Wednesday, August 3, 2016

The Voris-Jones Affair: Part II


Continued from Part I, a critical examination of The Man Behind the Curtain: Michael Voris and the Homosexual Vortex by E. Michael Jones.

Was the New York Threat Real?


When Voris released his revelatory “Vortex” episode “Limiting God,” he claimed to be doing so because, in his own words, “We have on very good authority from various sources that the New York archdiocese is collecting and preparing to quietly filter out details of my past life with the aim of publicly discrediting me.” Jones states flatly, “This was not true,” and that “he began his Vortex with a lie” (ch. 8). However, earlier in the essay Jones strangely seems to say the opposite:
Marc Brammer got a call from Mark DeYoung, a seminarian at Dunwoodie, the same seminary which Voris had attended for two years during the ’80s. The current crop of seminarians at Dunwoodie were avid Voris fans, but they were being told that Voris had been dismissed for good reason and didn’t know who to believe. DeYoung had told Brammer during one of his trips to New York that the seminary officials were willing to release Voris’s dossier to the public if Voris felt the rumors were false. Voris had always maintained that he had not been dismissed because of homosexual activity but because of his spiritual immaturity, failing to understand that spiritual immaturity had become a code word for homosexuality. (ch. 6)
This may not have been the imminent threat of exposure that Voris thought, but it seems to be close enough to what he said in the “Vortex” that it substantiates the essence of his claim. The real threat, though, was not the archdiocese but the constant stream of accusations of a past gay lifestyle on social media sites by people who knew him in his earlier days.

Armchair Psychiatry and Shocking “Revelations”


E. Michael Jones believes himself to be an expert in psychiatry-from-a-distance. Even though his graduate studies were in English and American literature, he cannot seem to write anything that does not include the psychiatric diagnosis of mental disorders in some distant subject. His diagnosis of narcissistic tendencies in Mr. Voris depends heavily on Dr. Van den Aardweg’s The Battle for Normality, which is quoted (and, thankfully, properly cited) liberally throughout The Man Behind the Curtain. I have no problem with the Dutch doctor’s book, which I have not read, but his decades-worth of private practice have surely earned him the right to opine in general terms on the psychological aspects of homosexuality.

Sadly, Dr. Jones quotes Van den Aardweg like a fundamentalist quoting the Holy Writ: as a source of proof texts that he can apply to whichever subject he sees fit, on the barest thread of evidence. He takes the insight that homosexuality and narcissism are often tightly linked, and proceeds to diagnose Michael Voris with an extreme case of narcissistic tendencies in all aspects of his life. “Homosexual desires,” Jones opines, “are rooted in ‘self-centeredness or immature “egophilia,”’ which leads to ‘hyperdramatization,’ which conventionally goes by the term ‘narcissism’” (ch. 2).

In Dr. Jones’s view, both the deviant behavior and the preachy bluster of Mr. Voris find their roots in the common source of that narcissism which developed early in life as a result of rumored sexual abuse and the inability to connect to his schoolyard peers. Then Jones takes a surprising left turn to diagnose Mother Angelica with a similar case of egophilia, which supposedly is self-evident in her 1993 rant against a bishop who had cast a young woman as Jesus in a dramatic presentation of the Passion:
Mother Angelica, née Rita Rizzo, and Michael Voris were wounded children. Rita’s father walked out when she was six years old, at the start of the Depression, plunging the family into poverty and subjecting Rita to ridicule at the Catholic school she attended.... Both Voris and Rizzo sought solace from their childhood woundedness in the religious life.... [As far as I can tell, Voris entered the seminary, not the monastery, and Jones provides no evidence whatsoever that Rizzo entered the convent for the aforesaid reasons. –J]
Mother Angelica’s case was different. There is no evidence that Mother Angelica ever acted sexually on the wound she received in childhood. The discipline of pre-Vatican II convent life kept whatever impulses she might have had under control. During the ’70s, however, Mother Angelica was prayed over by an itinerant charismatic by the name of Robert DeGrandis and received the gift of tongues. This event eventually led to a more and more public life, until in 1981 she founded her television apostolate. Receiving the gift of tongues can often be accompanied by a reduction in inhibition, specifically sexual inhibition.... The fact that Mother Angelica never acted on the childhood wound sexually does not mean that the wound wasn’t there. The narcissism that flowed from it gradually found expression in her apostolate as well.... Why did both EWTN and CMTV end up in de facto violation of Canon 1373? The short answer to that question is narcissism. (ch. 2)
You read that right, gentle reader. E. Michael Jones implies that Mother Angelica was a repressed lesbian who channeled that repression into criticisms of the episcopacy. This is what comes of armchair diagnoses. The reason why those in the psychological sciences are very hesitant to diagnose even well-known historical figures with deficiencies or disorders is that they are unable to examine and cross-examine those persons in a clinical setting. To toss out mental health diagnoses willy-nilly as Jones does is to become the Catholic version of Camille Paglia.

Who’s the Real Narcissist, Dr. Jones?


Two can play at this armchair game. Let’s give it a try.

Jones accuses Voris of narcissism and “salacious” (ch. 7) reporting in his apostolate. As for narcissism, Dr. Jones spends a great deal of the first chapter talking about himself, specifically his influence on Terry Carroll’s views on the SSPX and how Jones really (really!) isn’t an anti-semite, even though it has absolutely nothing to do with the topic of the essay. Also, Jones wants you to know that he was definitely smarter than Mr. Michael Davies, and he thinks it was very funny when Mark Shea reacted to an interview of Jones on CMTV like a barking dog. It’s not until the second chapter that Jones begins to get over himself and writes about the topic of the essay.

As for the “salacious” touches and name-calling that frequently gets Voris in trouble, Jones himself calls Voris “Gary the Fairy” four times (a play on his full name of Gary Michael Voris), makes fun of his hair (something Jones and I can agree on), and quasi-subliminally suggests that the young men who work at Church Militant TV are in danger of perverse attack by quoting such warnings as, “The young don’t deserve to [be] spiritually sodomized in all this.... Voris is getting to f[—] these kids in a spiritual way” (ch. 7). Jones adds a flamboyant touch in one insult: “Even if Voris has been washed in the blood of the lamb [sic], Marc Brammer is still out $250,000” (ch. 9). Earlier he mocks the CMTV cruises by saying their clientele “was typical of fag/hag culture” (ch. 6). The ebook’s pedestrian photoshopping of Voris as a masquerader is indicative of Dr. Jones’s unsuccessful attempts at cleverness. And finally, Jones also goes on to repeat accusations that Voris was sexually abused by both parents, but in such a way that the reader can never discern if the accusations were actually grounded.

Looking at it from another angle, both Jones and Voris share the middle name “Michael,” and also share in the eccentric affectation of hiding their first names (the E. stands for “Eugene”). This is doubtless an effect of deep-rooted narcissism, stemming specifically out of a desire to redefine themselves in ways that rebel against their parents who named them. By rejecting their first names, they are rejecting the authority of their parents and sinning against piety and the Fourth Commandment. By taking the name “Michael” as their monikers, they are identifying with a saint who, in popular sacred art, is always depicted as both youthful and masculine—superficially, the ideal homosexual fantasy.

(Yes, this section is sarcastic, but it is almost exactly the kind of argumentation that Jones uses persistently throughout The Man Behind the Curtain.)

“Where Lies and Falsehoods...”


Jones clearly has a great deal of mental energy at his disposal, and the zeal to use it as he sees fit. One feels rather envious of this fact when skimming through his voluminous output. His choice of targets is sometimes perplexing, however, and his methods of argumentation crumble under their own weight long before the last page is read. I do not doubt that Michael Voris and his apostolate are worthy of a critical eye, but Jones is incapable of avoiding self-serving sophistry while dishing out his accusations.

The problem of exploiting Voris’s spiritual advisor is the most egregious herein. If Jones published through a separate publishing house he would never get away with that sort of temerity. Because of this, it was almost physically painful reading this essay to the end.

But at least he’s not an anti-semite, right?


22 comments:

  1. What I don't get in all of this is why is so much energy dispended with Voris? Is he that influentual a character in the grand scheme of things?

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    1. It could have simply been a financial move. This ebook has been a bestseller for Jones on Amazon, probably far more than most if not all of his other ebooks. I suspect he knew it would sell.

      There may also be an element of a personal vendetta going on. What part exactly Dr. Jones had to play in the behind-the-scenes planning of CMTV is unknown, but it was influential enough to receive an invitation to a planning meeting.

      On the other hand, homosexuality is just one of Jones's points of interest, and perhaps he just couldn't stop himself from applying his usual dime-store analysis to an old ally.

      Jones doesn't pick his targets based on their actual importance in the grand scheme of things, although he may consider them important. Honestly, he just has bad judgment in that regard.

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  2. Dr. Jones is as prolix as they come but I find him interesting because of that.

    And he is quite dogmatic about sodomy and routinely writes that sodomites are naturally subversive and I think he is right in that because it is hard to think of any organization (let's say the Church) that has welcomed sodomites and elevated them to a level of responsibility soon finds the sodomites are subverting all Rules, Traditions, Ecclesiastical traditions that exist because sodomy is such a malign act.

    Sodomites do not like being told what what they do is perverted.

    The amateur psych evaluations are as prevalent in his writings as they are unwarranted and his use of them could easily subject him to a criticism he makes of others - That they have had their minds cultivated by the enemy - for if popular psychiatry has been a friend of Roman Catholics, I have missed it.. but Dr Jones uses their categories.

    Excellent article.

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    1. Well, if the Church openly welcomed sodomites (Bella Dodd testified it certainly welcomed Communist subverters--and one subverter is as good as another) it wasn't an accident or a mistake.

      As for Jones 'using their [psychiatry's] categories; And why not? You don't bring a knife to a gun fight. I'm beginning to think these are all just limited hangouts. Everyone needs their 'niche'.

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  3. I think with the ongoing recruitment of young men, the shady financial dealings of Mr. Voris, and his ridiculous vendetta against Cardinal Dolan and the Archdiocese of New York, this information needed to get out. Maybe it could have been put in an article in Dr. Jones' magazine. I doubt that Dr. Jones is going to make much money from this, and any money he makes may be used to fend off legal action from ChurchMilitant. I presume that threats from their camp has already caused Fr. Advisor to go dark on the internet.

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    1. I don't think that information not backed by any real evidence needed to be released. A journalist writing an expose has to abide by standards of proof and a willingness to reveal sources if necessary. Otherwise he is just publishing gossip and libel.

      How can you know if Fr. Advisor has gone dark on the Internet if you don't even know who he is?

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    2. It's surely Fr. Paul Nicholson. I've been following Mr. Voris since 2011 so I'm aware of the people around his outfit. Fr. Nicholson made some facebook posts around the time that Mr. Voris came out in April that match the story of this book. (they can be seen here: callmejorgebergoglio.blogspot.com/2016/07/where-did-paul-ash-nicholson-disappear.html)

      I'm not sure what kind of "real evidence" one is going to get out of this situation. It's a quarrel between a few people (Jones, Nicholson, Bramner, Coan, Voris, Niles, Carroll). Any evidence would be based on peoples' words and internal business communications (which appear in this book). Go contact them if you are interested in confirmation (but I presume they are busy people of course and don't have time to rehash this affair). Facebook posts can be deleted. Journalists routinely keep their sources anonymous. You criticized the spiritual advisor for releasing this information, but if it is for a good purpose, I don't see what is wrong about this. Detraction is permissible if there is a proportionate good involved in it.

      My view is that the information in this book needed to be released for 1. the young men who are thinking of being recruited for spiritual formation from Mr. Voris 2. the people who have their vision of Catholicism shaped by ChurchMilitant's programming 3. those people who financially support Mr. Voris' outfit, which is doing shady financial dealings and 4. people who are being influenced by Mr. Voris' constant attacks against Cardinal Dolan and the archdiocese of New York, so they can see just *why* Mr. Voris, despite living in *Detriot*, might have this vendetta against the Cardinal-Archbishop of *New York*. And by the way, Dr. Jones was not the only person to say that Mr. Voris accusations against the archdiocese of New York were false, the archdiocese itself said so:

      http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/news/2016/04/22/new-york-archdiocese-denies-allegation-that-it-sought-to-smear-michael-voris/

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    3. I am not offering any general defense for Voris, but he deserves to be defended against brutal, un-Christian attacks like Dr. Jones's. If Eugene wrote this expose in the hopes of warning young men away from CMTV, he would have published it for free on his Culture Wars website, not sold it for profit on Amazon.

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  4. Calling him an anti-semite is slander.

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    1. He does go on and on about the Jews, though.

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    2. Yes but anti-semite has the connotation of racism and sympathy for Hitler and death camps. Do you think Jones is an advocate of Hitler and death camps? He is not anymore anti-semitic than the countless pre-WWII writers, stretching back centuries, that complained of the Jews' antagonism towards their landlords.

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    3. I should say their landlords and their neighbours.

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    4. Appearing on podcasts with titles like "Aryan Insights" certainly doesn't help.

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    5. It's only intolerable if white folk wish to defend their heritage.
      Unfortunately, as Hoffman states, white folk talk the talk but don't walk the walk. Their reproductive numbers are abysmal.
      I have no particular fondness for Jones, but anecdotally, many statements he has made about avowed sodomites ring true in my experience.

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    6. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    7. The "anti-semite" slur is lazy. Dr. Jones is not anti-Jew in the racial sense. His work focuses on the undeniable prominent role of Jews in revolutionary, anti-Christian movements, such as Communism.

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  5. As someone who was in his Trad bunker during the Fr. Corapi affair, was that like this but a thousand times worse?

    And what is it with right wing Catholics latching on to these kind of people who always have a scandal behind them? Back in the day, the people at my my FSSP parish wouldn't stop talking about whatever the latest Voris video was. As a naive SSPX-er my response was always, "Who's that?"

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    1. When there's a vacuum, it doesn't take much to fill it.

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    2. Finding it difficult to purchase a copy of the book. There is something odd about Voris and his attacks on the episcopacy are ridiculous. I don't believe for one moment that Dolan would have 'outed' him.

      EWTN is another strange organisation.

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    3. These organizations fill a need and exist specifically for that reason. All is planned decades ahead. Nothing is left to chance.

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  6. What emerges clearly from such rants is a drastic failure of Christian charity masquerading as impartial exposees. Shameful!

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  7. What emerges clearly from such rants is a drastic failure of Christian charity masquerading as impartial exposees. Shameful!

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