Real Catholic TV? Not So Much

by Michael Sean Winters

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If you have never seen "Real Catholic TV" with Michael Voris, do not watch it unless you have a strong stomach for vitriol and venom. The Archdiocese of Detroit took the extraordinary step of posting the following notice just before Christmas:

The Church encourages the Christian faithful to promote or sustain a variety of apostolic undertakings but, nevertheless, prohibits any such undertaking from claiming the name Catholic without the consent of the competent ecclesiastical authority (see canon 216 of the 1983 Code of Canon Law). For some time, the Archdiocese of Detroit has been in communication with Mr. Michael Voris and his media partner at Real Catholic TV regarding their prominent use of the word "Catholic" in identifying and promoting their public activities disseminated from the enterprise's production facility in Ferndale, Michigan. The Archdiocese has informed Mr. Voris and Real Catholic TV,, that it does not regard them as being authorized to use the word "Catholic" to identify or promote their public activities. Questions about this matter may be directed to the Archdiocese of Detroit, Department of Communications.

Canon 216 is the relevant canon, and according to one of my canonical advisors, because Canon 216 is restrictive of rights, it must be interpreted strictly, not broadly. It is not clear to me that Mr. Voris' rantings qualify as "apostolic activity" although he clearly thinks they do.

I am not a fan of censorship. But, if any bishop in America wanted to pick a single media outlet to censor, and put them on the naughty list, Real Catholic TV would be my choice. Or, as one bishop said to me, "You know, it isn't real, it isn't Catholic, and it is not actually TV."

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