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Saturday, August 31, 2013

Michael Voris and Catholic Answers

I have been asked my opinion on the Michael Voris-Catholic Answers dust-up.

Everyone seems to have an opinion about Catholic Answers, from Kathy Schiffer (who did not mention Michael Voris) to Dave Armstrong and Fr. Dwight Longenecker (both of whom most certainly did).

In order to be fully clear about my history with both, I have during the last 20 years applied for employment to Catholic Answers and been rejected. On numerous occasions I have proposed doing business with Catholic Answers on various things and been roundly rejected in the few instances when I have not been entirely ignored, which latter was much more frequent. Truth to tell, I almost never managed to get those guys to even return a phone call or an e-mail. It was worse than trying to work with EWTN, and attaining THAT level of inscrutable weirdness is really an accomplishment.

On the other hand, I have worked with Michael Voris and found him quite easy to get along with, extremely responsive and quite open to discussion. In fact, apart from one other individual who shall remain nameless, he's the only public Catholic I've had consistently positive experiences with. This is no small statement. I've worked with a lot of the big Catholic names, I've worked with some quite closely. Most of the "public Catholics", including myself, have some kind of ego problem - that's why we're interested in being in the spotlight, after all. And that undoubtedly plays into this whole kerfuffle.

Now, that having been said, I have benefited greatly from the work of Catholic Answers in general and Karl Keating's in particular. In fact, his work inspired my own first book.

I like both organizations and I see them both as having done great work.

All that having been said, the Catholic Answers supporters seem to be beating Voris up in a way that does not comport with the reality on the ground. I don't know why they are doing this.

Catholic Answers has obviously been around a lot longer, and perhaps that is why it has gone begging for money a lot more often than Voris' operation has. Does it need more money? I don't know. Certainly it is begging for money now.

So, what is my opinion?

I think Connecticut Catholic Blogger has done a MUCH better job of addressing this situation than I could. Given the evidence laid out there, I concur with Connecticut Catholic's most excellent assessment.

Voris hasn't said what most people attribute to him.
Catholic Answers and their supporters for some reason seem to want to make him their enemy.
And St. Jerome didn't get on very well with St. Augustine.

But I guess it generates website hits.

I just noticed this passage in Fr. Longeneckar's post:
"The next problem with Voris’ attack is that his method is unscriptural. The Sacred Scriptures teach us that if you have a problem with your brother you are to go to them first in private. Did Voris sit down in a meeting with Keating, Kresta, Keck and the others? If he thought it was his business did he make an appointment and say, “Fellas, there are some criticisms about the level of your salaries, could we gather some more information?” I don’t know, maybe he did or maybe he simply got in front of the camera and started blasting away. "

Maybe? MAYBE? You mean, Father, that you DID NOT contact Michael Voris to find out?
Pot, meet kettle...


Adrienne said...

I also think Connecticut Catholic did a great job.

Jim Dorchak said...

When ever Fr. Longenecker speaks i wonder how many hours he spent calculating the number of blog site hits he would get by uttering each word. It would probably be better if some things he says (and i, like him) should be reserved for those evenings spent on Mershons back porch where one better qualified than i am could rebutt. Smoke a stogie for me!

joe said...

You know Catholic Answers and EWTN do a lot of great things, but not returning emails, even a general one that simply says you're too busy should be done. I mean the whole purpose of all these organizations should be to get us to Heaven. You preach not just with words but as St Francis says how we live our lives. Sometimes there is too much pride out there. When I read blogs I find Traditionalists as well as non-traditionalists being too pharisaical. When someone has a question or disagrees with the "expert", the reply comes back very uncharitably. I'm sure I'm guilty of that as well. To be frank, I think EWTN as well as Catholic Answers would benefit greatly with a guy like you. I think Michael Vorris and you do a great job. Keep working on getting us and yourselves to Heaven, that is what it is all about.

Steve Kellmeyer said...

Thanks for the kind words, Joe!

I can tell you why you get an uncharitable reply from most of these people (sometimes me as well), when you write to disagree.

They make their money on being infallible. If you question their ability to always be right, you threaten their rice bowl.

I explain this in greater depth here:

It's largely why I don't do much as a "public Catholic" anymore. I used to think the way Fr. Longenecker does - the more the merrier. Now, I wouldn't be opposed to the idea that we should all be shut down.

Instead of founding businesses, we should be founding religious orders. We aren't.

I can't help but think this is a very serious error on our part.

Julie @ Connecticut Catholic Corner said...

Thank you for the compliment and shout out to my blog!

As far as the update with FrL's newest comments, I'd share with him...

"Not to oppose error is to approve it; and not to defend truth is to suppress it; and indeed to neglect to confound evil men, when we can do it, is no less a sin than to encourage them." -Pope St. Felix III

God bless!
Julie @ Connecticut Catholic Corner

Steve Dalton said...

When I was a young Catholic convert, CA was my main source of information about the faith. However, I quit them after about five years. I got the impression that they were recycling the same old stuff under different names. I felt they were not really encouraging spiritual growth in their readership, that they were keeping everything on a very basic level. Also, their constant promotion of dubious people like Shea was a no-winner with me too. But the ridiculously high salaries paid to Keating and the others goes to show you that mediocrity pays off big time, eh?

Kevin Tierney said...

In baseball, we have advanced metrics which measure true worth. (Hint, don't look at batting average, RBIs or W/L records of pitchers)

We need something like that for the whole professional Catholic movement. How much value are they really contributing, and how much they are just lining their own pockets, or the "converts" they reach out to were people who already thought as they did, and just serve to have their ideas reinforced.

I'm sure you'll find a few who continue to innovate and do good work. but really, I think you'd find most of them are basically interchangable parts of a machine that aren't being great public examples of the Church.

How one would measure those things objectively, who knows. But I don't think my assesment would be inaccurate.

joe said...

"Instead of founding businesses, we should be founding religious orders. We aren't. " Steve, that says it all.

southerncanuck said...

I just don't see where Catholic Answers has critized Michael Voris like you say?

Steve Kellmeyer said...

Karl Keating publicly remarked that Michael Voris had applied for a job at CA. Dave Armstrong took that to mean that Voris had a grudge.

Keating is trained as a lawyer. He knows perfectly well what he implied by making that fact public. He didn't say it in order to be nice to Voris.

Anne said...

I find the constant criticism of the Church, its Priests, Bishops and Cardinals on the public platform of Youtube very unChristian. It would be far better to spend that time in prayer for the Church's Priests and Religious. This infighting in Catholic circles is a bad witness to our Faith and needs to stop. Please pray for one another and for all those who you disagree with or who don't treat you so well. I think that is what the Gospel said. Pray for those who treat you badly etc etc Love your enemies and all that...It is too easy to be negative and a constant critic. But that is not the way of the Lord. God bless you.

Jim Dorchak said...


I think you are right and wrong at the same time. If you are looking for people to pray more you are in the right place inthe Catholic Church, but we are called to be Gods people of action. When i see a man in the gutter who needs a meal i feed him yes and teach him how to catch a fish with a pole he made from his own hands..... Then i go home and pray for him.
When i see the Church on fire, being robbed, or randsacked both figuratively and as is the case in the Catholic Church today.... I pray for it while i put out the fire, while i dial 911, while i chase off the robbers!

If we keep waiting for Christ to come back and chase off the money changers, child rapists, homosexual marriage supporters, pro abortionists, and we do nothing other than the important and desperate need for prayer, then what will Christ say to us when he comes back and WE, YOU AND I, let this happen?

Faith and WORKS!

Our deeds count too. It is very hard to pray the faith, to pray like a good Catholic, it is even harder to live like a good Catholic.

All that is necessary for evil to grow is for good men to DO AND SAY NOTHING.

In a nut shell i think this is what Mr. Voris is saying!

southerncanuck said...

Its a tad strong to take Keatings comments on a blog and make it seem like its CA's official position. Seems a little underhanded to me.

And before we canonized MV, we have to realize what he did. He took a bunch of comments on a blog and made a story out of it on his own media outlet. Blog comments. If it was me I would have went to the source, the CA episode on Radical Traditionalism. Did he even listen to it? There isn't any mention of direct material on his story. Just blog comments. Really? I listened to those episodes and I thought they were good. I didn't agree 100% with everything but it was a good show. And I am on the traditionalist side.

This whole bruhaha came out of people who were "offended". Come on.

CCR said...

I'm with Mr Voris in this one. Personally I am tired of those Chicken Little letters from FAT PROFESSIONAL CATHOLICS asking for money and scaring the faithful with all kinds of FALSEHOODS. If you need money GET A JOB fixing tents: it worked for Saint Paul. I reserve my donations for real ministries that are truly needed and NOT for fat cry babies that have million-dollar war chests and pay themselves royally.

Steve Dalton said...

Michael Voris is supposed to meet with Dave Armstrong today and talk with Mark Shea on Friday. I hope something constructive can come out of those talks, but knowing the bad reputation of both men for being arrogant fools, I suspect they will come out of those talks with their hearts hardened and determined to destroy Voris once and for all. Still, I will pray that these men will experience a change of heart, and become Voris's allies, instead of staying his enemies.

todotuyo said...

Does anybody know what transpired from those discussions the three men were going to have? Interested in finding out what conclusions they arrived at. JMJ