More canonical stuff on Archd. Detroit v Voris (Real Catholic TV)

The Canonical Defender, Prof Ed Peters, has more to say about Archd. Detroit v. Voris (and “Catholic”).

He gets into a question I raised HERE.

He doesn’t have a combox.  Do visit his blog and spike his stats.

A few more things to keep in mind about the AOD and Voris/RCTV
by Dr. Edward Peters

Further to my first posting on this matter, and with the same provisos, I offer a few words on two aspects of the Voris/RCTV situation generating many questions. [Including my own.]

A) The AOD, some claim, does not have jurisdiction over Voris/RCTV.

1. Jurisdiction is a quintessentially canonical issue (!), but I have yet to see the “lack of jurisdiction” claim being made by anyone who knows how canon law actually determines jurisdiction over persons and projects. As a blog is not the place for me to attempt a pre-emptive tutorial on canonical jurisdiction, I’ll just say that, to the extent that jurisdiction is or might be an issue in this matter, I believe the AOD to be on firm ground.

2. I can add, though, that the “lack of jurisdiction” claim implies that the AOD needed “jurisdiction” to state that it “does not regard [Voris/RCTV] as being authorized to use the word ‘Catholic’ to identify or promote their public activities (Dec 2011)” or that “the catechetical presentations and the interpretations of Catholic teachings or positions presented by St. Michael’s Media and/or RealCatholicTV—be they audio, video, or exclusively Web-based—cannot be approved or endorsed by the archdiocese at this time (Oct 2008).”

Since when, I ask, does the AOD need “jurisdiction” to reply to inquiries made to it by third-parties regarding Voris/RCTV or to anticipate the need to respond to more such inquiries in the future? Are the pervasive claims by Voris/RCTV that they are producing “Real Catholic TV”, and running a “Catholic Investigative Agency”, and publishing the “Catholic Critic”, etc., immune from any reply by the ecclesiastical institution headquartered just a few miles from the Voris/RCTV facilities and directly responsible for the identity and mission of the Catholic Church in this region?

B) What about every other use of the word ‘Catholic’ out there?

The question rests on a multitude of scenarios, of course, and I can’t address them all, but here are a few preliminary points.

1. Like her Founder, the Catholic Church has precious few “tools” with which to carry on her mission, but among those tools is her very name, Catholic. True, Catholics in every land and in every age have misused the name “Catholic”—not always with evil intentions, of course, yet often enough with bad (sometimes, very bad) consequences for the Church. But, notwithstanding the frequency of such misappropriations of her name, the Catholic Church has the right to take whatever steps she can to protect her name from being appropriated by those who think they have the authority to wrap themselves up in it.

2. The canon law regarding use of the word “Catholic” binds Catholics regardless of the degree of protection accorded, or not, the word “Catholic” under civil law. The alternative view effectively holds that the Church may enforce only those canons that the State lets her enforce. Perish that thought.

3. The canon law on use of the word “Catholic” and on certain types of public activities carried on by Catholics is considerably broader and more complex than any descriptions I have yet seen accorded it in the blogosphere. Folks who look up a canon or two and purport to explain their meaning risk doing a disservice to both the law and the community that law is meant to serve.

4. People are basically correct, I think, to note that ecclesiastical efforts to protect the word “Catholic” have been deficient over the last several decades. They are incorrect to hold that nothing (or practically nothing) was done to protect the word “Catholic” during those years, and I invite them to do some basic research to see for themselves. And they are certainly wrong to imply that the regrettable failures of the past to protect the name “Catholic” from misappropriation effectively bars Church leadership today from acting to protect that name (as if the solution to the ills of past disregard for law were—of all things—continued disregard for law!)

5. An archdiocese, like any governing/serving organization, has limited resources (financial, personnel, etc.) with which to respond to a virtually unlimited number of situations, opportunities, and problems. The priority accorded any specific matter is, therefore, always a function of the prominence of the issue (itself to be assessed in different ways), the clarity of the potential resolution(s), the present availability of resources to address the issue, and so on. Assuming that the AOD is acting within its authority—and it is—those who assert that it should deal with X, Y, and Z before saying anything about Voris/RCTV are entitled to their opinion, of course, but, in the end, they can only be saying that the AOD’s list of priorities is not identical to theirs.I must repeat, this matter turns essentially on canon law, and will finally be decided not by webmasters or combox jockeys, [!] but by ecclesiastical officials acting in accord with the substantive and procedural provisions of canon law, provisions to which all parties in this matter have rightful access.

In the meantime, I hope that these posts will help defuse some of the more distracting chatter floating around out there.

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55 Responses to More canonical stuff on Archd. Detroit v Voris (Real Catholic TV)

  1. JohnE says:

    Dr Peter’s reasoning is sound. As far as the NCReporter, I think a reprimand should be a little more often than every 45 years.

  2. Scarltherr says:

    I wonder about this because I use rantingcatholicmom as my blog handle. I write anonymously, more or less, to avoid difficulties at the state university where I teach. I don’t mean to be usurping the name of the church, but Catholic is who I am. Can I legitimately use the word?

  3. Rellis says:

    The bottom line is that they chose to go after a conservative Catholic initiative, which is trying to be faithful to Church teaching.

    To argue that this was the first priority is absurd.

  4. I don’t think the point was over lacking jurisdiction to answer a statement as to the status of an apostolate, but rather to impose penalties in the event of failure to comply with a directive. The question, then, would seem to be one of domicile. I might use a Washington DC PO Box to operate an apostolate out of Arlington, Virginia, but can Archbishop Wuerl order me not to call it “Catholic,” or does that authority rest with Bishop Loverde?

  5. By the way, I’m under the impression that I can be a “combox junkie” and still ask these questions. I make no claim to be a canon lawyer, or an official of the Church. I don’t have to.

  6. vox borealis says:

    As usual, Prof. Peters’ stuff is excellent.

    I am certainly convinced that the AoD is in the right from a canonical perspective, and given the stunt that Voris pulled right before Christmas (and I like Voris for the most part), it’s not surprise that someone is gunning for him. I’m most interested to see how this all plays out. Voris is not, I think, a Corapi-in-waiting.

  7. Unconvincing. We are talking about selective enforcement here. Peters sets up a strawman argument: that those objecting to this selective enforcement are really just arguing that the “AOD” should continue doing nothing to enforce canon law. Meanwhile, auxiliary Bishop Thomas Gumbleton traipses around promoting Dignity (an organization opposing Catholic teaching on homosexuality).

    Disgusting, Mr. Peters.

  8. RobertK says:

    God Bless Michael Voris. A certain Archangel who shares the same name would be happy seeing a defender of the “Catholic” faith.

  9. Vox – what “stunt”?

  10. moon1234 says:

    I think Voris should just drop the word Catholic from his station. Just called it RCTV. Similar to how United Parcel Service is now UPS and Federal Express is now FedEx.

    The whole issue just paints the Church in a bad light.

    Would the diocese prefer to have SSPX-TV? I think I personally would. I would be guaranteed an alternative traditional viewpoint and there would be usurping of the word Universal, err Catholic, err Catholica. Does using the word “Catholic” apply to all it’s variants in all languages?

  11. moon1234 says:

    I meant to say there would be NO usurping….. We need an edit/delete comment function.

  12. vox borealis says:

    Diane,

    He ran a Vortex on December 22 called “Happy Holidays,” complaining about a Detroit parish that had displayed a Happy Holidays sign rather a Merry Christmas sign. I agreed with his take, especially when (he claimed) he made a phone call to the parish office to ask about it and was told that the sign was put up so as not to offend anyone. OK, good. But then he also published the phone number of he parish and basically encouraged everyone to call the parish to complain. Can you imagine so parish secretary or pastor getting swamped with angry calls a few days before Christmas?

    This being said, the initial Diocesan statement came out on December 15 (I think), before this particular Vortex episode, so perhaps it was not the trigger event.

  13. You know, that statement was dated the 15th, but no one noticed it until December 23. I have seen other documents uploaded well after the printed date there, so it’s possible that it went up on Friday, December 23.

    A classic Friday (and, in reality, year-ending) document dump. It was not on the homepage to my knowledge, but on the News and Publications page.

    The AoD followed up with another statement to explain it’s timing. They must have been flooded with calls.

    http://www.aodonline.org/AODOnline/News+++Publications+2203/Press+Releases+2303/2011+18610/RCTVStatement.htm

  14. wmeyer says:

    Interesting. I read that to mean that with respect to the Fishwrap, every diocese in North America has at least an interest in the use of the word Catholic by that scandal sheet.

  15. ray from mn says:

    I have had to suffer the slings and arrows of heretics, apostates, renegade priests and nuns and other dissidents, all professing to be Catholic for 50 years. All with few words of protest from bishops. And now somebody is going after Michael Voris for attempting to defend the Catholic Church?

    I think that some diocese, any diocese, should post an index of names of people who have requested the right to use the name “Catholic”, the requested name, the date of the request, and the decision of the diocese.

    I also think that some diocese, any diocese, should provide the document that requested of Catholics to apply for permission to use the name Catholic and the location of that document and the date it was made public.

    It kind of sounds like a Star Chamber where unknown laws are beginning to be enforced.

    It would also be of major interest to know just whose ox was gored, and why, in the Archdiocese of Detroit that raised this issue.

    Ray Marshall, Minneapolis
    Stella Borealis Catholic Roundtable.

  16. vox borealis says:

    Diane,

    Yeah, it is pretty interesting. I looked back through the AoD statements, and apparently Voris DID apply to the diocese way back in 2008, but was not granted the right to use the title “Catholic.” The AoD seems to claim they required additional info that Real Catholic TV never supplied (i.e., it’s Voris’ fault), or did they simply stonewall the application. Meanwhile—and again, I am generally a fan of Voris’—his current position that he is not bound by the AoD because RCTV is based in Indiana rings a little hollow, given that RCTV had previously applied to the AoD.

    It’s all veryyyy curious.

  17. Red Cardigan says:

    I find this situation interesting, even though I’m not a viewer of RCTV and know little about Mr. Voris. I wish that Dr. Peters would expand upon his third point, as written: “3. The canon law on use of the word “Catholic” and on certain types of public activities carried on by Catholics is considerably broader and more complex than any descriptions I have yet seen accorded it in the blogosphere. Folks who look up a canon or two and purport to explain their meaning risk doing a disservice to both the law and the community that law is meant to serve.”

    Given that the Church has the authority over the word “Catholic” and over what Dr. Peters calls “certain types of public activities,” to what extent do average lay Catholics have a responsibility or obligation to go to the sort of lengths described in earlier posts? For example, ought a Catholic mom submit, perhaps, her tiny blog which receives possibly a dozen daily hits and on which she chronicles her family’s life including what is often called the “domestic church” to the bishop for his approval before titling it something like “Catholic Mom at Home in Anytown?” Ought she, out of an abundance of caution, simply title the blog “Mom at Home in Anytown?” which would have the unfortunate side effect of hiding her Catholic identity? Or does the very fact that, regardless of the blog’s name, she might occasionally take part in some apostolic activity, such as exhorting her Catholic readers to remember a specific Holy Day of Obligation, mean that the bishop of her diocese has the right to order her to cease writing (at least on such topics) without specific and preceding ecclesial approval?

    I notice that Dr. Peters himself, whose blog does not contain the word “Catholic” in its title, posts the following disclaimer in a sidebar: “This blog represents my views only and does not necessarily reflect the positions of other individuals or institutions with whom I might be associated. I strive to present my opinions in a manner consistent with the values expressed in Canon 212 § 3, but final judgment on that rests with competent ecclesiastical authority. In commenting on current events, I draw only on reports made in publicly-available sources. Most translations of the 1983 Code are taken from the CLSA revised translation (1999), and all translations of the 1917 Code are mine.”

    Would a similar disclaimer “cover” most Catholic bloggers, writers, YouTube video producers, etc. in a canonical sense? Would they have to drop the word “Catholic” in any title as a precursor to posting the disclaimer, or would the disclaimer be enough for my fictional “Catholic Mom at Home in Anytown” scenario? If RealCatholicTV posted such a disclaimer at the beginning of each video, would that likely satisfy the archdiocese, or would they still have to call themselves “Real Followers of Christ and His One True Church Which We Can’t Name For Canonical Reasons TV” or something to be okay?

    Again, my interest is just academic–but this is really rather intricate and fascinating on many levels.

  18. Paul says:

    Liturgists destroying the liturgy, bishops with illegitimate children, millions in settlements for sex abuse, Mass attendance at an all time low, and this is the hill the good bishop decides to die on? I just don’t get it.

  19. (X)MCCLXIII says:

    Red Cardigan makes an interesting point

    “The canon law on use of the word “Catholic” and on certain types of public activities carried on by Catholics is [broad and complex]“

    If the law is tricky, and applies to all of us who publicly proclaim ourselves to be participating in some Catholic apostolate – even a blog – surely there’s an information gap that in justice needs to be filled?

  20. ContraMundum says:

    Since the problem is that the word “Catholic” appears in the name, it sounds as though he would be free and clear if he called it “Holy Rosary TV” — even though only Catholics say the Rosary.

    What exactly prevents such a “solution”? Pride? The expense of new business cards?

  21. Can someone pul-EEEEEZE point me to anything Peters says, that even remotely establishes Detroit’s jurisdiction over this, never mind responds to Voris’ claim that it does not. And none of this “it would take too long to explain” crap. If there’s an explanation, it can be boiled down for a bunch of … “combox junkies.” (I’ll be using that expression all year, I expect.)

  22. Robert_H says:

    MWBH: Combox jockeys, not junkies. Though there is probably considerable overlap in the two catagories.

    Fr Z, I think combox jockeys is begging for either a coffee mug or Vincenzo photoshop.

  23. ContraMundum says:

    How about Combox Junkers? (in either of the very different two senses in which that might be understood)

  24. Well, combox junkies could be people who enjoy the antics of combox jockeys. Or canon lawyers could just give somebody a straight answer (in my opinion) and we could all move on to something else.

    Like video games.

  25. Joshua08 says:

    It has been pointed out in both posts about Voris/AOD on this blog that Real Catholic TV is registered under Michael Voris in Michigan as an assumed name of Voris’ company Concept Communications, LLC, the last thread even including a link to the Michigan’s government’s paperwork on this. It has also been pointed out that the US bishops have issue particular law under Canon 773 stating anyone who presumes to regularly present matters of faith and morals over a broadcast needs prior permission from his own proper bishop or the bishop of the place from whence the broadcast is made.

    One can look up the combox in those previous posts for the links. I will assume “manwithblackhat” didn’t read those comboxes. But for Voris et al. it is very dubious the claims they make about jurisdiction. The long and the short is that Voris is doing this in the Archdiocese of Detroit. By the logic of many people here, Olmstead was out of his jurisdiction for threatening the Catholic status of that hospital that did an abortion…remember the claim, “but we are part of a network headquartered elsewhere”. While the issues with Voris are not the same, as far as the jurisdiction argument goes it is the same and is the same load of hockey. I live in one diocese, may I go preach heresy in another with impunity? Of course not.

    Further, what is consistently ignored by armchair bishops is that the archdiocese was ASKED about this and gave a reasonable and true response.

  26. …“combox junkies.” (I’ll be using that expression all year, I expect.)

    huh? gracious, who said that? My quip was about combox jockeys (not junkies), which I thought was kinda funny, even a bit self-deprecating, since I regularly make combox comments myself–which never settle anything of course. Oh well, I’m used to be criticized for stuff I never said. Part of the package, I guess. Best, edp.

  27. robtbrown says:

    I find the Peters arguments unconvincing.

    1. The issue here is not whether the AoD can give its opinion on RealCatholicTV, but rather it has the authority to order it to stop and impose penalties if there is no compliance.

    Further, to use a print example: NCR is published in KC. Now the ordinary of Lincoln can issue a statement saying that the NCR is not Catholic, but can the same ordinary prohibit the NCR from the use of the word?

    2. It is one thing to say an organization is not approved (or disapproved) by the hierarchy and shouldn’t use the word “Catholic”.

    On the other hand, the doctrine of the Church is not a proprietary product, nor does it strictly belong to the Catholic brand name. That is why doctrine is called Catholic or catholic. That is also why anyone can use the word “Catholic” when teaching it. In fact, it is possible to teach theology courses, as I have, without ever referring to the hierarchy–that does not make it less Catholic.

    For example, let’s say a catechism teacher in a Catholic high school says in class that Latin is the liturgical language of the Church. Does a priest or bishop have the authority to tell him to stop? I think not. The Church does not have the legal or moral authority to undo what is in fact true. (This was the essential mistake of the Montini papacy.)

  28. Johnno says:

    “”"5. An archdiocese, like any governing/serving organization, has limited resources (financial, personnel, etc.) with which to respond to a virtually unlimited number of situations, opportunities, and problems. The priority accorded any specific matter is, therefore, always a function of the prominence of the issue “”"

    - And this here is the VERY issue people are finding problematic! With all these limited resources and so many more concerning groups out there… they chose to go after an orthodox Catholic one that defends the faith?! Really??? Anyone can see something about all this is fishy!

    As to the issue of RealCatholicTV changing their name. Sure they could, but you’d have to realize that when one spends so long on this kind of branding for themselves it’ll be tough and even expensive to begin again. Besides which… the name is perfect, and straight to the point. Not just for Catholics, but also to significantly drive home the point to those outside the faith. The ‘matter of prominence’ on the issue here is that the Archdiocease is better off spending their limited time and resources, and the valuable time and hassle of canon lawyers, trying to stop openly heretical and immoral groups with the word ‘Catholic’ who are misleading everyone, instead of going after RealCatholicTV which is actually better at doing the job they ought to be doing from the sounds of it!

  29. Cathy says:

    Hmmmm, wondering about the impact and who may be next? Catholic Culture? Catholic Vote? Catholic and Enjoying It? I understand the what of the matter, protecting our Catholic identity. What I don’t understand is that there does not seem to be a legitimate argument against Real Catholic TV using the identifying title to mislead people in regards to the Catholic faith. In regards to the what of the matter, Catholic identity, I am just wondering what Real Catholic TV may have put out there that is identifiably against the Catholic faith that would warrant the public response of the AOD?

  30. johngeo says:

    Fr Z
    Some comment re most competent responses of Ed Peters on the Detroit fracas
    1] Peters has done an excellent canonical exegesis on the title “catholic” in canon law
    [I note the precarious situation of Peters in working in a seminary in Detroit Diocese ] It could be in his interest to throw the diocese and ordinary in a most favourable light.[However the expert witness could be compromised unwittingly of course]
    2] No doubt the chancery who signed the’ Voris monitum’ has as much right as any catholic to do a hermeneutic of canons related to use of title “catholic”
    3]However the ‘chancery statement’ stands as a’ censure of sorts’ from the Detroit chancery[when in fact the archdiocese has no canonical right to censure RCTV[in fact under canonical jurisdiction of another diocese of Indiana]
    4] Indiana ordinary is canonically’sui generis’ in his diocese[along with immediate universal jurisdiction of the pope] such is set in canonical concrete
    5]In short, while chancery has every right to enunciate canon law of ‘catholic’ title usage-the chancery has no authority to ‘censure’ with admonition a body in another diocese[it is poor canonical jurisprudence going far beyond some canonical group exegesis of canons on title 'catholic'[they illicitly invoke powers of censure that is at best' ultra vires' and at worst cowboy tactics out to get their man[canonical 'high noon'] pace Gary Cooper R.I.P.
    6] Did the ordinary approve the chancery ‘blitz’? doubt it not Arch Vigneron surely
    6] I have mentioned only briefly Archbishop Vigneron of Detroit as the’ Voris srtatement’ was a chancery ploy with no archiepiscopal signature-hence his Grace has not acted ‘ultra vires’
    but he may need to ‘censure’ his gung ho chancery ASAP

  31. “Oh well, I’m used to be criticized for stuff I never said. Part of the package, I guess. Best, edp.”

    That would be me, sir. I simply mistook “jockeys” for “junkies.” Then I made a joke out of my mistake. That was all.

    Of course, you are familiar with the challenge I have posed. I do not doubt your facility with the subject matter. All the more reason that I believe it can be stated simply enough, which is: how does the Archdiocese of Detroit claim jurisdiction, and therefore the power to impose any sanction, over an apostolate based in another jurisdiction? (This question is based upon Mr Voris’ claim. To my knowledge, it remains unanswered.)

    Thanks. DLA

  32. RichardT says:

    Prof. Peters’ comment is no doubt correct as far as it goes, but it seems (at least in this extract) to miss out the more interesting jurisdictional questions:

    1) Does the Archdiocese of Detroit have the jurisdiction to do more than comment on RCTV’s use of “Catholic”? Could it instruct them to cease to do so?

    2) What if another diocese gives approval for their use of ‘Catholic’ in the title, but Detroit disagrees? c216 refers to acting “without the consent of competent ecclesiastical authority”. Is it sufficient if any competent authority gives consent?

    Given the potential mixed jurisdictions (Voris’ location, the company’s legal seat, the company’s practical seat, the location of the broadcast equipment, etc.), there is scope for real jurisdictional conflicts between dioceses here.

    If one diocesan bishop decided to encourage Voris, could he set up a company in that diocese and operate under its authority, even when the broadcasts cover the whole country and he and the studio are physically located elsewhere?

  33. RichardT says:

    Joshua08 said (10:25 pm ):
    “It has also been pointed out that the US bishops have issue particular law under Canon 773 stating anyone who presumes to regularly present matters of faith and morals over a broadcast needs prior permission from his own proper bishop or the bishop of the place from whence the broadcast is made.”

    I assume that’s canon 772:
    §1. In the exercise of preaching, moreover, all are to observe the norms issued by the diocesan bishop.
    §2. In giving a radio or television talk on Christian doctrine, the prescripts established by the conference of bishops are to be observed.

    That’s very interesting, because it seems to conflict with canons 822-832 (on “Social Communication”) which (except for a few very restrictive circumstances – translations of scripture, books of liturgy or praers, or catechisms) don’t impose any requirement for approval on the laity before they publish.

  34. trad catholic mom says:

    “Liturgists destroying the liturgy, bishops with illegitimate children, millions in settlements for sex abuse, Mass attendance at an all time low, and this is the hill the good bishop decides to die on? I just don’t get it.”

    I couldn’t have said it better myself. It’s very telling IMO.

  35. tcreek says:

    I believe the really larger concern for real Catholics should not be if Real Catholic TV is promoting real Catholic truth but rather if we have real bishops who do so.

  36. Nonsense. The Detroit archdiocese has issued lots of condemnations and guidance the last few years, since the new archbishop came to town. Just because you haven’t noticed it, doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen.

  37. Anne 2 says:

    Although I have not seen all of the videos made by RealCatholicTV, I have seen many. I have not seen where RCTV has violated teachings in the “Catechism of the Catholic Church, Second Edition” which we and all Bishops are required to adhere to.
    So what is the real issue here? What teachings of the Church has RCTV violated?
    In addition, since RCTV is international and seen in many countries via the internet and incorporated in a State different from the broadcast State and local Diocese, does the AOD have any authority? It would seem that this would be an international Vatican issue. Again, I ask, what has RCTV done that is so terrible?
    Heretics and Schismatics should not be able to use the name “Catholic”, but RCTV does not fit into this category at all.

    Cardinal Ratzinger (Pope Benedict) has stated in “The Ratzinger Report” – “We must not forget that episcopal conferences have no theological basis, they do not belong to the structure of the Church, as willed by Christ, that cannot be eliminated; they have only a practical , concrete function.”
    “No episcopal conference, as such, has a teaching mission; its documents have no weight of their own save that of the consent given to them by the individual bishops.”
    and
    “conferences…can not validly act in the name of all the Bishops unless each and every bishop has given his consent…” (Canon 455 4&1)
    I’m not aware at the USCCB of any vote that included 100% of all US Bishops approval.

  38. Christine111 says:

    “I live in one diocese, may I go preach heresy in another with impunity?”

    RCTV is not preaching heresy, so your point is inapposite.

    Why doesn’t RCTV just change its name?

    In addition to the great inconvenience and cost of rebranding, maybe it’s also a matter of *justice*.

    Pray.

  39. ghlad says:

    It may be that since this is not at the top of Fr. Z’s blog (or Dr. Ed Peter’s blog In the Light of the Law), that nobody is still keeping tabs on this, but I did want to point out that it seems to me like many of the comjocks here and elsewhere are incorrectly projecting their anger onto Dr. Peters.

    Dr. Peters has clearly stated that he is attempting to take publicly-available information to make a superficial investigation into the canonical status of this disagreement. He is not agreeing with or disagreeing with the actions of the Archdiocese of Detroit as far as I can tell – merely pointing out that based on what he has been able to understand about this issue, canonical law supports the AoD of having the right to do what it has so far done.

    To all who are incredulous at the brazen selectiveness of the AoD to signal their intentions of initiating prosecution against Voris et al., this in no wise speaks at the veracity of their claim of jurisdiction, despite what most of us (who chuckle, roll our eyes, and ultimately agree with 95% of what Voris says) would wish. These two aspects (worthiness of the Diocese’s actions vs. legality of the Diocese’s actions) need to be separated precisely in the way that Dr. Peters has managed to separate them.

    To those who feel like Dr. Peters is “talking past them” when he says the issue is complex beyond how it has been handled in the blogosphere, remember that while emplyed by a client as a canon lawyer it is his responsibility to lay down a comprehensive legal foundation for his remarks, he is not required to do so for the sake of his commentary on his blog (investing so much time in his blog posts might very well be to the detriment of his actual employment considering the wide variety of issues which he comments on!)

    From what I know of Dr. Peters’ disposition regarding faith and morals (from reading his blog for years now) he is someone that I would very easily call an ally of the Church in the best sense of that word. Also note that Fr. Z did not hesitate to ask his own readership to support Dr. Peters’ blog by visiting his site.

    Finally, I hope that Voris is able to continue his good work without being suppressed (using that word as its generally understood, not in the canonical law sense of the word) by his local Chancery.

  40. Teresamerica says:

    I think the onus is on the AOD to prove or legitimize its accusation that “RealCatholicTV” isn’t in accordance with the Magisterium or isn’t truly Catholic. Why now? Voris has partnered with “realcatholictv” since 2008 so why is the archbishop in Detroit expressing his displeasure now? It doesn’t make sense. The bishop needs to stop wasting time on Voris and go after some real heretics or heterodox Catholics.

  41. Teresamerica says:

    If I was Voris I would start out doing segments on hospitals that claim to be Catholic while allowing certain procedures (grave morals) which violate the Magisterium and call out the bishops for not Shepherding their flock properly while also demanding that the name Catholic be removed from their title as well. I say fight fire with fire. Sorry but some of these bishops irk me to end.

  42. There is a difference between “projecting anger” and wanting a simple answer to a question. I would consider Dr Peters to be as qualified as any individual to wax eloquently on this subject, which is why I look to his blog for such answers. I don’t complain that the Archdiocese of Detroit has chosen to be selective in matters warranting its attention, as the Archbishop has the right to discern who is to be subject to his scrutiny or (and this is a separate issue) sanction, but ONLY within his realm. That such is the case has not been established here.

  43. johngeo says:

    a]May I add that if RCTV’S own ordinary had sent a statement that ” it has informed Mr. Voris and Real Catholic TV, RealCatholicTV.com, that it does not regard them as being authorized to use the word “Catholic” to identify or promote their public activities” such clearly would be a serious censure cum monitum/admonition and require immediate obedient submission?[someone suggested calling rctv, hrtv='holy rosary tv']
    b]that such a censure came not through RCTV ordinary but from another ordinary is utterly opposed to sui iuris integrity of rctv’s own diocese and normal interdiocesan jurisprudence
    c] In consequence a most serious apology is apt from the Detroit chancery both to Voris/RCTV and VORTEX’S ordinary for such canonical incompetence[indeed RCTV may seek legal redress[canonical and civil] with financial compo for harm to reputation by Detroit chancery].

  44. RichardT says:

    manwithblackhat, I’m a civil lawyer not a canon lawyer, so this may be completely wrong, but let me have a stab at it.

    There seem to be several jurisdictional matters.

    First, it seems that canon law requires Real Catholic Television (RCTV) to have permission to call itself Catholic, and it apparently hasn’t got that permission. As Prof. Peters has written, the Archdiocese of Detroit does not need any particular jurisdiction over RCTV to point this out. However it would need some sort of jurisdiction to actually do something about it.

    Second, it seems that Mr Voris is resident in the Archdiocese of Detroit and is doing his work for RCTV there. That gives the Archbishop of Detroit paternal episcopal jurisdiction over him.
    If Mr Voris is working (and in a very public manner) for a business whose canonical position seems to be improper, then surely the Archbishop of Detroit has the jurisdiction to tell Mr Voris to stop working for it until its canonical position is regularised (either by getting permission or by changing its name).

    Doing that would not require the Archdiocese of Detroit to have jurisdiction over RCTV, just over Mr Voris.

    (I don’t know if the Archdiocese of Detroit has actually done that, but if it did I can’t see why it wouldn’t have the authority to do so)

    Third, and this is where we go down an interesting road along which Prof. Peters has so far decided not to tread (at least in public), what happens if some other bishop, of another diocese, gives RCTV permission to use ‘Catholic’ in its title?

    At that point RCTV would be in conformity with canon 216, so the Archdiocese of Detroit can’t use that to tell Mr Voris not to work for them. It would need to find some other canon, and since the laity generally no longer need prior permission before publishing, and assuming Mr Voris does not broadcast anything that is contrary to Catholic faith and morals, I suspect they would have difficulty in stopping him.

    The jurisdictional issue then is which bishop(s) could grant permission to RCTV to call itself ‘Catholic’? Is it any of them? Or the diocese where its broadcasts are produced? Or the diocese from which it is broadcasting (which may be different)? Or the diocese in which the company is registered? Or the diocese where the company’s senior management are based? That’s when things get really interesting, if the Archdiocese of Detroit does not give it permission to call itself Catholic but some other bishop does, and we get a jurisdictional conflict.

    Before anyone starts ranting, I’m not commenting on whether the Archdiocese of Detroit has acted wisely, or pastorally, or ought to question other organizations before bothering Mr Voris. I am merely trying to look at the legal position.

  45. RichardT says:

    And if I’m correct about the above, then it gets interesting.

    It has been said that the National Catholic Reporter does not have approval to call itself ‘Catholic’.

    If that is correct, then presumably any bishop could instruct the people of his diocese not to write for it until it has either obtained permission or changed its name.

  46. johngeo says:

    for our civil lawyer
    1. There is no evidence that the rtcv diocese has not given permission for ‘catholic’;if not explicit then there is tacit permission in not refusing the title[thus negating outside bishops from interfering
    [in canonical/moral doubt 'dubium legis et dubium facti non obligant=solid canonico- moral principles'] in fact silentium clamat as Cicero claimed in court re defense
    2.The statement from chancery[not signed by archbishop but mere underling cowboys,is invalidated by being aimed at voris who is not responsible for catholic title;jn fact rctv is in another diocese altogether[ the business itself under mr bramming not mr voris[ duuur chancery cowboys]
    3] the rescript statement from chancery had it come from rctv diocese has all the intrinsic and extrinsic earmarks of a grave refusal of permission thus those earmarks indicate that, usage of that statement/rescript, by chancery cowboys, was utterly ultra vires and potentialy damaging of rctv reputation calling thus for canonical and civil redress asap plus a public apology to rctv;to rctv bishop;to mr bramming and especially to mr Voris[he does not run rctv in detroit archdiocese but there is a sister business entity under title of st micharl in detroit archdiocese but it hasnt the title 'catholic' Such apology should be swift and asap for sake of Detroit archdiocese for if rctv goes legal the extensive time under a canonical cloud computes into financial compensation for damaged reputation though the potential for damage is sufficient for suing for damages
    4]It must be underlined that the rescript/statement was no mere canonical hermenrutic of title ‘catholic’ but [as i have shown more than once] stands as a menacing bit of disciplining demanding obedience[the rescript attracts the aura of admonition coming from a chancery than if posted by any old roman catholic to voris c/- rctv
    5]in short the chancery has shot themselves in the tootsies with a scud missile let chancery come out with hands high
    ps the aod has not demanded voris not to work for rctv on grounds of ‘title’ that would involve civil and canonical collateral not wished for by aod-

    [I welcome comments, but how about some helpful orthography and proofing? Thanks!]

  47. RichardT and johngeo:

    FWIW, Mr Voris has made a public statement on the matter. He was the one who said that the Archdiocese was acting outside of its jurisdiction. Further, he has also stated that the Archdiocese refused to meet with him. He would know enough to know that introducing a formal canonical appeal would be enough to require their attention. Short of formally invoking the threat of penalty, I’m not sure how obliged he is to stop doing anything.

    By the way, folks, Voris said that a statement of some kind (video, I think) was to come out right after Christmas. Looked for it, couldn’t find it. Anybody else?

  48. digdigby says:

    Do they really want to open this particular ‘can of worms’ – they who have a warehouse full of canned worms with ‘Catholic’ on the label.

  49. johngeo says:

    Aod chancery not can of worms rather bag of monkeys

  50. Christine111 says:

    “If Mr Voris is working (and in a very public manner) for a business whose canonical position seems to be improper, then surely the Archbishop of Detroit has the jurisdiction to tell Mr Voris to stop working for it…”

    No, he doesn’t. The laity are not an extension of the clergy. RCTV operates on private property, and is a private operation; the archdiocese has no authority whatsoever to tell Mr. Voris to stop working for RCTV. Even if he were to spout heresy (which he does not), the archdiocese would still not have any authority to tell him to stop; all it can do is disclaim any ties to RCTV, and pray for him.

    All this speculation is a waste of time, and much of it is probably wrong. How about we pray that truth would prevail in the matter, and let the canon lawyers sort it all out?

  51. Richard W Comerford says:

    “let the canon lawyers sort it all out?”

    Maybe. Maybe not. There is no case (as yet) before a Church Court for the Church lawyers & Judges to sort out. And Church Judges & lawyers are not infallible.

    Joan of Arc was literally burned at the stake by the Canon Layers of her day.

    St John of the Cross was imprisoned and flogged weekly by his lawful Carmelite superiors advised by the Canon Lawyers of their day.

    In 1313 the Canon Lawyers of that day burned the last Templar Grand Master & his Prefect for Normandy as relapsed heretics.

    And of course Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ was tried & condemned by the Canon Layers (the Scribes & Pharacies) of His day.

    Perhaps what is needed is a courageous Good Shepherd to sort this one out?

    God bless

    Richard W Comerford

  52. father john george[aka johngeo] says:

    Corrigenda remy last post
    ‘diocese of Fort Worth’ should read ‘Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend in Indiana’
    ‘Mr bramming’ should read ‘Mr Brammer’

  53. RCC Advocate says:

    I have been following this link posted both at CAF and several blogs to watch for deveopments in this matter. Today’s excerpt from TheCuriousCatholic is very, very interesting, for the author has posted a video in response to Voris’s Vortex statement re the AOD, calling for Prayer in Detroit. http://thecuriouscatholic.blogspot.com/
    (Someone asked about the statement earlier in the comments. Voris’s video link is there, as well.)

    Many of us are concerned to learn the truth. I am inclined to believe this blogger, since he has posted authentic data that is irrefutable. It looks as though more will be forthcoming. His partner offered further undeniable information in comment #10, for which I am also grateful.

    FWIW, I’m deeply disturbed with the deplorable comments concerning the AOD. It doesn’t appear to me that these come from REAL Catholics.

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  55. Thanks for the link to our blog, I want to leave a link directly to YouTube also: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1sDlzdknd9U

    Fr. Z says this at the top of the page: ” we try to point our discussions back to what it is to be Catholic in this increasingly difficult age, to love God, and how to get to heaven.”

    Saint Francis emphasized that we should not become angry on account of another’s sin. I think we all do this (I do) and I think Voris is famous for it and I think we can all get too invested in defending whatever we see as something being attacked instead pf what we need to do for personal holiness. It’s why we have Bishops to be obedient to, and we don’t get to decide anyone else is more or less Catholic. Not our job. Not mine, not Mr. Voris.’ Maybe it’s Fr. Z’s job.