Unfortunately, the above xkcd comic is too true in my life. I’ve spent some time over the last day debating with people on the realcatholictv.com facebook page. Why the debate? We’re all Catholic, aren’t we? Well, I didn’t immeditely sing Michael Voris’ praises, so clearly I’m either a Shea lackey or just downright WRONG. What did I say that was so evil that my faith was called into question? Well, I simply said that I wasn’t sure that Voris’ style was appropriate for teens. Personally, I view Voris as someone who appeals to emotion. Get people riled up about something and they’ll listen to whatever you have to say. I don’t have a vendetta against him, mainly because he does (mostly) speak the truth. I don’t think his method is always prudent, though. If you are simply preaching to the choir, that’s one thing, but in the information age his videos cause huge division.
What most worries me though is the attitude of his faithful fans. They are extremely similar to those fans of Fr Corapi, and remind me of the defenders of Fr Maciel. They are willing to defend their “Catholic Superstar” to the end, even when it means critiquing and disobeying the bishops and the Church organization. Voris and Real Catholic TV only exemplify this. They make no effort to get approved by the Archdiocese of Detroit, who have made statements regarding their unapproval of them. With the recent press release by the World Youth Day organization also saying they never approved their catechsis sessions to be held in Madrid, Voris and RCTV insist that they never “asked to be approved”. Why is this important?
Because the way the church is set up and organizied makes it easy for regular, every day, REAL Catholics to know what is and isn’t true. If you write a book on Catholic doctrine, you can get an imprimatur to verify that you didn’t say anything against the teachings of the Church. If you want to hold an event sponsored by a diocese, you get their approval of their topic.
What happens when Catholic celebrities pit themselves against the structure of the church is that the “sheep” get confused. Voris and Corapi both have said many many true things. But as we are seeing in the Corapi scandals saying true things does not make you a saint, nor does it mean that vast droves of lay Catholics should be listening to you. Rather, we should be listening to our bishops and intelligently comparing what they say to the 2000 year tradition of the Church.
One last point before I close this absurdly long post. RCTV has deleted several of my comments on their facebook page. They also banned a friend who called them out on their refusal to work with the archdiocese (and deleted a whole conversation off their page). It’s also interesting that they don’t allow people to comment on their fan page, you can only comment on posts. Why are they trying to hinder the conversation? Why aren’t they listening and responding to the things people are saying? I may sound like a conspiracy theorist, but really, what are they hiding? If they are so sure they are in the right here, why not explain why?