen as the patron of cab-drivers as well. How did that happen as there were no cabs or cab-drivers in his time? Prepare yourself for a big stretch. In the 18th century in Paris there was an opulent hotel named in his memory—Hotel de Saint Fiacre. That hotel rented carriages. People who had no idea who he was called them “Fiacre cabs” and eventually just “fiacres.” Those who drove those cabs assumed Fiacre as their patron. He is regularly pictured as a monk carrying a spade and a basket of vegetables surrounded by pilgrims as he blessed the sick.