Catholics should stop being ‘nice’

The Vortex
by Michael Voris, St Michael’s Media, £20

Michael Voris began his broadcasting apostolate in 2008, four years after returning to the Church after many years’ lapsation. The Vortex, regular short broadcasts on the state of the Church today, has generated controversy for pulling no punches in its treatment of abuses and its insistence that true Catholic renewal will only take place when Catholics cease to be lukewarm or “nice”.

Describing the Church as “the Bride of Christ” reflects Voris’s outlook, which is traditional rather than trendy. He reminds readers that “Catholics in a state of grace possess the Divine Fire. It’s time we started using it for the love of souls.”

Indeed, the salvation of souls – the Church’s 2,000-year-old primary mission – crops up again and again in these short expositions.

In language largely unfamiliar to contemporary Catholics, Voris reminds us that “The Church exists to accompany people to heaven and … to make the inevitable suffering redemptive and meritorious.”

This will sound strange to a generation raised on justice and peace issues rather than on sin and the sacraments. But Voris’s message matters in an age when evangelisation has been overlooked and where converting others is regarded as unecumenical.

Another topic frequently raised by the author is hell. Such teaching has long been buried but Voris is uncompromising: “Hell is not just a real ‘possibility’. It is real – and people go there.” As the author points out, sometimes it is only fear of hell that makes people change their lives; if we are all on the road to heaven anyway, why bother?

The great value of this book is that it injects a note of urgency into our lives as Catholics – the same note of urgency, incidentally, that permeates the Gospels. Do read it. For Voris, the war between good and evil is unceasing.