Monday, August 22, 2011

Michael Voris' Mea Culpa a plea for charity while insisting he doesn't need to extend any.


Read the original over here. It is easier without my fisking

Original in black
My fisking in red
Please note that I edited one part of the fisk to clean it up and tighten it up. 

When I attempted the edit of that one section Blogger rearranged my entire post.  I reassembled it as best I can. 

Hello Everyone.

From over here in Madrid in the midst of World Youth Day coverage .. we unfortunately have to issue this response to an article that was published by Catholic News Agency last week. (Unfortunately, why unfortunately,  because you did it or you got caught, let's see)

 There are really two different stories here so we will address them separately. Good he states his intentions and will address each charge individually..

First .. the official status of St. Michael’s Media as a 501(c) 3. The article called into question our official standing as a non-profit with the State of Michigan. It reported that according to the state.. St. Michael’s Media is not in good standing. That is true. Admission of the facts

What the article did not make clear is that this is the case because St. Michael’s Media has not filed the annual reports that were supposed to be filed. That is entirely my fault. I have oversight to do that. I did not do that. The reason is simply because I did not know that had to be done. Again totally my fault. He takes responsibility for his action, although he states the action was not done out of malice but ignorance.

When St. Michael’s Media was established back in 2006 .. we had a short term helper who was handling all the paperwork issues with the state. When that worker left .. I did a poor job and allowed things to get sloppy. We are now in the process of getting our records up to date and will file the appropriate back records. Exculpable statement of "I didn't know how, but now I am going to learn and do it."  He will learn from his mistakes.  This is good.

The State of Michigan website that addresses these sorts of issues clearly states that when the paperwork is corrected .. the company is re-established in good standing as though nothing had gone wrong. There is a small $5 fine to have to pay for each back annual report and we will of course pay that along with filing the reports and bringing St. Michael’s Media up to speed. Again .. totally my fault and I accept the responsibility. I am working to fix the situation which was caused by me, and I will have it all done in as short a time as possible.
"My bad, totally my bad. I will do a better job to fix up my mess, and I am doing it as fast as I can, but it really isn't that big of a mess, and only a tiny fine. No big deal."

Secondly .. regarding the issue of Simon Rafe and his online writings in question, which he has since taken down. I spoke with Simon at some length on a couple of occasions here from Madrid when this was first brought to my attention. Good, went to the source, and gave the man a hearing.

He was immediately forthright and admitted they were his and that they were very
inappropriate. He said he should not have written and published them. He expressed his great sorrow.  Presents the errant employee as honest, and regretful. He has in fact issued a very specific apology on the web on his own with no prompting from anyone.

Excellent. He allows the penitent's own words to be accessible to all. All may judge Simon's contriteness.

In speaking with Simon, I have no doubt whatsoever about the sincerity of his apology nor his realization that what he did was wrong both personally and professionally.

He has already taken steps to address the personal aspects of this. Professionally .. the owners of the website domain have determined that for the foreseeable future, Simon’s duties will be curtailed to only those that involve technical and administrative duties. He will not be hosting any new productions. This is also true with regard to any functions he performs for St. Michael’s Media.  He is being punished, given a professional penance for his transgression. Personally I find that a little demeaning. It would have been more respectful to either ask for his resignation or let him resign and then accept his resignation. To be the token reclamation project for the organization is insulting. I will assume he is a grown man, being treated like a teenager placed on restriction or curfew.

To sum up this far:  Voris admits he made a mistake out of ignorance, but it was no big deal, and the wayward employee has been reined in.  If he had left it here, the Mea Culpa could have been good, even great, and Simon could have even received some sympathy points. But does he stop here - no. Though he was never completely on the defensive, here is now goes on the attack. (That would, in normal circles, nullify the Mea culpa)

Now with regard to some background points on the article itself and some interesting points NOT addressed.

 First .. what was NOT stated is that the 501 (c) 3 status of St. Michael’s Media is in no way
compromised. 501c3 is a designation awarded by the US federal government, the IRS .. NOT the state of Michigan. There are two things at play here. The status of the business in state of Michigan and secondly the 501c3 status awarded by the IRS. While I let the state side of the paperwork go, the IRS paper work is up to date and the 501c3 status has never been a question. So now he is saying he was not wrong, and the status of his organization was never in question.  Let's see where he goes with this.

And furthermore .. with regard to not filling out paperwork with the state .. or being behind .. there is now information on various blogs which make the claim that Catholic News Agency or its affiliate is 4 years behind on its own filings.
"Besides, I don't know why CNA is talking; they are in the same boat, so there." In professional debate circles, this is known as 'Tu Quoque', and it is a formal error. Pointing out that someone else was wrong does not make one right, nor alleviate the mistake one has made.

We are not reporting this How can he say they aren't reporting it, when they've just reported it? because .. frankly .. we don’t care. Businesses fall behind on paperwork for hundreds of reasons everyday. We don’t think its an issue. It doesn’t have anything to do with the salvation of souls – so again, we don’t care.

Excellent. They are going to show you where they got their information on CNA. No secret informers here.

I have communicated to management at CNA that I think it was unfair to publish the story when they did. The reporter called me here in Madrid Spain during a very hectic time of production for us .. sprung a series of questions on me of which I was incapable of answering at that moment .... agreed with me that I needed time to get to the bottom of things .. and then published an article. We think that was unfair and portrayed us in a bad light.
"Even though it was true, it was wrong to publish it and not give me time to get informed, before printing the story." - This is actually a justifiable charge. But does Michael Voris accept the "I don't know" from others, especially bishops, priests etc etc. and give others the chance to learn what is going on or does he report (and by that I mean trap them in his Vortex) that so and so didn't know and questions how s/he couldn't know before he launches an aattack?

During my conversations with the Catholic News Agency it has been revealed to us that they get all kinds of secret anonymous stories about either me or our work .. all trying to depict me or our work in a very bad light. The same is true with this story .. it came through an anonymous source.

The owners of the website realcatholictv dot com are aware that because of some of what we talk about in various programs .. we have developed enemies in the Church. Sad as that it .. it is the reality. If the person who knew about these problems did not come to us first privately as a brother in Christ to point them out .. but went instead as an anonymous source to the Catholic media .. to gin up an air of suspicion about the efforts of St. Michael’s Media as well as the website .. then perhaps CNA should be investigating THAT instead.
Ah secret unnamed sources trash talking Michael Voris. But CNA is a news Agency and cannot be forced to reveal their sources. Bloggers use unnamed sources, secular non-denominational news agencies use confidential sources, but somehow when CNA does it it is unfair to do so. C'mon, really?  Secondly, although what they wrote of Voris was true, he believes they should have chased some other story.

Anyone who has spent anytime in the world of Church politics knows that there are some people who can be absolutely immoral in the way that they deal with others. Jealousies .. turf wars .. financial fights .. personality clashes .. lies .. vicious personal attacks .. thanks to original sin and personal sin .. all of these unfortunately mar the Body of Christ.
So this is all the fault of a Judas, who blew the whistle. Investigate the source, hassle the whistle blower. Jealousies, turf wars, financial fights, personality clashes, lies, personal attacks, - all because of original sin and personal sin. See his mistake was excusable, Simon's was a reprehensible sin and the secret unnamed source is also guilty of original and personal sin. The real villain here was the whistle blower- however pedestrian. In short, Voris is now nullifying the mea culpa. What he has done amounts to nothing, and it is all the fault of the person who ratted him out, and the newspaper which published the report.

We are very aware that there are many people in the Church who have it out for us. We aren’t playing victim…merely stating the reality that we confront almost daily and has now been confirmed for us by the Catholic News Agency. When you say that people have it in for you, you are playing victim.

In that respect we are not unlike many other groups on the web who are also maligned.. often by members of the clergy in Canada for example, who smear good and faithful Catholics with terms like “Taliban Catholics.”

We have it on good information that this which one: the nonprofit status papers not being filed; Simon extracurricular activities; or this Canadian clergyman? Also, notice that after condemning the use of unnamed sources, he uses an unnamed source, is what was behind the issuance of a press release on the part of the WYD committee and USCCB that realcatholictv dot com had not been “APPROVED”. Of course nowhere in that press release was it mentioned that being APPROVED is not necessary. That was a smoke screen charge to make us look bad.
"It was a conspiracy, don't you see that, not one American Bishop could approve them, but really, approval isn't necessary, and they shouldn't have reported it, because it made us look bad."

Nowhere did it mention that there are dozens of other groups that are here in Madrid who are also NOT APPROVED. They were active in passing out loads of flyers and information promoting their own events and causes. "Other groups were not approved, why single us out." In this, he is correct, but the tenor of this piece has changed. It is now an attack. This is well into some other statement. He is now making an accusation. In short, he is saying, "We weren't approved, but then again approval wasn't necessary, so it shouldn't have been reported as a deficiency."

We even collected a few of them as they were handed to us. Here they are.
Obviously, this was originally in a vortex video or some other format, otherwise teh "here they are" makes no sense.  The argument may or may not be dicey:  He is saying "I wasn't wrong, because other people were doing it too." or he is saying "Lots of people were doing it. Why single me out?"  Either way, this is a dicey argument, at best. 

In one marvelous example of what OFFICIALLY APPROVED means or doesn’t mean .. a fantastic young pro-life group from Ireland that had received no official approval had a high ranking prelate publically address them.

In the mayhem and chaos of World Youth Day .. official approval means absolutely next to
nothing on the ground. We find the Press Release issuance singling us out beyond ridiculous.
We spoke to around a thousand young people at our two No Bull in Madrid talks that were
fabulously received. You can check them out for yourselves right on line. We’ve included the links. We even had a notable archbishop sit in on of them.

This part of the fisk was edited.  The original was unclear, so I tightened it up.-
"Furthermore who cares about being OFFICIALLY approved? The people loved us anyway, maybe even because we weren't approved." .... Part1 ... Part2

Now comes the conclusion, so a summary of everything he just said. First he diminishes his failings.
So bottom line .. yes I failed to file the paperwork for the state of Michigan as I should have.

Now that the owners are aware of Simon’s very inappropriate writings .. the necessary steps have been taken to assure our integrity as well as helping Simon .. a dual duty we feel we have.
"Simon has been properly chastised and we are going to straighten him out." This is good.

Nonetheless .. we are grateful that this has come to light so that we could address them. "Thanks for bringing to light of wrongs so they can be fixed. But....... We consider this constant stream of anonymous charges as despicable and highly uncharitable. Not filing paperwork in a timely fashion hardly constitutes a headline during world youth day. was wrong to do, and uncharitable." The charge was both good and uncharitable. And, by the way, when Voris is accused of being uncharitable, his defenders usually defend him  by saying it would be truly uncharitable not to point out the fault in others.

Even prominent bloggers who would not count themselves as supporters of ours, share this
Even his enemies are on his side. Also, notice that not only are his attackers unnamed, so are his supporters, which brings us back to unnamed sources. And speaking of anonymous sources...

If the genesis behind this anonymous source .. which we heavily suspect .. is someone with an axe to grind about reports we have done on lack of leadership .. or watered down catechesis or the questionable financial and theological positions of the Social Justice club inside the Church .. or any of a hundred other problems which need to be addressed and not ignored or covered up .. if the goal is to intimidate or malign us .. then thank you for finally showing your fangs. At least now .. many others can see what we have seen for some time now.
A mea culpa that has veered from a tu quoque and ended in an ad hominem. Amazing. The real wrongdoing here was the source of the story. He has fangs: does he think it is one of Simon's vampires, who turned them in? Please. What charity does he show to anyone, and he is miffed because none was shown to him? The Golden Rule: Treat others as you would wish to be treated. The way he treats those whom he attacks, one could assume that that is the same way in which he wants to be treated. N'est-ce pas?

We sincerely wish all these people .. and we are NOT talking about the Catholic News Agency .. who consider themselves our enemies .. who constantly blather on about charity and tolerance and dialog would follow their own advice. Yes we should all be charitable to him, but none of us should ever expect it from him, because, although he deserves charity no one else does, because he says so.

If they have a problem with us .. and again .. we’re aren’t talking about the CAN .. they should  confront us like a man .. not some sniveling school girls who resort to tattle tales and smear campaigns.
Ah so all those who disagree with Voris lack a pair, and is immature. Again, he ends his mea culpa by reiterating and stressing an ad hominem. BTW who is CAN? O wait, he meant CNA. I guess the spell checker didn't catch that. Added: My daughters, who are school girls are insulted by that comment."

We pray for unity in the Church. But unity cannot come at the sacrifice of the truth.
You can only be united in the church when you agree with Voris.

GOD Bless you.
Added comment:  He didn't sign it?  I understand that it is the script, but for the on line adobe file, he should have signed it.

The whole thing piece follows this pattern: mea culpa, to tu quoque, to ad hominem  My mistake, but others do it, including my accusers,  who are all evil- evil, I say!- and out to get me.
One final observation: This would have benefited from a proofread- there are a few other mistakes that spellcheck didn't and won't catch. And as I stated above, a couple of places are unclear.


The Ranter said...

Great fisking!!

Puff the Magic Dragon said...

I am not proud that the apology was fiskable, most apologies should not be fiskable.

Frankly Simon's apology below to which I link in a previous story, was better than this drivel.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Puff the Magic Dragon said...

Anonymous @ 12:52, you didn't read my rules. You can't just drop unsubstantiated statements and not back them up.

I won't let that crap into my commbox by friends, I sure as hell won't let it in by total strangers.

Cite your sources or keep your gossip to yourself.

Scripture to keep in mind

Six things there are, which the Lord hateth, and the seventh his soul detesteth: [17] Haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, [18] A heart that deviseth wicked plots, feet that are swift to run into mischief, [19]A deceitful witness that uttereth lies, and him that soweth discord among brethren. [20] My son, keep the commandments of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother. ***Cf:Douay-Rheims Proverbs 6: 16-20


I declare that I have no intent to acknowledge, distribute or encourage anything contrary to Sacred Scripture, Sacred Tradition and the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church and the Apostolic See. I submit myself and all the contents of this blog to the judgment of the Church.