The Not So "New Breed" of Roman Catholic Enthusiasts

An analysis of the promotion of Michael Voris by The Wanderer magazine

By: Robert M. Zins

A friend of mine in Toronto sent me an article published in The Wanderer. This information is provided by The Wanderer on their web site:

The Wanderer, a national Catholic weekly journal of news, commentary, and analysis, has been publishing continually since 1867. Owned and operated by Catholic laymen, The Wanderer is independent of ecclesiastical oversight but maintains a fiercely loyal adherence to Catholic doctrine and discipline

The writer of the article is Thomas Roeser. Mr. Roeser is involved with the Chicago Daily Observer. Their web site has this to say:

"The Chicago Daily Observer is published daily in Chicago featuring unique analysis, observations and reporting of local news stories by a team of over 100 journalists. Syndicated material is also published from a variety of local, national, and international sources, all with a focus on Chicago, Cook County, and the State Of Illinois.

John Powers is the President of the Chicago Daily Observer. Tom Roeser is the Publisher and Editor in Chief. The Chicago Daily Observer Editorial Board is made up of Dennis Byrne, Betsy Hart, Russ Stewart, John Powers, and Tom Roeser, among others. Ron Gidwitz is the Chairman of the Board of the Chicago Daily Observer." (Emphasis mine)
So Mr. Roeser of the Chicago Daily Observer has written an article for The Wanderer. The article is an endorsement for a new on- the- scene Roman Catholic apologist named Michael Voris. The title of the article is "A New Voice for Authentic Catholicism".

To say that Mr. Roeser is impressed with Mr. Voris would be more than an understatement.

"Who is this guy who's not just courageously forthright, in fact downright gutsy, in defending the Church from liberal critics and who has the inner resolve to go after flaccidly weak prelates and priests who sway with each political breeze?"
The gist of Mr. Roeser's article is to introduce Mr. Voris as a courageous defender of the true Roman Catholic faith. Among other things, Mr. Roeser describes Mr. Voris as a "militant but thoroughly responsible and responsive Catholic commenting, writing, producing, and performing in short, punchy TV commentaries lasting from two to five minutes each." Mr. Voris calls his own commentaries "the vortex where lies and falsehoods are trapped and exposed."

Mr. Roeser uses clips from Mr. Voris to showcase his brilliance. He gives us quotations from the monologues produced by Mr. Voris. They entail mostly a criticism of all things liberal in the Roman Catholic religion. Mr. Voris seems to make it his calling to "clean house" in the Roman Catholic religion. Mr. Voris sums up his conservative challenge to liberal Roman Catholics.

"renegade liberal priests shooting off their mouths in public and bishops using the 'charity' argument as a skirt to hide behind when it comes to clearly and unambiguously proclaiming the teaching of the Church."
It is clear that both Mr. Voris and his enthusiastic forerunner are conservative Roman Catholics. They have a bone to pick with some leaders in their own religion. However, it gets out of hand when Mr. Voris begins to promote himself and his religion as representatives of Christianity. It is at this point where the "vortex" of Mr. Voris becomes a sanctuary for lies, deceit, unambiguous promotion of the false gospel, and heresies of the Roman Catholic religion. Mr. Roeser cuts and pastes into his article a stand up commentary by Mr. Voris about what Mr. Voris thinks of "faith only Protestants". At this point Mr. Voris displays his true colors and demonstrates his utter contempt for Christianity. Mr. Voris, the new voice for authentic Roman Catholicism, becomes the old voice of Roman Catholic doublespeak as he begins his railing against Protestants.

"Let's remember one very important fact: Protestantism is a heresy. That does not mean that individual Protestants are heretics but the system of beliefs they subscribe to is a heretical system"
That the old Roman Catholic reliance on "word smithing" and obfuscation has clearly infected Mr. Vois is evident in his almost amusing analysis of heresy. Evidently, one can subscribe to a heresy but not be a heretic. Evidently, there is no such thing as an individual heretic. There are only heresies. If one believes in a heresy he is still not a heretic. So what constitutes a heretic? Mr. Voris does not say. Why is Mr. Voris, "the courageously forthright and downright gutsy", so tentative here? One should be perfectly willing to say that those who subscribe to heresy are in fact heretics. Maybe Mr. Voris is over his head in these theological waters.

But this is only the beginning of a string of exhibits showcasing the unawareness of Mr. Voris on matters of Christianity. Mr. Voris wishes to set straight the illogical idiocy of what he calls wasting your time talking with a committed Protestant. He does so by introducing his audience to a "straw man" identified only as a Lutheran.

Since we have no record of the correspondence between this Lutheran and Mr. Voris we will call this Lutheran a "straw man" and defend Christianity against the claims of what the Mr. Voris attributes to the "straw man", and what the "straw man" may have said. This "straw man" is alleged to have concluded that as long as you believe in Jesus your works don't affect your salvation. Mr. Voris maintains that this "straw man" has concluded that you can kill, hire prostitutes, rob banks, and destroy property, die of a heart attack seconds later and you go to heaven. What you do does not matter.

Perhaps the "straw man" was trying to emphasize the important Christian doctrine of assurance. Christians do sin and sometimes sin terribly against God. But God in His mercy forgives His people for the sake of Jesus Christ. Even the most terrible moment of sin is forgiven by God on the basis of Christ's perfect redemption. Christians do not have in them much capacity to boast of God's grace so that they can sin freely without remorse or repentance. To say that Christians pursue such nonsense is to miss Christianity entirely.

Mr. Voris has reported only a snippet of information and thereby invented for himself a prop. He then quotes his prop and wails against Protestants as though the prop represented true Christian theology. How dreadful. It must not take much to dazzle the Roman Catholic community if this flimsy muck can be trotted out and paraded as good reporting from a "thoroughly responsible and responsive Catholic". It seems completely lost on Mr. Voris that the Christian doctrine of salvation is based upon true faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ. Faith alone in the work of Christ alone is the ground of salvation. Good works cannot save anyone and they cannot keep anyone in a saved state. However, it is equally true of the Christian experience that salvation involves a change of heart. A new man emerges from the experience of salvation wherein he is opposed to sin and sets a course for righteousness and holiness in his personal life. Christians are not perfect but they are changed. What a Christian does matters. What a Christian does cannot bring about or keep his salvation. But what a Christian does shows that salvation is present. Faith is shown by its works. Faith alone saves, but not a faith that is alone.

No Christian can claim to be a Christian whose life is not radically changed by Christ. The Christian formula for salvation is FAITH ='s JUSTIFICATION PLUS WORKS. The Roman Catholic position is that FAITH PLUS WORKS ='s JUSTIFICATION. The first formula is Christian and Rome is not.

Mr. Voris goes on to belittle the "straw man" by ascribing to him the idea that all men are equally righteous. If this is all of what the "straw man" said then it is unfortunate. In the eyes of God this is not true. Not all Christians are equally righteous in their moral behavior here on earth. But, was the "straw man" speaking of moral and ethical righteousness here on earth? Or was he speaking of the righteous of Christ given to poor lost sinners? I have the suspicion that the "straw man" was trying to defend the fact that all in Christ are equally saved and heaven bound. All in Christ are eternally forgiven and stand equally as brothers and sisters of Christ before God.

Mr. Voris thinks he has trapped his "straw man" by asking him to explain that if Lutherans are right and Catholics are so wrong, why do so many Lutherans disagree on so many things? But a moment's reflection exposes Mr. Voris. His entire work is dedicated to telling Roman Catholics how wrong they are on just about every issue. Every disagreement found among Lutherans is equally found among Roman Catholics. How about we start with Vatican II? Protestantism is called "separated brothers" by Vatican II. Mr. Voris calls Protestantism heresy. We might ask the same question. If Catholics are so right, why can't they agree among themselves?

Finally, Mr. Voris is vacant on the idea of the Bible interpreting itself. I suspect the "straw man" was trying to present the idea that the Bible is best understood when Scripture is compared with Scripture. In this way the entire context of a given portion of Scripture is taken into account when interpreting the Bible. Mr. Voris thinks that "self-interpretation" must mean that the Bible somehow speaks audibly to everyone so that everyone can agree on each and everything. Mr. Voris will have to do some serious homework in the Bible to get this right. In reality the Bible teaches that differences on matters not essential are completely compatible with good biblical interpretations.

At the end of the day, when speaking about the decadence of American culture, Mr. Voris has what he thinks is the solution. Coming from a merit based, works salvation, sacramental, and superstitious religion, Mr. Voris says the answer is a good moral order. The good moral order he says is guaranteed by following Christ. Mr. Voris thinks that mankind has it within to turn on a switch and simply follow Jesus and all will be well. In the first place, in his theological naivety, Mr. Voris has missed the Christian doctrine of the total depravity of mankind. Secondly, following Jesus the Roman Catholic way is utterly hopeless. Or it would be in Mr. Voris' words, a complete waste of time.

Finally, this article is not well named. Mr. Voris may be a new voice for authentic Catholicism. But for Christians, he is an old familiar voice of an ancient foe in a heretical religion. rmz
1In an interesting twist to his argument this Roman Catholic writer discloses his repulsion to the idea that all are guilty before God. He does so by taking Paul's description of the kinds of sins that man commits and tracing these citations to the Old Testament. In so doing, he concludes that the charge of Paul in Romans three is only for the wicked and evil and not for the innocent. In short, Paul's "all have sinned" refers to all kinds of evil doers while explicitly excluding the innocent. But in doing this he has missed the point entirely. Paul's cavalcade of sins in Romans 3:10-12 is not designed to show that only the evil doers and wicked have sinned but that all men are sinners to one degree or another! The very idea that there are innocent men and women wandering about who fall outside of Paul's charge that "all have sinned" ruins the argument of the apostle and destroys his premise that all Jews and Gentiles are in need of Christ.

2In this particular article the author runs out of gas trying to prove his point. Instead of giving us the standard RC arguments of Mary being full of grace, and redeemed from sinning rather than from her sin, this writer goes down a bizarre trail. He wishes to convince us that the Protestant interpretation of Paul's "all have sinned" is not truly "all have sinned". It is not, says he, because Protestants leave out Jesus Christ. He then claims the RC interpretation as being much more inclusive of Paul's statement. How so? He does so by asserting there is more than one way to "have sinned." Taking Paul's statement "all have sinned" and focusing on the "have sinned" part of it, this writer insists that Jesus is part of the "have sinned" in that He emptied Himself of divinity, became stricken and smitten by God, embraced the cross and took upon Himself the sins of sinners. Mary, by virtue of her closeness to her Son suffered with Him and thereby was part of the "have sinned" with her Son. Hence, not only is Mary exempt from sinning since Paul has in mind exemptions. But, if you like, this RC writer wishes to top those Protestants who take pride in viewing Paul's "all" with the exception of Christ. Protestant theology is wrong on both sides depending on which side they prefer to defend!

3Anyone can play the game of silence. Suppose we say that Paul does not mention Andrew in Romans 3. Then say that Andrew is not mentioned as having sinned in the Bible. Then conclude that Andrew was born without sin and remained sinless his entire life.

4In Acts 7:55 Stephen, who is not recorded in Scripture as having committed any sin, was full of the Holy Spirit while gazing into heaven. Does this mean that Stephen died without sin? Does he qualify as an exemption to Paul's "all" of Romans 3:23?

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