Since faith is one, it must be professed in all its purity and integrity". Pope Francis/Pope Benedict
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Saturday, 21 January 2012

Michael Voris and Authority

"The only way to run a country is by benevolent dictatorship, a Catholic monarch who protects his people from themselves and bestows on them what they need, not necessarily what they want, who protects their rights as human beings. It was this political system that caused Europe to emerge from the morass of marauding barbarians and create western civilization. A noble Catholic monarch advances the common good while loving and caring for his people." Michael Voris

Unfortunately I can't link to the source of this quote as Michael Voris has deleted it from his website. It shouldn't be too hard to find if you search on Voris and government. The temptation to an authoritarian solution to society's problems has always been present to Catholics. Some of our most respected Catholic writers had brief flirtations with one authoritarian regime or another in the period between the two wars. To his credit, Chesterton came out staunchly against Hitler when the nature of his regime became apparent.

“The intellectual criticism of Fascism is really this: that it appeals to an appetite for authority, without very clearly giving the authority for the appetite." G.K. Chesterton

Michael Voris appeals to this appetite for authority amongst Catholics who feel disenfranchised and betrayed by their bishops. It is comforting to see someone saying things that validate these feelings. Unfortunately there are dangers. Ronald Knox used to write about a thing called divisive enthusiasm which reared its head at various times in the church's history. He stated that there is a tension between charism and institution within the church. Both are necessary for the church to function as a society in the world as well as the means of Christ's grace. Where they are out of balance we are on dangerous ground indeed. There is no doubt that Michael Voris is a charismatic speaker who often speaks the truth. However, he risks being a source of division within the church unless he comes to terms with the authority within it, namely his bishop.

Further Reading:
Robert Fulford, G.K. Chesterton and Fascism, (Globe and Mail June 19, 1999)

Roy F. Moore, Distributism vs. Fascism,The ChesterBelloc Mandate

12 comments:

Barona said...

There is a sense of truth to Voris' statement. The problem is that the type of leader Voris wants/seeks is one in a 1000 - e.g. Alfred the Great, Louis IX.

Unfortunately, authoritarian Catholic monarchs have a greater tendency of turning out like the near schismatic Louis XIV (His "Most Catholic Majesty"). History shows a virtual never ending struggle between "Catholic" absolutist monarchs and the Church...

Inevitably Monarchs, unless saints, fall prey to the very same human weaknesses of the subjects that they rule.

Santa said...

Sorry, Fascism involves more than a desire for authoritarian government. It has economic, political, nationalistic and social dimensions. It is a form of secular totalitarianism originating in left-wing socialism. Voris may be wrong-headed or even naive in his political opinions but the contents of the video to which you refer do not qualify him as a "Fascist".

Freyr said...

This reminds me of the bookseller in Moscow who placed a copy of "Les Miserables" between pictures of Stalin and Lenin. I didn't actually call him a fascist. Read the background materiel and draw your own conclusions.

Santa said...

Hmm, let's see now: first you quote Chesterton saying, "...it (Fascism) appeals to an appetite for authority...". Then you say, "Michael Voris appeals to this appetite for authority amongst Catholics who feel disenfranchised and betrayed by their bishops."

So, Fascism appeals to an appetite for authority, and Michael Voris also appeals to this same appetite for authority. That's not calling Voris a Fascist? Really?

Freyr said...

You are sidestepping the main argument. The "gotcha on a technicality" defense doesn't hide the fact that Mr. Voris has a very inconsistent view of authority. I may be the bishop's man but it is an homage freely offered by a free man who does not take kindly to coercion by the state. Whose man is Mr. Voris?

theCuriousCatholic said...

Hello, everyone. If you want to see the video Voris removed from his site in it's entirety, go to my blog by clicking my name and you'll find it by scrolling down to the second post on the page "Liar, Liar...", it's at the bottom of the post. Our video response is in the first post: "Voris vs Jesus: Round 1."

If you go further down, you'll find a radio interview with Marc Brammer, Voris money-man, in which, very near the end, he says the same things Voris does, more subtly advocating theocratic dictatorship. He also is creating an "institute" to bring that about. And he makes the Opus Dei connection clear.

All good fodder for discussion.

Santa said...

Freyr:

It may be a technicality but it's still a legitimate gotcha. You disapprove of Voris views, his methods and his disobedience of his bishop, so you feel the need to take sides and beat him with the heaviest club that comes to hand. In this case, the Fascist smear. Unfortunately, such tactics only serve to detract from whatever "argument" you're trying to get across.

Freyr said...

So Mr. Voris is being beaten by some old geezer whose pension doesn't even match his fees as a guest speaker? Moreover said geezer is not being nice and somehow that constitutes a valid argument. May I point out that Voris' disobedience of his bishop, advocacy of dictatorship, and tactless presentations are all matters of public record.

The record of Catholic writers with regard to fascism between the two world wars needs to be looked at coldly and dispassionately. The only publication to do this as far as I know was The Chesterton Review in the Fascism and British Catholic Writers issue. These things will crop up again and again unless we look at them. When I hear someone advocating a dictatorship and refusing to obey his bishop it scares me. It makes me wonder if we have another Father Coughlin in the making.

As for my not being nice... you're kidding? Just for the record, I am an old curmudgeon who bristles when he hears words like dictatorship.

Terry Carroll said...

It is NOT a "matter of public record" that Voris is disobedient to his bishop. He has not been asked to do anything. See http://philotheaonphire.blogspot.com/2012/01/real-catholic-communication-voris-vs.html for a spin on this situation as valid as yours.

To be disobedient one has to be told to do something by a lawful superior and then refuse to comply. This just hasn't happened, although it's easy to frame the situation as such by innuendo.

Michael Voris wants a world consistent with the words of the Lord's Prayer: "thy kingdom come." A case can be made that "the social kingship of Jesus" is the mind of the Church and the mind of God. That makes "monarchy" a model of the divine ideal, with emphasis on the ideal. Aristotle thought democracy to be the "least worst" form of government, and Plato supported a "philosopher king." To support the idea of a monarchy is not to be a fascist, although fascists do tend to be rather undesirable monarchs.

An example like St. Louis IX at least HAPPENED, showing the "ideal" is possible if not, due to our sinfulness, always very probable. There are no comparable historical examples of "virtuous democracy." Democracy is AT BEST a compromise form of government in response to our fallen human nature, not unlike market capitalism.

One is free to disagree with Voris or anyone else. At least disagree with him on the basis of facts. He is not now disobedient and has not been judged so by his bishop. His thoughts on Catholic monarchy are well within Catholic teaching and constitute a point of view worth engaging on the merits rather than inappropriate historical distractions.

Freyr said...

Canon 216 requires him to get ecclesiastical approval before using the name Catholic. He has not done this.

Terry Carroll said...

Canon 216, properly understood, properly applied, and invoked by the appropriate ecclesiastical authority would appear to apply here. However, there are, at this time, differing opinions among canon lawyers as to whether Canon 216, referenced in the press releases, can be invoked by the Archdiocese of Detroit. It may come down to a matter of who has jurisdiction to apply this Canon to Michael Voris and his activities. The owner of both the DBA "Real Catholic TV" and "RealCatholicTV.com" resides in a different diocese which, it appears, doesn't have the same issues with the name, and which may have the requisite jurisdiction. (See http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/archdiocesan-canon-lawyers-differ-on-asking-realcatholictvcom-to-drop-cath/)

I don't know the proper canonical response to all this, or what it may be in the future. I'm not a canon lawyer, I get the impression that you aren't, either, but we both should know that things are seldom as they seem when it comes to interpreting and applying matters of law. All I am suggesting is that it is premature (and, therefore, inaccurate) to frame all this within a template of "Voris' disobedience is a matter of public record." It is not. At least not yet. If and when the appropriate authority (yet to be determined) invokes the appropriate canon(s) against Michael Voris and he refuses to comply, THEN we have an act of disobedience that is a matter of public record. But not before.

Freyr said...

Yep... definitely a bad case of Gruner Syndrome.