Over the course of the last three days, Michael Voris has put his unholy obsession with the SSPX on display via some 30 minutes of video (with the promise of more to come) featuring over four thousand words – a portion of which was allegedly plagiarized (but more on that in a moment.)
Even though I’m not real keen on the idea of expending a great deal of energy parsing the criticisms of a man who is so clearly motivated by an agenda that has nothing whatsoever to do with seeking and telling the truth…
Below, I’ll provide in italics what I consider the most noteworthy parts of Voris’ videos such as they have been released to date, with my commentary immediately to follow.
Many Catholics, most Catholics, in fact, don’t really know very much at all, if anything, about this group which has been around in one form or another since 1988, as one way of counting … The Society came about in response, reaction to the overall weakening of the Church and many of Her leaders, which has been an ongoing process since the 1960s.
This is rich: Voris mentioning those who don’t really know very much at all about the SSPX as he gets even the most basic facts completely wrong. Most noteworthy here is his utterly preposterous assertion that the SSPX came about in response to some amorphous “weakening of the Church.”
He knows very well (as he and I had discussed in some detail on more than one occasion) that the SSPX came about as a very direct response to the errors of the Second Vatican Council and the deplorable theology of the Novus Ordo Missae.
It’s as if Michael is under some kind of self-imposed gag order that prevents him from speaking on the problems with the Council and the New Mass; issues he used to address with great passion just a few short years ago. More on that soon…
The SSPX, Church Militant, and many other Catholics recognize the deep crisis that has been brought about by weak leaders, corrupt leaders, homosexual leaders, feminized leaders in the Church for the past fifty-odd years. All of these evils, in fact, are their responsibility. It is their dissent and heterodoxy and lack of courage that have caused all of this to happen. Many faithful Catholics couldn’t take it anymore, so to speak, and simply left. The clown Masses, the lack of faith on the part of leaders, the abuses, the watered-down catechesis, the lesbian nuns, the gay priests, the destruction of the Faith by religious orders, and on and on.
Michael Voris is kidding himself if he thinks for even a moment that he is any way comparable to the SSPX as it concerns addressing the present crisis in the Church.
The Society operates from the standpoint of speaking Catholic truth in the face of every attack regardless of the source. Voris, by contrast, runs every last word through a filter; avoiding anything that might conflict with more personal concerns; the likes of which we’ll address a little later…
As for the suggestion that the SSPX “simply left” the Church by holding fast to the true faith, even as her aforementioned “weak and corrupt” leaders abandoned it, is idiotic even for him.
It was simply too painful for many lay people to take. In an effort to hold on to whatever they could of the Faith, they ran straight into the arms of groups like the SSPX, as well as others.
The only people that “ran” anywhere were the faithless and feckless fools who, many unknowingly, just accepted the Council and the new Mass as gifts from Almighty God. The Society and its faithful simply stayed Catholic such as it has always been and always will be in spite of the conciliar revolution.
In truth, that the SSPX didn’t actually run anywhere is the problem:
Thanks to their refusal to travel with so many others in the direction of heterodoxy on a road that is paved with the ambiguities and errors of Vatican II and the protestantized rite that grew out of it, the sinful men running the show in Rome, the pope included, are seeing to it that the SSPX is denied formal jurisdiction.
Let’s be clear – these men (again, including the pope) are not synonymous with “the Church;” rather, they are, objectively speaking, laboring for her destruction.
Whether or not they actually desire her destruction, or are simply operating in ignorance, is of no bearing on the present matter whatsoever.
On its face, this isn’t a difficult distinction to comprehend, but the reason so many find it difficult is very simple:
As Catholics we are wired to follow our leaders, especially the pope, just as a child is wired to trust its mother. We are loathe to believe that our leaders could possibly mislead us, even to the point where certain propositions set forth in an “ecumenical council” are a danger to the faith.
The greatest hurdle faced by the children of the Church in this case is coming to terms with the fact this is even possible, which one can do by applying their intellect to the situation in the light of faith, at which point the picture will become clear:
Those who cling to the clarity dispensed by the Church before the Council cannot possibly be on anything other than solid ground, while those who accept the conciliar compromises are at risk of losing the faith. The evidence is all around us.
Voris has so applied his intellect. He knows very well that the Council and the new Mass both are causing people to lose the faith. He won’t say aloud it now for reasons that we’ll discuss shortly.
Many excellent leaders in the Church, good holy men and women, recognize the exact same problems, but they haven’t left. Cardinal Raymond Burke, Bp. Athanasius Schneider, Bp. Thomas Paprocki…
Cardinal Burke has been very clear: If Pope Francis puts in place a program allowing the divorced and remarried to receive Holy Communion apart from a true remedy (e.g., an annulment) he will not follow; rather, he said he will maintain the true faith.
The SSPX did likewise, and yet will Voris call Burke a schismatic should this happen? Of course not.
We here at Church Militant have one concern here: Despite stupid claims that we are doing this for money, we are concerned about the souls of our fellow Catholics…
In this, Michael Voris protests too much.
Back in the day, Voris, out of genuine concern for souls, used to lambaste the new Mass as a danger to the faith. Likewise he used to criticize the Council for its abject failures. As such, he looked upon the SSPX and its purpose for existing with, if not with support, a degree of understanding that is now nonexistent.
So what exactly changed?
His temporal concerns; nothing more, nothing less.
Enter Terry Carroll – his self-appointed “Executive Producer” – the same guy that bought Mike and CMTV a building at a time when they were about to find themselves without a studio and precious little resources for securing a new one.
Terry is a parishioner at Mater Dei parish, run by the FSSP, in Irving, TX. His pastor for some time (until very recently) was Fr. Philip Wolfe, FSSP.
On the local level, a dust up ensued between the SSPX and the FSSP, or more appropriately, between individual persons associated with each as, apparently, a priest of the Society had advised people to avoid the FSSP and it got back to Fr. Wolfe.
Why did the SSPX priest so advise certain persons?
Presumably because (generally speaking) the FSSP priests avoid directly criticizing the dangers inherent in the new Mass and the Council (as Voris once did) as well as the words and deeds of the pope. This is the price for “full communion,” but the truth remains that all three of these things (the Novus Ordo, the Council and the shenanigans of the popes) represent a grave danger to souls.
The details of this local conflict aren’t important, but what is important to know is that Fr. Wolfe (as many on the ground have informed me and will likely attest here in the comment section) adopted a rather personal, and some would say unhealthy, animosity toward the SSPX.
Terry Carroll, like his pastor, did too, and that personal vendetta against the Society (and unwillingness to go full bore after the dangers associated with the Council, the new Mass, and the actions of the pope) has since been adopted by Michael Voris as well.
It doesn’t take a Sherlock Holmes to connect the dots, folks.
If Terry Carroll was just another CMTV “premium member” with an axe to grind, would Michael Voris have done this same about face?
You’re free to believe so if you’d like, but I don’t.
Look, if Michael had a genuine change of heart such that he now feels compelled to change his previous (and well disseminated) stance of these matters, he would address them head on. I’ve done that in this space many times, speaking of how I once naively believed one thing about the Council, the Mass and even the SSPX, only to have my eyes opened to the truth. I’m happy to let people know what led me to the place where I currently stand.
By contrast, what has Michael done relative to his new “understanding”?
He deleted from his website any and all references to his former positions; as well as the segments that include me; a 13 part Vatican II series among them. He refuses to engage the people he criticizes directly. He pretends he never believed anything other than what he spews today…
This isn’t the behavior of a man who had a change of heart based on a new awareness of truth.
In the end, Michael can protest that Terry Carroll’s money has no part in this all he wants, but only a willing fool can believe it.
In any case, the “plagiarized” text (as alleged in the link above) is taken from a sermon given by Fr. Wolfe. In reality, it is far more likely the case that it was used with permission, tacit or otherwise, thanks perhaps to Terry Carroll and his Mater Dei connection.
In any case, let’s press on…
Voris goes into yet another rant about the SSPX being in schism that is so lacking in plausibility that even Karl Keating took to his own blog to criticize it!
Now there is the objective case of schism, and the legal/subjective case of schism. And we must distinguish between the two.
Voris then goes on to quote (without attribution) Fr. Wolfe:
Schism is not something that comes into being by a legal declaration.
This argument is fair enough; objective reality isn’t subject to legal pronouncements. This is, however, a multi-edged sword.
There is also, to borrow Voris’ words, an objective case of jurisdiction, and the legal/subjective case of jurisdiction. And we must distinguish between the two.
This is the SSPX argument with respect to supplied jurisdiction. We covered this recently enough, so I won’t go into more detail here.
“Refusal of submission to the Roman Pontiff” by the Society can be seen in their refusal to reconcile and place themselves under the authority of the Vicar of Christ, rejecting his dogmatically defined “full power of shepherding, ruling and governing the universal Church,” a power “ordinary and immediate over all the churches and over each and every member of the faithful.”
This is sophomoric at best. The pope has no authority to bind anyone to that which goes against the Catholic faith.
Here’s the truth: The SSPX refuses to sign a statement saying the Vatican II is “an integral part of the tradition of the Church.” It is this to which they refuse to submit, not the legitimate authority of the pope.
At one time, I am certain that Michael Voris would likewise refuse to sign such a statement.
Today, he is unwilling even to address those specific conciliar propositions that are so clearly at odds with the tradition of the Church, and why this is the case isn’t exactly a mystery. (See above.)
Supporters of the Society are also discouraged from participating even in FSSP settings because the FSSP “accepts Vatican II.”
Look, I’ve met FSSP priests who are wonderful men who have good relations with their brother priests in the SSPX and vice versa.
The SSPX doesn’t tell everyone they meet to avoid the FSSP. Heck, they don’t even tell every person they meet to avoid the Novus Ordo!
The way they advise individuals is highly personalized. For the person who knows that the Council is a grave danger to the faith, they have no problem advising against them allowing themselves (and their kids) to be formed in an FSSP parish since we have an obligation to engage those things that threaten to lead us away from the faith.
They don’t a one-size-fits-all approach to this topic.
That is why the status of the SSPX is, at this time, technically an “internal matter.” Once there is a formal declaration of schism, it changes the rules of engagement from an internal to an external matter.
Let’s revisit what Voris (and Fr. Wolfe) said earlier: Schism is not something that comes into being by a legal declaration.
This is true. As such, the pope can make a formal declaration of schism based upon the SSPX’s refusal to accept the errors of the Council, and guess what?
That doesn’t make them schismatic; rather, it makes the pope guilty of abusing his authority.
The objective truth isn’t really all that difficult to see here with respect to the Council’s standing in relation to the truths of the faith as they have always been taught. First and foremost, however, one must be willing to take a good hard look at the conciliar texts and the new Mass and apply one’s intellect as informed by faith.
Voris and Co. no longer has an interest in urging their viewers to do that; Voris simply wants to dictate to the audience what serves him best.
The Society is not in an “irregular canonical status” – that is a made-up term by SSPX supporters.
No, Cardinal Castrillon de Hoyos said as much with respect to the SSPX when he said:
We are not confronted with a heresy. It cannot be said in correct, exact, and precise terms that there is a schism. There is a schismatic attitude in the fact of consecrating bishops without pontifical mandate. They are within the Church. There is only the fact that a full, more perfect communion is lacking — a fuller communion, because communion does exist.
Stop using deceptive language. No status means just that — none. Zero. Zilch. Nada.
And yet magically, come midnight Dec. 8, 2015, “zilch” will, according to the pope, turn into the jurisdiction necessary to validly and licitly hear confessions and offer absolution.
So, what exactly will change at the stroke of twelve?
Subjectively, the pope will recognize their jurisdiction at that point.
Objectively, absolutely nothing will change whatsoever, which brings me back to Fr. Wolfe’s gem about things not coming into being by a legal declaration.
…every single SSPX priest and bishop is committing a mortal sin when he offers Mass.
This is the depths to which men’s minds can sink when they are not moored to the pursuit of truth. His Vortexellency has no authority to make this subjective determination as to willful intent.
Even Pope St. Pius X refrained from making that kind of judgment against the modernists, even as he condemned them with great force in Pascendi.
There is no other way for mankind to have been saved and redeemed except through the sacrificial offering of God Himself, totally innocent and obedient, to God the Father.
This is part of a much longer and laborious dissertation on obedience that has all the markings of an Epistle from Terry Carroll to Ferndale. (I’ve read more of his ramblings than I care to acknowledge.)
In any case, only an idiot (willing or otherwise) would equate every request that comes forth from the lips of a pope with the will of the Father.
For example, was the will of the Father being expressed when Pope Alexander VI turned to one of his females friends and requested… Well, you get the point.
That a priest who knows that Peter has forbidden him from offering the Sacrifice of the Mass would be so presumptive as to thumb his nose at the Vicar of Christ and say his superiors have given him permission is terrifying —terrifying for the soul of that priest. Catholics who go to SSPX chapels: Are you so incredibly certain of your case that that priest is not being disobedient…
I would submit that a reasonably well-formed Catholic of average intelligence can indeed arrive at a high degree of certainty that the dictates of the post-conciliar popes with respect to the SSPX (as it concerns issues surrounding Vatican II and the new Mass) are not manifestations of the will of the Father.
I say this from experience.
In conclusion, for now…
I’ve never described myself as an “expert” on Vatican Council II, but Michael Voris has described me as such, on air, and even ribbed me in a good natured way saying “We don’t do false humility here” when I resisted the idea.
So … let me go on record here by saying that I will gladly sit with Michael Voris on a live program to discuss specific reasons why no Catholic should ever be forced to sign off on Vatican II as an “integral part of tradition.”
Until then, I’ll continue to uphold the duty of engaging his folly here such as I’m able.
UPDATE: Having just received a message from a friend “on the ground,” I’m happy to clarify that Fr. Wolfe was not the pastor at Mater Dei, but rather the Parochial Vicar and Assistant Pastor; a man who Mr. Carroll clearly idolized.
Furthermore, I’ve been informed that Fr. Wolfe has apparently been rather willing to speak about Vatican II in strongly condemnatory terms, and he also openly criticized Pope Francis in various sermons, although typically on weekdays when they are not recorded.
Lastly, my contact confirmed that indeed something in 2012 caused Fr. Wolfe to begin attacking the SSPX, and that posture only heightened following the election of Pope Francis. Terry, for his part, quickly took on what my friend called “his own jihad” against the SSPX shortly thereafter.
All in all, the time table laid out herein is accurate. I’ll leave it to you to decide if the “jihadist” with the cash in hand played a part in influencing Voris to reinvent himself.
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