Michael Voris versus Pope Francis — part 1 — Mortal Sin

This is the first of a four-part series on public assertions by Michael Voris at ChurchMilitant.com about the Supreme Pontiff and Vicar of Christ, Pope Francis. One article will be released each week in March (not necessarily on the same day of the week).

Note well: I believe that Pope Francis has the gift of truth and never-failing faith divinely conferred by God, and that he cannot possibly teach grave error, nor commit apostasy, heresy, or schism. I also believe that Pope Francis is a living Saint, whose life and work for the Church are holy and above reproach.

This article discusses the public statements by Michael Voris, and his accusations against the Pope and the Bishops. I’ve sent a letter of complaint against Mr. Voris to his Archbishop, Allen Vigneron, along with a copy of Voris’ Statement on the Pope.

1. The State of Grace

At baptism, the human person receives the state of grace, the indwelling of the Trinity, and the three theological virtues of love, faith, and hope, as well as the moral and intellectual virtues.

When a person in the state of grace commits an actual mortal sin — not merely an act that is objectively gravely immoral, but an act with grave matter, full knowledge, and full deliberation — he loses the state of grace, and always loses love and hope. He may retain faith, or he may lose faith; faith is only lost if the actual mortal sin is a grave offense against faith itself.

2. Pope Francis and the State of Grace

In the August 2018 video
“Church Militant Statement on the Pope”

Michael Voris accuses Pope Francis of being in a state of unrepented actual mortal sin.

Voris: “You, Holy Father, as every Catholic must do when in a state of sin…. You had better hope that this is not the state you die in, or you will be delivered over to the demons for an everlasting death of agony and torment in the unquenchable fire, for popes are not immune from risk of damnation, whether you believe in Hell or not.” [1]

Michael Voris publicly states that Pope Francis is “in a state of sin”. And Voris proclaims that, if the Pope he dies in that state of sin, he will be punished in Hell. This necessarily implies the Pope is unrepentant from actual mortal sin. No other state of sin can result in Hell for baptized Christians. So when Voris says the Pope is “in a state of sin” and will go to Hell if he dies in that state, the only possible meaning is a state of unrepented actual mortal sin. Baptized persons only go to Hell if they die unrepentant from actual mortal sin. Therefore, Michael Voris is publicly accusing Pope Francis of being unrepentant from actual mortal sins and of not being in a state of grace.

Michael Voris says things like: “for the salvation of your own soul, you must step down from the Chair of Peter and do so immediately,” and “With all sincerity and concern for your immortal soul, Holy Father, recalling how you are an old man who may not wake to see the next day, your eternal life hangs in the balance.” If the salvation of the Pope’s soul is at issue, if his eternal life hangs in the balance, then this can only refer to unrepented actual mortal sin. Nothing else causes a baptized person to possibly lose their salvation and lose eternal life.

Then Voris says: “For the good of your soul, Holy Father, so as not to be subject to the tortures of demons for eternity, step down.” Again, this indicates that Voris thinks the Pope is not in the state of grace, as only the loss of that state of grace would make one “subject to the tortures” of Hell forever.

It could not be more clear that Michael Voris is accusing Pope Francis of being in a state of unrepented actual mortal sin and of lacking the state of grace.

Voris describes the sins he thinks Pope Francis has committed. But I don’t think the Pope has committed objectively grave sins. First, that is a matter of judgment and interpretation. And second, no one can know if any person who seems to have committed a grave sin, also has acted with full knowledge and full deliberation so that it would be an actual mortal sin, and not merely objectively grave in matter. Full knowledge and full deliberation are absolutely required to lose one’s salvation, and yet these things are interior.

Michael Voris cannot possibly know if the Pope’s acts include those two criteria. For he does not have a window into anyone’s soul. He might know if he himself has committed actual mortal sin, by means of conscience. But he cannot read the conscience of another person. Therefore, this accusation constitutes bearing false witness against the Pope, in a serious matter.

Mr. Voris cannot even be certain that he himself is in the state of grace, so he ought not to pretend as if he can be certain that other persons in the Church lack that state of grace. For no one is able to know, with the certitude of a faith which is not able to be false, that he has attained to the grace of God.

3. Judgment and Authority

In his videos, Michael Voris has many times spoken as if he has the role to judge the decisions on doctrine and discipline of the Pope and the Bishops, as if he has a role to supervise and correct them. He is usurping an authority not given to him. They are ordained to the episcopal degree. He is a seminary school drop-out. They teach with the authority of Christ. He has a moral obligation to submit to their teaching and authority.

“For bishops are preachers of the faith, who lead new disciples to Christ, and they are authentic teachers, that is, teachers endowed with the authority of Christ, who preach to the people committed to them the faith they must believe and put into practice, and by the light of the Holy Spirit illustrate that faith… Bishops, teaching in communion with the Roman Pontiff, are to be respected by all as witnesses to divine and Catholic truth. In matters of faith and morals, the bishops speak in the name of Christ and the faithful are to accept their teaching and adhere to it with a religious assent. This religious submission of mind and will must be shown in a special way to the authentic magisterium of the Roman Pontiff, even when he is not speaking ex cathedra; that is, it must be shown in such a way that his supreme magisterium is acknowledged with reverence, the judgments made by him are sincerely adhered to, according to his manifest mind and will.” [Lumen Gentium 25]

Michael Voris’ public words and behavior in no way show compliance with the above teaching. And Mr. Voris also has absolutely no right, authority, or role in the Church to stand in judgment over the Roman Pontiff.

Canon Law 1404: “The First See is judged by no one” [2]

Pope St. Leo IX: “By passing a preceding judgment on the great See, concerning which it is not permitted any man to pass judgment, you have received anathema from all the Fathers of all the venerable Councils….”

“As the hinge while remaining immovable opens and closes the door, so Peter and his successors have free judgment over all the Church, since no one should remove their status because ‘the highest See is judged by no one.’ ” [3]

It is wrong for Voris to judge anyone’s soul. But to judge the soul of the Pope, and threaten him with the fires of Hell is a severe violation of the commandment not to bear false witness. Mr. Voris cannot know the soul of the Pope, so he can’t see if the Pope is in a state of sin. Moreover, the accusations themselves include alleged interior sins, of which Voris could have no knowledge.

Voris: “You have treated too many of the faithful with coldness and callousness”.

How does Michael Voris know whether the Pope, or anyone else, has those interior qualities of coldness and callousness?

Voris: “Your hypocritical and shameless parade of empty words of sorrow and pleading for forgiveness are an egregious affront to those who believe in God, because you lack all sincerity.”

So the Pope made public statements of “sorrow and pleading for forgiveness”, and somehow that proves mortal sin?!! Voris has no way to see the soul of anyone, to know if their exterior acts are “empty” or “hypocritical and shameless”. And accusing a Pope of lacking “all sincerity” is baseless and biased. Voris cannot know or prove whether any person is sincere or not.

Voris: “you continue to meet with victims, supposedly mourn with them.” Meeting with victims and mourning with them is a work of mercy. And Voris turns it into an accusation of grave sin. He says “supposedly” indicating an accusation that the Pope has evil motivations. Yet he has no way of knowing.

What evidence can be brought before a jury by Michael Voris to prove any of these alleged interior sins? Are there witnesses to the mind, heart, and soul of the Pope? Is there physical evidence? None. Voris is bearing false witness against the Pope. For he has no proof of the interior sins he claims the Pope commits, and no proof that the Pope is not in the state of grace.

Voris: “Your actions and omissions have left you unable to reign over the Church in any meaningful way. You have no credibility, no moral authority, not a shred of decency left after having covered up one scandal after another, until the day you go to your own grave.”

Jesus taught us not to judge persons:

[Matthew 7]
{7:1} “Do not judge, so that you may not be judged.
{7:2} For with whatever judgment you judge, so shall you be judged; and with whatever measure you measure out, so shall it be measured back to you.”

Michael Voris has judged the Pope with extreme bias, with false and baseless accusations about alleged interior sins, and has condemned the very soul of the Pope, by his claim that the Pope is in a state of mortal sin. And the malicious rhetoric he uses as the effect of inciting animosity and even hatred toward the Roman Pontiff.

Canon Law 1373: “A person who publicly incites among subjects animosities or hatred against the Apostolic See or an ordinary because of some act of power or ecclesiastical ministry or provokes subjects to disobey them is to be punished by an interdict or other just penalties.”

There are three more parts to this series of articles.

by Ronald L. Conte Jr.

[1] Church Militant Statement on the Pope, August 2018;
[2] Code of Canon Law, 1983, Can. 1404; See also: Pope St. Nicholas I: “The First See will not be judged by anyone.” Epistle, Proposueramus Quidem; Denzinger 333.
[3] Pope St. Leo IX, Epistle In Terra Pax Hominibus; Denzinger 351-353.