"The Diocese of Scranton has determined that Mr. Voris will not be allowed to speak in a Diocesan or parish facility. After these engagements were scheduled, the Diocese became aware of concerns about this individual’s views regarding other religious groups. In videos posted on the Internet, Mr. Voris makes comments that certainly can be interpreted as being insensitive to people of other faiths. The Catholic Church teaches us to respect all people, regardless of their faith tradition.
Although the Diocese shares Mr. Voris’ support of efforts to protect human life, his extreme positions on other faiths are not appropriate and therefore the Diocese cannot host him."
Diocese of Scranton
There's a few things about this statement that cause me to pause and wonder about the motivation behind it.
First of all, it's very vague, mentioning some amorphous staements about other faiths and offending people. Where are the specifics? If Voris has lied or made a mistake then be specific - call him out on it.
Secondly, what is the relationship between respect and offense? Can one not respect another while at the same time pointing out areas of disagreement? Further, if one believes that there exists not just simple disagreement but outright distortion of the truth with the intent to cause harm to others shouldn't one, repectfully if possible, point out those distortions to help others find the truth and divorce themselves from error?
What is the stance of the Chruch regarding truth? Are comfort, conformity or political correctness considered higher virtues? Again, if Voris is lying, call him out on the specifics.
How is this deliberate silencing of dissent any different than Planned Parenthood demanding that protestors be barred from their clinics? You see, this is the slippery slope that intolerance of free speech creates.
If Voris, or anyone else for that matter is lying, or mistaken, isn't it better to confont the argument straight on instead of refusing to allow it? There are plenty of people that are offended by things that the Church teaches. Should they be allowed to silence the Church?
I found this article related to the statement at The Times Tribune website:
"A conservative Catholic speaker whose events were canceled by Marywood University and the Diocese of Scranton last week will give his talk at a secular site on Saturday.
Michael Voris is scheduled to speak at the Best Western Genetti Hotel and Conference Center in Wilkes-Barre at 6:30 p.m.
His talk, "Living Catholicism Radically," was canceled after the university and diocese determined that he had expressed views at odds with their values in Internet television shows he produces about Catholic issues.
In a letter to the talk's organizers, Paul and Kristen Ciaccia of Harveys Lake, the diocese further explained that it learned from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and Mr. Voris' home Archdiocese of Detroit that Mr. Voris' presentations have caused "a number of controversies" and that his programs are not endorsed by his home archdiocese.
The Ciaccias said in a news release that they chose to reschedule Mr. Voris at a secular site and invited Bishop Joseph Bambera to attend the event "to evaluate Mr. Voris' knowledge of the faith, free from opinions formed by others."
The Ciaccias called the banning of Mr. Voris from diocesan property "insensitive" and said it "belies deeper inconsistencies in diocesan policy."
Addressing the "inconsistencies" in one of his daily "The Vortex" video segments at Realcatholictv.com, Mr. Voris criticized the diocese for allowing Sara Bendoraitis, the director of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender and Ally Resource Center at American University, to speak at the University of Scranton last spring."
Notice in the statement above that the diocese claims that Voris has made statements at odds with their "values". Again, all shadowy and vague, not a specific to be found. Digging a bit deeper I found this at Politics Daily in an article published August 31, 2009:
"The Roman Catholic bishop of Scranton is not normally known as a kingmaker -- or kingbreaker -- in electoral politics. But during last year's presidential campaign, with pro-choice Catholic and Scranton native Joe Biden on the Democratic ticket, and the working-class voters of northeast Pennsylvania seen as keys to the keystone state and the Electoral College, Scranton suddenly moved to the spotlight.
And the local bishop, Joseph F. Martino, took full advantage of that platform. Martino became for many the angry face of the anti-Obama wing of the Catholic hierarchy thanks to his intemperate blasts about pro-choice politicians and an overweening administrative style that irritated the flock and even his brother bishops.
Now, in a stunning turn that has taken even veteran church-watchers by surprise, Martino on Monday resigned his post under highly unusual circumstances -- citing the stress of the job and saying he could not continue in a post that should have been his for another dozen years, at least.
But church insiders say Martino had also worn out his welcome with his brother bishops and the Vatican. So his resignation may be further evidence that the U.S. hierarchy is divided between moderate voices and a more strident conservative minority that is struggling in the wake of Obama's success with Catholic voters.
...Many in Scranton, and beyond, would agree. In fact there are strong indications that Martino was pushed before he jumped.
From the start of his six-year tenure in Scranton, Martino alienated many with his abrasive style. He clashed frequently with the local Catholic universities -- including the Jesuit-run University of Scranton -- and was dismissive of their ruling bodies, arguing that as bishop he would not heed their advice.
Last February, Martino blasted another local college, Misericordia University, for inviting Keith Boykin, an openly-gay author, Clinton administration staffer and Harvard Law classmate of Obama, to speak on campus. The university, run by the Sisters of Mercy, was "seriously failing in maintaining its Catholic identity," Martino charged.
Also in February, Martino warned Irish-American groups that he would close the city's cathedral on St. Patrick's Day if any of them honored a politician who Martino said would be considered "pro-abortion." That was seen as a shot across the bow against inviting Joe Biden; in past years, the Scranton Irish-Americans had honored both Obama and then-Senator Hillary Clinton.
...But it was an event in late October last year, on the eve of the presidential vote, as religious rhetoric was growing white-hot, that may have pushed Martino over the line in the eyes of many.
A parish was holding a regular voter-education forum on the election, featuring discussion of a document, "Faithful Citizenship," the election guide endorsed almost unanimously by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, or USCCB. Martino showed up at the parish hall unannounced, causing a stir. Then he took the microphone and proceeded to critique the organizers for not using his own letter on abortion as the basis of the discussion.
When a nun at the forum reminded Martino about the document of the enitre bishops conference Martino responded, "No USCCB document is relevant in this diocese. The USCCB doesn't speak for me," Martino declared. "The only relevant document ... is my letter. There is one teacher in this diocese, and these points are not debatable.""
So let's see - the Diocese of Scranton is the home diocese of Joe Biden, the pro-abortion Catholic VP of the United States. It seems, at least based on the story above, that political inclinations in the Scranton area run to the Progressive. The previous bishop, Joseph Martino, seems to have been unabashedly conservative and caused such an uproar that he was ousted. In the process he mocked the USCCB, the same group that is supplying information used by the diocese in its banning of Voris. And let's not forget that the USCCB and the corruption that surrounds it has been a major focus of Real Catholic TV over the last couple of years.
Now, I don't know this for sure but I'm going to make a guess and say that the banning of Voris has more to do with politics than it does the truth. My guess is that the new bishop would rather not get involved in starting up old problems regardless of his own inclinations. Or perhaps he agrees with the USCCB and their Progressive agenda. I don't know.
Bottom line - I wouldn't put too much weight in the statement issued by the Diocese of Scranton. It has nothing to do with the truth and everything to do with quashing dissent. And that's a dangerous path to take.