|Twirling the pencil: Voris|
I was at a loose end after having some lunch with him and some fellow Catholics at a Chinese buffet near St James's Park and asked if I could 'tag along' with him, his one man camera crew, Paul Smeaton and Sean Wright of Juventutem. He was very personable, affable and was very interested in what young English Catholics had to say about their view of the state of the Faith in England.
Martyrdom really seemed to be the essence of Voris's exciting talk, 'Living the Catholic Faith, Radically' at the Salvation Army (an aptly named venue for Voris's pep talk for the troops). Voris is able to really engage an audience and I have to say that while Dr Joseph Shaw of the LMS is absolutely right to point out a couple of things in Voris's talk that raised eyebrows, I didn't come away thinking that he wasn't a good public speaker. All I would say is that with Voris the message (which is bold and exciting) can become too much perhaps only because of his delivery, which is loud, bold, straight-talking, American and therefore cannot escape being tagged as tele-evangelical and off-putting. You will either love Michael Voris's style, or you will hate it - it really is as simple as that. Had the same speech been given by Alec Guiness I'm sure it would have gone down perhaps even better with an English audience, though I'm sure Alec Guiness would never have recommended that people give up stamp-collecting to dedicate more time to preaching the Faith.
|Voris led us in a decade of the Rosary at the Tyburn Tree|
This program is from RealCatholicTV.com
Voris has the ability to grab his audience by the neck and then surprise them with tenderness without suggesting that he is bi-polar or paranoid schizophrenic. He described the condition of homosexuality as a huge Cross and said that chaste homosexuals bearing their Cross within the Church as "spiritual giants", which is something that more in the Church perhaps should be saying - as well as encouraging homosexuals to live the Catholic identity and the Catholic life fully. One gets the sense that Michael, like so many I have met on the recent pilgrimage, make prayer a practise of every hour and every day, in everything he and they do. Part of the reason that I think I feel blue having left the pilgrims is that I have never been exposed to so much corporate prayer and one really does feel like one is being lifted up to Heaven, without it feeling in the slightest bit 'cultish'.
He humourously compared his own Cross of being rejected or mocked by liberals within the Church who enjoy the comfort zone, with first century Christians who were eaten by lions and said that should by God's mercy he get to Heaven and meet one, he will feel embarrassed that he got off so lightly in this World. I found his description of his return to the Church having been jarred by his mother's dying words that she didn't want to 'get to Heaven knowing you are in Hell' moving and there is little doubt that his return to Holy Mother Church was Augustinian - particularly in his abandonment of secular pursuits and determination to turn around and drive the Gospel message full speed into the Church and the World. Like quite a few bloggers, Voris is refreshing because he keeps the message simple and it is a message that he repeats again and again - it is really the message of Our Blessed Lord and His Forerunner, St John the Baptist and Saints like Dominic and Francis. There is a very real sense that the Church so often over-complicates the message and thank God that there are people like Voris who are able to go straight to the heart of the Gospel message and to leave his audience at least thinking about where our lives are going and what our priorities are.
|Voris talks with his audience at pub afterwards|
I did ask Michael whether he would consider coming on the walking Pilgrimage to Walsingham (it would have made a wonderful place for him to do an episode of The Vortex), but he told me that he had to go onto Rome to do another piece...How convenient...lightweight!
It was nice that his audience also got a chance to discuss his talk and his work with him at the pub after the speech. Say a prayer for him. His is an important voice in the Church today, amid a clamour of voices that are saying things contrary to the Teaching of the Church. Whether you like his style or not, his contribution to the new evangelisation is considerable and he is, I believe, a great asset to the One True Church - if only because he is clear that there is only One True Church and it has only one real mission from Christ: the Salvation of the World.