Time for a sobering reality check…
Michael Voris: ‘We have viewed the Pope Francis Papacy as very Problematic from Day One’
image: Church Militant (screenshot) / Shutterstock (cougarsan)
On Feb. 18, 2022, Michael Voris hosted a special live broadcast on his Church Militant web site entitled “Is Bergoglio really the Pope?”. Not that anyone working for the Detroit-based media operation was beginning to doubt the legitimacy of Francis, but perhaps more and more people in their audience can no longer stomach the “papal” apostate from Buenos Aires.
In our powerful new podcast episode, TRADCAST 033, we take many of Michael Voris’s claims to task. In this post, however, we will not concern ourselves with Voris’ errors on Sedevacantism; rather, we will focus on, and respond to, his audacious claim, made in the very beginning of the Feb. 18 broadcast, that Church Militant has been critical of “Pope” Francis from the very start.
Take a look at the following excerpt from his Feb. 18 show, beginning at the 1:39 time stamp and ending at 3:58 (already cued up):
In this excerpt, Voris asserts verbatim (at 1:47): “Scandal must be confronted. That means all scandals…”. And further (at 3:47): “…we have viewed the Pope Francis papacy as very problematic from day one, and we have treated it as best we can as loyal Catholics”.
For an organization that for years was bending over backwards not to cover, expose, or seriously criticize anything coming from “Pope” Francis — and even sternly defended that policy of silence in public — that is quite a stunningly bold claim to make!
In fact, Voris’ refusal to report on, criticize, and condemn his “Pope” for the very things for which he exposed and lambasted all other clerics, was so glaring and annoying that we coined a term for it early on: We called it the “Voris Virus”, and his daily Vortex news and commentary program we nicknamed “Ignortex”.
In this post, we will help the forgetful Mr. Voris and his crew refresh their rusty memories and set the record straight about how Church Militant actually did deal with the “Pope Francis pontificate” from day one — and it was anything but critical.
Jorge Mario Bergoglio emerged from the conclave as “Pope Francis” on Mar. 13, 2013. Instead of dispassionately reporting the known facts about the new squatter in Vatican City, however, Voris and his crew immediately began to spin him into an ultra-conservative super-Pope, which was quite expedient to their cause.
Let’s look at some concrete examples.
In the Mar. 21, 2013 edition of The Vortex, broadcast a mere nine days into Francis’ reign, Michael Voris set out to warn his viewers not to fall for the media-spun narrative of Francis the Liberal, which he claimed was based on a distortion of facts and selective quotations by the secular press. This episode, entitled “Attacking the Pope”, is still available online and can be watched here:
Whatever one may think of Voris’ analysis, it is clear that it is not exactly screaming “we have viewed the Pope Francis papacy as very problematic from day one”.
Next, we turn to the Vortex of Apr. 12, 2013. In it, Voris claims that Francis’ reign is shaping up to be a “WWF Papacy” — a reference to the World Wrestling Federation, meant to denote a particularly tough and combative “papal” style. The clip can be viewed below. In the YouTube description box, the episode is summarized thus: “Pope Francis ‘The Hammer’ is starting to assert himself.” Take a look and watch Voris make an utter fool out of himself:
No wonder Voris chose a vortex as the metaphor for his program — after all, its most prominent feature is that it spins.
By such antics, however, Voris needlessly set himself up for potential crushing defeat. And it’s not like he couldn’t have known better at the time. Our response to his propaganda Vortex of Apr. 12, 2013, came the very next day, and it included a substantial reality check on Jorge Bergoglio, loaded with facts Voris preferred to ignore:
Another memorable Vortex episode was that of May 6, 2013, called “Pope Francis – BAM!”:
In this episode, Voris latched onto various statements uttered by Francis that sounded really Catholic, and he used them as proof that Bergoglio was an über-conservative crusader for orthodoxy. Our response, published only a few days later, provided a reality check:
In what can only be termed irony on stilts, Voris had the audacity of criticizing others for distorting reality, for ignoring inconvenient facts, and for spinning the new “Pope” by “paint[ing] an incomplete, wildly incomplete, picture of him and his message.” The hypocrisy was staggering!
On Mar. 13, 2014, on Francis’ first-year anniversary, Voris blasted “those on the extreme right” for seizing on certain comments of Francis so as to give the impression that “he is a heretic, evil, an enemy of the Church, an anti-pope, and so forth”:
Now, one might think that perhaps Voris’ enthusiasm for Francis — and his stretching of the truth about him — was confined to just the first few months, or even the first year, and that he should be forgiven for a naively optimistic view of the man who has turned out to be precisely the kind of liberal Voris had confidently assured us he wasn’t.
But no, that’s not how it was. The Church Militant approach to Francis turned into a protracted and full-blown refusal to report the truth about him, which lasted for more than five years, basically until the summer of 2018, when everybody else had long been shouting Francis’ blasphemies, heresies, and other errors from the rooftops, and Church Militant had become a laughing stock for acting, more or less, as if all was well.
Although we do not pretend to know the motivation of Mr. Voris or his staff, the Bergoglio-McCarrick affair exposed by “Abp.” Carlo Maria Viganò in August of 2018 was the welcome moment that Church Militant needed to credibly usher in a long-overdue about-face on Francis.
It was on Aug. 27, 2018, that Michael Voris released this “Church Militant Statement on the Pope”, which marked a turning point for his conservative Novus Ordo propaganda outlet. In it, he happily informed his viewers that from now on, criticism of Bergoglio was permitted: “…now is the appropriate moment for the laity to offer comment, which we are rightly allowed to do according to canon law”, Guru Voris assured his followers. Here is the full statement:
That is the moment in time when Church Militant began not merely to “offer comment” but openly and harshly to criticize, mock, and expose Francis’ scandals — the very thing they had told people for the prior five years was not permissible (see in particular 2:57-3:34):
Now, we must emphasize that our main criticism here is not that Michael Voris and Church Militant have changed their position on Francis, or even that for years they presented a distorted image of Francis by spinning him into a great conservative hammer of liberals, while remaining silent on his endless heresies, blasphemies, and other scandals.
Rather, our main criticism is that they now pretend that “we have viewed the Pope Francis papacy as very problematic from day one”, because that is manifestly untrue. Not only did they do all they could to spin Francis into an ultra-conservative guardian of orthodoxy for as long as possible, they also excoriated those who did not follow their approach but instead exposed the Bergoglian scandals. Such people — and they included many non-sedevacantists — Voris and his gang accused of peddling in “ecclesiastical porn” or “spiritual pornography”.
Until at least March of 2018 (!), Church Militant had a page on its web site called “Public Criticism of the Pope”. This page was linked under its “Frequently Asked Questions” section, from which it has long been removed.
Thankfully, the internet has archived prior versions of the page, some of which you can access below:
- “Public Criticism of the Pope” page as it appeared on Apr. 11, 2016 (saved by Wayback Machine)
- “Public Criticism of the Pope” page as it appeared on Nov. 4, 2016 (saved by Wayback Machine)
- “Public Criticism of the Pope” page as it appeared on Feb. 4, 2017 (saved by Wayback Machine)
- “Public Criticism of the Pope” page as it appeared on Oct. 2, 2017 (saved by Wayback Machine)
- “Public Criticism of the Pope” page as it appeared on Mar. 23, 2018 (saved by Novus Ordo Watch)
It is interesting to see how the page changed over the years. For example, the statement “ChurchMilitant.com will not engage in public criticism of the Pope” (Apr. 11, 2016) morphed into “ChurchMilitant.com will not engage in harsh public criticism of the Pope” (Feb. 4, 2017; bold print added), which then somehow morphed back into “Church Militant will not engage in public criticism of the Pope” (Mar. 23, 2018).
It was on this “Public Criticism of the Pope” page that the charge of “ecclesiastical/spiritual pornography” appeared. Here is an annotated screenshot of the Apr. 11, 2016 version of the page:
But that was then. Not surprisingly, that “Public Criticism of the Pope” page has long quietly disappeared, since Church Militant now does, quite habitually, engage in public criticism of the “Pope”, even the harsher kind; and it likewise now offers what was formerly condemned as “spiritual porn”. (The link to the page is not dead, however; neither does it lead to an error or a dead page. Instead, it automatically redirects to a page where you can make a donation to Church Militant.)
Lastly, we must not forget that one of Voris’ main arguments against those who dared to expose Francis’ spiritual crimes was that such people were guilty of the sin of Cham when he dishonored his father Noah (see Gen 9:18-27):
A very poignant example of how we should treat the Holy Father is found in Genesis 9:18–27, particularly 21–23:
And the sons of Noe who came out of the ark, were Sem, Cham, and Japheth: and Cham is the father of Chanaan. These three are the sons of Noe: and from these was all mankind spread over the whole earth.
And Noe, a husbandman, began to till the ground, and planted a vineyard, and drinking of the vine was made drunk, and was uncovered in his tent. Which when Cham the father of Chanaan had seen, to wit, that his father’s nakedness was uncovered, he told it to his two brethren without.
But Sem and Japheth put a cloak upon their shoulders, and going backward covered the nakedness of their father: and their faces were turned away, and they saw not their father’s nakedness.
And Noe awakening from the wine, when he had learned what his younger son had done to him, he said: Cursed be Chanaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren.
And he said: Blessed be the Lord God of Sem; be Chanaan his servant. May God enlarge Japheth, and may he dwell in the tents of Sem; and Chanaan be his servant. (emphasis added)
A strong case can be made that “ecclesiastical porn” sites and publications, and those who write for them, are walking in the footsteps of Cham by telling others of their father’s nakedness. Scripture gives us the example of Sem and Japheth who “covered the nakedness of their father, “their faces were turned away,” and “they saw not their father’s nakedness.” The sons of Noe knew that their father was naked, but they chose to “cover” it.
(“Public Criticism of the Pope”, Church Militant, Nov. 4, 2016 archived version; bold print given.)
And thus we understand how Church Militant “covered” the news from 2013 through the summer of 2018.
Another important piece of evidence that has disappeared together with the “Public Criticism of the Pope” page (Feb. 4, 2017 version) is a quote from St. Catherine of Siena which Church Militant had placed prominently at the very top. In addition, gone with the page are the links to various Vortex episodes in which the host makes the case that lambasting Bergoglio is not permitted:
One may conclude that Voris & Co. no longer believe in the words of St. Catherine of Siena (which, by the way, refer to an immoral Pope, not to a non-Catholic “Pope” who imposes heresy on the Church), which goes to show that just because Michael Voris thunders and threatens and blusters, doesn’t mean he himself will still believe what he said, even just a few months later.
In sum, we note that Church Militant has gone from issuing reports about Francis that omit or distort inconvenient facts, to condemning and maligning those who do report them, to doing a complete about-face without an apology, to now making the bold claim: “Scandal must be confronted…”, and “…we have viewed the Pope Francis papacy as very problematic from day one, and we have treated it as best we can as loyal Catholics”.
If Mr. Voris should find himself with plenty of egg on his face now, that is from the eggs he, early on, had all put into that one Bergoglian basket — thus setting himself up for spectacular humiliation should things turn out the way they have. He should have known better, and he could have known better, but the “right” narrative was more important to him than the actual facts.
image: Shutterstock (Evannovostro)
We sedevacantists are by no means the only ones, however, to take issue with the changing Church Militant policy on public criticism of the “Pope”. One day after Voris changed his tune on Francis in August of 2018, Chris Jackson of The Remnant didn’t hold back:
It is undeniable that Voris’ attitude appears to be that of “it’s OK to criticize Francis only if and when and in the manner I say it is”. And while that would be bad enough, for him to act now as if Church Militant had always been critical of Bergoglio, is an intolerable outrage we could not keep silent on.
For more on Michael Voris and the special Church Militant Live broadcast “Is Bergoglio really the Pope?”, aired on Feb. 18, 2022, please listen to our TRADCAST 033 here:
Exit Michael Voris.