My Cousin Vinny

So, as Socon or Bust readers know, Fr. Tom Rosica has responded to Michael Voris’s rather compelling and revealing video exposé on Fr. Rosica’s interview with Gregory Baum.

You’ll notice, of course, that Fr. Rosica’s blog entry has no comments being displayed. That’s not because there weren’t any comments – there were, but Fr. Rosica scrubbed them all away.  All those hatey-haters out there did not really appreciate his soft-peddling of dissent, lionization of an excommunicant, and subtle digs at the Holy Father. 

Salt + Light TV doesn’t get many comments on their blog, despite being Canada’s “Channel of Hope“, except of course when Fr. Rosica courts controversy with his dissenting friends.   Then the lines light up and he is inundated by critical comments by justifiably unamused people.  Shortly thereafter, we hear about all of us “slanderers”, “killers”, and nasty bloggers.  Whether it’s soft-balling McGuinty or having women with collars on his show or castigating “anti-Obama Catholic blogs” or revving up for his mad-as-hell tours against pro-lifers, Fr. Rosica knows how to play the game.  That much I’ll grant him.  Let’s see what he has to say in his defense of having the unrepentant excommunicant and dissenter extraordinaire, Gregory Baum, on his Witness program….

First for a little context, however, here is Baum’s bio….

Gregory Baum, a former priest who married a divorced former nun (and then proceeded to divorce her), is Canada’s most notorious, defrocked, and dissenting ex-priestHe was one of the leading dissenters of Humanae Vitae, Pope Paul VI’s encyclical condemning contraceptive acts, and became a catalyst in the adoption of the disastrous Winnipeg Statement. Gregory Baum, remember, is Fr. Rosica’s pal from Fr. Rosica’s days at the Newman Centre. Baum was (and is) arguably Canada’s staunchest and most influential opponent of Humane Vitae, and who even openly advocated for same-sex “marriage“. Baum’s 1974 article on homosexuality in the U.S. Catholic weekly Commonweal (February 15) was used as a handout by homosexual activists throughout North America for almost two decades. In it he argued, first, the theme developed earlier by others that the biblical references condemning sodomy were really references to lack of hospitality; and, secondly, that Catholic teaching would change and endorse homosexuality within a few years. Father Baum was excommunicated automatically under the existing (1917) Code of Canon Law for sinning grievously by abandoning his vocation and “attempting” to get married while still a functioning priest. (Source).

Fr. Rosica writes:

Whether we wish to admit it or not, Professor Gregory Baum played a significant role at the Second Vatican Council. We cannot rewrite history.

No one is asking Fr. Rosica to rewrite history…only to acknowledge the problematic public positions of an ex-priest and notorious dissenter.  Participating in an Ecumenical Council – even contributing in a significant way – does not give someone a kind of magical dispensation from holding to the entire Catholic Faith.  Does Fr. Rosica believe the same way about Hans Küng as he does Gregory Baum?  Küng also participated in Vatican II in a significant way — even more than Baum did and he holds many of the same positions.  Gregory Baum does not have any teaching authority in the Catholic Church, and he has been publicly rebuked by the Church too:

Baum’s public dissent from the Vatican’s 1976 “Declaration on Sexual Ethics,” with its strictures against homosexuality, Toronto’s Archbishop Philip Pocock announced that “Fr. Baum’s published reactions are contrary to official Catholic doctrine and may not be followed as either the teaching or the practice of the Catholic Church.”  (Source)

So if the Church has publicly distanced itself from Baum, why does Fr. Rosica insist on holding him up as someone who holds to the “authentic Spirit” of Vatican II?   It is an elementary mistake in logic to believe that the Holy Spirit protects liberal theologians from error when their opinions are not ratified by Holy Mother Church.  Last time I checked, there is only one individual on this earth who possesses the charism of infallibility and it isn’t Gregory Baum. 

The many things and errors attributed to him at present are unjustified. Those like Michael Voris who wish to blame Professor Baum for things that went wrong with the application of the Second Vatican Council are dishonest and completely incorrect.

All Gregory Baum has to do is to renounce his past positions on contraception, same-sex “marriage”, divorce (since he had one – kind of), women priests, Vatican II being a break with Holy Tradition, Dominus Iesus, etc. etc. to prove Fr. Rosica’s claim.  But he has not done so, and Fr. Rosica has not provided any evidence to the contrary.  And do you know why, gentle reader?  Because Baum has NOT recanted anything.  That’s why.  In fact, just this past September at St. Paul’s University, Baum was hinting that he still believes in women priests.  Fr. Rosica likes to throw things around the school yard and hopes something sticks to “prove his point”.  The problem, of course, is that he has not rebutted anything Michael Voris has said.  Indeed, the allegations against Baum are all true and have never been challenged by Baum or anyone else — except now with Fr. Rosica’s futile attempt to have us just “take his word for it”. 

Yah.

The human condition often makes us blame others for things that we cannot fully understand.

And the facts help us judge rightly.  This is not about the “human condition” or about not fully understanding. We fully understand what Gregory Baum is saying, Fr. Rosica…and sadly, so do you.

The ad hominem attacks against Professor Baum have nothing to do with Gospel charity and Christian behaviour.

There were no ad hominem attacks against Baum.  But there were some inconvenient truths revealed about what he openly believes.  Ad hominem attacks is what you do, Father, since you don’t have any facts to back up anything that you say.

Let those who have eyes and ears to see and hear view the entire interview and not base judgments on others’ interpretation and distortion of my WITNESS interview with Professor Baum.

We don’t base our facts on “interpretations” but by the cold, hard public record.  Gregory Baum has never publicly (or likely, privately) repented of his positions.  If he did repent, then none of this controversy would be happening.  We all make mistakes, but some of us admit them and seek forgiveness.  Others are proud and rebellious against the Church’s magisterium.

In response to the attacks of Michael Voris upon Salt + Light Television and myself, I simply wish to recall the words of an important statement released by the Archdiocese of Detroit on December 15, 2011…When the name “Catholic” is removed from one’s public activity and work, this is a very serious matter. Having known for some time of Michael Voris’ background, it is a story that invites us not into anger and rage, but into profound pity and prayer for him, and all those who have found his method, style and content significant for their lives.

Fr. Rosica should save the invitations to his insincere and grovelling pity party and invite those instead who are culpably dim-witted to figure out what’s he about.  In the mean time, let’s review the situation by asking some pertinent questions:

1.  Has Michael Voris ever dissented from any fundamental Church teaching?  No.

2. Has Gregory Baum ever dissented from any fundamental Church teaching?  Yes.  On many occasions.

3.  Has Michael Voris always obeyed his bishop? Yes. He removed the name “Catholic” from his ministry when asked.

4. Has Gregory Baum always obeyed his bishop? No.  He advocated positions in the area of homosexuality in opposition to his bishop’s orders.

5.  Is Michael Voris a Catholic in good standing?  Yes.

6.  Is Gregory Baum a Catholic in good standing? No. He left the priesthood and was automatically excommunicated by the code of canon law in force at that time.

7.  Has any ecclesial authority ever found fault in any of Michael Voris’s teachings about the Faith? No.

8. Has any ecclesial authority ever found fault with Gregory Baum? Yes.  + Pocock:  “Fr. Baum’s published reactions are contrary to official Catholic doctrine and may not be followed as either the teaching or the practice of the Catholic Church.” (Source)

9. Is Michael Voris recognized to teach the Catholic Faith in any official capacity? No.

10.  Is Gregory Baum recognized to teach the Catholic Faith in any official capacity? No.

11.  Has Michael Voris honoured marriage and the Gospel of Life? Yes.  He is single and has never divorced and decries abortion and contraception, publicly, almost every day.

 12. Has Gregory Baum honoured marriage and the Gospel of Life?  No. He left his priesthood and “married” a “divorced” nun and then proceeded to “divorce” her.  He is a dissenter from Humanae Vitae.

13. Has Michael Voris sent creepy, unbalanced communications to bloggers? No.

14.  Has Fr. Tom Rosica sent creepy, unbalanced communications to bloggers? Yes. On more than one occasion too.

15.  Has Michael Voris dissented from any teaching of Vatican II? No.

16.  Has Gregory Baum dissented from any teachings of Vatican II? Yes.  On artificial birth control. (…sons of the Church may not undertake methods of birth control which are found blameworthy by the teaching authority of the Church in its unfolding of the divine law (Gaudium et Spes, 51, Second Vatican Council)).

17. Does Michael Voris dissent from Dominus Iesus? No.

18. Does Gregory Baum dissent from Dominus Iesus? Yes.

As for Fr. Rosica’s reference to the Archdiocese of Detroit’s press release about Voris, here’s the substance of it:

The Archdiocese has informed Mr. Voris and Real Catholic TV, RealCatholicTV.com, that it does not regard them as being authorized to use the word “Catholic” to identify or promote their public activities.

What does this mean?  It means that Michael Voris can’t speak for the Archdiocese. It doesn’t say anything about the orthodoxy of Voris’s public positions.  There is no declaration of any problem with Voris’s content. The same cannot be said, however, for Gregory Baum who has indeed been disciplined by a competent ecclesial official (his bishop) for his teachings. 

The Archdiocese of Detroit doesn’t like the fact that Michael Voris is not “diplomatic” enough.   He offends people.  He offends Protestants.  He offends liberal Catholics. And his style is too muscular for them.  One can totally understand that in today’s effeminate ecclesial and ecumenical polity, such an approach will not be readily acceptable and therefore any Catholic finding prominence with this style is going to find himself on the outs with the hierarchy.  So what?  Saints were no less persecuted in the history of the church because their style did not mesh with the established orientation of the day.  Some people might have a problem with Voris’s style. Fine. Different strokes for different folks.  This has nothing to do with THE FAITH, however, and THE FAITH is what counts. 

But I will concede this point to Fr. Rosica:  the fact that Michael Voris, a faithful Catholic with a muscular personality, is persona non grata among the Catholic hierarchy for his style, while Gregory Baum, a notorious dissenter and excommunicant, is given free rein in official Catholic venues like St. Paul’s University and Canada’s Catholic “Station of Hope” (making outrageous remarks and insinuations, by the way), tells you all you need to know about the state of the Catholic Church today.

It would indeed be a joyful day in Detroit, in all of America and in Canada, if the bishops of our countries were as vigilant in defending the name “Catholic” for our schools and hospitals,  not to mention the scandal of the pro-abort “Catholic” politician-fool who goes around calling himself a “devout Catholic” to a gullible electorate.   Indeed, would we not all be better for it, if all the bishops applied the same vigilant standard to the Church’s cultural and social institutions as  +Vigneron has done to Michael Voris’s comparatively miniscule encroachments of style. 

But for today’s Church, giving offense to our “ecumenical partners” or raising one’s voice or – God forbid – being “grumpy” are grave and truly unspeakable sins indeed.  Contradicting the claims to Catholicity of pseudo-Catholic politicians (like Fr. Rosica’s friend, the “pro-choice” Premier of Ontario, Dalton McGuinty, for instance), however, don’t really rise to that level of urgency in AmChurch and CanChurch.  For Fr. Rosica, Michael Voris is the “unreconciled heart” while Gregory Baum “remain[s] a faithful, deeply devoted Catholic” (24:45).   Seriously.

I have celebrated mass for Michael Voris this past weekend. May the Lord help him realize what he is doing. May the Lord heal him from the sadness and unreconciled heart that produces such Unchristian, virulent, slanderous behavior and disrespect for others.

Socon or Bust readers may be familiar with a 1992 movie called “My Cousin Vinny“.  It’s about a Bronx lawyer being sent to the Deep South to help his cousin (played by Ralph Macchio from Karate Kid fame) out of jail.  Joe Pesci and Marisa Tomei also star in it.  It’s hilarious.  Early in the movie, there’s one scene (0:00-0:33) where Pesci (Vinny) and his girlfriend arrive in town and are chiding each other about how out-of-place each other look in their new surroundings:

“What?” Lisa asks Vinny who replies, “Nothing. You stick out like a sore thumb around here.” Lisa then says, “Me? What about you?” Then Vinny says, “I fit in better than you. At least I’m wearing cowboy boots.” Lisa says to that, “Oh yeah, you blend.”

I’m not sure what Fr. Rosica’s game is, but he’s not fooling anyone and his pathetic attempts at deflection are not working for anyone who has eyes to see and to read.  Gregory Baum is an excommunicant, dissenter, and heretic.  That’s a fact beyond dispute.  Trying to blur the lines and cast meaningless insinuations about Michael Voris is like my cousin Vinny trying to blend into Hicksville.  It won’t work.

Fr. Rosica, for the good of your own soul and the good of the Church, in the name of Jesus Christ, I urge you to repent before it’s too late.  Gregory Baum is close to 90.  Küng is not too far behind…as are all of the dissenters and heretics.  The false “Spirit” of Vatican II is dying and soon, once people figure out that Salt + Light TV’s otherwise wholesome and pious programming  is effectively financing your side-show adventures in dissent, the jig will be up.  

It is my prayer that the competent ecclesiastical authority cares enough about you and your immortal soul to remove you from any area of influence in the Church, until you have been rehabilated in loyalty to the Church’s Magisterium.

You have many gifts to offer to the Church, but right now, they’re being used in the wrong direction.

As it stands now, you are a grave danger to yourself, to Salt + Light, and indeed to the entire Church Universal.

You wound Jesus every time you give a platform for dissent. 

For the love of the Lord, Himself, and His sacrifice for you on the Cross, stop it.

8 thoughts on “My Cousin Vinny

  1. Hi John. Great rebuke of Rosica, the man should be
    ex-co- mmn-i- cated just like Baum.
    God Bless you and your work.
    Don

  2. You know sometimes I think about what Rosica said in regards to orthodox Catholics being unhappy people. As a rule it is not true, but I think he probably would have called the prophets of the old testament downers. He probably would have called Jesus a downer what with all the Kingdom of God and coming judgement and repenting and broods of vipers and all that.

  3. Thank you for this, and to my Calgary friend who keeps me up to date here in Australia. I am a devoted follower of Michael Voris’s version of Catholicism and had the pleasure of meeting him at Our Lady of Lebanon Church in Sydney – along with Fr. Paul Nicholson, when they visited earlier this year. Baum has been a disaster for years and Rosica is following in his footsteps. Keep up your good work John. God Bless you and your family.

  4. I am afraid your are mistaken in believing that Fr. Rosica is not fooling anyone. He is in fact incredibly successful in cozing up to very many Catholics, including, and especially, those in influential positions in the Church and in Catholic agencies such as the Knights of Columbus. His influence has been growing, not declining.

    It would be foolish to underestimate him and assume that he and his network of intimidating collaborators will just fade away once the aged Baums and De Roos finally pass on. There are still many persons in this network actively promoting their alternative social justice, gay Catholic Church and they are succeeding. Cultural developments favor them much more than they do faithful Catholics. They are in near total control of the Catholic schools and have been for decades. They are forming legions of alternative Catholic, anti-Catholics in those schools. This is not going to be an easy battle.

    • PJ is right. There is a growing schism in all the Catholic churches I have been to. The liberals even work behind the scenes on the priests and I’ve seen that they are usually in the majority in church councils.
      We need to be attentive to what is being said during the mass and talk to the priest when we see liberal influences.

  5. A correction to your blog: Michael Voris never removed the word ‘Catholic’ from his ministry when asked by someone in his archdiocese (it wasn’t the bishop that did the asking either). The plans were already in the works to change the name of the network from RealCatholicTV to ChurchMilitantTV. As Michael explained, no one in the archdiocese had the authority to ask him to change the name of the network, since the network owner (who is not Michael Voris), is located in a different diocese.

    Fr. Rosica presented this situation in a twisted light. None of what he said about the name change of the network is true.

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