Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Lunch with Prophets, Radicals and Michael Voris

I had lunch today in a London Restaurant with Michael Vorris and some enthusiastic young male members, including the Bones, of Juventutem, all set for the Walsingham pilgrimage and some charming young women who are involved in Faith, and the legendary Daphne McLeod, plus a few others.

Michael is here to "do" London, and for his speaking engagement tonight at Regent's Hall. I thought it was interesting that Paul Smeaton seemed to be the driving force behind the operation, interestingly Daphne Mcleod of Pro Ecclessia et Pontifice was there too.
What I found interesting was the model of Church. Paul is as outspoken as his father John, Daphne has done incredible work in questioning poor catechesis and being the torchbearer of PEP. Michael, I rather liked, he loves the Church, in many ways he is an ordinary man in the pew, who happens to have a voice.

What did all these people have in common?

I think in many ways they are all prophets, except me I am a priest. I mean they struck me as being people who had a voice, that was at times critical of the Church of today. They are often highly critical of laxity in the Church, even of individuals, they have a tendency to be impatient, to denounce infidelity and to be divisive - divisive, in the sense of dividing sheep from goats. Left to them I think the Church would be leaner, they expect their bishops and priests to be holy and orthodox.

Their vision of the Church is one that many of us priests might find disturbing, it is radical, maybe not so much a school for sinners, or a hospital for the wounded, and certainly not about "cultural" Catholicism. It is militant. I don't mean to give a caricature, they are kind and compassionate. What I find exciting about them all is that Christ and his Church's teaching is something they find exhilarating and demanding. It is something to build a life on.

It is not conservatism, there is something radical about it, nor is it simply a traditionalism that wants to return to a time before V2, that is history for them. They are trying to build-up Church that is essentially in communion with Tradition, that is concerned with Life issues, with families, and in its English or European form, isn't necessarilly, politically, to the right of Sarah Palin.
John Allen calls it Radical Evangelicalism.

What will these young people turnout to be?



Dear Fr Ray,
I Say God Bless Michael Voris, I wish there were many more like him in the Church including the Clergy also, I had hoped to traveled to London from Jarrow today to listen to his talk, as I had booked my ticket; but unfortunately due to circumstances beyond my control,I could not make it. I hope his talk was a great success!

God Bless,

The Olde Jarra Scribe
(The Jarrow Scriptorium)

carlos said...

i am amazed that intelligent people took part in organization. voris does good populist slogans, but it is bad indication for english church if it has to import people like this.

mark shea has written on voris here - see it. tradtionalists might ask since when laymen can be preaching the faith without authority of apostolic see or of the bishop of the locality. lateran council IV is clear.

Pablo the Mexican said...

There is a Cristero song that expresses the sentiments of the Faithful as they watched the well armed legions of Freemason Troops headed towards them in the first battle of the Cristero Rebellion in Mexico.

"They are so few, and they are poorly armed".

The Cristeros knew the Mother of Mercy commanded the Holy Angels to stand with the Mexicans who only had sticks and rocks with which to defend themselves; the Blessed Sacrament was theirs and Heaven was with them.

They knew the advantage was theirs.

Mr. Voris and crew need Heaven on their side.

I hope one day they get the simple Faith needed to be in God's Army.

Minute knowledge of symptoms does do make you knowledgeable of the disease.

They need a good schooling in facts.


Ma Tucker said...

I couldn't imagine a better school for sinners, or a more effective hospital for the wounded, or a more militant Catholicism than real Catholicism. They do a fine job.

B flat said...

Father, you admitted a few days ago, that you did not like Michael Voris. Today's posting shows that your earlier impression has been modified somewhat by this meeting. I am glad. You can change; you are alive.

Your assessment of your companions is so filled with hope, and it gives me great joy. The life you see in them is what makes their blogs, and yours, worth reading.

As to your question about their future? They are answering the call that Pope Benedict XVI transmitted to the children of the Church in Roehampton last year, and to the seminarians in Madrid this year.

May they fulfil their reckless ambition to live to the full the purpose for which they were created, and you too.

Anagnostis said...

Far too much of modern Christianity - liberal, conservative, traditionalist - is mere ideological crusading: "gathering warm bodies" to one's quasi-political fads and proclivities.

DpH said...

I find Michael Voris extremely frustrating - precisely because he mixes admirably clear and unambigious statements of Catholic orthodoxy with abject, misguided, nonsense, on all manner of topics, and presents the two as an inseparable whole and seeming to make a virtue of being wilfully obnoxious and gauche (so am I calling him a leftist? Hmm. "radicalism" has a psychological similarity) as "speaking the truth".

And naturally anyone who might deign to disagree with him - and the "alternate sword-brandishing magisterium" that he appears to have established - and how dare he think he has the authority to define what or who constitutes a "real Catholic" will be painted (sometimes implicitly, sometimes explicitly and unambigiously) as a decadant sodomite supporter of abortionist priestesses, or, possibly worse in the eyes of some of his supporters, that mysterious (and to me incomprehensible) term of abuse, a "neo-con".

And the seemingly inevitable insufferable counter-"arguments" that being a Christian is not about being nice, and that charity does not preclude well-deserved criticism.

As if orthodox critics of Voris were making such claims in the first case.... misrepresentation and manipulation seems to be the name of the game. And Voris plays that game well.

If there was no goodness or truth or real Catholic orthodoxy among his rants, he would be immeasurably less frustrating, as one could then simply write him off as some kind of fanatic who could be entirely ignored and shunned. Although I am still not sure that is not the best approach to take.

The problem is that the excesses of liberalism, indeed of "the smoke of Satan" entering the Church, that have been the cause of so much damage - and indeed, particualrly, of the perdition of souls - of recent decades, are in part a counter-reaction to the extremely reactionary, pro-theocratic, bullying, hysterical, incomprehensibly intolerant approach of the counterparts of Voris in decades past (be those decades those of the mid-to-late 19th Century or of the first half of the 20th).

Even in the name of Christ (and in whose else name, however misguidedly were liberal reforms undertaken), extreme begets opposite but equal extreme.

If I were to be kind about Voris, I would say that he needs to moderate his Belloc (theologically Orthodox, a great communicator - immeasurably better than Voris in fact - but with numerous questionably opinions and when all is said and done not a trustworthy historian) with some Chesterton. Catching more flies with honey than with vinegar, and so on. And praying for wisdom and humility.

Sadie Vacantist said...

To call (or accuse) someone of being a "neo-con" is tantamount to calling them "******". Only the most conceited can not work that out. Curiously, Tony Blair made no mention of the term in his autobiography. Now that is conceit.

If the American economy worsens then the "****" will push the USA into all out war. Remember that this "group" is not trying to simply wield power or make money. It's more serious than that. They are trying to stay out of prison. An audit of the Federal Reserve would be a start of their exposure. War is a far more preferable option for them.

Annie Elizabeth said...

I think an awful lot of young - and in my case not so young - people don't see the point in being Catholic unless you're actually, well, Catholic. Many of us lapsed from a wishy-washy cargo cult version of the One True Faith. Coming back into the fold, becoming catechised, learning what the Faith is actually all about -- well, it becomes very difficult to not be all fired up about it. Even more difficult to see our shepherds not speaking as plainly as Michael Voris about things that are in clear conflict with Catholic teaching or belief. I'm not a Voris groupie -- far from it -- but I was at the talk last night and was struck by the holiness and (surprisingly) humility of the man. He's found the pearl of great price and wants to share it, for the good of souls. You got the sense that you were listening to a man with an authentic love for Christ, who is profoundly grateful for his re-conversion and the shot at eternity it gives him, and that he wants to share that and encourage that in as many people as possible. Among the people I went with there was (at least) one skeptic who, by the end of the talk was utterly convinced of Voris's sincerity and orthodoxy. The general consensus was "what's not to like"? followed by "why are our shepherds not speaking so clearly and plainly?"

Julian said...

What was the hair like close-to?

Toby said...

@Carlos said

I don't quite understand your point. The English Church is not importing him, he is to all extensive purposes an itinerant preacher and I don't think we in England are so arrogant to pretend that people from elsewhere in the Universal Church might be able to preach something worthwhile to us. Assimilate the good wherever you find it.

Having been there last night, and counting myself as reasonably intelligent, I would be fascinated to know why it's a surprise that I was there? Much of what he said was not rocket science, but it was still well worth listening to and he clearly has a good brain. His exhortation to devote our lives more fully to Christ doesn't require you to be intelligent to understand, but you'd be stupid to discount the advice.

Also one thing he most definitely is not is populist. Look at the personal criticism he attracts. He is not in this to win friends, it is quite clearly souls that are his greatest concern.

Finally with regrards authority are you saying that if I wish to tell people at work about my faith or lead a catechesis class at my Church that I need authority from the Bishop to do so? Surely the job of the Bishop is to discipline if he is teaching the faith inaccurately?

DpH said...

Sadie Vacantist,

I think you allude to the "political use" of the term "neo-con", and not the religious (and specifically Catholic) one, which I don't think has that implication at all, nor applies to the same or a similar group or type of people.

Sadie Vacantist said...


Yes, but a feature of "neo-cons" is their ability to rope in those from outside their own particular ethnocentric grouping. Dick Cheyney is the definitive example and provides a veneer of 'normality' or credibility to mask their activities.

In a similar way, the Catholic Church has been corrupted or at least "roped in" since 1965. (1965 represents the year when the USA also fell apart politically).

The cult of self-destruction which was developed during the period 1945-1965 is still going strong. As I write the latest in a long line of "Hitlers" is on the run in Libya much to the delight of neo-cons, their agents and cult members everywhere.

I see no way back from this madness.

Annie Elizabeth said...

@Julian - hair is natural, just a bit unruly. There goes another myth.

My thoughts on the talk here:

Mark said...

It is a lie and falsehood, Ann Elizabeth.

Julian said...

@ Annie Elizabeth

Mega-bucks buys a fine head of hair.
"Unruly" costs a little more.

I would only accept your assessment if it came from Father Ray and he is much too kind and discreet to comment.

Margaret said...

Annie Elizabeth

The man is a poor "theologian", preaching without depth of knowledge and ignorant of Catholic spirituality.

Has he heard of Thomas Merton? He quotes with approval a cleric who aggressivly dismissed the value of inter-faith dialogue, unlike the Holy Father I might add.

I trust the gentleman quoted in your video would not have told Thomas Merton to "Get out! Get out!"

Unlikely. Thinking people do not frequent the gigs of tele-evangelists.

Father Ray. Did you see anyone who might fit that description.
I hope you went as an observer and not a disciple.

Fr Ray Blake said...

I went as a critic, in the Greek sense of the word.

As for Thomas Merton, I was once a disciple but I am not certain, from his later writings, that he died a Christian. He has many good things to say but I think we should judge it carefully, in order to do that we need some serious theological and spiritual formation.

GOR said...

I have watched numerous Vortex episodes by Michael Voris. I watched both of his “No Bull in Madrid” sessions during WYD and I have tussled with other commenters about him on blogs. I don’t doubt his sincerity and passion for what he does. So, why am I in two minds about him?

On the one hand I am a sort of reserved person, not given to banner waving, in your face confrontations, participation in demonstrations or banging of drums - however laudable the purpose for them. On the other hand I hesitate to ‘get behind’ people who are in the public eye. The Catholic blogsphere is replete with internecine squabbling and very un-Catholic acrimony – all in the name of God, ‘charity’ and one’s pet point of view. Sometimes it seems we are our own worst enemies. And sometimes the trust we put in people ends in betrayal and disappointment.

I suppose, when it comes down to it, what Voris evokes in me is a sense of discomfort – not because he is not orthodox, well-intentioned or wrong, but because he is holding up a mirror to me and many others in the Church today. And perhaps we don’t like what we see in the mirror.

While Michael would I’m sure eschew the comparison, I see in him something of a modern-day John the Baptist – outspoken, uncompromising and not mincing his words. Why are we here? Why is everyone else here? What is the Church for? What is our response? Do we really believe? And if we do, what then…?

Basically I think Michael’s agenda can be summed in two things. One, the old Catechism question and answer: Q. “Why did God create me?” A. “To know love and serve Him in this life and be happy with Him in Heaven for all eternity.” And two: Our Lord’s description of the second commandment: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

That’s really all of Michael’s message. We’re here to get to Heaven and to help everyone else as much as we can to get to Heaven also. Therein lies the reason for my discomfort. Am I doing enough to get myself to Heaven and am I doing enough to help others get there also? Well, AM I…???

There’s the rub…

Pablo the Mexican said...

Mr. GOR,

Michael Voris is 'Dancing with two left feet'.

Here is Satan's Protestant version of Mr. Voris:

Christ sent forth His Priesthood.

After listening to Mr. Voris and Mr. Olsteen, you only come away 'feeling good'.

Roman Catholic Priests are the only ones that can bring God down from Heaven.

Roman Catholic Priests are the only ones that can prepare your soul from birth to death for Heaven.

Why listen to anyone else?

Your statement and question: Am I doing enough to get myself to Heaven and am I doing enough to help others get there also? Well, AM I…???...

The term Sanctifying Grace used to be Habitual Grace.


You get things to be second nature by making them habits.

Hang around a Padre like Padre Blake, and you will acquire Habitual Grace.

Spend your ducats on shows like Michael Voris and you will get habitual confusion and disorientation.

Ave Maria purissima!


Christine said...

Carlos: Shea is really not the most accurate source to quote with regard to Voris. What's a shame is that they are both fellow brothers in Christ fighting for the same things, but Shea spends a lot of wasted time and effort tearing down his brother.

"After listening to Mr. Voris and Mr. Olsteen, you only come away 'feeling good'."

Are we talking about the same man? I certainly did not come away "feeling good." Rather, I left humbled and convicted, scrutinizing my life to see whether or not I was truly expending all for souls, as the saints did.

I think if people heard Voris's explanation of his own conversion, they would understand why he is so on fire: to experience the death of your brother, and in the same year the loss of your devout and loving mother--who had offered herself up for Voris's conversion--was a profound turning point for him. When all that one holds dear is suddenly taken away, and you are faced with the reality of death, and judgment--you must make a choice.

I thought it was a powerful, humorous, insightful presentation, given by one who seems filled with apostolic zeal. All the rumors circulating about him are simply inaccurate when you acquaint yourself with the man.

Pablo the Mexican said...


Here is something you might want to add to your library:

The undermining of the Catholic Church: Mary Ball Martinez

I have seen the treachery first hand in Mexico City.


RR said...

"Saint Michael Come To Our Defense "

You said:

"Roman Catholic Priests are the only ones that can prepare your soul from birth to death for Heaven."

"Why listen to anyone else?"

In short, you put out a proposition that laymen shouldn't take on teaching/catechizing roles.

What I find ironic is that you actually have to ignore what our Church teaches to propose this little error.

I assume then you studiously ignore saints like St. Francis of Assisi (who was not a priest, only a deacon), and I will assume that you ignore the female doctors of the Church, or for that matter any other non-priestly saint and their writings, etc.

You seem traditionalist oriented, so presumably we can assume, based upon your stated ideas, that you would likewise write off apparently inappropriate pursuits of people like Michael Davies, Martin Mosebach, Dietrich and Alice von Hildebrand, etc.

At any rate to get serious again: Nowhere does the Church teach that those who aren't priests cannot be (or should not be) teachers/catechists of the Faith.

Quite the opposite in fact.

Pablo the Mexican said...



Stick close to your Priest and don't do weird stuff.

I know of the female Doctors of the Church, so on and so forth.

One remedy for our ills is holding fast to the Tradition of Holy Mother Church.


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