Friday, 14 March 2014

Even the most valiant soldier can sometimes get the wobbles

This, as you may have guessed, is about Michael Voris and ChurchMilitant.TV. In particular, I’d like to comment on the reports that the mission statement or policy of that organisation specifically precludes any criticism of the Pope.

Let us say, hypothetically, that there might be a Pope whose words or actions on occasion caused confusion or dismay to orthodox-minded Catholics. Those same words or actions might be interpreted by the heterodox and by those who rejected the Church’s moral teachings as a licence to continue on their false path.

If an orthodox Catholic broadcaster with a clause such as CMTV is said to have, were to find itself living and working in such a pontificate, one could reasonably imagine that it would experience a dilemma.

Paul withstood Peter, and the lay faithful, within their capacity, have the right to speak out when their Catholic antennae tell them that something, from whatever source, is just not right. Always subject to correction of genuine misunderstandings, of course, and assuming the sincerity of all involved.

If such a scenario ever came to pass, a few things occur to me. (Readers may think of additional things.) The broadcaster’s management board would be well advised to revisit its blanket “No criticism of the Pope” clause. As it stands, it would not allow them, or their presenters, the specific authorisation to criticise Papal words and deeds while continuing to deny them the right to criticise the man: to speak frankly about the former while displaying genuine respect and love for the latter.

They could, I suppose, leave the clause as it is while interpreting it with a kind of reservation: since it refers, as it stands, only to the Pope and not to his words or actions. There is a risk in this. It could be asserted by their opponents that they were ignoring the “no criticism” clause as though it were a dead letter. Such criticisms would have a grain of truth. But they would be a bit bare-faced. Dissenters have attempted to do this very thing, far more seriously (and have largely succeeded in practice) in regard to the moral teachings of the Church and Her associated disciplines. In general, though, it may not be a good idea.

It would be better, I think, for the broadcaster’s controllers to be completely up-front about it: to re-word the clause so that it clearly permits one kind of criticism while forbidding the other kind. If they were to do that they would at least be able, as one or two people used to say where I worked, to “cover their backs”. In this situation, it might be a sensible move.

Sad, isn’t it, that such measures might become necessary at some point. All CMTV are trying to do is to engage in the noble work of defending the faith of Christ’s Church.

God bless Michael Voris, who is such a valiant soldier.

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