Tuesday night, I had the opportunity to go the highly anticipated, highly exciting argument between Michael Voris of ChurchMilitant.TV and Mark Shea of Catholic and Enjoying It! sponsored by the Argument of the Month Club of St. Augustine’s in South St. Paul, MN.
For those of you who do not know who either of these are, Michael Voris runs an online apostolate called ChurchMillitant.TV in which he posts daily news stories. Voris is known for being more traditional and incredibly blunt. Mark Shea is probably what you could call a “neo” Catholic, in that he is not going to get excited about anything traditional. He has a blog and has written many books. For the last two years, there have been many squabbles between the two, especially on Mark Shea’s blog. Mark Shea has a problem with Voris telling it as it is and not being “nice”. Mark Shea has been very critical of Voris and his viewership, at times, almost uncharitable (in my eyes). Voris generally ignores Shea’s antics.
The event was well received, and I mean well received. The evening started out with cigars, beer and pretzels with a delicious beer cheese sauce. These weren’t your normal store bought pretzels, but the actual warm, doughy, delicious pretzels that you get at the fair or bakery. This lasted until about 6pm. At 6 we all went to the basement of St. Augustine’s, grabbed seats and waited for the argument to start.
Unfortunately, I don’t recall the exact “topic” that was stated, it seemed to have changed a couple times. From the little bits I recall is, “the best way to address the crises in the Church, is through prayer, almsgiving, and doing the corporal and spiritual works of mercy”. Again, I don’t recall if this is the exact wording, but this is what I remember being discussed. Mark Shea took the positive side of the argument and Michael Voris took the negative of this argument.
Mark Shea began the argument with his introduction. He mentioned how the Church is in crisis and has been in crisis, for, well, every single year of the Church’s history. He went on to talk about how St. Paul was constantly writing up the members of the Church to point out what they were doing wrong and what not. He also mentioned that the Church is doing really well numbers wise, using that 1.2 Billion number that I have already talked about. He did end saying that we should be praying, fasting, almsgiving and practicing the corporal and spiritual works of mercy.
Michael Voris responded to these points well. Yes, the Church is always in some form of crises, but that doesn’t mean we should just go along on our merry way, but we need to be men of action (this was an all-men event) and we need to actually respond to the crises and do something about it. He made some great comments on how the Church counts its members and wishes that the bank counted the same way “I wish my bank would only count the deposits I make and ignore the withdrawals”. Then he mentioned how Mark Shea doesn’t even practice the corporal and spiritual works, considering he (Shea) blasts him (Voris) on a regular basis.
Fortunately for Voris, a viewer was kind enough to go through Shea’s blog and highlight all the articles and comments that Shea has posted over the last two years in which he said anything unkind to Voris. Voris read off a few of the things Shea has said, and even some of the things Shea has said about the viewership (one denigration Shea has used is calling them “weenies”). Voris then asked about the 500-600 men, how many of them watched his stuff. At least half of the hands shot up. It was great to see this point being made, as the look on Shea’s face went a little stiff.
After the debate, they served some delicious food for dinner and we had some great discussion amongst our selves. I made sure I got a picture with Michael Voris. I talked with him briefly and thanked him for what he does.
I did not talk with Mark Shea, unfortunately out of a bit of anger, looking back I wish I did. I would have liked to have told him how I used to read his blog, but once he started on bashing Voris and the traditions of the Church, that it completely ruined my view of him and his blog. Oh well.
The second debate was a little different, two other debaters that are part of the Argument of the Month Club went up. They debated what each of us, as laymen, can do to help the Church. There were a few good points made. Here are my favorite lines:
- For 1500-1900 years in Church history, every knee bowed and hit the floor at the words “and God was made flesh and dwelt among us”. Who’s bright idea was it that this should stop?!?
- Does anybody remember “Extra ecclesiam nulla salus”? Outside the Catholic Church there is no salvation? When did this stop? And if it isn’t important, than what’s the point of being Catholic?
- Both Michael Voris and Mark Shea bring people into the Church. Isn’t that good? Michael Voris speaks to one crowd, Mark Shea speaks to another, but if they both bring people to Christ, isn’t that good? (I agree to an extent, it would be nice to see Mark Shea stop judging others because they don’t preach his version of Catholicism).
This was such a great event to be at. You could really feel the excitement and the Holy Spirit’s presence. I think it was good for Shea to be confronted as he was. Let’s just hope and pray that he realizes the errors in his ways.
Kudos to Michael Voris.