The action of the Archdiocese of Detroit against RCTV is nonsensical and unjust – UPDATED January 16, 2012Posted by tantamergo in Basics, blogfoolery, disaster, episcopate, foolishness, General Catholic, horror, persecution, scandals, sickness, Virtue.
I have been doing much research in regard to Real Catholic TV (RCTV) and the Archdiocese of Detroit’s claims that RCTV is “not authorized to use the name Catholic.” The Archdiocese can claim that all it wants, but these claims amount to little more than harassment and a public relations campaign aimed at undermining RCTV’s moral authority and influence.
As I will show in detail in the following timeline, Real Catholic TV is a corporation owned by Marc Brammer of South Bend, Indiana. Michael Voris does not own this corporation. The Archdiocese of Detroit’s “demand” to Voris, declared in an invalid Precept issued in July 2010, that he stop using the term “Catholic” with regard to Real Catholic TV is nonsensical and disingenuous. How is he to force another company, a company he does not own, to change its name? It’s a bit like the federal government demanding GM to stop calling itself Ford – even though GM does nothing of the kind.
The Diocese of South Bend, Indiana, apparently has no problems with Real Catholic TV. As JoeK at Defend Us In Battle pointed out last week, this entire ‘canonical’ effort is nothing more than a PR campaign aimed at smearing RCTV and Michael Voris – a campaign against Voris that long, long predates the existence of Real Catholic TV. The willing accomplices in the ‘professional Catholic’ world are eagerly piling on, and ‘curious Catholics’ are floating all kinds of bizarre theories – it’s time to set the record straight.
The timeline below will detail the ‘treatment’ the AOD has given Michael Voris dating back over 6 years. All data below has been culled from various sources close to these events and some public record data, all of which the Archdiocese of Detroit has been aware of for years:
- In late 2005/early 2006, after a reversion to the Faith, Michael Voris sets up St. Michael’s Media. He acquires a property, equipment, and begins producing a catechetics series – The One True Faith. He had previously started a different production company – Concept Productions – in 1997. So, as of early 2006 he owned two production companies – one a non-profit 501(c)3, St. Michael’s Media, and the other, Concept Productions, a for-profit enterprise. St. Michael’s Media was self-financed by Voris.
- By May ’06, St. Michael’s Media is fairly well stood up and is engaging with various Catholic broadcasters on carrying the One True Faith series (which still exists – you can see these episodes on Real Catholic TV). Voris began to engage with the Archdiocese of Detroit after a staffer suggested they contact the Diocese. He had cordial talks with several archdiocesan officials, who toured the Saint Michael Media (SMM) facility, had dinner at Voris’ house, etc. All was fine…..it seemed.
- But, in October 2006, when SMM was about to get it’s first major client (Archdiocese of Boston), the Archdiocese of Detroit intervened in order to stop Boston from using the One True Faith series on their diocesan TV network. Voris tried repeatedly to get in touch with AOD sources, but had no luck for some time. When he finally did, he was treated derisively and told SMM had not followed proper ‘protocol’ (this in spite of the fact that AOD officials had met with Voris several times and never mentioned this ‘protocol’). Suddenly there was a demand that St. Michael’s Media procure a ‘theological review committee’ to insure they didn’t promote any error or heresy. Voris pointed out that Michigan Catholic Radio, in the office next door, did not have such a committee, and was met with silence
- So, over the next several months, Voris put together this ‘review’ committee, including Dr. Martin Brenner, while also pursuing his STB from the Angelicum in Rome. Brenner, who holds an STD and SSL in theology, assured the AOD that Voris’ programs were perfectly orthodox. In a meeting on the subject of this ‘review committee,’ AOD representative Fr. Robert McClory was rude, condescending, and generally hostile. No “approval” was given to St. Michael’s Media.
- It should be noted that while all this was ongoing , RCTV did not exist. The above period stretched through 2007 and into 2008.
- By early 2008, AOD stonewalling has just about run SMM out of money (the point of the exercise?). However, the One True Faith had run in a few places, and Michael Voris got contacted by Marc Brammer, who was interested in starting up a Catholic apologetics website, after Brammer saw an episode.
- Brammer paid for development of a website, and started his own company referred to as ‘Greenstar.’ He provided a contract to Concept Productions – Voris’ company – in summer ’08 to provide content for Brammer’s new website – Real Catholic TV.
- Real Catholic TV is a private, for-profit corporation, located in South Bend, Indiana, where Brammer lives.
- RealCatholicTV launches in September ’08 in order to comment on the coming presidential election. Real Catholic TV contracts with the for-profit Concept Production for politically oriented content, and with Saint Michael’s Media for non-political apologetic and formational content. They also contract with other production companies.
- This is very similar to how most TV networks run – different production companies sell content to TV networks, who then broadcast it.
- Throughout this period, there was a constant campaign of back-biting, nasty allegations, and general harassment from the AOD, directed at Voris. The hostility began with the formation of Saint Michael’s Media in 2006, but grew in intensity as RCTV grew. It really exploded, however, when……
- ………in April 2010, Voris produced a RCTV expose and Catholic Investigative Agency (CIA) episode on the relationship between the bishops, Alinsky-ite organizations, and the CCHD. There was a swift and severe response- The One True Faith program, which had been continuing all along, was pulled out of two major markets within 48 hours of the Alinsky video being released.
- At roughly the same time began a string of official communications between the AOD and Voris regarding RCTV’s use of the word ‘Catholic.’ Voris pointed out repeatedly that he could not change the name of a company he did not own, but the AOD did not seem to understand or care.
- July 2010 – a precept is issued against Michael Voris/RCTV by the AOD regarding the use of the term ‘Catholic.’ But, the precept was all wrong, it did not follow the proper format (which consists of an allegation of some problem/heresy/etc., followed by a demand that the problem stop by a certain date, accompanied by a statement of specific action which will be taken against the recipient if the Bishop involved is not satisfied with the reply – like excommunication), it simply consisted of a demand that the word ‘Catholic’ be dropped from RCTV’s name, and that’s it. There is no threat of some action by the part of the AOD, so there is no way to go to a canon law court. That really reveals how this entire exercise is just a PR event, an attempt to turn public opinion against RCTV.
- In response to this precept, Voris replies, again, that he does not own RCTV and cannot change it’s name. All along, Brammer and Voris had engaged with several noteworthy canon law experts, advising them on their use of the name RCTV. All these experts have stressed that they can continue to use the name, and that the AOD’s demands are nonsensical and do not rise to the level of a canonical court case.
- June 2011 – another notification from the AOD to Voris, demanding that “he” stop using the name Catholic, not only for RCTV but also for the ‘Catholic Investigative Agency,’ which is the name of a program. Will AOD now start issuing precepts against books with the word ‘Catholic’ in the title?
- Voris again engages with AOD, but gets no reply for 7 months, until Dec. 23 when the AOD issues its press release claiming that RCTV is “not authorized” to use the word ‘Catholic.’
- Marc Brammer, owner of RCTV, asks to meet with Archbishop Vigneron of Detroit, but is referred to the previous press release.
- A further press release is issued on Jan. 3, 2012, timed with posts by Ed Peters and with banner headlines on New Advent and other sites. Professional Catholics hop on the Voris-bashing bandwagon. When the Diocese of South Bend, through their judicial vicar (a canon lawyer), state that they feel they have responsibility for the RCTV enterprise, as it resides in their diocese, and have no problem with it, the headlines are not so big.
That pretty much brings us up to today. I need to stress two points – first, all along, AOD has known that RCTV is based in South Bend, and that Voris does not own it and has no ability to control it or its name. Secondly, all along RCTV has been advised by top canon lawyers (several of them), who see no problem with their use of the term ‘Catholic’ and who feel that AOD simply has absolutely no canon law case to make – if they had, they would have made it by now, whatever Ed Peters says notwithstanding.
It is the opinion of this author that AOD’s constant hostility to Voris and ALL of his enterprises dating back years before the existence of RCTV is due solely to the orthodox, faithful nature of the content, which the denizens of the chancery in Detroit, home of Call to Action, gay porn in the seminary, collapsing attendance, and other wonderfully Catholic things, simply cannot stand. It doesn’t suit their purpose, whatever that purpose is. And since they have no canon law case, they are now striving to do via public relations what they cannot do via canon law – ruin RCTV and Michael Voris. The manner in which they are going about this effort is nonsensical. But the persecution itself is unjust.
UPDATE: Steve Kellmeyer has a very interesting analysis of the situation, and especially Ed Peter’s role in it, on his blog. I think you could safely say that Steve is not impressed with Peter’s arguments that this is a canon law issue.