Yesterday, Michael Voris of Church Militant released a very difficult and courageous episode of the Vortex. In it, he alleged that the New York Archdiocese, in apparent retribution for his investigation of the strong homosexual culture within the clergy there, intended to publicly reveal his own past sins. If true, this would amount to an egregious violation of the 8th Commandment. And the sins in question were unquestionably shocking and unexpected. Voris said, in part:
I have never made a secret that my life prior to my reversion was extremely sinful. I have said many times — in public — that I was in a state of mortal sin, and had I died, I would have been damned. I also revealed these sins were of a sexual nature and that they occurred over a prolonged period of time. I did not reveal the specific nature or details of the sins, because when I returned home to the Church, I did not think that a full public confession of details was necessary in order to start proclaiming the great mercy of God.
Perhaps that was a wrong assessment. I don’t seriously know. Perhaps along these years I should have been revealing of greater detail. That, I now think so, but more on that in a moment.
Whatever the matter, I will now reveal that for most of my years in my thirties, confused about my own sexuality, I lived a life of live-in relationships with homosexual men. From the outside, I lived the lifestyle and contributed to scandal in addition to the sexual sins. On the inside, I was deeply conflicted about all of it. In a large portion of my twenties, I also had frequent sexual liaisons with both adult men and adult women.
These are the sins of my past life in this area which are all now publicly admitted and owned by me. That was before my reversion to the Faith.
Since my reversion, I abhor all these sins, especially in the world of the many many other sins I have committed having nothing to do with sexuality. I gave in to deep pains from my youth by seeking solace in lust, and in the process, surrendered my masculinity.
The original is much longer, and the text does not do justice to Voris’ presentation in the video, which every interested party should watch. Voris’ revelations were offered personally, and with obvious sincerity. He admitted his wrongdoing, rather than denying it. He expressed hatred for his own sins, not excuses. He offered a compelling case for the reality of his conversion, and how God’s gratuitous grace and mercy fuels his drive to do the work he does today.
I worked for three-years in a prestigious crisis communications firm. Our clients were some of the most powerful figures in their respective industries, and the issues they faced — often with huge legal or financial ramifications — were complex and challenging, and invariably played out in the media. I had the pleasure of watching some of the best and brightest minds in the PR business advise proactive responses to bad press, and in my opinion, Voris handled this situation exceptionally well. He got in front of the story. He owned his failings. He took much of the wind out of the sails of any forthcoming attack. He appeared to recognize one of his principal failures: that as one of the most aggressive investigators of homosexual activity in the Church, revealing his past sooner would have made him more credible and prevented such an attack.
If what Voris says is true, and this is being orchestrated by forces within the Archdiocese, it will be ugly. They will no doubt provide as many salacious details as they can dig up. I hope that if the Archdiocese of New York is really mounting such a smear campaign (an allegation the archdiocese has now denied) that it backfires spectacularly, and earns them the opprobrium they so richly deserve. The odds that something like this would be an official effort sanctioned by Cardinal Dolan is highly unlikely; still, even if it was an “off the books” effort by high-ranking members of the clergy, it should be exposed and condemned.
The folks at Church Militant and I do not see eye to eye on some very important things. But today, I stand with Michael Voris against those who would use public detraction to destroy a man’s reputation. Michael has my personal prayers and my public support in this fight.
When I first saw the transcript of Voris’ comments yesterday evening, I was actually on my way out to go to confession. We’re all sinners, and God forbid any of us have to render a public accounting of things for which we are so deeply ashamed. I have no doubt that this was one of the hardest things Voris has ever done. I commend him for the way he handled it.
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.