Putting their Mouths where their Money is?
Right on the Money:
The Battle Over Novus Ordo Apologist Salaries and the Conflicts of Interest They Generate
Sparks are flying in Novus Ordo Land. On August 29, 2013, ChurchMilitant.TV‘s senior executive producer and host of The Vortex Michael Voris — the man whose haircut that makes him look like a mixture between Justin Bieber and the Doctor Who of the late 1960s — caused quite a ruckus among those members of the Vatican II Sect that are often described as (and consider themselves to be) “conservative Catholics”. He did this by calling to his viewers’ attention the (publicly available) salary figures of the highest income earners at various popular Novus Ordo organizations, including the well-known Catholic Answers in Southern California. This came as a sort of “reality check”, spurred on by concerned Novus Ordos, after Catholic Answers issued what they called an “emergency appeal” for more donations to help them plug a $300,000 deficit.
Apparently a number of people in cyberspace were quite shocked to find out just how much Catholic Answers‘ highest-paid staff were making. According to Form 990 that Catholic Answers filed for their fiscal year 2011, the president of the organization, Mr. Karl Keating, received a base salary of $230,214. Here is a snapshot of the corresponding line on the tax form:
If we were to assume a 40-hour work week (which, however, would be totally unrealistic for the position of president), this would come to $110.68 per hour. If we assume a 60-hour work week, the hourly wage would amount to $73.79 as the base compensation (that is, excluding any other potential benefits such as health insurance, paid vacation, retirement plan, etc.).
Other top earners at Catholic Answers include their high-profile apologists Tim Staples and James (“Jimmy”) Akin, both at over $100,000 in 2010, according to the official records (the 2010 document can be downloaded here; that for 2011 here). By comparison, a civil engineer in El Cajon, California (where Catholic Answers is located), averages $78,000 a year (source), and a software developer in the same location makes approximately $87,000 annually (source). Just saying.
How It Started
Before we go any further, let’s back up for a minute and look at what started this controversy: Catholic Answers‘ Emergency Appeal for donations. In a one-minute video clip, a somber-looking Jimmy Akin announces that the organization has had to make drastic cuts in staff, salary, and evangelizing effort “in order to protect the ministry’s future.” [The video has since been removed, so we can no longer embed it here.]
This is the context in which Michael Voris in the August 29, 2013 episode of The Vortex criticizes the high salaries of these “professional Catholics.” Check out Voris’ video below – the relevant segment begins at the 4:36 min mark:
Voris’ main contention, reportedly echoing that of several of his viewers, is that these high salaries create a conflict of interest for those apologists, radio and television hosts, writers, and pundits whose comfortable livelihood would be jeopardized by them taking a certain tough stance on particular issues and criticizing bishops and priests in the Novus Ordo church who ought to be publicly rebuked and called out the way Voris does (on which we’ll have something to say later on). Indeed, who wouldn’t be at least reluctant to bite the hand that feeds him?
Voris’ concern is valid on the face of it. Of course there’s a conflict of interest, and that conflict increases the higher the salaries are. (How long do you think White House press secretary Jay Carney could get away with criticizing the United States’ dictator-in-chief Barack Obama without endangering his position? That’s what is meant by “conflict of interest.”) Where Voris seems to go too far, however, is in saying or implying that we know that these invididuals are not speaking out like Voris is because they do not want to lose their well-paying jobs. Having a conflict of interest is one thing — succumbing to it and sinning because of it is another. We do not pretend to know that the individuals in question are in fact keeping their mouths shut because they don’t want to jeopardize their paychecks; we merely agree that it’s a valid problem to bring up and keep in mind.
Enter “Fr.” Longenecker
So much for the background. One day after this episode of The Vortex aired, the Rev. Dwight Longenecker (a married-with-kids convert from Anglicanism who now serves as a Novus Ordo “priest” in South Carolina) responded with the blog post, “Do We Need Michael Voris?” (Of course, this post was begging for a response entitled “Do We Need Fr. Longenecker?”, and two such rejoinders, independently of each other, appeared within a day: at Ars Orandi and at The Tenth Crusade.)
“…there are serious problems with the way Voris has made his criticism. First of all, what status has he as a Catholic watchdog? Who appointed him as the policeman of all Catholic apostolates? Are the financial situation of Catholic Answers and Al Kresta any of his business? Does he have all the facts? Has he checked them? Furthermore, judging another person’s financial status is always dangerous. Money is a very relative thing and we have no idea how the other guy earns it or uses it.”
(“Fr.” Dwight Longenecker, “Do We Need Michael Voris?”, Aug. 30, 2013)
Of course, the first question Longenecker asks is irrelevant. It simply doesn’t matter whether Voris is or isn’t a legitimate watchdog in this. He’s simply the messenger, and any criticism needs to focus on the content of the message. [In fact, this argument is reminiscent of the objection Fr. Felix Sarda y Salvany refutes in his 1886 book Liberalism Is a Sin: “When a good Catholic accuses anyone of Liberalism or attacks and unmasks Liberal sophisms, the accused immediately seeks refuge in a challenge of the accuser’s authority: ‘And pray, who are you to charge me and my journal with Liberalism? Who made you a master in Israel to declare who is or who is not a good Catholic? And is it from you that I must take out a patent on Catholicity?’ Such is the last resort of the tainted Catholic on finding himself pushed to the wall” (Chapter 32).]
Though frequent visitors to our site know that we do not like Michael Voris (for reasons discussed further on), we have no problem giving him credit where it’s due. The reason people such as Michael Voris exist is because the Novus Ordo “bishops” are nothing but grandiose failures, and more and more people are noticing it. That’s why Voris is very popular — and, we suspect, will in due time become even more popular than Catholic Answers for addressing problems they do not, or at least not seriously or effectively enough. Now, some Novus Ordo bishops are worse than others, of course, but when you look at such characters as Robert Lynch of St. Petersburg or Thomas Gumbleton of Detroit, you know that under Pope St. Pius X they wouldn’t have been put in charge of the local cathedral’s broom closet.
Secondly, since Catholic Answers is asking people to give them some of their money, their financial situation is other people’s business — they’ve made it other people’s business. The high salaries and the solicitation for more donations are matters of public record, and hence can be discussed in public.
Certainly, one can challenge Voris on whether he had all the relevant facts — but that challenge isn’t very forceful until further facts emerge that seriously change the picture. And as far as “how the other guy uses the money”, that, too, is irrelevant to the issue of whether he should be making it from donations.
Next, Longenecker introduces yet another irrelevant argument into the debate by sharing an anecdote about how a rich man lived like a prince yet was able to do so even after giving 90% of his wealth away, which wasn’t known to people who complained about his lifestyle. To Mr. Longenecker, we say: “This isn’t about personal wealth. It’s not about who has how much, or how they spend it, but whether preaching the Gospel and defending the [Novus Ordo] “Catholic” Faith should be lucrative when it’s funded to a large extent by people’s donations.” Add the conflict of interest problem into the mix, and a serious picture emerges. This is what we’re talking about, not whether rich people are allowed to live a rich lifestyle. We will tackle all that later on.
We do not intend to present a full critique of “Fr.” Longenecker’s post, which is unnecessary. In fact, he does make some valid points as well, which all can ponder for themselves. Just one brief note on his comments regarding “radical Traditionalists”. By referring to people like us as “angry, sedevacantist, anti Semitic, misogynistic, paranoid conspiracy theory loons,” Longenecker is demonstrating that he is blissfully lost in Novus Ordo la-la land and cannot be taken seriously as a contender on that topic. He is so far detached from reality at this point that until he’s ready for a serious look at these questions, he can simply stick to his current theological mentor.
Whether We “Need” Michael Voris
One last thing on this, this time in defense of Longenecker. Some have said that it is quite crude of him to have asked whether we “need” Michael Voris, as though some human beings didn’t have any value, weren’t of any use. While we understand the concern these objectors exhibit, we think it pretty clear that Longenecker didn’t mean it in the literal sense but was meaning to convey, “Do we need people to do the kind of thing Michael Voris is doing? Do we need people working in such a capacity?” – Somewhat akin to how people might say, “Do we need Larry King on TV?”
We ourselves are on record stating that American Novus Ordo “bishops” are among the most useless people on earth — but this is simply our way of being deliberately provocative and politically incorrect to get people to pay attention and stop being such sissies who are “offended” at every turn. Of course we’re not saying that somehow the souls of these men are worthless, or that we want them to go to hell, or that they aren’t of infinite value having been redeemed by the Precious Blood of Christ; rather, we mean to say that they are not at all accomplishing (but instead very much preventing) that for which reason they exist in their (putative) offices, namely, the spreading of the True Catholic Faith, the sanctification of souls, and the glory of Almighty God. That’s all. Hopefully the strong rhetoric will wake some people up and get them to start amending their ways.
The Vatican II Sect’s Rock’n’Roll Apologist Weighs In
One day later, August 31, the Novus Ordo Church’s Rock’n’Roll apologist weighs in: Dave Armstrong. Before we take a look at what he says about Voris, however, a few words about Armstrong are in order.
A convert from Protestantism in 1991, Armstrong is perhaps the Vatican II Sect’s most industrious “useful idiot” [please understand that we’re using the term “useful idiot” in its more technical meaning of someone who is unwittingly working for a harmful cause — we are not saying Mr. Armstrong is an imbecile, which he is clearly not]. As a self-employed full-time apologist, he’s got plenty of time to write, and write he does. When he’s not gushing over the rock’n’roll of the 1960s and ’70s and offering incense to such gods of wasteland as the Beatles, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Bob Seger, and other similar paragons of Catholic moral life worthy of our admiration, he busies himself advancing and defending the apostasy of the Vatican II Sect in some form or another.
Armstrong is notorious for defending virtually everything the Novus Ordo Church says, does, or approves of, including Communion in the Hand, the abominable interreligious “prayer for peace” gatherings in Assisi, and John Paul II’s kissing of the Koran in 1999, to mention just a few things. In 2007, he even defended a German Novus Ordo parishtaking up a collection for the building fund of a local mosque (!) — and he did this in response to the objections of a Protestant! You can’t make this stuff up!
The inane defense he gives of this scandal reveals that the man has not the foggiest idea about real Roman Catholic theology, is ignorant of a lot of the moral principles and distinctions that apply when tackling such an issue (which, however, should be well-known to someone who thinks himself competent enough to make “Catholic apologetics” his life’s business), and has no discernible theological method other than applying his own reasoning to prooftexts from various sources which he spins in such wise as to support his thesis. (And no, the Socratic method isn’t an acceptable theological method, Mr. Armstrong, but we can see why you prefer it.) Since he admits he has no formal theological training even in Novus Ordo theology (source), all the arguments he makes from theological prooftexts are based on his own, non-existent authority. The man must find himself quite convincing.
It is anyone’s guess why he doesn’t simply consult and share the insights of a few theological studies written by approved Catholic theologians on the issues surrounding formal and material cooperation in the worship of false religions, of which contributing to the building of their houses of worship is a part. The question, for example, of whether a roofer is allowed to work on a Protestant church building has come up before in the Church’s 2000-year history, you know, and has been addressed by specially-trained clergy with the blessing of the Church.) Why doesn’t he do his research and look up what the Catholic Church (as opposed to the Vatican II Sect) says on these matters? Instead, he makes it up as he goes along, passes off Modernist principles as Catholic, scandalizes countless souls in the process, and pats himself on the back for having penned yet another “refutation” of some anti-Novus-Ordo objection. And this is how the man, for the most part, makes a living. Shameful! (Contrast this, for instance, with the fine scholarship of sedevacantist Patrick Henry Omlor, whose proof of the invalidity of the English version of the “canon” of the Mass triggered even some action from the Novus Ordo Vatican.)
Of course, Armstrong believes himself to be — and is considered by organizations like Catholic Answers — a Catholic of top-notch orthodoxy. This is how far we’ve come: Good is evil, and evil is good (cf. Isaias 5:20). For Armstrong, yes, there is a problem of modernism in the New Church, but it’s all just those awful liberal dissident theologians who aren’t faithful to the Conciliar Church. Apparently he forgot that before Vatican II, there were also modernist-liberal dissident theologians, and those were the very ones who later ran the show at Vatican II and beyond, including such names as Congar, Chenu, de Lubac, Ratzinger, von Balthasar, and Murray. (Be sure to read what Karl Rahner revealed in 1964 that has just recently come to light.) How does a dissident theologian become a teacher of spotless orthodoxy without changing his position? This, ladies and gentlemen, is one of those mysteries of the New Church for which we need people like Dave Armstrong to help us understand.
Alas, it is not surprising Armstrong would defend the apostasy of the Vatican II Sect at every turn, considering that he apparently sees nothing wrong with promoting songs by Elton John, the Rolling Stones, the Beatles, and other such embodiments of the 1960s Cultural & Sexual Revolution (see his book Beatles, Motown, Beach Boys, Etc. here), Sorry, but when a character like this comes out swinging against Traditionalists (both sede and non-sede), it really shouldn’t put a dent into your missal. If “Pope” Francis burned St. Peter’s Basilica to the ground and built a Voodoo temple on top of it, Armstrong would blast you for “disagreeing with the Holy Father” if you objected to it. Catholics need this kind of an “apologist” as much as Keith Richards needs a Halloween mask. Of all people’s, Armstrong’sopinions on the morality of Michael Voris’ blasting of salaries earned at Catholic Answers should be about as relevant to our Catholic lives as Bob Seger’s first wife’s shoe size.
Though he is a convert, Armstrong is in every way a child of the Novus Ordo Sect, and it shows. We do not seek to question his intentions or his sincerity (which, frankly, are irrelevant to the damage he does), but we will not shy away from pointing out that the man’s incessant public defense of the Vatican II apostasy, even to the point of absurdity, isutterly reprehensible. (And for those who are about to scream “Ad hominem! You’re attacking the person!”, please have a good look at the Catholic understanding of polemics and what is and isn’t appropriate or permissible when fighting noxious error.)
But we have wandered off topic.
Dave Armstrong penned a blog post against Michael Voris on August 31, in which, basing his claim on a comment left on Longenecker’s blog by Karl Keating, he reveals that in 2009, Voris himself had applied for the job of radio host for the daily Catholic Answers Live radio program. Armstrong comments:
This gives a bit of a different perspective or angle on things, doesn’t it?: to know this little tidbit of information, because it raises the possible, feasible, speculative spectre of a bit of ‘disgruntled never-hired employee’ psychology (not being hired, being almost as offensive as being fired). Mind you, I’m not asserting this (because that’ll be the predictable criticism: I’m ‘judging his heart,’ etc.). But like I said, it is quite ‘possible, feasible, speculative’ — and plausible.
(Dave Armstrong, “Michael Voris Applied for the Job of Host of Catholic Answers Live in February 2009″, Aug. 31, 2013)
Let’s try to remain objective here. Doesn’t it seem quite a stretch to say that Voris is plausibly now avenging himself on Catholic Answers for turning down his job application four years prior? What sort of “evidence” does Armstrong present for this theory? None, really, other than the fact that it is possible and he finds it credible. Wow. (Voris would have to have known that his prior employment attempt with Catholic Answers would come to light, and that’s another indication that Armstrong’s conjecture here is on thin ice.)
As for why Voris would have sought to become the radio host for Catholic Answers Live when, at the time, there would presumably already have been a number of ideological differences, that is a question only Voris himself can answer (and will have to answer now). Armstrong, on the other hand, acts as though the question has already been answered. Not good. (By the way, a lot of back-and-forth has ensued in the meantime between Armstrong and the defenders of Michael Voris, incl. co-producer Terry Carroll — see one post here.)
On the other hand, Armstrong is right in critiquing Voris’ follow-up Vortex broadcast, issued a day after the explosive ‘salary’ episode. Voris clearly tried to exercise damage control and in all seriousness asserted that in the previous day’s Vortex he was not concerned about how much money anybody is making. Take a look at the video:
At the 1:25 min mark, Voris dismissively states: “No one cares what someone makes — that’s not the point. The point is this: Salaries are being made from the protection of the status quo, and the status quo isn’t cutting it in the face of a worldwide apostasy.”
OK now, Mr. Voris, seriously? The August 29 Vortex had illustrations of pretty little price tags attached to the photos of the sundry people you were calling out for their generous salaries. Here’s a snapshot in case you forgot:
If no one cares how much anybody makes, why did you bring up all the figures and had your crew add visual emphasis to them by displaying them right next to you on the screen? Why, Mr. Voris, did you then go ahead and emphasize that your own salary is merely $40,000? No, on this point, Armstrong’s criticism is spot-on: “You don’t reveal someone’s salary (and tell yours in comparison) if you are not objecting to it in some fashion”, the rock’n’roll admirer rightly objected. Whether Voris’ hapless attempt at damage control will result in further “clarifications” or not, remains to be seen.
But we need to finally move on and ask: Should these people be making this much money, considering the nature of the “business” they’re in and the source of their funding?
So How Much Should They Be Making?
Before investigating this question, it is important to guard oneself against various sins that one can very easily fall into when pondering this, namely: pride (“I make less money, so I am more humble”), envy (“This guy shouldn’t be making this much money because I don’t, either”), and rash judgment (“With this much money, the guy must be living like a king”).
At the same time, we must remember that the Catholic Church’s teaching on capital and labor rejects both capitalism and socialism/communism. The economic theory that harmonizes extremely well with Catholic teaching is called “distributism” (see Attwater’s Catholic Dictionary, s.v. “Distributism”). Popes Leo XIII (Rerum Novarum – 1891) and Pius XI (Quadragesimo Anno – 1931) both wrote encyclicals relating to this. The whole subject is well explained and summarized by Fr. Edward Cahill, SJ, in his monumental work The Framework of a Christian State (1932 – also available online for free here). It is important at all times to retain a Catholic perspective on things and not to fall for the libertarian free-market ideology on the one hand or the various socialist ideologies on the other.
Assuming for the sake of argument that Catholic Answers were actually a truly Catholic apostolate whose purpose was to teach and defend the genuine Roman Catholic Church and Faith (as opposed to advancing the Novus Ordo religion), let us proceed and analyze the subject matter, which is actually a bit more complex than may be thought at first. There are various moral principles at work, and different facts need to be taken into consideration. We believe that the following summary provides a genuinely Catholic outlook on this question:
- It should stand to reason that an organization that relies to a significant extent on the generosity of others ought to be run on a reasonable budget, and that includes reasonable salaries for the staff if paid staff are needed.
- This is true all the more so if the organization’s stated purpose is the evangelization of the world, the spread of true doctrine and right morals, the defense of the Church, and so forth.
- Any secondary purposes ought to be subjected to the primary, greater purpose, mentioned in point (2).
- This being so, every staff member should share the primary goal as his own primary reason for working there. In other words, the first motive for working there should be to advance the cause of the True Faith and the True Church, not the making of a livelihood (although that would be a legitimate secondary motive), for “no man can serve two masters” (Mt 6:24).
- If it is not possible to run the organization well or effectively without paying people enough to make a reasonable living (i.e., without having a full-time, properly-paid staff), then clearly the donations and other funding are necessary to pay the corresponding salaries.
- No real price tag can be put on the nature of the work performed, inasmuch as assisting in the salvation of souls is inherently priceless.
- Therefore, each paid staff member ought not to ask for more than he reasonably needs to make a living. So, for example, if John Doe is a bachelor and has no plans of getting married, he really shouldn’t be asking for a $100,000 salary annually, considering, again, the primary purpose of the organization and how the organization funds itself. On the other hand, if Bill Smith is an effective apologist and needs to make $120,000 a year because he is married and has 9 children to feed, then asking for this salary is completely acceptable, assuming the organization can afford it.
- If an employee says that even though $65,000 a year is enough for him to make a reasonable living but he simply won’t do the work for that low of an amount, then there are two possible scenarios: (a) if the person in question is extremely important to the organization and does a fabulous job that couldn’t otherwise get done, the organization would be justified in paying him more; (b) if there is no grave need to accede to the demand, the organization would have to terminate his employment. In either case, however, the behavior of the individual would be morally reprehensible, considering the primary purpose of the organization’s existence.
These are the relevant facts that need to be looked at, in our opinion. Considering that Catholic Answers, EWTN, Ave Maria Radio, and also Voris’ own ChurchMilitant.TV are all working to advance the cause of the false Vatican II Church (directly or indirectly), however, we won’t have any comment on whether any particular individual’s salary seems justified.
Now, returning briefly to what started this whole mess, namely, Catholic Answers‘ Emergency Appeal for more donations, we have the following observation to make:
Every organization that relies on donations is going to have to realize at some point that economic times are very tough for a great number of people right now. Some have lost their jobs, have gotten pay or benefits cut, have to pay more for necessary expenses such as gasoline, taxes, and insurance, have been helping out fellow-parishioners in grave need, and so forth. This all translates into fewer dollars available to spend on things like Catholic Answers, for example. This is just the reality of the economic situation that many people have to face. So, it wouldn’t be surprising if some folks’ initial response to Jimmy Akin’s sober appeal is perhaps a bit cynical: “Welcome to the real world. We’ve been feeling it for a long time. Except we can’t just ask for more money.”
Returning once more to the conflict of interest problem: In our opinion, Voris has been rash in asserting that the conflict of interest for those highly-paid apologists is definitely the cause of their refusal to speak out on certain issues the way Voris does. We don’t know that for sure — though it’s certainly a legitimate question to raise.
Hypocrisy on Stilts: Voris’ Own Credibility Problem
Speaking of conflicts of interest… Frequent visitors to Novus Ordo Watch know that we spend a good amount of time rebuking Michael Voris for exactly the same thing he accuses all these other “Catholic” apologists of: refusing to tell the ugly truth because doing so would cause great inconvenience. In fact, Michael Voris is the last person on earth who can credibly accuse other people of turning a blind eye to the bitter truth.
The difference between Voris and the “mainstream professional Catholics” he criticizes is that while the latter may be turning a blind eye to the chaotic reality in U.S. dioceses, Voris is refusing to acknowledge and address the ugly truth about “Pope” Francis. While he rails on and on against the “Church of Nice”, he omits to tell people that this “Church of Nice” also has a “Pope of Nice.”
There is no need to go into extensive argumentation on this point, because we have been documenting what we’ve dubbed the “Voris Virus” for many months now. Here’s a list of the major relevant blog posts that we encourage you to examine carefully (in chronological order):
- Michael Voris’ Selective Reporting in The Vortex
- Michael Voris on Francis’ Alleged “WWF” Papacy
- BAM! The Vortex Is a Sham!
- The Voris Double Standard Illustrated
Now, when you look at and ponder this evidence, ask yourself: Is what Michael Voris is doing here right? Is it just? Something that’s gravely wrong and damaging to the Church does not cease to be such when the one who’s doing it is the Pope — if anything, it makes it worse (let’s forget for a minute about the whole sedevacantist issue for the sake of discussing this point).
Even so, things wouldn’t nearly be so bad if Voris were simply silent on Francis’ liberalism; instead, however, he takes it one step further by creating the impression — and sometimes claiming outright — that Jorge Bergoglio is not a liberal but a tough, conservative, hammer-the-liberals Pope whose battle ChurchMilitant.TV is fighting, whereas Voris knows for a fact that this isn’t true (he blocked us on Twitter because we kept nagging him about his deceitful double standard). In moral theology, that’s called a lie, a deliberate falsehood meant to deceive.
Now, some may conjecture that Voris has a “good motive” for lying, but that still doesn’t allow him to lie. A lie doesn’t cease to be a lie just because the liar “means well.” Lying is always sinful, especially if the person lied to has a right to know the truth and it concerns a grave matter.
We have said it before and will say it again: Voris’ dedication to the truth ends where the ugly facts about Francis begin. He excoriates “cardinals” and “bishops” for trashy liturgies, sacrilege in their churches, heterodox sermons, refusing to act when action is needed, etc., yet is totally mum when “Pope” Francis does the exact same thing (perhaps the most obvious case in point is Voris’ deafening silence on Francis’ washing of women’s feet on Holy Thursday 2013, something for which a year prior he had denounced liberal Novus Ordo clergy for doing). Is this right? Is this how a man of integrity ought to be acting?
The evidence that Voris subscribes to this disgraceful double standard is beyond dispute. What isn’t clear is his motive: Why is he acting this way?
We do not profess to know the answer, but we would love for him to tell us. Please contact Michael Voris and encourage him (in a respectful manner) to answer our question: Why does he lie about Francis? Why won’t he condemn him for the things he condemns others for?
In the meantime, since Voris sees fit to pontificate on other people’s motives, we’ll share what we think is his motive. We do not think it is money, and we do not think the man is malicious. We do, however, think that the following scenario is plausible (and if it isn’t right, we ask Voris to contradict us and set the record straight):
Voris loves what he does. He loves his little apostolate; he loves being a broadcaster, and he loves (what he thinks is) the Catholic Faith. Besides, he loves bashing liberals (who doesn’t?) and he enjoys being the popular anti-liberal bulldozer that has his own daily show and is gaining influence around the “conservative Catholic” world. But all of this is dependent to a significant extent on being able to say that you’re “with the Pope” and “loyal to the Pope.” That is the foundation that legitimizes the apostolate. Once you attack Francis and his five predecessors of unhappy memory and hold them to the same standards as everyone else, that much-needed foundation crumbles very quickly. You’re basically left to yourself. Now it would no longer be Voris speaking on behalf of all “orthodox Catholics loyal to the Holy Father”, but now it would be Voris only speaking for — well, Voris.
Not optimal. Not convenient. Not effective. And perhaps most of all, not popular. There would conceivably be a steep drop in contributions and probably some high-dollar benefactors would entirely withdraw their support as well. We do not know where most of his current funding currently comes from, but we suspect a lot of it is provided by Opus Dei and/or people in some way affiliated with Opus Dei. If a lot of such funding were removed, in due time it would spell the end of his show and the end of his apostolate as we know it (at least full-time); and all the popularity and influence he is currently enjoying would quickly be reduced to relatively insignificant levels. That is a conflict of interest, too. (Oh yes, and he could forget about his annual “retreat” luxury cruise as well.)
So, now you know what we think his motive is. Should any of our conjecture be wrong, we beg his pardon — but then again, he could just tell us, and the matter would be settled. Besides, he could be transparent about what entities provide most of his funding, and we’d be happy to publish it right here on this page to set the record straight.
Really, the difference between Michael Voris and the people he’s critizing is one of degree, not of kind. They won’t hold certain bishops accountable; he won’t hold the “Pope” accountable — with whom the buck ultimately stops. The motives may be different, but whatever they are, they cannot justify silence or lies in the face of the Novus Ordo apostasy, which reaches all the way to the top (cf. Eccl 3:7; Mt 10:27).
Voris’ exposé on these highly-paid “professional Catholics” has now been termed “Vorisgate” by one blogger. It looks like Vorisgate will make a few more waves before it dies down. So far, blog posts and comments on the same have been multiplying exponentially (see some of them linked below), so it will be interesting to see if the trend continues.
Some Select Blog Posts & Links on “Vorisgate” (in chronological order):
Be sure to read not only the blog posts but especially also the comments at the end of the posts – some of them are extremely insightful
- “You’ve Depended on Catholic Answers; Now, They’re Depending on You” – Kathy Schiffer’s Blog
- “Catholic Answers Needs Help” – Creative Minority Report
- “The Empire Strikes Back” – ChurchMilitant.TV Video
- “Do We Need Michael Voris?” – “Fr.” Dwight Longenecker’s Blog
- “Fr. Longenecker vs. Michael Voris” – Connecticut Catholic Corner Blog
- “Do We Need Fr. Longenecker?” – The Tenth Crusade Blog
- “Protecting the Status Quo” – ChurchMilitant.TV Video
- “Apologetics Professional Catholic Cruiser is Sinking” – Eponymous Flower Blog
- “Do We Need Fr. Dwight Longenecker?” – Ars Orandi Blog
- “Open Letter to Father Dwight Longenecker” – Vox Cantoris Blog
- “Michael Voris Applied for Job of Host of Catholic Answers Live in 2009” – Dave Armstrong’s Blog
- “Protecting the Status Quo: Vortex” – Philothea on Phire Blog
- “Preliminary Investigations Into Michael Voris’ Income” – Dave Armstrong’s Blog
- “Catholic Answers and Vorisgate” – Men Are Like Wine Blog
- “Are So-Called ‘Establishment’ Apologists Financially Compromised?” – Dave Armstrong’s Blog
- “CMTV’s Response to Dave Armstrong” – Philothea on Phire Blog
- “Reflections on Catholic Answers“ – True Restoration Blog
- On a related note: The Non-Profit Catholic League‘s Bill Donohue makes $408,000 a Year