Saturday, July 30, 2011

Is Really Catholic?

Well, is it?

To be fair, the disclaimer on the website's About Us page states: "No materials on this website are intended to speak in the name of the Church."

One must wonder, then: Wherefore the name "RealCatholicTV"? Does this indicate that the producers of perceive themselves as "more Catholic" than, say, EWTN or Salt+Light Television? (It would seem that the contemporary movement to "out-Catholic" another represents a spiritual malaise which breeds polarity, division, and hostility in the Church--precisely what the enemy of our salvation wishes to accomplish.)

To push the question further, why would an organisation identify itself as "Real Catholic" when in fact it does not intend "to speak in the name of the Church"? To separate Catholicity from its ecclesial reality is an instant recipe for schism. Just ask St Cyprian of Carthage.

Canon law is quite specific in who gets to call themselves Catholic. Individuals who are baptised and profess the Catholic faith are, of course, Catholic. This, mind you, pertains to physical persons, a category in canon law referring specifically to individuals like you and I (canon 96). Two other categories of persons exist in canon law, moral persons and juridic persons (cf. canon 113.1 and .2). Moral persons are mere de facto aggregates of physical persons, whereas juridic persons are--you guessed it--de iure aggregates of physical, or even moral, persons.

Thus, insofar as the members of have received the Sacraments of Initiation and profess the Catholic Faith in its entirety, they are, individually, Catholic. The problem, though, is that the name of the organisation begs to differ: (1) real, (2) Catholic, (TV). A television station or broadcasting network cannot be physical persons. The members who work for the station might be moral persons, but according to canon law, the only the "Church" and the "Apostolic See" are moral persons by divine right and only these moral persons can be properly called "Catholic."

Now we get to the crux of the issue: "No association is to assume the name Catholic without the consent of competent ecclesiastical authority according to the norm of can. 312)." The only "competent ecclesiastical authority" that can grant the title of "Catholic"--assuming that RealCatholicTV intends at least to be a private association of the faithful--is the Holy See, the episcopal conference, or the local Ordinary.

In other words, the only thing that is really and truly Catholic are (1) the Catholic Church and the Apostolic See, (2) individual believers, and (3) those associations of the faithful who have been granted, lawfully, the title "Catholic."

So, is really Catholic? No, it isn't.

We can go even further. It is well-known, now, that certain speakers associated with the said organisation have fallen out of favour with certain bishops who, unlike laypersons, exercise a divine right to govern their diocese and their subjects. And then we have the recent news that the organisers of World Youth Day 2011 in Madrid, Spain, have clearly noted that any speaking engagement by RealCatholicTV constitutes an unofficial presence.

It goes without saying that is known for its combative style and forcefully uncharitiable--indeed un-Christian--diatribes. Thus we conclude with the magisterial words of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council: "Even though incorporated into the Church, one who does not however persevere in charity is not saved. He remains indeed in the bosom of the Church, but 'in body' and not 'in heart.' All children of the Church should nevertheless remember that their exalted condition results, not from their own merits, but from the grace of Christ. If they fail to respond in thought, word, and deed to that grace, not only shall they not be saved, but they shall be the more severely judged" (Lumen gentium n. 14).

If the viewers of want exposure to real Catholicity, then they should be attuned in heart and mind to the Church's liturgy, especially the Most Holy Eucharist, and to receive with docility and obedience the teachings of the Magisterium rather than view the rantings of a few disgruntled Catholic believers.


  1. Your argument sounds good. You suggest that Voris is just being judgmental rather than making a stand against evil. I also take it that you suggest he has no authority since he is not endorsed by the Holy See. So I assume that you believe you can only criticize if you are a religious like St. John Chrysostom who said "the road to hell is paved with the skulls of bishops."

    Well there are a lot of people who believe that too many priests and bishops and religious in the west have gone too long unchallenged. As a Catholic I was taught that if I see my brother in sin then it is being charitable to expose it so he can repent. It is my duty. Far too many people confuse this kind of charity with being judgmental. Father Bill Casey on EWTN said that the most uncharitable thing you can do is be silent when someone is in sin.

    The problem with Voris critics is that their only argument is that he is uncharitable. Not according to Father Casey. If Voris is out of line, which I believe, like all of us, will do from time to time then address that. Don't demonize the man and his overall mission.

    Realcatholic is not a claim to it's own Magisterium. It is the name of his website. US Air has no affiliation with the US government. I have heard this argument before. BTW it is not called "Catholic" but These are two different names. I am sure that would stand up in court especially since the term just means universal. If I called my company Universal Widgets I don't think Universal Pictures would come after me.

    So where in the catechism does is say we should not point out evil?

    I am tired of the argument that if you speak up against any authority you are bordering on being schismatic or a heretic. If Voris is preaching heresy or being divisive then use your intelligence to construct your argument around that point. It's not about the guy it's about the message.

    The reason that most critics have nothing to say except that he is uncharitable is because his arguments for the most part hold water. Again the guy is a sinner like the rest of us so he is not perfect. My daughter tries to use that argument on me when I have to chastize her. "Your not perfect either".

    Pick apart one of his arguments. I would like to know if Voris is making up stories. If he is I will join in the criticism.

    If his stories are true then I rest my case. He is obeying our Lord when he tells us to love one another.

    John King

  2. Mr King:

    You make too many assumptions about what I think. Just stick to what I said: RealCatholicTV is not, in terms of canon law, "really Catholic." Your counterarguments to some of my premises are too weak for me to try to refute.

    Granted, Mr Voris gives voice to the frustrations of many people when it comes to liturgical abuse, the dismantling of religious life, and so forth. But his method is what is so objectionable--the "us-versus-them" mentality. And even if certain bishops are not faithful to the Tradition, they are still Successors of the Apostles and they deserve our respect, not our caricatures. Mr Voris, alas, is not a Successor of the Apostles and he does not exercise a magisterium.

    I leave it to Jimmy Akin to pick apart some of his arguments. I'm a seminarian and I don't have enough time to spend on Mr Voris. Besides anyone who is knowledgeable in the documents of the Magisterium and in canon law can decide for himself or herself the numerous demerits in Mr Voris' arguments. I can't do the homework for those who use Mr Voris as a shortcut to the Church's documents. Mr Akin, I think, has demonstrated that with perfect clarity.


  3. I took the time to appeal to your intellect regarding this matter because first of all I respect Voris and his work. I don't not appreciate when a blogger will paint a negative picture of him on what I believe is a weak argument. Secondly I took the time to appeal to perhaps influence you and your readers that the Voris is doing a good thing. Now if my arguments are weak that should make it easy for you appeal to me as a brother in Christ. I don't understand. You opened this thread and advertised it on Akin's site and now you don't have time? Help me. If I am misled then bail me out. Blow my argument concerning the issues that Voris addresses as being charitable. I never heard Catholic Answers say "I not going to respond because it is a weak argument".

  4. Mr King:

    Do you know what "red herring" means?

    My original blog post was abundantly clear: in terms of the Church's disciplinary canons, no organisation can call itself Catholic without the permission of the local Ordinary. My entry simply pointed out the delicious irony of an organisation calling itself "RealCatholicTV"--as if it were really Catholic and other networks were not--when in fact the organisation is being disobedient to the very norms which governs one's right to call something "Catholic." What you've done is inflated my entry into an entire defence of Mr Voris's method. This, I would suggest, is precisely what identifies a Taliban Catholic: the tendency to inflate or outright misperceive what is really being said or done in order to gain a platform on an issue irrelevant to the first premise. (Notice how you've turned the issue about RealCatholicTV into one about Mr Voris--is he a demagogue already?)

    Again and again: canon law does not allow an organisation to call itself Catholic without the permission of the Ordinary. I've cited the canons--read them for yourself.


  5. Give me a break. You did more than that. You called Voris a ranting disgruntled believer and now you called me a Taliban Catholic. I feel I have been polite in my attempt to appeal to you. I will avoid you and your site from now on. Sad because I checked you out. Not many responses to your blogs. Won't get anymore from me. I also checked some of your responses to other blogs...very argumentative.

  6. For a third time, you've completely sidestepped the canonical question I raised in my original entry.

    You've also ignored the fact that I did not name any person in particular at the end of my entry--I simply encouraged my readers to listen more carefully to the Church's supreme authority than "the rantings of a few Catholic believers." You made assumption--one of many assumptions, in fact--that I was referring to Mr Voris. From my direction, his name only came up in the comboxes.

    Again, true to your form of not reading carefully, you assumed that I was calling you a Taliban Catholic. It was a general statement with no specific reference to any particular person. (Nor was I thinking of you as such when I typed this response).

    I find it ironic that Mr Voris is given license to speak viciously about people in the Church--I recall a rant about "lesbian nuns"--but he and his ilk imagine that they should be immune from critique.

    You would do well to read carefully next time, or at least find a level playing field somewhere else. As for me, I refuse to critique the Church's problems by taking the route of character assassination, as RealCatholicTV does (which, again, is not authorised to call itself Catholic, as I've been saying all along but you've somehow missed).



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