by John-Henry Westen
LifeSiteNews.com) - For many years faithful Catholics have wished that bishops would take strong action to correct the myriad of Catholic persons and entities who, while claiming to be Catholic, act against the faith, especially regarding issues of Catholic morality.
Catholic pro-abortion politicians, Catholic hospitals that perform clandestine abortions and sterilizations; Catholic universities that constantly violate the faith in many ways, Catholic newspapers and magazines that have been challenging Church teachings and authority for years, all come to mind. Now, today, news broke that the Archdiocese of Detroit has called on someone to stop using the name ‘Catholic’ - but it’s not someone who is fighting against the morals or faith of the Catholic Church at all. It is in fact an individual who has devoted the last several years to vigorously defending and promoting authentic Catholic principles – Michael Voris, known best for his hosting of The Vortex on the website RealCatholicTV.com.
In a press release issued December 15 and signed by Communications officer Joe Kohn, the Archdiocese of Detroit states: “The Archdiocese has informed Mr. Voris and Real Catholic TV, RealCatholicTV.com, that it does not regard them as being authorized to use the word ‘Catholic’ to identify or promote their public activities.”
Of note there are prominent ‘Catholic’ entities and even Catholic priests in the Archdiocese of Detroit directly flouting Church teaching without a comparable reprimand from the Archdiocese. One such entity is a group of priests of the Archdiocese who are publicly in favor of women’s ordination to the priesthood and against the Church’s teaching prohibiting contraception. The group is called “Elephants in the living room.”
There is however an interesting twist to this story. Michael Voris, while he may be the star of RealCatholicTV’s programming, is not the owner of the website. The owner is Marc Brammer who lives in South Bend Indiana in the diocese of Bishop Kevin Rhoades.
Brammer told LifeSiteNews, “I own RealCatholicTV.com. I contracted with Michael Voris to produce video content for that website and I pay him for it. It is a business relationship between me and Michael. If all of a sudden now there’s this tussle over the use of the word ‘Catholic’ I’ll deal with it through competent ecclesial authority.”
Brammer noted that he had received a letter from the Archdiocese of Detroit acknowledging him as the owner of the website. He responded to that letter with a request for a meeting with the Archdiocese. He received no response. Brammer has not been asked by his bishop, Fort Wayne-South Bend Bishop Kevin Rhoades to cease using the word Catholic.
A LifeSiteNews request for an interview with the Archdiocese of Detroit was not returned, and the voice message noted that the office was on holiday till after Christmas.
The press release from the Archdiocese of Detroit notes, “The Church encourages the Christian faithful to promote or sustain a variety of apostolic undertakings but, nevertheless, prohibits any such undertaking from claiming the name Catholic without the consent of the competent ecclesiastical authority.”
The release adds, “For some time, the Archdiocese of Detroit has been in communication with Mr. Michael Voris and his media partner at Real Catholic TV regarding their prominent use of the word ‘Catholic’ in identifying and promoting their public activities disseminated from the enterprise’s production facility in Ferndale, Michigan.”
Voris says that communication was only one way – directives from the Archdiocese and refusal to meet with Voris or Brammer to discuss the matter. Voris told LifeSiteNews that he has requested a meeting with Archdiocesan officials seven times to discuss the matter, but each time he has been ignored or rebuffed.
According to its minutes, Elephants in the living room (the group of priests which publicly holds positions counter to Catholic teachings on women priests and contraception), met with Detroit Archbishop Allen Vigneron on February 1, 2011.
Voris notes that his conflict with the Archdiocese of Detroit has more to do with its staffers than with the Archbishop. Previous to his work for RealCatholicTV, Voris launched St. Michael’s Media and had various offers to air programs he produced, talks he was to give and television shows he was to be featured on canceled through the efforts of staff at the Archdiocese. “They have waged a quiet war since the very first time we set foot into the public realm,” he said.
In response to the press release demand from the Archdiocese of Detroit, Voris told LifeSiteNews, “I don’t have ownership over the name of the organization. It’s not my organization. The headquarters are outside of the diocese.” He concluded, “It’s the wrong person, and the wrong outfit asking the wrong person the wrong question.”
Brammer is to give a formal response to the Archdiocese after Christmas which will be aired on RealCatholicTV.
Composing Effective Communications in Response to LifeSiteNews Reports
Archbishop Allen Vigneron
Chancery Building, Archdiocese of Detroit
1234 Washington Blvd.
Detroit, MI 48226
Phone: (313) 237-5800
Fax: (313) 237-4644