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Voris too Catholic for Detroit? – UPDATED! December 23, 2011

Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin, awesomeness, Basics, General Catholic.

Michael Voris and Real Catholic TV have been told to stop using the word “Catholic” in the name of their enterprise.  There is a long history here, which I am not at liberty to discuss, but there have been concerns over the type and quality of Michael Voris’ and Real Catholic TV’s catechetical efforts.  I have certainly not discerned even the slightest hint of heresy from RCTV.  In reality, the Archdiocese would like to be able to control RCTV’s content to prevent the “embarrassing” videos on subjects like the manifold failings in the episcopate.

So, in response, here’s a recent Vortex video:

Remember to clear March 4 2012 on your calendar for Michael Voris at the Frontiers of Flight Museum!

UPDATE:  Comments brought some thoughts to mind – how do many bishops seem capable of dismissing orthodox, faithful Catholics as a limited, lunatic fringe?  I have personally spoken with hundreds, possibly thousands of Catholics who are baffled, at best, by the actions of many bishops.  Why are the orthodox often given rough treatment, if not outright dismissed/ignored?  So many faithful Catholics are outraged or severely disappointed by so many actions taken by ordinaries, from allowing heterodox, apostate “catholycs” to be employed and corrupt the minds of Catholics at local universities, to allowing Sr. Militant New Age Lesbian Feminist to lead a parish retreat.  We’re not blind.  We’re not stupid (well, we are, in a way, more later).  We see what goes on.  Many are outraged.  Why are we having to do what is in actuality their job?  Why are the bishops often attacking (or ignoring, or blacklisting, or…..) those faithful Catholics, who, in the words of Dr. Dietrich von Hildebrand, should be their very pride and joy?

We are sort of suckers, though.  Many of us keep going back to that parish with the new age nun DRE, or the heterodox vicar, or whatever.  Most of all, we keep sending in the checks.  If you want to see change in your local church, wherever it may be, MOVE.  Stop going to or supporting in any way heterodox parishes.  Most of all, stop giving them your money.  Find an orthodox parish and go there.  It’s infinitely more important for you to go to a faithful parish than it is to “be loyal” to your neighborhood/town parish.  The latter is a fool’s game.  And, no, we don’t go to Mass or to a parish to “witness” to others- we go there to get holy and get saved.  It is the job of the priest to lead us in sanctification.

If you want change, stop going to the bad parishes.  If the whole diocese is bad, pick out the least worst one you can find and assist at Mass there, but send your money to an orthodox religious order like the Benedictines of Norcia or our good Carmelites here locally.  Stop sending money.  Attendance is one thing, but if you want to see change, stop sending in money – make sure you let them know why.  This is the one way to effect change the laity have – and not the pseudo-change of playing priest that’s developed since Vatican II – real change.

Christmas Eve rant concluded.


1. Colleen Hammond - December 23, 2011

Oops, I call myself Catholic….do I need permission from our Bishop to say that? This just sounds silly to me…

tantamergo - December 24, 2011

It is silly. But it’s mostly about control – the “permission” to use the term Catholic had a huge string attached – diocesan editorial control over RCTV productions.

That would make them as impotent as a Nevada gaming commissioner, or EWTN.

2. KathiBee - December 24, 2011
3. Janet O'Connor - December 24, 2011

This kind of stuff reminds me of the way in which many men in the seminaries were blackballed or turned away because they were said to be “too Catholic” How in the world can someone anyone be “too Catholic”? Either you are one or you are not. This kind of doublespeak by certain elements in the establishment Church almost has a sarcastic element to it. It does not involve the Archdiocese of Detroit he is under Kevin Rhodes the Archbishop of South Bend. May the Archbishop needs to worry about Elephant in the room and others including the diocese newspaper which is full of Heterodoxy among other things. Quit being hypocritical and clean up your own backyard first. I for one am sick and tired of this kind of one sided persecution of important Church people, they are having to do what the bishops themselves won’t do and teach the truths of the Faith.

4. Terry Carroll - December 25, 2011

And a Merry Christmas to you, too!

I recommend taking it a step further and not giving money to the diocese, either. Why send money to support Directors of Liturgy or Religious Education and all the other nonsense that a diocese enables? Why even support local Catholic Charities when, they, too are just as guilty as organizations funded by the CCHD and compromise their Catholic identity in response to government funding?

It is a Precept of the Church to support the Church financially as best we can. That doesn’t mean being played for suckers. As a generalization, diocesan and parish requests for money can no longer be trusted to be in the best interests of the Church, ourselves, or the world. This is unfortunate, but God doesn’t ask us to “get along” with much less “support” those who work directly against His Kingdom.

I give lots of money to the Church. I’m just very selective and discerning about it. I’m blessed to not have to question anything encouraged by my current parish. But I don’t trust the diocese, or the USCCB, and for good reasons.

Thanks for the rant! It gave me an excuse to do the same!

5. TerryE - December 26, 2011

I request tantamergo read the USCCB complementary norm to Canon 772-2 at the following link. I am interested in your response. I think obedience to our bishops when they properly use their authority is at issue.


I believe this norm could apply to web-based media.

tantamergo - December 26, 2011

Without going into too much detail, that is a huge part of this issue – which authority has competency for a web-based enterprise that is literally scattered around the country? As RCTV pointed out, the “owner,” to the extent there is one, is in Indiana. Their “product” resides on servers scattered all over – no one really knows where alot of their content is based. The content is produced in Detroit – to an extent. But not all production occurs in Detroit, and in terms of where it is “broadcast” from – the web servers – no one knows, and they likely change constantly.

I was privileged to read a very astute defense of RCTV written by a canon lawyer that tremendously undermined the Archdiocese of Detroit’s claims. There are people in the Church, outside the Archdiocese of Detroit but highly placed elsewhere, at the very center of power, who want the name to remain the same. The issue could be solved by changing the name to “Real Catholics TV,” apparently, but, as I said, there is reluctance to do this on several levels.

I don’t agree that the Diocese has competence to determine what is Catholic in their Diocese. Would that such competence would be used against the numerous heresiarchs and dissenters residing in almost every diocese, often in key positions, rather than in
Detroit. The Archdiocese has made plain they want to control the editorial content of RCTV. They would, if they were in the position to do so, put an end to the “embarrassing” statements made by RCTV (I know this because of background information I have seen that I cannot post). It may be that this is a test of faith, so to speak, which RCTV will accede to if forced, but I believe they will exhaust all canonical avenues before changing the name.

And if that comes to pass, there will be yet another thing for a bishop to, ah………..review……. at his particular judgment.

TerryE - December 27, 2011

Thank you, tantamergo, for your thoughts and opinion. I have a thought experiment. Let’s say we are in a diocese somewhere under the most perfectly orthodox Catholic bishop in the history of the world. And here also lives Michael Voris. He’s publicly speaking, under the auspices of some enterprise with the word “Catholic” in its name. Mr. Voris is saying the most wonderful Catholic things the world has ever heard. Yet, our perfect orthodox bishop tells Mr. Voris he must not use “Catholic” in advertising himself. I believe, in my experiment, that Mr. Voris imperils his soul by disobeying my perfect bishop. Unfortunately, real life is not so tidy. Some bishops are not so perfect (Nor is Michael Voris). Mr. Voris’ forum, the Internet, is everywhere. His media agent is not local to his diocese. Who has the final say? Who answers before God?

Encyclical Ad Sinarum Gentem
Pope Pius XII
“17. But–and it is absurd merely to think of it–by what right can men arbitrarily and diversely in different nations, interpret the gospel of Jesus Christ?
18. Bishops, who are the successors of the Apostles, and priests, who according to their proper office cooperate with the Bishops, have been charged with announcing and teaching that gospel which Jesus and His Apostles first announced and taught, and which this Holy See and all the Bishops united to it have preserved and transmitted pure and inviolate through the centuries.”

Terry Carroll - December 27, 2011

Let’s nuance this a bit.

Obedience, even to a Successor to the Apostles, is not absolute and does not extend to all things, particularly to activities of the laity. A priest, or a consecrated religious, has a different commitment to obedience to their superiors than any lay person does to almost anyone but God. The holiest bishop in the world could command Michael Voris to do penance of some particular kind, such as fasting on Tuesdays, and Michael Voris would not be obligated to obey. A priest can be told by his Ordinary to move to a different parish (or return to Amarillo, TX), and the priest must obey because of the promise of obedience accepted by the priest at his ordination. Appeals that Michael Voris should follow the example of St. Pio, a priest and consecrated religious, and be obedient to an unjust command of a superior, as St. Pio was when asked to stop saying Mass in public, stretch and confuse the understanding of obedience in different contexts.

Nothing in any code of law is obvious to any but those who have studied it deeply. “Thou shalt not kill” seems rather straightforward, but we know that it is not because self-defense, or military activities, make that commandment less than absolute. Canon 216, which is the only Canon mentioned in the less than legally binding press release from the Archdiocese of Detroit, says something that appears very straightforward: “Since they participate in the mission of the Church, all the Christian faithful have the right to promote or sustain apostolic action even by their own undertakings, according to their own state and condition. Nevertheless, no undertaking is to claim the name Catholic without the consent of competent ecclesiastical authority.” What is not at all straightforward is what, exactly, does it mean “to claim the name Catholic”?

All of us who are not canon lawyers are inclined to interpret this as if this is a law protecting a trademark, such as “Apple” or “Google.” Because of this presumed interpretation, The Archdiocese of Detroit can take advantage of common ignorance and wage a battle in the court of public opinion that they might lose in a court of canon law (Church Tribunal) because they are abusing the meaning of Canon Law as interpreted over time by Church courts and canon lawyers. “To claim the name Catholic” means more than identifying oneself in public as a Catholic. I am a baptized Catholic who has not been declared excommunicate. I and some friends might choose to evangelize tables at Denny’s every weekend, clearly identifying ourselves as Catholics but, until we misrepresent the Faith, we are not subject to ecclesiastical sanction because we are, individually and collectively, Catholics.

Nancy Pelosi, for example, has never been reprimanded or asked to stop identifying herself as a Catholic, only to stop misrepresenting the Faith. If she identifies herself as a Catholic and misrepresents the Faith, the Church has an obligation to demand that she stop because it scandalizes the faithful who might presume that what she is saying is Catholic teaching.

Canons 298 and following address something called “Associations of the Lay Faithful” and, to a non-professional like myself, it does not appear to be describing me and my friends choosing to evangelize at Denny’s on weekends. It is only when and if I and my friends presume or give the impression to others that we are evangelizing “in the name of” or “on behalf of” or “for” the Catholic Church that we run afoul of ecclesiastical guidelines. Michael Voris has never, anywhere, crossed the line into “claiming the name Catholic” in this more formal and serious sense as addressed in Canon Law. He is a Catholic working with other Catholics evangelizing in a larger setting than Denny’s on weekends.

Getting more specific and less theoretical, Michael Voris has had every request to meet with his bishop, face to face and without conditions, greeted not by rebuffs but by absolute silence. His bishop will not meet with him. The Archdiocese has issued canonical precepts concerning the issues mentioned in the press release, Michael has responded with expert assistance from canon lawyers that appears to refute the interpretation and application of Canon 216 alleged by the Archdiocese, and the ONLY response of the Archdiocese has been this most recent press release. There has been ZERO communication between the Archdiocese and Michael Voris in over six months. Michael wasn’t even alerted that this press release was coming but only learned about it like everyone else: through Fr. Z’s blog.

It is true that disobeying one’s lawful superiors, particularly if that lawful superior is a Successor to the Apostles, is sinful and jeopardizes one’s soul. It is not clear, however, that this particular instance is even a case of lawful COMMAND that REQUIRES obedience. It APPEARS so if one’s understanding of Canon Law is influenced by U.S. laws regarding trademarks. This case is far more complex than it appears to those who are not experienced canon lawyers. This is a canonical issue and should be resolved in a canonical setting, not in the court of public opinion.

tantamergo - December 27, 2011

YIKES!! First of all, in my last comment, I meant to say “I don’t DISagree that the Diocese has competence to determine what is Catholic in their Diocese.” I did not intend to out myself as a heresiarch!

I think Terry Carroll addressed the specifics of the Voris case better than I could do. He has more than just a passing understanding of the situation.

Terry E, I don’t think I ever claimed that either Voris should not comply or that Archbishop Vigneron was acting outside his rights. I did say that I thought RCTV was being “punished,” if that is the right word, for making repeated statements that many in the episcopate may find embarrassing or uncomfortable. I also advised a way for laity who have deep concerns regarding the activities ongoing in their local portion of the Church to possibly affect change.

I don’t know if Archbishop Vigneron is acting within his rights. As I related before, I’ve seen a pretty thorough deconstruction of the Archdiocese’s claims from an experienced canon lawyer. RCTV has tried to engage with the Archdiocese but has met with stone cold silence. I’m not certain the limits of the authority a bishop can have on the evangelizing activities of a Catholic. This case, should it advance in tribunal, could be a test case of sorts.

Let me put it this way – and I’ve said this before on this blog several times. If Bishop Farrell commanded me to stop blogging on the Church or in totality I would obey. But that’s just my personal situation – I don’t have the resources to engage a canon lawyer and my apostolate, such as it is, is so small and trivial that it’s not worth the fight or whatever risk may be involved. But RCTV is much larger, has more resources, and is obviously having a much bigger impact. It may be worth fighting over. But I’d shut down my blog even if it had a larger readership/impact. I’ve always held that if it ever came to that it was probably time to shut it down on basic principles.

As to whether it puts the immortal souls of those involved at stake, I pray not. There is no question of heresy or incorrect teaching of Doctrine. At question is whether a local ordinary has the right to tell a lay Catholic how they may use the name Catholic in an evangelizing enterprise. RCTV may feel that it is worth the risk – at all levels – to have recourse to whatever canonical avenues are available to them before capitulating – if they do so.

I feel that you’re trying to tease out of me that lay Catholics owe an absolute or near absolute fealty to their ordinary. I don’t believe that is the case. Sadly, ordinaries going heretic helped split 1/3 of the Church away during the protestant revolt. If my local ordinary becomes an Arian and denies the Divinity of Christ, then I don’t think he can “force us” to obey. But in the past, ordinaries doing exactly that helped tremendously in taking Sweden, England, Scotland, Denmark, most of Germany, almost all the east, etc., out of the Church. Certainly a local ordinary cannot command one to sin. Can an ordinary command one to violate their conscience? What if RCTV feels “conscience-bound” to keep the name “Catholic?”

Even if the Archdiocese of Detroit is acting completely within their rights, their action can still be unjust and drawn from bad motivations. I’m not well versed enough in canon law to know whether RCTV can be forced to stop using the word Catholic in their name. But even if canon law is entirely on the bishop’s side, that does not mean his actions are above reproach. I can think of several local instances where canon law has been abused to persecute faithful Catholics, including priests. For instance, threatening punishment if a priest were to exercise his right to offer Mass Ad Orientem with either the Novus Ordo or TLM. That situation is ongoing right now.

But, I’m always willing to learn. I note with regularity that, being a convert from protestantism, I seem to perhaps lack some instincts cradle Catholics have regarding authority. I may not have that quite as quick a recourse to obedience. But, then again, I look around and see things going on in this Diocese and many others and wonder how some faithful Catholics just seem to pass on by without comment. God forbid that I am thus placing my soul in jeopardy. I pray that is not the case. I’m trying to embrace this simple yet very difficult to practice Faith as best I can. It is not beyond the realm of possibility that I am in error.

A book in the combox!

Thanks for the comment and expanding on this difficult subject.

6. Mary - December 27, 2011

If all bishops and priests followed the pope and the teachings of the Church, it would be easier to assume they had the interest of the Catholic Church at heart. But too many are allowing teachings in their diocese contrary to the Faith (Sr Rupp publicly expressed her blatant dislike of the pope, others push for women priests, others support politicians who support abortion, and others who allow gay activities in their parishes, just to name a few).

Judas betrayed Jesus; if 1/12 of all bishops (5100) is a Judas (425), we must be watchful.

This is such a difficult thing – Jesus says to go out and proclaim the gospel, which Mr Voris is trying to do, but they want him, and us, to SHUT UP. And others are invited in to teach false teachings…

7. Terry Carroll - December 28, 2011

It might not be obvious, but *I* thought I was responding to TerryE, not “tantamergo.” I wasn’t trying to tease anything out of you at all, but maybe I was TerryE. S/he has brought some important documents and texts to the discussion, as well as invitations to obedience. I was just trying to add some nuance to the black and white invitations to obedience.

tantamergo - December 28, 2011

I was replying to Terry E, but from my blog dashboard, which may not thread the comments right.

We have two Terrys! I will always address you as Terry C or Terry Carroll or even Mr. C unless you tell me not to.

8. Rick DeLano - December 28, 2011

Robert Sungenis was the test case here, and he decided to obey his bishop, even in the face of what was arguably a monumental injustice.

This is what Michael Voris must do also.

It is what we must do since we are Catholic, and we must set the example.

May I suggest “RealEcclesiaTV”?

9. Rick DeLano - December 28, 2011

Ooooo better yet:


Let the abbreviation serve to remind those responsible for this outrage that we will obey because we are Catholic, but we will not forget.

10. John F. DiStefano - December 28, 2011

I am really tired of frequent Theological/Church practice dialogues like some of the above copping out to the “I’m not at liberty to say” baloney.
When did the Lord teach us that information, which might be salient to our salvation or understanding, was privileged.
I think this smacks of the secret society mentality which is so un-Christlike.

tantamergo - December 29, 2011

Legal communications, including canon law communications, are frequently privileged. It’s just something we have to deal with at times. I can’t tip RCTVs or the Archdiocese’s hand based on confidential things I’ve seen.

tantamergo - December 29, 2011

Legal communications, including canon law communications, are frequently privileged. It’s just something we have to deal with at times. I can’t tip RCTVs or the Archdiocese’s hand based on confidential things I’ve seen.

11. TerryE - December 30, 2011

Thanks for your input, Terry Carroll. tantamergo, relax, I am not trying to tease any type of statement out of you. And thanks again for further comments. I find all of it informative and interesting. I am not completely sure what to think, as this seems complex, and I am trying to clarify aspects of the issue for myself. I do not think a bishop can tell me when and how to brush my teeth, or give me an unreasonable command to obey. But I do think he “owns the Catholic brand” in his diocese. I’ve heard from good priests that he has the right and duty to tell every Catholic and non-Catholic in his territory how to live morally too, but that’s another subject. I do think Pius XII’s words in Ad Sinarum Gentem should be given serious thought. I don’t believe that means that bishops can go around telling people to stop calling themselves Catholic. However, if someone is making money throwing around the Catholic moniker, his or her bishop’s word might have some weight. That doesn’t apply to Michael Voris. He markets himself as “Michael Voris”. And I sympathize with his seemingly unjust treatment by his diocese. But his media agent markets itself as “RealCatholicTV”. That is where I see the problem. That entity needs to pick another name for itself. Since the Internet is world-wide, maybe the Pope is the appropriate arbiter.

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