I’ve written about Michael Voris previously:
His diocese has issued this public statement
There are several general problems with the teachings of Michael Voris. The first is that he has no written theology: no books, no articles, no formal written theology at all. He has a degree in communications and a degree in theology. Unfortunately, his online TV show, RealCatholicTV, makes much use of his communications degree and little use of his theology degree. In that show, he speaks to his audience as if he were teaching them from his knowledge to their ignorance. He offers no real theological argument. His explanations presuppose that his position is not only correct, but is identical to the teaching of the Church. But this is not so.
His explanations of various points of theology are simple, very simple, overly-simplified. But this simplicity is not merely found in the explanation, it is also in his theology. He has an overly-simplified understanding of Catholic teaching. His theological errors tend to be those of distortion of Catholic doctrine by over-simplification.
As I’ve written before: Voris presents himself as if he were a teacher of the Catholicism, but in my opinion, his level of understanding of Catholicism is equivalent to a student in a Catholic high school at about the junior or senior high school level…. Neither are his TV and online video lectures at all theological. Although his tone of voice suggests that he is teaching ideas that are definitive and irrefutable, his errors are glaring and easily refuted.
An Analogy about the Trinity
Now there is a certain analogy that is often used to explain the Trinity, and to show how the human person is created in the image of God. But this is just an analogy; it is not literal. Voris explains this analogy, in a very simple long drawn out manner, as if he were teaching children, as if his audience were so much more ignorant and less intelligent than himself. The problem with Voris’ explanation is that he is claiming that the analogy is literally true. And the result is that his position on the Trinity is abject heresy.
The analogy that is commonly used, is that the Father is analogous to the human will, the Son is analogous to the human intellect (thought, knowledge), the Spirit is analogous to human love. Human persons have free will, intellect, and the ability to love. In this way, created persons are more like God than the rest of Creation.
The analogy is also used to explain procession. The Son proceeds only from the Father. It is as if the Father is uttering one Word that is perfectly like Himself. The Son is analogous, therefore, to the Father’s knowledge of Himself. The Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son. It is as if the love of the Father for the Son, and of the Son for the Father, became a Person, so full is that love. But this is merely an analogy. To take this analogy literally would be heresy.
In truth, the Divine Nature cannot be divided into attributes or qualities. All that is God is of His very Nature, and all that is God is One. God is not merely loving; He is Love. God is not merely merciful; He is Mercy. God is Goodness, Justice, Love, Mercy, Knowledge, Existence, etc. And all this is One in the Divine Nature.
The dogma of the Church on the Trinity is that each Person possesses the full Divine Nature. There is one Divine Nature and three Persons, but the Nature is not divided among the Persons such that certain attributes are given to one Person and not to another. But if we take the analogy of the Trinity literally, then the Holy Spirit is Love, and the Father and Son are not Love. If we take the analogy literally, then the Son is the Thought of God or the Knowledge of God, and the Father and Spirit have no thought or knowledge of their own. This misinterpretation has the effect of reducing each Person from fully God to only a part of God — which is false and heretical.
The heresy of Michael Voris on the Trinity
In this video from ChurchMilitant.tv, Michael Voris explains his misunderstanding of the common analogy about the Trinity.
He begins by considering human nature. Human persons think and love. He is about to make an analogy between human nature and the Trinity. But here is what he says:
“God also thinks…. What does God think? He thinks a thought or a word. And from that one Word or Thought, it is distinct from Him, but it is not separate from Him…. I have many thoughts…. But God has only one thought. And in that one thought, or that one word, is contained all the knowledge that is possible, all things that are known and can be known, because God is simplicity, because He is perfection. So when God thinks one Thought, it contains everything. It cannot be absent something, because it is the Divine infinite Mind thinking it…. God therefore does not need any word, but that one word, which is the image or splendor of His own Divine Substance.”
Voris does not present his explanation as an analogy, but as if it were literal. This is particularly clear in that he says “God thinks”, as if the Son were the entirety of the thought or knowledge of God, i.e. of the Divine Nature. This claim attributes to one Person, not to all three, the knowledge of God. The result is the heretical position that each Person does not fully possess all that God is in His very Nature. The Nature becomes divided into attributes, which are then distributed between the Persons.
Notice that he says the one Word is distinct from God, but not separate from God. This terminology, distinct but not separate, is properly used about the Persons. The Father, Son, and Spirit are distinct from one another, but not separate, since They are the One Nature. But Voris has the Son being distinct from God, that is, from the Nature. He claims that the Divine infinite Mind thinks a thought, which is the Son (the Word). He claims that the Son is the image or splendor of the Divine Substance, not of the Father.
This claim constitutes a second heresy about the Trinity. For the Trinity is not four things — God, Father, Son, Spirit. The Trinity is not Nature, Person, Person, Person. The Trinity is Three Persons, and those Three Persons are the one Nature. The one Nature is the Three Persons. The Son is the image and splendor of the Father, not of the Divine Substance. The explanation that presents the Son as the Knowledge of God is an analogy. All Three Persons certainly fully possess the whole Nature. Knowledge is not only in the Son.
“We call him the second person, the word of God, the thought of God…. Why do we call him the son of God? … God generates an eternal word in his mind…. Instead of calling God who thinks, the thinker. Which is true, God is the thinker…. Instead of calling God the thinker, and instead of calling his thought or his word, the Thought, why not call God who thinks, Father, and why not call what He thinks, that is generated from Him, the Son?”
The above quote contains the same errors. Voris continues at length explaining this point. It is unmistakable that he is teaching heresy on the Trinity. Does he teach this heresy because he has decided that the teaching of the Church about the Trinity is false? Probably not. It seems clear that he is teaching this heresy because he has a very poor understanding, a severe misunderstanding, about Catholic doctrine. But what makes his misunderstanding much more reprehensible is that he has not merely misunderstood for himself — he has decided to exalt himself as a teacher. He does not understand basic Catholic doctrine on important matters of faith, but he has nevertheless decided to teach others. He uses his skills and knowledge in communications to lead others astray from the faith, to inculcate in them his heresies and doctrinal errors.
But he does not stop with the above errors. He goes on to express the same error about the Spirit that he has so carefully and simply explained about the Son.
“And the Father loves the Son. Love is not something in the Father. Love is not something in the Son. Love is the mysterious bond uniting the two of them…. God is Life, Truth, Love. The Life is the Father, the Truth is the Son, the Holy Spirit is the Love.”
Again, it is unmistakable. He plainly states that Love is not something in the Father, that Love is not something in the Son. These statements are entirely heretical, since they deny that each Person possesses the full Divine Nature. Scripture teaches that God is Love (1 John 4:16). But Voris claims that only the Spirit is Love. Michael Voris explicitly plainly repeatedly teaches the heretical claim that the Divine Nature is divided into attributes and these attributes are distributed among the Three Persons. The teaching of Michael Voris is abject heresy.
Ronald L. Conte Jr.
Roman Catholic theologian and Bible translator