Cleansing Fire

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On Second Thought….

July 8th, 2016, Promulgated by Diane Harris

Stated as simply as possible, I am disappointed in today’s Church Militant which I received shortly before noon.  Fortunately, the transcript is very helpful to make sure the words are exact, eliminating the need for a lot of replaying and transcribing.  But I am disappointed in the approach which Michael Voris takes in: “Rome Be Damned.”

I have been a St. Michael Media donor and a Michael Voris supporter for years, cutting them both a lot of slack because of the new and difficult ground they have broken, for timely news stories and for generally pursuing the truth.  For example, I thought their Synod coverage was excellent; it is always most difficult to be first in risky ventures, and I respect their effort.  I have sometimes defended a questionable tone as being needed in order to make a strong and clear point. Has Church Militant been charitable enough?  I can’t judge, but I haven’t heard Michael call any groups “a brood of vipers” or “whitened sepulchers.”  And I have even written to Michael a few times to thank him for being an inspiration.  In that spirit, I find the following difficult to say, but necessary.

Today’s show concludes: Attacking the Pope is the easy way out. The carpet bombing of Rome deflects form [sic] the real issue. It’s the disobedient bishops.”  Well, Jorge Cardinal Bergoglio, a bishop not so long ago, was elected Bishop of Rome by other bishops (Cardinals), most of whom still hold office. One cannot isolate the Pope from the collective work of his bishops, especially after three years, and it is unclear why Church Militant seems to be making an effort to do so.

There is no reason why disobedient or faithless or heretic bishops should surprise us.  From Paul’s words in ACTS 20:29 (” I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; ….”) to the oft-repeated allegation of Pope Paul VI that the smoke of Satan has entered the Church, the attack on the Body of Christ continues. Further, we had a reality show demonstration during both sessions of the Synod, with many bishops and cardinals openly advocating violation of Catholic Doctrine to brother bishops and to the Pope himself.  They were given the podium from which to speak; they had no need to seize it, or nail theses to the doors of St. Peter’s Basilica.  It is no news that such division will continue to the end times. Yet, the Holy Spirit has not abandoned the Church and will turn evil to good.   (More about that on another day.)

The Right of the Laity to speak up for their Faith

Voris admits that Pope Francis has made “ill advised comments” but calls the Catholic response “bellyaching.”  No, Michael, they are exercising their rights and duties in Canon Law. They are doing what you yourself did not that long ago.  Michael may be right that [some of] the bishops are the main problem, but Pope Francis was and is a bishop too, but he is the only one who has authority to bind and loose.  Admittedly, having authority and knowing how to use it effectively are two different things.  But even lack of effectiveness is no excuse for abandoning duty, on the part of the lay person or on the part of a Pope.  For the laity to say nothing and to do nothing in defense of the Faith, in support of brave prelates like Cardinal Burke, Archbishop Athanasius Schneider and, this past week, Archbishop Chaput, among a number of others, is to cower at the task to which we are called. I personally do not see anything inappropriate in 1) opposition by Catholic moms’ being analogized to ‘rabbits,’ 2) concern about the abandonment of discernment in the words “Who am I to judge?” 3) push-back against “apologizing” to any sinners, including those pursuing a ‘gay’ lifestyle (the Faithful are the ones owed an apology) or 4) resistance to any proposed tolerance for reception of the Eucharist by persons in a state of adultery, and much more.  The laity absolutely has the right to defend their Faith, and it should NOT be demeaned as “bellyaching.”

Michael states as argument: “… this is just one danger: The notion forms in people’s minds that everything in the Church that is wrong can be solved by the Pope, any Pope just ordering it to be fixed.”  That is quite a strawman.  A non-sequitur at best. The argument then quickly devolves to the laity’s saying nothing because a Pope can’t achieve anything. Personally I don’t think that is what Christ had in mind when he named Peter “Rocky.”

Voris states: “There is a rebellion in the ranks of the bishops against the traditional faith.”  That hardly becomes a reason to do nothing.   Instead it becomes a solid reason for prayer, exhortation and papal action. Not the opposite. Voris says: “A Pope cannot simply sack thousands of bishops around the globe. This problem has become institutionalized, metastasized into a horrible illness over the past hundred-plus years.”    But the Pope is not without power; he can change Canon Law ‘for St. Pete’s Sake’: he is the Executive, Legislative and Judicial head of all three Vatican powers. He can subdivide dioceses to provide better leadership, he can change retirement ages, he can change judicial process to bring cases to a conclusion he wants.  Just ask the Bishop of Bling.  But if Pope Francis really wanted to implement change by reforming bishops, would he have Cardinal Wuerl and now Archbishop Cupich controlling nominations for new bishops in the U.S.?

But it isn’t about Pope Francis

This post isn’t about Pope Francis, but rather about Church Militant’s seeming to step back from the front lines, and criticizing those who remain in the skirmish.  I’m not going to reiterate the accusations one-by-one in today’s Vortex, and there are many. I’ll just choose one, close to home. Michael states: “…for the so-called traditional blogs out there that fancy themselves the saviors of the Church, get real. All your incessant bile creates is worse conditions for any future cleaning of the Church because you have now created and inculcated a culture of suspicion surrounding whoever the next Pope will be.”  Unfortunately, Michael does not extend the generosity toward motive that has been so often extended to him, even by some writers whom he inspired and others with whom he had disagreed.  He continues: But writing articles on some obscure bishop in some B- or C-level diocese who punishes his priests who want to say the Novus Ordo Mass facing East won’t get you nearly the clicks that a headline like “Anti-Christ Pope Still a Heretic.”  Out of curiosity, I Googled that very headline to see who had said it.  The only reference I got was to Church Militant.

Michael also presents a theoretical ‘action plan’ and asks if it were ordered by the Pope Do you really think your local bishop in your local diocese, …  would give it the slightest attention?” My answer, if it is completely faithful to Church Teaching, is that in Rochester, with a faithful bishop in Bishop Matano, yes I really do believe he would give it attention. I note all the reforms His Excellency has already, quietly but persistently, made.  I would be far more skeptical of the USCCB.  I remember reading the criticism of national conferences for their lack of courage in the Ratzinger Report. Individuals have courage, not organizations.

Unfortunately, taken in its entirety, the Church Militant presentation “Rome Be Damned” seems to me to cause far more discouragement in the laity, limiting their role in the Church to silence in the status quo, rather than much of what Michael Voris has offered for years.  Pushed to its logical conclusion, such suppression of interest and involvement through lay commitment, and the belief in ‘making a difference,’ will virtually eliminate the role of the laity in evangelization, even though I don’t believe this result is intended. Yet, it seems an inevitable excuse.  I can’t know what is behind this shift in Church Militant, but only that we need to remind ourselves and our brothers and sisters in the Faith, that we are not called to be successful, but to be Faithful. Courage is a virtue, not fear. Perseverance is a virtue, not sloth. Many bloggers sincerely care about the Church, and offer their time and efforts for free, to do work in which they believe. It is difficult to imagine any benefit that could be achieved by being in competition with each other, rather than all just acting out of love for Holy Mother Church.

(minor revisions made: July 9, 2016)

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6 Responses to “On Second Thought….”

  1. avatar Mary-Kathleen says:

    Michael Voris’ view on criticizing the Pope has been discussed in The Remnant and The Wanderer. They don’t agree with him either.

    http://remnantnewspaper.com/web/index.php/fetzen-fliegen/item/1209-a-handy-dandy-summary-of-michael-voris-position

  2. avatar militia says:

    This is what is bound to happen when the wheat and the weeds are allowed to grow together.

  3. avatar Richard Thomas says:

    I have been critisized on Church Militant for what Diane has just written. I was notified that people at Church Militant are extremely concerned that criticizing the pope will give people the notion that all doctrines of the Church are incorrect.

    They are also worried as not to create a Papal hating frenzy where people, especially Protestants, will use this as a ground to attach the Primacy of Peter.

    I think Church Militant is wrong. It is more important to speak your mind because the salvation of millions of souls is more important than any possible conceived anti papal notion

  4. avatar christian says:

    I saw Michael Voris’s segment “Rome Be Damned” and found his comments regarding “belly-aching” and “bloggers” to be offensive. He has blamed all the problems having to due with liturgical practice, bishops supporting gay communities in parades, on local bishops. I have noticed that he has not mentioned anything about the Roman Curia -or cardinals.

    It has been known that the Roman Curia executes a lot of power and control. The Pope doesn’t seem to be able to make a decision without them, and may upset them if he does. There have been suspicions and reports about a gay lobby at the Vatican for years, so it is understandable why St. Pope John Paul II, when presented with an ‘extensive” and “lengthy” dossier about a gay American bishop, by the American Cardinal whose diocese he was in, stopped reading after a few pages, stating he was already aware about this bishop. He said unless the cardinal could present some criminal activity, Pope John Paul II said “I’m helpless, there’s nothing I can do.” The homosexual bishop was allowed to continue in the in this American Cardinal’s diocese until his age-imposed retirement.

    A visitor in Pope Benedict’s office, pleading with him to take action on an unseemly situation, was told by Pope Benedict “My authority stops there,” pointing to the door.

    Pope Francis actually made some comments about the situation.
    http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/01/24/vatican-s-pope-protecting-swiss-guards-accused-of-secret-gay-lobby.html

  5. avatar christian says:

    I couldn’t help but connect with the incident presented to Pope John Paul II regarding a homosexual bishop, presented by the cardinal, when reading a story from Church Militant today, (actually posted yesterday), where the lay faithful were referred to as “adults behaving badly” after they submitted a 128 page dossier to Miami Archbishop Thomas Wenski about their pastor, Fr. Pedro Corces, improperly involved with a gay prostitute. The dossier contained several weeks of work by a private investigator, included receipts for sex shops and gay musicals pulled from the garbage, records showing the priest and his boyfriend vacationed together, and parish members’ accounts of the sordid relationship that their pastor had with his boyfriend who he had hired as a maintenance worker at the parish.

    The archbishop condemned the lay faithful for submitting this report when they were exercising their right as concerned lay people trying to uphold the faith and Catholic values. http://www.churchmilitant.com/news/article/miami-archbishop-condemns-laity-exonerates-suspected-gay-priest

  6. avatar raymondfrice says:

    I have followed Michael Voris on Youtube and met him in person. As far as I am concerned, he is a talking tabloid full of criticisms and no realistic solutions. He is a “Trump”et making noise but no music and I think he is near the end of any minimal talent he may have had!!

    In addition, why the hell don’t the hierarchy start more thoroughly screening applicants to the priesthood if they are unhappy with what they are getting. Truth be known, anyone can get by because the bishops want the parishes kept open because they need the money.

    PS: read Dr. Richard Sipe’s book.

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