Monday, July 08, 2013

Books by Dave Armstrong: The Quotable Eastern Church Fathers: Distinctively Catholic Elements in Their Theology


[completed on 8 July 2013, 303 pages, and published at Lulu on the same day]

--- For purchase information, go to the bottom of the page ---


Misc.


Introduction and Sources

This collection is devoted to documentation of examples of “distinctively Catholic” theological beliefs or doctrines in the Eastern Church fathers; that is (very broadly speaking, or generalizing), ones in harmony with historic Catholic teaching but differing in some way from one or more strains of Protestant theology (including liberal theology) or Eastern Orthodox views.

Quotations will be drawn from the “Three Holy Hierarchs” of Eastern Christian Tradition: St. Basil the Great (c. 330-379, abbreviated as “B”), St. John Chrysostom (c. 345-407, “JC”), and St. Gregory Nazianzen (c. 330-c. 390, “G”). St. Athanasius (c. 297-373, “A”) is usually added to this list, and these are the Four Great Eastern Doctors of the Church.

Additionally, the following four fathers are included: St. Cyril of Alexandria (c. 376-444, “CA”), St. Ephraim [or, Ephrem] of Syria (c. 306-373, “E”), St. Cyril of Jerusalem (c. 315-387, “CJ”), and St. John Damascene [or, John of Damascus] (c. 676-749, “JD”). All eight men are designated as “Doctors” of the Catholic Church.

Quotations are drawn from the public domain works listed below; using the abbreviations in quotation marks, as a quick reference. All of these sources are found online at the magnificent Christian Classics Ethereal Library website. I am greatly indebted to it for making the compilation of this book far easier than it would have been, prior to the Internet.

Early Church Fathers: Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers Series 1 [“NPNF1-”] (Philip Schaff, editor, Edinburgh, 1889, 14 volumes).

Early Church Fathers: Nicene & Post-Nicene Fathers Series 2 [“NPNF2-”] (Philip Schaff and Henry Wace, editors, Edinburgh, 1900, 14 volumes).

A Library of Fathers of the Holy Catholic Church, Anterior to the Division of the East and West, Translated by Members of the English Church [“LFC43” / “LFC47” / “LFC48”] (Oxford: James Parker & Co. / Rivingtons, 1881; Volumes 43, 47, and 48). 

Commentary on Luke [“CL”] (St. Cyril of Alexandria, translated by R. Payne Smith, Oxford University Press, 1859).

S. Ephraim's Prose Refutations of Mani, Marcion and Bardaisan, by C. W. Mitchell, Vol. 1 of 2 [“EPR”] (London: Williams and Norgate / William Clowes & Sons, Ltd., 1912). 


St. John Damascene on Holy Images, Followed by Three Sermons on the Assumption [“JDHI” / “JDA”] (translated by Mary H. Allies, London: Thomas Baker, 1898).
 


Index of Topics

Abortion 9
Absolution 9
Almsgiving 10
Angels, Guardian 11
Angels, Veneration of 11
Apostasy (Falling Away from the Faith or Salvation) 13
Apostolic Deposit 15
Apostolic Succession 15
Atonement, Universal 18
Baptism and Being “Born Again” 22
Baptism and Grace 23
Baptism and Justification / Sanctification 24
Baptism and Salvation 25
Baptism, Infant 28
Baptism, Method or Mode of 29
Baptism of Blood 29
Baptism of Desire 30
Baptism, Schismatic or Heretical 31
Baptismal Regeneration 31
Bishops and Church Government 35
Caesaropapism, Falsity of 37
Celibacy and Consecrated Virginity 38
Children, Salvation of 40
Church and Salvation 41
Church: Authority of 41
Church, Catholic 41
Church, Holy Mother 43
Church, Indefectibility of 43
Church, Infallibility of 43
Church: One “True” 44
Church, Sinners in 45
Concupiscence 45
Confirmation, Sacrament of 45
Conscience, Examination of 46
Contraception; Contralife Will 46
Councils, Ecumenical 47
Creeds 49
Cross, Sign of the 49
Crucifixes 51
Dead: Almsgiving for 52
Dead: Masses for 54
Dead: Prayer for 56
Demons 57
Denominationalism; Sectarianism 58
Development (of Doctrine) 60
Dissent (from Catholicism) 61
Eucharist and Grace 61
Eucharist and Salvation 62
Eucharist: Closed Communion 65
Eucharist: Real Substantial Presence 66
Eucharist: Transubstantiation 74
Eucharistic Adoration 76
Evangelical Counsels 76
Evil 78
Excommunication 79
Exorcism 80
Faith Alone (Falsity of) / Antinomianism 81
Faith and Reason 86
Faith and Works 87
Fasting and Abstinence 94
Free Will 94
Free Will and God’s Foreknowledge 98
God: Anthropomorphism 100
God: Anthropopathism 101
God: Circumincession / Coinherence / Perichoresis 102
God: Creation Ex Nihilo 105
God: Goodness of 106
God: Holy Spirit / Filioque Issue 106
God: Immutability, Simplicity, and Self-Sufficiency 113
God: Omnipotence of 117
God: Omnipresence of 118
God: Omniscience of 120
God: Outside of Time 120
God, Providence of 121
God: Sustainer of Creation 123
God the Father: Invisible in His Essence 125
God the Father: Monarchia / Principatus of 127
Gospel, The 131
Grace: Degrees or Greater Measure of 131
Grace, Irresistible (Falsity of) 131
Hardening of the Heart 132
Healing 133
Hell (Eternal Punishment) 134
Heresy; Heretics 134
Hermits 138
Holy Days 138
Holy Items 138
Holy Places; Shrines 139
Images, Icons, and Statues: Use and Veneration of 140
Indulgences 144
Jesus Christ: Supposed “Ignorance” of Certain Matters 145
Justification, Infused (Sanctification) 149
Justification, Ongoing / Multiple 153
Lent 154
Marriage: Sacrament 155
Mary: Bodily Assumption of 155
Mary: Mother of God (Theotokos) 157
Mary: New Eve; Second Eve 163
Mary: Perpetual Virginity of 163
Mary: Sinlessness 165
Mary: Veneration of 167
Mary: Virginity In Partu (During Childbirth) 168
Mass, Daily 169
Mass, Sacrifice of 170
Mass, Sacrifice of (and the Crucifixion) 172
Merit 173
Monks and Nuns 176
Mortification and Self-Denial 176
Original Sin; Fall of Man 178
Orthodoxy (Correct Beliefs) 179
Paganism and Christianity 181
Papacy; Popes; Papal Primacy 182
Paul and Peter 185
Penance / Temporal Punishment of Sins 185
Peter: Primacy of 191
Peter: Successors of (as Popes) 195
Prayer (of the Righteous) 196
Priests: Alter Christus 196
Priests; Sacrament of Holy Orders 196
Priests and “Call No Man ‘Father’” 199
Procreation 200
Purgatory; Preparation for Heaven in the Afterlife (and This Life) 200
Rationalism (in Opposition to Faith) 201
Relics 201
Reprobation; Causes of Damnation 206
Roman Primacy 208
Rule of Faith / “Three-Legged Stool” (Bible-Church-Tradition) 214
Sacraments 218
Sacraments and Salvation 219
Sacraments: Ex Opere Operato 219
Saints: Awareness of and Contact with This World 220
Saints, Communion of 220
Saints, Imitation of 222
Saints, Invocation and Intercession of 224
Saints, Veneration of 225
Salvation and Works 233
Salvation, Instant (Falsity of) 237
Salvation, Moral Assurance of 240
Satan 241
Schism; Separation 244
Scripture: Canon of 246
Scripture: Deuterocanon 246
Scripture: Hermeneutics (Interpretation) 254
Scripture: Inerrancy and Infallibility 255
Scripture: Inspiration of 256
Scripture: Old Testament 258
Scripture: Perspicuity (Clearness of) 260
Scripture: Septuagint (Ancient Greek Translation) 265
Sin: Mortal and Venial 265
Suffering, Redemptive (Participation in Christ’s Suffering) 266
Synergy: Cooperation with God’s Grace as “Co-Laborers” 269
Theophanies 274
Theosis; Deification; Divinization 274
Total Depravity (Falsity of); Human Nature 280
Tradition, Apostolic 281
Tradition, Oral 286
Traditions of Men 294
War, Just 295
Works, Good (in Grace) 295
Works of the Law / “New Perspective on Paul” 296
Worship (Latria) 297

Excerpts
[all on Facebook unless otherwise specified]


St. John Chrysostom










On Jesus' Real and Substantial Presence in the Eucharist

 On Synergy: Cooperation with God's Grace as "Co-Laborers"

Citation of Ecclesiasticus [Sirach] as Scripture

On the Spiritual Benefits of Baptism

On the Falsity of "Faith Alone"

On the Moral Assurance of Salvation

On Free Will and God's Foreknowledge (Romans 9)

On Masses for the Dead

On Crucifixes

On the Veneration of the Saints

On the Sacrifice of the Mass

On Purgatory

On the Definition of the "Gospel"

On Free Will

On Closed Communion



St. Athanasius



On God as the Sustainer of Creation

On the Omnipresence of Jesus

On Apostolic Succession

On the Power of the Sign of the Cross

On Satan

On the Falsity of Caesaropapism

On the Deuterocanon

On Theosis; Deification; Divinization

On the Holy Spirit

On the Rule of Faith ("Three-Legged Stool" of Bible | Tradition | Church)

On Mary, Mother of God (Theotokos)



St. Basil the Great


 
 On Oral Tradition as Authoritative, Even Concerning the Doctrine of God

On the Falsity of Instant Salvation

To St. Athanasius, Suggesting That the Pope Should Suppress Heresies and Schism in the Eastern Church

On Faith and Reason

On the Supposed "Ignorance" of Jesus Christ (The Last Days)

On Faith and Works

On Mary, Mother of God (Theotokos)



 St. Gregory Nazianzen



On the Perspicuity of Scripture and the "Me, My Bible, and the Holy Spirit" Mentality


On the Development of Doctrine


On Baptism and Salvation

On Mary, Mother of God (Theotokos)

References to the Deuterocanon




St. Cyril of Jerusalem



References to the Deuterocanon

On the Falsehood of the Calvinist "TULIP"

On Faith and Works

On the Complete Harmony of the Old Testament with the New

On Transubstantiation 


St. Cyril of Alexandria 



Fabulous Defense of Mother of God and Searing Critique of Nestorian / Protestant Denigrations of It

On the Procession of the Holy Spirit

On Transubstantiation



St. John Damascene



On the Monarchia / Principatus of God the Father

On Crucifixes

On the Catholic Rule of Faith


Back Cover 



Panorama of Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, Turkey (formerly Constantinople), completed in 537. Taken by Ronan Reinart: 29 June 2010. From the Wikipedia page on the church; Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

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*****


Last Updated on 17 April 2014.




Wednesday, July 03, 2013

On the Use of Qualifying Terms (Like "Traditionalist") Preceding the Simple Description of "Catholic"


 This took place on my Facebook page. "Boniface's" words will be in blue.

*****

I have stopped referring to myself as a traditionalist after being directed to a statement by Benedict XV saying that Catholics ought not to use those such labels.

Excellent. Where did he say that? I'd like to see it.

It is, moreover, Our will that Catholics should abstain from certain appellations which have recently been brought into use to distinguish one group of Catholics from another. They are to be avoided not only as "profane novelties of words," out of harmony with both truth and justice, but also because they give rise to great trouble and confusion among Catholics. Such is the nature of Catholicism that it does not admit of more or less, but must be held as a whole or as a whole rejected: "This is the Catholic faith, which unless a man believe faithfully and firmly; he cannot be saved" (Athanas. Creed). There is no need of adding any qualifying terms to the profession of Catholicism: it is quite enough for each one to proclaim "Christian is my name and Catholic my surname," only let him endeavour to be in reality what he calls himself.
(Pope Benedict XV, Ad Beatissimi Apostolorum 24)

This was brought to my attention by another traditionalist. But I think the last phrase, "only let him endeavor to be in reality what he calls himself" is very important as a qualifier, so that we know that "Catholic" in reality is not the same thing as everything in this world that has the adjective "Catholic" in front of it.
I actually issued a retraction on my blog, [ link ] because until that time, I called myself a traditionalist and even defended use of the label and labeling as such.

But I wonder, if the label can't be used, are we left with nothing but naked preference? I "prefer" traditional Catholicism and another "prefers" liberal Catholicism with neo-pagan meditation added in, and so long as we are both in formal communion, no label can be used to distinguish the two? What happens when whole parishes, even whole dioceses are not endeavoring to be in what reality what they call themselves? It seems ludicrous to say that Catholicism as BXV understands it and Catholicism as it is practiced in some places should be grouped together.

I always say that I call myself "Catholic"; if asked what kind, I say, "orthodox." If asked what that means, I say, "I accept all that the Church dogmatically and infallibly teaches and submit myself to her authority."

I would love for no labels to be
used. Unfortunately, a tiny group is quasi-schismatic and extreme, and so I refer to them as radical Catholic reactionaries, so as not to besmirch or broad-brush the entire group of "traditionalists": who are entirely distinct. The apologist has to precisely identify the group he is critiquing, and so labels cannot completely be avoided.

I would love, however, -- ideally --, for there to be no need for labels beyond "Catholic." I'm delighted to see that a pope said many years ago what I've been saying for over 20 years now.


Exactly. I can accept that we ought not to use labels, but it would be better to have a situation where the label was not necessary at all - where "Catholic" covered everything. I do not believe we are at that point yet. 

I agree. We should all insist on saying we are "Catholics" -- then if we are asked what it means, we can get into all the other business, as the occasion arises. But it's important to keep the tradition of the name "Catholic": which does historically mean quite a bit, and has a definite meaning.

Historically, labels tend to come in only once someone is outside the Church (Arians, Pelagians, etc). But interestingly enough, the Church has occasionally appropriated labels to refer to orthodox Catholics during times of great confusion - regular old run of the mill Catholics were once called "Chalcedonian Catholics" and in France those loyal to the Pope called themselves "Ultramontanes." The Church in both of these ages approved of these labels - but then again, they were being used in opposition to heretical movements that had been formally defined as such. The liberal scourge within the Church today is not so easy to put a finger on.

Very good. I highly commend you for taking a stand on this. I think it's great.


*****



Critique of Three Highly Questionable Statements from Michael Voris About the State of the Church

Note: all italicized emphases in the original (verbal emphasis). Voris' words, transcribed from the videos, will be in blue. My comments and critiques will be in black.

The Whole Rotten Mess (21 June 2013)



4:20 The Catholic Church in the West: the establishment Catholic Church, no longer operates with the same set of first principles that we once did [sic]. The entire self-understanding, our own self-conception has been jettisoned, and been replaced by an entirely new and rotten sense: rotten to the proverbial core. Leaders have traded away the notions of truth and goodness and beauty in exchange for accommodation and indifferentism and political correctness.

Truth, beauty, and goodness inspire zeal and apostolic fervor. There's almost none of that left, because those core constituents; those first principles are gone. What is left is a type of Church within a Church; a small remnant of those who still cling tenaciously to those first principles, and all that they necessarily admit of: all of it. This small remnant of a Church within a Church finds itself surrounded by an obese, overinflated bureaucracy of engineers, who keep the wheels spinning, and run from one fire to another, . . . those who sit atop this decaying structure and their allies are either fools, naive, or ill-intentioned. . . . When the Church is in such a calamitous state -- which it is -- it means the culture has succeeded in converting the Church: at least large portions of it. . . .

This exhibits an alarming lack of faith and hope, which is highly characteristic of the modernists within the Church and also Protestants who attack the Church.

For Voris, only a tiny bit of the Catholic Church ("small remnant") is even left. Extreme language abounds. Truth and goodness in the Church? "Almost none" is left, so he informs us, because "those first principles are gone."

See a paper of mine on indefectibility.  I deal most directly with this topic in chapters 7 and 8 of my book, Biblical Proofs for an Infallible Church and Papacy (about 18 pages). Also, see my posting of most of the chapter on indefectibility from my book, Reflections on Radical Catholic Reactionaries (2002). Voris is not asserting defectibility, but at some point, the more pessimistic we are about the Church and her state, it can become, in some respects, a sort of "quasi-defectibility" outlook.

Voris must be held accountable for his words. He says a lot of true stuff, mixed in with extreme statements such as these. He goes far beyond simply attacking nominalism and liberalism in the Church, among however many members fall into those. He goes after the Church herself at times, it seems to me.  That's what distinguishes the RadCathR (and some mainstream "traditionalists") from the plain old orthodox Catholic like myself, who detests modernism every bit as much as Voris does (I can assure all).

So Voris and his many thousands of followers don't see anything positive around them to highlight? All they can do is moan and groan and complain about the Church, and if anyone points that out, they have their head in the sand and are pretending that everything is perfect (as if that's ever been the case at any time in the history of the Church)?

Voris is not just pointing out failings. He seems to think there is barely any Church left. It's the same as always: if we don't learn from history, we're doomed to repeat it: the same old dangerous errors recycled again for our time. People love the gloom-and-doom message. For the life of me, I don't know why, but something in human nature resonates with that.

I haven't claimed that Voris is leading people into schism (someone on my Facebook page thought that I did). He's the one who talks about a "Church within a Church," etc. I think he'll lead many people to despair, however, if he keeps this up, especially if he attacks the New Mass, as he did in at least one video (which directly contradicted Pope Benedict). This is not without ill effect.
Welcome, Angel of Death (25 June 2013) 




1:38 Here seems to be the root of the issue. There are many leaders in the Church today who seem to have simply traded out the authentic gospel for a fake gospel and in so doing have erected a kind of false church: one that has many trappings of the Church of Rome, but only a shadow of her teachings. There has been a substitution of the one true faith for a more comfortable, all-embracing faith: the focus of which is more tied to the things of earth than the things of heaven. This pseudo-catholic church has some hallmarks which distinguish it greatly from the authentic faith.


I understand that Voris has liberal dissidents in mind when he states this. I have stated many times (on my blog or in my books) that I agreed with Fr. John A. Hardon's statement that modernism was the greatest crisis in the history of the Church. Thus, I'm not denying the reality of the liberal / modernist / dissident corruption or rebellion that exists on the ground. I can't possibly be subject to the standard RadCathR polemic: "you have your head in the sand and think everything is perfect" canard. But I don't believe that things are nearly as bleak and hopeless as Voris thinks they are.

This reflects my following of the thought of the ultra-orthodox and saintly Fr. Hardon, who was my mentor (he received me into the Church and endorsed my first book, A Biblical Defense of Catholicism in the Foreword), and an advisor to Venerable Pope Paul VI and Blessed Mother Teresa. When asked if things were as bad as Malachi Martin (another RadCathR given to great exaggeration) made them out to be, he quickly replied, "no." I agree with him on both scores, and I submit that he had far more "inside information" about the Church than layman Voris thinks he does.

I had a discussion with two supporters of Voris, in which I pressed the point of lack of specificity in Voris' claims, and wondered what good it does to make such grandiose, pessimistic, "oh woe is us" claims without providing detailed, particular information, so that the layperson can avoid the "false church" and the "pseudo catholic church."

Gay Clergy and The Catholic Media (18 June 2013)



1:16 The establishment Catholic media is not composed of journalists, strictly speaking, but of lapdog careerists . . . these people are not concerned with bringing you one shred of news about the troubles inside the Church, but, protecting their own financial interests by painting a dubious picture of things being kind of okay in the Church. See, it's actually very simple. When you tune into big-name Catholic TV outlets or radio shows with big-name professional Catholics . . . you hear all kinds of great things and solid talks about the teachings of the Church, and let me underscore, they are very solid talks. But you won't hear a word . . . about the real problems in the Church. That's because if they open their mouths about these other problems, they will be disinvited, their books won't be published, their articles will be pulled from official Catholic papers and websites, or they will be off the air . . . In short, they won't tell you the truth, because they're too cowardly to pay the personal financial cost.

U-huh: like Voris is not now a "big name": with (by his own reckoning in the last few weeks) 16 million views of his videos? Like, uh, he's not making any money doing what he does, or is not "professional" himself in almost the same sense that he trashes when others do it?

I could just as easily say (if I wanted to be as cynical as Voris often is), that there is no reason for Voris to mess with his own formula of relentless gloom-and-doom / "oh woe is us" fare. It's not likely he'll change anytime soon, either. I don't mind someone thriving at what they do; I do mind a great deal that he's thriving on exaggerating the extent of the problems we face (both it's real and imagined problems), in public.

Folks who "tell the real truth" like Voris says he does are off the air at EWTN [Voris named it in the video, along with Ave Maria Radio, Immaculate Heart Radio, Catholic Answers, and National Catholic Register]? Well, let's take an example of that. That happened to Robert Sungenis. Was it because he told God's honest truth and all the sissy Frisbee-tossing "neo-Catholics" couldn't take it?

Well, not quite. It's because Robert has chosen to pursue wacko, extremist views of geocentrism (the sun goes around the earth and the 10,000-year-old earth doesn't rotate), anti-Semitism, the silly notion that God can change His mind (which is rank heresy, in violation of the de fide doctrines of divine immutability and simplicity), faked moon landings, trashing of the canonization of Blessed Pope John Paul II the Great; even going after Pope Benedict XVI (usually the darling of RadCathRs and "traditionalists" alike) because he beatified him. Recently Bob claimed on his site that Ven. Pope Paul VI was a practicing sodomite. All par for the course . . .

Nothing here in the least objectionable, is there? Was it only that the big boys at EWTN couldn't handle Bob's relentless truthtelling and the profundities of his scientific wisdom and heresies concerning the very doctrine of God? Bob specializes in talking about the "real problems" in the Church: you know, stuff like Pope Paul VI being a sodomite and Pope John Paul the Great being one of the worst popes in history . . .

Granted, he is a rather extreme example, but he is an example, nevertheless, of someone who was "run off of" EWTN: one that doesn't fit into the sweeping picture that Voris creates about who is and isn't allowed in these major Catholic venues.


* * * * *



Debate on Michael Voris; Particularly Focusing on His Exaggerated Statements and Pessimistic Views Regarding the Church



This occurred on my Facebook page, on 2 July 2013. Adrian Combe's words will be in blue; Felix Lopez' words in green.

* * * * *

Do you think the Church is 'all but destroyed'?

No. I'm fighting against this position. This is what Michael Voris thinks, according to his video that I critiqued a few days ago.

So, in your opinion, when God said to St. Francis, "Go and rebuild my church, which, as you see, is falling into ruin?", was He espousing the position of quasi-defectibility?

That's not near-destruction. It was a rough period (one of many through history): arguably much worse than what we are going through today. But St. Francis, like other saints, took the long view and had faith enough to look ahead to the coming revival. This is not what Voris is expressing. Here is an example of his rhetoric, from June 21:

The Catholic Church in the West: the establishment Catholic Church, no longer operates with the same set of first principles that we once did [sic]. The entire self-understanding, our own self-conception has been jettisoned, and been replaced by an entirely new and rotten sense: rotten to the proverbial core. Leaders have traded away the notions of truth and goodness and beauty in exchange for accommodation and indifferentism and political correctness.

It would be difficult to find two people more vastly different in outlook than St. Francis (one of my very favorite saints) and Michael Voris. Good grief. Do you really want to go down that road?


I agree that Voris has fallen into this trap. In my opinion, it is probably more emotional/psychological though in which a fact check and some meditation, critical thinking can help relieve. It is not easy to see the good when there is so much rampant moral and spiritual decay that surrounds us daily and then to make matters worst we find it in our local parish on Sunday.

Actually, you can only rebuild something that has fallen apart, so not only does your distinction fail, the position from which St. Francis was operating was more dire than anything that Voris has expressed. 

Sheer nonsense . . . It's a matter of degree. The Church has had many rough periods. I cited Chesterton twice in the chapter I posted above, writing about all the decadent periods, but I didn't include those, to cut down on length. He, like St. Francis, was an optimist, and he noted that the Church always bounced back. He wasn't making a point that the Church's tradition has "been replaced by an entirely new and rotten sense".


'Sheer nonsense' is not an argument. There is nothing that Michael has said, or that anyone could say, that is more dire than a church that is falling into ruin and needs to be rebuilt.

I didn't say it was an argument (nice try): it was a comment on your very weak and misinformed argument.

What he is obviously stating is that most church leaders seem to have embraced this 'new and rotten sense' - that is not something I have heard disputed.

Obviously, your unfounded assertion that my argument is flawed...is not an argument either.  

Again, I didn't say it was! I gave a little bit of an argument, about the folly of comparing St. Francis and his outlook to Voris and his.  So who is part of this "Church within a Church"? Is my bishop (Vigneron)? How about me? Mark Shea? How about all those "head-in-the-sand" "neo-Catholics" at Catholic Answers and EWTN and the Coming Home Network (where I worked for three years)? Are they part of the "remnant" or already on the dark side?

Voris knows all this stuff, apparently. So let him start giving us some specifics, so we can be on the true and narrow path.


This is just a difference in speaking style and personal psychological perspective. In Michael Voris' view the ESTABLISHMENT Church refers to the purely career drivin professional Catholics that Pope Benedict and Pope Francis frequently lamented, it is not much different than from St. Francis' time and no one is saying that Voris is a Saint nor perfect, I agree that his tone and lamentations occassionally go overboard, but not always, he does give kudos to good clerics and other figures every now and then. Keep in mind that in News commentary (both secular and religious) we tend to only focus on bad news.

Okay; cool, Felix. So maybe you will answer my questions from my last comment, if Adrian doesn't.

I don't think Voris ever claimed to have that crystal ball the way you are claiming. But, I think you or I or Felix or Michael can talk to someone for five minutes and figure out where they are at, for the most part. If someone can explain three different ways why the Church's teaching on artificial contraception is true, it is unlikely they are a dissenting Catholic.

So you'll take a pass on interpreting Voris' rhetoric and actually applying it to real life. Duly noted. Much easier to just throw out the near-blanket condemnations, that collapse as soon as someone asks, "well, who do you have in mind there: how about some examples to illustrate your point? How about Mr. So-and-So?" In other words, what good does it do to say "the Church is 99% bad guys" and then when asked to identify who are the good guys, Voris and his followers go mute . . .

Isn't it supremely important to know who the good guys are, in such a dire end-times scenario? Or is it just expected that we lop up everything Voris says: that he is in effect the ultimate "good [trustworthy / orthodox] guy" in the Church and the go-to guy?

Voris has named names and I don't see this as a problem. Neither does the National Catholic Register. I am pretty sure you have named a name or two on your blog.

Okay, so are the ones I named on the light or dark side? The rhetoric is useless if it can't be applied. It's just . . . empty rhetoric (precisely as I have been critiquing it).

I am quite certain Voris has not put himself in this position of infallibility you are insinuating. I am not really sure what you are getting at. You have named folks, good and bad, as has Voris...  

Okay, Adrian. Everyone can see you're unwilling to tell us who are the good and bad guys. You won't even say that the ones I cited are the good guys; part of this infinitesimally small so-called "remnant." That's fine; I knew it was almost certain that you wouldn't, or couldn't, so my point is illustrated. Thanks!

Sorry, not biting...you are doing the same thing Voris does, but you think he should be criticized for it.  

Right. Nice try.


Actually, what I stated, was that you have named good folks as good, and bad folks as bad, just as Voris does (which you did not deny, I noticed).

I certainly have named names, as an apologist. I don't say they are out of the Church, though. I don't classify radical Catholic reactionaries (RadCathRs) that way: only sedevacantists, and SSPX is a borderline scenario. Voris' claims are far more dramatic than mine. I talk in apologetic terms; he does in apocalyptic and prophetic and  melodramatic terms.

You have every right to disagree with Voris style and opinions. But, keep in mind, just as there are different equally valid and legitimate theologies in the Church (e.g. Thomist, Augustinian, Eastern, Latin, etc.) there are different equally legitimate and valid apologetics and evangelizing approaches. The remnant Church inside a Church that Voris refers to is the Pope, Bishops, Priests, religious, and laity who uphold Church teaching without illegitimate compromise (this includes the other apologists you cite). Voris does often criticize those who deny that there is a crisis, you cannot fix something you dont believe to need repair.

Felix,

It's standard
RadCathR boilerplate to accuse anyone who disagrees that the (very real) crisis in the Church must be defined in RadCathR terms (with Vatican II, ecumenism, and the New Mass as the usual boogeymen) has their head in the sand. I have been accused of that in recent threads, myself. It's very common.

So I am asking about the people and groups I mentioned, who are often classified in such a way.


As far as I know, Voris hasn't stated anyone is outside the Church. Like you, he notes when someone teaches something that is at variance with the faith. 'Apocalyptic, prophetic and pathetically melodramatic' are descriptors of style, not substance; moreover, they are subjective, rather than objective - and thus, unworthy as subject of debate for an apologist, especially one of your calibre.
 
1) Voris is 100% orthodox and in good standing with the Church just as you and your associations which you named. I know this from personally watching both his vortexes daily and his various other programs. The vortex show is just 1% of all the programing and is intended solely to address internal Church problems and a few political issues in which I do not always agree with him on. It is more opinion and punditry than anything else, much like the Curt Jester blog but in video format.

2) There is honestly not much difference from what you and others do with Voris, the difference is he does so in VIDEO format with his own personal style born from his own human experience and passion. Are errors said or bad choices of words sometimes, certainly just as errors and bad choices of words have been exposed in the various apologists and associations you cited as well, whom I like by the way. Most of the errors at the end of the day are usually personal hypotheses, innocent flawed interpretation, or whatever.

3) I am afraid that you are accusing Voris of intentional malice for things that even Saints have done and you yourself have done in good clear conscience. The Saints also often spoke melodramatic and in apocalyptic style terms. Dont you read any of the medieval mystics?


You're still sidestepping the substance of what I am driving at. He's making extreme statements. They are untrue in the first place. Things are not nearly this bad as he makes out. It harms people's faith.

If he wants to make out that the remaining remnant is so tiny, then why doesn't he tell us who is in it? His followers cannot ultimately defend what he says, or interpret who in the world he is talking about.

Voris is neither a saint nor a mystic. Making these comparisons do not help your case. St. Francis built an entire order and revolutionized Christian monasticism. Many mystics did the same. There's no comparison at all. 


It's not "orthodox" to trash the Novus Ordo Mass when Pope Benedict XVI specifically decreed in 2007 that both forms of the Latin rite were equally acceptable. That is not the Mind of the Church; sorry. People have to choose between his outlook and the pope's in this regard. Everyone knows what side I come down on when it is a question of John Doe vs. the Holy Father. If I wanted to dissent against the popes I'd still be a Protestant; I would have never entered the Church.

I saw that whole documentary on the mass. I do agree he went overboard in it and kind of offended my own sensibilities a bit. I see what you're saying and give you that, but I figure it is just bad insensitive choice of words driven by passion. I give him a pass on it and overlook it only because I can relate to coming across as rude and overly exaggerated when I don't mean it. For one thing, it is easier to be more careful and calculating in writing than in oral statements. I dont think he even waits that long to carefully edit, or ask for independent feedback, and then publish his videos. He probably posts them almost instantly. The mass destruction video was taped in live audience with no feedback from the audience nor did the priest he interviewed even say anything about his presentation.

Why wouldn't he retract it, then, if it went overboard? It gives his opinions! This is what he believes. I don't think it is simply a matter of sloppy language and going overboard; getting carried away or whatever.

His high testosterone ego would be offended to call very late attention to his mistake, lol. But, people have to bring it to his attention first of course.

You said it, not me. LOL Imagine if I had said that? ROFL

He does see the Extraordinary Form as superior and the Ordinary Form as inferior. I don't necessarily disagree with him. I think however the best of both should be syncretized into one as Pope Benedict wanted but couldn't.

The problem is that when he told a bishop that he often receives complaints of being too forceful the bishop beat his breast and said that the bishops have not been forceful enough. From then on he figured it was license to boil peoples' blood all he wants, lol. That bishop is the one shown on the website giving a complete blanket endorsement of everything he does.

* * * * *

Further thoughts of mine on Voris and his views, drawn from statements of mine on Facebook threads:

Voris trashed the Novus Ordo; Pope Benedict did not; he made a perfectly acceptable analysis of the Mass and some of the problems of translation, implementation, liturgical mediocrity, etc. But what he stated as pope in 2007 is perfectly clear, and Voris seeming apathy about it, or outright rejection of it should be alarming to any orthodox Catholic. Here is what Voris stated about the Novus Ordo Mass in his video, Weapons of MASS Destruction:

We're talking about: is this authentic Catholic worship? Is this how Catholics worship God? Is this a break from the past, that's so violent, that you can't really say this is authentic Catholic worship, as we have understood it? Has the theology behind the Mass been so manipulated and twisted and deformed, that Catholics going to this Mass miss something of the theology, compared to talking about the traditional Latin Mass: the Tridentine Mass? . . . Has your faith been damaged, on the other hand? Yes. . . . We're talking about, is this authentic Catholic worship; is what's going on behind the scenes a possible detriment to your faith? . . . In short, the prayer, the public worship of the New Mass; the question is: is it more Protestant or more Catholic? That is a very, very key question. . . . The language used in the New Mass confuses nearly every aspect of the Mass: the idea of sacrifice; who's actually offering the sacrifice . . . with all of these confusions, the very nature of the faith itself is undermined. . . . the former theology is largely dismissed. . . . The question is, what is it substituted with? When that old theology, the Catholic theology is gone, something else is brought in. 

What is the something else? In my paper critiquing this, I specifically contrast Voris with Summorum Pontificum from 2007.

If someone can persuade Michael Voris about the extremity of his bashing of the Mass, and excessively gloomy views, then potential problems ahead could be nipped in the bud and avoided. He could do a lot of good -- a lot more good -- if he straightened out these problems that I and other critics observe in his presentations.

I think he has a good heart and good intentions. I've seen other
RadCathRs moderate their views and become more sensible. It's not too late at all for Voris to do the same.

***


 I've always said that if my choice was your usual Novus Ordo Mass (with all the abuses of the rubrics and silly things many of us despise) and a Tridentine Mass, I'd be at the latter in a second. I've been blessed to not have such a dilemma. Our parish offers a very reverent Novus Ordo Mass in English and Latin: an extremely rare occurrence. So I can worship as I most desire: reverent, traditional Novus Ordo, such as what Pope Benedict XVI was calling for. I think the Tridentine is very beautiful as well and it is almost always reverent.

If I didn't have my parish, I'd be at the Tridentine, most likely. Our parish (a merger of three parishes) offers that, too.


***

Voris makes many accurate and correct observations (credit where it is due). Even the Catholic Culture site (that rates Catholic web pages and endeavors), when cautioning readers about his site, acknowledged that, and so do I. I'm critiquing his extremist rhetoric, here it occurs, which is not always, and indeed, occurs only in a fairly small portion of his video talks.

Jay McNally, a friend and Catholic journalist, asked me: 


I just did a search on your web site for "Dignity/Detroit" and can't find anything. Tell me, have you ever published so much as a sentence about Dignity in Detroit? If not, why not?

I don't follow "internal" Church issues of this sort; I basically stick to apologetics (no one can do everything). That's my calling, and I write about more than enough along those lines (very wide-ranging), so that I don't want to "spread myself too thin." What I do do, however, is write about underlying principles and premises of liberalism and modernism and how they are wrong and evil. I have a web page about liberalism, as I do about
RadCathRism.

I think Voris has a valid point to some degree that these things aren't covered enough in the Catholic press. I fully agree that journalists in the Catholic world ought to expose scandals and so forth: as long as there is solid evidence for any given thing (so as not to fall into detraction and calumny).
It should be done. These are valid and important issues and questions. But I think Voris is dreadfully wrong to make the sweeping charge that it is all because of money and cowardice that all these groups and people don't cover stuff like he does. There is a happy medium here between saying nothing and sometimes becoming extreme in language and pessimism, as Voris does.

The sex scandal illustrates my own personal approach. I have collected many articles by people who have followed and investigated it. If I personally have little or no knowledge about a particular thing, then I'll cite and link to people who do. I didn't try to hide anything. It was all upfront from the beginning (as could be proven with Internet Archive). I agree with all the outrage that has been expressed about bishops not doing something sooner. It was pathetic and heartbreaking. This is the fruit of allowing liberals and practicing sodomites to run rampant in the Church. Many in the Church bought into pop psychology.


Jay McNally again:
Dave, have you written about about Jane Schaberg at UDM [University of Detroit-Mercy], or about the recent disgraceful march into dissidence of Madonna University? All of these topics are perfectly within the scope of what you write about. I'd be eager to see any report you have that gives names of the specific professors -- especially the bishops and priests incardinated in Detroit -- attached to lies they teach. My bet is no you haven't published anything about any of this even though all of these are scandals are in your own backyard and you surely know quite a bit about them.

No; again, as explained above, I'm not a journalist, nor do I specialize in the Church's internal affairs. I don't deny that a lot of rotten things go on. Modernism is the greatest crisis in the history of the Church. I differ with Voris (and "traditionalists" and
RadCathRs, generally) about how bad things are, the causes, and what to do about it.

I'm an "ideas" person, so I go after the underlying false principles. So, e.g., on my liberal page I attack the false premises of Joseph Fitzmyer and liberal Catholic historians who deny infallibility. Or I go after liturgical mediocrity and violations of the rubrics. I scathingly criticize Catholics who contracept or who vote for Obama.

What you call for is simply not my area and I don't pretend to know things I don't know, or spread myself too thin (just as you probably haven't written books about Luther and Calvin or edited quotations books of Aquinas, Augustine, Wesley, and Newman, or published 38 books, as I have). I know what my calling is and I stick to it. I agree that journalists and those who do write about internal affairs of the Church ought to cover these things: with the right attitude in terms of being faithful, obedient Catholics.


I don't know specifics about them because I don't follow this sort of stuff (I wasn't even familiar with the name of the professor you mentioned at UDM). I'm busy writing my books. No one person can do everything. Now, Jay, you do cover this stuff, so according to the common sense notion of "division of labor" you should write about it, because you know about it; send it to me, with lots of specifics and proven facts, and then I'll publish it (at least some; it can't take over my pages).

Deal? I'm happy to spread truth from you or any person who speaks it. But I won't countenance
RadCathR garbage. Facts about modernist dissidents are fine; bashing the Church and Vatican II and the New Mass are not fine, and are wrong. I know where the line lies there. If you critique a specific person and their wrong ideas with facts, that is fair game. Saying, on the other hand, that it is because JPII was a liberal incompetent, or because of VII, or the New Mass, is RadCathR nonsense.

If something is pointed out (like this), I readily agree that it is wrong and scandalous. Voris goes too far: this is my point. Mixed in with much true analysis he takes the next step and starts making sweeping, prejudicial, uncharitable charges. He's directly attacking people's motives, and that's wrong. I wouldn't even treat a liberal dissident the way he has treated fellow orthodox Catholics. He can't read their hearts. He doesn't have that information of what motivates a Scott Hahn or Pat Madrid, or the folks at Catholic Answers or EWTN (or myself, by logical extension).

How does one "refute" a claim that entire classes of well-known Catholics have a rotten motivation of cowardice and putting money above truth? How does one disprove that this is the case? Basically, they have to do what Voris demands (which is unreasonable): talk about what he wants them to talk about. Otherwise, they are unscrupulous cowards with ill motivations. It's agree with Voris or you are a scoundrel . . . (so I must be one too, I guess).

That's absurd. He assumes from the outset what he is trying to "prove": that the only reason they don't do what he wants them to do, is nefarious motivation and lack of ethical principle. That's a cheap shot and atrocious debating (terrible logic), without question. It's also calumnious and slanderous.


If we were to believe Voris and his implication in one of his videos (that I critiqued elsewhere),  Catholic Answers, Hahn, Madrid, Grodi, Ave Maria Radio, EWTN, and all the rest of what RadCathRs call "Neo-Catholicism" (Voris uses the term "establishment") are a bunch of cowards, and place filthy lucre and their own income above truth-telling and what is right for the Church. 



*** 

Voris could have done this video by making the point that I agree with: Catholic journalists should cover these sorts of scandals much more than they do. I would have agreed with that; even "rah-rahed." But he had to take it to the next level (as he so often does) and start attacking many people's and groups' motivations.

If he'd omit the extreme, conspiratorial-type statements and rhetoric, I'd have little problem with him at all. It's those statements that I have critiqued in my (now) four blog papers about him.

***


It's a very plain ethical difference. If Voris had said the following, I would have agreed with him 100%:

"Many people in Catholic journalism ought to speak out more about problems in the Church, such as modernism and the gay
agenda: do true, critical, investigative reporting."

But he didn't do that. Rather, he was sweeping, named names, and went after motives:

The establishment Catholic media is . . . composed of . . . lapdog careerists . . . protecting their own financial interests by painting a dubious picture of things being kind of okay in the Church. . . . In short, they won't tell you the truth, because they're too cowardly to pay the personal financial cost.

The first statement is true and doesn't attack individuals, groups, and motives. It's constructive criticism, and I agree 1000%. The second makes out that all these people and groups (that I'm quite associated with, myself) are ill-motivated, lack integrity, lie to themselves every day, live merely for money rather than truth and goodness. Vastly different . . . Why can't people see what I take to be utterly, absolutely obvious and undeniably wrong? I don't disagree with all that Voris says. Much of what he says is true: even most of it. I disagree with this stuff, that I cite.


Yet critiquing the more extreme statements (what I'm doing) somehow immediately gets interpreted as "disagreeing with everything Voris says" [which would be a ludicrous denial that modernism is a crisis], and then further morphs into "smearing" him and being motivated solely by wanting to personally "attack" him. One guy said I was "jealous" of him. It's ridiculous.

***

I'm passionate about this issue at hand, not because I desire to run Voris down, but because, to me, it is a crucial and elementary ethical principle at stake. The larger issue of "how bad is it in the Church?" is also in play, but mainly I was concerned with the personal attacks.

***  I think there is a happy medium. We as laypeople have every right to at least receive answers to sensible questions to bishops, as to why certain heterodox groups are allowed to function within the Church and are even funded. Bishops aren't gods: above all possible discussion or queries. When it comes to this sort of thing, I agree with what Jay was saying, and much of what Michael Voris said.

On the other hand, we need to also respect the office and grant the benefit of the doubt, in charity, to bishops. It should be somewhere in the middle. We don't just sit here like dummies, blindly accepting everything, no matter how seemingly dubious (the extreme of "obedience" and faithfulness). And we don't go crazy bashing everything on a daily basis, as
RadCathRs do.

So as usual, I am sort of in the middle, looking for that "golden mean" . . . I am often sympathetic to many "traditionalist" concerns, but I criticize them when they go too far, and stress obedience to those in the hierarchy that God established in the Church.


***

Let's get some things straight:

1) I'm not against everything Michael Voris says; I agree with him on quite a bit, as I do with "traditionalists" and even sometimes with the
RadCathRs.

2) I concentrated on one portion of a nine-minute video (maybe 30 seconds) where he attacked the motivations of large portions of the Catholic apologetics and "outreach" community: basically accusing them of being spineless, unscrupulous cowards who are in it just for the money. This is ethically indefensible. Perhaps some of them are that. But he doesn't know this. He can't read minds and hearts, and making sweeping judgments like this is not only outrageous but absurd as well.

3) I think bishops should be accountable, and should be asked "hard questions," and I have offered to Jay that he cross-post some of his hard-hitting critiques on my page.


***

I find myself in agreement with a lot of what Voris says (and he says it very well, I might add; he's very professional in the polish and style of his presentation; I never denied that). I was too harsh, in accusing him of "quasi-defectibility" in the past, but I still classify him as a RadCathR.

He trashes and bashes the Novus Ordo (as he has: make no mistake) and expresses at times a disdain for Vatican II and legitimate ecumenism, and definitely towards Protestants (these are all hallmarks of RadCathRism).



*****