APNews: “Catholic bloggers aim to purge dissenters”

From Townhall comes this:

Catholic bloggers aim to purge dissenters


Pressure is on to change the Roman Catholic Church in America, but it’s not coming from the usual liberal suspects. A new breed of theological conservatives has taken to blogs and YouTube to say the church isn’t Catholic enough.

Enraged by dissent that they believe has gone unchecked for decades, and unafraid to say so in the starkest language, these activists are naming names and unsettling the church[Based on the word choices, what do you think is the writer’s take on this?]

_ In the Archdiocese of Boston, parishioners are dissecting the work of a top adviser to the cardinal for any hint of Marxist influence.

_ Bloggers are combing through campaign finance records to expose staff of Catholic agencies who donate to politicians who support abortion rights.

_ RealCatholicTV.com, working from studios in suburban Detroit, is hunting for “traitorous” [Again, I wonder what the writer’s take is.  Do you think the writer is trying to connect this to the eeeeeevilllll of “McCarthy-ism”?] nuns, priests or bishops throughout the American church.

“We’re no more engaged in a witch hunt than a doctor excising a cancer is engaged in a witch hunt,” said Michael Voris of RealCatholicTV.com and St. Michael’s Media. “We’re just shining a spotlight on people who are Catholics who do not live the faith.”

John Allen, Vatican analyst for the National Catholic Reporter, has dubbed this trend “Taliban Catholicism.” But he says it’s not a strictly conservative phenomenon _ liberals can fit the mindset, too, Allen says. Some left-leaning Catholics are outraged by any exercise of church authority.

Yet on the Internet and in the church, conservatives are having the bigger impact.

Among Voris’ many media ventures is the CIA _ the Catholic Investigative Agency _ a program from RealCatholicTV to “bring to light the dark deeds of evil Catholics-in-name-only, who are hijacking the Church for their own ends, not the ends of Christ.”


Catholic officials are struggling to come to terms with the bloggers and have organized several recent media conferences on the topic, the latest at the Vatican this month. The U.S. bishops’ conference issued social media guidelines in July calling for Christian charity online.

Still, no one expects the Catholic blogosphere to change tone anytime soon. Many of the conservatives most active online had spent years raising the alarm about dissent on their own in their local dioceses without much effect. Now, they feel they are finally being heard online.

There’s a general sense among many faithful Catholics that no matter how much they write their bishops, no matter how much they go to the pastors, all of these unfaithful things keep getting taught,” Voris said. “I think enough Catholics are saying, ‘That’s it. I’ve had it.‘”

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. B flat says:

    Your comments are fair enough, Father. However, the last paragraph which you emphasise, shows that the author has perceived the new empowerment in the blogosphere that the hitherto ignored and disenfranchized lay Catholic has felt since the heady days of “aggiornamento”!

  2. teaguytom says:

    You could cut all of the AP witchhunt fluff out, and just copy down the last paragraph. The media and their liberal promoters are probably hoping Rome will have a “fairness dogma” that will monitor the blogs like Congress tried to do to the radio for fairness.

  3. sejoga says:

    It’s funny. There are times that even I can find the traditional Catholic blogosphere a little off-putting, such as when Catholic bloggers veer a little too much into politics that I think has more to do with Republicanism than with Catholicism (and I say this as a registered Republican), but I suspect that that’s really the only reason this writer just reactively dismisses traditional Catholics out-of-hand. The AP is one of those organizations that only sees the Catholic Church as a social fraternity that constitutes a large voting bloc, so it’s no wonder that they lump the entire “right-wing” Catholic blogosphere as “activists” thirsting for blood, instead of understanding that it has much more to do with liturgy, piety, morals, and doctrinal orthodoxy.

    I’m not always the biggest fan of Michael Voris, for example, but as someone who lurks around the traditional Catholic online community, I’d rather look to someone like him, who has taken an occasionally questionable stance on a social or political issue but is otherwise orthodox and fervently so, than to look to someone like the more progressive Catholics who are usually dead wrong on social and political issues and only superficially committed (or even outright dissident) to any real aspect of Catholicism.

    Indeed, since the AP’s report seems to be focused on the “tone” of the discussion, I can say I’d rather deal with the condescension of our dear Fr. Z raking the Magisterium of Nuns over the coals, than to read Rocco Palmo’s little rant on how wearing mantillas to mass is morally equivalent to wearing LGBT rainbow sashes to protest mass (cf. this).

  4. catholicmidwest says:

    “Yet on the Internet and in the church, conservatives are having the bigger impact.”

    Being able to think coherently and then speak what you think in complete sentences does have its rewards. This is as it should be. Next?

  5. Oh no!! Not *Gasp!* orthodox Catholics speaking their minds!!

  6. On a completely unrelated note:

    Father!! I’m laughing so hard I can’t talk! I’m babbling to my husband while pointing hopelessly at the first item on your Amazon.com wish list: the **heated birdbath** !!!

    I can’t take it. That’s great! If I had $80 I’d buy it for you even as I’m roaring with laughter. I’ve never seen anything like that before hah!! Lucky birds.

  7. Johnny Domer says:

    The “harshness/lack of charity of Catholic blogs” is the standard canard for people who 1. don’t actually read Catholic blogs very much but 2. dislike them because of their criticism of liberal Catholics. I know that most of the more popular Catholic blogs (Fr. Z, Fr. Finnigan, NLM, American Papist, Curt Jester, Rorate-Caeli, Amy Welborn, Mark Shea, Creative Minority Report) are hardly the homes of foaming-at-the-mouth wackos. Yeah, they have opinions, and they frequently have strong ones, but I hardly think any of the bloggers in that list engage in truly uncharitable or unfair vendettas or hit pieces against liberals. Michael Voris is probably harder-hitting than most of the major bloggers (I think, for the most part, in a very good way), but he’s just one fish in the pond. The reporter probably should have maybe (ahem) READ some of the other blogs before writing about all of them based solely on Michael Voris.

    Also, it’s silly to say that blogs are unduly “harsh” or “uncharitable” because of commenters, which is a frequent liberal argument. I think Rorate Caeli is a good blog with frequently idiotic commenters; that doesn’t mean Rorate is an “uncharitable, unduly harsh” blog. Any blog that allows commenters is, by nature, open to every moron with a bad attitude and a laptop; it’s simply the way the internet works.

  8. catholicmidwest says:

    Oh please! Liberals yell about love, love, love, but they hate everyone and are constantly trying to control everyone. Thus this complaint. Give me a break.

    I’m a blogger and an occasional blog commenter so I guess this is supposed to apply to me and “my ilk.” The columnists on AP say what they want; I can say what I want. It’s still a free country last I checked. If anyone, the least of whom is sappy old AP, doesn’t like it, they should put it where the sun doesn’t shine and have a nice life. It’s as simple as that.

  9. Capt. Morgan says:

    Showing that God can use anything to bring about good, the internet has allowed conservative Catholics a voice that did not exist for many years since Vatican II. I write of my own experience, but I know I have found many answers and information as to what has happened to our faith over the past fourty years. I have also found that many other Faithfull feel the same as I do. Information that does not show up in the bulletin or the Dioceses newspaper can be found on the pages of many blogs and forums. While one must use a discerning spirit to extract opinion from truth, vast amounts of information that the average Pew Sitter might never know is now at our finger tips. And as more Faithful are made aware of the facts of how, where and why our faith has changed, they are becoming more vocal for a return to the Tradition and Sacredness of Our Liturgy and Our Faith. I believe Our Bishops are becoming concerned because we now know what they know and knowledge is powerful when we see a lack of response to scandal and heresy from those who are responsible for protecting the Faithful.
    If the writer of the AP article is surprised as to the “harsh” response on some blogs, he does not understand how valuable our Faith is and why we feel obliged to defend it. For over fourty years we have see very few stand up and defend our Faith, or challenge those who would tear down the Catholic Church. That time is now past, Thank God.
    I agree with H.E. Bishop Neinstedt, “I believe that it’s important that if you’re going to be Catholic, that you have to be 100% Catholic.” The time for luke warm Catholics is over.

  10. ray from mn says:

    The Catholic Blog Directory states that as October 23 that they had listed 2,206 Catholic blogs. Probably an equal number has probably never registered with them. But let’s say there are 10,000 Catholic blogs.

    A minuscule number of them are engaged in hunting down heretics. More of them, but still a very tiny minority of all Catholic blogs, are engaged in pointing out spoilers of the music, liturgy, art and architecture of the Catholic Church. They do this for free. The highly paid critics for the AP (and, of course, of the New York Times) do this for secular literature, music and culture and the arts.

    The AP’s problem is that many examples of problems have been found out in the Catholic Church and they aren’t happy about it even though nothing more can be done by the accusers than call attention to the problem. They are supposed to be neutral in covering the news, but apparently they approve of innovations and experimentation in a Church to which few of their members belong. And it sticks in their craw that some of those blogs are very popular.

    It’s more of a problem for me as to how the AP, and so much of the press, has turned its back on democracy when people don’t agree with them.

  11. capchoirgirl says:

    Wow. I’m really not sure how you can compare the mantilla to the rainbow sash, since one is an exercise in traditional piety, and one is the complete opposite of traditional piety and demonstrates a flagrant disregard for what the church believes, but whatever…
    My opinion of that blog just went down about a 100 fold.

  12. lmgilbert says:

    Michael Voris, especially, could become a dangerous figure if he does not run out of money before very long.

    Every self-deputized heresiarch and schismatic down the ages thought, like Voris, that he was in the right, and probably had very good, legitimate reasons for opening his mouth in the assembly. Luther comes to mind. Didn’t he have good cause? Wasn’t the church of his time utterly corrupt? Yes, it was! And he was just the man to clean it up- or so he thought. He rent Christendom asunder. And he will answer for it. He did not set out to do that, but his words and deeds had an internal logic to them that carried him and his followers out of the Church.

    Once one imagines that he is in a position to critique the assistant pastor in the car on the way home from Sunday Mass, surely it is not a very large step to give voice to some trenchant wisdom about the bishop at the dinner table, and so one ascends by degrees to a comprehensive understanding of what the Pope should have done and is not doing.

    It is ridiculous. It is a game for children.

    As Maritain put it, “There is no lack of laymen who with a smattering of theology give themselves out as if they were Fathers of the Church.”

    One can always make real, substantial contributions to the reform of the Church by quietly fasting and praying for priests, bishops and the pope. That would do real good (and more good), and risk no harm.

    As everyone knows, apostle comes from the Greek word for “sent.” The bishops, the successors of the apostles, are sent by Jesus Christ.

    Who sent Michael Voris?

  13. mike cliffson says:

    Quote: Bloggers are combing through campaign finance records to expose staff of Catholic agencies who donate to politicians who support abortion rights.Unquote
    True or not? If true, they’re doing badly what others have the responsabilty to do well.(and have?and are? ever will?)
    Individuals in Catholic agencies in USA, canada, uk have made the decision and not retracted until forced to to send money-from collection plates, in church, to proabortion organizations.
    This is stopping, but it seems it “just happened” by osmosis. Tracing people by whom they support IS horrible, but there’re a number of catholic charities I d like to be able to give money to with a clear conscience again.
    Otherwise, you don’t exactly have to “hunt” to know who is very publicly dissenting!
    I’m sure, than for lay bloggers etc to do anything, it is far more charitable to paternally or fraternally remonstrate with them – this is being done?
    “Purging” dissenters?” Unsettling” the church? Just when everything was going so well!

  14. catholicmidwest says:

    Segoja said, “The AP is one of those organizations that only sees the Catholic Church as a social fraternity that constitutes a large voting bloc, so it’s no wonder that they lump the entire “right-wing” Catholic blogosphere as “activists” thirsting for blood, instead of understanding that it has much more to do with liturgy, piety, morals, and doctrinal orthodoxy.”

    This is quite true for the most part. There is an anti-religion repugnance that modernists feel when talking about the Catholic church, and that drives some of this nonsense, I think. But some of it is also driven by the fact that they don’t understand our political behavior, wish they did, and wish even more, ever so much more, that they could “drive” it somehow with their nasty little public relations maneuvers that seem to work on non-Catholics so well.

    AP deserves a big Bronx cheer and our neglect on this topic. They don’t know what they’re talking about most of the time when it comes to religion in general, and believe it or not, that’s a good thing. It’s also a reason to ignore them royally on the topic. They are static, background noise, and a known quantity at this point.

  15. ckdexterhaven says:

    I am so thankful for the internet and the Catholic bloggers. I’m 40, and during my 20’s and 30’s, I attended Mass in a liberal diocese, and Mass seemed “weird”. I couldn’t put my finger on it, other than to say there wasn’t the proper reverence. Thanks to the Catholic blogs, especially Father Z, I have learned all of the catechism I missed during the 70’s.

    There are so many of us who are now learning that the “Spirit of Vatican II” wasn’t what it was supposed to be. I think we owe a debt of gratitude to Al Gore for inventing the internet. Also to Mother Angelica. She’s such a big part of this too.

  16. Tim Ferguson says:

    The shoe on the other foot experience is quite interesting, no? When liberal Catholics had solid control of the dominant media of the day (diocesan newspapers, rags like NCR, the few fleeting diocesan shows on cable access, et c.) you heard no clarion call for charity. Aspersions could be readily and easily cast on “rigid, preconciliar” priests, or lay people faithfully adhering to their devotional practices, and they were.

    Now that the orthodox faithful have an ability to have their voices broadcast, the USCCB calls out for charity in discourse. Where are their statements to Fr. McBrien? Fr. Greeley? the editorial staff of the NCR?

    Sorry, but loud voices on the internet, like Michael Voris, our own host, and so many others cannot be silenced by spurious charges of incivility. If a priest or a bishop is teaching heterodoxy, or permitting heterodoxy to flourish, sound him out. Charity sometimes requires the use of harsh terms, and always requires honesty in discourse.

  17. SonofMonica says:

    Tim: Point well made. Regarding the lack of statements about NCR, I frequently Tweet back to @CatholicNewsSvc (the USCCB’s news service) whenever they re-Tweet @NCROnline’s articles. Sometimes I’ll ask the person in charge of @CatholicNewsSvc’s Twitter account what business spokespersons for the bishops, as guardians of the Faith, have re-Tweeting articles by dissenters/heretics. All I get are snarky replies or no replies at all. One time, the @CatholicNewsSvc Twitter person responded to me that @NCROnline’s position couldn’t possibly constitute heresy, because if it did then Cardinal George would have disallowed @CatholicNewsSvc to re-Tweet them. As though Cardinal George were doing the the Tweeting or reading every article! It boggles the mind.

  18. Rich says:

    Like a child who is caught by his mates as not playing fair on the schoolyard: instead of fessing up, he pouts and calls the whistleblowers “meanies”.

  19. Maltese says:

    “_ RealCatholicTV.com, working from studios in suburban Detroit, is hunting for “traitorous” [Again, I wonder what the writer’s take is. Do you think the writer is trying to connect this to the eeeeeevilllll of “McCarthy-ism”?] nuns, priests or bishops throughout the American church.”

    McCarthy was actually a true Patriot, [Not to liberals, he wasn’t.] and a strong Catholic. Despite what his detractors say, he truly wanted to defend America against the evils of Communism.

  20. Tradster says:

    “Some left-leaning Catholics are outraged by any exercise of church authority.”

    With any luck, maybe they’ll lock themselves in their rooms and pout until they finally lose their pulses.

  21. Mike says:

    Last Sunday, I went to a TLM. This Sunday–happy, happy land with the NO crowd. I am sick of it–the latter that is.
    Our pastor is a silly, mawkish, liturgical train-wreck. No one goes to confession; 100% line up for Communion; the music is really sappy.

    We should purge, via blogs, so be it.

  22. Deo volente says:

    Is it possible that the writer is a parishioner of Our Lady of the Giant Puppets that the blog, “Acts Of The Apostasy” has parodied so well? Just askin’…

  23. spock says:

    Let’s just keep doing what we’re doing. This AP story is just a distraction. They keep appealing to the NCR. That is their de-facto standard.

    Need to watch where our money goes. That is a good way to help beat all of this silly nonsense. AP is irrelevant unless we make them relevant. They’re going to do what they will regardless.

  24. Vincentius says:

    Fr. Z:
    Would that you and your * fratres interetiarii *were around in the 60s!

    {I’m sure I speak for nearly all the readers who are old enough to be aware of what was going on in the immediate post-conciliar years and how isolated and powerless we (traditionalists) felt}

  25. markomalley says:

    Sister Mary Ann Walsh must have sent out one heck of a press release to get the AP to write this good an article. Wow. I am impressed! (/sarc)

  26. Patrick J. says:

    Sheep vs. Goats tonight saw the Sheep winning 4, Goats 2. Game two tomorrow night – where the Sheep are a 3-1 favorite. The league office is convening tomorrow AM to review some questionable tactics allegedly employed by the Sheep. Seems that there is concern the Sheep may be stealing signs, possibly employing high tech devices, though there is wide spread disagreement as to the actual rules being violated. The Goats are citing rules pertaining to using electronic equipment to steal signs. For their part, the Sheep have said while they have used some of the equipment they are being accused of, they are only using said equipment for the filming of games so as to study their opponents tendencies and not to steal signs. However, they do admit that if the signs are just too obvious, they should not be held accountable for so called ‘stealing’ of signs.

  27. Jordanes says:

    Mike said: Last Sunday, I went to a TLM. This Sunday–happy, happy land with the NO crowd. I am sick of it–the latter that is.

    I haven’t been able to take my family to a traditional Latin Mass in several weeks due to some financial difficulties that make driving longer distances impossible. Our home parish isn’t as bad as yours, but it’s bad enough . . . and today we didn’t even get a homily: instead, a layman gave a “talk” about “stewardship,” an egregious violation of liturgical law and blurring of the distinct roles and identities of clergy and laity.

  28. thesheepcat says:

    If I’m interpreting Rocco’s attempt to treat mantillas as comparable to rainbow sashes, it’s at best remarkably fatuous. However, it also dates back to 2005, when he would have been about 22 years old. Point out any current problems, sure, but let’s cut him a bit of slack for the sins of his youth. I for one generally appreciate his current tone.

  29. eulogos says:

    “Dates back to 2005”? As in, a couple of moments ago? I re-read the phrase a couple of times trying to make sense of it. Dates back to 1955, Dates back to 1975 maybe. But I think it really erodes the phrase to use “dates back” for just five years ago.

    But maybe that is because I am 60! And it is true that a young person can change a lot between 22 and 27. Whereas between 55 and 60, usually not much changes except the number of wrinkles.
    Which leads me to remind all you young folks that some of us older folks have never been bring on the guitars spirit of VII folks, ever. We just endured it all.

    Hi, Sheepcat!
    Susan Peterson

  30. Supertradmum says:

    It is really very simple. There are more literate and intelligent conservative Catholic bloggers and commentators than liberals ones, and why? Because more Catholics who are active and staying in the Church are conservative. The same, silly comments against conservatives has been raised against Mother Angelica and EWTN for years.

    Welcome to the real world, APnews.

  31. Mike says:

    Jordanes–I hope you are able to make it to more TLMs.

    Our parish is far from the worst, I know, but it’s far from acceptable. Yet the pastor has a lock on some many things. Prayer is our only recourse…and that’s cause for hope!

  32. TJerome says:

    AP = Anti-Papist

  33. benedictgal says:

    I am a relatively new blogger myself, having begun on October 15, 2010. However, the reason why I began my blog was because there is a dearth in liturgical formation in my own diocese (both among the faithful and among the clergy). While mine is not of the calbire of Fr. Z nor Fr. Finigan, there might be some niche for folks like me who love the liturgy and want to do what we can to preserve its integrity.

    During the homily that he preached in Glasgow, Scotland, the Holy Father challenged the faithful to assist the bishops in evangelizing. The internet is one such tool that we can use to do this.

    As far as “Catholic bloggers aim(ing) to purge dissenters”, I guess that I can fall under that category because I talk about “irregularities” in many of the liturgies in our diocese. It’s not so much that the sheep are attacking the shepherd, but, the shepherds need to be held accountable for what they do and for what they do not do.

  34. iudicame says:

    Perez DePalma?


  35. Sandra_in_Severn says:

    Heavens! The CATHOLICS want their church back, and the sky is falling and the oceans are rising and, and, …

    Where ever the Catholic sun doth shine, there’s always food and good red wine,
    at least I’ve always found it so, Benedicamus Domino!
    – Hilaire Belloc

    I recommend a good festive observance, with processions, banners and songs. If the internet and bloggers like our host Fr.Z has shown us:
    Deo Gratias

  36. John 6:54 says:

    If Bishops were better at being obident to the Catholic Magisterium and its teaching vs making the machine run there would be no need for the “Catholic Taliban”.

  37. TNCath says:

    It sounds like the blogs are doing a great job!

  38. I think the old phrase is: “If they aren’t shooting at you, you probably aren’t doing your job very well.”

  39. Thomist says:

    The tags “conservative’ and “liberal” etc., have no place in Catholic fidelity, no matter how often applied, and by whom. Keep them for politics.

    One assents to Catholic doctrine or doesn’t — the latter is a dissenter, the former a faithful Catholic.

  40. steve jones says:

    I am surprised that Father Z didn’t make a connection between the culture of the Catholic blogs and the Tea Party movement.

  41. Seraphic Spouse says:

    Um, who’s purging who?
    What is happening is that the purged, ex-purged, narrowly-escaped-purging and the don’t-want-to-be-purged are coming back swinging.

    It’s the Catholic Restoration, Part II.

  42. Seraphic Spouse says:

    By the way, the Catholic blogs are a worldwide movement, and outside the USA, they would have absolutely nothing to do with the Tea Party movement. Where did that come from?

  43. Esther says:

    Yes, Seraphic.

    This reminds me of one online experience I had where I was told that my opposition to gay “marriage” proved I was “someone who had never left America”. Technically that’s right – I have never left America because I have never entered America. I have lived in the UK all my life and been on holidays in France, Spain, Poland, Belgium and Germany, but I have never been to the US. But of course, I must be a “Tea Party nut” who has been “brainwashed by Fox”, because why else would I agree with the teaching of the universal Church? *sigh*

  44. Scott W. says:

    “As everyone knows, apostle comes from the Greek word for “sent.” The bishops, the successors of the apostles, are sent by Jesus Christ.

    Who sent Michael Voris?”

    Perhaps you did not intend it, but your anti-M. Voris comments come off as a general, “Uppity laypeople, shut up!”

  45. RichardR says:

    Perhaps a revitalized inquisition could root out all those whose orthodoxy is suspect and burn them at the stake. If mistakes are made, God will sort it out as the great Arald-Amalric said.

    ” Kill them all, God will recognize his own.”
    -Arnald-Amalric, 1208 (when asked by the Crusaders what to do with the citizens of Beziers, some of whom were Catholics)

  46. lmgilbert says:

    Scott W., you write:

    “Perhaps you did not intend it, but your anti-M. Voris comments come off as a general, “Uppity laypeople, shut up!”

    Even canon law indicates that we have a right to make our views known to our pastors as well to the rest of the Church, but loudly castigating those sent to preach the gospel together with very direct accusations of malfeasance is quite another thing. It has led one follower of his, Tom Roeser, to suggest on his very popular political blog that we set up a Catholic version of the Tea Party within the Church to bring pressure on the bishops in a number of areas. This is the ante-chamber to schism and the natural consequence of Voris’s content and tone.

    “Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand ” (Romans 14:4).

    Dissident nuns do the very same thing, but from a different theological perspective, and often cite St. Catherine of Siena as a patroness, but she was of an altogether different spirit than they…or Voris.

    [St. Catherine] “heard a Divine command to leave her cell and enter the public life of the world. She began to dispatch letters to men and women in every condition of life, entered into correspondence with the princes and republics of Italy, was consulted by the papal legates about the affairs of the Church, and set herself to heal the wounds of her native land by staying the fury of civil war and the ravages of faction. She implored the pope, Gregory XI, to leave Avignon, to reform the clergy…”

    In other words, she did not do the 13c equivalent of criticizing the successors of the Apostles on the internet, but after years of penance when she was 23, the Lord SENT her into the “world” where she conducted herself with great humility, writing letters to the pope that began, “My Sweet Christ on earth…”

    The classic signature of a saint is that he or she brings people to repentance, and the grace of God working sweetly through her, St. Catherine did bring many people, including Gregory XI, to repentance. She brought them to their knees by her fasting, prayer and vigils, not by public denunciations.

    There is a world of difference between St. Catherine and Savonarola.

    Priests, bishops and popes are consecrated to the Lord. He says, “Touch not my anointed and to my prophets do no harm.”

    Does Voris have a different mandate?

    Who sent him? That is the issue.

  47. Stu says:

    lmgilbert says:
    Who sent Michael Voris?

    Who sent lmgilbert?

  48. robtbrown says:

    Imgilbert wrote:

    As everyone knows, apostle comes from the Greek word for “sent.” The bishops, the successors of the apostles, are sent by Jesus Christ.

    Who sent Michael Voris?

    1. Who sent you to make those comments?

    2. Although it’s true that bishops have certain Apostolic authority, nevertheless, they extraordinary power of the Apostles has not been transmitted to the bishops (cf LG, nota explicativa0 . The Apostles were infallible, the bishops (exc the Bishop of Rome) are not.

    3. Is Michael Voris (or any other Catholic blogger) dangerous? Do you think, no matter what he says, he’s more dangerous than Abp Weakland and Cardinal Bernardin? Or any other liberal bishop or priest?

    How about the priests, two of them here in this town, who excise the word “sacrifice” from the liturgy?

  49. The-Monk says:

    “Taliban Catholics.” Here’s yet another illegitimate ad hominem intended to denegrate conservatives, despite Allen’s protestation that some liberals do the same.

    There is absolutley nothing wrong with either conservatives or liberals espousing their beliefs. But, to use appellations that attack others in an illegitimate and illogical way with the hope of denegrating those who espouse an opposing point of view reveals a lack of charity and, as St. Augustine noted, the absence of the Holy Spirit’s presence in that person.

    The Monk.

  50. Legisperitus says:

    It’s a bit disingenuous to speak of a “purge,” as if bloggers had the power to purge anybody. The power will always reside with the Bishops, by nature and by necessity. Bloggers are not acquiring power, though possibly some influence… which no doubt distresses the writer.

  51. Scott W. says:

    Perhaps a revitalized inquisition could root out all those whose orthodoxy is suspect and burn them at the stake.

    I don’t know if you were going for a reductio ad absurdum or not. (So hard to tell these days), but remove the burning and there is nothing dirty about inquisitions. In fact, I seem to recall one in an Arizona diocese in which the bishop sent out a list of Church teachings and every employee of the diocese had to sign off and affirm them or be fired. Seems perfectly reasonable to me.

  52. I find it rather curious that the AP article left out any mention of the ultra-calumnious SNAP website which allows anyone, anywhere, any time, to simply lob an accusation of immorality at a priest. Things that should be taken to law enforcement officials are simply thrown onto the internet where readers become judge, jury, an executioner based on much inuendo. A woman scorned by a priest who rejects her advances, or a young person who does not like the pastoral correction he got can log on anonymously and simply say “Father ‘X’ did this to me”.

  53. The only recently “purged” person I can think of is Fr. Michael Clifton, who was forced to stop blogging because of Msgr. Loftus’ threats of civil legal action.

    That said, it is of course a serious matter to call for anybody’s job, and of course the blogosphere has been the fall and rise of many in Israel (meaning the Ecclesia, in this case). It behooves us to factcheck these things. But in general, what comes out on Catholic blogs (of any stripe) are the things Catholics have been muttering into their newspapers for years, with no expectation that anybody would ever listen to them. Now the gatekeepers and elites are forced to stand in earshot of our mutters, and sometimes the bishop hears and does something about it. Too bad if they don’t like it.

    But really, it is too bad of them if our mutters’ content and cogency comes as such a total surprise, because it means that they’ve been obliviously off in their own world for forty years or so.

  54. MikeM says:


    I’m certainly with you about the fact that we don’t need every Catholic walking around thinking that they’re their own personal Pope and that there’s a danger in allowing people like Voris to set themselves up as the chief judges of Catholic orthodoxy. But can you really expect Catholics to shelve their brain at the church door? The idea that we can’t complain in the car about the obvious heterodoxy of an assistant pastor is ridiculous. Even the Pope shouldn’t be beyond the realm of examination.

    Many of the great saints questioned the Church hierarchy. Ignoring bad teaching and bad conduct by our clerics isn’t doing the Church any favors. We have to be constantly on guard against false teaching.

  55. Lisa Graas says:

    Father, I’m one of those Catholic bloggers. I cover the Left, and particularly the Catholic Left, at David Horowitz’s NewsRealBlog. Yes, we use “stark” language at times, but when my elderly and feeble Baptist mother, whom I care for here at home, read the headline at WaPo this morning, she said she was “shocked”. She was very upset that anyone would suggest that people like me want to “purge dissenters” as if we want to burn heretics at the stake. Even she understands the difference between “purging dissent” and “purging dissenters”. When the AP, et al, can’t distinguish between (a) using speech to fight dissent and (b) tossing people into ovens, and when the National Catholic Reporter claims we are on the level of the “Taliban”, they have a lot of nerve accusing us of “stark language”. They owe my Baptist mother an apology for upsetting her this morning even before breakfast.

  56. Lisa Graas says:

    In response to sejoga, I actively endorse pro-life candidates in Kentucky’s elections on my personal blog because direct attacks on human life are the paramount issue and because we are all called to participate in the political process. Is it my fault that 9 times out of 10 the pro-life candidate is a Republican? If you scroll down the list of my endorsements, which number about 100 or more, you’ll see two or three Democrats, an Independent, a Constitution Party candidate…and all the rest Republicans. It’s because they’re pro-life….and no other reason. If this is perceived as being partisan, then it’s a misguided perception.

  57. Jordanes says:

    RichardR said: ” Kill them all, God will recognize his own.” — Arnald-Amalric, 1208 (when asked by the Crusaders what to do with the citizens of Beziers, some of whom were Catholics)

    It must again be emphasised that there is no historical proof that Arnald-Amalric (or anyone else in the Middle Ages) ever said that, about Beziers or any other place. It comes from a very unreliable and imaginative source written almost a century after the fact, and there is no reason to believe this source had any special knowledge of what was said and done at Beziers.

  58. czemike says:

    lmgilbert said: “Who sent Michael Voris?”

    Answer: Pope Paul VI did. Or was it JP2? I don’t have time to find the reference but I know that either Vat. 2 or some document after it called on the lay people to supply for the declining numbers of clergy and take a more active role in spreading the Faith. Perhaps someone reading this comment knows the reference to which I’m referring here.

  59. Years ago, I began including the discussion of my blogging activities – the good and the bad – with a spiritual director, and when necessary – with my confessor (mortal, venial and imperfections discovered). I think the examination of conscience needs to be written to aid people who create and participate in new media with a particular focus on calumny, detraction, and clarification of “righteous anger”. I think it also needs to dive deeply into the issue of temperance and moderation. We must continuously purify our work and ensure that the behaviors we engage in online are in harmony with Catholic teaching.

    I wholeheartedly agree that we have seen too little action taken over the past 40-50 years on dissidence. But, if we hold to what is in Veritatis Splendor (75), we cannot use sinful means to justify a good outcome we wish to see.

    I would encourage everyone to read an excellent article which appeared in the June 2008 issue of Homiletic and Pastoral Review by Rev. Michael P. Orsi: Calumny in the Blogosphere. Says Fr. Orsi:

    Calumnious blogging is a serious offense against God’s law. Those who engage in it are jeopardizing their immortal souls and the souls of others.

    Another thing we all need to guard against is an overuse of the “righteous anger” argument. In talking with virtuous priests I know about this over the years, I think I can safely say that it would help if this were explored more deeply through the writings of the saints. I can leave readers with two examples to ponder:

    St. Alphonsus

    Still, as we all know, there are times when it seems absolutely necessary to answer insolence with severity. Occasions do occur when we may resort to righteous anger. But this we must remember: It may sometimes be expedient – speculatively speaking – to answer someone severely; but in practice it is very difficult to do so without some fault on our part.

    I regret that I have lost my note on which work this was in, so if someone has it, please drop it in.

    This point also comes to mind from St. Francis de Sales – Intro to the Devout Life (Part III; 27):

    One of the most evil dispositions possible is that which satirises and turns everything to ridicule. God abhors this vice, and has sometimes punished it in a marked manner. Nothing is so opposed to charity, much more to a devout spirit, as contempt and depreciation of one’s neighbour, and where satire and ridicule exist contempt must be.

    Therefore contempt is a grievous sin, and our spiritual doctors have well said that ridicule is the greatest sin we can commit in word against our neighbour, inasmuch as when we offend him in any other way, there may still be some respect for him in our heart, but we are sure to despise those whom we ridicule.

    What I have a problem with is when anger rises to the point that it crosses into mocking and ridicule of Church leaders. This serves to stir contempt in others for them. For example, I don’t think it is appropriate to broadbrush bishops as “cowards”. In fact, I don’t think it is appropriate to label any bishop’s inaction as “cowardice” because it goes to judging motivation which belongs to God and falls into the realm of rash judgment (ccc 2478).

    The Archdiocese of Detroit has been a hotbed of dissidence for decades. It would have been unthinkable in the past to see an advisory like the one recently issued by the AoD against the American Catholic Council’s June 2011 meeting. Archbishop Vigneron demonstrated that dissidents can be taken on, and they can be taken on with great clarity, lack of ambiguity, and without a contemptuous tone. Detroit didn’t get this way overnight, and it will take some time to change. This was a very hopeful turn – and the kind of thing I prefer to focus on.

  60. Supertradmum says:




    Today is the common feast day in England of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales, including St. Edmund Campion. A big day in the Diocese of Westminster and, for us commentators and bloggers, a reminder that Campion’s “Ten Reasons Proposed to His Adversaries for Disputation in the Name of the Faith and Presented to the Illustrious Members of Our Universities” may be one of the first counter-liberal public purges of dissenters.

  61. lmgilbert says:

    robtbrown, you ask of me
    1. Who sent you to make those comments?

    Turnabout is fair play of course, but I should think the ordinary confirmed Catholic is obliged to raise his voice in the Church to warn of potential schismatics, so there is no equivalence. When and if Voris is ordained and I call him to account loudly, publicly and routinely on my program, then there would be some equivalence. So I can say with any other confirmed Catholic that by virtue of my Confirmation the Holy Spirit sent me and my criticism of Voris is within scriptural bounds, while his criticism of the bishops is not. He has no warrant, no commission, no authority and is dangerously over his head.

    You write,
    “2. Although it’s true that bishops have certain Apostolic authority, nevertheless, they extraordinary power of the Apostles has not been transmitted to the bishops (cf LG, nota explicativa0 . The Apostles were infallible, the bishops (exc the Bishop of Rome) are not. ”

    Infallibility is not the issue. Episcopal consecration is. It is a very bad idea to take consecrated persons to task in the manner and in the forum that Voris does.

    3. You ask who is more dangerous Voris or certain bishops. Well, it remains to be seen, doesn’t it? No matter what Voris may now intend, it does not take a genius to see that setting this example for his fellow Catholics may engender a host of (even more) armchair bishops and prophets without portfolio who follow one another into schism. It has happened before.

    Mike M, you write,

    “The idea that we can’t complain in the car about the obvious heterodoxy of an assistant pastor is ridiculous.”

    Well, if you want to write a letter to the pastor, the bishop or the pope or to explain to your children-or to the entire town for that matter- that what father said about there being four persons in Trinity is incorrect, who could object? What I am talking about is complaint, detraction, the spirit of rebellion and personal attack, everything that tends to disrespect, rebellion and setting up oneself as a counter authority. If that is what is happening in the car on the way home from Mass, the virtues of faith and charity are under attack, the foundations of the family faith are being undermined, and it is very unlikely that there will be vocations from that household or even that it will maintain communion with the Church.

    Of course the hierarchy is not above criticism, but in this area probably more than any other fools rush in where angels fear to tread.

  62. swamp_rabbit says:

    All Voris does is follow the money trail. How is that a “witch hunt”?


  63. JP Borberg says:

    So far lmgilbert has published over 500 words on the internet voicing his/her opinion that one should not voice one’s opinion on the internet about potential heresy and schism as doing so potentially leads to heresy or schism.

    I like both recursive and absurd humour, so I quite enjoyed lmgilbert’s posts. However, I can see how they might annoy others, so out of charity lmgilbert should lead by example.

  64. huckuphuck says:

    “But can you really expect Catholics to shelve their brain at the church door?”

    But isn’t that the point of the 100% Catholic crowd? When the brain leads one to think that the Church or the bishops have it wrong, doesn’t being a good Catholic require one to shelve their brain at the church door?

    “Is it my fault that 9 times out of 10 the pro-life candidate is a Republican?”

    I take issue with your co-optation of the “pro-life” term. What you really mean is “anti-abortion.” There are many anti-abortion Republicans who, in many other ways, are very much anti-life.

  65. Rouxfus says:

    Who sent Michael Voris?

    Who sent the furies of the press to root out the patches of festering corruption in Holy Church, and hold it to account and shame when the bishops and clergy failed to do so?
    Who allowed the destroying angel to bring plagues upon Egypt’s first-born?
    Who allowed the Babylonians to sweep the chosen people into exile?
    Who gave Satan free reign to harass and persecute righteous Job?
    Who sent Luther?

    The story of Salvation is replete with examples of God allowing agents of His permissive will to inflict discomfort and wreak havoc on His followers for not following as closely as they ought, to bring them back to His divine grace and will. Voris may be blunt in his video jeremiads, and he probably makes more than a few bishops, priests and religious uncomfortable, but at bottom, he’s mostly right.

  66. lizaanne says:

    swamp_rabbit said: “All Voris does is follow the money trail. How is that a “witch hunt”?

    Really truly — LOL!!!! If you only knew how far from the truth and reality that really is!!! Ask any Catholic apostolate out there – we are not in it for the money, trust me. There are a lot bigger fatter money trails than this line of work. Those who do this, do it for the love of the Church and love of Christ. Period. No one is becoming a millionaire off this – not even close.

  67. Sam Urfer says:

    I find this article’s tone of distress strangely comforting.

    On Michael Vorbis, in particular, he has good things to say, but he has also crossed the line at points. To his credit, when he released a video that seemed to be endorsing Fascism, he came back the next week with an apology and correction to clear up what he had said. But his approach is, in fact, dangerous, for himself and for traditional Catholicism as a whole.

  68. frjim4321 says:

    How can these people know who I’ve contributed to?

    I know that anyone in the parish can log into the Board of Elections and find out what party’s ballot I’ve voted in the past.

    Is this self-appointed policy going to “out” the political parties of the priests and deacons of the diocese? I would like to seem them try.

  69. frjim4321 says:

    policy = posse

  70. sejoga says:

    With regards to Rocco Palmo’s post I linked to, it’s true that it’s five-years-old. And in those five years, Rocco has simply gotten less direct in his condescension because he has a larger readership. I think his site is a very valuable source of information, but I don’t kid myself about his being very charitable to conservatives in the Church, and he does the typical liberal thing of piously clasping his hands while he peers down his nose at people, instead of voicing his opinions honestly and openly.

  71. Prof. Basto says:

    I find the term “”Taleban Catholicism” (that, according to the above article, was coined by the journalist John Allen, Jr.) offensive, and its use inexcusable.

    “Taleban” is a terrorist organization. The term “Taleban Catholicism”, asside from being obviously intended as a negative term (it brings to mind a negative organization), crosses the line when it likens the posture of those who are active on the blogosphere to the methods of a terrorist group. Disgusting.

  72. Lisa Graas says:

    Father, I linked you at NewsRealBlog in a story on the AP article.

  73. This is great stuff! Traditional, faithful Catholicism is no longer being ignored. We should rejoice. At the same time, you didn’t really think they would be happy about it, did you? Of course, not. The fact the AP doesn’t like it is another cause for rejoicing.

  74. Jerry says:

    @Sam Urfer – “But [Voris’] approach is, in fact, dangerous, for himself and for traditional Catholicism as a whole.”

    Why is that?

  75. swamp_rabbit says:

    @ lizaanne — Hi!! I didn’t mean Voris was “following the money” for his own gain. :) :) I meant that whenever he does his shows, he follows the trail of what group has given money to what politician, etc. Or if “catholic group x” gives money to Planned Parenthood and someone points that out (like Voris, etc) I don’t see how that’s a witch-hunt…. I wasn’t implying Voris was trying to get rich off his work!

    All the best,
    Just wanted to clear my name… :)


  76. LarryD says:

    Is it possible that the writer is a parishioner of Our Lady of the Giant Puppets that the blog, “Acts Of The Apostasy” has parodied so well? Just askin’…

    Thanks for the mention. I am, quite frankly, a bit bummed that my wee little blog wasn’t mentioned as a ‘heretic hunter’ in the article. Guess I have to work harder…

  77. Jitpring says:

    A powerful address to those who have said, “I’ve had it!”:

  78. If they don’t want to be called out by the blogosphere, they should stay in line with Holy Mother Church’s teaching. It’s really that simple, but people tend to make their lives more complicated than necessary.

  79. sulldjjr says:

    The terms “liberal” and “conservative” carry strong political connotations,and when employed in the context of the Church ought to be used in the most delimited manner. Church teaching as manifest in Scripture, Tradition and the Magisterium provides a clear and unequivocal standard of Faith and conduct, the orthodox standard. Any deviation from that standard is heterodox, to varying degrees. Since the early-1960’s, political liberals and leftists have insinuated their political ideology into Church teaching, thereby tainting and degrading it, causing much damage and endangering countless souls. Those who cherish and defend orthodoxy must be very careful to avoid committing the same error. The Church is not a tool of political ideology, no more so for conservatives than for liberals. Construing Church teaching in the service of any ideology is an error and an abuse not befitting anyone who embraces orthodoxy. Catechize, evangelize, challenge the fidelity of clergy and “public Catholics” at every level, but resist the temptation to politicize the Church.

  80. BLB Oregon says:

    In the Oregonian, the title of this piece was “Bloggers battle online for the soul of the Catholic Church”. No offense intended to Fr. Z, but what kind of nonsense is that? The soul of the Catholic Church is not in the hands of bloggers, whether the good ones or the bad ones. Blogs are powerful forums for public discussion, certainly it would be wrong to abandon the defense of Truth on the internet, but at the same time, let’s not overestimate our own cosmic importance. More people may read what Fr. Z has to say in a day that the number who read up on the Pope, but Fr. Z would be the first to tell you who has more power from the hand of God when it comes to defending the soul of the Church.

    The piece is mostly a mess that overrates the power of internet media, but I’d like to second one sentiment voiced in the article: __”The lack of civility is very disturbing,” said Terrence Donilon, the archdiocesan spokesperson.__

    I think this is something we must be very mindful of if we attempt apologetics on the internet: that is, not to think that the buffer of working from a keyboard gives us license to abandon the virtues. “Now the works of the flesh are obvious: immorality, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, hatreds, rivalry, jealousy, outbursts of fury, acts of selfishness, dissensions, factions, occasions of envy, drinking bouts, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. In contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. ” Gal. 5:19-23

    If our posts exhibit “hatreds, rivalry, jealousy, outbursts of fury, acts of selfishness, dissensions, factions” then we know we have let a satanic virus piggyback on our message. It will crash the system, and our attempt to speak the truth will bear no fruit. Rather, the vice our message carries will infect others. If, instead, we exhibit joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control, then we will be able to say even the very strong and difficult things that need to be said without sowing strife. That is what we need to be about, IMHO….that is, speaking with the same respect we would have if we were speaking in person, particularly when we feel we need to object to those who have been given authority in the Church, but really with everyone.

  81. Sam Urfer says:

    @Jerry: “Why is that?”

    BLB Oregon above seems to get the point I was alluding to across quite well. As has been said earlier in the thread, historically many of the big schismatics and heretics started out as zealous, pious reformer types. Off the top of my head: Marcion, Donatus, Arius, Dioscorus, and Luther. All started off by sticking up for their principles, being angry about it, and things went downhill.

    Msgr. Ronald Knox wrote a book on this very topic entitled “Enthusiasm”: http://www.ronaldknoxsociety.com/enthus.html

    I don’t think Vorbis is at that level…yet. But his anger is palpable; trust me, I understand *why* he is upset, I really do. But letting negative emotions control him can be deadly to charity in his soul, and not helpful to his mission in the long run and big picture.

  82. lmgilbert says:

    JP Borberg,

    I said nothing of the kind, but if misreading my stuff brightened your day, wonderful.


  83. swamp_rabbit says:

    I don’t see Voris as angry… I seem him as outraged, but then why shouldn’t we be? The principals he’s sticking up for are basic, Catholic teachings. My wife and I have watched lots of the Real Catholic TV programs, and they strike us as pretty straightforward and basic. Now, focusing the outrage publicly at particular bishops… Hmmm. Still, nothing nothing nothing compared to what the bishops get from the Left.

  84. RosaMystica says:


    It’s a good thing the AP didn’t get ahold of this one.

  85. Tito Edwards says:

    As for the term “Taliban Catholicism”, John Allen went over the line.

    He deserves to be credited for creating that epithet that bares no resemblance to the Pro-Life/Orthodox/Traditional Catholic blogosphere.

    In whatever context Mr. Allen, with all due respect, wrote his comment, it was a poor choice of words and an apology should be in order, not a clarification.

    To compare amputations, beheadings, misogyny, to those Catholics that simply want reverence in a Mass and a thirst for Truth in a homily is a gross misrepresentation of the said Catholic blogosphere.

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