In 2016, Catholic author E. Michael Jones published a defamatory book about Church Militant titled The Man Behind the Curtain: Michael Voris and the Homosexual Vortex. The book is based on calumny offered by a Canadian priest formerly associated with Church Militant, who betrayed his role as spiritual director to Voris.
That priest broke the confessional seal, and was excommunicated by the Church after a canonical trial. Some time later he was restored, after the Vatican imposed certain acts of reparation for his canonical crimes. (Church Militant discovered the proper canonical steps for restoration were not followed, and has objected to the process.)
Some of that confessional matter was published in Jones' book, making Jones complicit in the mortal sin of breaking the confessional seal. Those who propagate the book and its contents are are also complicit.
Much of the material, however, was distorted, based on half-truths and outright falsehoods.
What Jones also omits from his book is that he has a dog in this fight: He was part of a plot to oust Voris from the apostolate, with the aim of replacing him as the new face of The Vortex, with a particular focus on "The Jews" — a longtime fascination of Jones.
It was only after that failed coup in April 2016 that Jones and the priest — who was thrown off the property when his betrayal was discovered — got together and planned to publish the book in retaliation against Voris and his staff.
Among multiple defamatory claims made in Jones' book is the allegation of tax fraud.
Marc Brammer, a former donor to this media apostolate, made these false allegations. They were published in Jones' book in 2016. In 2019, Brammer also filed a complaint with the Michigan Attorney General's office (AG), which then launched an investigation into the claims.
That investigation was closed the same year, after Church Militant supplied voluminous evidence to the AG that the facts were the other way around, and it appeared Brammer was the one attempting to evade the law.
"Enclosed is a copy of the response our office received concerning your complaint," the letter from Division Chief Katharyn Barron to Brammer begins, referring to Church Militant's evidence. "We are closing your file at this time."
Brammer pursued nothing further against Church Militant.
In testimony submitted to the AG, Voris wrote, "Mr. Brammer sent an email to Mr. [Terry] Carroll and me with a plan to try and recoup some of his original donation through an idea/plan that immediately struck us as strange because it made false assertions."
"Mr. Carroll in fact suspected the idea may have been illegal and sought professional counsel from a well-established and respected CPA," he continues. "The CPA’s conclusion was exactly that — that Mr. Brammer was looking to perpetrate fraud on the IRS in order to recover some of his original donation."
Brammer's scheme was set forth as follows:
The fraud was designed to make it appear as if Mr. Brammer was going to execute a promissory note with me, whereby I would promise to pay $325,000 for all the videos my company had produced and for the assets of St. Michael’s Media. (Brammer insisted that his attorney said this sort of thing was done “all the time” and was common.)
Then Mr. Brammer would, in a "side agreement," forgive my $325,000 debt and claim the amount as a tax deduction to a charitable organization. (See Attachment D). In fact, on advice from the CPA hired by Mr. Carroll, I refused to sign the promissory note or to be engaged in any way in committing tax fraud.
The testimony goes on to note that Brammer falsely claimed he owns certain assets of this apostolate:
None of the assets of the apostolate ever belonged in any form to Mr. Brammer personally or to Greenstar corporately. But in the calumnious book published by his anti-semitic friend E. Michael Jones (included in the hyperlink in Brammer's March 17th email to you), he presents the lie that he owned the assets, and spins from there that he was and is still owed hundreds of thousands of dollars and thus was "defrauded" by our organization. All of this is categorically false and Mr. Brammer has no proof to back up his claims.
As noted, once the AG closed the investigation, Brammer pursued nothing further with Church Militant.
The most grievous calumny published in Jones' book is the outrageous claim that Michael Voris' father "sodomized" him. Voris has categorically denied this ever happened. This is speculation on the part of the priest, published uncritically by Jones, and a horrific defamation of Voris' late father's reputation.
Known simply as "Russ" to all who knew him, he was beloved by all and unwaveringly supported his son's apostolate from the beginning.
A convert from Protestantism, Russ was deeply grieved at the state of the Church. He fully supported Michael's endeavors to spread the Faith and call out the errors of our shepherds, with the aim of restoring the authentic faith.
2018 tribute to Russ Voris
Russ served as a model of charity, integrity and generosity. He had a deep faith, spending hours daily in prayer. He had a special love for Our Lady and a devotion to St. Michael — the patron saints of St. Michael's Media.
Russ passed away at the age of 88 on Jan. 11, 2018, in the state of grace, surrounded by his loved ones. His loss is still felt to this day.
The priest whose defamatory testimony Jones published had an emotional and psychological attachment to Voris. As a result of this dysfunction, the priest lashed out at a number of Voris' friends, among them, senior producer Christine Niles.
Based on the priest's falsehoods, Jones made egregiously false claims, among them that she "abandoned" her "husband" and family to pursue a career at Church Militant. The timeline is proof that this cannot be true.
In spring of 2011, Niles was informed by the office of the metropolitan tribunal for the archdiocese of Indianapolis, Indiana, where she was residing, that her marriage lacked canonical form and was therefore not sacramentally valid in the eyes of the Church. As a Catholic, she had "married" in a Protestant service in 2000, resulting in an invalid union.
From that moment, in obedience to the Church, Niles chose to live chastely, as brother and sister with her civil spouse. As her spouse had apostatized and left the Faith, she sought priestly advice on how to reconcile the union and pursued Catholic counseling. After nine months of fruitless attempts at reconciliation, they divorced amicably in December 2011.
For the next three years, Niles remained a stay-at-home mom, teaching law courses online and doing freelance copy editing work to support herself and her four children.
It was not until June 2014 that Church Militant invited Niles to visit the studio for an interview. That interview was initiated entirely by Church Militant. Niles did not apply for the job, nor did she ask anyone associated with the apostolate to work there. At the time, Niles was known to the apostolate because of her online support of its work and friendship with staff.
During her June 2014 visit, Voris offered her a full-time job. She formally began working for Church Militant in July 2014. She continues to raise her children as a single mother on a single income.
While Jones claims certain staff in the past made meanspirited comments referring to Niles as a "wife," those individuals (who had colluded with the priest to oust Voris) no longer work at the apostolate.
Jones spends a great deal of time playing psychologist, diagnosing Voris with an illness he calls "homo-narcissism," an apparently lifelong affliction, according to Jones, disqualifying him and others who have indulged in serious mortal sin from any public ministry or apostolate.
Jones promotes the message of "once gay, always gay" — that the disorder of same-sex attraction has so marred a man's soul as to never be able to escape it.
It is a message strikingly similar to that propagated by the likes of Fr. James Martin, SJ and his pro-LGBT cohorts. It is a diabolical message, one entirely opposed to that of the gospel, which teaches that those redeemed by God are "a new creation" in Christ.
"We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life." (Romans 6:4)
Elsewhere Scripture tells us:
His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, that through these you may escape from the corruption that is in the world because of passion, and become partakers of the divine nature. (2 Peter 1:4)
Jones' message, however, rejects the possibility that great sinners can become great saints, and can help others to become saints along the way.
Scripture and Church history abound with examples of the redemptive power of God's grace, through prayer and the sacraments. Jones doesn't seem to believe this. To him, God's grace is so weak, so ineffective that it can't overcome the psychological grip of sin.
In short, Jones' message is the anti-gospel.
To his way of thinking, St. Augustine should have spent his old age in silent penance for his years of hedonism, when he desecrated a church altar with his concubine and conceived a son out of wedlock, rather than what he became: an archnemesis of heretics, a bishop and doctor of the Church and one of the greatest luminaries of Western Christendom.
To Jones, Bl. Bartolo Longo should have devoted the remainder of his life to solitary shame for his years in the occult as a satanic high priest, when he indulged in unmentionable sacrileges, rather than devote himself to public ministry propagating the Rosary to thousands of others after his conversion.
To Jones, St. Angela of Foligno could never have led a religious community, after her years as a vain, wealthy, pleasure-seeking adulteress. Such grave sins would have disqualified her from any leadership role or ministry after conversion.
To Jones, St. Vladimir could never have ruled as a Christian leader after his life of barbarism, immorality and bigamy, having seven wives and ordering the sacrifice of victims in his pagan temple. If he had succumbed to the anti-gospel of Jones, St. Vladimir never would have engaged in his numerous public works spreading the Faith and helping to unify his country under Christ.
There are too many such examples to recount, examples that directly contradict Jones and his seeming obsession with homosexuality — an obsession that reveals far more about him than anyone of whom he writes.
Contrary to Jones' message, no soul is beyond redemption. God can use any soul to accomplish His purposes.
The message of the gospel is at bottom one of boundless love.
"Deep calls to deep in the roar of your torrents, and all your waves and breakers sweep over me." (Psalm 42:8)
As the Discalced Carmelite St. Elizabeth of the Trinity wrote:
"Abyss calls to abyss." It is there in the very depths that the divine impact takes place, where the abyss of our nothingness encounters the Abyss of mercy, the immensity of the all of God. There we will find the strength to die to ourselves and, losing all vestige of self, we will be changed into love.
"Love transforms one into what one loves," said St. Catherine of Siena, who called God the "Divine Madman" for loving us "unto madness."
"What father," she asked, "ever gave up his son to death for the sake of his slave!"
As God the Father told St. Catherine, "The soul cannot live without love. She always wants to love something because love is the stuff she is made of, and through love I created her."
It is that love — the love of God for us "unto madness" — which God offers to each soul willing to love Him back, willing to allow Him to purify and transform and forge that soul into a small replica of Himself.
"Come now, let us set things right,
says the Lord:
Though your sins be like scarlet,
they may become white as snow;
Though they be red like crimson,
they may become white as wool."
God can transform any soul, no matter how stained and marred by sin; He can rescue and redeem any life, no matter how torn and tattered, and transform it into an image of Himself, a little Christ.
While sufferings and sacrifices are promised in this life, they will one day vanish in the Abyss of God's love, in that eternal union promised in Heaven to souls who have loved Him to the end.
"Therefore, if any one is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, behold, the new has come." (2 Cor. 5:17)