The Errors of Michael Voris: anti-Judaism

Michael Voris (on the website and on YouTube) does not present orthodox Catholic teaching.

Michael Voris, S.T.B., seems to be the only teacher, formerly at RealCatholicTV, and now at ChurchMilitant.tv — Voris was told by his Bishop to stop using the word “Catholic” in his endeavors, so he renamed his project: ChurchMilitant. The S.T.B. after his name signifies that he has a Bachelors degree in Sacred Theology.

This post will review his video entitled ‘The Jews’.

Voris begins his talk on the Jews by saying that anti-Semitism only refers to prejudice against the Jews as an ethnic group, not as a religion. Why make this distinction? Perhaps it is because he realizes that he will be accused of anti-Semitism for the claims that he makes in this video. Now I’m not saying that Voris is guilty of anti-Semitism, that he prejudiced against the Jews because of their ethnicity, but rather that he is guilty of anti-Judaism, for his false and accusatory opinion of the Jewish Faith that is incompatible with Catholic teaching. So he makes a useful distintion.

Voris claims, about the Jewish Faith in ancient times: “they had a Temple and offered sacrifice; the entire religion was focused on this one singular point…. Once however the Romans were done with their work, the Jews as the religion of the Covenant no longer existed…. No temple, no sacrifices, no priesthood, no Judaism. What replaced it in history is what has come down to us today: Rabbinical Judaism. This is not the Judaism of the Covenant. It is a man-made religion.” (YouTube video, The Jews)

This claim by Voris is contrary to the teaching of Jesus in the Gospels about the Jewish Faith.

[Matthew]
{5:17} Do not think that I have come to loosen the law or the prophets. I have not come to loosen, but to fulfill.
{5:18} Amen I say to you, certainly, until heaven and earth pass away, not one iota, not one dot shall pass away from the law, until all is done.

The Jewish Faith is based on the law and the prophets, not on animal sacrifices at the Temple. This basis will not pass away as long as heaven and earth have not passed away.

{7:12} Therefore, all things whatsoever that you wish that men would do to you, do so also to them. For this is the law and the prophets.

The law and the prophets teach the love of neighbor, which has not passed away, and which Jews today still teach and practice.

{22:36} “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?”
{22:37} Jesus said to him: ” ‘You shall love the Lord your God from all your heart, and with all your soul and with all your mind.’
{22:38} This is the greatest and first commandment.
{22:39} But the second is similar to it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’
{22:40} On these two commandments the entire law depends, and also the prophets.”

The law and the prophets are about love of God and neighbor. The Jews today still teach and practice the love of God and neighbor. Therefore, their religion remains a true religion, founded on the same unchanging commandments, as entrusted to them from ancient times in Divine Revelation.

Voris errs by reducing the Jewish Faith to one aspect of Jewish discipline, animal sacrifices at the Temple, ignoring the teachings of faith and morals. Voris claims that when the Romans destroyed the Temple of Jerusalem in the first century A.D., the Jewish Faith ceased to exist, and that what replaced the Jewish Faith was wholely a man-made religion.

This claim by Voris is contrary to the teaching of the Catholic Church on Judaism.

Neither the Catechism of the Catholic Church (cf. n. 839, 840), nor Vatican II (cf. Nostra Aetate), nor any magisterial documents, nor any Saints or Fathers or Doctors of the Church ever taught that the Jewish religion changed into a man-made religion when the Temple was destroyed. The basis for the Jewish Faith — practiced by Saints Zechariah and Elizabeth, by Saints Joachim and Ann, by Jesus and the Virgin Mary — is the truths of Divine Revelation, including the eternal moral law. These truths have not changed, and so the Jewish Faith, despite not explicitly acknowledging Jesus as the Messiah, continues to worship the one true God and to worship Christ implicitly, by love, faith, hope, and all the virtues, by the symbols that represent Christ in the Old Testament, and by looking forward do the arrival of the Messiah.

This address by the holy father, Pope Benedict XVI, on the occasion of his visit to the synagogue of Rome, plainly shows that Judaism is not a false religion.

Voris’ claim that Judaism is merely a man-made religion is based on his false claim that the religion depended on animal sacrifices at the Temple of Jerusalem. What if the Jews rebuild the Temple and resume animal sacrifices? Would this mean that the religion became a true religion again and ceased to be man-made? Voris’ position is foolish, because it in effect implies that animal sacrifice in a temple constitutes the basis for true religion. To the contrary, the basis for the Jewish Faith is, just as it always has been, the teachings of the law and the prophets.

Voris further claims that the Old Covenant “was abandoned by the overwhelming number of people called to it.” He implies that, since the first century A.D., the Jews have not followed the Old Covenant.

To the contrary, many Jews today and in past centuries faithful follow the teachings of the law and the prophets. The truth of that teaching has not changed. The basis of the Old Covenant was not animal sacrifices, but the law and the prophets. And the Jews today continue to worship the one true God, knowing Him by both the light of reason and the Divine Revelation of the Old Testament. Their religion continues to be a true religion established by God.

Voris’ position on the Jewish Faith is a serious doctrinal error. He presents his errors in a very accessible video on YouTube as if he were teaching basic facts. He offers no theology books or articles to support his claims. He offers no theological arguments. He does not cite magisterial documents, nor Scripture, nor any Fathers, Saints, or Doctors of the Church. He cannot do so because his claims are incompatible with the teachings of Tradition, Scripture, Magisterium.

RealCatholicTV does not offer orthodox Catholic teaching.

UPDATE (10 Apr 2011)
The diocese of Scranton, PA, has issued this statement on Michael Voris

“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.”

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