Thursday, 19 April 2012

Michael Voris Tour: A guest review...

Today a guest post from a reader who sent me his review of one of the Michael Voris presentations. 

If you were hesitating about going, this should encourage you to give it a go.... 

Sydney: A big crowd of young people

Frank reports:

I attended the Michael Voris presentation in Sydney on 18th April. The topic was Why Saying you're Catholic is not Enough.

The presentation took place at St Charbels Church in Punchbowl and on a dreadful night of heavy rain a very impressive crowd of over 400 turned up.

Whilst talking about the attendees, it is also worth mentioning that 90% of them were under the age of 35.

Evangelization style?

I had mixed feelings about going along to the presentation as I am not a fan of Michael Voris's approach to evangelism. In particular, my impression is that he sets himself up as the judge of who is and is not a good catholic and has been quite quick to condemn men and women who have devoted their lives to the faith on the basis that he does not think they have done/said enough.

The presentation opened with Michael asking the audience how many people had seen his show the Vortex, and about 20% of the hands in the audience sprung up. He then compared this audience, which he had quite rightly recognised as fairly committed to the church with a vox pop which he had done in Ireland, where he found that only one in nineteen people that he interviewed outside a university attended mass regularly. The upshot is that he will use this event to show the world via his Vortex show that there are young people who are committed to their faith. I presume that he realises this is not the norm for young people in Australia.

Confession push

The next section of his talk emphasised the point that we are Catholic because we have been chosen by God to be so and that it is not something that happened by mere chance of nature. Therefore because we have been chosen by God to be Catholic, it makes things worse when we betray that gift by acting in an un-Godly manner and go against the teachings of the church. This then led into a piece about the need to strive to be in a state of grace and to respond to the graces God bestows upon us. The audience were then told that if we are in a state of mortal sin (and he reminded us of the things that typically put us in that state) then we are going to hell. I can't remember the last time anyone delivered this message from the pulpit!

Michael continually emphasised the need to make use of the sacraments and in particular reconciliation and the Eucharist to help us get to heaven. I was interested to note that during the presentation, which took place inside the church, a priest was hearing confession. By the end of the night there was a queue of about 30 people waiting to go. My gut feeling is that many would not have joined this queue if it was not for the talk, however, I could be wrong.

During evening I continually had the thought; why aren't our priests saying some of this stuff during their homilies?

Why don't priests say this!

The skill that Michael has, is the ability to deliver a very unambiguous message which leaves the listener to make up his/her mind about what to do with that information. Too many homilies are lacking in quality of delivery (which is excusable as not everyone is a polished presenter) but worse they are also lacking in a goal or aim....which should be to help us get to heaven. I think Michael adopts the adage "tell it straight or tell it crooked" and this appeals to many people. At the end of the talk, Michael received a standing ovation from a large section of the audience - I have been to see Tim Staples in the same venue and don't recall him being given the same response.

Overall I am glad I attended and found it thought provoking, amusing (e.g. he cracked a joke about the fact that at everyone's funeral these days no matter how bad the deceased has been during his/her life, the eulogy paints them out to be a saint in heaven and now looking down at us whilst sitting next to Jesus) and largely absent of much of the things I feared from him such as Catholic tribalism and condemnation of the religious. If he could lose some of the rough edges and lack of charity, which I have heard from him in the past, then I think he could be a major driving force in the new evangelisation effort and someone who I would direct people to go and see."

Tour dates still to come:

Adelaide: 20 April

Melbourne: 21 April

Canberra: 22 April 2012

And you can find all the details here.


Raymond Nicholas said...

I think different approaches are needed for different kinds of people. Concerning MV’s” rough edges and charity” when evangelizing either non-Christians or non-Catholics, I agree that his standard methods would not fit the circumstances. However, I do not believe these folks are MV’s primary focus.

My impression is that MV is directing his words more towards persons who claim to be Catholic, but in reality do not believe in the doctrines of the Faith and do not apply the moral teaching of the Church to their daily lives. There appears to be a large segment of Catholics who fit these categories to a greater or lesser degree. It is natural to dislike MV’s style and message if you are one of these, or are generally disinclined to deal with issues head-on.

Following is a bit of philosophy I learned back in the 1960s:

“He who knows not and knows not that he knows not is a fool, shun him. He who knows not and knows that he knows not is a child, teach him. He who knows and knows not that he knows is asleep, awaken him. He who knows and knows that he knows is wise, follow him.”

When it comes to adult Catholics, that is, Catholics who should know better regarding the Words of Christ and the Church’s teachings on faith and morals deriving from the Words of Christ, there are quite a few who act like fools and should be shunned, especially when they act the fool in public. Many are teachers, elected officials, bishops, and priests. They need to go the woodshed and get spanked. MV is good at this.

There are some adult Catholics who never grew up into a mature understanding of the Faith and are so self-centered they still act like petulant children. They pick and choose what they like and rationalize in humanistic terms what they dislike. Their minds are not on Heaven. They need to relearn the Faith, that is, to be re-catechized.

Then there are those like the half-committed ones in the pews or lapsed Catholics longing for something better, to learn more about the Faith or to rediscover the tremendous insights the Church has to offer for living in the modern world. Sometimes they are just plain lazy. They need to be awakened with the proper pastoral impetus.

Who are the wise ones to be followed? First and foremost, the ones with their eyes on the prize—Heaven, not Earth. All the Words of Christ matter, not just the warm and fuzzy ones that make you feel good. Then there are the Apostles and Doctors of the Church, and the Saints. But in order to believe in any of their words and actions, a person needs to sacrifice pride and accept humility.

I would not chastise MV too harshly if you know in your heart that what he is saying is the truth.

HolyCatholicApostoli said...

The Fathers of Mercy (as seen on EWTN) are starting their annual Parish Missions in Australia this week.
See the link below for venues and times:
One correction to be made to the list of venues, is that the Leeton mission was cancelled and replaced by a Mission in the Sale Cathedral (same time as listed).


theCuriousCatholic said...

People will want to know, or keep in mind, that Michael Voris is an Opus Dei Numerary and is selling a party line. They might like that line, but know it is one.

Google Voris video "Catholic Government" and "The Jews" to get the real picture. There Bishops in the states who won't allow him to speak on Church properties.

Kate said...

Curious Catholic - Though I'm not personally a great fan of Opus Dei (they tried to recruit me at University and failed!) no one has ever accused them of being anything other than absolutely orthodox as far as I know (eccentricly extreme in practices but that is another matter).

By contrast the bishops who have harrassed Voris in the US seem invariably to be liberals who take no action against priests and others advocating abortion, homosexuality and worse.

While I admit I find the eccentric views of many conservatives/traditionalists on some issues trying (and I'm not commenting on the specific videos you point to which I haven't bothered googling or indeed Voris in particular at all on this - it is a widespread phenonena), they are surely preferable to the outright heresy that seems to be mainstream in most places.

So what's the party line you are so concerned about? Orthodoxy and getting out there and acting as a layperson? Can't see the problem with that personally...

Kate said...

PS Oh dear Curious, just took a look at your blog. Talk about consiracy theories nuttery!

I'll take Voris over your ludicrous speculations any time.

Campion said...

I attended Michael Voris' talk in Canberra. I thought him a brilliant and gifted speaker. Yes, he is very tough - he doesn't compromise; but we NEED that in Australia today. Too many people are happy to back down, give in, or be diplomatic. Christ wasn't diplomatic and neither should we be. God bless Michael Voris!

Anonymous said...

Out of interest how many people attended in Canberra and what was the age profile of the crowd?

Christine said...

Michael Voris is blessed with the gift of apostolic zeal and the ability to speak the truth with eloquence and conviction. The Holy Spirit is using him to draw souls to Our Lord. Sometimes a bold, uncompromising message is taken to be lack of charity, when in fact it is fueled by charity and a genuine desire to save souls.

Pray for him and for his apostolate. And let us each strive for personal holiness!

Campion said...

Sorry, computer wouldn't let me post a reply earlier . . . There were 50 people all together at the Canberra talk. There were maybe eight-ten elderly people, a couple of families with a good number of kids, a handful of middle-aged people, and the rest were teenagers or in their twenties. I happened to do the head count myself as I was helping organise it :P it was a fantastic talk and I hope he comes again.

Campion said...

Sorry, computer wouldn't let me post a reply earlier . . . There were 50 people all together at the Canberra talk. There were maybe eight-ten elderly people, a couple of families with a good number of kids, a handful of middle-aged people, and the rest were teenagers or in their twenties. I happened to do the head count myself as I was helping organise it :P it was a fantastic talk and I hope he comes again.