Monday, September 16, 2013

Questions for Catholic Answers

I was chatting with Justin Soeder, who some of you may know helps with a lot of our Restoration Radio shows but also does a lot of behind the scenes work here.  We were recently discussing the "Catholic Answers controversy" during a management team meeting and I really liked what Justin had to say about the matter.  I'm including his response here as part of a change to the website from being a single-man effort to being an editorial team.  My colleague New Catholic, at Rorate, made this move a long time ago, though we both started around the same time.  We're finally catching up. :-)  -sh

The internet has been abuzz over the last week or so with irate outcries over timely revelations about a recent development regarding the Novus Ordo organization Catholic Answers. For those readers unfamiliar with this organization, it is a lay apostolate – which like every other apostolate in the Vatican II religion calls itself a ministry – that is supposed to be an apologetics-based outlet for evangelizing the masses on Roman Catholicism, but instead serves as a defensive mouthpiece for the new religion of Vatican II. From its parent website (www.catholic.com) it serves as the most recognizable outfit on the internet for safeguarding and defending the Novus Ordo faith, and in doing so, it also hosts radio shows which are broadcast both over-the-air on local stations, as well as streamed online and on television. It boasts a lineup of well-known Novus Ordites such as its founder, Karl Keating, “director of apologetics” Tim Staples, “senior apologist” Jimmy Akin and others whom Catholic Answers employs to ply its craft of Novus Ordo apologetics. Recently, it was revealed that Catholic Answers, Inc. was suffering “severe financial shortfalls” and an emergency appeal was sent to the masses, asking them to shake their loose pocket change and dig through the couch cushions to subsidize Catholic Answers, Inc. after several difficult decisions had to be made, such as cutting back staff and canceling “apostolic efforts” in order to remain viable. A somber and sullen-faced Jimmy Akin can be seen here making his morose appeal to help Catholic Answers, Inc. through its “difficult summer months” and hoping to raise $300,000 USD within thirty days’ time.

So what is the big deal about all of this? This stuff is as normal as 2nd and 3rd collections right?

Not exactly. Read on…

THE VORIS INTERVENTION

R ecently, Michael Voris, founder of Churchmilitant.tv  and executive producer/host of The Vortex – a widely watched daily “conservative Catholic” commentary on the happenings of the Vatican II hierarchy – decided to do some digging with regards to the financials of Catholic Answers, Inc. and its staff salaries, since after all, this is public information which should be readily available considering that Catholic Answers, Inc. is designated a 501(c)(3) organization under United States Tax Code, and as such, all of its financials are public record.

So what did Mr. Voris find? He found the salaries, submitted by viewers, of the upper echelon of Catholic Answers, Inc. and decided to air them on his 29 August 2013 broadcast of The Vortex, entitled “The Empire Strikes Back.” It turns out that the organization which is pitching a somber-faced plea for its audience to give until it hurts are all making handsome six-figure salaries. The salaries for fiscal year ending 2011 are as follows:

·         Karl Keating: $230,214.00
·         Tim Staples: $100,000
·         Jimmy Akin: $100,000

However, Voris did not stop with Catholic Answers and their lofty salaries. He revealed that EWTN, a Novus Ordo network television channel which broadcasts globally, paid their executives and correspondents into the six-figure range as well. Voris also launched into accusatory assertions of why these individuals were highly paid, and concluded that because they were “party line” apologists of the modernist hierarchy and as such they enjoyed the blessing of the Novus Ordo, which of course, has yielded them windfall profits throughout the years in donations. Voris presents himself as the persecuted Catholic apologist by the “church of Nice,” as he terms it, because he dares to criticize the Novus Ordo hierarchy and their many examples of apostasy from the Roman Catholic faith, and they (the church of Nice) do not like it. In this episode of The Vortex,  Voris goes on to reveal that his annual salary is $40,000 and everyone else in his organization makes that amount or less. Had he stopped at just revealing the salaries and not launched off into the arena of polemics, his case would have been well enough made, but instead, he cheapened his argument by making it personal in airing his grievances against the “church of Nice” and those who stand as its apologists.

Since these revelations, there has been a veritable maelstrom of commentary and banter on the internet blogosphere, forums, and social media outlets on Voris’ criticism and exposé of “The church of Nice.” What are we to think of all this and is this yet another in a long line of teachable moments regarding “professional Catholics” in the Novus Ordo circles? Yes it is, and here’s why.

HISTORY REPEATING ITSELF YET AGAIN…and again

I recall from my days stuck in the Novus Ordo religion, when I was searching desperately for Catholicism from those who do not hold the Catholic faith, attending a weekend conference of one “Father” John Corapi in West Palm Beach, Florida. This was in the heyday of the EWTN network when it was dominated by primetime shows like Mother Angelica Live!, Catechism with Fr. John Corapi, and Life on the Rock. The network enjoyed a burgeoning viewership of these anchor programs, which proclaimed to espouse bedrock Catholicism. That is, of course, until the Novus Ordo bishops conference in the United States got involved and pressured the EWTN leadership to shelf Mother Angelica for being stubborn and “schismatic”1, “Fr” Corapi left the Novus Ordo priesthood shamed in a storm of accusation and refusal to obey his superiors2, and “Fr” Francis Mary Stone left his role as host of Life on the Rock after counseling a widow, questioning his vocation and ultimately deciding to become “Dave.”3 The timing of this conference coincided with the explosion of negative media exposure the Catholic Church was getting after the revelations of the Novus Ordo sex abuse scandal, and Corapi was obviously on tour doing some damage control – assuaging the faithful that while there were problems that he personally disagreed with, everything was fine in the Church and that of course, Vatican II was “the great gift to the Church.”

The first impression that I had from this conference was that never in my life, from the time as a cradle Catholic to that present day, had I seen or been party to such a rock star atmosphere surrounding the personality of one Catholic priest. I really could not believe how the multitudes rushed to touch the hem of his garment, and angled for just one quick handshake or picture with “Father John” (as they called him). Surprisingly, “Father John” was not very obliging. Nevertheless, the faithful in the audience were worked up into a frenzy of hand-clapping, head-nodding and the occasional fist pump whenever “Father John” would rail against the scandals, the apostate bishops, or the “misguided applications” of Vatican II in the liturgy. 

My impressions of him, having met and spoken briefly with him was that outside the limelight, he was so introverted that it was almost off-putting. He would rarely speak a word to anyone with whom engaged him in conversation, he came across as disinterested in meeting anyone, feigning a smile only when required, and would make himself conveniently unavailable after the conferences he gave while the faithful stood anxiously awaiting just one chance to meet the man they came to see.

But what was more off-putting to me, and frankly, repulsive, was the marketing model that “Father John” employed to peddle his wares. He had a traveling store that followed him on tour wherever he went, offering a broad library of media that included his sermons, conferences, lectures and of course, his flagship Catechism of the Catholic Church series which aired on EWTN that was the prime force in making him a household name. The prices of these CDs and DVDs were staggering, and I heard more than one prospective buyer who was browsing the impressive selection on every Catholic topic from soup to nuts groveling about how expensive the products were and how the average person could not afford to buy them. In the minds of many devotees however, price was not an issue and there was a plentiful audience shelling out literally thousands of dollars to grab up the best-selling five CD sets of “Father John’s Thunder & Lightning” series. The high rollers saw no problem to peel off a cool $500 for the Catechism series so that they could better understand their faith. It would not have been at all out of the realm of possibilities that the sales total for a weekend in the average Corapi tour stop, that he would have netted many thousands of dollars in “product sales.” In other words, “Father John” was a product, and he made no mystery that he was. I’ve always tried to imagine what a St. Alphonsus Ligouri, or a St. Francis de Sales would have had to say about the traveling Father John Corapi show, but for the sake this article, I will not speculate.

It always struck me as peculiar that the faithful defaulted to correctly see these as his “products” and that he was selling them as such. The Corapi Catholic seemingly had no spider sense that tingled; no overbearing little voice in the head that told them that there was something more to this than met the eye. Rather than refusing to support such outlandish prices being slapped on products to learn the Novus Ordo faith, I heard more than one person justify their big ticket expense with the opiate of “well he deserves to make a living.” Corapi realized that religion sells, it always does, and whether it was donations to his order (Society of Our Lady of the Trinity, based in Corpus Christi, Texas), or sales from his products online and on tour, Corapi was the endearing salesman that justified in the minds of many well-meaning Catholics that they needed what he was selling.

It is not the aim of this article to neither condemn nor acquit John Corapi of his allegations, as frankly, we do not know the substance behind the claims. While his actions do not bode well for his defense, we leave the judgment to God and He alone to make and allow the burden of Catholic charity to impose upon us the right spirit of prayer for him. What this portion of the article does intend to show is that in Novus Ordo circles….

 THERE’S NOTHING NEW UNDER THE SUN

It is really amazing to see the outrage over the Catholic Answers’ salaries being revealed by Voris, and it shows me that in the average Catholic mind, even in those who identify themselves “traditional Catholics,” that they simply do not understand the Novus Ordo religion for what it is. After nearly 50 years since the close of Vatican II, the majority of Catholics still do not grasp the reality of what the Novus Ordo religion, and what its current and historical apologists actually represent. The Novus Ordo religion, the religion posing as Roman Catholicism, is rooted in and founded upon freemasonic naturalism, liberated humanism, spiritualism, and “enlightenment” philosophy; so is Protestantism. Why should Catholics expect anything different than a Jim and Tammy Faye Baker-esque Protestant scandal, bilking their supporters out of money while they live comfortably at high salaries? I can grant a pass to the well-meaning Novus Ordo goer who has not received the graces yet to see the Novus Ordo sham for what it is, but I come down particularly hard on the traditional Catholics (who are also the ones voicing most of the outrage over this scandal that Voris brought to light), who sit in the pews at their local Traditional Mass outpost Sunday-in and Sunday-out, who somehow act outraged when the manifestations of this false religion come to pay them a visit. It is high time and long overdue for traditional Catholics to wake up and realize that the Novus Ordo – no matter how often Benedict wore his Baroque vestments or how fervently Francis may pray for peace and international dialogue over Syria – is not Catholic. It is the antithesis of Catholicism; the repugnant imposter for everything they know to be Roman Catholicism. This is the reality of it, and it is the same reality which drives them to their Sunday TLM, many times, hundreds of miles away from where they live.

The fact that Jimmy Akin hypocritically put on his game face and appealed to his supporters to help subsidize a financially troubled Catholic Answers, Inc. business while he draws an income that even if we assume he took a 26% pay cut as he said the staff did, is still pulling down $74,000 per year overshadows the asking of the real question that Catholics, real Catholics, should be asking themselves and pointing out to their Novus Ordo friends: Why exactly is Catholic Answers in trouble? Why are their donations down? If, as Michael Voris espouses, they support the party line of the Novus Ordo hierarchy, should Catholics Answers, Inc. not be thriving on the benefit of financial friendship with that same hierarchy which they supposedly defend and support?  This scandal represents far more and the substance is far deeper than just the audacity of Novus Ordo apologists who angle to separate more money from the wallets of Catholics. If Catholics understood what Karl Keating, Jimmy Akin and Catholic Answers represent, the reason why they are suffering financial losses and are now on the campaign trail for fundraising would become abundantly clear. What does Catholic Answers represent? Simple. It represents…

THE DECAYING CARCASS OF A DEAD FALSE RELIGION

Voris fails to connect the dots, which is not unusual, in his attempts to reconcile the irreconcilable, or as he himself presents it: to make himself look like the persecuted victim in his defense of the orthodox Catholic faith. While I do not doubt Mr. Voris’ sincerity, I am at a loss for his inability to realize he continually tries to put the square peg of Novus Ordo Conciliarism into the round hole Roman Catholicism and make it fit snugly.

Mr. Voris should spend less time worrying about what Karl Keating and Jimmy Akin are making and more time worrying about what they represent. If he sat down and had a true, honest and encompassing dialogue with himself over what the Novus Ordo religion is, he would realize exactly why Jimmy Akin is making a pitch for his supporters to dig deep and help bail out his failing organization. His organization is one degree of separation away from the failing Novus Ordo religion they defend and represent. The Novus Ordo religion has been closing schools, parishes, convents, seminaries and other institutions in great quantity since the turn of 21st century.4  Admittedly, the reason for this is partly to ease the litigatory burden they face in the wake of the Novus Ordo sex abuse scandal.

But let us not lose grip on this fact: long before the rancid pus of the Novus Ordo sex scandal broke the surface of the skin of the Church and began nauseating those around it, the pews were emptying, the seminaries had lost the faith, Catholic Universities had defected from their purpose, and the modernist infiltration into the Catholic Church was 100 years into its mission. The faith in the once vibrant bastions of Roman Catholicism have been reduced to nothing more than a dung heap of immorality, scandal, heresy, apostasy, ecumenical false worship, stupidity, silliness, immodesty, and impiety – all served up on a plate and fraudulently presented to the faithful for consumption as Roman Catholicism. This is what Catholic Answers represents, and just like the Novus Ordo sect itself, which is bankrupt theologically, morally and now, financially, it is decaying and leaving the stench of its rotting carcass to corrupt the air. By the grace of God, some of us caught whiff of the stench long ago and walked as far away from it as we could.

Soon enough, this Novus Ordo religion will be nothing more than a yard of dead bones dry rotting in the summer sun. Jimmy Akin tells us that summer is always the toughest time for Catholic Answers, Inc. – and so it is.

The Novus Ordo religion is, and already painfully obvious; dying its necessary death. So too is Catholic Answers, Inc., and when it does, Jimmy Akin will have to become more creative in ways to present the false religion to his audience to earn a salary. But eventually, he and Catholic Answers, Inc. will sink to the bottom of the Sea of Irrelevancy because no one will be listening any longer. This appeal he’s making for $300,000 USD is just the first sign that the ship on which they are sailing has gaping holes which is letting water gush in. The SS Novus Ordo is sinking – and Captain Karl Keating and First Mate Jimmy Akin know it.

Should the salaries of its leadership, as well as the plea for more money surprise and outrage Catholics, as Mr. Voris certainly asserts? No. Catholic Answers, Inc.’s financial demise should surprise no one at all; it is a logical conclusion, since it stands to reason that every effect has a cause. It should surprise no one any more than it should surprise “Father Jim”, the local Novus Ordo presbyter, who stands in his pulpit begging the dozen people present at Sunday services for money to fix the leaking roof and is left wondering why his congregation cannot raise the money to fix it. There is no surprise here, not to this writer at least.

If you believe the Novus Ordo religion to be the Roman Catholic religion, then yes, by all means, be upset that the apologists of your religion are appealing to the economy-stricken faithful for money to continue their apologetics while they themselves earn handsome salaries that should necessarily be adjusted down to remain financially viable. If you believe that the Novus Ordo religion to not be Roman Catholicism, then sooner or later, the consequences of those who defend it that are duping the faithful into believing that it is will come to pass. Let us pray that we have reached that time, for the sooner we reach it, the sooner the restoration of Holy Mother Church and all things in Christ the King can begin.

 Footnotes

1.        1. “A Threat from Within: Mother Angelica, EWTN, and the USCCB”
2.        2. “Father Corapi’s Bombshell”
3.        3. “Father Francis Mary Stone of EWTN is now Dave”
4.        4. “Philadelphia Archdiocese announcing church parish closings”: