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On The Latest Catholic Blogosphere Meltdown

As a traditionalist Catholic who has appeared on and is supportive of both Catholic Answers and Michael Voris' radio show and who happens to be a semi-professional Catholic who works for EWTN/National Catholic Register, I cannot think of a better qualified person the weigh in on the latest Catholic blogosphere meltdown than me.

So that is exactly what I am not going to do.

Suffice it to say that I have friends on every side here and it pains me to see them talking past each other. Truly.

I think it comes down to different perspectives on what ails the Church and what do do about it. But that is a post for another day.

For now, I pray that cooler heads can prevail.

Besides, after what happened to me at mass this weekend, I am already too on edge to discuss anything sensitively.

As to what happened this weekend, it may be the subject of a future blog post as well if cooler and non-heretical heads prevail in that situation as well.

*subhead*Enough said.*subhead*

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Lynne said...

Michael Voris is pointing out a very real problem in which the Catholic establishment media is not using its powerful voice to bear pressure on the Church to fix this apostasy that seems to be occurring. They (the media) are choosing to fiddle while Rome burns.

This is not unlike the national media ignoring the damage Obama is doing. But I guess it's okay to complain about *that* media falling down on its job.


Michael said...

Pat, this is why you've earned my admiration over the last couple of years. Well done.

Harry Seldon said...

I do think it is worth asking - What % of the salary of a corresponding secular professional person should a Catholic working at a Catholic non-profit receive? For instance, "National nightly news anchor" is a job description, and Voris points out that Arroyo at EWTN makes over $100K doing it...I suppose that's 5-25% of the salary of people doing the same at smaller national secular networks, eh? Is 5-25% appropriate? If not, Voris needs to explain why, or shut up.

Harry Seldon said...

I also have to wonder if Voris is just ignorant of most recent Catholic history.

Voris wants Catholic media outlets to hold Bishops' feet to the fire. I guess he was asleep when Mother Angelica was doing just that, and he missed it when +Mahoney went after her in a big way, convinced her local Bishop to go along with it, and threatened to simply take over EWTN and make it an arm of the USCCB.

Keating, a much more, ahem, sophisticated person than Mother Angelica, learned from her experiences and has kept his local Bishop involved in a friendly way the entire time CA has been running. As far as I can tell, one never has been able to post anything critical of any American Bishop on their forum and of course the radio shows never veer into those waters.

Meanwhile, Voris is always involved in some war or other with a Bishop, can't even call his organization "Catholic" anymore, and looks headed for some kind of official censure.

It's easy for the man rejected by the establishment to suddenly come over as anti-establishment. Keating decided to run within the establishment and accepted the compromises of doing so, as EWTN has to (de facto) also do. Voris apparently couldn't get anyone to hire him, so he has nothing to lose. I suppose he'll keep hammering away until something truly ugly happens, at which point he'll have to decide to be obedient or lead some sort of weird schism, and I fear I know which one he'd choose.

And, yes, he'll have a point that he's being singled out- but that won't stop it from happening.

Paul said...

I read several Catholic blogs regularly, but I have somehow missed this meltdown. Which blogs should I be reading that I have overlooked? Or maybe the blogs participating in the "meltdown" are one's that I *shouldn't* be reading?

Lynne said...

Harry Seldon, what's the point of Catholic media? To just report 'happy news'? Then we should just call them the Misistry of Propaganda and be done with it... Yes, silly Mother Angelica...I'm sure on her Judgement Day, she'll get a stern talking to by God.

Remeber what she said, she'd rather blow up EWTN then let the bishops get a hold of it. (God, I miss her voice) Why do you think she said that? Was she just being mean or did she believe that perhaps if they took it over, all we'd hear is 'happy news'?

Suzanne Carl said...

Voris has a point. No person calling him/her self Catholic should be silenced by bishops or clergy who are making excessive accommodations to the secular world, including allowing abortion supporters and openly-practicing homosexual Catholics to work in church institutions.

As far as the pay goes, the church supports the notion of a just wage. Depending on where you live, $100,000 is not an unreasonably high salary. If the average salary in the country is around $75,000 per year, and we want the best and brightest to choose the church, it is not unreasonable to pay them adequately.

The problems come when those receiving the salary think, speak and act as if a just wage for their work obligates them to violate Catholic teaching in order to stay employed.

Do the bishops play that tough? Unfortunately, some do.

Liz said...

The problem for some of those ministries comes from the fact that their model of ministry is successful Protestant ministries rather than Catholic ones. The minute that someone starts promoting cruises instead of pilgrimages I start getting more than a little bit concerned. When we start paying professionals in ministry 5 to 10 times what our priests are getting paid, it looks like a problem. If they are successful authors their books should support them. If they are successful speakers, their speakers fees ditto (although they must realize that there are some parts of the country where they won't get to speak because they aren't affordable). If on the other hand they want to subsist strictly on donations, then they shouldn't be expecting a professional's salary. Of course I'm not pleased with what secular charities pay their execs either, frequently, but I can choose to give my dollars to places where the salaries are not out of line. If $75,000 is the average American income currently, it almost certainly is so only because both of a couple are working. My husband is a professional who is only approaching that income at the very twilight of his working years. $75,000 as an average salary is only possible if you do a mean rather than a median or a mode. We will never see a $250,000 income unless one of us suddenly becomes a famous author. Yet we own our own home, and we put two kids through college having them graduate with no debt while I've been almost exclusively (short term part time jobs) for our entire marriage. We don't have the luxuries or the wardrobe of some of these professionals in ministry, but I don't have to worry that we've been taking food out of the mouth of a widow living on Social Security either. Somehow I doubt that it would be very easy to make that professional argument fly with say Mother Theresa, Dorothy Day, or even Pope Francis. It's pretty ironic when there's so much encouragement for downsizing and simplicity in the secular world while Catholic apologists are strutting about demanding their rights to a professional income and lifestyle.

SemperJase said...

I do have a problem with Voris's attack on ETWN and Catholic Answers. In addition to a bunch of baseless accusations about EWTN and Catholic Answers being part of the "Church of Nice," he notes the salaries of Catholic Answers staff but doesn't mention that they have taken pay cuts of 26%.

Voris doesn't like that ETWN and Catholic Answers don't attack bishops, but there are plenty of valid reasons for them not to. One likely reason is that the primary mission of both organizations is evangelization. Attacking bishops does not further that mission.

Voris doesn't like their salaries of notable figures earning salaries of $100K. $100K is much more than I make. So what? Are those salaries fair considering where they live, what they do, and how much time they dedicate to their apostolates?

Do we know how much they give to their parishes or charities? As I said, CA staff cut their salaries. Salaries alone are not the full picture. Are they flaunting wealth? Even at $100K, those men aren't getting rich. That is modest compared to other media figures.

Voris thrives on controversy. His criticims are not always without merit, but even a broken clock is right twice a day. In this case, he is way off base.

Harry Seldon said...

""Harry Seldon, what's the point of Catholic media?""

Oh, I dunno...to be Catholic?
Voris is just setting off bombs, which is easy to do when you have nothing to lose. EWTN, for better of worse, has chosen to operate within the framework of the US episcopate. This allows them to broadcast everywhere, send out speakers, do nationwide fundraising, and have the approval of the Church in the USA for what they do.

The tacit agreement appears to be "If you let us be sort of conservative Catholic broadcasters and do fundraising, we'll toe the JPII line and never criticize any of you by name."

I think that was a natural evolution of EWTN away from Mother Angelica's early and unsustainable activism, while Karl Keating appears to be some species of highly intelligent reptile who had all of this figured out from the beginning.

Voris is making this oh-so-thinly veiled appeal to shift some of those donations over to his organization, with the idea that he's "an outsider" who hasn't made any agreements with the episcopate, tacit or otherwise. We all know, however, that if he actually succeeds, a crisis point will be reached. He's already been censured more seriously than....well, than anybody in recent memory, and his excommunication is not exactly unimaginable.

Liberal Bishops have no reason not to hate him, conservative Bishops already don't like him, and now I suppose they're getting calls from Keating and Keck about this annoying Voris siphoning off their money.

So, what happens? Voris is already laying the groundwork for everyone to realize that he won't be allowed to operate much longer without more serious censure. What comes after the word "Catholic" gets taken away from you? He's going to go where CA and EWTN have worked so hard not to go, and no one is asking whether this is good, wise, or holy. In the process, he's crapping all over CA and EWTN, passing judgment on their solutions for trying to be orthodox and not get kicked out of the Church.

So, yeah, everybody on the Voris bandwagon. The Bishops are going to hunt him down and kill him, and he's going to very effectively point out their hypocrisy along the way, and at the end of it, I ask you, what will the effect be? This is essentially Lefevbre's argument. Voris is headed that way. For all I know, he might actually end up in the SSPX. Maybe not. Who knows. It'l be fascinating, for sure.

Meanwhile, everyone else (and I mean everyone) who operates within diocesan Catholicism, as a lay person, teacher, pastor, or media figure, has to compromise with their Bishop. I can't walk into my Bishop's office an call him (true) names. I can' write articles revealing his (true) indiscretions. I can't publicly oppose his fundraising efforts. I would lose my job and never be employed within the Church again.

Voris' way is a can of gasoline and a match. He has nothing, so he has nothing to lose. He can crap in the punchbowl all day, whereas everyone else has to play by the rules. Some people enjoy watching him because they want to see anyone speak truth to power, but ultimately, it is all fantasy.

Michael Voris only makes perfectly consistent sense in a democratic Church, and we ain't one.

Lynne said...

Nice try, Harry. Catholic, yes and...MEDIA. No one is talking about the Emperor's lack of clothes. Catholic media doesn't work for the Church.

I don't expect you to put your job on the line but shouldn't someone, somewhere be talking about this crisis, i.e. the numbers of Catholics leaving the Church. No wonder you're not getting my point, you work in a diocese. Well, I guess if even half the parishes close within your diocese, there will still be some open so you'll be able to keep your job.

There are none so blind as those who do not see.

Harry Seldon said...

Lynne, I think you mistake me.

Losing a job at a diocese is no crisis, you can make more money *anywhere*. No, the point is that right now, I have the endorsement of my Bishop and Pastor to teach. If I pulled a Voris, I would lose that. It is very easy to criticize from the outside.

OTOH, at one point in my career, I was pretty much the only person teaching actual Catholic principles concerning sexuality to a population of tens of thousands of people. I had to "get along" with a bad bishop in order to hold the position. Others would criticize me for not being outspoken enough, not realizing I was being disciplined weekly for being too outspoken.

This is what is happening with Voris. He hasn't run EWTN. He hasn't had to work within the system. He's not entirely wrong, just juvenile and unwise and impractical and judgmental and selfish.

And you, my dear Lynne, need to walk a mile in my moccasins.

Amy Giglio said...

Pat, I admire your restraint. And I wish i had enough restraint not to read these comments because I find some of them to be absolutely infuriating.

God bless you, Harry.