In 2010, Michael Voris gave a presentation to a live audience on the Church Militant program, Catholic Investigative Agency. It was about the inception of the Novus Ordo Missae, the characters behind its creation, the ideological underpinnings of the new liturgy, and the potentially damaging effects it might have on the Catholic Faith of those who attend it.
It was excellent work. In fact, I’d say it’s one of the best analyses I’ve seen on the topic. Voris ties together many of the disparate threads that paint a larger picture of liturgical revolt, from the masonic accusations against the architect of the new Mass, Annibale Bugnini, to the observations of contemporaries, theologians, and insiders about the intentional protestantization of the new liturgy, to the incisive theological analysis and objections on the new liturgy offered by by Cardinal Alfredo Ottaviani.
It’s calm, measured, and filled with historical facts, quotes, and references. Chris Jackson at The Remnant provides an edited/condensed version of the episode. I encourage you to watch it:
There’s just one problem. Voris, in citing the theological deformations of the Novus Ordo and the quite possibly faith-damaging effects it has on those who frequent it, makes essentially the same argument he recently condemned from the SSPX. While Voris doesn’t come right out and say that Catholics should avoid the Novus Ordo (or not go to Mass if they have no choice but to attend it), the only logical conclusion one could reach if they believe it is actually damaging to the Catholic Faith is to avoid it whenever possible. The exact measure and extent of how this should be accomplished is open to discussion. But the underlying principles are the same.
In his more recent commentary on the SSPX, Voris seems to have forgotten his earlier position entirely:
[T]he priest says the New Mass is a danger to souls.
Now stop for a moment and consider what this priest is saying: The New Mass, meaning the Mass of Pope Paul VI, the Novus Ordo, is an offense against God. A Mass approved by and offered by the popes of Our Blessed Lord’s Holy Catholic Church and nearly every single bishop is an offense against God. Further, you are instructed not to go to Mass on Sunday if you must go to a Novus Ordo, New Mass.
This is a classic case of throwing out the baby with the bathwater. Sure, there are abuses that occur in the New Mass owing to all kinds of issues that we point out here on the Vortex all the time.
But those abuses are just that — abuses. And they are to be placed at the feet of errant bishops, lazy unfaithful priests, dissident theologians and so forth. But to tell Catholics to stay home and not attend Mass on Sunday and refuse to fulfill their Sunday obligation to assist at the sacrifice of the Mass is beyond imagining. To call the Mass an “offense against God”? Are you serious? To encourage people to commit mortal sin by refusing to fulfill their Sunday obligation?
But it’s good that this video is out there because now the mask can finally be taken off this renegade outfit.
I would counter with something similar: it’s good that this Voris video is out there because now the mask can finally be taken off the inexplicable changes that have taken place over the past five years at Church Militant.
But let’s not get stuck in the obvious critique. Many will use this video to attack Voris’s current position, which one can only surmise may stem from influences within the Church Militant organization that are virulently anti-SSPX. And while there are certainly questions there worth asking, I’d like to focus on the more positive point:
Michael Voris was right.
The analysis he provided in that episode was exactly the sort of thing we need more of. It was balanced, well-researched, and persuasive. It’s a reminder that Voris is more than just a bad bishop (or SSPX) bashing demagogue, which is the image that, for better or worse, he has fostered. Frankly, there’s a place for that kind of thing in an ecclesial climate like ours.
But this video represents something better than the torrent of episcopal outrage porn that’s so easy to fall into.
All of us who have been forced to live in these confusing times, in the post-conciliar crisis, under the specter of a liturgy that has coincided with (and quite likely caused) a decimation of our faith, are trying, if we love God and His Church, to find our way back to the eternal Catholic truths that lie buried beneath the rubble of the ecclesiastical revolution. We are like archeologists and anthropologists, trying to piece together a puzzle about the life of a great civilization before some cataclysmic event brought it abruptly to an end. The clues lie scattered throughout history, obscured from sight but not lost. Bit by bit, we’re uncovering orthodoxy, re-discovering the traditions and beliefs that made Catholicism the driving force of Western Civilization for so many centuries.
I’m glad this video was brought to light. I would encourage you to resist the temptation to use it only as a rhetorical cudgel against Voris and Church Militant. Let’s instead take the opportunity to encourage him to remember the ideas his apostolate was built on, and to urge a return to the work of restoration – a work that eschews the needless vilification of those who don’t agree on every fine point and detail of ecclesiology or approach, but are nonetheless working towards the same goal.
Whenever good work is being done, the Devil tries to find ways to destroy it. Sometimes, this is through the temptation and corruption of those doing the work. Sometimes, it’s through the influence of toxic individuals who offer bad counsel. Sometimes, there is an oppression of finances or the spiritual life. Whatever his means, some are sure to plague any worthwhile apostolate, and all must be resisted.
I hope that for Michael Voris, the recovery of this video serves as a reminder of what made Church Militant popular in the first place, and an opportunity to reflect on how he can work together with those who could be his allies for the benefit of the actual Church Militant, of which we are all a part.
I encourage you to pray for guidance for Michael Voris and the people who work with him. They have built a powerful platform, and it’s one that could truly benefit the faithful at this moment. May they do God’s will in their endeavors.
Steve Skojec is the Founding Publisher and Executive Director of OnePeterFive.com. He received his BA in Communications and Theology from Franciscan University of Steubenville in 2001. His commentary has appeared in The New York Times, USA Today, The Washington Post, The Washington Times, Crisis Magazine, EWTN, Huffington Post Live, The Fox News Channel, Foreign Policy, and the BBC. Steve and his wife Jamie have seven children.