E. Michael Jones: Well-supported Advocate of New Church
Dr. Chojnowski: I am publishing the last installment of Randy Engel's fascinating article on the E. Michael Jones, Michael Voris, and Opus Dei by dividing it up into two parts. The first, below, comes from the "Here we go again!" file dealing with E. Michael Jones' seemingly profitable on-going antagonism to the SSPX.
The second part, to be published shortly, deals with the incredible wealth and surreptitious activities of Opus Dei. I personally remember, some 28 years ago, an attempt to recruit me for Opus Dei by a young man operating at Fordham University where I was studying for my doctorate in philosophy. The Manhattan house spoken of below --- with some $50 million dollars in assets --- was host to many impressive individuals, I remember hearing the brother of the Polish finance minister from the newly democratic government of Poland. At that get-together, I was told by this "friend" trying to recruit me that the SSPX were "Satan-worshippers." Sounds too much, I can assure you that it was said. The point where the recruiting measures were amp up was when the Opus Dei members encouraged me to take as my confessor a priest who had been a former Spanish admiral! Now that was impressive.
Now here is the first part of Randy Engel's article on E. Michael Jones. Note that the letter that she is sighting is not from her own hand but from that of journalist Rosemary Fielding.
“Postscripts to the Jones/Voris Affair”
By Randy Engel
This is the third and final installment to my first two articles, “All the Men Behind the Opus Dei Curtain,” and “On the First Anniversary of the Jones/Voris Affair - A Response to E. Michael Jones with Follow-Up Questions.”
My thanks to the over 400 readers who responded via e-mails to the Opus Dei/Jones/Voris Affair, including many former Opus Dei members and cooperators.
In this last segment of the series, I’m including some important postscripts I received from readers in the U.S. and abroad. They included important comments and attachments primarily on Opus Dei and one on E. Michael Jones, the author of The Man Behind the Curtain: Michael Voris and the Homosexual Vortex.
I’ll begin with the singular commentary on Dr. Jones sent to me by Catholic journalist, Rosemary Fielding. It is printed verbatim below in a separate font and needs no additional comments.
Rosemary Fielding’s Letter on The Truth Behind the Quotation
In the April 20, 2017 letter of E. Michael Jones to Randy Engel (following Mike’s request, Randy posted it in July of 2017), Mike refers to Bishop Bernard Fellay, superior general of the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX). Mike quotes him as saying, “the church has cancer. We can’t associate with the church because then we would get cancer.” Jones gives no citation for this quotation. I think I know what Mike would cite as the source of Bishop Fellay’s alleged quotation. If I am right in my identification of the source, however, this is not a quotation from Bishop Fellay, but a quotation fabricated by Mike Jones that would prove to be as false as a paraphrase or a summary as it is as a quotation.
In April 2009, on Palm Sunday, Bishop Fellay gave an interview from St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary in Winona, Minnesota, that was broadcast by Gloria T.V. in which was included a discussion of the then-recent controversy around Bishop Williamson and the SSPX’s relationship with the Vatican. For reasons I will explain later, I believe this broadcast is the source that Mike has failed to cite in his letter to Randy. Because the exact words, as well as the context, are important, below is a transcript of that part of Bishop Fellay’s interview that Mike (I believe) reduced to two simple sentences. All the quotation is from Bishop Fellay. The cancer-analogy is in bold.
“The Church for once [i.e. for the first time] is not only attacked from the outside, like persecutions, but you have insiders, inside attacks. St. Pius X has already said, ‘The enemy is within.’.... ideas which may have confusedly spread within the Church… The Church is suffering heavy, heavy diseases. It is not only we who are saying that. You have the popes [Paul VI, John Paul II, Benedict XVI]… They all say that the Church is sick. Well, Paul VI, he said, he spoke of ‘auto-demolition’… He used the words ‘smoke of Satan’ within the temple of God. … John Paul II, he spoke of heresies which are spread with full hands, and he spoke of happenings within the Church. So that means that even the present popes, they do acknowledge from time to time that there is a very, very serious crisis in the Church.
Let me compare it to a cancer, and even to a generalized cancer, that means a disease which is spread in the whole body. Now if you have someone who has a cancer, you fight the whole cancer, you disagree with the cancer, so you are strongly against the cancer, but this does not mean that you are going to be against the person who has the cancer. Easily, you will make like a coincidence with both, you will say the one is the other, but that is a simplification. As when we say ‘the modern Church…the conciliar Church and… the official Church’--it is an easy way to deal with the problem, it is not very easy to say where is the cancer ..when it is generalized…when you have metastasis…it is everywhere. So it is a simplification… to say the whole Church is the cancer. But, precisely, very precisely, it is wrong. If you say so, then you would have a serious problem in saying where is the holy Church. If you just say that the whole Church is sick…is the sickness, then the holiness is gone. And we have to maintain that the Church is the visible body. Even if we see a great part of this visible Church gone wrong, we do not have the right to say that the whole thing is gone. Because if you say so, well, there is no Church. Then we have to make ourselves sedevacantists. So there is a tendency, there is a danger, to just throw the whole thing,..the baby with the water, and it is linked with the terrible situation; which we are in, which has taken great, great parts of the Church. It is very difficult to make that distinction; it is very easy to say I’ll have nothing to do with them [the conciliar Church]… So when we [the SSPX] deal with having relation with them, we don’t want to have any kind of relation with the cancer. Of course, if you have relation with cancer, you may receive the cancer. It is a bad example, but it is just to say, ‘No, we want to deal with the holy Catholic Church which is still existing, under or below this appearance of disease’…Sometimes the distinction could appear subtle. And I do agree that such relations are not without danger. It is not an easy situation. But if we do want …expect…the Church to overcome these diseases, we are bound to do what we can, at our place, according to our means, to help. And if by talking we can remind some people in the Church of the right positions, of what the Church taught before, we have to do it, with great prudence, of course…The only thing we want is that the Church get out of the crisis and be what the Church has to be, this beautiful spouse of Christ to whom Our Lord has entrusted His mission, which is to save souls, to bring them to heaven. That is why we deal with it, because we believe that it is the holy Church, we believe that we have a duty now. We also know that it is limited, we are not going to pretend that we are going to save the Church. We try to do what we can at our place, remembering that little things can, in the hands of God, bring much more than it appears…The miracle-- that is in God’s hands, not ours.”
My husband and I saw his point. How could anyone who actually listened to it with an honest mind fail to see his point? It was clear that Bishop Fellay believed the cancer is the doctrinal errors in the Church, and not the Church itself. In addition, Bishop Fellay was actually defending the SSPX’s decision to participate in talks with the Vatican; the interviewer had asked Bishop Fellay what he would say to the critics of this decision to enter into talks with Rome. In other words, bishop Fellay was explaining the reason why the Society was associating with the Vatican / Church. The true meaning of Bishop Fellay’s interview, then, taken in context, is almost the reverse of Mike’s summary of his interview, which summary Mike later put into quotation marks in CW, as I will explain below.
I believe that this interview is the source of Mike’s quotation because my husband and I were the ones who showed Mike this interview when he and his wife visited our home in March 2010. During that visit, we suggested to Mike that he may think better of the SSPX if he would listen to Bishop Fellay’s 2009 interview on Gloria T.V. We thought that Bishop Fellay sounded reasonable and just in his remarks to the point that even Mike Jones might see the reasonableness and justice of the SSPX’s position. So we set him up with our computer to watch it (he watched part of it, not all of it) and then went back to continue our visit with his wife. We heard exclamations from the other room that made us realize Mike was not happy with the interview. When he came out complaining about what Bishop Fellay said, I thought even at the time that Mike had misrepresented the content of Bishop Fellay’s remarks to a stunning degree, and I said with some exasperation, “That’s not what he said!” My husband also briefly expressed his disagreement, but being that it was a friendly visit, we let it drop.
However, the real shock came when we read Culture Wars in September 2010. “Bishop Fellay,” Mike wrote, “one of the four bishops, had been interviewed at the SSPX seminary in Winona, Minnesota and the interview had been posted on YouTube. Fellay began the interview by throwing Williamson under the bus, and it went downhill from there. ‘The Church has cancer,’ Bishop Fellay opined, ‘and if we embrace the Church we’ll get cancer.’” (My italics.)
I was so shocked when I read an obviously ersatz quotation that I listened to the interview again and, at the same time, transcribed some of the interview in the margin of the article in Culture Wars. In the Culture Wars article Mike Jones had not only misquoted Bishop Fellay but had clearly changed the meaning of his carefully presented idea. I was shocked because I would not have thought Mike Jones would go so far as to make up quotations and publish them in his magazine just to make his point. But that is the conclusion I had to come to. It was a sorry conclusion to come to, because, in my mind, this meant that all his previous published work was put under a cloud of doubt. It is also worth noting that the quotation printed in 2010 is different from the quotation printed in the 2017 response to Randy.
It is this same interview that I believe is the source of Mike’s quotation in the April letter that he asked Randy to publish. If it is the source, then he is misquoting Bishop Fellay again. And there should be no “if” in this kind of journalism.
I guess a little history might be of interest: I had been a subscriber to Fidelity since around 1993 or so; a contributor of several articles since 2001; and even had a book review I had written of Mike’s Libido Dominandi published in Our Sunday Visitor in November 2000, a fact which Mike had considered a small miracle. We had purchased and read all his books up to that time. He and his wife and their children had stayed at our house in Pittsburgh several times (it was halfway between South Bend and Philadelphia), and our family had visited them as well in South Bend. During 2008-2009 our family had attended an SSPX chapel, but at the time of the Jones’ stopover, we were going to the Latin Mass at an Ecclesia Dei Latin Mass Community church. However, we still admired Bishop Fellay and still believed the SSPX had made a largely correct analysis of the condition of the modern Church. Because of our admiration for Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, we had in the past discussed with Mike the situation of the SSPX--always ending in disagreement. I would also add that I knew nothing about the Voris/Jones explosion until this month because we no longer subscribe to Mike’s magazine, nor do we watch Michael Voris. I only found Randy’s article because, having read that Iran was cracking down on Christians more forcefully, I had done an Internet search to check out what Mike was currently saying about this country. The search brought up the Voris/Jones news. Finally--one of those historical footnotes--one of the articles I wrote for Culture Wars was a review of Randy Engel’s book The Rite of Sodomy: Homosexuality and the Roman Catholic Church.
Our friendship with the Joneses faded to nothing after that visit. We haven’t seen them since; nor were there any friendly phone calls, cards or other forms of communication; in fact, all indications were that they had decided to drop us. (And, yes, we did make some initiatives to stay in touch; Mike responded to one this year, and we shared a brief email exchange and trade of family news.) We often wondered if we became persona non grata because we also said to Mike on that visit that we thought the late Michael Davies won the debate with him, the debate on the excommunication of Msg. Lefebvre.
After that particular visit, my husband and I concluded that Mike was never going to change his mind about what he had once published about the SSPX, no matter what happened, and no matter what he heard or read--and we concluded this not because Mike disagreed with Bishop Fellay, but because we thought he had seemed so unreasonable in his disagreement and he had inaccurately paraphrased what Bishop Fellay had said. And, so far, it appears that we were right about that prediction. I guess if Michael Davies couldn’t do it, no one can.
Back to the matter at hand-- I thought about writing Mike in September 2010 to point out the mis-quotation published in CW, but, in the end, for a couple of reasons, (not the least of which is that I did not want to transcribe the section of the interview--a time-consuming job without the right equipment) I thought that it best to leave it to the SSPX to correct it--which I certainly expected someone in that organization to do. But, no one seemed to have done so. We received CW for a few more years after that, and I never saw a correction or a letter to the editor pointing out the actual words of Bishop Fellay.
But now Mike is doing it again. And this time, because of the whole context of Randy’s article on Opus Dei, Jones and Voris, I think it is pertinent to point out that Mike is not quoting Bishop Fellay if he is quoting the same interview of April 2009. And if Mike is not quoting that interview, he should tell us which one he is quoting. As I have told my students so many times, “You need a citation here.”
I gave those instructions almost as often as I corrected with “Only exact words go into quotation marks.” Obviously, I am making the point that a journalist of Mike’s brilliance and experience knows that the same rules apply to him as apply to every other reputable journalist. So what gives with his work?
End of Letter by Rosemary Fielding
Note: I transcribed this interview by going to this URL address on July 24, 2017: https://gloria.tv/video/9Z6S1nkPivGB1zyzsr6mxmNW6