Friday, 26 August 2011

Michael Voris Hits London...

2011 08 24_0002For anyone who has spent the last month and a half in solitary confinement, this week saw the arrival in London of Michael Voris, the founder of St. Michael's Media and RealCatholicTV, to give a talk on living the Catholic Faith.

Several people have given excellent summaries of the talk itself and their reactions: Robert Colquhoun (Love Undefiled) actually has a recording of the talk and the questions. Francis Phillips wrote a piece for the Catholic Herald, and the Reluctant Sinner has blogged about the evening, as have Joseph Shaw (LMS Chairman), Annie Elizabeth (Defénde Nos in Proélio) and Leutgeb (Bara Brith).

Michael Voris isn't to everyone's taste - I don't agree with everything he says, and occasionally I disagree with the manner in which he says the stuff I do agree with - but I felt he had been getting rather a bad press of late. It reminded me of the run-up to the Holy Father's visit to the UK. Lots and lots of negative press - though in this case it was from the blogosphere rather than the mainstream media.

However, I believe that part of the reason that Catholic catechesis has failed in the past four decades is the idea that we mustn't say anything which might offend other people. If you never say anything which might cause offence to someone, you will probably never say anything at all. As Voris himself pointed out, sometimes you will offend people for no other reason than you just walked into the room!

I've experienced that one - I was once challenged: "How dare you claim to be a better Catholic than me!" I hadn't claimed any such thing, in fact I hadn't said anything. What I had done was to wear a mantilla at Mass, and for some obscure reason this caused offence! So, as far as I'm concerned, Voris deserves great credit for being willing to speak out about the Faith, and for telling it straight.

Michael Voris spoke very engagingly, and, although he didn't say anything new or earth-shattering, it was good to have some affirmation of what many of us are trying to do, namely to follow the teachings of the Church as faithfully as we can. It was, if you like, a pep talk, a bit of encouragement. In the flesh, Michael Voris is quiet and unassuming, and very entertaining. Yes, it was very different from his on-screen persona, but then, those appearances are shot with the intention of making a particular point, and are carefully scripted for that purpose, so they would be rather more direct and "in your face."

It became a sort of impromptu blognic, especially when we all decamped to a local pub - I spotted several of the usual suspects, and some new ones. I was particularly gratified when, giving my name to one of the people organising things as I arrived, he appeared to know who I was (fame at last!)

As well as the bloggers I've already mentioned, it was fantastic to meet up with the indefatigable Bones, the irrepressible Paul Priest (OTSOTA), the sultry and sophisticated Red Maria (Dolphinarium), the charming Multum Incola Fuit Anima Mea (who couldn't resist letting me know who he was, though I'm sworn to secrecy), the very Ecumenical Diablogger, and the gorgeous and giggly Blondpidge (Catechesis of Caroline) who was being let out for the evening, and, in between feeds, passed round the most beautiful and placid baby I have encountered in quite a long time. Normally babies take one look at me and scream. Little Miss Pidge gurgled and cooed and snoozed her way through the evening. John Smeaton and Juventutem were also on good form. I was delighted to make the acquaintance of Giles Pinnock, former Anglican clergyman, who blogged as OneTimothyFour before he swam the Tiber - I sincerely hope he will start blogging again soon. There were many blog readers present too, and I particularly enjoyed meeting Marianne Cuthbertson for an entertaining gossip... great minds think alike, and all that! Her daughters had made it to the talk hotfoot from World Youth Day.

During the break between the talk and the questions, I managed to join Red Maria, Blondpidge and Peter Williams outside for a breath of fresh air. Peter is one of the speakers for Catholic Voices, and he tweets as @PeterDCXW, though he has been threatening to start a blog since the Faith Summer Session. He couldn't resist the charms of Little Miss Pidge as he called her...

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Michael Voris stepped up to the plate to do some Pidge-handling to give her mother a break...

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And finally, many, many thanks to Paul Smeaton, who pulled off the amazing coup of organising such a fantastic and successful event, seen here with Michael Voris (and Little Miss Pidge.)

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A Reluctant Sinner said...

Excellent round up of the evening! Thank you, Mac.

Nice photos, too!

Great to see you there, and looking forward to seeing you again soon, Dv!

Dylan :-)

Idle Rambler said...

Thanks for the lovely report. It's good to hear about the blognic. Sounds like you all had a great time. We can always follows the links to read more of the content of the talk.

Smashing photos too. :-)

Mark said...

"For anyone who has spent the last month and a half in solitary confinement..."

Err... that would be me, eh? I miss everything!

Baron Korf said...

My wife gets those "why are you acting so holier-than-thou" for wearing her mantilla as well.

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