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Broadcaster Calls For Catholic Dictatorship

Originally posted at Talk to Action.

The conservative French philosopher, Joseph deMaistre declared that King Louis XVI of France deserved execution not for his excesses, but for having committed the unpardonable sin (in his eyes) of being too soft on those demanding reform. DeMaistre disdained the Enlightenment and democracy and advocated Catholic monarchies that deferred to the Vatican.

Such ideas did not die with the end of the French monarchy. Meet a young Catholic monarchist and veteran TV broadcaster, Michael Voris.

His official biography tells us that Voris received a degree in communications from Notre Dame in 1983, followed by “… a number of years working as a CBS affiliate anchor, producer and reporter, in various markets, winning multiple Emmys for his work in broadcast news. ” And then:

On May 8, 2006, Voris opened St. Michael’s Media, a new state-of-the-art digital television studio, dedicated to the archangel who Scripture promises will lead the victorious battle against Satan at the end of time (Rev 12:07). Located in Ferndale, MI, it is the production center of broadcast quality Catholic programs, designed to educate a generation of Catholics largely ignorant of Church teaching and to save souls from eternal damnation.

In the video (above) released on a subsidiary of the network he founded, RealCatholicTV.com, for August 18, 2010 Voris declares: “Hello everyone and welcome to the Vortex where lies and falsehoods are trapped and exposed. I’m Michael Voris. There is an inherent problem with democracy. Actually, it’s definitional; it’s this: Everyone gets to vote. That’s right. EVERYONE gets to vote. Consider for a moment…”

It quickly went downhill from there. Voris says that “ignorant” people vote for candidates who support abortion, gay rights and taxation for government services — as if excessive taxation was never the hallmark of despotic of absolute monarchs – as indeed it was.

Voris denounces democracy because people who are not “faithful Catholics” and therefore are “ignorant” and likely to be “societal parasites” get to vote. Of course, when he says Catholic, he means über-orthodox traditionalist Catholic only. (He does not explain how even this kind of voting would work under the “benevolent dictatorship” of a “Catholic monarch” he also calls for.)

The Diocese of Scranton — usually no beacon of Catholic progressivism — recently banned Voris from speaking at Catholic institutions in the diocese.

The Diocese of Scranton has determined that Mr. Voris will not be allowed to speak in a Diocesan or parish facility. After these engagements were scheduled, the Diocese became aware of concerns about this individual’s views regarding other religious groups. In videos posted on the Internet, Mr. Voris makes comments that certainly can be interpreted as being insensitive to people of other faiths. The Catholic Church teaches us to respect all people, regardless of their faith tradition.
Although the Diocese shares Mr. Voris’ support of efforts to protect human life, his extreme positions on other faiths are not appropriate and therefore the Diocese cannot host him.

What the Scranton Diocese might have seen was the video below wherein Voris slandered Rabbinical Judaism as breaking the Covenant of Abraham and then extended the denigration to apply to Protestants. Just take a look:

But just how far out of Catholic Right thought is Voris? Patrick Buchanan remarked of deMaistre that he was “a great conservative” There is little that separates the eighteenth century French reactionary from Voris, the modern media reactionary. And he is clearly part of a wider movement of conservative Catholics. The web site Renew America has links to Voris’s Saint Michael’s Media. He has also been a featured speaker for traditionalist Catholic organizations.

Religious crackpots have been around forever. And yet we should be concerned about Voris. Long-discredited far right ideas have been regaining currency — secession, the gold standard and state nullification of federal law, to name a few. And talented, educated young demagogues leading anti-democratic factions are exactly the kind of people the framers of the constitution were concerned about.

We also have to wonder whether Voris is simply articulating what others on the Right are thinking. Obviously there are differences between Voris and the likes of Michael Novak, Robert P. George and George Weigel. These neo-cons would, for example, not be as openly critical of Judaism or their fundamentalist Protestant allies as Voris. But perhaps they have laid the ground world for the next stage in a long term campaign to restore Catholic monarchism when the last lights of the Enlightenment currently under assault, go dark.

Of course, whether Voris finds an audience longing for a government based upon orthodox Catholic morality and authority, and sufficiently large to contribute to the destablization of constitutional democracy, remains to be seen.

Kathy Hughes contributed to this piece.


28 Responses

  1. Frank and Kathy, this is fascinating. I have to admit, I find Voris difficult to watch or even take seriously, because of that crazy shtick with the whirling finger he often does. But you have both convinced me he’s someone to take seriously, if only because he may represent a movement within contemporary Catholicism that could shape Catholic culture in significant (and very negative) ways.

    After reading your analysis, I’m thinking about something Austen Ivereigh posted recently at the America “In All Things” blog. It was, I believe, about a conference held not too long ago in England, talking about the future of the Catholic church there, and its connection to the secular state.

    I found Ivereigh’s analysis puzzling. As well as I could figure it out, he’s arguing that the Catholic church is now confronted across the Western world with forces of secularization that give it no option except to retreat into a counter-cultural, defensive shell. But he wants to argue simultaneously that this Christ-vs.-culture stance places the church at an advantage, as the mechanisms of the welfare state fall apart.

    The dismantling of the welfare state gives the church freedom to practice subsidiarity and build local communities–apart from fragmenting secular society–that are authentically Catholic. And so the “Benedict bounce” in England that Ivereigh has been touting ever since the papal visit there spurs Catholics on to form these countercultural communities and to collude in, if not actively assist, the dismantling of the welfare state.

    That’s the point I find extremely troubling. When I read Ivereigh’s essay, I became aware for the first time in a very clear way of the political implications of Benedict’s smaller, purer-church ecclesiology–and of why people situated to the political right seem to be so enamored of that ecclesiology. These Catholics are reading that ecclesiology as a tacit acceptance of the dismantling of the social safety networks for which labor groups, women, and people of faith struggled so hard in the 20th century, and are maintaining that the dismantling process is all to the good, since it frees the church to be truly countercultural.

    It also frees it to be completely captive to the dominant late-capitalist forces that are doing this dismantling. Since Ivereigh worked very closely with Opus Dei in managing the press coverage for Benedict’s visit to England, I wonder to what extent Opus Dei is also part of this noxious mix of apologetics for unfettered capitalism, attacks on democracy, collusion with attempts to dismantle social safety networks, and pretensions to return to purer and truer Catholicism.

  2. Bill-

    I had not thought of Voris’s comments in this context. I think you’ve hit on a very significant issue. Thank you for bringing this to light!

    • Thanks, Kathy.

  3. Mr. Lindsey,

    If the Catholic church is indeed the church that Jesus Christ founded, then how can it not be opposed to the part of culture that promotes selfishness?
    To say that one is unselfish because he/she gives money to charity, and then the same individual, incites hatred towards a group that he/she does not approve of, has shown how truly selfish that person is. People cannot be unselfish when they practice selfish actions. I hope we can agree on this. When a women goes to have a child aborted (for ANY reason) she does so for her OWN benefit, because it does nothing FOR the Life inside of her. People can argue whether it’s a fetus or a child but the fact remains that it is ALIVE. Now if a women commits this act and then continues to support such an act then how can she claim to be an unselfish person and truly have the benefit of others foremost on her mind?

    The Catholic church is not designed for the destruction of anything unselfish. If social safety networks are inplace as an unselfish entity then there is no need to fear their demise at the hand of the Catholic church.
    Say what you will about Mr. Voris’ persona but all he is doing is stating the facts in his videos. If you don’t believe in these facts, then you haven’t taken enough time to research them for yourself.
    People are sensitive when they are faced with the truth of their err. I know I am. It’s when that sensitivity gives way to pride that people become stubborn and simply refuse to hear any further explanations on the matter.

    • John, I’d gladly respond to your comments, if I thought I really understood them. To be honest, I’m not sure I do.

      As best as I can understand, your argument is that followers of Jesus have an obligation to combat selfishness in society at large. And that seems true to me. We are called to an ideal of love that is agapic, in the image of Jesus–love that pours itself out on behalf of others.

      With regard to social structures, the question is how to embody that love in institutions and structures that are and always will be imperfect. As I understand church teaching, we have an obligation to look at the structures of the society in which we live at any given point in history and ask to what extent these structures seem to promote or thwart self-giving love. And we have an obligation to struggle for those that promote agapic love and to struggle against those that thwart agapic love.

      Where I cannot easily follow your logic is that I seem to hear you attempting to argue that the dismantling of social safety nets designed to assist those at the bottom of society is an act of unselfishness and not of selfishness. I must admit, I can’t see that at all.

      My own thinking on these issues is influenced by St. Augustine in his classic book The City of God. Augustine taught that we need strong state structures and controls to curb the selfishness tendency of our fallen human nature and to protect the weak, as the strong seek to dominate the weak. It seems to me that dismantling the fragile and very incomplete networks for which people have struggled a long, hard time in the past several centuries would be an act that would promote the selfishness of those at the top of our social ladder, and would have extremely deleterious effects on those at the bottom of the ladder.

      • Jesus is love… He is also justice as is apparent in many scripture passages.

        I was not saying that the dismantling of social safety nets was an act of unselfishness. I meant that as long as an institution is NOT bluring the lines between love and moral justice then it will have nothing to fear from the Catholic church.

        I have yet to read “The City of God” but am hopeful that life will allow it soon enough. I have four little ones that tend to hold my attention most of the time. I am finding C.S. Lewis’ “Mere Christianity” to be quite enjoyable as it offers chapters that can be consumed in 10 minutes or so.

        • John, the challenge we face as Catholics in living our faith in the world is not looking for this or that institution for the church–who is imagined as having all truth on its side–to bless.

          The challenge is taking our values and ideals and trying to shape them into social institutions that embody those values and ideals as effectively as possible–even though those institutions will always be imperfect and require constant change.

          As Vatican II taught, the church and secular institutions together seek what people of faith call the reign of God. The church itself is not perfect, finished, or complete. It, too, moves towards the reign of God and seeks a truth that transcends all of us within history, prior to the eschaton.

          • When you say “the church” as in “the church itself is not perfect”, you must be referring to the church members, or the church leaders and surely not the churchs teachings.

          • No, of course I’m referring to the teachings of the church, as well–I’m referring to the teachings of the church as imperfect.

            The Latin roots of the word “perfect” have the connotation of “complete” and “finished.” Church teaching is always in the process of development. It can never be regarded as complete or finished, since the reign of God has not yet arrived.

            What the church teaches today and how it teaches today are different from what was the case in the first century, or in 1200, or in 1870. There is an ongoing process of development and change in church teaching because no teaching can ever be complete, in and of itself, finished for all time. And because cultural and historical shifts require new ways of talking about our core beliefs, and new linguistic terms to communicate those core beliefs.

    • Hmmm….

      If Voris is “stating the facts,” then why did the Diocese of Scranton tell him to get lost?

      • The Bishops office there in PA was asked by Marywood Universty to investigate Mr Voris. The Bishops office mind you, not the Bishop. The faculty then contacted Mr Voris’ home Diocese of Detroit to ask if they supported Mr. Voris.
        The Diocese of Detroit applauds Mr. Voris for his pro life views but apparently does not support the videos that were posted above on accout that they are insensitive. Perhaps they are insensitive but I do not recall Christ ever chastising John the Baptist for anything, let alone calling the pharisees “a brood of vipers”, was that comment not insensitive?

        John the Baptist didn’t worry about peoples feelings when speaking the truth, nor did Aplphonsus of Liguori, or Ignatias of Lyola, or many other early church fathers.

        This Idea that we must love a sinner unconditionally is true but has been skewed into tolerance and even embracing of the sinner. This doesn’t help the sinner realize consequence which is an essential part of moral justification.

  4. Mr. Lindsey, The Church has expanded the ten commandments to cover issues that have developed throughout time but they have not tried to change the commandments. Nor has the Church taken the stance that the ten commandments were minimized to the two “greatest commandments”.

    The Church has not changed any Dogmatic teaching that I am aware of. Perhaps you can enlighten me. We live in a time when you have numerous translations of the bible and it’s contents. We have numerous theologians with numerous differences, who preach their version of theology as the truth. As if the farther we get in time from the origianl teachers of the Catholic church (Christ and the twelve apostles) the closer we get to what Christ was ACTUALLY trying to convey to all of us.
    You say that a teaching can never be completed… What about the dogma that Christ is God the second person of the blessed trinity. Am I to understand that this teaching is open to reconstruction?
    The Catholic church may have come out with new ways of teaching the faith and has even changed some sacred traditions in the liturgy. It has changed cannon law 1251 but still holds to the dogma that penance must be practiced on every Friday. So yes SOME teachings have been expanded, but not changed. The teachings that were given to us by Christ through His Church are indeed perfect and complete.
    Again, if you could provide me with info on what teachings the Church has changed, I would be interested.

    • How strange, John. You’ve gone from claiming the teachings of the Catholic church are perfect to claiming they have not changed.

      You ask when and how any teaching has changed. In response, I can only cite St. John Henry Newman: To live is to change. To live long is to change much.

      The church has lived long.

      • I can’t comment on what St. John Henry Newman said. I would hope that his quote was not taken out of context.

        The Church indeed has lived along time and there came a point in time when Pope St. Pius X felt it necessary to address the issue of modernism (for those readers who do no know modernism embraces the idea that theology must change with the times.) that was rearing up at the time. On November 18th 1907 Pope St. Pius X released his Motu Proprio Praestantia Scripturae which states that the Idea of changing theology is dangerous and intolerable. Pope St. Pius X’s whole papacy was spent trying to undo the damage that Modernists had done to the church.
        So if one Saint is saying under no terms are we to be modernists or progressives and another saying that we must change as we grow, then we either have a conflict of views from two saints or we have a missunderstanding of what St. John Henry Newman was speaking about.
        I have no need of multiple examples on which the Church has changed it’s views concerning Dogmas of the faith… One will suffice.

        • I think it might be worthwhile for you to do some reading, John, since you doubt that Newman said what he said, or you imagine he said it in a context that changes the meaning of what he said.

          It’s baffling to me that anyone could imagine that church teaching has not changed from the New Testament period to the present. Even the most cursory glance at the New Testament documents and doctrinal statements today demonstrates the necessary process of change–which began within the New Testament church itself, when Peter insisted that the church follow kosher laws and Paul argued that in Christ, there is neither Greek nor Jew, slave nor free, male nor female.

          And why on earth would there have been need for the various christological councils of the early church if all doctrine, all dogma, was somehow handed down instantly and magically when the church began? You seem, if I may say so, to have a rather limited knowledge of church history and the process by which doctrine has developed.

          • Well I won’t argue the fact that my knowledge of Church history is lacking. I do however know the difference between a dogma and a doctrine. The Dogmas of the church were given to the church by Christ. The Dogmas of the church have not changed i.e. The true presence of Christ in the Eucharist. Doctrines are teachings that must be accepted by the faithful in order to achieve salvation. Doctrines are revealed in scripture and sacred tradition. Some doctrines have changed (the age of reason etc.) but no DOGMAS have changed.

          • Re-read your Gospel, please. There is no record in any of them of any dogmas given to the Church by Christ. Church dogmas are the interpretations of the Gospels that have been presented by those in control of the Church, usually to preserve their power – not provided directly by Christ himself.

  5. Mr Lindsey, there is no doubt that I need to further my education because that is something we as catholics must always do until the end.
    I would like to point out that there are a number of institutes out there bearing the Catholic name, which actually promulgates blasphemy. These institutions have come to include Universities, seminary’s, social networks and even the mind’s of those within the church.
    We must be careful where we get our information from. Just because it’s called Catholic does not mean it actually is. I therefore recommend Sources of Catholic Dogma by Denzinger is a great work which traces the development of doctrine and Dogma in the Catholic Church from its earliest times. Or you may go to http://www.catecheticsonline.com/SourcesofDogma.php

    • I sense from your comments that anything that might differ from the most fundamentalist view of Catholicism qualifies as “blasphemy” in you book.

      • What else would you call an idea that only embraces a part of church law.
        Once you start believing that there is room for change in Catholic Dogma you start down the same path as Martin Luther and John Calvin.
        Mr. Lindsey previously quoted scripture to uphold his point of view, that would be fine except that the leaders of the reformation did the same.
        I’m sure everyone knows that as “man” we are of a fallen nature. That nature tends to use scripture to support our pre-conceived ideas and ambitions. You only have to look around at all the different christian denominations with all their opposed ideas between themselves to see the truth in this. This is excactly why Christ gave us the Magisterium of the Church.

        When you start changing the faith you destroy the faithful. This is most evident inside the Jesuit Seminaries whose numbers have declined dramatically since 1965. Perhaps it was coincidence that this started happening when the changes to the liturgy started to be promoted over the long standing traditional Latin rite.

        • Then by your standards Aquinas “destroyed the faith” when he injected reason into Catholicism. I guess you believed that the Archbishop of Paris was correct in excommunicating him shortly after his death.


          • Oh, and by the way; if “Jesuits were allowed to marry I think we would have many more of them today. I fail to see the connection between no Latin Mass and a declining numbers of priests.

          • Not at all Mr. Cocozzelli, Aquinas defined the faith in a deeper level of understanding. He never taught anything that went against Catholic doctrine.

          • When a man takes for him a wife, his passion for our Lord is divided. When a man commits himself to God under the vow of chastity he has done two things.
            First, he has openly expressed the greatest love for Christ. Secondly, he has enraged the king of lies and corruption, who will never tire of tormenting this man. Now this man can CHOOSE to either give in to the temptation or not.
            St. Benedict once threw himself into a thorn bush in order to divert his mind from one lustful thought. How many of us have that kind of spiritual resolve?

          • As for the excommunication, what the Archbishop did, he did on his own, it was not sanctioned by the pope or the holy see.

        • The fact that church teaching can change is amply demonstrated by the number of instances where it has changed – too numerous to mention in detail. One notable example that is often overlooked, is “Humanae Vitae”, which is usually thought of as entrenching church teaching against artificial contraception: but it included an important change, in making explicit provision for natural contraception. This is typical of the way in which teaching changes – by small, gradual adjustments, so that there is no great fanfare at a specific point. The fact that change is often gradual though, does not change the fact that it exists.

          The only thing that is constant in church teaching, is the permanent, steady process of change.

          • Mr. Weldon, I’m not sure your example of natural contraception being a change can be used in this debate. It is an ADDITION to doctrine not a change. The reason being is that natural contraception still upholds the churchs teaching on the marital act being open to new life.
            Natural family planning, as it is often reffered to, is only to be used to space out children without taking the control of creation away from the Creator.

  6. Mr. Cocozzelli, I have exhausted my immediate resources and cannot find anything on the excommunication of St. Thomas Aquinas. Could you provide me with your source?

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