Saturday, January 25, 2014

Sharing the good news

A most unlikely source

Do you remember Ken Ham's lament that most teenagers stop going to church when they leave the family nest? The Creation Museum highlights the datum that only one in three continue their participation in church activities once they are on their own. It's one of the most uplifting features of Ham's “museum.”

Similar good news comes to us now from Michael Voris, the unconscious self-parody who holds forth at ChurchMilitant.TV, routinely excoriating the insufficiently ardent faith of the current leadership of the Roman Catholic Church. Voris wrings his hands in frequent episodes of  The Daily Vortex (“where lies and falsehoods are trapped and exposed” [the distinction between lies and falsehoods is never clarified]), decrying the lack of rigor in contemporary Catholic practice.

Despite himself, Voris recently found himself unhappily reporting good news from the annual “March for Life” in Washington, D.C. With microphone in hand, Voris accosted several young demonstrators who styled themselves “pro-life” and quizzed them on camera, subjecting them to a quick inquisition on the depth and breadth of their faith. To his horror, he discovered that approximately 30% of the young Catholics were unwilling to agree that contraception is always wrong: “Do you think a couple using birth control is always wrong in every situation?”

Voris was deeply shocked that many respondents did not agree with him that contraception is inherently a “diabolical evil.” The video ends with a lengthy and irritatingly repetitive diatribe against all forms of birth control (in stark black-and-white for enhanced drama). Exposing the laxity of young Catholics with respect to contraception was just the tip of the iceberg. Voris also quizzed the March for Life participants on the evils of homosexuality. Many of the young demonstrators disappointed Voris in their lack of anti-gay militancy. “Do you think it is okay for two guys to be in a romantic relationship?”

Some of the respondents are the same young people who indicated acceptance of contraception in the previous installment of The Vortex, but several new faces also popped up. A few of them wanted to qualify their position as “tolerance” rather than as “acceptance” of the right of people to engage in same-sex relationships, but Voris was still deeply dismayed that approximately 20% were essentially okay with gay partnerships.

Voris and his fellow Catholic militants fancy themselves as the faithful remnant that will be exalted at the second coming of Jesus Christ (any day now!), although they do not embrace the rapture concept of evangelical Protestant eschatology. Instead they are bracing themselves for the great apostasy that they believe is already rampant in what Voris dismissively describes as “the Church of Nice,” the insufficiently macho current incarnation of the One True Church. The bunker mentality is evident in each episode of The Vortex. But with Voris's every pronouncement of impending doom, the sensible viewer can take comfort in the dwindling influence of his point of view within the ranks of the next generation of Catholics. Not even the clergy embrace Voris's extreme ultramontanism.



The Ridger, FCD said...

Two things: a lie is a deliberate attempt to deceive; a falsehood is something not true. They overlap, but neither completely encompasses the other.

Also, I think one reason the pope is focusing on poverty and kindness is because he realizes that the Culture Wars are driving a lot of young people away. Once you make hate a core piece of the Faith (whatever church you're in) then people who don't like hate believe they've lost that Faith. And they leave.

Zeno said...

I think, Ridger, that you are correct about the reason for the pope's focus on pastoral outreach rather than dogmatic pronouncements. Traditional Church dogma is irreconcilable with contemporary culture and Francis is avoiding that battle. The battle is, however, ultimately inevitable. Heck, it's already in progress (and that's one of my few agreements with Voris). The Church is doomed to lose it; the question is how soon.

Gene O'Pedia said...

Thanks for the insights, Zeno. I appreciate your ability to sit and watch and/or listen to the wide range of rants that are out there (so I don't have to). Maybe it's the ability to multi-task, where you don't have to devote your full attention to the ranting, but can be grading homework or reading the newspaper while still picking up on the dialogue. I guess it's possible that you might sit down and pay full attention to the ranting, but I don't know if that's humanly possible! So, good for you for reporting back on these streams.

Rhoadan said...

The Ridger has explained the subtle difference in meaning between lies and falsehoods.

I'm going to supply a historical note. In Old English, using a pair of synonyms was a common method of emphasis. The phrase "time and tide" is a similar construction. Regardless of what the word "tide" means now, in OE, it was a synonym for "time."

Kathie said...

Voris sounds like a crony of roundly-defeated ex-Senator Rick Santorum.

Did you see this? I only clicked on it in hopes my hometown would be #1!!! However...

A friend managed to smack-down an anti-Portuguese-American bigot pretty good!

Anonymous said...

I am perplexed as to the point of your posting. Are you condemning Voris for believing what the Church teaches concerning artificial birth control and homosexual unions?

You end your piece with, "Not even the clergy embrace Voris's extreme ultramontanism."

I think that the Vortex is quite clear in exposing many in the clergy of not upholding church teaching.

Certainly you do not think that unfaithful clergy have in any way changed unchangeable Church teachings on birth control and homosexuality, but that is what one might take from your rendering.

Please explain your position!

Zeno said...

Dear Anonymous: I am perplexed by your claim of perplexity. How much more obvious could I be? I am not shy about sharing my enjoyment of Voris's dismay over the lack of old-fashioned orthodoxy among young Catholics. Have "unfaithful" clergy changed the "unchangeable" teachings of the Church? No, but they have certainly undermined them. I regard that as a good thing—in case you hadn't noticed.