Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

“Amazing Grace” is anti-Catholic

May 18th, 2010, Promulgated by Choir


26 Responses to ““Amazing Grace” is anti-Catholic”

  1. Ben Anderson says:

    I disagree with Voorhis' assertion that this song is heretical. I've heard the charge before, but I don't think it's valid. When I get time, I'll post a follow up blog entry at F&F; to expand on my reasons.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Oh, yes, Mr. Vorbis! Great job! Please keep painting all Protestants with the same broad and twisted brush. They?re all a bunch of immoral, individualistic morons who couldn?t reason their way out of a paper bag. Debased pro-aborts and cohabitators all; especially those evangelical and fundamentalist types, who I hear often offer child sacrifices to Moloch.

    And you might think that all those dead-to-Christ pagans sitting in the pew next to us are ill-formed Catholics who were failed by our own crappy system. But no! Thanks to you, Mr. Vorbis, I know that they?re actually crypto-Protestants who have infiltrated the Church by being baptized as infants. Martin Luther and his band of merry heretics strike again!

    And thank you, Mr. Vorbis, for pointing out that there is no where in Catholic theology a sense of a man?s wretchedness before God! Remember what St. Peter said: ?Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful ? but still pretty awesome ? man!? Or St. Paul, who said that he was ?the foremost of all sinners, but all and all, a really good guy.? Or Jesus, who told that parable: ?I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Hahaha. Just joking. Say, have any fatted calf?? Then again, I always suspected Jesus and St. Paul were crypt-Protestants anyway. They were pretty hip about that whole faith thing, too.

    What an arrogant, triumphalistic little twit. But I?m sure that kind of thing wins a ton of converts.


  3. Gen says:

    Someone sounds angry . . .

    Ben – feel free to post a link when you're done. I'm sort of torn myself – I don't care for AG personally, but I think the man's reaching a little bit.

  4. I think Voris reaches as well, but the solution to caricature is not more caricature. Voris is making a distinction between corruption and concupiscence and the concept of wretchedness, so quoting bible of passages of people aware of their sinfullness does not damage his point. He might have done better to cite Calvin's teaching of total depravity, but he is claiming that implicit in "wretch" is the concept that our sinfulness is Who We Really Are as opposed to sin destroying who we really are, (See Mark Shea's article on this.) Where Voorhis is weak is that he didn't support the contention that "wretch" implies what he says it implies. To be fair, it's not something that can be covered in a short video like this. But it is certainly not the outrageous assumption that some are making it out to be.

    As far as AG, I can't hear it without thinking of Mystery Science Theater when they sung different words to the song when it appeared in a B-movie:

    "This song is in public domaaainn
    So we don't pay any royalties ha haaaa!" 🙂

  5. Anonymous says:

    My objection isn't to Voris's interpretation to the song, but to his rampant Protestant-bashing and assertion that those who don't object to Amazing Grace couldn't detect a subtle theological misstatement to "save their souls."

    I would also argue that man after the fall is wretched and depraved; it took one generation to go from inexplicable sin to inexplicable muder. But Calvin's doctrine of total depravity does cross the line, as God's image hasn't been complete effaced from his creation. Shea's article does a pretty good job of explaining this as well.


  6. Dr. K says:

    Before we rush to defend Protestantism and attack criticism of it, I wish to share with you some rather nasty comments that Protestants (mostly former pupils and friends of Scott Caton) are saying about Dr. Caton's conversion to Catholicism, and upcoming ordination. These are all real comments. Names and identifiable information are removed:

    1. "The loss the Ireland family experienced is great, and it has effected me deeply. Adding to my sorrow is the news that Scott Caton, former NSBI director, Northstar Christian Academy teacher, and, most importantly, friend and mentor, has become a Catholic Priest. God is all-powerful, but Satan is not a foe without fangs. In my eyes, two have fallen today in this war of wars."

    2. "Carissa was lovingly taken by her loving Father. Scott was deceitfully taken by Satan. The loss of a sweet girl leaves an ache as does the loss of a Christian man. The loss of Carissa will lead others to God while the loss of Scott will lead others away from Him. It is a sad day."

    3. "Scott's life bears the marks of total deception."

    4. "As far as Scott goes, I am truly disappointed but it goes to show that we cannot keep our eyes on a man…Satan is truly having a field day!"

    5. "I'm forelorn at the lures of satan and your friends turn to Catholicism. End times, brother. Let it come."

    6. "This story gives the Catholic church a chance to gloat, and get a priest, and get some free press."

    7. " Can't say I'm completely surprised at the news about Scott. Scott always was a bit odd. But, I would be quite surprised to find that Bonnie had converted. And you're right about the gloating and free press thing.
    If he is truly saved, I wouldn't want to be in his shoes someday when we stand before our heavenly Father and have to give account. "

    8. "I am also saddened that my former teacher and someone who made a huge difference in my life has converted. "

    We are in a war for souls. This should be painfully evident. If the other side is going all-out to fight for the hearts and minds of men, what good does it do us to sit here quietly and genuflect before the altar of ecumenism? I'm getting pretty sick of Catholics constantly feeling the pressure to be P.C. with other faiths, while other faiths do not play by the same rules. We are the one true faith, and we should be damn proud to proclaim it from the rooftops. Hosanna in the highest!

    ~Dr. K

  7. Ben Anderson says:

    I wouldn't make too much out of those comments. In fact it shows room for teaching and possible conversion. Those comments are obviously made in ignorance. These people are misinformed about what Catholicism is (I know because I was). It is possible to bring them into the Church. What they hate is not the Catholic Church, but what they THINK is the Catholic Church.

    Many of our most prominent protestant-turned-Catholic scholars and apologists believed similar things as these protestants (that Catholics are lost souls). We must play by different standards. Jesus has called us to be perfect; charitable at all times. We win souls with loving arguments. Our arguments aren't made any weaker by using kindness and humility – in fact they are made stronger.

  8. Dr. K says:

    Good point. Dr. Caton has said that he would like to bridge the gap between Protestants and Catholics. It will probably be a very difficult task, but I am willing to see what he is able to accomplish.

    ~Dr. K

  9. Ludwig says:

    I'd have to agree that Voris is reaching.

    He interprets "grace appeared" to mean "grace arrived." I always understood the lyric to mean "the way grace looks."

    As to his first charge about being a "wretch," I'm probably just too new to the faith to understand what his complaint is. Uninformed as I am, it feels weak.

  10. Gen says:

    People tend to forget that Protestantism is a heresy. It deserves no special treatment. Like a flu, it must be dealt with for the health of the body. This must be done "with clarity and charity," and for the most part it is. One mustn't get bent out of shape when protestantism is shown to be what it is.

  11. Ludwig says:

    Gen –

    What many Catholics fail to realize is that most protestants don't even know that they are a heretical version of the true church. I know I didn't.

    I've always thought that "protestant" was an unfortunate name to have hung around for hundreds of years. There isn't much actual "protesting" of the Catholic church happening in protestant churches.

    I think sometimes Catholics have this idea that a protestant sermon is simply a list of things that protestants hate about the Catholic church. "And let me tell you another thing about those crazy Catholics…" In fact, in 20+ years of being protestant, the topic of Catholicism almost never came up.

    The concept of protestantism may be heresy. But the protestants themselves are more often than not simply misinformed … or entirely UN-informed.

    Let's approach them as such, rather than assuming that they must be vehemently "anti-Catholic."

  12. Anonymous says:

    Believe me, my rant had nothing to do with being politically correct. It was a reaction to continuing contempt and casual dismissal of an entire group of Christians, some of whom show a greater love for Christ than the vast majority of Catholic pew sitters.

    Most Protestants either children of the divorce or were so badly formed within the faith that they converted away from Catholicism. In the latter case, those who never had a relationship with Christ have found one within the Protestant sphere. And on a superficial level, our witness often falls right into the anti-Catholic arguments of some fundamentalists. When you walk into a Catholic store and see St. Joseph statues to bury in your backyard, or walk into Catholic bingo and see the plethora of good luck charms, is it that hard to imagine someone not caring to look deeper?

    In the former case, those whose families have been Protestant for generations, as Ben said, may be misinformed or uninformed. We?re not going win too many of those by treating them with contempt. Rather, we need be transparently holy as to invite the questions of the woman at the well, ?Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain; and you say that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.?

    I find I have more in common with some of my separated brethren than many of those who sit around me at Mass, and it?s not because the people next to me at Mass are Protestants in disguise.


  13. Anonymous says:

    TD: "When you walk into a Catholic store and see St. Joseph statues to bury in your backyard, or walk into Catholic bingo and see the plethora of good luck charms, is it that hard to imagine someone not caring to look deeper?"

    So the solution as you see it is to abandon Catholic traditions and become Protestant ourselves so as to make them feel welcome?

  14. Anonymous says:

    Our Mass has such a Protestant feel since the Council. How successful has this new Mass been in bringing in the Protestants? Not very. We have lost so many more than we bring in. We also have lost the sense of mystery and transcendence that made Catholicism stand out from among the other Christian faiths.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Anon 1:54 PM: "So the solution as you see it is to abandon Catholic traditions and become Protestant ourselves so as to make them feel welcome?"

    If by "Catholic traditions" you mean St. Joseph "the Real Estate Agent" statues and bingo with troll dolls, I absolutely think we should abandon them like the supersitious pagan things they are. If you're talking about Tradition, of course not. Were we to throw that away, we wouldn't be Catholic anymore. Quod ubique, quod semper, quod ab omnibus.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Anon: "So the solution as you see it is to abandon Catholic traditions and become Protestant ourselves so as to make them feel welcome?"

    If you're talking about "St. Joseph the Real Estate Agent" statues and bingo replete with troll dolls, yes, abandon them like the pagan superstitions they are.

    If you're talking about Tradition, of course not. If we don't stick with that which has been believed quod ubique, quod semper, quod ab omnibus, we won't be Catholic anymore.

  17. Anonymous says:

    I'm with TD. Let us put aside for a moment Voris' scandalous lack of charity and examine the tortured logic underlying his objections to "Amazing Grace."

    His objection to "How precious did that grace appear the hour I first believed" appears to stem from a poor grasp of English. John Newton is not saying that God's grace appeared out of thin air when he began to believe in Him. He's saying that it appeared, that is, "looked" gracious at that hour.

    And his objection to "a wretch like me" is embarrassing. In Judith 9:17 (Douay-Rheims), the protagonist prays, "O God of the heavens, creator of the waters, and Lord of the whole creation, hear me a poor wretch, making supplication to thee, and presuming of thy mercy." And St. Francis de Sales writes in the Tenth Meditation of his Introduction to the Devout Life to "behold Jesus Christ Crucified, calling these unhappy wretches to come to Him, and interceding for them with all the Love of His Precious Heart."

    Mr. Voris truly has neglected the teaching of the Church Fathers on this issue. St. Cyril of Alexandria, the Doctor Incarnationis teaches that "It is not necessary to avoid and exempt everything which the heretics say. For they confess many things which we also confess." And if you're more intolerant than he was, you've got problems.


  18. Anneg says:

    A CATHOLIC friend who hates AG sent this to me. I quite like the song. Sounds a lot like St Augustine to me. I wonder if Mr Voorhis has ever read ANY of the saints. Most that I have read spend a great deal of time lamenting their state as sinners completely dependent on God and His Grace, actual and sanctifying. Somebody said that if it is good and true, it's ours, meaning Catholic. I think it would be more efficacious for us to shoot holes in some of the Hagen and Haas stuff we sing that is way worse. We do need conversions of our hearts and our lives. If the Protestants get that right, good. That is one step closer to bringing them into the Church that Christ gives us and works through. Most of the time as a convert, I put up with what I find in the Church Militant. It is distorted and insipid or sentimental not traditional nor sacramental.

  19. Ben Anderson says:

    I agree w/ Jonathan and anon.

    I usually cringe a little when protestantism is mentioned on this site because I don't think CF really understands what they're dealing with.

    There are many protestants who are much more Catholic than the typical Catholic. They aren't in the fullness of the faith, but it is our mission to bring them into the fold. Calling them heretics works against that goal because it's just so far out of bounds.

    We have to deal with what's actually wrong about Protestantism (not what we think is wrong about it). We as Catholics know this feeling when someone asks us why we think we can "work our way into heaven." The answer is easy – we don't! So you can refute what you think is Catholicism, but that's not gonna make me a protestant (although it works on ignorant Catholics). It's the same thing w/ protestantism. We need to focus on what's actually wrong w/ it. And you really need to get the fundamental differences. Discussing surface things isn't going to convince anyone (although it can affirm us as Catholics).

    These are the things I try to focus on:

    The main foundations of protestantism are wrong and unbiblical:
    – sola scriptura
    – sola fide

    Catholicism is true because:
    – sacraments (especially eucharist)
    – Tradition (authority outside of the Bible)
    – Jesus left a Church (especially Pope)

    This is the kind of stuff our diocese should be sponsoring. Classes and lectures on how to evangelize (former-Catholics, JWs, mormons, protestants, atheists, etc). Perhaps some CF folks could put something together. That's how we'll really start a revolution in this diocese.

    all of the above are really intertwined and are attested to by scripture and the early church fathers.

  20. Ben Anderson says:

    and the promised follow-up post (although other commenters have pretty much already stated what I say here), so kudos to them:

  21. Christopher says:

    What I really want to know is how do you guys feel about O-mazing grace?;=related

  22. RochChaCha says:


    I am not sure I agree 100% with Michael Vooris on this either, but you sure have a way to lighten up the debate a bit. This was hysterical. While this rendition of Amazing Grace might not be anti-Catholic, it is definitely 'anti-knowing how to sing'

  23. Anonymous says:

    If a diehard Protestants believe Stan and Catholics are one and the same, it may do little good to discuss the point. Ideologues never can discuss. It is like beating one;s head against the wall.

  24. Anonymous says:

    I had trouble when Vorheis stated ALL heresies were originated from Jews and he quotes alleged statements from unknown fathers of the Church. I am a bit skeptical but a little proof will make the pudding.

    But I like most of the other things on that channer=l. He sometimes, however, ribs me the wrong way but maybe it's pushing buttons.

  25. Anonymous says:

    How does one dress like a Protestant?

  26. Anonymous says:

    I have one very small point of correction. At 2:41, you say that our natures have become corrupt. While I agree with what you are saying, it is inaccurate to say that human nature itself was corrupted. Rather, our faculties of intellect and will are corrupted. If human nature itself was corrupted, then Christ could not have taken on the same human nature as us and yet remained sinless.

    As to the "wretch" business, we must be careful not to read too much into the word. Yes, some Luther translations might use the same word to express his doctrine of total depravity, but it's really just a term of deprecation. Catholic theology and tradition has all sorts of words to describe the state of man without redemption and none of them connoted total depravity.

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