More Questions Than Answers
Thomas A. Droleskey
These are perilous times for Catholic priests who do not dissent from anything contained in the Deposit of Faith. That is, even priests who have not as of yet embraced the Immemorial Mass of Tradition but who are not friends of the adversary have suffered greatly at the thuggish hands of bishops and chancery officials and/or religious superiors. No traditional Catholic can ignore the real suffering of priests who have tried to do their best in the diocesan structures to remain faithful to the truths of the Faith. We can and must exhort these priests to embrace Tradition without compromise in order to offer the faithful the Mass that fully communicates and protects the truths of the Holy Faith. However, we must realize the real difficulties faced by men who find themselves under attack from their superiors for simply believing that the Church has taught perennially.
The suffering that has been imposed in the past forty years upon Catholic priests who adhere to the Deposit of Faith is well-documented. Consider the following incomplete and far from exhaustive list of this suffering:
Countless numbers of priests have been sent to Stalinist-style psychiatric reprogramming centers merely because they preached about such things as Mortal Sin and the necessity of going to Confession regularly.
Priests have been removed from pastorates because of their orthodoxy.
A priest in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati was suspended in 1994 because he insisted that those who assisted at Holy Mass dress modestly.
Father James Haley of the Diocese of Arlington was forced to undergo a canonical trial after he uncovered evidence of another priest's perverted proclivities.
Father Robert Altier or the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis was told that his sermons could no longer be uploaded to a website. This came after he had criticized an archdiocesan program that undermines the innocence and purity of children. Meanwhile, another priest, Father Leo Tibesar, in the same archdiocese serves on the board of directors of Dignity USA, an organization that exists to promotes the acceptance of a persistence in unnatural sins against the Sixth and Ninth Commandments as perfect in according with Catholic moral teaching.
Father George Parker, a priest of the Diocese of Norwich, Connecticut, went into early retirement in 1997 after his bishop, the Most Reverend Daniel Hart, apologized told him that he
would not be considered as the permanent pastor of Saint Joseph's Church in North Grovenorsdale, Connecticut. Father Parker's crime? He returned pro-abortion Senator Christopher Dodd's $5,000 contribution to St. Joseph's School.
Father Robert Mason, who this year celebrates his fiftieth year as a priest and his thirtieth year as pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Massapequa Park, New York, faced suspension in 1983 by the Most Reverend John Raymond McGann, the Bishop of Rockville Centre from 1976 to 2000, for his "conservative" tendencies. It was only the personal intervention of Silvio Cardinal Oddi, then the Prefect of the Sacred Congregation for the Clergy, that saved Father Mason's pastorate.
Father Salvatore V. Franco, a priest of the Diocese of Brooklyn, was denied his dying request in 2002 to have a Requiem Mass according to the Missale Romanum of Pope Saint Pius V. When word circulated that his dying wish would be fulfilled by the Society of Saint Pius X, though, efforts were made to prevent his body from being buried in a Catholic cemetery. Only two priests from the Dioceses of Brooklyn and Rockville Centre paid their respects to Father Franco's remains. Only one assisted at his requiem Mass, which was offered by Father Francois Chazal of the Society of Saint Pius X, on December 17, 2002. (See:
No End to the Spinning, written in early 2003, for a full report on this scandal).
Priests in Ecclesia Dei communities have been sanctioned for "crossing the line," that is, for criticizing the policies of the postconciliar era. One priest was reprimanded for giving a sermon on papal fallibility. Another priest was removed from a parish after writing articles critical of the Novus Ordo Missae. Yet others have been abandoned by their superiors because they were deemed to be too critical of such novelties as ecumenism and religious liberty.
In full violation of Quo Primum, priests have been suspended for refusing to offer the Novus Ordo Missae. Some are offering the Mass of the ages on their own. Some have associated with the Society of Saint Pius X. Others suffer--and the word is suffer--yet in silence, awaiting the assistance they think will be provided them by the Holy See.
Numerous priests in religious communities have been silenced or otherwise disciplined for their orthodoxy while the widest latitude has been given to perverts and to those who dissent from articles contained in the Deposit of Faith. Father Cornelius Buckley, S.J., was silenced by his Jesuit Provincial in 1980 after he wrote an article, published in National Catholic Register (before it was owned by the L.C.'s, the Legionaries of Cash), critical of a "liturgy" offered at the Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley, California. The late Father Vincent Miceli committed the cardinal Jesuit sin of criticizing the Society in his masterful The Antichrist, causing him to leave the Society he loved and to seek incardination in the Diocese of Ponce, Puerto Rico, under Bishop Juan Fremiot Torres Oliver. The late Father John A. Hardon, S.J., suffered greatly within the Society of Jesus while Father Robert Drinan, S.J., supported Roe v. Wade and Medicaid funding for baby-killing when he was a member of the United States House of Representatives--and supported pro-abortion candidates when he was the President of the pro-abortion Americans for Democratic Action. And there are a smattering priests in different religious communities who are ostracized and kept isolated from the faithful for their decision to offer only the Mass of Tradition. The list can go on and and on. (And this is not even to mention the persecution of Father Nicholas Gruner by the Holy See itself.)
Indeed, the list of known dissidents in the priesthood who remain in good standing while believing priests are persecuted is staggering. Father Richard McBrien remains in good standing as a priest of the Archdiocese of Hartford, Connecticut, despite a career of placing into question defined dogmas of the Catholic Church. Father Hans Kung remains in good standing as a priest of the Diocese of Basle, Switzerland, despite his having been declared by the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in 1979 to be ineligible to teaching Catholic theology. Father Edward Schillebeeckx remains in good standing as a priest despite his having said as recently as last year that "God has no Son." The late Father Richard McCormick, S.J., remained in good standing until his death even though he promoted the heretical moral theology of Proportionalism. Scores upon scores of priests remain in good standing in their dioceses or religious communities despite supporting perverted behavior and marching in "pride" parades. Scores upon scores of priests remain in good standing in their dioceses or religious communities despite denying the miracles of Our Lord, including His Bodily Resurrection from the dead on Easter Sunday.
Bishops remain in good standing, replete with their full plenipotentiary episcopal powers, despite their toleration and/or promotion of various evils. Bishop Patrick McGrath of San Jose, California, remains in good standing after having written two years ago that the Gospel accounts of Our Lord's Passion are not historically narratives of the events they describe, a proposition condemned as heretical by the First Vatican Council:
Likewise I accept Sacred Scripture according to that sense which Holy mother Church held and holds, since it is her right to judge of the true sense and interpretation of the Holy Scriptures; nor will I ever receive and interpret them except according to the unanimous consent of the fathers. . . .
For the doctrine of the faith which God has revealed is put forward not as some philosophical discovery capable of being perfected by human intelligence, but as a divine deposit committed to the spouse of Christ to be faithfully protected and infallibly promulgated.
Hence, too, that meaning of the sacred dogmas is ever to be maintained which has once been declared by Holy mother Church, and there must never be any abandonment of this sense under the pretext or in the name of a more profound understanding.
Similarly, Bishop Robert Lynch of St. Petersburg, Florida, remains in good standing a year after his role in helping to reaffirm Michael Schiavo in his crusade to starve and dehydrate his disabled wife, Mrs. Theresa Marie Schindler-Schiavo, to death a year ago this Friday, March 31 (which will be the subject of a commentary to posted on that date) Bishop Matthew Clark remains in good standing as the Bishop of Rochester, New York, despite his years of support for the homosexualist cause. Bishop Thomas Gumbleton, though now retired as an auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Detroit, remains a bishop in good standing despite his own support of the "rainbow" agenda. This list could go on and on as well. It is likely that the bishops that will named as homosexuals in Randy Engel's well-researched new book,
The Rite of Sodomy — Homosexuality and the Roman Catholic Church, to be published in a few months, will remain as bishops in good standing. No cardinal named in that book, including any cardinal who has prayed publicly to Allah, will lose his red hat.
It should thus be evident even to Catholics who have not embraced the fullness of Tradition without compromise that there is a crisis of epic proportions within the Church in her human elements. Yes, we know that Holy Mother Church is divinely founded and maintained, that she will last until the end of time, and that the jaws of Hell will never prevail against her. That does not mean, however, that the devil is not going to win a few battles now and again in our own lives or in the larger life of the Church. It is not to be a negativist to point out the problems that exist. Indeed, we either name the "darkness" or we enter into it. We must pray for those who hold ecclesiastical authority while we expose their persecution of good priests and their unspeakably demonic hatred for the Faith as it has been handed down to us. Nothing other than the eternal welfare of souls, starting with our own, depends upon our knowing the Faith and thus being able to call error by its proper name as we flee from the wolves in shepherds' clothing. Saint Basil the Great himself did this when he separated himself from his Arian bishop during the time that he, Saint Basil, was a lector studying to be a priest.
Thus it is that many Catholics today have taken to the underground, to the catacombs, if you will, to protect themselves and their children from ravenous wolves whose "religious education" programs rob children of their innocence and purity and implant the seeds of doubt about the truths contained in the Deposit of Faith, to say nothing of how their contempt for God is displayed in profane exhibitions called "liturgies" that incorporate the very demonic pagan rituals that Our Lady of Guadalupe sought to eradicate from view forever. Even before the Society of Saint Pius X was formed in 1970, you see, there were priests who answered the call to help Catholics to have the Mass of Tradition in "unapproved" settings, keeping in mind the fact that no bishop and no religious superior may prevent a priest from offering the Mass of the ages nor can be forced to offer Mass in any other way. There are priests, both in and out of the Society, who continue to answer that call today. Pope Saint Pius V had something to say about this in Quo Primum:
We specifically command each and every patriarch, administrator, and all other persons or whatever ecclesiastical dignity they may be, be they even cardinals of the Holy Roman Church, or possessed of any other rank or pre-eminence, and We order them in virtue of holy obedience to chant or to read the Mass according to the rite and manner and norm herewith laid down by Us and, hereafter, to discontinue and completely discard all other rubrics and rites of other missals, however ancient, which they have customarily followed; and they must not in celebrating Mass presume to introduce any ceremonies or recite any prayers other than those contained in this Missal.
Furthermore, by these presents [this law], in virtue of Our Apostolic authority, We grant and concede in perpetuity that, for the chanting or reading of the Mass in any church whatsoever, this Missal is hereafter to be followed absolutely, without any scruple of conscience or fear of incurring any penalty, judgment, or censure, and may freely and lawfully be used. Nor are superiors, administrators, canons, chaplains, and other secular priests, or religious, of whatever title designated, obliged to celebrate the Mass otherwise than as enjoined by Us. We likewise declare and ordain that no one whosoever is forced or coerced to alter this Missal, and that this present document cannot be revoked or modified, but remain always valid and retain its full force notwithstanding the previous constitutions and decrees of the Holy See, as well as any general or special constitutions or edicts of provincial or synodal councils, and notwithstanding the practice and custom of the aforesaid churches, established by long and immemorial prescription - except, however, if more than two hundred years' standing.
No priest is to be threatened with any penalty at all for offering the Immemorial Mass of Tradition. All penalties and censures imposed upon priests who do so are illicit and unjust on their very face. As we know all too well, however, an acceptance of this truth is not widespread among conciliarists and their allies. The late Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre was himself faced with all manner of unjust penalties for simply adhering to the fullness of the Catholic Faith. Many other priests have been faced with such penalties as well. Even the threat of such illicit and unjust penalties has been enough in some instances to deter some priests from embracing Tradition and offering the faithful that which is their baptismal birthright as Latin Rite Catholics: the Immemorial Mass of Tradition.
A report is making the rounds at present about an elderly Jesuit priest, who is ninety-four years of age, who has been told by his immediate superior that he cannot offer the Traditional Latin Mass in a private chapel that is not under the auspices of the local bishop. It is my understanding that the priest involved wants no publicity about this matter and that, indeed, he wants it all to go away. He had agreed to offer Mass at that private chapel on Tuesday evenings, being encouraged to do so by a former Jesuit, a mere whipper-snapper of eighty years of age, who has been saying nothing other than the Traditional Mass for the past decade or so. The Jesuit superior spoke. The ninety-four year-old priest obeyed. It is not at all clear that the Jesuit superior would have approved of his brother priest's offering of the Traditional Latin Mass in an approved setting, no less one that is "unapproved." Once again, however, we can see that those who preach "tolerance" and "compassion" and who are so condemning of the "harsh disciplines" that the Church imposed in the "pre-conciliar" days are really hateful, vindictive, mean-spirited fascists who will stop at nothing to prevent any semblance of authentic Catholicism from raising its head under their watch.
Above and beyond the particulars of the situation involving the Jesuit priest and his superior, however, there are more questions than answers as to what would happen IF, for example, Pope Benedict XVI created what some are calling a "super-diocese" for the offering of the Traditional Latin Mass. These are some of the questions that have no answers at this point:
1) Would all traditional chapels and traditional priests be covered by such a "super-diocese"?
2) Would diocesan and/or religious priests who have been suspended, albeit unjustly, for their decision to offer the Missale Romanum of Pope Saint Pius V be able to continuing offering the Mass of Tradition exclusively? Would such priests have to seek "regularization" from their own dioceses or communities before petitioning to join the "super-diocese"?
3) Would diocesan and/or religious priests who have heretofore been waiting for "Rome to act" be free to join the "super-diocese"? Would they have to await the approval of their bishops or religious superiors before being able to join such an entity? Would such priests be able to refuse to offer the Novus Ordo Missae?
4) Would the rights of religious priests who desire to offer the Mass of Tradition exclusively, as outlined by Pope Saint Pius V, but still remain in their religious orders be protected?
5) Would "regularized" priests be able to defend the fullness of the Catholic Faith without paying a false obeisance to the novelties and errors of the past forty years?
In the meantime, however, the way for the suffering of priests in the diocesan structures to be alleviated is for them to follow the example of the pioneers of Tradition in the 1960s and those others who have come to recognize only in the past few years that the the faithful need them to offer the Mass of Tradition in order to protect their souls with the fullness of the Catholic Faith unto eternity. The interviews published in Catholic Family News and on this site a year ago now (Defending Catholic Tradition Without Fear of the Consequences,
An Interview with Father Paul Sretenovic, Defending Tradition Without Compromise: An Interview with Father Sretenovic, part 2) should be read and re-read, as should the interviews contained in Priest, Where is Thy Mass? Mass, Where is Thy Priest? Ravenous wolves control the institutions at present. While we pray for their conversion, mindful of how our own sins have further worsened the state of the Church and the world, we must continue to urge our priests to offer us the fullness of the Church's perennial teaching, expressed so beautifully and protected so fully only in the Mass that Our Lord Himself taught the Apostles to offer before He Ascended to the Father's right hand in glory.
Archbishop Lefebvre put it this way when speaking to the then Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger in 1983:
Now we believe that the reform is evil, poisoned by ecumenism, and we refuse to accept it and we are obliged to advise all the faithful against it. God only knows how long the reformers will close their eyes to the destruction of the faith, of the morals, of institutions.
As always, we fly unto the patronage of Our Lady, ever confident that she will protect us individually and provide help to the Church collectively. And we continue to pray that Pope Benedict XVI will obey Our Lady by fulfilling perfectly her Fatima Message, thus undoing his own role in thwarting its fulfillment six years ago. Nothing other than the restoration of Tradition in the Church and the Social Reign of Christ the King in the world depend upon his doing so.
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us.
Saint Joseph, pray for us.
Saints Peter and Paul, pray for us.
Saint John Damascene, pray for us.
Saint John of Capistrano, pray for us.
Saint Nicholas of Flue, pray for us.
Pope Saint Pius V, pray for us.
Pope Saint Pius X, pray for us.
Saint Philomena, pray for us.
Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich, pray for us.
Blessed Emperor Charles, pray for us.
Blessed Francisco, pray for us.
Blessed Jacinta, pray for us.
Sister Lucia, pray for us.
Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, pray for us.
Today, March 27, 2006, is the fourth birthday of our precious Lucy Mary Norma Droleskey. Her whole life revolves around the Faith. She loves to hear about the lives of the saints. She plays with the statues of saints, something that is particularly appropriate for one born of the feast of Saint John Damascene. And she has taken recently to using a picture missal during Mass to try follow the actions of the priest more fully, turning to me to see if she is at the right place in the missal. Please say an Ave Maria for our daughter on her birthday. Four days from now, Friday, March 31, 2006, will be the fourth anniversary of her entrance into the Catholic Church by means of Baptism. We are very blessed to have such a wonderful daughter.