Most of you know how much I appreciate Michael Voris. He's saying some things that badly need saying and that only someone of his independence seems in a position to dare say. This underscores what is right with Voris. He is something like a contemporary Jeremiah, calling God's people to repentance, sometimes with a refreshing (and doubtless offensive) bluntness. This is what gives him part of his negative reputation: he offends delicate sensibilities. Good for him. What would the redemptive history of the Chosen People have been without Jeremiah and his "Jeremiads"?
So what is wrong with Voris? Despite what Mark Shea and others like him might think, not much. There is, however, a small thin slice of Voris' messages that are a problem, not because of their bluntness, but because of their ignorance; and this applies to most of what he has to say about Protestants. While his opposition to knee-jerk "we're-all-the-same-anyway" ecumaniacs is a welcome difference from the naive and ill-informed willingness of some Catholics to embrace everyone from Bishop-Spong-vintage liberal Episcopalians to "Jesus-who?" Unitarians, he has little discernment concerning the facts of the 16th-century Protestant Reformers (De-formers, if you prefer), let alone the distinctive nuances of different kinds of Protestants, whether Calvinists, Methodists, Lutherans, Anglicans, Pentecostals, Nazarines, Baptists, Mennonites, Schwenkfelders, Moravians, or whatever.
This leads to some bald declarations that are just, well, embarrassing.
A good example is "Voris & Shea: Can't We All Just Get Along?" (Creative Minority Report). My issue is not so much the words of "Amazing Grace," which are the focus of Voris' remarks here. I do think that there are parts of that Protestant national hymn that can be interpreted in ways that are grossly inimical to traditional Catholic sensibilities (as my friend Chris Garton-Zavesky could tell you), but I don't think that interpretation is essential or, indeed, is how most people who sing that hymn interpret them. That, to my thinking, is beside the point here.
If Mr. Voris would cease attacking Protestantism, where he is often on very shaky ground, and continue to focus on the house-cleaning of our own Catholic household, I could find very little if anything not to appreciate in him, despite what Mr. Shea may wish to say. His opposition to mindless ecumenism is welcome, but there is also such a thing as gross insensitivity to baptized brothers in Christ who, through no fault of their own, were born into and raised in some Protestant ethos or another and sincerely seek the truth by the light they've been given. Some of us led, doubtless by the Holy Spirit, to discern the truth of Catholicism by means of disparate nuggets of what was true and good within our own erstwhile non-Catholic Christian traditions.
[Hat tip to J.M.]