A Vortex Video about the need for true reform

Here is a video from Michael Voris.

What do you think?  On target?  Deluded?

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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

    Absolutely hit the nail on the head.

  2. revs96 says:

    As usual, Michael Voris is spot-on.

  3. “to the nth degree” is an expression that curls the hair in my ears, but certainly the evils he names sound familiar.

  4. gloriainexcelsis says:

    Wow! Pithy and to the point.

  5. There is little to contest here, although I would say that, in the last decade, especially in the last five years, things have changed pretty dramatically. The other day, WDTPRS posted a letter from a young priest whose bishop is actively discouraging the TLM. I’m actually surprised that any bishop in North America would be open about this, especially after what happened in Calgary, where the bishop’s presumption got smacked down pretty hard.

    But back to The Vortex. Another factor which I believe to be overlooked, is that most of the progressive intelligentsia is getting on in years, and in yet another decade, quite simply won’t be a contender. My only problem (for want of a better term) with Mr Voris, is not that he’s wrong — he rarely is — but that he rarely says anything I haven’t heard already, sometimes even from him.

    On the other hand, a good many Catholics do need to be reminded of how long it took to get us to where we are (and a century is about right; no, it didn’t start with, or because of, Vatican II), and how long it will take to get us back on track.

    Come to think of it, maybe he did say something (more or less) new.

  6. jlmorrell says:

    Couldn’t have said it better myself. I have personally come up against a number of these evils, which, being in the Church, masquerade as Catholic.

  7. catholicmidwest says:

    He’s 100% correct about all of the areas of corruption going on in the church. The church is profoundly corrupt, from theology abuses at nearly every parish to the attitude towards homosexuality in the seminaries. Most catholic colleges and universities are dens of heretics. Nuns defy the holy see on a routine basis. It’s all very bad.

    There is only one small thing about the history of church corruption that I might question. He said this level of corruption had never happened before. Personally, I’m not sure about that. There was an enormous level of corruption just before the Protestant Reformation.

  8. catholicmidwest says:

    That’s because people don’t want to speak plainly for one reason or another, and lies proliferate when people don’t know what they’re talking about.

  9. irishgirl says:

    Yep, he nailed it.

  10. stpetric says:

    I find Voris frustrating. I think he’s fundamentally right…but he also comes across to me as fundamentally full of himself.

    In this particular video, he’s certainly right about the need for “comprehensive reform,” but I don’t think he takes sufficient account of the work that has been done — brick by brick — under the leadership of Pope John Paul and Pope Benedict. Clearly, a significant task remains, but I’m very heartened by the signs of health I see — last night, for example, at the Diocese of Madison ordinations to the priesthood: A packed church, orthodox preaching, a beautiful “reform of the reform” liturgy, even beautiful music [!], a congregation where the average age was well below that of Social Security eligibility, plenty of children in evidence, and a heartening number of seminarians present. And all this in the bluest of blue cities!

    I know it’s a tired metaphor, but turning a ship around is not a simple or quick process. The good news is that the process is underway…and I’m confident that God will see it through.

  11. MrD says:

    I agree with the goals mentioned in this video, but I think it will only appeal to those who already share our viewpoint. the video lacks detail and leaves it open to easy criticism by adversaries. The traditional movement should be careful with its tone so as to welcome and persuade those who disagree. This video does nothing to move the reform forward and does not even energize the traditonal base. It is easy to criticize but harder to put forth constructive ideas and ways forward. Fr Z is an example of someone who holds a hard line yet shows a bright and hopeful path to real reform. We should be more thorough and charitable in our critiques and acknowledge the good in our opponents. The solution in reform is not an either/or but an AND solution. How do we ensure reverence in the liturgy and sacraments? How do we avoid a God-less humanism? How do we avoid scrupulosity? How do we ensure that the faithful will live Jesus and have concern for the less fortunate without falling into the error that is social justice and liberation theology? How do we prevent Catholics from only going through the motions in mass? The reality is that all the factions within the Church have their challenges and need our prayers….that they are open to the Spirit. God will lead us through these troubles and we need the courage to follow our shepherds in the Church. Starting with a more serious and reverent mass is a good start. Finding a way to end the schism with our Orthodox brethren is a good start. Recognizing the good in those that disagree with us is a good start. I attend mass at two parishes here in town. One is diocesan and more traditional, which is my preference for mass. The other is run by the Oblates of St Francies DeSales and is less traditional but not as liberal as what happens in other dioceses. The priests tend to be personally liberal but not defiant. I feel disconnected at the mass BUT the community and school is so welcoming and caring. I hate to admit that the church which is more traditional…while I adore the mass and the priest… The community is distant and cold. Part of it is that neither parish has it all correct. Why can’t we have both? Why can’t my DeSales parish have more outreach for people with traditional views?

    I guess I just needed to vent here.

  12. mattmcg says:

    Well, ten laudatory replies. I’m going to be the poop in the punch bowl, and say that I find the video somewhere between useless and awful.

    Let’s pass over the clanging promotional nature, the Commodore 64 production values, and the Bieber hair and just look at content. Many of the things Voris wants to say are true. But he overstates in that facile, empty way that convinces nobody not already convinced and gives weak sustenance to his audience of true believers.

    So we get the point, everything is just awful awful awful and the bishops are ignoring it all. But the pope is a good egg. And, bizarrely, he thinks the rot he finds in the Church has only been there for a hundred years. Vorhis, get a history book. The Church is the glory of the world, and the Church is a cross, and we’ve had some problems before.

    When you cut out the cruft, he’s given us a one-page enemies list of wicked elements of the Church. And the Church needs reform. Real reform. Well, thanks Mr. Vorhis STB. Now the video is over. We’ve had a good two-minute anger on the RCIA instructors, liturgists, etc. What do I do now? subscribe to his youtube channel? Send him a few bucks?

  13. MrD says:

    I agree with stpetric….this video is arrogant and not helpful…

    Also… This guy needs a haircut and some media training…

  14. Torkay says:

    He is on target as far as he goes, which is not far enough. No mention of the missing Consecration of Russia? That has been the key issue in all this rot since 1960. No mention of the restoration of Tradition and doing away with the “inoffensive” Church? Voris rails against progressives ’til he’s blue in the face, but his group seemingly won’t face the fact that the Novus Ordo itself is a creation of progressives. How about the 4 Masonic lodges which are said to be operating within the Vatican? Could that have something to do with this shambles, Michael?

    While he’s spinning his pencil, I hope Voris works up a good sweat about the Vatican’s support for the climate change scam: http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/news/2010/12/10/wikileaks-vatican-promised-to-lobby-for-climate-change-agreement/

  15. EoinOBolguidhir says:

    Over 20% of Americans are Catholics, half as many are EX-catholics. So that’s about 15 million people – more than the populations of Sweden, Belgium, Ecuador, Czech Republic, Switzerland, and many others – damned.

    10% of Americans EX Catholics, about as many as all Lutherans, Presbyterians, and Methodists put together, and about 7 times as large as the Anglican Church in the USA.

    100,000 Priests have left the priesthood since Vatican II. More than twice the number of all priests serving today.

    70% of Catholics cannot correctly describe or do not believe in the Churches teaching on the Real Presence.
    The Pope has had to start a new re-Evangelize the faithful IN EUROPE AND AMERICA
    Mr. Voris is right. We are in a crisis of the most dire kind! The Church is literally dying in front of us because of bad liturgy and bad teaching. People think he’s too strident, but he’s no chicken little. The disaster is all around us, and as the last generation of people catechized by pre-Vatican II parents finishes having children, and those two generations removed from the pre-councilar Church grow up, the problem will grow exponentially.

  16. catholicmidwest says:

    “The disaster is all around us, and as the last generation of people catechized by pre-Vatican II parents finishes having children, and those two generations removed from the pre-councilar Church grow up, the problem will grow exponentially.”

    Correct. We’re about ready to see a massive collapse in membership.

  17. catholicmidwest says:

    We either stay this way and watch people drift in and out, til nothing makes any sense and then we wither away, or…
    We stand our ground, lose some people, and take our lumps to grow another day.

    I’ve been saying for 20 years that You Pay Now or You Pay Later. The people who make the decisiosn have largely decided to Pay Later. Paying Later always costs more because you end up owing somebody. Let’s not talk about who that somebody might be. That’s just how it is.

  18. Giambattista says:

    I agree with him for the most part. In its present state the Church is a total “disaster” as Voris asserts. While I agree with him that this disaster was brewing well before Vatican II, I don’t believe we would be in the position we are now in without some of the ambiguous documents of Vatican II. I also believe that collegiality has made it near impossible for the Pope to govern the Church. I do agree with Voris on the extent of the rot and corruption and the idea that it will take a long time to fix it.

  19. MrD says:

    People educated and raised Pre-Vatican II are responsible for Vatican II and the mess in how it was implemented. Obviously something went wrong well before 1962. Now my generation is going to have to clean it up. I was born in the late 70’s…

  20. Mrs McG says:

    MattMcG – The Church may have had numerous trials and tribulations throughout its history, but in the last 150 years, several popes (Leo XII, Paul VI), saints like Maximillian Kolbe and Padre Pio, and approved Marian apparitions like Fatima have pointed to an unprecedented time of upheaval and disorientation in our modern Church.

    Voris may be self-appointed/self-approved, not saying anything we don’t know, generally unpersuasive, and in need of a better stylist, but I think it naive and foolish to say: “Well, things in the Church have ever been thus. Don’t sweat it, folks.” Even Heaven has sent Our Heavenly Mother along with the miracle of a crazy, spinning/plunging sun to get our attention.

  21. jlmorrell says:

    “The Church is literally dying in front of us because of bad liturgy and bad teaching. People think he’s too strident, but he’s no chicken little. The disaster is all around us, and as the last generation of people catechized by pre-Vatican II parents finishes having children, and those two generations removed from the pre-councilar Church grow up, the problem will grow exponentially.”

    I think this is right. We need to face reality, folks. It never ceases to amaze me how people can be relentlessly optimistic in the face of such dire facts (facts with which everyone basically agrees). It is not as though 10,000 churches and schools are going to close on the same day, but little by little, the Catholic infrastructure that our forefathers sacrificed so greatly to build is crumbling.

    How many good Catholics will be there in the next generation to pick up the pieces?

  22. catholicmidwest says:

    Re pay now or pay later,

    I think that the consideration that was made through the years had some assumptions that just didn’t pan out, among them that normal catholics wouldn’t be seriously affected and that parents would continue to have children and to teach those children, and that catholic communities/schools/education/colleges/nuns/religious orders etc would pick up the rest. Well, it just didn’t turn out that way. At. All.

    Add the sex abuse crises around the world, the collapse of women’s religious orders, the open revolt of many men’s religious orders, the dereliction of catholic schools & universities, the near total relativization of the core elements of catholic doctrine, the massive rebellion of the bishops, the abysmal ignorance of most of the catholic faithful at the same time they become very proficient at many other things……and there you have it. A mess of historic proportions.

  23. benedetta says:

    Viva il Papa.

  24. mattmcg says:

    The point is not to “not sweat it”. But all vorhis does is sweat it – in an obnoxious, unelpful way.

    How is in helpful to bluster incoherently about all the awfulness in the Church. Along with the spinning pencil, AOL graphics, and the desperate pleas to support his ministry, this is Vorhis’ shtick: the hamfisted attack and the demand that things change Real Soon. What does it add? How is it incisive? What good does it do to have a guy ranting on Youtube that the catechists, etc (all of them, apparently) of the world are sending us to Hell in a handbasket?

  25. MrD says:

    Matt is dead on

  26. jlmorrell says:

    Mr. D,

    I was born in the early 80’s. There’s no question we’ll have to clean it up – the question is how. Whereas in generations past Catholics were attacked mainly by enemies outside of the Church, now good Catholics are attacked, stalled and frustrated by their own priests and Bishops, the layperson kneeling in the pew in front of him (I have personally experienced being attacked and stalled from all three in my pursuit of a TLM in my diocese)

    Certainly, Summorum Pontificum gives us hope but the vast majority of Catholics are still awash in the confusion and heterodoxy of post Vatican II world. The enemy has burrowed his way deep within the Church and, despite some positive measures taken by this pontificate, is still feeling quite comfortable.

    In my view, true restoration will only come from the top-down, from the hiearchy. Until then we have to dig in, make gains where we can, and pass on the faith to our children.

  27. Andrew Mason says:

    He does make some good points, although I’m not sure how he thinks that “social justice” is contrary to the teachings of Christ (he sounds a lot like Glenn Beck, which to me is a negative). As I recall, Jesus was all about feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting the imprisoned, and all that “body” stuff that Voris is condemning. Obviously we cannot ignore the spiritual needs in ministering to the body, but you can’t just dismiss the bodily needs as irrelevant and condemn the social justice that so many saints have devoted their lives to. As somebody who was raised in a Franciscan parish and has been exposed to a great deal of Vincentian spirituality (although frankly their liturgical sense leaves a great deal to be desired), I cannot swallow the claim that concern for the material needs of the poor is contrary to the teachings of Christ.

    Also, I find it highly ironic that he condemns “men of letters” in a video in which he displays prominently his own degree. I have a Bachelor of Arts in Politics, that doesn’t mean that I affix “BA Pol.” after my name when I talk about politics on my blog.

  28. Scott W. says:

    He misses an essential point. He starts with bad academics doing their hatchet work on sound Church teaching, and that that filters down to the seminaries, but he needs to follow that to the real and deadly consequence–seminarians demonstrating any fidelity are hounded and weeded out of the process. If he had done this, instead of waiting for the pope with a top-down solution, perhaps their is a grassroots solution in which faithful lay Catholics pick a seminarian to keep an eye on and be someone to support and go to the mat for when some progressive doofus instructor is try to brainwash him with their progressive doofiness. As Gandalf put it, “let me risk a little more light”. Eeek! Goblins! At least we know.

  29. HyacinthClare says:

    Absolutely on target.

  30. MrD says:

    Minor point….the Church has always dealt with heretics and enemies within… Every generation believes they are facing the worst….our Church has suffered in the past and will always have the Spirit to guide her…

    This video is obnoxious and I’m not sure why Fr Z would lend this guy credibility by spreading it on this site….

    Love the comment by Andrew re: the letters….

  31. jlmorrell says:


    I took Mr. Voris to be referring to Liberation Theology as the heterodox view of social justice that so many Catholics supported post vatican II.

  32. MrD says:

    Real threat to Christianity is modernism…which JP2 was adamently opposed to…

  33. catholicmidwest says:


    You are correct in that older people are a good part of the problem. People in that age group and a bit older tend to be among the most strident of the dissenters. And often it seems illogically reactive but there’s a reason for some of that.

    I am old enough to remember part of what being Catholic was like in the 60s at least, when I first attended Catholic school. I am no dissident, but it really was “pray, pay and obey,” on a pattern formed in families and groups much, much earlier. Many bishops would like it if it were still that way. It was very family driven and quite coercive for many people, and they were puzzled by it but couldn’t say anything about it for fear of being “slapped.” There was a lot of hush-hush around things that were wrong, and they did happen. You just seldom heard about them, except on the forbidden grapevine. As soon as the cap came off in the 60s, the bottle of anger overflowed.

    I know the tendency is to glamorize those days, but the failure to thrive we see now is a huge puzzle and it was not ALL driven by the 60s. The seeds were planted much earlier.

    The problem is that when that mindset collapsed, there was nothing to replace it, save the Spirit of VAtican II crowd, with their own “pray, pay and obey” attitude, which is every bit as odious, coercive, mediocre and stupid as anything cooked up earlier.

    So seriously and paradoxically, to a large degree, and this is coming from someone who’s a convert and an observer over decades…..to a large degree, we’re doing exactly and precisely what we’ve done for at least 200 years, just with a little bit different style. There are still many, many catholics who will give you the total cold shoulder if you tell the truth about anything. There’s still a grapevine. Coercion still abounds. Ignorance is still very deep and widespread. The bishops still try to go on as though nothing is happening.

    We did learn something through all that force, and it was that force works if that’s what you want. The Gospel got lost, though.

    We have got to snap out of it and rebuild, taking the scriptures, true tradition and the gorgeous patrimony we have as the foundation. But who will do it? The current structure and attitude of the church dictates that anyone who tries is sticking their head up and is out of line. The pope tries but he is at the top and reform, believe it or not, seldom comes from the top in the Catholic church. We need great saints….but where are they??

  34. MrD says:

    Jlmorrell…Vorhis did a poor job with the social justice bit which is what we are saying…..people that agree with his views think he did a poor job expressing it and that this video is useless…

  35. MrD says:

    Jlmorrell…Vorhis did a poor job with the social justice bit which is what we are saying…..people that agree with his views think he did a poor job expressing it and that this video is useless…

  36. catholicmidwest says:

    Andrew Mason,
    “……Jesus was all about feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting the imprisoned, and all that “body” stuff that Voris is condemning.”

    Do you really believe that Christ was only some kind of glorified social worker? He DID these things as parables of salvation, while PREACHING loud and clear about salvation. Read Scripture, my friend.

  37. MrD says:

    Great comment catholic midwest….

    All…please forgive my typing…I am using an iPad which isn’t easy to type long messages on…

  38. MrD says:

    Jesus spoke about both…feeding the hungry both here on Earth…and spiritually….

    Whatever you do for the least of brothers…

  39. MrD says:

    By the way..the “read scripture my friend” bit was unnecessary and rude…

  40. catholicmidwest says:

    I’ve watched the Catholic world for decades and I’ll tell you what.

    Catholics are like cats. They get wind of something they don’t like and they go straight away to the kitty litter, turn butt-end around and throw dirt at it until something in their little pea-brains tells them it’s buried well enough and then they turn around and sniff. If it passes the sniff test, it never happened. Ever. Honest. On a stack of bibles. Really. Trust the cat.

    But you know what? Somebody has to clean the kitty litter because…shhh…there’s poo in it, even though the cat denies it. It’s our turn to take out the kitty litter folks. At some point, we’re going to have to stop pretending. We’re not cats and this isn’t a kitty box.

  41. jlmorrell says:

    “Minor point….the Church has always dealt with heretics and enemies within… Every generation believes they are facing the worst….our Church has suffered in the past and will always have the Spirit to guide her…”

    I strongly disagree. I don’t think this takes into account the entire context. I don’t have time to go in-depth here, but just consider the pre-reformation period. Was there a great deal of corruption in the Church at that time? Yes. Were there heretics and morally corrupt churchman? Yes. But, the ENTIRE western world was Catholic. The governments, the laws, the politics were all ordered around a Catholic vision of society. This served to reinforce Catholic teaching even in the face of such corruption and scandal.

    Consider what would happen if, at the next conclave, there was confusion and two Cardinals with supporting factions declared themselves to be Pope. Would it be correct to say, ” don’t worry folks, we’ve been here before, remember the late medieval period, it’ll all work out”. Of course not, the entire context is different. The church is so weak today that one shutters to think of the consequences.

  42. catholicmidwest says:

    Your assertion that we didn’t know how to read the parables…ie all that healing and soothing…was at least as rude. The scripture never, ever says anywhere that its primary point is medical social work. Ever. And no one really reading it in context would be justified in taking it that way.

  43. gtbradshaw says:

    I quit watching Vortex Vids awhile back because he just seems viral to me. This is the reason: He’s great on defining himself by what he’s against but that’s not the whole story. The Catholic Church, like any family, has strengths and weaknesses. Yes, yes, yes we have to understand, acknowledge, confess & change our weaknesses WHILE we continue to find joy, sustenance, grace and hope in our big family, the Church. It is not helpful to simply sit on the sidelines & shoot arrows into the family, flawed as She is often is. Vortex would do better to attempt to evangelize our Family (& others) by encouraging Her members to learn, follow and evangelize the awesome teachings of JPII & B16 & let go of the diatribes.

  44. dontex says:

    While Voris means well and I agree with a lot of his points, he paints with too broad a brush. In our diocese, in the five years since we got a new bishop, vocations to the priesthood have increased exponentially(our previous bishop, R.I.P., had a limit of 2 new seminarians a year). On a per capita basis, our diocese now has more seminarians than either New York or Los Angeles.
    Yes reform is needed and it will take time, but many good things are happening and we should be grateful to God for those blessings.

  45. Mrs McG says:

    Mattmcg — Well, I didn’t exactly say Voris was helpful or give him and any personal kudos. I thought the rest of your critique was spot on.

  46. MrD says:

    Catholicmidwest…appears you are creating straw men and looking for an argument here… I’m not suggesting what you claim… You can be against social justice teachings and liberation theology and still believe that Jesus would have us feed the hungry, care for the sick, visit the imprisoned..etc….

    We are fellow travelers and this type of argument leads to vitriol…

  47. catholicmidwest says:

    Yes, but gtbradshaw,

    I agree with you on the virulence, but truth telling is necessary and overall Catholics don’t do much of it.

    AND when you go back to the family and the church, it’s not enough just to fall into line because blind herd behavior for the sake of conformity or lack of strife isn’t Christian.

  48. Andrew Mason says:


    Actually he singles out the “peace and social justice crowd” (1:55) specifically, which would seem to indicate that he feels that to be problematic independent of any leanings toward liberation theology. Personally I think that he’s channeling the whole Glenn Beck “report your priest if he talks about poverty” thing that went around in conservative circles a while ago. He also said that concern for the material needs of the poor was anti-Christian, which means that his concern is far broader than just liberation theology (there’s a huge difference between advocating for better conditions for factory workers on the one hand and plotting to kill the factory owner on the other, that’s the difference between social justice and liberation theology).

  49. Andrew Mason says:


    I have read the scriptures, friend, particularly Matthew 25:31-46 and 1 Cor. 11:17-22. Obviously there are cases in which Jesus uses hunger and thirst in a metaphorical sense, for instance John 4:10 and John 6:35, but the first two that I cited are quite clear and frankly terrifying to those who think they can just turn their backs on the poor and justify it by saying that those with nothing are lazy or otherwise deserve their suffering. How can you say that Matthew 25 is meant in a purely metaphorical sense? How is 1 Cor. 11 meant metaphorically when it references a material situation in the abuse of the Lord’s Supper? I never said that Jesus was a social worker, although I’ve actually been one and I can tell you that it’s not all just abortion and moral relativism. Social work is desperately needed by those with little or nothing, both to help them in their current situation and to help lift them out of poverty. Nobody else is helping, certainly not Glenn Beck and his followers who cluck their tongues at the “social justice” crowd and proclaim themselves the true followers of Christ as they condemn the poor and ridicule the helpless. I’m not saying that you’re one of these, although obviously you seem to share some beliefs with them.

  50. POINTERS so you don’t get locked out of the combox.

    1) Keep it civil.

    2) Don’t post nasty links a mile long. 

    3) If you are talking to someone, address them as the FIRST word in the comment.

    4) Ad hominem jabs are not welcome.  Stick to issues.

    5) Don’t flood the combox (I really hate that).

    6) Don’t assume I am kidding.

  51. Supertradmum says:

    I do not see the arrogance or facile attitude of Mr. Voris, and I am a critical person. I think he used simple language to get across excellent points. And, so what if none of this is “new”? I f one person, who has never thought along these lines changes his mind, that is great. For myself, I am glad to know there are others out there speaking the Truth and fighting the good fight, as where I am, surrounded by Catholic professionals who are extremely liberal, liberal orders, and a college which has hired and openly practicing witch, a college where the bishop and vicar general are on the board, and a college where liberation theology is openly taught still (ho-hum), everyone needs to be reminded of these points.

    I compare him with the brilliant Father Mitch Pacwa, who can say a profound theological truth in words a fifth grader can understand. We need more men like Mr. Voris. And ship them to Iowa ans Illinois, please.

  52. jlmorrell says:

    As stated in one of my comments above, I agree with the video’s content. His tone and demeanor, however, can be much improved.

    The reason for my support is that I think many, including some commenters here, do not understand the level of rot. There can be no hearing for the cure until the diagnosis is accepted.

  53. Supertradmum says:

    Andrew Mason and catholicmidwest,

    I think part of the “body” reference, along with the social worker emphasis, is also the silly preaching of the “gospel of prosperity” which has crept into the Church in some places, where if one is blessed by God in material items, one is more holy, as well as the emphasis, and I may be opening a can of worms, on the physicality of marriage, rather than the spirituality of marriage. I think Mr. Voris was purposefully not covering all the details in order to cover many points all at once.

    And let us be clear that the social gospel is not a way to push big government, which it is in our diocesan office, where I know from personal experience that the social justice department has for years been in the hands of radicals who think Dorothy Day is a saint, and who are philosophically Marxists, but a way to tell the Catholic communities that each individual must reach out to the poor, not rely on welfare. When is the last time you heard a sermon on that point?

  54. Anonymous Seminarian says:

    I think Voris is on target; he almost always appears so to me. His style is confrontational, absolutely, but I have no problem with that. These issues need to be ‘confronted’ and as a layman on the internet, as opposed to a pastor preaching at Holy Mass, he has his own particular leeway. I wish all Catholics would watch him. Corrípiet me iústus in misericórdia, et increpábit me :
    óleum autem peccatóris non impínguet caput meum.
    I may be a bit more hopeful; it need not take 100 years. Some saints establish a large following in a very short time, especially religious. We must pray that God raises such a one–or ones–up for us. And one of the advantages of modern technology–bred into modern life–is the speed of ‘change’. No previous reform has had the ability to move as quickly as the one we now work for.

  55. KevinSymonds says:

    Re: Jesus & social justice. I think Jesus Himself put the matter into perspective:

    “The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have Me.”

    Worrying about one virtue* to the neglect of what is really important is a simple case of mistaking the forest for the trees.


    * Social Justice: the virtue that governs man’s relationship to the common good. It is a function of the cardinal virtue of Justice.

  56. Andrew Mason says:


    I don’t see how social work has any connection to the prosperity gospel, as somebody who has been and has worked with social workers I can tell you that it’s not popular among liberals. There is much about government intervention that is compatible with Christian teachings. Conservatives may reject all talk of universal health care, but Pope Benedict says clearly in Caritas in Veritate that access to health care is a human right and our current system of market health care simply doesn’t get that done. When a poor person has to visit a clinic with outdated and unsanitary equipment or forego treatment that he cannot afford, that is a violation of his human rights. When poor people essentially live in the first half of the 20th century in regards to health care while rich people enjoy fully the benefits of the 21st, that is an inequality that the Pope himself has spoken out against. It’s not just the liberals who decry the uber-capitalism that exists in this country, it is conservatives like our current Pope as well.

    For the record I also think that Dorothy Day could and perhaps should be canonized. She was a marxist in her early days, and she also had an abortion during that period, but many saints were similar in their youth. Later in life she had a zeal for the poor that was akin to that of St. Vincent de Paul, and if he should be a saint then she probably should as well. Welfare isn’t a long-term solution, and in fact the current system only allows you to be on it for five years in your entire lifetime. However, if simply relying upon charity to help the poor was an option then you’d think that donations to charity would have skyrocketed when Bush lowered taxes. That obviously wasn’t the case.

  57. Andrew Mason says:


    I don’t think that focusing on social justice necessarily means ignoring other virtues. Plenty of Catholics, the Pope included, manage to focus on all of them quite well. As for “the poor you will always have with you,” just because they’ll always be here doesn’t mean that we have to push them to the background. I seem to remember bad things happening to Dives when he decided that Lazarus wasn’t worthy of his immediate concern.

  58. William says:

    Michael Voris rocks! I cannot understand all the carping about his demeanor and appearance. Mother Angelic, too, was rejected for her cackle and persona. No need to kill the messenger just because you don’t like his looks.

  59. Supertradmum says:

    Andrew Mason,

    It is clear that the poor have needs. I am poor, making only 14k this year and I am not on any welfare. I am having sight problems from cataracts and cannot afford an operation. Do you not think it is the duty of the small communities, called parishes, to care if a person has basic needs and not the government? If I did not drive, I would not get to the Latin Mass. I agree that the Church has taught that some types of care are rights, and that will happen here, once those liberals who want contraception and abortion as covered by health care see the light. But, I believe in local charity, not in big government. The Catholics are bad at this, very bad. There is a family in my parish more poor than I am. I do what I can. They are invisible to the parishioners, as I am. Christ meant that we should see these needs, these people, and respond to them daily.

    Dorothy Day did not love the institutional Church. In my wild youthful days, I read most of her writings. I was involved in the Catholic Worker Movement, until I saw that it was more Marxist than Catholic. These writings do not compare with those of other saints, as the focus is not Christ and His Love or His Church. As to the gospel of prosperity, it is the opposite side of liberation theology. Can you not see that those who think poverty is an “evil” only have to take a small step into stating that those who are poor are “evil”? I work daily with disadvantaged groups. What we have done is reward those who know how to play the system on either end-the rich and the poor. Inequality is not a sin in and of itself. Being selfish is. What I hear where I am is the “Gospel of Envy”, where anyone who is wealthy is considered evil. In contrast, the evangelicals are preaching the gospel of prosperity and many of those ideas have come into our local parishes. It is a very schizophrenic atmosphere, believe me. ‘Both ideas are based on Marxism, the haves and the have nots. This is not the teaching of the Catholic Church. Anyone who couches the Truth of the Gospel in terms of materialism and class warfare is a heretic. And that is what Dorothy Day did, see the class struggle as more important that the community of Faith.

  60. Jason Keener says:

    I believe that nearly every part of the Church’s life is in a serious state of decay: liturgy, basic catechesis, Catholic higher education, seminary formation, religious life, and ecumenism on steroids to the point of where Pope John Paul II actually encouraged “Muslims to live their faith” and prayed, “May Saint John the Baptist protect Islam.” You know that things have gone seriously wrong when the Roman Pontiff himself, who is now called “Great” by many Catholics, actually encouraged non-Catholics in the practice of a false religion that denies the Trinity and Christ’s Divinity. These quotes of Pope John Paul II can be found on the Holy See’s web site. The first quote was from a speech to immigrant workers in Mainz, Germany, on November 17, 1980. The second quote is from a speech and prayer Pope John Paul II gave on March 21, 2000, in a visit to Wadi Al-Kharrar.

    My neoconservative Catholic friends continue to sing the praises of the New Springtime and tell me that there is no crisis in the Church. I hope they will wake up to reality soon. Moreover, I don’t think John XXIII should have been so quick to dismiss the “prophets of gloom,” as we can see now that they rightly predicted the exact kind of crisis that would befall the Church if She opened Herself up too much to the ways of the world.

  61. Gabriel Austin says:

    It seems to me that many commenters – and even Mr. Vorhis – are overlooking the one sure method of “reforming” [if it needs reforming] the Church. Our Lord gave the clue in his words to Martha.
    Which for us is prayer.
    How much of the scattering of the flock is due to the neglect of the pious practices of the grandparents? How much to the loss of the sodalities? to the devotions to the Sacred Heart? the Holy Name Society? to the neglect of the saints? Where are the litanies? the processions?
    All the talk about reforming the Church neglects the workings of the Boss. And is it to the Boss that we should be appealing [ appealing = praying].

  62. Shadow says:

    I think Voris is right on the money in what he is saying. He obviously tried covering as wide a range as possible in a few minutes.

  63. Childermass says:

    I’ll stop believing that there is a crisis in the Church when our cathedral is no longer selling books by Hans Kung, Richard McBrien, Joan Chittister, Deepak Chopra and John Shelby Spong.

  64. benedetta says:

    Andrew M,
    The reference also gave me pause but in listening to him further I took it to be a reference to the faction which thoroughly excludes the unborn from their category of “the poor”. Sad to say this has been going on for a long time. Fortunately there are those who take seriously the material needs of the poor and do not exclude the unborn in their understanding of the meaning of social justice. While I think they would work gladly alongside the “crowd” Vorhis references, it does not seem that the same crowd would similarly roll up their sleeves to work in concert with those who also are solidly prolife. I could supply the specifics. It is certainly not just “about abortion” as you state but there is something to be said for the fact that the Church continues to shoulder the burden of speaking for, and caring for the material needs of, those who are unwanted in our very affluent society. Having seen the results of a presentation of a program of social justice in which the unborn are deliberately omitted, I believe that the “crowd” Vorhis mentions does have some explaining to do as to why they would not follow in His words, “that they may have life, and have it abundantly”. I am not a particular fan of Vorhis’ videos but I don’t think this video is all that terrible. In other words, there are worse distortions than this video which are occurring out there. Best regards.

  65. Capt. Morgan says:

    I read many Catholic blogs and forums. Most are of the Traditional bent. I watch Mr. Voris several times a week. There seems to be many of us out here that recognize the problems in the current state of the Church and wish to do something about it. There are also many, like myself, that have made attempts to establish the TLM and other Traditional forms of worship only to be roadblocked by local Clergy or the Diocesan Bishop. My question is how do we organize and begin a bottom up push to restore our Faith? Father Z, any ideas?

  66. benedetta says:

    childermass, Capt. M and Gabriel Austin are all exactly right as well. It is so true that we have swapped those devotions and prayer practices and ingest a lot of strange and Church-hating stuff in its place. Instead of the prayer of previous generations, we look to many many other places to “feed our souls”. Our grandparents’, and great-grandparents rosaries, processions, novenas, devotions, silent, humble, sometimes unseen or unregarded, the joyful familial faith of their “domestic church” — haven’t those been protection and peace for so many, and not just for those in their immediate circle or sphere of influence, these supported the entire Church itself. The absence of these, so taken for granted in another time, speaks volumes today. Another reason to locate a copy of “Tu Scendi Dalle Stelle” this season so we can sing for the great-grandmother and thank her for her gentle persistence, and even the great-great grandmother who made the journey so long ago, whose name was, Benedetta.

  67. M.D.R. says:

    I’d like to comment on a few of quotes of Michael Voris in this video. Firstly, in the beginning of the video he states that…”Is there a serious Catholic anywhere in the world who does not realize that the Church is in need of MASSIVE reform?…… The rot is spread so far and wide and extends so deeply that one hardly knows how to begin.”

    The above quote is implying that one can’t be a serious Catholic and not see that the Church is in need of MASSIVE reform. Serious Catholics like Michael Voris. While there are problems in the Church, I think it is wrong to term it in such a way as…”the rot is spread so far and wide….”

    This is typical of Voris, in that he uses sharp words that will cause Catholics to believe that the Church itself is evil, rather than some individuals in the Church who are teaching error. He also says…”When good Catholics look around, what do they see? A disaster. When the pope looks around, what does he see? He sees a Church where his most important duty is to preserve unity.”

    In the above quote, Mr. Voris tosses a dig toward the pope, by saying that the pope only sees a Church that needs unity, whereas “good Catholics see a disaster.”

    Lastly, there’s another quote toward the end of the video which states ….”men and women with letters sit around with their pride and produce bastardizations of sacred scripture, twisted and tortured understandings of history….”

    Again, Mr. Voris uses words that are meant to cause anxiety. There are some Catholics, especially of a traditional mindset, that will savor these sharp and harsh words of Mr. Voris, because they believe that the Church is just an institution run by humans, and that humans can fix whatever problems there are by using harsh words and actions.

    But as has already been mentioned on this comments section, and which I very much agree with, was by Gabriel Austin : “All the talk about reforming the Church neglects the workings of the Boss. And it is the Boss that we should be appealing [appealing=praying].”

    Mr. Austin is right.

  68. Want the Church to be reformed? Be the saint God calls you to be.

  69. Genna says:

    The Vortex video could not have been more timely. There is a long, long way to go.
    Let me quote from the parish newsletter: “As Jesus makes clear in the Gospel, in response to his imprisoned cousin John, Salvation Joy is not just an other worldly/future reality but is seen and experienced even now when the sick are healed, the lepers cleansed, the dead raised and the poor restored to their rightful dignity. May the Lord make our lives ‘signs of salvation’ through our commitment to justice, peace and solidarity with the poor.”
    The new parish priest wanders up and down the aisle to give more of the same in his homilies accompanied by copious sky-writing. The number of parishioners at the Saturday evening Mass has gone up since his arrival. 98% are over 50 and most are women who say “aaaah” when Father tells a nice story.
    The former parish priest was removed by the bishop only weeks ago. He was not a performer, celebrated the Mass humbly and reverently, was committed to Adoration and gave intellectually stimulating, often uncomfortable, sermons relevant to the Gospel of the day. Under his tenure there was a fantastic choir and organist for the Sunday Missa Cantata.
    The bishop kicked him out, the reason being that some parishioners had complained about him.
    The present incumbent is obviously more to the bishop’s liking. The Confiteor has gone. The traditional hymn books have been removed. The priest is very keen on tunes written by people called Kevin.
    Please pray for the priest sent far away from his parish and from his elderly mother. She has very recently died. I hope he was able to be with her in time to administer Extreme Unction. May she rest in peace and may God reward her for giving Him her son to serve Him so faithfully and so well.

  70. In other words: we want reform, but we are never willing to do what is necessary. We always blame others. I remember hearing at a conference with a certain Archbishop who was asked “what are the bishops going to do about such and such” to which this faithful bishop responded “the bishops will do such and such, but what are YOU going to do about it.”

    We all love to sit back and point fingers. But what are WE doing about it, as faithful members of the Church. It is not just the priests and bishops, it is the whole Church, of which we are members. Be the saints God calls you to be, and things will be better (And they are better, people. This guy is alarmist and uses rhetoric that makes the Church seem like she is in a disaster. But this is God’s Church. Do you not have faith that He will take care of His Church?)

  71. The Egyptian says:

    OK, some don’t like the production or his “ministry” or heaven forbid his haircut, for the love of Pete at least he has the testicular fortitude to SAY IT. seems we all pussy foot around the problem, me included, nothing like the scornful look of your parish priest as he informs you that the church is now a horizontal church etc etc blah blah. I wait in hope that some day we will hear a real sermon on confession. Please just some orthodoxy would be nice. As a 1959 baby and a product of the 70’s I hope to live to see it

  72. brianvzn says:

    10 Thoughts on how to get the One True Church back on track.
    1) Abolish Vatican II
    2) Abolish the Novus Ordo
    3) Bring back the Tiara
    4) Bring back true Papal Primacy
    5) Encourage Perpetual Adoration
    6) Consecrate Russia to the Immaculate Heart
    7) Use the Baltimore Catechism/Catechism of the Council of Trent in conversion classes.
    8) Condemn false religions such as Islam, Protestantism, Hinduism. Pray for their conversion.
    9) Restore the original Good Friday prayer for the Jews.
    10) Read the Holy Bible and say the Rosary everyday. Everyone.

  73. benedetta says:

    Are there actual lepers where you live? I saw that great movie, the Human Experience in which the young male protagonists visited a still existing leper colony. Americans, they set off to the other side of the world.

    Still, my ancestors were extremely poor, yet, they found their dignity not through the earnest condescension of a few but through their “status” as children of the Living God. There was no support network to help them but through faith and work they did ok and passed on a gift to their families that no money could buy.

    Harrison, for some of us experiencing the weirdness like Gemma describes we do our best and then for our own sanity and solidarity turn to places like this. For some of us the most hopeful way to embrace all that is great, true and beautiful in our Church is, to in spite of what others do sometimes, establish a “domestic church” in our own spheres of influence, as lay faithful.

  74. EoinOBolguidhir says:

    The pre-Vatican II generation may be partly responsible for VII’s abuse (Voris himself says the problems were a century in the making), but they did not bear the brunt of it, and it will get much worse in the future. Keep those numbers I mentioned early in your back pocket, and pull them out when considering the merits of the fruits of Vatican II as we know them today: 10% of the nation are ex-Catholics (and the situation is worse in Europe); 100,000 ex-priests; 70% deny or don’t understand the central dogma of our liturgical life. Those facts are horrifying, and they don’t go away.

    If you want a separate perspective on how wrong things have gone, check out Fr. Barron’s podcast On Leaving the Church on the Creative Minority Report, http://www.creativeminorityreport.com. Perhaps Father will post that video for a different perspective. I’m afraid it will languish in this old thread.

  75. Andrew Mason says:


    I feel for you having to make a life on 14k a year, I could never make it on 500 dollars a pay period (and that’s before taxes, I can only image how low the net income must be). I’m sure you can sympathize with the thousands of Americans yearly whose deaths are directly linked to the health care system. You are correct that these are needs that should ideally be addressed by the local parish community, however that doesn’t take into account the fact that you yourself stated that not all Catholics do a good job of this. There are many parishes that don’t even have a St. Vincent de Paul Society (mine does, thankfully) and many whose parishioners probably have as much compassion for the poor as Ebenezer Scrooge. It also doesn’t take into account the many who are not Catholic and have no access to the charity of a Catholic parish. It would be nice to think that Catholic parishes could fill that role, but it would not be feasible economically even if every parish took up the cause. Also, the state has an obligation to guarantee the welfare of its citizens and that is not fulfilled by our current system. The poor are just as bound by the social contract as anybody else, and yet our economic system makes it nearly impossible to for them to succeed and denies them access to almost everything they would need to live full lives. I think that it makes perfect sense for the government to make up for that inequality through any means it has at its disposal which includes progressive taxation and universal health care. Pure capitalism leads to a lot of dead people through enforced poverty, and so the only countries that have used it haven’t been able to sustain it for very long. In order to continue, capitalism has to be softened through programs that allow workers to survive on those low wages. The only other option is actually paying a living wage, but of course that will never happen here.

  76. Andrew Mason says:


    If Vorhis was talking about social justice groups that omit concern for the unborn, then why did he include the dichotomy between material and spiritual? He said that the “social justice crowd” paid too much attention to the physical and ignored the spiritual, which to me seems like he was saying that they feed and clothe but don’t evangelize. Obviously he has a point, one that I have seen in action, that those who do all things for the poor but don’t love are engaged in futility and ultimately will not do any good for those they “help.” As St. Vincent de Paul said, we must not “help” the poor but rather serve them (I think that St. Vincent actually said we should be their slaves, something he knew a lot about having been one himself).

  77. Genna says:

    No Benedetta, no lepers, but many sick and poor who need our aid. I made the point very badly, I think, that salvation appears to be predicated purely on corporal works of mercy. It was an example of how much the salvation of souls has been neglected in Catholic teaching.
    I hope this explains my point.
    Your ancestors sound formidable! God Bless

  78. benedetta says:

    Andrew M,
    Well, in truth, what has happened to the so-called “seamless garment” approach? It seems it has come to suffer some holes and tears. Catholic social teaching rests on our dignity in the eyes of God and this begins as a unique individual develops from their very conception. I can’t speak for Vorhis but I do know that it is an immense sign of hope for the Church that there are those who serve the needs of the poor and in their action do not exclude the unborn. Unlike some other faith-based agencies which serve the poor, the Church has never required persons served to “convert”. But if we really inquire into the current situations of injustice in this country then we would have to be honest about the situation of nascent human life, at the very least. If we are not honest about that it calls much of our other activities on behalf of the poor into question as far as its authenticity to the Gospel. I cannot imagine that if alive today St. Vincent de Paul, St. Francis of Assisi, St. Clare or even Dorothy Day who herself struggled with the problem of abortion in her own life, would bless those in the Church who profess to love the poor and be interested in justice yet look the other way when it comes to the situation which has befallen developing human life. There is disunity in the Church when it comes to this; just look at the prevailing so-called “Catholic” publications which foment “conscientious objection” in the name of some misguided feminism. A true and authentic feminism could only be prolife. Vorhis would be correct if this is the situation he refers to. Nonetheless, there are great signs of hope all around, for life has a way of breaking forth anew.

  79. ejcmartin says:

    Although I do not disagree with his points I do question his delivery. As he rants I can’t help hear Richard Dawkins with his nastiness and all the believing atheists nodding in agreement.

  80. paulbailes says:

    It’s pretty clear that the Church remains in a state of crisis (= state of emergency)

  81. lousaint says:

    I think the points he makes about the course of “practical atheism” and the intellectual work of reform that the Holy Father is engaged in are actually quite insightul and even hopeful.

    Unfortunately, as evidenced by this thread, it’s drowned out by his overstated claims that the leadership of the Church is a swamp of corruption and heresy, and that the marker of this heresy is concern for “peace and social justice”. So, is the “real reform” that he wants–and that seems so obvious to RealCatholics (TM) everywhere–just a matter of getting rid of the “peace and social justice” bogeymen?

    I think it’s a little more complicated than that, and, like others have pointed out, there are good signs in the Church, even in the most unlikely corners, that should give us reason to hope–and maybe be a bit skeptical of sweeping demonizations of our bishops.

  82. RichR says:

    It is sad, but true.

    Rather than pine away for the glory days of the Golden Era of Catholicism (1950’s?), we should look at the present crisis as an opportunity for holiness. Remember that no liturgical rite this side of heaven is complete nirvana. We should keep the heavenly, eternal liturgy before our eyes and let that realization animate our souls to Christian charity…..especially if the local liturgy falls short.

  83. Kevin B. says:

    A few thoughts: I think Voris is right on target, and I think the varied responses to this video are themselves indicative of the problem of which Voris speaks. Is Voris abrasive? Sometimes. But is he right? Others have rightly pointed out that the Church Militant has always suffered from internal corruption because it is governed by fallen human beings. What makes the modern crisis different is a significant number of Catholics at all levels don’t even think that there is a problem. Many of our shepherds, for whatever reason, are reluctant to use their legitimate authority to admonish sinners or instruct the ignorant. Those who do so are often called “divisive” or “rigid” or “controversial.” Pope Paul VI said that the smoke of Satan had entered the temple. I think the devil’s strategy for the past forty years has been to appeal to our shepherds normal human desire to be well liked. It takes a strong character to be counter cultural all of the time. Why rock the boat? Weren’t all of those pre-Vatican II fuddyduddy’s just taking everything too seriously? Don’t you want to be pastoral?

    Yes, the Church has survived many trials. Yes, the gates of hell cannot prevail against her. But none of that diminishes the severity of the trials we’re living now. Personally, I think it will take another council to settle all of it. As others have rightly said, our current crisis was centuries in the making. I do think the ambiguous “pastoral” language of Vatican II gave the enemies of the faith openings they otherwise would not have had.

  84. Andrew Mason says:


    I think that the “seamless garment” movement has suffered from the fact that too many Catholics feel the need to belong to one or the other political party and make their faith subservient to that political identification. Far too many Catholic Democrats ignore the Church’s teachings on abortion, ESCR, and sexual morality; just as far too many Catholic Republicans ignore the Church’s teachings (laid out in Rerum Novarum, Centesimus Annus, Caritas in Veritate, and many other encyclicals) on the death penalty, unjust war, and treatment of the poor. If Catholics realized that their faith should be more important than their party, I think that the movement would gain new strength. I agree that groups like Catholics for Choice and others who try to make it seem like people can be Catholics and pro-abortion are doing a grave disservice, and that people at all points on the political spectrum who think that they can ignore the teachings of the Church and still be good Catholics are endangering their own souls and those of the people who listen to them. I am in agreement with Vorhis that the Church has a lot of internal problems at the moment, many of which I have experienced first-hand as a parishioner at a parish that, while fairly orthodox, allows some pretty frustrating abuses of the liturgy in the name of being friendly and accommodating. That being said, the guy strikes me as a talking head with no substance. Frankly, if I had found it elsewhere I might have thought it was a parody especially when he talked about how horrible “men of letters” were while his own name with his own “letters” flashed at the bottom of the screen. Some people need to take care of the plank in their own eye before pointing out the splinter in the other guy’s.

  85. StMichael71 says:

    My chief problem is not with this sort of content, but with his mixing of politics with religion. What I mean is that he has dedicated videos (I’ve seen one, at least) in which he advocates abolishing democracy and imposing monarchy in the United States. I don’t think we should associate with that view publicly. In fact, it hurt any good he could have been doing to go and torpedo himself like that.

  86. MikeM says:

    I think we’d do well to remember that when the Apostles found a town that rejected their message, they left joyfully.

    As Christians, we’re called to speak the one Truth that sets men free. We should do that in the most effective way we know how… which requires listening to the guidance of the Spirit. Once we’ve done that, though, the rest is in God’s hands. Faith itself originates from Him, and we can’t make anyone else accept it when He offers it. If we let the Holy Spirit lead us and speak the Truth through us, the numbers don’t matter. If we do that and it leaves a Church of ten people, there’s no need to despair… we should be delighted to have nine brothers with whom we can share Christian fellowship.

  87. MikeM says:

    Andrew Mason,

    You said: ” Far too many Catholic Democrats ignore the Church’s teachings on abortion, ESCR, and sexual morality; just as far too many Catholic Republicans ignore the Church’s teachings (laid out in Rerum Novarum, Centesimus Annus, Caritas in Veritate, and many other encyclicals) on the death penalty, unjust war, and treatment of the poor.”

    For various reasons I don’t support the death penalty and have taken some steps to actively oppose it, but it really irritates me when people use that issue to divide the Church. There are thoughtful Catholic defenses of the death penalty. The Catechism of the Council of Trent (The Roman Catechism) says: “Another kind of lawful slaying belongs to the civil authorities, to whom is entrusted power of life and death, by the legal and judicious exercise of which they punish the guilty and protect the innocent. The just use of this power, far from involving the crime of murder, is an act of paramount obedience to this Commandment which prohibits murder. The end of the Commandment is the preservation and security of human life. Now the punishments inflicted by the civil authority, which is the legitimate avenger of crime, naturally tend to this end, since they give security to life by repressing outrage and violence. Hence these words of David: In the morning I put to death all the wicked of the land, that I might cut off all the workers of iniquity from the city of the Lord.”

    God, himself, told Noah: “If anyone sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed.”

    Unlike abortion, which has been consistently forbidden by the Church, capital punishment was supported by the Church through most of its history. John Paul II didn’t support it and neither does Pope Benedict, a fact which Catholics should take seriously. But, one can be a faithful Catholic and still support the death penalty.

    I’m additionally unsure that Rerum Novarum is really useful in going after conservative social policies… in fact, it would take some pretty remarkable rhetorical acrobatics to justify that claim.

  88. catholicmidwest says:

    I think it’s wrong when the church becomes merely some kind of politics. Episodes of this are woven throughout this thread. The church is a religion, not a political party.

    BTW, the “seamless garment” idea is straight out of Chicago, a la Cardinal Bernardin. It’s not theology but politics.

  89. catholicmidwest says:

    “Unlike abortion, which has been consistently forbidden by the Church, capital punishment was supported by the Church through most of its history. John Paul II didn’t support it and neither does Pope Benedict, a fact which Catholics should take seriously. But, one can be a faithful Catholic and still support the death penalty.”

    Correct. There is such a thing as a just war, and there is such a thing as the just use of capital punishment.

  90. catholicmidwest says:

    But those are marginal issues. People like to trot out special cases to avoid talking about the main principles of things. It’s easier. Those topics are not as important as what the church does on a day to day basis. And what the church does on a day to day basis right now-the basic stuff-is a mess.

  91. surgedomine says:

    I hope it does not take 100 years.

  92. Sixupman says:

    The presentation of Voris is because it is in short bites, not a sermon.

    A key point, on this occasion, relates to the Pope’s ability to deal with the minutiae of the management ssysten which has developed post-Vatican II. The collegiality of bishops’ conferences is the first problem, where rational bishops are sidelined, with one particular example in England. Below that level is a diffuse array of self-interest groups, not like the Sodalities and similar of the past, but in a kremlinlike organisation aimed at keeping the paying pew fodder in their place. The National Conferences of Priests, to which only the zealots belong – not zealots for Christ, but zealots for their own anti-Magisterium prejudices. The diocesan bureaucracies, which appear to run the bishops and manipulate their thinking. Finally, the parish bureaucracies which dictate to their pastors how the ship should be run, again according to their own proclivities.

    Line management: priest – bishop – pope, that is how it was and how it should be and not, as has been described in the UK, akin to trade union structures (here) existing, not for the workers, but solely for the officials.

  93. benedetta says:

    RichR, how about pining for, say, the 1650’s, would that be ok? Just kidding. Wasn’t even alive in the 1950’s so I certainly don’t pine. Hard to take seriously your injunction to charity when you also deride people as pining for the 50s. It’s not necessarily pining to point out the lack of prayer opportunities in parishes in many places. People still seek it out, and sometimes what is offered instead is zen buddhism. It really can’t be underscored enough how essential prayer has always been to the life of the Church. But as far as hope many many still pray the rosary, which is timeless, and now many also pray the Divine Mercy chaplet which has proven to be a powerful devotion.

    As I look back over the reactions generally I could (as a relative newbie) categorize them in terms of traditional, neo-con, and liberal. Though my first reaction to the video would probably fall in the neo-con group, and heaven knows I have pointlessly dabbled at other times in the liberal, all told I’d have to ultimately throw my lot with the traditionalist viewpoint as articulated here. It is not just that the liberal rings hollow, in the sense that many accuse others of being merely superficial, but that with the traditionalist presentation there is a grasp of the long range, the broad history of the Church, and while there is also an understanding of contemporary issues there is not just a sense of the immediate political struggle, but the eternal. “And that has made all the difference.”

  94. catholicmidwest says:


    You are quite correct. Not sure where you are, but that’s what we see here too. The idea that the needs of the Gospel (and the people) could be best met by putting the laity in charge, as you describe creates problems as least as bad as any other organizational strategy. As I stated above, we’ve just done a trade-off of “officials.” The people in charge are still doing exactly what they learned long ago. Force works if what you want is forced reaction.

    The line organization-pope, bishop, priest-works at least as well as long as they knock off the “royal prince with unlimited privileges” nonsense. In the Catholic Church, there are no kings but Christ. The pope does NOT abuse his position, but some in other lesser positions have in the past.

  95. Andrew Mason says:


    I don’t know why you would accuse me of trying to divide the Church, but that certainly isn’t my intention. I was simply pointing out that there are “Cafeteria Catholics” on the right just as there are on the left. The death penalty may be debatable, although certainly it’s been a long time since a Pope has advocated it, but other Republican-supported issues like “enhanced interrogation” and preemptive war certainly are not.

    As for Rerum Novarum, have you read it? It’s a pretty clear condemnation of pure capitalism, just as much as it is of Marxism. My favorite quote from the encyclical is as follows: “If through necessity or fear of a worse evil the workman accept harder conditions because an employer or contractor will afford him no better, he is made the victim of force and injustice.” Now, considering that Republicans are constantly attacking the minimum wage and OSHA standards as un-American intrusions on the sanctity of business, I think that Pope Leo was at least some of the Republican Party. Republicans want to increase the profits of corporations by decreasing the rights of the worker and the consumer, and I think that Pope Leo is clear in his condemnation of that.

  96. Andrew Mason says:


    What part of the “seamless garment” is contrary to the teachings of the Church? Opposition to abortion? The death penalty? Support for the poor and marginalized? It is political in that it prevents Catholics from comfortably supporting the Republican Party, which is obviously going to make some conservative Catholics quite uneasy, but otherwise it’s firmly within the bounds of Catholic teaching as expressed since Rerum Novarum. As for the death penalty and just war, it is true that there are acceptable uses of both. However, our current Pope and his predecessor have made it clear that our country’s use of both of these is not just. Pope John Paul II spoke out repeatedly against the first Iraq War just as Pope Benedict XVI has against our current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and both of them have pleaded numerous times for the lives of people who were about to be executed. Just war cannot be preemptive, and it also cannot use indiscriminate or disproportionate force both of which we have used in most of our recent wars. The death penalty, in order to be just, can only be used on those who are guilty beyond a shadow of a doubt, something that has certainly not been the case considering how many death row inmates have been freed over the past couple of decades with the advent of new technology or the intervention of advocacy groups that brought evidence to light that had been ignored by the inmates’ previous attorneys.

  97. catholicmidwest says:

    Let me be clear about what I just said:

    Having a bishop who tells it like it is on all the things the church teaches and insists that those things be followed is wonderful. Having a bishop who uses what he needs to get the job done is great. Having a bishop who lives up to his vocation and does what he needs to do, whether that be plane trips to Rome to see HIS SUPERIOR the POPE, or entertaining whoever needs to be entertained WHILE running his diocese as he sees fit within the boundaries of good Christian practice is great. We currently have some of these-some really good bishops-and we are thankful for them. Their example shows how this is supposed to work.

    However, having a bishop who uses his position to cater to his own private wants, or cover up things that should not be happening, generally act like spoiled royalty or act like a politician, is not okay. Particularly when he reminds you on a regular basis how important he is as the successor of the apostles. [Hidden premise = therefore he can do whatever the hell he wants.] This happens alarmingly often. [Not that laypeople who aspire to replace him by means of the bureaucracy effectively act any better. They don’t.]

    If the things in my last paragraph had been avoided, BTW, the sex abuse crisis would have been much less of a big deal in just about every regard.

  98. catholicmidwest says:


    Very simple. There is no seamless garment, since some sins are worse than others. Abortion is worse than poverty, since abortion is murder by definition, for example. You don’t believe me? Fine. There is a document, written by then Cardinal Ratzinger, that states this explicitly. It’s called “Worthiness to Receive Holy Communion.” Fr Z doesn’t like links so I will leave it to you, if you really care, to Google it. It is very explicit about this and it’s a direct confutation of the so-called seamless garment principle, which does NOT exist in the Church’s official or traditional theology.

    So where did it come from, you might ask. The “seamless garment” was a construct cooked up by Cardinal Bernardin for his own political and ideological reasons. It’s straight out of the political cauldron of Chicago. It sought to “soften” the import of abortion at the same time it was to strengthen the things progressives lust after, such as civil rights for gays and so on.

  99. catholicmidwest says:

    And your statement, “It is political in that it prevents Catholics from comfortably supporting the Republican Party…” is exactly the point. It was political. 20th century American politics. That’s all it was.

  100. REMINDER OF POINTERS so you don’t get locked out of the combox.

    1) Keep it civil.

    2) Don’t post nasty links a mile long. 

    3) If you are talking to someone, address them as the FIRST word in the comment.

    4) Ad hominem jabs are not welcome.  Stick to issues.

    5) Don’t flood the combox (I really hate that).

    6) Don’t assume I am kidding.

  101. Constance says:

    Dear Fr. Z,
    We love Michael Voris but this video doesn’t do him justice.
    He has so many other videos full of factual information.
    I suggest the readers to go to RealCatholicTV.com to subscribe.
    For the commenters who think him arrogant- Face the TRUTH! Let’s see you start your own program. God bless Michael Voris for speaking the truth that so many need to hear!

  102. QMJ says:

    I. do. not. like. Michael. Voris. This video is a great example of why I do not like him. Is the Church in need of reform? Yes, of course, it is. It is there a need for massive reform? Yes, he is correct about that too. Is there need for reform in all the areas that he listed? Again, yes. Here’s the problem. He said the problem is so pervasive that it is hard to know where to begin. Um, it already has begun and any one who is a reader of this blog should recognize that. It has begun in every area that he listed: liturgy, bishops, catechesis, etc. So the reason I do not like Michael Voris is that he paints in inaccurate picture and unfortunately their are many people who accept this picture as the current reality of the Church and have more difficulty seeing the jewels and the work the Holy Spirit.

    As he did with the Church so too with Pope Benedict XVI. Mr. Voris failed to paint a complete and, therefore, accurate picture of Pope Benedict. He said that Pope Benedict is a scholar (true) and that he is focusing on reforming the “intellectual circle.” While Benedict has certainly done much work in this area, with these people, I think it is a mistake to see him as focusing his reforming energy on this group. Mr. Voris completely ignores the rest of the work the Benedict has done.

    I would say that more than anything else Pope Benedict has focused on the heart during his Pontificate. He continually emphasizes the true historicity of Christ and his real presence (not just Eucharistically speaking) today in our lives. He often uses words such as encounter and event when speaking of our meeting Him and he always uses personal language, meaning he emphasizes the need for a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. This all centers on the heart.

    Finally we have this from Pope Benedict’s “Light of the World” (which is absolutely fantastic), “That Christianity gives joy and breadth is also a thread that runs through my whole life. Ultimately someone who is always only in opposition could probably not endure life at all.” If Mr. Voris isn’t “someone who is always only in opposition” then he needs to let the “joy and breadth” come out more in his work.

  103. Andrew Mason says:


    I agree with you about what you said makes a good bishop. I think that all bishops should be clear and vocal about what the Church teaches on all matters, not only abortion and gay marriage mind you but the treatment of the poor and of immigrants/foreigners as well as subjects like the death penalty, torture and war. It does a grave disservice to our nation and to the faithful when bishops act like we can simply ally ourselves with one or the other political party and still act in keeping with the teachings of the Church. Both parties have items on their platforms that go against the teachings of the Church, and Pope Benedict has made it clear that there are no circumstances in which the torture that Republicans support can be justified. When Republicans say that “waterboarding” can be justified to interrogate a suspect, that is no better than when a Democratic politician says that abortion can be justified in certain situations. Both parties have bad ideas, and it’s wrong to say that one can’t vote for Obama because of his views on abortion and ESCR without also saying that it’s wrong to vote for McCain because of his views on torture and ESCR. Those in the Church who act like Republican campaign spokesmen are just as wrong as those who do the same for the Democrats.

  104. Andrew Mason says:


    Is abortion worse than torture? What about embryonic stem cell research, since that doesn’t seem to be a problem for many Republicans any more than it is for Democrats? Saying that treatment of the poor is less serious than abortion assumes that both sides are working in good faith to bring about justice. When the Republicans can’t afford to spend money on unemployment that keeps people off the streets but eagerly attempt to add a trillion dollars to the deficit in tax cuts for the wealthiest 1% of the population, does that sound like a good faith attempt to bring about justice? If a Republican politician advocated policies in our inner cities akin to those undertaken by the Brazilian government in the favelas, where the poor are harassed and in some cases murdered by the cops simply because their existence was inconvenient, would it still be permissible to vote for that politician because he opposed abortion? If a politician advocated the use of torture on anybody who is so much as suspected of involvement in terrorism, would it be okay for a Catholic to vote for him if he promised to vote against gay marriage? I’m not saying that we should vote for politicians who support abortion, just that we also shouldn’t vote for politicians who support other things that contradict Catholic teachings. Many in the Church seem to think that being a Catholic comes with an automatic membership in the Republican Party, and that attitude will lead to Catholic concerns being ignored just as much as it did when Catholics were considered a reliable vote for the Democratic Party.

  105. Andrew Mason says:


    When a Catholic priest or bishop says that the faithful cannot ignore the position of a Democratic politician on abortion or ESCR, but omits or proclaims no problem with a Republican politician’s support for torture or (in the case of McCain) ESCR, that is just as political as it would be if a liberal priest or bishop did the same thing in reverse. Both sides have done their share of thinly veiled political campaigning from the pulpit, and both sides need to stop doing so. Torture is inexcusable, the Pope said that there is absolutely no circumstance in which it could be used, and therefore voting for a pro-torture politician because he is anti-abortion is not a good thing. For the record, the Pope has also said that health care is a human right which begs the question of how the Republicans are the “Catholic” party when the health care system that they vociferously defend either denies or limits health care for so many.

  106. Poimier says:

    Many Catholics suffered for adhering to the “Faith of our Fathers” in the last 40 years and families were persecuted, especially if they tried to go to the “Old Mass”. Huge sectors of the Catholic Church changed enormously, to give but two examples : saying Grace before and after meals and praying the Angelus – what happened to them ?. (Let’s not bring up Benediction). And what about contraception ? That is perhaps the biggie, the elephant in the bedroom. Oh yes, I forgot, that is a matter purely for “private consciences”.

    This fellow seems to understand about all that, but for Heavens’ sake, some of you find it relevant to criticize his haircut. What on earth has a haircut to do with anything ? Maybe he would not like your haircut ? This type of comment is pointless and time-wasting. This fellow makes many good points, he is fully aware of the huge mess we are in. His presentation of them is much better than mine would be.

    Oh yes, Mr Tokray : “the 4 Masonic lodges which are said to be operating within the Vatican?” what on earth does this mean please ? What do you know we don’t ?


  107. benedetta says:

    There are quite a few bishops and archbishops who do both, actively work to help the poor and do not in that exclude the unborn. It seems fairly do-able and countless in the “hierarchy” have been active in this way for centuries. With respect to the ones who purport to advocate for the poor yet exclude in their presentation, the unborn, this has the appearance at least of deliberate omission. To include activism in protecting the unborn would not take much at all in terms of resources — it is more proclamation, example, modelling, public prayer, and mere inclusion, from those in power. As many are saying, the public welfare system is the safety net that we have in this country and our Catholic obligation would be to go beyond providing the barest minimum. So why the exclusion of the unborn then? Looking at it from the most generous, broadest envisioning of the poorest. It’s hard to see spokespersons for the poor as authentically Catholic when they omit from their activism the groundwork for Catholic social teaching: that Christ was our Lord from the moment that He was conceived, by the Holy Spirit.

  108. rfox2 says:


    “He’s great on defining himself by what he’s against but that’s not the whole story [..snip..] Vortex would do better to attempt to evangelize our Family (& others) by encouraging Her members to learn, follow and evangelize the awesome teachings of JPII & B16 & let go of the diatribes.”

    On the contrary. If you’ve watched Real Catholic TV to any extent, it becomes very apparent that Mr. Voris is backed by a dedicated team of folks who help him to research and document everything he reports on and speaks about. He has, as I understand it, dedicated anything of what he would have had resembling life savings into RCTV. How many of us would be that willing to put our money where our mouth is? Many of the episodes on RCTV focus on the theological virtues of faith and hope, and encourage the Church to have great joy in Our Lord.

    Once again, Mr. Voris is right on track, saying what needs to be said. Pollyanish Mr. Voris is not, but I thank God someone like him is out there saying what needs to be said in a very professional and engaging manner. It takes courage to do what he’s doing.

  109. swamp_rabbit says:

    Voris, for all his human flaws, frequently makes the point that he has no desire to be one man against the world. I don’t think he sees himself as a self styled prophet, just someone stating what the catechism says (over and over again)… That needs to be heard. I need to hear it, anyway. I’ll speak for myself. What do I do after listening to that? I try to be a bit more aware, a bit more Catholic. Read more, think more. What do you do after having a cup of coffee?
    Sure he could use a new hair style, but so could lot of people.

  110. Aaron B. says:

    I’m a big fan of Voris, but less so of the Vortex. I suspect that a 5-minute, halftime-sports-news-style rant isn’t the best vehicle for these topics. Most of the criticisms here — that he only complains about the problems and doesn’t offer solutions, that his points are too simplistic, that he comes across as an arrogant crusader — are answered by his longer programs like the 45-minute The One True Faith. The nearly 100 episodes of that show make up a pretty solid orthodox catechism of Catholic teaching, covering topics from angels to abortion, presented in plain language that even those of us catechized in the 1980s can understand.

    I hope that for every person who is turned off by the YouTube-ish nature of the Vortex, at least one other decides to follow up on Voris and discovers his more thoughtful work.

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