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The Demise of Church Militant

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News broke last week that Church Militant had lost a defamation lawsuit to the tune of $500,000 and would cease operations in April as a result. The staff of Church Militant have already been carrying the heavy cross of the public repentance of Michael Voris which he announced this past November.  

As I said back in November, we would profane the name of Christian if any of us were to rejoice at the demise of Michael Voris or his organisation, despite the fact that both have attacked Trads and the traditional movement, especially the Society of St. Pius X. This latest news is being reported by the secular media, which ultimately reflects negatively back on the Catholic Church. For the reason it should grieve us when one of our brethren or any Catholic organisation falls, because it ultimately diminishes the glory due to Christ the King, for which we can make reparation.

What makes this worse is that the defamation lawsuit was brought against Church Militant by a priest of a diocese in New Hampshire. The condemnation of St. Paul comes to mind:

I speak to your shame. Is it so that there is not among you any one wise man, that is able to judge between his brethren? But brother goeth to law with brother, and that before unbelievers. Already indeed there is plainly a fault among you, that you have lawsuits one with another. Why do you not rather take wrong? Why do you not rather suffer yourselves to be defrauded? But you do wrong and defraud, and that to your brethren (I Cor. vi. 5-8).

It is to our shame that this happened, and not merely between Christians, but between Catholics.

“But Church Militant did it to themselves with their yellow journalism!”

Maybe so. Indeed, as the Register reports:

[Fr.] De Laire brought suit against both [author] Balestriei and Church Militant over the [negative] article [against him]. In the course of the lawsuit, both the writer and the outlet were “unable to identify a single source who said anything negative about Father de Laire,” Todd & Weld said. 

The law firm said the article had been written in “an attempt to discredit Father de Laire” and the Diocese of Manchester. 

At the same time, who can deny that many souls have been helped by Michael Voris and Church Militant? Who can deny that many souls have had their faith strengthened in the one true Church in a time of crisis? No one can deny this, and it is for the greater glory of God. And so let us be grateful for the good that Church Militant did do, despite these serious issues.

Moreover, it is a dangerous thing for us to meddle in the sins of others, or think too much about them. As the Lenten prayer of St. Ephraim says, “Grant me to see my own sins and not to judge my brother.”

This is rather an occasion for me to examine my own conscience, as a worker in Catholic media. The Fathers tell us that when we see the sins of others, we should consider that we would have sinned worse had we been in their shoes. Lord have mercy!

Lately I’ve been reading the forgotten text of Vatican II, Inter Mirifica, which was promulgated against the American Empire and other “free press” tyrannies which the bishops understood to be undermining the Council since before its inception. This was the first document promulgated by the Council in 1963 (with Sacrosanctum Concilium, that is), and Wemhoff notes that it deeply angered the Liberal Americanists who were attempting to manipulate the Council with the media.[1] The text makes this standard for Catholic media:

To instill a fully Christian spirit into readers, a truly Catholic press should be set up and encouraged. Such a press-whether immediately fostered and directed by ecclesiastical authorities or by Catholic laymen-should be edited with the clear purpose of forming, supporting and advancing public opinion in accord with natural law and Catholic teaching and precepts. It should disseminate and properly explain news concerning the life of the Church. Moreover, the faithful ought to be advised of the necessity both to spread and read the Catholic press to formulate Christian judgments for themselves on all events (14).

This is the standard that I must answer for at my own particular judgment, and I must say that it has weighed heavily on my conscience ever since I took over this job at OnePeterFive. I struggled at first attempting to balance both truth and charity, and it is a heavy burden to spend my time meddling in the sins of others, especially the Pope and bishops, and I tremble before the just judgment seat of Christ: the measure you judge will be measured to you.

And so at the demise of Church Militant, pray for me for the grace to obey the words of the Blessed Apostle:

Neither do you murmur: as some of them murmured, and were destroyed by the destroyer. Now all these things happened to them in figure: and they are written for our correction, upon whom the ends of the world are come. Wherefore he that thinketh himself to stand, let him take heed lest he fall (I Cor. x. 10-12).

Please invoke our patrons for me and the staff at OnePeterFive: Our Lady of Fatima, St. Maximilian Kolbe, Bl. Emperor Karl and Sr. Wilhelmina.

T. S. Flanders
Wednesday in the 3rd week of the Great Fast

[1] David Wemhoff, John Courtney Murray, Time/Life, and the American Proposition: How the CIA’s Doctrinal Warfare Program Changed the Catholic Church (Fidelity Press, 2015), 731-735.

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