Gary Michael Voris, STB (born August 20, 1961) is an American Catholic pundit, author, and apologist. He is the president and founder of Saint Michael's Media, a religious apostolate producing on-demand video programs on the website ChurchMilitant.com.
Voris attended the University of Notre Dame, and graduated in 1983 with a degree in communications with a focus on history and politics. Between 1983 and 1986 he was a television anchor, producer and reporter for various CBS affiliates in New York, Albany, Duluth and Cheyenne, Wyoming. In 1989 he became a news reporter and producer for a Fox affiliate in Detroit, where he won four Emmy Awards for production between 1992 and 1996.
In 1997 he began operation of an independent television production company called Concept Communications, LLC. This company was registered by co-owners Gary Michael Voris and John Fitzpatrick Mola with the State of Michigan on July 8, 1997. Shortly thereafter on July 23, 1997, Voris and Mola registered a video with the US Copyright Office titled "Double Trouble".
Voris cites the death of his brother from a heart attack in 2003, followed by his mother dying from stomach cancer in 2004 as the events that moved him to go from being "a lukewarm Catholic, someone who usually just went through the motions at church" to an "aggressive global advocate for conservative Catholics ,,, on a burning mission to save Catholicism and America by trying to warn the public about what he sees as a decline of morality in society." Voris is reported to work "up to 18 hours a day, seven days a week" on creating presentations for St. Michael's Media.
In 2009, Voris received an STB degree from the Angelicum in Rome via Sacred Heart Major Seminary, graduating magna cum laude.
On April 21, 2016, in an episode of The Vortex, Voris revealed that prior to his return to the Faith he engaged in multiple sexual heterosexual and homosexual relationships viewed as gravely sinful by the Catholic Church. During his twenties he was "confused about [his] own sexuality" resulting in "frequent sexual liaisons with both adult men and adult women."
He added that these were all "past sins" which had now been publicly admitted, and that since his reversion, "I abhor all these sins." Voris explained that when he was in Fatima five years before, he had "consecrated specifically my chastity to Our Blessed Mother" and had remained a celibate. "That virtue which I had desecrated, I now asked to be consecrated, protected by her," he said.
After being a guest speaker at several Catholic parishes in Detroit and serving as a host on the Michigan Catholic Radio network, in 2006 Voris started the digital television studio St. Michael’s Media in Ferndale, Michigan. Voris's move into Catholic video broadcasting was in response to the book and film The Da Vinci Code. Voris had planned to make a one-hour TV program in order to refute the image of the Catholic Church put forward by Dan Brown's work. He came to believe "that the challenges facing the Catholic Church in the United States were much larger and more pernicious than a single blockbuster."
Voris withdrew much of his retirement fund, and with volunteers began St. Michael's Media. With his background in secular broadcasting Voris felt he could provide a level of production that could compete with mainstream talk shows. He began hosting "The One True Faith" in 2006, and began hosting a Catholic talk radio show, "News and Views Weekly", in 2007. Voris's work soon received an endorsement from then-Archbishop Raymond Leo Burke of St. Louis. By early 2008 Voris's programs "expanded into markets from New York to California, from Ontario to the Philippines." On September 1, 2008, he partnered with RealCatholicTV.com, which is owned by Marc Brammer (who has worked as a business developer for Moody's and is a member of Opus Dei). Some of the Catholic video segments/programs Voris has worked on include "The Vortex", "The One True Faith", "Catholic Investigative Agency", "The Armor of God", and "Where Did the Bible Come From?"
In 2011 the Archdiocese of Detroit, citing canon 216 of the 1983 Code of Canon Law, published notice to Voris and RealCatholicTV that "it [did] not regard them as being authorized to use the word 'Catholic' to identify or promote their public activities." In 2012 the company name RealCatholicTV.com was changed to "ChurchMilitant.tv".
In 2011 Voris traveled to Fátima, Portugal, where he consecrated his apostolate to Our Lady of Fátima and declared he was entrusting its protection to her.
After one of Voris's programs caused controversy when he stated, "The only way to prevent a democracy from committing suicide is to limit the vote to faithful Catholics", he received increased scrutiny from the Archdiocese of Detroit. In December 2011, the archdiocese publicly released two press releases holding that the digital station realcatholictv.com was not permitted to use the word "Catholic" within its name according to their reading of canon law.
In an episode of "The Vortex" coinciding with a June 12, 2012, move to a new studio building, Voris announced that the digital television company would be switching to a new name with a new website: "ChurchMilitant.tv".
Michael Voris has been criticized by Church leaders for "his extreme positions on other faiths" and for "being insensitive to people of other faiths". In particular Voris has been accused of holding extreme anti-Jewish and anti-Muslim views.
Voris's comments questioning the validity of Rabbinical Judaism were later cited when he attempted to give a presentation in the Diocese of Scranton, Pennsylvania. In April 2011, Voris, who had intended to give a talk entitled "Living Catholicism Radically", was banned from speaking at Marywood University or any facilities owned by the Diocese. This action was taken after complaints were made about Voris's statements about other religions. In a letter to the talk's organizers, Paul and Kristen Ciaccia, the Diocese declared that it had "learned from" the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and Mr. Voris's home Archdiocese of Detroit that Voris's presentations had caused "'a number of controversies' and that his programs are not endorsed by his home archdiocese."
Using a press release issued by the Archdiocese of Detroit, the Catholic Diocese of Scranton issued this statement in response to a planned speaking engagement of Voris in that diocese: "The Diocese of Scranton has determined that Mr. Voris will not be allowed to speak in a Diocesan or parish facility. After these engagements were scheduled, the Diocese became aware of concerns about this individual’s views regarding other religious groups. In videos posted on the Internet, Mr. Voris makes comments that certainly can be interpreted as being insensitive to people of other faiths. The Catholic Church teaches us to respect all people, regardless of their faith tradition. Although the Diocese shares Mr. Voris’ support of efforts to protect human life, his extreme positions on other faiths are not appropriate and therefore the Diocese cannot host him."
Voris ascribed this decision to "political correctness. Anything somebody takes offense at, whether it's true or not, seems to be out of bounds." The speech was moved to the Best Western Genetti Hotel and Conference Center in Wilkes-Barre, and the talk's organizers invited local bishop Joseph Bambera to attend "to evaluate Mr. Voris' knowledge of the faith, free from opinions formed by others." The bishop did not take up the offer. The Ciaccias said the ban "belies deeper inconsistencies in diocesan policy." Voris spoke about the events in a video segment, noting the diocese allowed Sara Bendoraitis, the director of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender and Ally Resource Center at American University, to speak at the University of Scranton the previous spring.
One of Voris's videos was seen as controversial for criticizing the national leadership of the Knights of Columbus. He accused them of inaction towards politicians in their own ranks who supported legalized abortion and same sex marriage. Voris also held that the group was too concerned with fiscal matters to the neglect of Catholic orthodoxy. Voris left membership of the Knights of Columbus after leadership in national headquarters refused to remove pro-abortion members from its ranks.
On July 26, 2011, the organizers of World Youth Day 2011, being held in Madrid, Spain, announced that they had not approved the independent catechesis sessions being offered by Voris, who was covering the event for his digital television channel. The organizers announced that "[p]articipants in the World Youth Day 2011 Cultural Program must be recognized and endorsed by the bishops and episcopal conferences of their respective countries." Organizations that were selected "promote the authentic teaching and unity" and were required to have received the endorsements.
Earlier that year, in February 2011, the Detroit archdiocesan director of communications, Ned McGrath, told reporters that "the Real Catholic TV enterprise had yet to present itself or receive approval of its apostolate and programming from the archdiocese." When asked during the Madrid controversy in July what the relationship between his group and his local archbishop was, Voris said he did not know. He stated that he had never been able to reach the archbishop after personally making six attempts to schedule a meeting. Voris wondered if this was interference from the bureaucracy surrounding the archbishop and said he was willing to discuss the issue with organizers, but questioned if there was not "something else at work".
While Voris was in Spain, Catholic News Agency (CNA) reporters discovered that the state of Michigan had dissolved the nonprofit corporation status of St. Michael's Media in 2009 due to a failure to file records with the state for two years. Officials at Michigan’s Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs confirmed the situation but referred questions in regard to whether the company was receiving donations claiming 501(c)3 status to the Michigan Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division.
Michael Voris has been outspoken in his criticism of recent Popes of the Catholic Church. He has been especially critical of Pope Francis, who Voris said should resign.
Voris holds that there has been a liberal shift in the Catholic Church, a post-1960s culture that has had a negative influence over Catholics; some of this has been influenced by "Americanism", a heresy that Pope Leo XIII warned about in the 19th century. The Detroit Free Press reported that Voris holds that "many current church leaders are 'namby-pamby... It's all about, 'Love your neighbor.' " What's needed instead, he said, is "a muscular Catholicism that isn't afraid to encourage battle and sacrifice."