Update: For those who are wondering if there will be a recording of this. Michael Matt TV-3 was on the jorb and his guys were assiduously recording the event for posterity.
What was supposed to have been a debate was really more of an intervention, maybe a divine intervention, where the people ranged against each other, however poorly they presented themselves, or how well, was overwhelmed by the persistence of Christ's words and the holy dogmas of the Catholic Church.
Indeed, the stated reason for the debate wasn't important. It wasn't a debate, really. The questions offered, or the way they were presented were disgracefully emotional and practically incoherent. Yet Voris is not only a professional television presenter, he is also a trained theologian. Thus, he spoke clearly, persuasively and had facts at his disposal that gradually withered his opponent's position to ridicule.
You might say it was a slaughter, and being the home of a slaughter house, South Saint Paul is also, coincidentally, the home of the murderous elected representative Betty McCollum and the apostate from Catholicism and former governor, Tim Pawlenty. Both of them are sadly products of Catholic education.
In South Saint Paul, on warm spring days, the stench of the yards would waft over the bluffs, with an assault to the mind of death and decay. In mind of such poetic circumstances it is difficult to maintain that the Church is in a "New Springtime", or that dogmas can be changed after 1,900 years as certain luminaries were trying to maintain. And yet there are other causes for alarm not restricted merely to Catholics leaving the Church, or politicians who vote for abortion. Catholics who believe what the Church teaches are not only ridiculed by those who don't, but worse things, perhaps.
Plates of partially cooked, overwhelmingly spicy brats were mostly eaten by the captivated men. Some surely would have given their birthrights for a half-cooked brat. There was even an Archdiocesan spokesman there to offer a woeful and inadequate apology, if not an explanation, for why they're not subordinate enough to the spirit of the age.
The audience was also visibly divided and the mood of merriment and humor occasionally became hostile, even hateful as beer flowed into plastic cups.
At one point, the Parish Pastor, Father John Echert speculated if Mark Shea might think he were in Hell, and well he might be. It was in this mood that the "debate" continued as both Michael Voris and Michael Matt attempted to explain the significance of the Catholic Faith, but this wasn't acceptable to some in the room, who groaned, tittered and sneered.
Some, especially among the apologetics mafia, perhaps fearing a downturn in the economic fortunes of their families, manning money changing tables in the back, were visibly angry, occasionally interrupting Voris or Michael Matt, who were attempting to make clear the terrible state of the Church by discussing statistics, appealing to anecdotal stories and history. But as much as they disliked what was being said, there were times when the concentration of 500 men built to a feverish pitch in the discomfort of the basement where the infernal temperatures caused tempers to flare. Perhaps too, in its grotesquery, coupled with a relentless stupidity and pity, like Christ's Passion, as guards and the vulgar mob jeered and spat at Him. As He struggled under the weight of the cross to redeem those who despise Him. There was a spiritual dimension present, in spite of the charnal setting, the horrendous food, the growing heat, the gross forms at the podium and in the audience, there was still a kind of angelic presence in the din, both good and evil.
It was a scene worthy of the brutal treatment of Flannery O'Connor whom bad Catholics like to quote, or worse still, by Evelyn Waugh who would have mercilessly portrayed the posturing of the debaters, the foggy lack of clarity, the tired digression and the words, the endless words.
But not all was lost. During question and answer, one brave voice, a Spaniard from the sound of him, asked what we as men should do to address what all agreed was the decay of the Church throughout the world. What was needed?
As Michael Voris attacked the Mundelein Seminary Rector, the publicly acclaimed but heterodox Father Barron, for supporting a novel opinion regarding the fewness of the saved, what must have been some goblin in the crowd let out a cry. Voris' opponent, quickly receding the background replied with a derisive wave of his hand, "If there's a problem in the Church, it's NOT Father Barron."
So shall it be at the end of the world. The angels shall go out, and shall separate the wicked from among the just.
It was then that Michael Matt talked about the importance of doctrine, of the oft argued against, hidden, denied dogma of Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus, that is, no salvation outside of the Catholic Church. He was impassioned about it and the room grew increasingly silent, like the darkness and silence that must have covered the world when He died.
Despite a last second interruption by Father Grebner, who attempted to talk about how Lumen Gentium says Protestants CAN be saved, even he seemed overcome by the moment, and attempted to describe how Lumen Gentium actually says only few are saved.
Everything else seemed to shrink in the room and was dominated by the thrice defined dogma, and the dark spirits in the air seemed to shrink away, while all-too-fallible laymen pondered the mystery of salvation and the constancy of the Church's teaching, and its true mission. It's not enough to say we fast, pray and keep watch. Without the Catholic Faith it is impossible to please God. What must we do?
And he said to them: Go ye into the whole world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized, shall be saved: but he that believeth not shall be condemned. And these signs shall follow them that believe: In my name they shall cast out devils: they shall speak with new tongues. They shall take up serpents; and if they shall drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them: they shall lay their hands upon the sick, and they shall recover. And the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God. But they going forth preached everywhere: the Lord working withal, and confirming the word with signs that followed.
Note: a detente of sorts was achieved at the end, but who knows how long it will last or if it will even be improved upon. Certain apologists go back to their vomit.