Friday, August 30, 2013

Off the Mark (Hey OHH, it’s a bad pun but it works!)

Here is another take on the same video put out by Voris (Again feel free to disagree with me, I am justing giving my thoughts on what is an old story now)

[My comments in Bracked Bold Red]

A Reader Asks about Michael Voris’ Fusillade Against Pat Robertson
August 12, 2013 By Mark Shea 19 Comments
He writes:
I just finished watching the following video by Michael Voris that I’ve seen posted by a few friends in various venues:

I was interested in your reaction to it. [I wonder why they would approach Shea for his opinion on the matter?  Come on now it’s obvious.]
I think there’s much that’s true in what Voris says in this video [   :-D,   Well that’s more than Armstrong puts forth.]; however, like some of his other presentations, I found it unnecessarily antagonistic/combative as well as being skewed factually in some ways [So what is to follow can be said to be mainly a subjective take, which I am not opposed to, he has every right to his opinion on Voris’ work.]. For example, early in the video, Voris said, “Robertson, in typical Protestant fashion – meaning an answer made up out of thin air based on nothing other than his own feelings and opinions and misreading of Sacred Scripture…”.

Well, wait a minute.  Sure, where Protestants differ from the teaching of the Catholic Church, they’re wrong and they ultimately are left appealing to their own personal (and non-authoritative) interpretation of Scripture.  In the specific case at hand, Robertson is wrong on contraception. But, does that justify disparaging their entire approach to searching for the truth as making things up out of thin air based on nothing other than feelings and opinions and misreading Sacred Scripture?  In general, Evangelicals have far more *right* than wrong. [I much prefer Marks take on the issue so far, its not a personal attack on Voris’ character necessarily.  As I have pointed out in my take on Armstrongs response this take presumes that Mr. Voris is coloring all protestants the same, but he does give a qualification on the matter using the word typical.  Its fair to say that the use of the word typical can be seen as saying the majority believe something, but it also means that differing views are present as well, so people taking this quote to mean more than its saying in a general sense goes may to far.]  To broad-brush Evangelicals like this in such a disparaging way seems designed to merely provoke and incite rather than to edify and persuade. [Not necessarily.  It is provocative, and perhaps not the way everyone should go about evangelizing, yet it is not anathema to evangelization.  Many saints took the same approach, and where successful with the approach.  Not everyone is made of glass and therefore can’t take criticism, many credit Voris’ approach will bringing them back to the faith, myself included.  If it’s a matter ways in which the different apostolates go about evanglizating, as long as they remain orthodox in their teachings, should not be poo pooed, including Mark Sheas work.]

Also, laying central blame for the societal acceptance of contraception today at the feet of Protestants seems, at the least, unfair.  After all, it was John Rock, a Catholic, who led the invention of the birth control pill [Considering that the birth control pill is only one form of contraception its hard to lay it all at his feet as well.  Again it’s a vortex, a quick take, not a doctrinal dissertation. More context can be had at his website and in past episodes.] (Ironically, his intention was reportedly to comply with Church teaching, but he was still wrong.) He campaigned for Catholic approval of the pill. He published a book, “The Time Has Come: A Catholic Doctor’s Proposals to End the Battle over Birth Control”, and was featured by Time and Newsweek. He also gave numerous interviews with the networks.  “The pill” was critical to the so-called “sexual revolution.” [Which is consistent with what Voris quotes from Pius V over and over again on other Vortex’s that bad Catholics are at fault for all the evils of the world.]

Catholic priests and theologians effectively defected from the faith over this issue and treated Humanae Vitae as DOA. The bishops didn’t have the knowledge or fortitude to stand. [Which Voris applauds Cardinal Dolan for being honest about in a homily he gave about a year ago.] Now Catholics use birth control just as much as pagans, Buddhists, Jews and Protestants. And, as many have pointed out, that’s a good part of the reason we’re facing the immoral HHS mandate now. [That doesn’t excuse the way in which Bishops approached the HHS mandate to begin with thinking that the best way to go about this issue was to say its about defending our religious freedom, rather than approaching it from the stand point that it is an intrinsic evil and we will not comply and you government can pound sand, we serve Christ first and give to Cesar only that which is Cesars.  This might be symantical to some, but if we don’t preach and Hold up Christ as our King and the one who we follow first and foremost, then why do we think some man made document like the constitution that needs a man made intreprative staff like the supreme court will necessarly understand anything the way it was origninally done.]

Catholics led the way on “the pill” and when presented with “Peter’s” teaching, rejected it. That’s not the fault of Protestants who do not have Peter. If anything, I would say that Catholics are most to blame for society embracing contraception. We should have known better. We had the teaching. We had Peter. We had the Sacraments.  We had the One True Church to which Voris refers in his video. We didn’t care. [Yet because a Catholic went afar and actively dissented doesn’t create cover for other protestants.  Bad Catholics indeed are at fault for all the evil of the world, but that people sin isn’t the fault of the church, but of ones own choices, which I think Mark would agree]

I think Voris would have been better served by taking an approach more like Protestant Charles Provan in his book, “The Bible and Birth Control.”  Provan does good job demonstrating for Protestants that they had always been – and should have remained – opposed to birth control. He presents historical examples and Scripture in a compelling but non-polemical way.
I’ve used him numerous times and to good effect with Protestant friends and family.  In my personal experience, I’ve found that Evangelical Protestants are largely open to hearing us on the issue of contraception.  In fact, “life issues” like this have played an important role in leading some Evangelicals home to the fullness of the faith in the Catholic Church.
I think approaching them with a hammer like this is unnecessary and wrong-headed.  I get the “hard truth” thing, but the “hard truth” at least needs to be “the truth” as well as being fair.  [Ok I was with Mark until the whole fair thing.  What exactly is unfair here?] Being tough and unfair doesn’t typically persuade anyone that isn’t already in the choir. Clanging gongs and all that.
I like some of Voris’s work and he clearly seems to mean well.  But I think he missed the mark on this one.  Your thoughts? [I don’t know about you, but this commentary was much more enjoyable in that it didn’t attempt to take every tidbit of the vortex out of its context, thereby riling up readers.  Thanks Mark!]
I hold no brief to Pat Robertson’s frequent crazy commentary (most recently he was accusing video gamers of being guilty of ”virtual murder” for blowing up stuff in games).  I’ve commented in this space several times that the guy needs to be taken out of media rolodexes and his daffy ramblings taken as seriously as Grandpa Abe Simpson’s.
That said, I agree with my reader that Voris manages to pull defeat from the jaw of victory with his absurd triumphalist commentary on Robertson’s dumb remarks.  All this video serves to do is tell Catholics in the bunker “You are awesome and the Protestants outside Fortress Katolicus are bad.” [This whole attitude of we shouldn’t be triumphalistic when dealing with Protestants was taken up by Louis Vorrechio here.]   That’s more or less what Voris’ schtick is.  It’s not interested in evangelism. [Ok, now we are going to disagree.  It is focused on evangelism, just not the type that Mark or Dave are involved in, namely non confrontational.]. It is, in fact, hostile to it. [False]  It’s interested in telling the denizens of Fortress Katolicus that they must at all costs defend the Fortress from the unclean hosts besieging it–and keep a wary eye on those in their ranks who may betray some sign that they too are not pure enough to be allowed inside. [Be ye perfect anyone?] Those beseiging hosts, in addition to all Protestants indiscriminately, include such dangerous people as the bishop who investigated Fr. Corapi, the Knights of Columbus, Catholic news agencies that look into Michael Voris’ non-profit status, people who like “Amazing Grace”, the Knights of Columbus and anybody else who is pre-emptively declared to be a liar whose falsehoods are to be “trapped and exposed” [Which is the same tactic Mark takes in the broad brushing toward the end.  Each of these points can be defended with ease because the context is available].
It goes without saying that when Michael Voris teaches that Judaism is a false [Which the one practiced today is], manmade religion in the teeth of Nostra Aetate or when he declares that Catholic monarchy is the form of government Real Catholics[TM] [Which is an opinion he can take just as you would say democracy, or specifically republic governance, as you would propose.  The point is there is no right answer on this.  Many thinkers like Aquinas favored monarchies over Republics, did that make them inherently wrong?  Of course not] should endorse, he’s not just “making things up out of thin air based on nothing other than feelings and opinions and misreading Sacred Scripture”.

I hope part two of this commentary has been helpful.  I do believe that Mr. Shea, though not a friend of Voris, gives a fine take on the video.  We would certainly disagree on the things pointed out above, but the civility in comparison to Dave Armstrong’s article is commendable. 

I plan on writing one or two more quick takes on this matter before I put together a longer video incorporating all these issues.  By the way Dave Armstrong wrote a defense of his criticism here, I think it is worthwhile to read, and is generally better then the all out attack he came with in my first commentary.

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