Last night, two hundred people packed Mac Hall at the Bronson Center to hear Internet sensation, Catholic Evangelist and…uh…Peacemaker, Michael Voris. Although I was expecting about 140 people based on the registration information that I received over the past month or so, it seems that word travelled quickly during the last couple of days and many people showed up above my original estimate. The place was packed and there were about 80-100 people already there when I, my wife, and Michael arrived with the Tim Horton’s coffee, timbits, and other refreshments. (Thanks to all who helped out last night including Cynthia B., who brought the fruit and veggies, Andy who helped out with the Sound and Chairs, and Paul L. who helped collect the donations, along with everyone else who helped prepare the place.) Oh and by the way, none of this was promoted by any parish in Ottawa or by the Archdiocese. The word got out by the internet and word of mouth…which goes to show you that the communication lifeblood of the future underground Church will be through email, the Catholic blogosphere, and other underground channels of cyberspace.
The actual talk was about 50 minutes, but we stayed for two hours until 10PM to field questions from the audience. I brought along my digital audio recorder to record the talk. The quality is not great, but it’s audible. The talk and the questions are presented below on Socon or Bust’s YouTube Channel, SoconTV.
Voris’s talk was entitled “Igniting the Firewall: Drawing Boundaries & Preserving Catholic Identity“.
From all accounts, everyone thoroughly enjoyed Voris’s rather sobering and no-holds barred speech, and they even gave him a standing ovation at the end of it. “Impressive” was the word that best summed up the evening, I think. Other than his height, he’s rather larger than life. (Sorry, Michael, I couldn’t resist). Some speakers disappoint when you see them in real life, but Voris is not one of them. This guy is not like Obama who needs a teleprompter to put two words together, unaided. I don’t believe he even had any notes with him when he spoke, either. He just spoke from the heart (and head), like he knew what he was talking about, and he wanted us to know what he was talking about. It wasn’t the fine dining that you might hear in the ivory tower chanceries, but we all enjoyed a robust, thick and well-done steak, just the same. In fact, that’s what I fed him before we showed up…just to make sure he’d stay on message with some real spiritual food. The audience just loved it, too, like castaways who’d been trapped on a remote island in the Pacific and hadn’t enjoyed a good steak in 40 years. Limpy, soggy seaweed instruction and coconut-like teaching, after all, can only go so far to feed one’s soul. The only complaint that I heard was that the evening wasn’t long enough! Not too worry, my friends, things are in the works to bring him back for an all-day affair with one or two other high-powered speakers.
I had a chance to spend some time with Michael during the afternoon, after picking him up from the airport. We had some lively Church chats and shared some intelligence on various things which obviously have to stay confidential. Suffice it to say, what you see on The Vortex is what you get in real life. Many of us can’t say that. We adopt a certain personna on the internet that is not always evident when we’re dealing with people in real life. But Michael is not like that. What you see, as they say, is what you get. I find it refreshing. As an aside, Michael got a kick that we have milk in plastic bags here in Canada. He was rather amused with that. Come to think of it, it is kind of strange.
After the talk, about 6 of us headed over to a local restaurant for a vlognic/blognic until midnight. Might as well squeeze as much time as we can out of him, I figured.
I want to thank all of you who came out to this talk and supported it financially. This couldn’t have happened without your participation and sacrifice. The total cost was $3,007. Total proceeds collected was $3,024.
The Lord does provide.
Below are my introductory remarks followed by Michael’s talk and the followup Q&A.
….It’s edifying and encouraging to see so many people who want to see an authentic Catholic renewal without compromise.
Many of us are here tonight for a number of reasons:
- We might be looking for an expression of authentic Catholicism, instead of the watered down pap we’ve been fed for decades by Church leadership;
- We might be here looking for an expression of a healthy muscular and masculine Catholicism which pulls no punches and gives no quarter;
- Some of us are here because we’ve simply HAD IT UP TO HERE with the scandalous betrayal of the Faith and massive gross negligence of it by those who are in charge of teaching the Faith.
- Some of us are here tonight because we want to send a message to the progressives, the professionals, and the social justice clique in the Church that “your jig is up”…and
- Some of us are here to find out how we can preserve and protect our glorious Catholic faith and our souls from a hostile culture by preserving our Catholic identity.
I chose the title of this talk Igniting the Firewall: Drawing Boundaries & Preserving Catholic Identity in order to be provocative and ecclesiastically correct. For the past 40 years, since Vatican II, we Catholics have not been into erecting boundaries, of course. It’s all been about tearing the existing ones down (like the Communion Rail in front of the altar, for instance) and being “open” and “tolerant”.
That’s great if you live in Shangrala, but we don’t live in Shangrala. This is not the Garden of Eden, in case we haven’t noticed. This is a war zone where the devil prowls around seeking the ruin of souls, as St. Peter says. In a war zone, you need defenses, fortifications, and boundaries. Every house has walls and a roof. Ask yourselves why that is.
This goes against the conventional “Churchspeak” that we’ve been accustomed to in the past 40 years. It is confrontational, radical, intolerant, and reactionary. In short, all things Jesus was by today’s standards and what Catholicism use to be. When was the last time that any of you have heard the phrase “the Church Militant” from a priest or bishop, for instance? That’s not very pleasant, is it? It doesn’t fit the “serene” paradigm that we’ve been lulled into these many years. But it is, as the Pope said just a few days ago, a phrase although “deemed a bit out of fashion these days, it is actually the phrase that best “possesses the truth.” This evil, he said, manifests itself in many obvious ways through “different forms of violence” but, more subtly, it can also be found “masquerading as goodness, and thus destroying the moral foundations of society.”
Now does this mean that we’re not joyful or open to engaging our culture in a spirit of charity? Of course not. I remember that I once was dialoguing with a proponent of so-called gay “marriage”. At the end of the discussion, I asked this person if a true friend always says “yes”? Does love always says “yes”? Is it always tolerant without distinction? The answer to that, as any parent will tell you, is “no”. To be successful in evangelization is to argue from a position of certainty and strength. If you really don’t believe in your Faith and there are no boundaries to it, no one is going to be attracted to it. If your house has no walls, it’s basically an open field and indistinguishable from anything. The person who is walking by keeps on walking because there’s nothing there.
Tonight, we have a speaker who understands all of this perfectly, as we have come to know through his manly and courageous episodes of The Vortex. I know that many of us have been greatly encouraged and edified by his witness. The sentiment, I think I can safely say, about his witness has been “Finally, somebody who’s calling out the pseudo Emperors both inside and outside of the Church who have no clothes.”
With that, I’ll invite Michael up to give his talk.