Metro Weekly

Anti-Gay Catholic Website Founder Sent Racy Selfies to Male Staffers

Michael Voris, of the right-wing media company Church Militant, resigned for an alleged breach of company's "morality clause."

Screenshot of Michael Voris – Photo: Church Militant

The founder of a right-wing, anti-LGBTQ website allegedly sent shirtless selfies of himself working out to younger, single male employees before his abrupt resignation last November, according to a recent article in The Washington Post

Michael Voris, a former local television reporter, founded Real Catholic TV in 2006, setting up the company’s website to espouse a return to traditional Catholicism and defend socially conservative views that align with Church doctrine.

The media organization was strongest in its criticism of the Catholic Church’s more liberal clergy — particularly Pope Francis — and their efforts to appeal to a wider swath of people by refraining from outright condemnation of behaviors or lifestyles that the Church deems “sinful” and speaking out against more extreme anti-LGBTQ laws.

Under Voris, Real Catholic TV, renamed Church Militant in 2012, routinely condemned efforts to reach out to LGBTQ individuals who had been raised Catholic.

They also repudiated any actions viewed as “softening” the Church’s stance on issues such as same-sex marriage, transgender identity, and opposition to abortion, euthanasia, and contraception.

Voris — who publicly acknowledged that, decades earlier, he had lived an “extremely sinful” life of “live-in relationships with homosexual men,” but had since condemned his past life — frequently went to war over LGBTQ issues.

He often accused liberal clergy members of being gay and seeking to push an agenda centered around LGBTQ acceptance.

He often claimed that the Church was secretly run by an “international gay-crime syndicate,” suggesting that many of the sex abuse scandals facing the Catholic Church were rooted in, or connected to, the presence of homosexual priests within the priesthood. 

Yet, Voris resigned in November over what the Church Militant board of directors claimed was a breach of the company’s “morality clause.”

“The Board of Directors has chosen not to disclose Michael’s private matters to the public,” the board said in a statement. “The apostolate will be praying for him, and we kindly ask you to do the same.”

Through a series of interviews with staff and documents viewed by the Post, it was revealed that some younger male employees within the company had complained that Voris sent shirtless workout photos of himself to staff and associates.

Last April, several shirtless gym selfies of Voris, some of which were cut off just below his pelvis, appeared on Church Militant’s cloud-storage account, according to staff members.

Employees speculated that the images may have been uploaded unintentionally from Voris’s phone, along with several business documents.

Even though access to the photos was shut down quickly, the selfies revived questions about Voris’s sexuality and led to further speculation about whether he was backsliding.

That same month, “Restoring the Faith,” a rival X account popular in far-right Catholic circles, called out Voris for the selfies, questioning why he was sending “half-nude selfies to his young, single male employees.”

In early November, fellow Church Militant webcast host Christine Niles warned the board in a resignation letter that Voris had sent pictures directly, and apparently intentionally, to other men, including employees.

“[The selfies] reveal an unhealthy obsession with his physique, not to mention the terrible optics — particularly considering his former lifestyle,” Niles wrote, noting that copies of the photos remained on employee hard drives.

A group of Church Militant employees sent their own unsigned letter to the board of directors that same month, accusing Voris of sending a selfie to a prominent potential donor, and alleging that his actions had cost the company a sizable donation.

“I don’t know if it was a gym bro thing or what,” Joe Gallagher, a former Church Militant employee, told the Post. “A whole bunch of young guys got them, I know that.”

Days after Voris resigned, several staffers were laid off and escorted out of their offices, according to the Post, which claims the organization “remains in financial jeopardy,” citing the sale of two office buildings and a pending defamation lawsuit against the media company, which other Catholic news outlets have covered.

In a December fundraising email to supporters, Church Militant’s board of directors acknowledged that Voris had been involved in an unspecified “scandal” and said it had launched an independent audit of the organization’s finances during his tenure.

The board said “the Evil One” had taken a “huge bite” out of the company, implying that donor support was essential to keeping the organization operational.

“We would hate to lose this place to the Devil,” the fundraising email said.

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