Stating the obvious
by Bernard Brandt
Anyone who has been following RC religious news lately has perhaps also been following the story of Michael Voris. Briefly, Mr. Voris has founded the website, ChurchMilitant, which in turn has been making a number of allegations.
To sum up, those allegations are that for several decades now, the Roman Catholic Church, particularly in North America and Europe, has been infested with bishops and priests who are both actively homosexual, and who as a result of their actions are violating their vows of celibacy. Mr. Voris estimates that the percentage of actively gay RC clergy is 50 percent of the total. More recently, he has alleged that this process has taken place in the Archdiocese of New York, with the full knowledge of the cardinal of that Archdiocese.
Most recently, however, Mr. Voris has made a rather remarkable confession. He has stated publicly that in the years before his return to the Roman Catholic Church, that he had had a number of sexual liaisons with both men and women. Mr. Voris has stated that the reason why he is making these admissions is because he believes that the Archdiocese is in the process of privately investigating him, for the purpose of revealing his unfortunate past in an attempt to discredit him. The Archdiocese, on the other hand, appears to have come out with a statement that it had intended no such thing.
It is obvious that one or the other of these two parties, either Mr. Voris or the Archdiocese, is engaged in the practice of deception. The first possibility which presents itself is that Mr. Voris has engaged upon a massive slander or libel of the Roman Catholic Church in general, and the Archdiocese of New York in particular. The second possibility is that what Mr. Voris has been saying is in fact true: that fully half of its priests are actively gay, that some of them have engaged in embezzlement of church funds, and that the spiritual leadership of the Archdiocese, both past and present, has practiced an elaborate fraud upon its flock.
It is obvious that if it is Mr. Voris who is being untruthful here, the proper course of action would be for the Archdiocese to prosecute Mr. Voris in either New York State or U.S. Federal Court for various actions, including intentional or negligent misrepresentation, libel, and slander. As it would appear that Mr. Voris has been making these representations for some time now, it strikes me as rather odd that the Archdiocese has to date failed and refused to take such action.
Of course, if it is the Archdiocese which has been untruthful, then its failure to prosecute Mr. Voris would make sense. The truth is a perfect defense to the above mentioned causes of action. I’m sure that legal counsel for the Archdiocese has informed the latter that were it to bring a suit against Mr. Voris, and Mr. Voris were to prevail, the results of such action would be very like what happened when Oscar Wilde brought suit against the Marquis of Queensbury for libel early last century. Needless to say, matters did not go well with or for Mr. Wilde.
There is also, alas, the fact that many dioceses and archdioceses of the Roman Catholic Church, especially in this country, have been less than candid with their respective flocks about any number of matters, including but not limited to the nature and extent of the sexual abuse of male minors by male priests, or the embezzlement of church funds by church prelates, or the fact that the reason for some of that embezzlement included the unfortunate blackmailing of one such prelate for his sexual peccadillos. Because of these several matters, I for one have independently come to at least one of the same conclusions as Mr. Voris: the real possibility exists that fully one half of RC priests and bishops are actively gay, and that of the remainder, many are covering for their ‘brother’ priests.
But simply because I am of the same opinion as Mr. Voris does not mean that he is right about these other matters. I do hope that I can look past my own confirmation bias, and treat the Archdiocese with the same presumption of innocence that I do Mr. Voris.
Nonetheless, Mr. Voris has done us all a great service in putting this whole matter at issue, and in bringing this whole matter out into the open. He has also done us a great service in being honest enough to admit the sins of his own past immediately, when it appeared that they would be used against him. For that, Mr. Voris deserves our respect, our thanks, and our gratitude.