I am a lunatic, quick to anger (and quick to forgive I might add) and always ready for a fight. Perhaps our readers may have picked up on these traits, I dunno.
But I have to laugh when I find myself to be the calmest guy in the metaphorical room, ’cause something must be screwy. Screwy indeed.
In this case, it seems that two fine Catholic gents have gone a little kooky. I can’t figure out which of these things is more over the top, Michale Voris’ commentary on Amazing Grace or Mark Shea’s reaction to it?
I like Voris, you guys should know that by now. But I think that his criticisms unnecessarily forces the worst possible interpretation of the lyrics. For instance, one of my favorite lines of the song is “how precious did that grace appear the hour I first believed.” I have always interpreted that to be an exclamation of gratitude for a precious gift. As how precious a glass of water would appear to a man in a desert. His interpretation of the word “appear” seems strange and unnatural to me. Anyway, we can agree to disagree.
But for reasons I cannot really fathom, Mark Shea went ballistic on this video in a piece humbly entitled “Michael Voris Offers Unintelligent and Destructive Cultural Commentary.” Wrong maybe, but destructive? Mark drops a whole dumptruck of hyperbolic polemic on Voris. Some juicy excerpts.
Voris’ sole message is “I am the measure of Real Catholicism and those who agree with me have the right to call themselves Catholic, while those who disagree are liars and lukewarm fake Catholics”.
Dave Armstrong (who is, of course, not a real Catholic since he questions the infallible Voris) looks at Voris’ tissue of prideful, biblically illiterate and theologically stupid assertions
and then Mark unloads on those who like Voris (like me, I suppose)
Why does this matter? Because I am constantly hearing from fans of Voris who think that his method of perpetually sneering at brother and sister Catholics, tearing down anything that he deems to be not “really” Catholic, and endlessly complaining about and sneering at others for their alleged “impurity” (such as singing “Amazing Grace”) constitutes being a “bold voice of reform”.
I don’t understand what people see in this guy. You can get all the good things he has to say–without the sectarian self-righteousness and cloddish theological blunders and over-simplifications–from lots of other sources. So it would appear that precisely what people want is his distinctive contribution: sectarian self-righteousness and cloddish over-simplifications.
Here is the thing, I actually agree with Mark’s defense of Amazing Grace. But for the life of me I cannot understand why it bothers him that people like Voris.
Did Voris miss the mark on this one? I think so. Guess what, I miss the mark on some of my commentary occasionally and I think that Mark would admit that he blows it sometimes too. It is the nature of the beast. And I will freely admit that when Mark writes something I disagree with I like to give him a hard time, but I still like the guy and I hope that Mark still likes me. But I don’t get why Voris drives so many people crazy, I mean neck-vein-bulging crazy.
Even if we disagree and even if we completely blow it sometimes, can’t we all just get along?
(Actually, I am kidding. I really like the fighting. I just want to seem like I am reasonable. But then again, I am really just a protestant 😉