Monday, September 2, 2013
CMTV's Response to Dave Armstrong
Well, if you haven’t been following the little war being waged concerning MV’s Vortex episodes “The Empire Strikes Back” and “Protecting the Status Quo”… good for you! But it’s out there, and on-going, I guess. There seems to be a lot of failure to grasp MV's point that the mainstream Catholic media appears to have a vested interest in not making waves where the bishops are concerned.
Recently, there have been a couple of posts by Dave Armstrong at his blog – see them here and here – focusing on MV’s supposed “preoccupation” with salaries.
Here is a response to those posts written by Terry Carroll, Executive Producer of CMTV:
I think it beyond naive to think that Catholic Answers would get along just fine if they started to lay responsibility for the present crisis in the Church at the feet of the bishops. Do you really think there wouldn't be a severe impact if, say, they were asked to drop the name "Catholic" from their organization name? On what networks would Catholic Answers Live be broadcast? Is it inconsequential that their public personalities would no longer be allowed to speak on Church property, or appear as guests on Catholic TV and radio? Sure, "Answers" (or whatever name they would have to choose after losing the right to the name "Catholic") could still be a viable enterprise. They wouldn't go under completely. But they couldn't go on as they are.
Similar hypothetical scenarios could be suggested for Al Kresta, Drew Mariani and others, even you. Do you think you would still be invited to appear on Catholic radio or TV if you became known as a "bishop basher"? You don't think that would have any impact on your ability to sell books or present yourself in public as a Catholic apologist?
If all Catholic apologists restricted themselves to apologetics, there would be good reason to say that they would not suffer consequences from crossing the hierarchy. But they don't do that. It's almost impossible not to venture into the world of editorial commentary and my point is that, when they do that, they are "selectively incomplete."
There are examples of EWTN getting "smacked" by the bishops for saying or doing something "unapproved." They were barred from covering one of the bishops meetings. They were told to tell their radio stations NOT to say anything about the CCHD scandals three years ago. The recent unattractive chicanery of Bishop Kicanas canceling the contract with Judie Brown's husband is a glaring example of "power politics." Bishop Kicanas outright lied when he piously said that it would have been better for ALL and others to come to the bishops privately before going public with their findings about CRS: Michael Hichborn (ALL) had been meeting privately with the bishops, including Bishop Kicanas personally, for three years.
To paint the picture that the establishment Catholic media are independent of the status quo is laughable. Everyone wants to get along, keep seats at the tables of power, and maintain access. As Karl Keating opined within a review of a book by Charles Coulombe, "We often see people trim the truth when it comes to preserving their jobs -- an understandable human weakness. Normally one should let such things pass without comment" (citation available on request). Every day, Catholic news organization exercise editorial judgment about their news and commentary. "Preserving their jobs -- an understandable human weakness" is unavoidably at work there, as it is with everyone infected with the consequences of Original Sin.
I think you gave an EXCELLENT description of how the Church looks to those who have been exposed to the "dark side" of Catholic reality. Why WOULD anyone want to join a Church like that? And that, even though you are attempting to make your point by appealing to what you think is an absurd example, IS the unfortunate reality "on the ground" that countless people experience. Maybe you haven't had to confront this yourself, but I, personally, have been faced with someone who is attracted to the Catholic Faith and I have to wonder where I can send them for RCIA because RCIA, in general, does such an awful job in parish settings that are themselves awful. How can I invite people to check out the Catholic Church knowing that they will immediately have their faith undermined if they join a typical Catholic parish?
You, and others, survey the devastation of Hiroshima and only notice the miraculously spared patches of green and declare a New Springtime or a New Pentecost. We are, indeed, living in a "Desolate City" (Anne Roche Muggeridge) in a "Devastated Vineyard" (Dietrich von Hildebrand). While an "apologetics of attraction" has much to recommend, by itself it is not adequate to be anything more than whisp of green within the surrounding devastation. If no one is "crying fire," then even the green shoots will be destroyed.
It is ridiculous to claim that all Michael and your despised "bad trads" do is call attention to the fire. The growing numbers of traditional Catholic communities are themselves an answer. The "fix" is to be more traditional. That has ALWAYS been the way, throughout the history of the Church! But most Catholics today aren't even aware that they are in a house that is on fire and burning down and that their shepherds are letting it burn (if not setting the actual fire). That Michael Voris' apostolate continues to grow in the face of the vindictive obstacles thrown in his path is proof that there is a need to hear what he is saying by a significant number of Catholics. For them, he is the voice of their agony and frustration and desire for "heroic Catholicism." They feel heard and understood. He gives them hope. You may not be able to understand that but we could paper your walls with emails thanking him for bringing them back or into the Catholic Church.
I know. There's no accounting for taste, right?
And, as an aside, I'm very disappointed that you decided against engaging me as a human being instead of a representative of an ideology which you consider dangerous to the Church. You would have been surprised how constructive and pleasant it would have been to talk to me, or even engage me in private email. You would still have been free to post anything you wanted. I don't do Facebook and Twitter and, in truth, Michael Voris doesn't either. Even his personal Facebook page is maintained by someone on the staff, although he does respond to personal messages. You will never find him in anyone's combox or FB discussion. But you will find him at the studio when he is in town. And I've never known him to turn down anyone for a visit. I guess dealing with people as people just isn't your thing.
 Armstrong asks if we can imagine Chris Ferrara as a street evangelist saying:
"Hey folks, come and join the Catholic Church! It's self-destructing, at death's door; 95% of our bishops are fundamentally compromised; so are most of our apologists, even the orthodox ones who tell the truth (kow-towing to all the modernist bishops); our popes are spineless wimps who encourage pagans to pray, as if that was equivalent to Christian prayer, and who think Allah and Yahweh are identical. Everything is hopeless and dismal in our ranks; vocations are declining drastically, Mass attendance is a shell of what it used to be; 2% of our people even believe all that the Church teaches anymore, it's spiritually dead, everything is in terrible shape. But come and join the Catholic Church because we're the fullness of truth!"