The theme of the post is that Michael Voris gives a number of criticisms of an apparently liberal "Catholic" educator - but those same criticisms can, Codg argues, be equally applied to Pope Francis, even though Voris is reluctant to do exactly that.
As I noted in (the bottom portion of) part 2 of “The Battle Within”, the compaints in his video “Double Video” (16 Oct 2013) which Voris lodges against an increasingly pervasive human-centric Catholicism, have the uncanny potential to be lobbed against many of the things Pope Francis is on record as saying. The marginalization of “the pelvic issues” in favor of “mercy,” the emphasis on smiles and joy, the (as I call it, hyper-Marthan) priority of The People And Their Needs, and the scrupulous avoidance of references to Hell–Voris rails against these things, yet he seems oblivious to–or simply unwilling to observe–the fact that the Pope does quite the opposite.Alright - so Codg sees a pattern here. I think these complaints are a little scattershot: looking for how many times 'hell' comes up in a search for a Pope who isn't even a year into his papacy, an article reference to the Pope saying that nuns shouldn't become 'too spiritual' and should embrace communal living and try to be happy, and 'people and their needs' talk. But this sets the tone, so on we go.
First, I will admit - when I watch Voris' video, I come away from the whole thing entirely disappointed. A good chunk of this is subjective - I'm not a fan of his tone of voice (it is amazingly sarcastic and preachy from start to finish), and I find the battles he prefers to pick to be bizarre. In the linked video, he actually makes some points I absolutely agree with - he highlights the abuse of the word 'dialogue', which I've actually blogged about, he points out doublespeak. But he talks about all of these methods, he explains the deception and double-speak that goes on... and then fails to land a real blow against Sullivan herself. So we get minutes of 'Judas Catholic' talk, and some pretty damning words... and the strongest thing Voris can say is that 'Well, if we interpret love and support to mean "accepting same-sex sexual acts as moral" THEN...." He doesn't even hammer away enough on the spousal point, which IS damning - since the 'gender of their spouse' is going to determine, certainly by the Catholic view, whether or not said person can even be a spouse to begin with.
The short version is, if you're going to talk about double-speak, Judas Catholics, and opposing Church teaching, if you're going to sound damning and critical... then you damn well better have evidence and quotes onhand that show the Judas Catholic engaged in actual betrayal: attending a NARAL meeting as a supporter, promoting gay marriage, etc. If all you can do after a tirade like that is launch an assault on an interpretation of the words, you've screwed up.
Anyway, this entry is supposed to focus on Codg, not Voris. The problem is that Voris just fumbles right away, so this may impact some of what Codg says.
Let me pause here to note an irony: I don’t think what Sullivan said is controversial. I mean, do we expect a Catholic university to denigrate and persecute homosexuals? Of course not. It’s a basic requirement of Catholic teaching to treat all people with love and respect as persons made in God’s image. As I like to say, hewing close to orthodoxy gets you the nutrients you need with all the manners that others need. To wit, Fr. Rodriguez shows the perfect integration of evangelical love and moral truth in Catholicism when he discusses the four cardinal points of the Church’s teaching on same-sex attraction.Actually, contra Codg - yeah, I do think what Sullivan said is controversial, though Voris doesn't pick up on it nearly enough. There is no such thing as a 'gay spouse' according to Church teaching. Hell, according to Natural Law. I suppose, then, it's not that what she said is "controversial". That portion is simply wrong.
And here's where problems really start to begin.
First, Codg talks about 'insidious manipulation of language practiced by Catholic progressives'. In a certain sense, I absolutely understand what he's talking about. The problem is, to a certain degree, this 'insidious manipulation of language' is just good old-fashioned skillful rhetoric. I don't think orthodox or social conservatives need dishonest presentations of what they say. But holy hell, we could use skillful rhetoric. And my worry is that some social conservatives have hit a point where, unless a social conservative is talking more or less the way Voris does, then they get filed under the 'liberal' label, because only 'liberals' talk in ways that appeal to the masses.
Let me speak strongly here: if someone thinks that it's wrong to communicate in a way that 'the masses' are likely to understand and be receptive to - if someone thinks it is, in and of itself, wrong to try and communicate in a way that will persuade people - then there is a problem. Namely, someone is out of their minds, and it ain't me. And I'm starting to wonder if this is not a (largely subconscious) problem SoCons have. It almost seems as if some SoCons think the only way to detect a True Conservative is if they're actively trying to piss off as many people as possible.
Here's where things really fall apart for me, on a lot of fronts.
First, as I already said - Voris' video failed to deliver. He made good criticisms about language and deception in the abstract. He failed to appropriately criticize the one thing she said which was obviously wrong, and he failed to deliver any evidence or quotes in addition that illustrated her deception. Put simply, Voris was in attack mode when he should have been in probe mode - he should have been hammering Sullivan with questions civilly, not rushing to judge and attack her. At least, based on what he provided. So right there we have a problem with working out Voris' logic regarding both the Pope and Sullivan.
Second, however... Codg suggests that the pope's words can be read just like Sullivan's - but in quoting the pope, he inserts into brackets additional terms that the Pope didn't say or imply. So, really, what exactly is being disputed here? Why do the letters become 'implicitly active'? How in the world is the Pope being taken as saying that their 'active homosexual lifestyle' is not a problem? Notice, again, that this is another key way in which Sullivan's statements differ from the Pope's, precisely at the point I've referenced: Sullivan talks about 'spouses', and spousal talk in that context pretty much catches 'sexual acts' up in the process.
But the Pope is talking about homosexuals, period. Full stop. And... this is key... there really is a problem with some people thinking that 'being homosexual' - period, end of story, the state of same-sex attraction itself - is sinful. In fact, some people think that this alone suffices to damn people. How much of this is intentional misrepresentation of Church teaching? How much of this is cultural holdover? Who knows. But it's a real issue, and it's one of the main things the Church has to be clear about: there is a difference between 'a person who is homosexual' and 'same-sex sexual acts'. The former is not condemned. The latter is.
I don't think 'love and support' contrasts properly with 'acceptance and toleration'. There's nothing wrong with 'accepting' a homosexual, or most other people. Accepting such and such acts? Different story. Tolerance? Same thing. 'Support'? It depends on what we're supposed to be supporting.
More than that, though... what is this about 'doing the Pope's job for him'? What IS the Pope's job on this front? Please tell me it's not to act like Voris, because that seems wrongheaded. Is it to treat every question about homosexuals as a question about the morality of sodomy, such that you never talk about homosexual persons AS persons, and always as... I don't know, an anal sex proxy? Again, it seems wrongheaded.
Anyway, I think this has been thorough enough. The rest of the post is largely a criticism of Voris for failing to hold the Pope to the same criticism he holds Sullivan up to. But I think Voris fumbled on Sullivan (Note: It's not that I think that she's a closet orthodox Catholic. But Voris is jumping the gun in a bad way, and is attacking and condemning when he has little ammo beyond 'Well I've seen this pattern before.'), I think Voris missed the one portion of Sullivan's statement that was actually damning, I think said statement differentiates her from the Pope in a major way, and I think the Pope's statements don't come anywhere close to implying what Codg is taking them to be implying.