There is a good article by a traditionally minded layman about the problems with Michael Voris. His inclination it to be sympathetic with Voris’ purpose and the substance of his ideas. The gentlman’s problem is with Voris’ methods and lack of charity.
I would go a step further and say, that while he does not say it outright, he provides evidence in Voris’ own words of the kind of sectarianism that has concerned me for some time.
Here is Voris’ description of the “Church of Nice” which identifies, according to him, every parish in the world except the traditionalist ones:
the saccharine syrupy hand holding ultra-feminized altar girl protestant hymn singing social justice priest facing with his back to God staring at the people staring back at him Church – in short practically every parish in the western world.
And here is Voris’ description of the “Church of the New Hipster” (my term):
Traditional Catholicism is all the rage .. at least in England. But that is the case all over the western world. It’s avant-garde .. trendy .. almost like a hipster to actually bow before God and receive His Body and Blood on your tongue. It’s fashion forward for priests to be in cassocks and nuns in habits. Oh My. Imagine the shock all and horror bouncing off the walls of the Church of Nice. Unable to hold or inspire their own flagging parishes .. where are these other “nut job” Catholics coming from.
There are several problems with this dichotomy. First, the statement that “practically every parish in the western world” fits his “Church of Nice” category is such an immense oversimplification and rash judgment that it beggars a response. I understand what he is trying to say, but this is the problem with soundbite apologetics spit out by fast-talking salesmen. There is no analysis, just propaganda at the expense of everyone who is not worthy to be sorted into the “good” bucket.
Secondly, since 1983 before I entered religious life, and then after within my own religious community, I have been able to experience orthodox teaching, priests who wear cassocks, religious who wear habits, communion on the tongue while kneeling, the use of Latin in the liturgy, the generous use of gregorian chant, large families, young people enthusiastic for the faith and all the other aspects of authentic Catholic life, that people like Voris pretend can only exist where the old liturgy and sympathy for the thought of the SSPX are embraced. I know Voris’ little dichotomy to be patently false.
Thirdly, the movement toward the restoration of Catholic life (reform of the reform), just as the aggiornamento that came before it (reform), runs the risk of being reduced to a caricature of itself. The conciliar reforms were sloganized, politicized and then parroted from the pulpit and chancellories. On the part of the intelligentsia the “Spirit of Vatican II” was a philosophical aberration. But then this was popularized by salesmen who spewed out extremely naive and silly applications that appealed to what people wanted to hear. Are we really going to make the mistake of pretending that we can reverse the trend by simply doing the same thing in the opposite direction? What we don’t need are any more sloganeers and politicians in the Church.
I will most certainly grant that Pope Benedict’s motu proprio Summorum Pontificum and its provisions have given the movement toward restoration a greater impetus, and has emboldened priests and bishops to shake off the malaise. Praise God. But this narrow “us vs. them” narrative of the traditionalists is sheer sectarian propaganda. It is not Catholic.
The temptation is very great to simply slough off any criticism of “restorationism.” Such criticism is the new uncool in the circle of young and up-coming Catholics. But we should not forget that our Universities were radicalized, not by true and sober scholarship, but by ideology in the hands of activists who used the idealism of youth to unleash a revolution on society. Do we really want this to happen in reverse?
If you find yourself rubbing your hands together in glee at the sound of the beating drum of the new Catholic avant-garde, perhaps you ought to take a breather and remember that the Church does not win the way the world wins. For years Joseph Ratzinger has criticized both extremes within the Church as relying to heavily on structure and externals. His warnings need to be heeded. It they are not the new hipster propagandists will continue to reduce doctrinal formulations, the liturgy and Catholic culture to their mere symbolic value.
Really, the drum-beating and banner waving is not going to save the Church. Only God and His Holy Mother will save the Church.