Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church


Week 02 in Catholic Media, 2014

January 12th, 2014, Promulgated by Diane Harris

One of the key indicators of emerging trends, often with wide impact, is the decision by the Supreme Court of the U.S. (SCOTUS) to take or not take a case.  Almost unnoticed this past week is its decision to take on a free speech case from Ohio.  It could end up, after court debate, as a very narrowly worded decision eventually, but it has the potential to have wide impact on future exercise of our first amendment rights, both of free speech and of religion.  LifesiteNews reported on 1-10-14:




“[SCOTUS] announced it will consider the Susan B. Anthony List (SBA List) petition involving a First Amendment challenge to Ohio’s “false statement” law, which criminalizes “false” political speech and empowers a state agency to determine what constitutes true and false political speech.  Since 2010, now former Congressman Steve Driehaus, D-OH, has sought to use the statute against the SBA List.

The group attempted to erect billboards in his district during the 2010 election cycle to educate constituents about his vote in support of taxpayer-funded  abortion by voting for the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as ObamaCare.  But the group was prevented from doing so because of the Ohio law.  The SBA List was also threatened with prosecution if it engaged in similar speech about Driehaus or other candidates.   The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals held that the SBA List could not challenge the Ohio law under the First Amendment.”

One very interesting aspect of this case is that the ruling has the potential to be used against all criticism of incumbent politicians.  In New York. public figures are much less protected against criticism, for the moment.  If the Ohio ruling is upheld, do not be surprised when state legislatures all over the country enact laws to protect themselves from criticism, thus perpetuating the incumbent through silence.  If the Ohio ruling is set aside, it will be a breath of fresh air for the civil right to criticize elected officials, and others who ride the coat-tails of lies.  The real issue in this case isn’t whether or not the ACA had mandated government-funded abortion or only provided a path to do so.  The real emergent issue will be if the complaint of the SBA List prevails, which stated:  “In this case, application of the Sixth Circuit’s restrictive rulings has assured perpetuation of a blatantly unlawful regime under which bureaucrats are the supreme fact-checkers for every political campaign – a regime that has, predictably, been routinely abused and will continue to be, absent this Court’s intervention.”

Even the ACLU of Ohio, in an amicus brief filed in the case, came to the group’s defense, declaring, “The people have an absolute right to criticize their public officials, the government should not be the arbiter of true or false speech and, in any event, the best answer for bad speech is more speech.”




Obamacare / HHS obligations for coverage went into effect January 1st.  The Cardinal Newman Society has been following carefully what has been happening at Catholic Colleges.  While Notre Dame was prominent in losing its case, nevertheless a number of Catholic academic institutions (and other Christian universities) have been successful in gaining a delay from compliance; i.e. “a stay.”  While it isn’t easy to find out all the arguments each party made, there does seem to be a “geographic” success factor which may  indicate a regional decision to oppose, a commonality of dates for health insurance renewal, and/or  the attitudes of various courts.  (But note one success in Indiana, and it wasn’t Notre Dame!)  Here is the most current list, as The Cardinal Newman Society reports it, on those who have prevailed, pending the Supreme Court’s review:

Justice Sotomayor issued a preliminary injunction, preventing the Obama administration from penalizing the Catholic clients of the Christian Brothers Benefits Trust (including The Cardinal Newman Society).  This means—while the Trust’s lawsuit proceeds—that these Catholic groups can’t be fined $100 per employee per day or forced to facilitate insurance for abortifacients, sterilization and contraception.

Other Catholic schools and colleges have been granted preliminary injunctions, including:

Even better, federal courts have ruled in favor of the following schools and colleges, exempting them from the HHS mandate:

“While all of this is good news, danger still looms for Catholic education,” writes the Newman group.  “The injunctions are temporary, pending final rulings….  Many, many other Catholic schools and colleges face penalties if they don’t comply when their health plans renew this year.”





Dropping a flag downfield:  Finally, the Vatican Press Officer is calling an ‘offsides’ against  media distortion of Pope Francis’ comments.  Fr. Federico Lombardi accused Italian and French media of twisting the  Pope’s comments on evangelizing children in difficult family situations into alleging an openness on His Holiness’s part toward same-sex unions.  A full transcript of the Pope’s remarks appeared in  the Italian Jesuit periodical La Civilta Cattolica.  This may well be a surprise and even a wake-up call to media acting as if the Pope should be grateful for their attention, even fawning attention, at the expense of Truth.  Oh, my!

Update on Prior Story

The baker from Colorado who is threatened with jail for refusing to bake a cake for a “gay wedding”  is now appealing that decision, aided by Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF). …  “It is undisputed that Jack has served homosexual customers in the past, creating all manner of baked goods for a variety of occasions,” the brief explained, adding that Phillips had specifically told the couple that he would bake other products for them.  While Phillips is happy to serve homosexual customers, his faith prohibits him from affirming  “gay marriage” ceremonies through his actions, the brief said.  In making this decision, he is exercising his right to live out his religious beliefs, the law group stated. Furthermore, by choosing not to bake a cake, he is refraining from participating in and promoting speech and beliefs that he does not hold, a practice that ADF says is “both statutory and constitutional” under Colorado law. (National Catholic Register  1-12-14).

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38 Responses to “Week 02 in Catholic Media, 2014”

  1. avatar Hopefull says:

    “Duck Dynasty and the Bishops” now playing at

    Michael is bold; but perhaps this is one of his boldest yet. IMO it needed to be said.

  2. avatar Richard Thomas says:

    I just learned from a Dallas blog that the US is broadcasting pornography on Iraq TV and that Israel is doing the same to Arabs in the occupied territiries. The purpose is to destabalize the family with the hope that teenagers will not want to join terrist groups.

    Where are the bishops on this one?

    I am so sick. I pick up and local Catholic newspaper or national papers like Our Sunday Visitor or National Catholic Register and read an endless stream of the bishops making statements on immigration, minimum wage, health care, and voting rights.

    When are these men going to do what they are supposed to do on these sexual issues. Perhaps the influence of the homosexual crowd goes deeper that we can ever immagine. Right now, we are on our own. Don’t expect any help from these people.

    This is why I do not contribute to any diocesan programs. I will give to individual organizations worthy of the name Catholic.

  3. avatar Eliza10 says:

    Michael Voris did an excellent job once again. Thanks for the link, Hopefull.
    Thanks for the news, Diane!

  4. avatar annonymouse says:

    Richard Thomas – I agree with you. I listened to a 12-minute homily last week on immigration (somehow the Three Kings’ travel to see the infant Jesus led the homilist to think of our – in his words – unjust immigration laws and the need to overturn them), while I have never, not once, heard a 12-minute homily on the evil of legal abortion and the need to overturn those unjust laws.

    It’s high time we preach the whole package, not that which suits our preconceived political agendas.

  5. avatar Dominick Anthony Zarcone says:

    Hopeful, Eliza10, beware!

    We have reason not to be sufficiently convinced that Churchmilitant,TV accepts all of Church teaching.

    After hearing comments denigrating aspects of Second Vatican Council documents on the Vortex and Mic’d Up, I have emailed specific questions to Rather than satisfactorily addressing my concerns about their orthodoxy, I was accused of quoting Vatican II documents out of context and accused of not interpreting my quoted excerpts in light of all of Sacred Tradition. Honestly, my correspondence with them left me thinking they were unwilling to be forthright regarding their distaste for parts of Vatican II teaching.

    As an example of my concerns, Hopeful, Eliza10, note Michael’s attack on the priest (Fr. Murray) whose work influenced the Church’s developed understanding of religious freedom as articulated in Dignitatis humane! See again the Vortex “Duck Dynasty and the Bishops” especially at 2 minutes and 32 seconds into the Vortex until about 2 minutes and 50 seconds. Does reject religious liberty? Are Father John Courtney Murray’s theological insights in harmony with official Church teaching or not?

    Frankly, I have understood Churchmilitant’s email replies to me as samples of offended defenses of whatever it was Michael said. Is it the Catholic Church and Catholic Faith or the Church and Catholic Faith as preferred by Michael Vorris which is espoused by Churchmilitant,TV?

    Yes, I view the Vortex. But no, I will not renew my premium account subscription because I am not sufficiently convinced of Michael Vorris’ orthodoxy.


  6. avatar Hopefull says:

    Thank you, Dominick.
    I do understand that many people have widely differing views of Michael Voris and Church Militant. You have had a bad experience; I have had a good one, engaging and recommending with him and his staff. It is often hard to set aside personality issues and to focus on “Truth or not?” His one “throwaway” sentence in passing has reams of interpretation on both sides. Some would say that JCM’s focus on freedom was timely, even prescient of the direction in which the US was going, and that he made recommendations which should have been attended to with a better ear. Others would say that he set up a liberal model which has underlain inaction on the Church’s part for decades, letting open the gates of pluralism which today buttress an atheist culture. Perhaps we are too close in time to adequately understand the dynamic, but some have tried, and one is a person whom you have read extensively, George Weigel. His take is quite readable though, I think, incomplete.

    Weigel sets JCM’s work in a time which saw a Catholic being elected President, and a hope/belief that natural law would be evident to all people, who would naturally follow the good. It doesn’t seem to have anticipated that the core of Catholics in public life would aid the hijacking of the good, creating a public square in which the acid test of liberalism would be having washed off all influence of religion, and accommodating a God-less voice. Nor perhaps did he adequately anticipate that the good will implicit in sincere public discourse could so easily be short-circuited by government ‘licensing of sin.’

    Weigel writes: “Murray’s suggestion — a striking one at its historical moment, given the anti-Catholic prejudice manifest during the 1960 presidential campaign — was that the originating and constituting consensus of America was still possessed by, and might be revived by, the Catholic community in the United States. That revitalization was not to happen, as American Catholicism lurched into the fever swamps of the 1960s and 1970s. The opportunity Murray saw in the late 1950s and early 1960s was a victim of the post–Vatican II silly season; although if we listen carefully, we can hear echoes today, and sometimes more than echoes, of the consensus ideas of the American Proposition in the pro-life advocacy of Catholics and their allies among the more thoughtful leadership of evangelical Protestants.”
    Weigel’s link can be found at

    There is certainly a faction today which sees JCM’s works as ‘spot-on’ (including influence on some Church documents), others who see it as worthy but hijacked, and still others who see it a naive and even erroneous, theoretically bending to those with an evil agenda. In common parlance regarding his work on freedom, one hijacking might be seen in the too-often heard chant from the fallen-away Catholic (in the pews or not): “But my conscience says contraception is okay, so I have to follow my conscience” without regard to what proper formation means. But it is seen as a “personal freedom.”

    One other source, a more difficult reading to absorb (about 20,000 words, which I have NOT read) is David L. Schindler’s “RELIGIOUS FREEDOM, TRUTH, AND AMERICAN LIBERALISM: ANOTHER LOOK AT JOHN COURTNEY MURRAY found at

    We are enmeshed in great issues of Religious Freedom today and are probably too close in time to judge JCM’s work adequately. Nothing which he wrote could have anticipated the moral high ground of Catholicism being virtually wiped out of significant influence by the priest sexual abuse scandal. (On the other hand, one should also recognize that the muted voice from the pulpit has given rise to lay voices– Church Militant? Cleansing Fire?) Will they have been energized by JCM’s work, at least implicitly? And is this God’s plan for the 3rd millennium?

    While too close in time and result to properly judge JCM’s works, so too perhaps we are too close in time to judge the lay voices arising, such as Michael Voris? So, let’s pray for him, that he always answers God’s call, that he will be a voice of Truth, and that he will use well the gift of Courage which the Holy Spirit alone can give. Amen?

  7. avatar Dominick Anthony Zarcone says:

    Great reply, Hopeful; well researched, thoughtful and articulate. I appreciate the links and your reflective analysis.

    1) Yes, we should be praying for Michael Vorris; he is our brother. Michael is very well read, extremely articulate whose anger, however, might turn into the kind of bitter resentment and cynicism which can harm one’s soul and make for a poor witness to the joy of the Gospel. By the way, under whose episcopal over sight does Mr. Vorris raise his lay voice? To whom is he accountable? I can’t get over the perception our brother proclaims Vorris Catholicism rather than Roman Catholicism.

    2). The hope/belief that natural law would be evident to all has been undermined by ‘liberal/progressive” perspectives on natural law. Rather than perceiving and accepting creation/creatures in terms of nature and created function, a new kind of reason has been promoted that views relationship categories as determining what is ‘natural’. It has been over 20 years since I began and finished studying at SBI so my memory is questionable but I think this new perspective on natural law helped inform the new moral theology.

    Again, thanks for this conversation, Hopeful; it has helped me be at peace about any possible adverse affects Vorris might have upon CF readers.

  8. avatar Hopefull says:

    Just to try to answer you question, Dominick, Church Militant is not an apostolate. It doesn’t need approval for its works, anymore than you or I do to publish a book, open a soup kitchen, give a speech on a street corner, or write a blog, unless we use the word “Catholic” to imply we are magisterial. We may seek an imprimatur on what we write, but are not required to do so. Michael Voris is personally under the Bishop of Detroit and his own pastor, and of course under his own conscience and call from God. He is also under civil law regarding libel, slander, defamation.

    Canon Law 212, about the lay faithful, however, does give wide recognition of lay rights, especially in part 3: “According to the knowledge, competence and prestige which they possess, they have the right and even at times the duty to manifest to the sacred pastors their opinion on matters which pertain to the good of the Church and to make their opinion known to the rest of the Christian faithful, without prejudice to the integrity of faith and morals, with reverence toward their pastors, and attentive to common advantage and the dignity of persons.” (BTW sacred pastors do not include pastoral administrators.) This is all admittedly a difficult line to walk, needs prayer and care, and we will not all reach identical conclusions.

  9. avatar Richard Thomas says:

    Listen to today’s Vortex. Tuesday. Vorheis talks about an orthodox priest going to a diocesan christmas party and seeing many other priests showing up with their “boyfriends”. The orthodox priest got chewed out when he mentioned this to the authorities.

    The segment closes with the words: If your bishop and priests don’t care about their souls, they certainly don’t care about yours.

  10. avatar Gretchen says:

    Should Vatican II be interpreted in the light of Sacred Tradition? If not, why not?

    Perhaps the orthodoxy of Pope Benedict XVI should also be questioned, since he stated, “The truth is that this particular Council defined no dogma at all, and deliberately chose to remain on a modest level, as a merely pastoral council; and yet many treat it as though it had made itself into a sort of ‘superdogma,’ which takes away the importance of
    all the rest.” (1988 Address to Chilean Newbishops).

    Regarding religious liberty, it might be prudent to examine the concept not from the perspective of American citizens, but from that of Holy Mother Church. In his Syllabus of Errors, Bl. Pope Pius IX, condemns the heresy that, “15. Every man is free to embrace and profess that religion which, guided by the light of reason, he shall consider true. — Allocution “Maxima quidem,” June 9, 1862; Damnatio “Multiplices inter,” June 10, 1851.” (

  11. avatar Dominick Anthony Zarcone says:

    “Church Militant is not an apostolate. It doesn’t need approval for its works, anymore than you or I do to publish a book, open a soup kitchen, give a speech on a street corner, or write a blog…”

    Not an apostolate? Hopeful, isn’t everything we do to promote the mission and good works of the Church an apostolate by virtue of participating in the Church’s Apostolic Mission?

    A brief review of official teachings on apostolic mission and on the lay apostolate will substantiate Churchmilitant,tv to be an apostolate. See CCC #s 863 and 900. In Apostolicam actuositatem #2 we read “They exercise the apostolate in fact by their activity directed to the evangelization and sanctification of men and to the penetrating and perfecting of the temporal order through the spirit of the Gospel. In this way, their temporal activity openly bears witness to Christ and promotes the salvation of men. Since the laity, in accordance with their state of life, live in the midst of the world and its concerns, they are called by God to exercise their apostolate in the world like leaven, with the ardor of the spirit of Christ.” doesn’t need approval for its works anymore than you or I do, Hopeful. Yet I am not willing to serve the Gospel without oversight or at least ecclesial advisement. Am I a maverick accountable to no one; accountable to no ecclesial authority? I do not seek approval from my pastor or confessor for everything I say or write about The Lord Jesus, yet oversight and advisement are significant.

    Renewal Ministries under the presidency of Dr. Ralph Martin has Archbishop Robert J. Carlson as it Episcopal Advisor in the United States and Cardinal Collins and Bishop Lacey as Episcopal Advisors in Canada. Perhaps oversight and accountability sound like approval seeking, but at least episcopal advisement for would be appropriate. Any idea if has an episcopal advisor?

    If I am splitting hairs, forgive me. There have been a number of Vortex videos which built me up; now, however, less frequently. I question’s promotion of brother Michael Vorris’ preferences and distastes as the defining elements that constitute the definition of FAITHFUL CATHOLIC.

  12. avatar Hopefull says:

    First, Dominick, I apologize that my lack of precise language may have been needlessly disturbing. Please let me try again. Title V (Canons 298-329) of the Code of Canon Law clarifies the fundamental right (not privilege) of the faithful to “association”; i.e. the right to associate. These associations of the faithful can be a de facto association without juridic status, or it can be recognized as a private association or it can become erected into a public association. The relevant leadership (pastor, bishop) has the right to intervene when the association seeks to acquire an official status in a community. However, no individual or association is required to seek such official status. However, the use of the word “Catholic” would require the status of a public or private association, e.g. Whether or not an association has such private or public status does not put it beyond the obligation to take into account the good of the church, their own duties, and the rights of others.

    The norms expressed in Canons 298-311 deal mostly with public and private associations of the faithful, having a juridic status in the Church. These associations are different from the Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life. The local ordinary can intervene to preserve the integrity of faith and morals. A non-juridic lay association is not required to have a spiritual advisor.

    Now here is where some confusion comes in. Yes, we each have an apostolate by virtue of our baptism, and de facto non-juridic organizations may indeed be exercising, or having its members exercise an apostolate in that sense, but often the term “organization” or “association” has been used where juridic status as public or private is not sought. Where juridic status is sought, the term “Apostolate” is often used. That was the distinction I was trying to make in my earlier post, with regrettable confusion. In that sense, I was saying that Church Militant (and MANY other organizations) are not Apostolates. Hope this clarifies rather than making the distinction blurrier!

  13. avatar Dominick Anthony Zarcone says:

    Got it, Hopeful. It is clear for me after reading your references and explanations. Good job making me more familiar with the pertinent canons.

    This conversation has been beneficial. My only regret is I obviously have not moved you off your position of admiration for
    Brother Michael’s work…lol

    Peace and Joy

  14. avatar Richard Thomas says:

    mentioned there was a great homily on the evils of pornography and how our government and Israel were putting it on television to destroy the family, especially youth. Here it is.

  15. avatar Hopefull says:

    Hello Dominick,

    There is just one word in your reply which I feel I must answer. Unfortunately, to explain, it will take more than a few words. You express regret that you have not moved me off my position of “admiration” for Michael Voris’s work. I must challenge the word “admiration,” as my sense about this matter is much more, yet also much less, than admiration, both at the same time. Please let me explain.

    By virtue of our baptism, we are each “priest, prophet and king,” called to be so by Our Lord. (Perhaps we need to remind some readers that prophecy is not about predicting the future, although it might include this, but rather about proclaiming the Truth of God, His Word and His Law.) As CCC 783, 785 reads: “The whole people of God participates in these three offices of Christ and bears the responsibilities for mission and service that flow from them.” … “‘The holy People of God shares also in Christ’s prophetic office,’ above all in the supernatural sense of faith that belongs to the whole People, lay and clergy, when it ‘unfailingly adheres to this faith … and when it deepens its understanding and becomes Christ’s witness in the midst of this world.’” Not everyone exercises each part of the office to an identical degree, to be used in an identical manner. Even God’s gifts come through the lens of the personality and character of the prophet. And those who hear such prophecy, also filter it through our own personalities and characters.

    Vacant pulpits and vacuous homilies give proof of the dearth of prophets in today’s world. Quite frankly, most sane people (unless they are crazy for the Lord) would not willingly choose to be prophets. One doesn’t apply for the job. It is largely lonely, messy and dangerous. Even those who might praise the essence of prophets’ messages often quibble about ‘how’ they are said. Indeed, could not the words be gentler? Maybe the call of God transforms some people to be stronger; maybe God calls those who can endure being prophets? I don’t know. But why in the world, we might speculate, would the Son of God have, as His forerunner prophet, someone who calls the crowd “a brood of vipers?” Why would John the Baptist threaten that the axe is laid at the root of the tree? And why would he cross the king, of all people, by criticizing his choice of wife? He really lost his head on that one!

    I think Jeremiah says it best, in Jeremiah 20:7-11, about his reluctance to be a prophet:
    “O LORD, thou hast deceived me, and I was deceived; thou art stronger than I, and thou hast prevailed. I have become a laughingstock all the day; every one mocks me. For whenever I speak, I cry out, I shout, “Violence and destruction!” For the word of the LORD has become for me a reproach and derision all day long. If I say, “I will not mention him, or speak any more in His name,” there is in my heart as it were a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I am weary with holding it in, and I cannot. For I hear many whispering. Terror is on every side! “Denounce him! Let us denounce him!” say all my familiar friends, watching for my fall. “Perhaps he will be deceived, then we can overcome him, and take our revenge on him.” But the LORD is with me as a dread warrior; therefore my persecutors will stumble, they will not overcome me. They will be greatly shamed, for they will not succeed. Their eternal dishonor will never be forgotten.”

    The words “a burning fire shut up in my bones” is most telling and touching, about the impossibility of a prophet keeping silence. God either picks few people for this task of prophet, or many must say ‘no’ to Him. I don’t know. This begs the question, which I also can’t answer, of whether or not Michael Voris is exercising an office of prophet, to which we are each called through baptism. I do believe that a willingness to suffer criticism for the Lord is a sign of the work a prophet is given. And I do believe the only comfort a true prophet has is to rest in serving the Lord. And that is why it is so hard to judge who is exercising an office of prophecy and who is not. Who is letting the office use him, and who is using the office? We are faulty judges as well, especially when the style of delivery seems harsh or antithetical to our own styles. We can even see authentic prophetical behavior as a personal criticism.

    And effective prophets are targets of the evil one, as well. I personally liked Fr. Corapi, e.g. and was very disappointed, as were many others. It isn’t about the person of the prophet; it is about his message. We cannot know the motives of any individual, or why God calls whom He calls. Even failures may be used by God for the salvation of that soul.

    So I am not going to use the word “admiration” for Michael Voris. If he is just an unworthy servant doing what he believes he has been called to do, he does not need my admiration or that of the world. God will provide the reward. What I think I must not do is anything to make a possible prophet’s work more difficult. If Michael were to turn out to be exercising a work of prophecy, that is between him and God. It does not make him a saint; even the just man falls 7x a day. And none is good except God. We are to judge by the fruits, and we know there have been significant fruits from Michael’s work. Yet we must dispute even an angel who shows up with a different gospel.

    As Gamaliel said to the Sanhedrin members after Peter and other Apostles were removed from their assembly: “…I tell you, keep away from these men and let them alone; for if this plan or this undertaking is of men, it will fail; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You might even be found opposing God!” (Acts 5:38-39.)

    So the word “admiration” I would have to use it about anyone who hears a call from God and answers it faithfully, whoever and whatever that might be. But I am incapable of judging who and what works fit that description, so I will not attribute admiration to any person in particular, lest I be more taken by the person than by the glory he gives to God. Let us just praise God Who lets each of us, so unworthy, serve Him.

  16. avatar Dominick Anthony Zarcone says:

    Wow, what a lesson. Thank you. Hopeful, for taking the time to familiarize me and other readers with the office of prophet.

    I am reminded of Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians in which we read: “And he gave some as apostles, others as prophets, others as evangelists, others as pastors and teachers, to equip the holy ones for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of faith and knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the extent of the full stature of Christ, so that we may no longer be infants, tossed by waves and swept along by every wind of teaching arising from human trickery, from their cunning in the interests of deceit…”

    I understand reluctance to call into question Michael Vorris’ efforts to call the Church to faithfulness. Yet can he or any of us help “equip the holy ones for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ” if subtle rejection of particular official teachings influences our message?

    Admiration is a questionable word meriting a challenge of its use regarding one’s approval of a ministry or one’s holding in esteem a ministry? In my experience it is an appropriate word. “…to him (Benedict XVI) I express my continued admiration and esteem for the guidance he selflessly gave to the Church…” “But when she (the Church) is challenged, even suffering and humbled, strong is the faith and admirable the commitment of those who remain faithful to her, who see in her Christ…”

    Admiration and admirable are appropriate words in expressing appreciation, approval or esteem for one’s Catholic and Christian service for the equipping of the faithful for the work of ministry and for the building up of the Body of Christ.

    “I must not do anything to make a possible prophet’s work more difficult.” Am I making Vorris’ work more difficult by writing and asking questions based on what I heard said on their programs? I think not.

    Hopeful, if Michael Vorris’ Vortex is bearing good fruit, who am I to object? But once again, I perceived subtle rejection of Second Vatican Council documents or parts of documents. I made appropriate inquiries for more complete explanations and asked directly if those particular portions of Vatican II teachings were accepted or rejected. No satisfactory answers were given me leaving me questioning orthodoxy.

    For all these reasons I repeat: Beware!

  17. avatar snowshoes says:

    Thank you, Diane, for the excellent review of the important news. One request: I haven’t been able to find a reliable news source for the terrible atrocities occurring in the Central African Republic and other African nations involving Muslim attacks on Catholics and other Christians. The NPR 10 second spin would have you think it’s the Christians who are initiating the violence, when it isn’t. What can we do to help Catholics who are being martyred today?

    Hopefull, thank you for the excellent analysis of your appreciation for Mr. Voris. What makes his programs unique for this troglodyte, is how easy it is to access and listen to his messages. (I am not a premium subscriber) To me, he often tells it like it is. But sometimes it is maddening that his items of information, such as the diocesan Christmas party, while it is right to condemn if it’s actually true, leave one hanging as to what to do about such incidents when all the facts are not presented. Is a vague and blanket condemnation of the bishops enough, and is that just? Is that being prophetic? Yes, there are many solid Catholic writers, publications, and bloggers out there who do a good job, and of course our own Diane helps greatly, but Voris is just so easy to get and understand.

    Mr. Zarcone, and other respected readers, while I can only respect your wariness of him, are there other Catholics out there who are engaging the culture on a daily basis like Voris, who you have confidence in, and would share with us? God bless you.

  18. avatar Dominick Anthony Zarcone says:

    Hi snowshoes. Thanks for your respect.

    I do not know of anyone who engages culture everyday like Michael Vorris. There probably isn’t someone else doing Internet TV everyday. If there is someone else doing 5 to 10 minutes TV on Internet broadcasts like The Vortex where lies and falsehoods are trapped and exposed, I am unaware.

    In whom do I trust and have confidence? The Lord Jesus Christ. He is present in his Catholic Church which authoritatively teaches in His Name. I suggest familiarity with and increased knowledge of Sacred Tradition which includes Sacred Scripture and the Liturgy of the Word and of the Eucharist.

    When we Catholic believers read the newspaper and attend to all other media looking through the lenses of Sacred Tradition we will interpret well what is going on. Perhaps we need to avoid becoming addicted to the juiciest news about the most recent scandalous behavior in the Church. How does that obsession make any of us holy?

    Anyway,snowshoes, I suggest trusting those Catholics who proclaim Christ Crucified and Risen. Internationally Pope Francis is the best. Nationally my favorite is Renewal Ministries. Locally it is His Excellency Bishop Matano.

    If you just have to read news, go to Michael O’Brien’s

    Thanks for asking, snowshoes. God bless you in your endeavors to engage the culture with the truth that sets us free.

    I still check out the Vortex but do not rely upon it for spiritual nourishment. There is much more nutritious food available through Jesus Christ our Lord and the countless evangelizers, catechists and apologists serving His Church.

    Best regards always.

  19. avatar Scott W. says:

    We’ve had flaps about Michael Voris before here. I myself regard him like the little girl who had a little curl right in the middle of her forehead. That is, when MV is good he’s very very good, and when he’s bad he’s horrid. But my only real concern is that MV becomes a kind of thoughtless shorthand like characterizing someone a “Fox-News watcher”.

  20. avatar Gretchen says:

    “I perceived subtle rejection of Second Vatican Council documents or parts of documents. I made appropriate inquiries for more complete explanations and asked directly if those particular portions of Vatican II teachings were accepted or rejected. No satisfactory answers were given me leaving me questioning orthodoxy.

    For all these reasons I repeat: Beware!”

    Dominick, would you be willing to share those portions of V2 teachings that you feel Mr. Voris rejected? We are put in a difficult position since you accuse him but do not provide details with which we can determine the efficacy of the accusations.

  21. avatar Hopefull says:

    Hello again Dominick,
    Just want to say that I loved your quoting from Paul to the Ephesians. Still, I don’t know how to fully answer your question there regarding Michael Voris: “Yet can he or any of us help “equip the holy ones for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ” if subtle rejection of particular official teachings influences our message?” Isn’t that where we look for the fruit? You have seen subtleties which perhaps I’ve missed. But part of Voris’s message at least goes to discerning whom we can trust. I remember that it was only in being able to differentiate that I couldn’t trust all priests that I could begin to recognize those whom I could trust, for example, and welcome their guidance and faithfulness. We entrust our souls at our own peril to those in whom we have not discerned the true spirits behind their message.
    We will perhaps disagree on our individual uses of “admiration” and “admirable.” I am thinking of Isaiah 64:6: “All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.” The difference between the works of God and the works of man is like a huge chasm. Can both be admirable? Where is the risk of pride in accepting admiration?
    You repeated my words: “I must not do anything to make a possible prophet’s work more difficult” and asked: “Am I making Vorris’ work more difficult by writing and asking questions based on what I heard said on their programs? Dominick, I was merely speaking for myself, not for you or anyone else. I do share your frustration when we write to people and ask questions which are unanswered. But I am not sure we are always owed an answer individually. Christ didn’t give one when He was asked by what authority He did certain things.
    ChurchMilitantTV is not a blog either, with an expectation of an answer. I think Voris is more likely to fold an answer into a future script than answer mail individually but that is just my perception. I would imagine that he can either do a show a day, or answer mail. And he has to be careful that in writing to individuals he doesn’t leave open a varied interpretation, for many are ready to pounce on him, to bait him into an exchange, which may not be what he is called to do in the stewardship of his time. I really am not trying to make excuses for him, but I can understand the difficulty of dealing one-on-one.
    You are right that we must “Beware!” – so must he; after all, the evil one is ready to pounce to make each of us fall. But “beware” applies to a much larger universe that one website, blog or show. It starts with what we hear in the pulpit sometimes, in what we read and in what we see, and even from well-meaning friends. We have a perpetual need to be on guard, against the ever-present enemy. Thank you for reminding us of that.

  22. avatar Dominick Anthony Zarcone says:

    Gretchen had written “Dominick, would you be willing to share those portions of V2 teachings that you feel Mr. Voris rejected? We are put in a difficult position since you accuse him but do not provide details with which we can determine the efficacy of the accusations.”.

    I have been checking my motives for having exhorted CF readers to beware of Michael Voris. Being a sinner who acknowledges my weaknesses and tendency to get offended when criticized because of pride and a reluctance to identify with and embrace the humiliation and sufferings of Christ crucified, it is really important to check my motives.

    It has become apparent to me that often I enjoy The Vortex when that which is flesh in me is gratified. Something in me is pleased as the failings of others are exposed. But is that good for me spiritually? And why do I look forward to the next video hoping something really juicy is broadcast? Maybe other CF readers know this experience of the battle within between flesh and spirit aggravated by The Vortex.

    Yet, it was my becoming more aware of Michael Voris’ attitude toward Second Vatican Council Documents which triggered my doctrinal concerns. And for those reasons I wrote emails to on 6/25/13 and 10/20/13.

    Yesterday I received an email from a CMTV executive who asserted:

    1) “The fact is you are giving an entirely false impression to others and this can hardly be judged as charity.”
    2) “To give the impression in public that you have been in any kind of dialog with ANYONE at CMTV and that this dialog is somehow unsatisfactory is absurd. ”
    3) “We can’t be everyone’s email buddy.”
    4) “it’s a very poor reason to express your distrust of Michael Voris and his fidelity to Catholic teaching.”
    5) “Obviously Michael Voris’ message and method of delivery bother you.”
    6) combox troll

    My response was conciliatory yet still questions Michael Voris’ attitude toward and criticisms of Nostra Aetate, Dignitatis Humanae, Unitatis Redintegratio and Lumen Gentium.

    Pope Benedict exhorted the faithful to read the Council’s documents during the Year of Faith. Pope John Paul II authoritatively interpreted and implemented the Second Vatican Council and launched the New Evangelization. Pope Benedict continued the same and Pope Francis is modeling this Joy of the Gospel.

    I want no war with Michael Voris. In Christ we are Catholic brothers (and are both alumni of the University of Notre Dame). We both want the same. We want the Church to be Church faithful to her identity and mission. It seems our approach is different. He questions and finds fault with some portions of the Second Vatican Council Documents. I prefer to study them, learn them and implement them in adherence to the Papal leadership of John Paul II, Benedict XVI , Francis and Paul Vi who promulgated Evangelization in the Modern World.

    If interested go to this Mic’d Up episode in which Michael and his guest tell viewers what is ambiguous, dangerous and a sea change in Church teaching.

    If my use of the phrase ” subtle rejection” is too strong and less than accurate, I withdraw it. If questioning brother Michael’s orthodoxy is beyond my authority and competency, I will no longer publicly question his or anyone else’s. Yet, it seems appropriate to ask Michael Voris to embrace publicly all of the Second Vatican Council documents as authentically and authoritatively interpreted and implemented by our saintly popes.

  23. avatar Dominick Anthony Zarcone says:

    If interested readers are having difficulty accessing the May 2013 Mic’d Up broadcast featuring Michael Voris and Louie Verrecchio, please try

    In this particular discussion of the Second Vatican Council, listeners will hear :
    “When you look at the document on ecumenism you will find this statement that ‘ the Spirit of Christ doesn’t hesitate to use these other religions as vehicles of salvation’. That just is not true.” (About 38 minutes into the broadcast). The precise quote from Unitatis Redintegratio #3 is as follows: “Communities as such, though we believe them to be deficient in some respects, have been by no means deprived of significance and importance in the mystery of salvation. For the Spirit of Christ has not refrained from using them as means of salvation which derive their efficacy from the very fullness of grace and truth entrusted to the Church.”

    Does our brother Michael deny this portion of a Second Vatican Council Document?

    At about 22 to 23 minutes into the show Michael and his guest begin talking about Dignitatis Humanae and listeners here “They have set the stage and greased the skin for so many errors and false understandings in the Church today, what we call the Church of Nice, the American Patriotic Church.”

    Is Voris blaming a Second Vatican Council Document for creating the crisis he calls the church of nice?

  24. avatar Ben Anderson says:

    good discussion.

    Hopefull said:

    “But part of Voris’s message at least goes to discerning whom we can trust.”

    This is of value. This is really what got me started blogging. After leaving my local parish less than a year after becoming Catholic because I realized I couldn’t trust my spiritual welfare to the pastor that confirmed me, I began “church-shopping”. I quickly realized that most of the priests don’t show all their cards most of the time. The smart ones tend to disguise their subtle heterodox messages in language that isn’t over-the-top unorthodox. This is more effective. What was I to do – put the spiritual welfare of myself and my family in the care of a pastor who I wasn’t sure about and just assume that he fully embraces the Catholic faith until they blatantly come out otherwise? No, I realized this wasn’t a very prudent approach. I decided that I needed to know who I could trust would actually care for my soul according to the Catholic faith. This is why professions of faith are so important for priests, teachers, etc. And the ones who embrace the faith have no problem stating it. It’s the ones who don’t that are suspect of such professions. In the absence of that or direct questioning, it helps to know the lay of the progressive/orthodox land. You learn to pick up on the subtleties (the Internet has helped a great deal with this). It’s not so easy for them to disguise themselves once the observer is well educated and knows what clues to look for. Some may say this creates an atmosphere of suspicion and I’d agree you have to be careful with that – that can certainly be a sin and a trap of the devil. To that charge I would say, that I assume the best in my heart, but prudently know that I oughtn’t trust until I hear it from their mouths that they embrace the faith or they give me some other pretty sure clues. I do not judge the souls of those who I suspect to be unorthodox, I only judge what I should do in as much as it affects my own soul (and that of my family) – eg avoid that parish.

    Dominick said:

    It has become apparent to me that often I enjoy The Vortex when that which is flesh in me is gratified.

    And this is a very serious issue. I’m not saying that MV or CF are guilty because many such subjective sins can be triggered from objectively good things, but it is a very real issue that I think is rampant on the Internet. I think sites that do this type of work need to be clear to warn folks of this danger and certainly not do the opposite (lure them in so that they want more and more of it). It comes down to, “how much do I need to know?” Like I said above, it can be useful, but once I know what to watch out for and if continuing to know all the details of the latest scandals doesn’t help me in any way, then I think it best to ignore it and not waste time on it and instead work at building up the good.

  25. avatar Ben Anderson says:

    btw – I think a great role model in the “watchdog” space is the Cardinal Newman Society. From what I’ve read over the years, they seem to do a pretty good job of standing firm fighting against evil while also being careful not to draw one into sin.

  26. avatar Gretchen says:


    It is disheartening that Michael Voris continues to be a focus for calumny, especially based on the complaint that he has not publicly assented to all the documents of Vatican II. This is especially so since popes, bishops, cardinals, priests, and theologians continue to disagree about the nature of the Council itself (not declared a dogmatic council, and did not define its documents in strict scholastic terminology), not to mention the documents! For instance, here is a confusing mishmash of comments from different churchmen regarding V2 and its documents:

    • Stating that the conciliar documents have differing degrees of authority, Cardinal Brandmuller said that “there is a huge difference between a great constitution and simple declarations.”

    “Strangely enough, the two most controversial documents [on religious liberty and relations with non-Christian religions] do not have a binding doctrinal content, so one can dialogue about them,” he continued. (

    • “All the doctrinal decisions of the church are binding on a Catholic, including the Second Vatican Council and all its texts,” Cardinal Koch said when asked if the SSPX would be expected to accept all the teachings of Vatican II. (

    • “In many places, [the Council Fathers] had to find compromise formulas, in which, often, the positions of the majority are located immediately next to those of the minority, designed to delimit them. Thus, the conciliar texts themselves have a huge potential for conflict, open the door to a selective reception in either direction.” (Cardinal Walter Kasper, L’Osservatore Romano, April 12, 2013)

    • “For most Catholics, the developments put in motion by the council are part of the church’s daily life. But what they are experiencing is not the great new beginning nor the springtime of the church, which were expected at that time, but rather a church that has a wintery look, and shows clear signs of crisis.” (Cardinal Walter Kasper, L’Osservatore Romano, April 12, 2013)

    • “Thus, in a precise and extraordinarily dense document, a theme is opened up whose importance could not be foreseen at the time. The task that it involves and the efforts that are still necessary in order to distinguish, clarify and understand, are appearing ever more clearly. In the process of active reception, a weakness of this otherwise extraordinary text has gradually emerged: it speaks of religion solely in a positive way and it disregards the sick and distorted forms of religion which, from the historical and theological viewpoints, are of far-reaching importance; for this reason the Christian faith, from the outset, adopted a critical stance towards religion, both internally and externally.” (Pope Benedict XVI, speaking via radio on Nostra Aetate)

    There are, of course, many other such statements, books, articles, and so forth. There is and has been genuine disagreement and differing interpretations of the documents of Vatican II since its conclusion.

    I hope you can take the time to listen to this sermon by a Catholic priest titled, “The French Revolution and Vatican II”: It is just under 27 minutes, but it ties together the revolutionary spirit that has infected politics and religion since the French Revolution, including the Communist revolution, and the Council.

    And, without doubt, the period following the Council and continuing to this day, has been one of confusion, loss of faith, loss of faithful, and a rupture with all that preceded the Council. No doubt, the discussion will continue for many more years.

    It is certainly understandable, given the correlation between the Council and the ensuing crisis in the Church, to question to what extent the Council’s differing interpretations have contributed to the crisis.

    It seems a form of treachery to attempt to discredit Michael Voris for questioning some aspects of the conciliar documents that many priests, bishops, and even popes have questions about. Is this a litmus test of some type?

    If listening to Michael Voris causes you to sin, you should avoid him. His videos are strong meat and not for everyone. However, to intimate that he does not fully embrace the Catholic faith is extremely divisive and seems intentional. It even makes me wonder if the fallout from the Council is having an effect here, on Cleansing Fire – sowing confusion division and highlighting the differing interpretations of the Council that have convulsed the Faith and the Faithful for decades.

  27. avatar Diane Harris says:

    With a number of comments on this thread about Vatican II, for example, and the varying views which observers may have about its implementation, perhaps a reading of interest would be James Hitchcock’s “History of the Catholic Church” published in 2012 by Ignatius Press. The author (who was one of the speakers at Festival for Freedom)covers from page 474-526 an overview of excellent perspective on the happenings from Pope John XXIII, through the papacy of Pope Benedict XVI, stopping just short of his retirement and the election of Pope Francis. Hitchcock has a masterful overview of the dynamics within the Church during that period, especially the issues which emerged during and after Vatican II, and the key players. A fairly easy read.

  28. avatar Richard Thomas says:


    What an interesting homily. Thank you

  29. avatar Dominick Anthony Zarcone says:

    Calumny? What false statements maliciously made to injure another’s reputation have been made? Where is the rash judgment which assumes as true, without sufficient foundation, the moral fault of a neighbor? What private faults and failings have been disclosed without objectively valid reason? Or, what remarks contrary to the truth have been made?

    Frankly, I wonder out loud about the value of continuing this discussion.

    But for objectivity’s sake, I exhort those interested to reread any and all comments made by me since January 14, 2014. I wrote about my concerns regarding Michael Voris’s attitude and criticisms of the Second Vatican Council documents. I informed readers of my less than successful efforts to receive explanations regarding what I heard him say publicly. All of this made me question brother Michael’s wholehearted adherence to official teaching as articulated in the Second Vatican Council documents. I answered a request for specifics. And I even offered a change in phrases used by me in assessing what is public information.

    Gretchen and all CF readers, if Michael Voris and is a help to you as Catholic in knowing, loving and serving the Lord Jesus Christ, so be it. My word of caution, ‘beware’ still stands. No calumny, no treachery, nor divisiveness intended.

    The discussions and debates regarding any or all of the Second Vatican Council can be a good endeavor. My concern is with asserting that statements in the documents are not true, dangerous or culpable for causing a crisis in the Church. The quote above that reads, “All the doctrinal decisions of the church are binding on a Catholic, including the Second Vatican Council and all its texts,” Cardinal Koch said”, in my opinion, apply in this discussion. I do not think any of us are exempt from this requirement.

    In the Mic’d Up broadcast linked at my comment January 17 at 4:40 PM, Michael and his guest make the point that Church documents and teaching should be clear. Ok, clarity is very important especially when sharing faith with others. But does that mean no authority is ever necessary to explain and expound more deeply for better appreciation and understanding? I am blessed by the papal magisteriums and their promulgations which reference the Second Vatican Council documents in ways that interpret and implement.

    The Catechism of the Catholic Church, a sure norm for teaching the faith, numerous times references the same documents which Michael Voris and his guest called dangerous, culpable for causing the Church crisis, or containing false statements.

    In my opinion, none of those particular public comments help me know, love and serve the Lord as a Catholic. A different attitude and thrust helps me. Interpreting and implementing the Council’s documents with an emphasis on the universal call to holiness for the sake of mission speaks to me.

    The concerns raised by Gretchen in the last four paragraphs of her January 17, 9:14 PM comment hopefully will be addressed and satisfactorily answered by watching and listening to our new Shepherd, His Excellency Bishop Salvatore Matano. We can be confident that he will selflessly guide the Diocese emphasing a theology and ecclesiology of continuity; a theology that builds and does not destroy; an ecclesiology that appreciates the contributions of every age that does not disdain the past which through the hard labors of others paved the way for the future.”

    Again and for the last time, I do not question brother Michael Voris’ desire that the Church becomes more and more faithful to her identity and mission. I believe that he and I and all of CF desire the same. Our approaches, however, might be considered quite different. He is apt to tell us what is wrong. I prefer following Pope Francis in living and celebrating the Joy of the Gospel. Gen has already informed us as to the direction CF will take in OUR NEXT STEP post dated January 11, 2014.

    Gretchen, let us be at peace with each other celebrating the ‘communio’ in which we find ourselves through Jesus Christ the Lord.

  30. avatar Gretchen says:

    For the sake of prudence, let us agree to disagree, Dominick.

    Peace be with you, and thank you for sharing your perspective. I have always found CF to be ‘big enough’ to allow differing points of view, something that is becoming rarer online nowadays.

  31. avatar Richard Thomas says:

    Well: We all can talk about a “theology and ecclesiology of continuity; a theology that builds and does not destroy; an ecclesiology that appreciates the contributions of every age that does not disdain the past which through the hard labors of others paved the way for the future”, but do you really think that given the current crop of bishops and priests that such a good and needed concept wil be realized in the near future. It is my prayer that the new bishop espouse Christ’s healing ministry when it comes to sexual issues but, frankly, if these issues are not thoroughly addressed, then all we are dealing with is “hot air”. The rebellion and revolution will continue. Christ’s Church will take more and more horrible hits. More and more people will leave the Church. Catechesis will continue to be poor at best.

    Have the seminaries been reformed. Are we now turning out priests that are enthusiastically preaching about sexual morality, especially birth control and homosexualit? I think not!

    Are we still in the notion that we “Dialogue” with the culture? I think dialogue today means “Please do not ever mention, defend or expouse Catholic principles on sexual matters and other key aspects of Catholicism. Let’s play the game of going to church, sitting in the pews and hearing another “marshmellow homily” that says nothing, NADA.

    I will believe in a new evangelization only when it happens and, sorry to disappoint everyone, that day is far, far away.

  32. avatar Richard Thomas says:

    One more thing. We can put the blame on the implementation of Vatican 2. And if it is true that wording ws changed to accommodate the “Modernists” what does that signify? Can anyone ever imaging temporing the wording of the Council of Nicea or Trent to accommodate the Arians or the Protestants.

    Sometimes you have to stand tall, stick your chest and neck out and boldly proclaim the truth: Hell be dammed. But it seems that with faulty wording, the concepts of Vatican 2 can be used by both those who are faithful to the majesterium and the Modernists. So, perhaps we do need another council to “call a spade a spade.”

    It’s time to give the Modernists absolutely no wiggle room.

  33. avatar Ben Anderson says:

    Thanks for recommending James Hitchcock’s “History of the Catholic Church”. I had it on my queue, but your recommendation made me see if it was available via kindle and it is. Chapter 14 – “Joy and Hope, Grief and Anguish” itself was worth the $10 (and I’m not even to the end of that chapter yet). This is very helpful and should be required reading for RCIA. Obviously, it’s probably pretty difficult to write about the dust up completely objectively, but I’d guess Hitchcock has done a pretty good job… and it’s chilling. Here was an interesting quote:

    Many of the Council Fathers, after they returned to their dioceses, seemed themselves uncertain as to what had been intended. Bishop Fulton Sheen, for example, while briefly serving as bishop of Rochester, supported the most liberal of his priests and stated on television that the Church might now permit contraception.

    Later Curran is mentioned as well.

    His section on the Liturgical Movement is interested. He mentions Prosper Guéranger’s massive multi-volume “The Liturgical Year” which I was just recently introduced to. I’ve been occasionally reading sections of this work (reading all of it would require more time than I have) to stay in tune with the liturgical calendar. It’s a little tricky considering the calendar isn’t exactly in sync with the modern one (not even the 1962 calendar), but the big stuff is pretty easy to find and navigate. The downside is that the text is extremely small on an iPod Touch. The upside is that it’s completely free and the information is amazing and thorough and I think will be a goto resource. Here’s the two Christmas volumes via google books:

    Back to Hitchcock’s book, the introduction is good as well – the use of history and how a Christian should approach it is pretty good.

    I did have a little concern with this quote, though:

    [paraphrasing]V2 taugh that[/paraphrasing] the Scriptures were both divine and human in their authorship, and human error could enter in on matters that were not salvific.

    That hasn’t been my understanding of the Scriptures and a quick google search turned up these short articles which seem to suggest otherwise (although, maybe I’m squabbling over his choice of words):

  34. avatar Diane Harris says:

    Hi Ben, [emended 9AM 1-20-14]

    Before I forget, for you and anyone else who might be interested, you can view Dr. Hitchcock’s hour and a half presentation on Just go to media, then to videos, and then to Dr. Hitchcock. What you can’t tell at first is that he had the difficult task of speaking to us while we all were poised with phone, smartphone, computer on Notre Dame’s WiFi waiting for the Supreme Court decision on the HHS mandate at that very time. He had a tough job, yet held our attention at such a distracting time. Anyway, it might be interesting for you and others to get a sense of him from that video.

    I bought his book a few months ago, but it had been piled up read to read along with a number of others. [I then decided to read the last chapter first, the one which gives perspective to what I have lived through. I figured if it didn’t seem “right” or to add value, I’d save reading the rest of the book. I was very pleased, as you are.] Right now I am reading The Long War Against God, which deals with Creationism vs. Evolution, and that of course is one of the “theories” which has weakened belief in Scripture. Yet, evolution is only a theory, unprovable, and the so called scientific evidence is very weak. More on that another time, but I mention it because in part it goes to the question you discuss, and causes science to presume to be the arbiter of faith, by deciding what is or is not truth. I think perhaps that we are still in a period of backlash when science presumes to know something it really does not know (consider the fallacies and errors associated with carbon dating, e.g.) but I think many churchmen are intimidated by a claim which is called “scientific.” Pope Benedict, however, [is] not. And he [has] even assembled groups to debate, and to demand adequate proofs.

    The Bible is undermined even sometimes from the pulpit. One priest I heard on the day of the reading in which Peter goes fishing and brings up a fish with a coin in its mouth to pay the temple tax, said directly “Of course that’s not true. It’s a way of saying go make money for us by your trade — fishing.” I think such explaining away is partly the insecurity of the preacher, who wants to look savvy, not “taken in” by what he thinks isn’t essential, as if his opinion had any weight. And partly by lack of faith.

    Pope Benedict recognized (and it really resonates with me) that the historical-critical method of bible study is not just limited, but also [can be] misleading. There are many bishops and pastors who demean piety and faith, hurting souls deeply in the process. So I was particularly delighted when Pope Benedict put in his first Jesus of Nazareth book, in the Foreword, a clear discussion of the H-C methodology. And strengthened it in the 2nd book.

    He first acknowledged an indebtedness to the H-C methodology, that our faith rests on real historic facts, especially “God’s actual entry into real history.” But he wrote: “This method is a fundamental dimension of exegesis, but it does not exhaust the interpretive task for someone who sees the biblical writings as a single corpus of Holy Scriputre inspired by God.” (AMEN!)

    His second point was that we need to recognize the limitations of the H-C method. He writes: “To the extent that it remains true to itself, the historical method not only has to investigate the biblical word as a thing of the past, but also has to let it remain in the past. …Its specific object is the human word as human.” What this says to me is that the H-C method is very one dimensional, that God didn’t give us Scripture as a course in history, but as living, always present, always faithful. Pope Benedict completes the thought with “We have to keep in mind the limit of all efforts to know the past: We can never go beyond the domain of hypothesis, because we simply cannot bring the past into the present.” He goes on to dwell on the unity of scripture, “taking account of the living tradition of the whole Church and of the analogy of faith.”

    And then, Pope Benedict makes this beautiful statement: “The process of continually rereading and drawing out new meanings from words would not have been possible unless the words themselves were already open to it from within.” Thus the consideration of inspiration goes beyond, way beyond, the human author…it is the connection to the living People of God. Pope Benedict says, simply and unerringly, “The main implication …for my portrayal of Jesus is that I trust the Gospels.” Without rejecting the H-C method, he writes: “I have merely tried to go beyond purely H-C exegesis so as to apply new methodological insights that allow us to offer a properly theological interpretation of the Bible.”

    This Foreword can be read many times for great enrichment, but as I read Hitchcock’s introduction it strikes me as HEAVILY influenced by Pope Benedict’s perspective in his Jesus of Nazareth books.

    Now, fast-forward to the FOREWORD of the 2nd Jesus of Nazareth Book, and it seems that even the experience of the writing has solidified Pope Benedict’s opinion and understanding of the H-C method, for he writes: “One thing is clear to me: in 200 years of exegetical work, H-C exegesis has already yielded its essential fruit. If scholarly exegesis is not to exhaust itself in constantly new hypotheses,” (like disclaiming the truth of certain details presented?) “becoming theologically irrelevant, it must take a methodological step forward and see itself once again as a theological discipline, without abandoning its historical character.”

    So these are a few thoughts I have on the questions raised. Said most simplisticly, those who get tied up 100% in the H-C, are perhaps blind to the willingness of the Divine Author to reveal even more. Just a thought. Peace.

    [Just want to add one more thought — from a Protestant professor — who pointed out to me that the inherent bias of scripture scholarship is toward trying to find “mistakes” in scripture or liberal reinterpretations. The reason, he said, is that there is just a fixed ‘set’ (or canon) to work with, so new books, chapters, verses aren’t going to be found. Even the Dead Sea Scrolls support earlier writings. And writings from a high level of spiritual development and insight aren’t common at the student level, nor even among those who might be called to judge the text, like a thesis advisor seeking tenure. So to write the required thesis on Scripture almost requires a criticism text and the most likely strategy is to pick off the lint of generations of historic detail, rather than doing the kind of work Pope Benedict has done. The other alternative popular for theses is new themes, like stringing together crumbs of disparate text to make a case for, say, women’s ordination or other popular social topics of the day. This was an important new insight for me, and for why even the bias in preaching is to add innovations like the fish sandwiches emerging from the picnic baskets!]

  35. avatar Richard Thomas says:


    I am sorry for my last comment. In thinking about the whole thing of CHurch Militant TV, I have to sadly come to the conclusion that, although much of what Vorheis says is true, unfortunately it seems there is a “cult of Michael Vorheis” there. I cannot explain any other reason they are so defensive when questioned. Their explainations are feeble and it contrasts to what St Paul and the giants of Catholocism would say when questioned.

  36. avatar Dominick Anthony Zarcone says:

    Thank you, Richard Thomas.

    Each of us wants to be faithful to the Lord Jesus and each of us wants the whole Church to be faithful to her high calling in Christ.

    May God be pleased to bless our efforts with righteousness and holiness of truth.

    Thanks again.

  37. avatar militia says:

    I have noticed that many of the people I know who are critics of Michael Voris do not use their own gift of “prophecy” i.e. of calling sin what it is – sin – in their own families, among their friends, in coffee house discussion. The preachers in the liberal pulpits seem to feel especially critical of Michael. Isn’t that interesting? If someone is uncomfortable speaking the truth about sin to others, I think Michael will make them feel especially uncomfortable. I’ve also noticed that a number of his critics don’t even spell his name correctly. I wonder what that indicates?

  38. avatar Richard Thomas says:


    I agree. It’s too bad most priests are silent on these things. It is good that Vorheis talks about these things but the defensiveness of some of the people associated with the site, as mentioned by Dominick, is troubling. If you know your stuff, in any walk of life, and you are questioned, the best thing to do is to defend it with all of your information. Circling the wagons might give someone the impression that said group doesn’t have a leg on which to stand.

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