Saturday, August 31, 2013

Michael Voris' Critique of Catholic Answers Salaries and Contention that Two Radio Shows on "Radical Traditionalism" Have Harmed CA's Finances and Support


By Catholic Apologist Dave Armstrong

Michael Voris' video of 8-29-13 was a rather cynical, derisive "expose" of the salaries made by several persons at CA (which -- I should note --  was already public information, since it is a non-profit corporation). Now he's making out that CA has taken a huge hit because they dared to do two shows on radical Catholic reactionaries, and he claims this is part of the reason why they are doing a big fundraiser at present (which they do -- like virtually all Catholic apostolates -- all the time: nothing new there at all).

It's rather ironic that Voris is now being so critical of Catholic Answers, seeing that Karl Keating revealed in the combox of Fr. Dwight Longenecker's critical article about Michael Voris (with characteristic delightful understatement):
After Jerry Usher retired as host of Catholic Answers Live, Michael Voris was in discussion with us about becoming the new host. We decided he was not the right person for that role, which later was filled by Patrick Coffin. We otherwise have never had any contact with Mr. Voris. He did not contact us before airing his videos.

Keating also flatly denied that the shows on radical Catholic reactionaries had anything to do with financial troubles:

We have no evidence that our May 31 show on "radical Traditionalism" resulted in any loss of donations. So far as I know, we weren't receiving donations from "radical Traditionalists" anyway, and nearly all "regular Traditionalists" who commented on the program to us said they appreciated it and thought it fair and helpful. (The August 12 follow-up show aired after our "summer slump" occurred.)

This was confirmed further  in correspondence between Karl Keating and myself (9-4-13), where he reiterated that there is no evidence that the usual summer slump was in any way connected to the May 31st show, nor made any worse by it. He also noted that the current fundraiser not only made up the shortfall, but because of much larger average donations than usual, CA will be in even better shape than it usually is this time of year. Thus, analyses that the second show caused some huge backlash against CA is (lie reports of Mark Twain's premature death), "greatly exaggerated."

Moreover, one of Voris' prime and repeated claims is that Catholic Answers won't speak out against problems in the Church because this would alienate the "hand that feeds them": i.e., the bishops. But this is patently false, since, as Karl Keating revealed in his comment, cited above, that isn't their source of income at all:

Catholic Answers never has asked for, and never has received, grants from bishops. It always has been our policy not to ask the Church to underwrite our work. (Of course, when we send a speaker to a parish, the parish pays an honorarium and travel and lodging expenses.)

We observe a sort of love-hate relationship between Voris and Catholic Answers: he "loves" the organization because it does great apologetics work (as he continues to admit even now), but he blasts it on the following two grounds:
1) Making out that the two Catholic Answers Live shows on radical Catholic reactionaries also trashed mainstream "traditionalists": a completely different group.

2) CA is supposedly fundamentally compromised and won't speak out against liberal, heterodox dissidents or problems in the Church, because this would dry up financial support from the bishops.

Demonstrably wrong on both counts (and I argue the second point at length in my next critique). So why does Voris keep reiterating these falsehoods over and over? If he never listened to the two shows in question or never read the articles about them, how could he make such a comment? That would be journalistic irresponsibility and incompetence. On the other hand, if he had done so, then one can only conclude that he is deliberately misrepresenting, which is even worse.

Take your pick: incompetence and shoddy, "hit piece" sensationalistic journalism  (a la The National Enquirer) or a desire to lie about a fantastic Catholic apologetics organization: one that I am very proud and honored to be associated with (radio appearances, articles in their magazine, book published by them).

His follow-up Vortex video of 8-30-13 was even more dubious. It was clearly at least partially damage control for the previous one. He was saying (paraphrase), "it's not about how much money people make. No one cares about that . . . "

Really? So he puts ou
t a video, revealing exact salaries of people by name, then he wants to walk that back and claim that he wasn't objecting to how much money apologists and other lay public Catholic figures make (now that there is an uproar in many venues online about that very thing, with people expressing the usual class envy and "anti-apologetics" tendencies)?

That's an insult to everyone's intelligence (i.e., anyone with an IQ higher than a pencil eraser). You don't reveal someone's salary (and tell yours in comparison) if you are not objecting to it in some fashion. He clearly was.

Catholic Answers has made it crystal clear again and again, both in the shows, follow-up shows, and in articles and on their forum, that they are opposing radical Catholic reactionaries only, not legitimate mainstream "traditionalists" (those who love the TLM, etc.). For Voris and others to misrepresent that or create a caricature of it is unconscionable. But they keep doing it. The truth always triumphs in the end. spreading falsehood only harms the person who is promulgating it, in the long run. God is not mocked. He sees what is happening; and He alone knows the true motivations and intent of people's hearts. We don't. We can only speculate. But falsehoods can be demonstrated and proven by counter-factual information, to be what they are.


Radical Catholic Reactionary-ism constantly exhibits an exclusivisitic, sectarian, "we're the cream of the crop and the other guys are second-class" mindset. It's spiritual elitism, pride, and pharisaism. It's a regurgitation of the historical error of what is called "rigorism" (Donatists, Novatians, Montanists, Jansenists, etc.).

The overall worldview or mentality is what causes so much damage. Michael Voris is in all likelihood a fine person and good Catholic, but he is better than his worldview. This is the problem. People adopt certain premises and conclusions following from them, and then it's off to the dog races. One falsehood breeds another.

The devil has a field day. He loves to exploit this sort of thing. Get otherwise good Catholics fighting tooth and nail against each other . . . Even when apologists like myself (and other commenters) roundly condemn this because it's wrong, we get accused of doing the same thing that we are opposing with all our might (because people don't make crucial distinctions).

Because of his prior false and confused presuppositions, Voris winds up doing a video like this, that even has many of his own "followers" upset and wondering why in the world he is stooping to such low levels (read some of the comments on his own Facebook page).

He knows he blew it (it seems clear to me), which is why he started walking it back with his next video. But in any event, it's his reputation and his apostolate . . . he'll be harmed more than anyone if he continues on this very troubling trajectory.
   

[see also the vigorous Facebook discussion about this post and related issues, including my analysis of "how much money is too much?" for Catholic lay workers and apostolates] 




*****






8 comments:

RC said...

Thanks for posting this information.

Anytime one non-profit Catholic media apostolate criticizes its competition, the appearance of a sour-grapes aspect is possible, and maybe that's an influence here.

Now I should go and listen to that CA radio show and hear what the CA folks were talking about. I'm not fond of unspecific terms such as "radical reactionary", since that doesn't specify what error is being criticized. It's not like discussing sedevacantism or Feeneyism or any particular position. It's almost name-calling.

In a similar vein, apologist Shawn McElhinney, who has specialized in traditionalist issues, recently called for dropping the stigmatizing term "radtrad".



Dave Armstrong said...

I have stopped using "radtrad:" because it was so widely misunderstood. I took two weeks of my time removing it from papers and books.

My own coined term, radical Catholic reactionary" is defined in very specific ways in my second book on the topic. It's essentially the same definition I have used for 15 years, just with different terms. See:

http://socrates58.blogspot.com/2012/12/definitions-radical-catholic.html

Ron Garcia said...

But the reality is that is "radical Catholic reactionary" is "your own term." Is there a reason that you find it necessary to put practicing Catholics into a group? It seems divisive. Or is their some heresy these "radical Catholic reactionaries" are entrenched in, which you feel the need to correct? What exactly is it that you dislike about them?

Dave Armstrong said...

Read my article above, rather than going by touchy-feely subjective hunches and alleged nefarious motives that reside deep within my heart. Bring it into the realm of reason.

Lynne said...

That was classy of Karl Keating to release that info about Voris. So Voris has been harboring ill will for 4 years? Maybe if CA had hired Voris, they wouldn't be in such dire financial straits... Oh well... I've been passed over a time or two as has most of us, I suspect. It has no bearing on future actions. Someone is guilty of calumny.


StevenD-Jasper said...

The main point of Voris's videos are correct -> The constant coverup of weak and cowardly Bishops. We really need about another 100 MV's.

Joanna Stafish said...

Oh wow. CA just sunk to a new low. Two words: NO CLASS! When will you finally get it. It's about reporting the WHOLE truth. The difference in the salaries of Voris and you (CA) just shows how much more exposure you have by not rubbing the "right" people the wrong way, like Voris does when he tells everyone what is REALLY going on. CA is avoiding that subject altogether and is still able to speak on all Church properties (sell books, dvd's, etc.) and hold on to the word "Catholic" in their name. That simple. BTW this comment was originally posted around 3 a.m. on Monday 09-02-13. I guess it got deleted by mistake, so here it is again.

Chris said...

I am in full agreement with Joana.
Those who pose many of the solutions to the problems of post-vat II catholicism are often made enemies of the hierarchy on a national level- even though they may on an individual diocesan level remain with respect and support to speak at churches - if that is they live in a diocese that retains enough sympathy toward their traditional views.

I also agree that there ought to be 100 more people such as MV it would be amazing, given enough time, it may happen. Mr. Louie Verrecchio who has recently been given a show on the church militant tv, reminds me of Voris in many ways, though I think, that he is in some ways more sophisticated and less offensive to "certain types" of people. (I dont know why this is.)