THE AMERICANS ...... AGAIN
|Michael Voris of Church Militant T.V.|
In the last couple of weeks we have had the spectacle of American Catholics of a generally conservative, orthodox stamp, in conflict with one another. Like most things American the affair has money at its root. At least that has been the occasion of the conflict arising.
One of the greatest problems in the Church in America is the fact that Americanism is its defining characteristic in most places. " Americanism" may be taken to mean many things in many different contexts, but in this context it is a very generic form of "Americanism" of the current day, in which an absolute sentimental Patriotism comes before ALL else,everything is seen in political terms, and entertainment is often confused with real life and money subverts every field of activity. It is not hard to see how this ethos is inimical to authentic Catholicism.
It is hard to imagine many countries in which a person would not see himself/herself being a Catholic first and then a citizen of ...whatever. It is our relationship with Jesus Christ that has the Primacy.
As far back as 1996 I was talking with a leading American Jesuit ( truly Catholic) who confirmed my view that there was, even then, too much "Americanism" in the Catholic Church in the U.S.A.
But recently, Michael Voris of Church Militant T.V. has started saying just that on his daily recorded T.V. videos distributed by Email around the globe. And, being even more politically incorrect, he has been condemning what he aptly terms "The Church of Nice" where this or that Doctrine isn't preached because people won't like it, or this Mortal Sin or that is not condemned because people wouldn't like to hear that - it wouldn't be
At this point let us enter a Caveat : the Voris style of presentation is itself VERY American - and we don't like it. It is also probably the case that he continues to keep up the " crisis" talk to keep the money flowing in to his very well-staffed, though " lean" organisation.A very AMERICAN approach. But the point is, rather that his research is first class and his analysis is always spot on. Of course, there might be the odd mistake here and there, but that is life - he is not perfect - that is God's preserve. But by and large, he is doing a good job and does not hesitate to criticise many American Bishops for their failures to act and their errors in action.
It transpires that another American Catholic organisation with a large Internet presence and a reputation for orthodoxy - " Catholic Answers"- published in early August a programme attacking " radical Traditionalists". This was responded to critically by Michael Voris on his own programme.
Precisely why Catholic Answers chose to attack anyone supporting Catholic Tradition is puzzling, since it is the strongest growing area in the Church, out of the wreckage of the alternative.
But I begin to suspect that the good ole' Yankee Dollar may be in the background. It just happens that Catholic Answers has been running successful Retreats at sea on luxury Cruise Liners - this year on the " Oasis of the Seas" no less, on the subject " Defending the Faith" .
Only in America.
And now for the second year in a row Michael Voris' organisation is running a Retreat at Sea on the subject " The Catholic Restoration" on another Ocean Liner the brand new " Royal Princess". Hmmm competition for Passengers.
But if you wondered if this is a bit far-fetched - consider the next development. In America Registered Charities must publish their Salaries paid and someone upset with what he read in Catholic Answer' list went looking at several others including some Diocesan ones and found that salaries of 3 and 400,000 US Dollars were being paid. He had supported some of these groups and was so incensed that he started writing to Catholic publications to complain Even the venerable EWTN was found to be paying around 120,000 Dollars US to a number of its executives and Presenters. EWTN has undergone several untoward changes since Mother Angelica stepped aside. Michael Voris reported on the salary coverage on several other avenues and went on to reveal that the highest paid executive in CHURCH MILITANT TV was him on 40,000 Dollars US with a number of others close to that figure.The disproportion : 400,000 to 40,000 is dramatic- and much more appealing to Donors who want to support the Church and not the Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.
Given this situation, Catholic Answers no doubt sees any threat to its money spinning Retreat at Sea very seriously. Especially from a rapidly growing operation like CHURCH MILITANT TV.
The whole business is not helpful to the Faith and rather unseemly . There is more to tell but that will come in a subsequent Post.
Money is indeed the root of (much) evil. As the Venerable Archbishop Fulton J Sheen used to remind us : " Division is the work of the Devil."