Voris out after violating morality clause, Niles quits; pair ask for privacy

By Damien Fisher

The man who founded a right-wing Catholic media mini-empire was forced to resign Tuesday, telling the public that he needs to work on the ugliness inside himself.

The stunning news that Michael Voris was pushed out from Church Militant, the media outlet he started almost 20 years ago, came out Tuesday when the Church Militant board issued a statement that Voris had breached its morality clause.

In a video he released on social media Tuesday evening, Voris said in a way he’s thankful for the “dark grace” of his fall, so that he can start healing.

“Sometimes it takes very horrible events, even at your own hand, to surface certain things that need to be faced,” Voris said. 

 

Voris’s longtime on air sidekick, Christine Niles, released her own video on Tuesday, confirming she’s the one who alerted the board to problems at Church Militant. Niles resigned on Nov. 9 with a lengthy and detailed letter to the Church Militant board about what had been going on behind the scenes, she said.

“There were lots of troubling things over the past year, but especially over that past several months, about the direction Church Militant was heading, and some of the decisions Voris was making,” Niles said.

 

Niles is not saying what Voris did to be pushed out of the business he started, but said there has been a distinct personality change in Voris.

“He is not the man I came to work for in 2014,” Niles said. 

The one red flag Niles would share is that Voris had stopped praying with staff in the last couple of years.

“Somewhere along the line over the past several years it became less and less of a priority,” she said.

Niles reminded people watching her video that Voris himself had said many times that a lack of prayer almost always came before someone had a public fall from grace.

Voris also did not want to discuss the “ugly actions” that lead to his resignation, but said it is due to “deep, deep, deep” wounds that were too terrible for him to even consider. With whatever he’d done out in the open, at least to Church Militant board members and staff, Voris said he’s seeking professional help.

“I need to conquer these demons,” Voris said.

Voris did offer his “deepest apologies” to the people he’s hurt with his behavior.

“There is nothing I can say to make it good,” Voris said.

Niles said Voris has hurt people in Church Militant, including herself.

“To say that I am heartbroken and furious is an understatement. There’s a lot of anger, there is a great deal of anger over this,” Niles said. 

She won’t judge Voris, and said she’s ready to forgive him, but the harm he has caused is real.

“That doesn’t mean though that it hasn’t hurt a lot of people, that it hasn’t scandalized a lot of people, that it hasn’t hurt a lot of good people still at Church Militant,” she said.

While some commenters called his video “tremendously moving” and “humble,” others incredulously pointed out that Voris and Niles have made a living for almost two decades out of exposing and decrying the most private details of the lives of others, in the name of investigative journalism on a crusade to expose corruption in the church; but now that a scandal is in-house, they are asking for prayer, support, and privacy. 

I reached out to Simon Rafe, Voris’ longtime Church Militant factotum, this afternoon, but was told he no longer had a phone on his desk. The media company went through a round of layoffs and expense cuts this year which saw employee phones removed, among other austerity measures.

Sources have said since that Rafe, too, is out at Church Militant.

Church Militant operates under the banner of St. Michael’s Media, the non-profit apostolate Voris started. According to tax returns, St. Michael’s media has been running major deficits for years, totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars per year. Part of the problem has been Voris’ media strategy, which got him sued for defamation.

New Hampshire priest Rev. Georges de Laire, the judicial vicar for the Manchester Diocese, is suing Voris over defamatory videos and articles Voris published and starred in. Voris operates Church Militant and St. Michael’s Media. DeLaire declined comment Tuesday.

Voris saw his two original lawyers on the case quit this year. His replacement lawyer, Richard Lehmann, did not respond to a request for comment. If St. Michael’s Media, and its donors, are not longer footing the bill for the legal defense, it’s unclear what will happen next.

This summer, DeLaire’s attorneys accused Voris of hiding evidence and threatening a key witness in the case. He also reportedly claimed attorney-client privilege for his conversations with Niles. While Niles is a licensed attorney, she is not a lawyer for Voris or Church Militant, according to an affidavit she signed in the case. 

Voris has been no stranger to strangeness. He was forced to change the name of his news outlet from Real Catholic TV to Church Militant in 2012 after the Archdiocese of Detroit told him he didn’t have permission to use “Catholic” in the name.

In 2016, Voris outed himself as having lived as a homosexual in his 20s and 30s. Voris is now 62. At the time of his previous disclosure, Voris claimed powerful enemies within the Church were about to use his past against him. 

At the end of his video, Voris said he might return to Church Militant at some point in the future, once he’s dealt with whatever he is dealing with. He asked viewers for prayers, and to continue supporting Church Militant and its 40 or so employees. He also offered advice for anyone suffering.

“If you’ve got some ugliness in your past, don’t let it control you,” Voris said.

 

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9 thoughts on “Voris out after violating morality clause, Niles quits; pair ask for privacy”

  1. As an early Father of the Church once said. “God asks of us only one thing, a peaceful heart.” There is also an ancient Chinese saying “When passing through an infected country, don’t even taste the water.”
    And a third quote from a follower of St. Francis of Assisi, ” I have known Francis to walk ten miles saying, in all that time, one Our Father. Slow down everybody and live Christian.

  2. I was a big fan of CM when I first stumbled upon them some years ago, but MV’s outing of himself in 2016 caused me to pause. Since then, I continued to follow, but found myself much more guarded in my assessments, more muted in my support. I was frustrated when, for quite some time, CM would vociferously, and justly, criticize much of what Francis would say and do, but not criticize Francis himself, which to me always appeared somewhat ridiculous. Eventually, Francis’ destructive antics left CM no choice, and they finally started to criticize him directly; but the lengthy video that MV put out after that, to refute the doubts that were starting to be raised about Francis’ legitimacy as Pope, left much to be desired. As full disclosure, I only watched perhaps the first ten to fifteen minutes of it, when MV supposedly addressed the argument against Francis’ inauthenticity due to the manifest faultiness of Benedict’s purported abdication, which I personally tend to subscribe to. He discussed that argument in all of about a minute, and essentially dismissed it, despite not actually describing the argument itself, or his objection to it; it was quite amateurish, actually. Another thing that I noticed was MV’s highly offputting narcissism, as manifest most prominently in his weird hair dying, which at the time called to my mind the fall of Fr. Corapi, who did the same thing shortly before his fall. …but what soured me on CM once and for all was their targeting, unfairly, in my opinion, of the SSPX. I had no issue with their stories of corruption within the SSPX, but it was always my sense that the attack was as much, if not more, against the organization as against the actual bad actors, because CM considers them to be schismatic, which they are not, per the Church Herself. I found (and find) CM to have an unprofessional axe to grind against the SSPX, whose Tridentine Masses I do not attend (but admittedly would if I could.) Anyway, the whole affair is very sad, and I cannot imagine CM surviving it, which might be for the good, though I do wish the best for MV, et al, and believe that CM has done a fair bit of good, too.

  3. Michael and Christine were an odd couple. A homosexual and a divorcee… heading a putatively Catholic media empire. Now, Voris is out at CM and Niles is trying to position herself as the heroine of the affair.

    CM had a habit of making unsubstantiated or at least logically inconsistent claims against those whom they had an axe to grind. Michael Matt and Chris Ferrera made a video some years back about Voris’ strange volte-face against them. One day he was fine, the next day he was sliming them at CM. I got banned at CM for defending the SSPX against their false statements against them. I’m neither for or against the SSPX but CM’s claims against them were just wrong. That and modernists were allowed to freely spew their errors there while apparently Traditional Catholics complained how their comments were being sent to limbo. They certainly kept a tight rein on the comments section.

    To say they were “far right” as most of the media is calling them, is deceptive. They weren’t. They were occasionally right. Some of those they’ve slimed deserved it. Others didn’t. But CM didn’t care. Their’s is a kind of pornography – stirring up the passions of their subscribers to no fruitful end.

    Now Voris has admitted to certain failings, is going off on a retreat, and asks for prayers. Perhaps, like Father Corapi he’ll try to rebrand himself and start anew. Niles will probably start making the rounds of Catholic talk shows and vlogs, and portray herself as a victim.

    In any event, rest assured Voris’ indiscretions will soon become public.

  4. being reported that Simon Rafe is also out at Church Militant. Once of CM detractors is saying this is the case, along with buildings for sale. No replacement for Voris yet named. Detractors also bringing up both of Christine Niles marriages. Maybe this site can let us who have supported CM know what is going on. The supporter have received nothing. Not the details but what is going on? We are told to continue to support them, but why? What is happening? and where is CM going in the near future. Sad day indeed.

    1. I just spoke to sonmeone at CM and Simon Rafe is still there. There are many lies being bannded about. Hard to tell who is telling the truth.

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