The fifth and final person to be honored this year, in deference both to rank and age and still among the living and thus eligible for the Tower of Trent Cross of Truth - is Father Anthony Cekada, the 55-year old priest who could very well be one of the key links between the two Traditional prelates who are responsible for the growth of the Traditional Movement: Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre and Archbishop Pierre Martin Ngo dinh Thuc. No man is more familiar with both bishops. Father Cekada was amongst the early pioneers of the Society of St. Pius X and personally interviewed those who were the closest to Archbishop Thuc and it was his, along with Bishop Daniel Dolan's and Bishop Donald Sanborn's documentations, that have thoroughly laid to rest any question as to the validity of the Thuc Consecrations.
Wisconsinite Father Cekada was born in the Milwaukee area in 1951 at the height of the golden era of the Church in the United States. The name Rembert Weakland was nowhere in the roles for he was in that same year still loyal to his vows which he took at ordination as a Cistercian monk at Subiaco. Back in Milwaukee, the local ordinary was Archbishop Moses Elias Kiley when Mr. and Mrs. Cekada's child was baptized. As a side note, it was Kiley who restored the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist after a fire had gutted it in 1936. His beautiful restoration was totally demolished in the wreckovation engineered by Weakland, despite the flood of protests to the Modernist Vatican. They didn't blink until Weakland was forced to admit he was a sodomite and had been extravagantly harboring a lustful partner with church funds no less. Then, and only then was Karol Wojtyla forced to accept Weakland's resignation. And yet, today, Weakland still functions with no censure. As a Benedictine monk he should have been long ago locked in a monastery, but, for the most part, the monasteries are no longer Catholic along with the rest of the Novus Ordo enterprise.
And speaking of "Enterprises", that is what garnered Father Cekada so many votes to make him eligible for this year's Tower of Trent honor: his clear-cut refutation of the sudden, uncharitable diatribe campaign launched by Christopher Ferrara and Father Nicholas Gruner's organization last summer against the legitimate speculative theological opinion of sedevacantism. It was an unnecessary broadside that initially divided the camps and provided much rhetoric on both sides, but in the end, it was most fruitful in delineating the sedevacantist viewpoint and that it is an opinion very much in line with the traditions of holy Mother Church and does not jeopardize one's soul as anti-sedevacantists had used as their prime argument. Father Cekada's no-nonsense rebuttal of everything Ferrara wrote opened many more eyes to the very fact that it would be impossible for the conciliar popes to be Catholic and act and speak as they have done if we are to believe all holy Mother Church has taught and passed down from Saint Peter through Pope Pius XII. Father Anthony's documented polemics sent Ferrara back to picking on targets he should have been aiming at all along - the conciliar church and, once he realized he was back in his environ, Ferrara returned to prominence with his volley at EWTN in waking the faithful to the protestantization of a network. As for theology, leave that to the pros and Father Cekada has proved he is a master in that. It is an acquired gift which the Holy Ghost has guided him in his studies of Church doctrine and Canon Law as well as Church documents few others have offered as evidence of the truths of why Father has arrived at the position he has.
It began after Catholic grade school with the Minor Seminary of De Sales in Milwaukee and then to the Major Seminary St. Francis there. He received his Bachelor's Degree in 1973 and could see then that what he had been weaned on was fast being forsaken, trashed, compromised and altered. The Archbishop of Milwaukee William E. Cousins at the time, the precursor to Weakland, had shown liberal tendencies, having fallen into the heresy of Americanism, warned of by Pope Leo XIII. Cousins, the eighth archbishop of Brew town, was active at the Second Vatican Council and upon his return was quick to initiate the drastic changes. It was no secret that he gave great leeway to his priests and the laity to do whatever they wanted to do in opening to the world and being politically correct. This came back to bite him in a sense when one of Cousin's own priests became famous for his civil disobedience during the civil rights demonstrations. Cousins, along with so many others returning from the Council fell into the grave error that man can fix things on his own and world peace can be achieved by compromising with the world, the flesh and the devil. To give one an inkling of the progressivist Cousins had become, he was one of the first to install permanent married deacons. In addition Cousins served on several committees for the fast-growing collegial atmosphere of the National Conference of Bishops for AmChurch which, as the years progressed, became less and less Catholic.
This progressivism greatly bothered the young Anthony Cekada, so much so that he sought a second vocation that he had a great love for - music, enrolling in the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music where he studied the organ and composition. By the testimony of those who know Father Cekada, he has become a master organist over the years. Realizing so much was lost in the liturgy and seeing the direction Cousins was taking the Catholic Church in Milwaukee, he decided to pursue his priestly vocation not as a diocesan priest, but as a religious with the Cistercians of the Common Observance at Our Lady of Spring Bank in Okauchee, Wisconsin some twenty miles or so west of Milwaukee. But even there he realized the conciliar influence had penetrated and changes were happening that did not resemble Catholicism. Doing more research and prayer, he heard about Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre's Traditional seminary in Econe, Switzerland and it seemed like the ideal for what he was looking for. Two years after receiving his degree, he entered as a major seminarian where he completed his studies two years later and was ordained by the Archbishop Lefebvre in 1977.
It was the same year that the Archbishop dismissed the brilliant Dominican theologian Father Michel Louis Gerard des Lauriers from the faculty at Econe because of his stance on Paul VI . Father des Lauries had been appointed by His Holiness Pius XII as one of his personal confessors as well as a chair at the Pontifical Lateran University where he taught theology. In 1970, after receiving the now famous Ottaviani Intervention which, in fact, Father des Lauriers co-wrote under the direction of the Archbishop who helped convince Cardinals Alfredo Ottaviani and Cardinal Antonio Bacci to sign and present to Paul VI, the conciliar pope turned around and demanded not only des Lauriers' resignation, but the forced resignations of all "conservative" - read "Traditional" - professors at all the Pontifical universities in Rome. The die had been cast, the liberal Modernist was stacking the deck for the Modernists come hell or high water. Since the high water had receded on the Tiber, it was the former that invaded Vatican City. The beast was within just as Montini boasted in 1974 when he admitted "satan was now in the sanctuary."
Archbishop Lefebvre jumped at the opportunity to add someone of Father des Lauriers' stature to the faculty at Econe, for it had been Father des Lauriers who had been an important advisor to Pius XII on formulating his decree of November 1, 1950 Munificentissimus Deus on the Dogma of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary into Heaven. But as the years went on and the Archbishop vacillated between currying to Modern Rome's offers and proclaiming that Modern Rome is no longer Catholic, Father des Lauriers saw the inconsistencies and spoke out strongly against the possibility that Paul VI could in any way be a true pope because of his actions and words in direct confrontation to previous reliable Popes. The brilliance of des Lauriers' logic and syllogistic style, and attention to proving his arguments based on solid Church teachings, papal pronouncements and infallible Conciliar dogmatic decrees had a huge impact on several of the seminarians, most notably the soon-to-be ordained Anthony Cekada.
Upon his ordination in 1977 by the Archbishop, Father Cekada was assigned to teach at St. Joseph's House of Studies in Armada, Michigan and following that he taught the seminarians at St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary in Ridgefield, Connecticut. It was here where he taught alongside another professor who taught Ecclesial History and had a similar impact on the questions Fr. Anthony and others had about the veracity of the conciliar popes. That professor was Dr. Rama Coomaraswamy who passed away last month on July 19 at the age of 77. The priests and seminarians at St. Thomas Aquinas were greatly influenced by Dr. Coomeraswamy's teachings and the book he wrote The Problems with the New Mass. More and more the majority at St. Thomas Aquinas embraced the very real possibility of sedevacantism and became what could be called "hard-liner" members of the Society vs. those favorable to John Paul II who were considered "soft-liners." Griff Ruby provides the best detailed description of the "war" between the two camps within the Society quite well in his book The Resurrection of the Roman Catholic Church in Chapter Nine in which the two camps became quite pronounced with the south-west division utilizing The Angelus with a conservative soft-line approach and the north-east division publishing The Roman Catholic which was edited by Father Cekada. Despite the tug-of-war in print, Father never forgot his priestly duties, traveling on weekends to offer the Traditional Latin Mass in Columbus, Ohio and his home town of Milwaukee. We're sure ol' Weakland loved that!
The photo above shows six of the nine signers below. They are 1. Father Donald Sanborn, 2. Father Anthony Cekada, 3. Fr. William Jenkins, 4. Father Daniel Dolan, 5. Fr. Joseph Collins, 6. Father Clarence Kelly. The priest to the extreme left is Fr. Carl Pulvermacher who died this past May.
It was the Mass which created the stir for Archbishop Lefebvre had sent Bishop Richard Williamson (six years before he became bishop) to investigate the hard-liner agenda at St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary.
It all came to a head in April 1983 when Archbishop Lefebvre himself visited the Seminary in Oyster Bay Cove to personally resolve things after nine priests had sent him a most respectful, but firm letter called simply Letter of 'the Nine' to Abp. Marcel Lefebvre It was signed by Father Clarence Kelly, District Superior, Father Donald Sanborn, then the Rector of St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary, Father Cekada, then Bursar of the District, along with Fathers Daniel Dolan, William Jenkins, Eugene Berry, Martin Skierka, Joseph Collins and Thomas Zapp. It was the latter, the youngest of the newly-ordained priests who initially refused to use the 1962 Missal, based on the letter he had signed. Consequently the other eight personally refused as well. Twelve seminarians backed them against the Archbishop's request. Their points were well-founded and based on the Magisterial Authority which, in essence, contradicted what the Archbishop was exerting. In addition they asserted that Father Franz Schmidberger, then Superior General of the Society, did not have the authority to exact obedience with the threat of one's "eternal welfare" in matters of "speculative theological questions" which, as the Fathers pointed out, "are, in fact, open to discussion, and which can only be settled definitively by legitimate authority when the traditions have been restored."
Nevertheless, when challenged with the very same arguments he had used against the conciliar church, the Archbishop did a 180 and backed his Superior General and, influenced thusly, not only forced the priests to use the Mass of the reforms of John XXIII but threatened expulsion. Father Sanborn wrote shortly after the split regarding the Archbishop's vacillation,
"This inconsistency is like a bacterium which causes a festering sore; about every two years, the sore is lanced with excruciating pain. Those who are expelled or leave are the pus, and when they are gone, the Society once again feels the same sense of relief as a person who has just had a boil lanced. Unfortunately the bacterium still remains inside, only to fester again later."
Sadly we still see that very symptom today in the Society which caused such an uproar earlier this year leading up to the elections last month. But back to the early eighties when the split occurred.
The nine stood firm to their convictions and were banished. Dr. Coomaraswamy also resigned. Father Richard Williamson was placed in charge of the seminary in Ridgefield but it would eventually move to Winona, Minnesota. With this split, the Society of St. Pius V was formed with its charter and statement of principles of the SSPV on the Octave of the Ascension on June 7, 1984 as outlined in Chapter Nine It was signed by the nine priests and three other priests ordained by the Archbishop: Fathers Daniel Ahern, Denis McMahon and Thomas Mroczka. As we have seen from history all was not calm within either traditional camp for there were still many problems that continue to this day within the Society of St. Pius X and there were problems in the Society of St. Pius V as well. And all of it, sadly, was over the very "speculative theological questions" that should be open for discussion. This was the point which Fathers Cekada, Dolan and Sanborn stuck to in seeing these through to their conclusion and getting to the facts. While it is true the Archbishop wavered several times, in the end he remained loyal to tradition, but admittedly made many mistakes and garnered many critics who pointed out that the very things he expected he contradicted in his actions with his priests. Again, some of the most definitive works on this are Griff Ruby's The Resurrection of the Roman Catholic Church , Chapters 9 and 10; Bishop Tissier de Mallerais' Biography of Marcel Lefebvre; Father Cekada's many articles at TraditionalMass.org and Bishop Donald Sanborn's The Crux of the Matter at CatholicRestoration.org.
After a bitter court battle over parishes and properties, the SSPV retained some of the chapels in the northeast and in Ohio where they had made previous financial assurances for, and they established their headquarters at the chapel in Oyster Cove Bay, retaining the rights to publish The Roman Catholic. With their stance unmistakably sedevacantist there was no waffling in the SSPV, but there was a question of jurisdiction for Father Kelly would not accept the Thuc-line bishops. Other than Archbishop Lefebvre, the only truly traditional bishops in the United States were both Thuc-line bishops Bishop Louis Vezelis, OFM in the eastern part of the country, Bishop George Musey from Galveston, Texas for the western part of the U.S. The Mississippi was the dividing line and ne'r the twain should meet. Their insistence that they had jurisdiction created problems with sedevacantist groups who did and did not recognize the Thuc-line bishops. Not recognizing the Thuc-line, the SSPV went without a bishop for ten years. It wasn't until the death of Bishop Alfredo Jose Isaac Cecilio Francesco Mendez-Gonzalez that Father Kelly revealed that he had indeed been consecrated by Gonzalez on October 19, 1993 in Carlsbad, California. All fine and good, for Mendez-Gonzalez was a retired bishop truly ordained and validly consecrated before 1968 and was the retired bishop of Arecibo, Puerto Rico. He consecrated Kelly for the same reason Lefebvre and Thuc had consecrated bishops: for the perseverance of the Faith and the Sacraments. But Kelly steadfastly refused to accept the Thuc-line bishops even after Fathers Cekada and Sanborn had done extensive research and gone to the greatest lengths to even travel to Germany to personally interrogate and get signed affidavits from the witnesses of the Thuc consecrations. They took Father Jenkins with them. This thorough research had been prompted by Father Sanborn's visit to Bishop Antonio Castro de Mayer in Campos in 1985. He had made the visit in hopes that His Excellency could help in ordinations, but Castro de Mayer surprisingly told him to seek out Bishop Guerard des Lauriers because, as the Campos Bishop stated "if it's valid for Guerard, it's valid for me." With that both priests embarked on a three-year search for the truth of the Thuc consecrations since the former Dominican theologian who had been Pius XII's personal confessor and a co-author of the famous Ottaviani Intervention had been consecrated on May 7, 1981 by Archbishop Thuc. Certified in their consciences and having the physical documentation, they presented it to Father Kelly in 1988. Kelly still refused to believe even when all evidence was inevitable. This dishonesty on Kelly's part prompted Fathers Cekada, Sanborn, Dolan, and eventually others including Father Ahern to split from the SSPV. In 1989 Father Cekada relocated to Cincinnati at the fledgling parish St. Gertrude the Great which has grown over the years with new facilities in West Chester north of the Queen City.
Griff Ruby places the subsequent events and direction in proper perspective in Chapter Ten of his book:
"In July, 1989, shortly after writing the article "Feed Him a Guilt Cookie" in defense of Fr. Kelly and the SSPV after a recent lambasting by Michael Jones of Fidelity magazine, Fr. Cekada left the SSPV along with Fr. Dolan, one of the others of the original nine priests. What followed over the next four years was not so much a schism as a brain drain as various fathers, as more or less one-by-one, departed from the SSPV, starting with Frs. Cekada and Dolan in 1989 and ending with Fr. Zapp in 1993. Dr. Coomaraswamy also left, somewhere in the summer of 1990.
In late 1988, the SSPV started a television show called "What Catholics Believe" which featured the various priests of the SSPV discussing aspects of the Catholic Faith and current events and issues. The show, despite its limited airings, garnered very positive reviews and soon gained such famous guest speakers as Presidential candidate Pat Buchanan. It was Fr. Sanborn's heavy involvement with this television show along with his close friendship with Fr. Kelly which motivated him to stay in the SSPV and sit tight on what he knew about the Thuc consecrations clear until some time late in 1991.
Meanwhile, Fr. Cekada began taking a good hard look at the CMRI and MSM since some of their parishioners were attending his parish in Ohio, and he hadn't felt right about carrying out Fr. Kelly's policy of refusing them the sacraments. On getting to know these parishioners personally, he found them to be devout, sincere, zealous, even quite doctrinaire Catholics, not at all what he had been led to believe about them. Finally in 1991 he wrote a ground breaking article entitled "The First Stone," in which he defended the CMRI and MSM. While admitting the sordid past they had had under Shuckardt, he had to concede (and showed that others are morally obliged to concede) that the problems had been cleaned out and the CMRI was fully worthy to take its place among respectable traditional Catholic organizations.
There were some who claimed that Fr. Cekada had merely defended MSM with the hopes of obtaining for himself or his friend Fr. Dolan a chance at being consecrated a bishop. That claim is nonsense for the simple reason that if any of Frs. Cekada, Dolan, or Sanborn had wanted to avail themselves of the then current MSM bishop, Robert McKenna, they could have approached Bp. McKenna directly. There was no need to involve MSM in any way. Or else they could have approached Bp. Carmona in Mexico. Fr. Cekada defended MSM simply on account of its own merits.
Most of the priests who left the SSPV over the 1989 to 1993 period, along with Dr. Coomaraswamy, then coalesced into a loose knit association known as Instauratio Catholica, or Catholic Restoration. In late 1991, Fr. Sanborn began publishing his own magazine, Catholic Restoration, and soon after, its companion for priests, Sacerdotium. Many of the priests of this association have worked with the priests of MSM on certain projects of mutual interest. Two of Fr. Cekada's articles were published in The Reign of Mary, but the most important project was the consecration of Fr. Dolan to the episcopacy on November 30, 1993. Bp. Dolan served by ordaining the seminary graduates from Fr. Sanborn's seminary, Most Holy Trinity, in Warren, Michigan Dr. Coomaraswamy continued to be frequently seen at various MSM functions including their Fatima conferences which they hold every October.
In 1994, Fr. Ahern (one of the three priests who joined the SSPV in 1984) published in both Catholic Restoration and Sacerdotium a very long article in which he examined the canonical status of the CMRI and MSM in great detail. His conclusions were:
1. MSM is not and never has been a sect through heresy,
2. MSM may possibly have been once a sect through schism, though probably not, and it is highly unlikely that it could be properly considered such today,
3. MSM almost certainly cannot be regarded as an Old Catholic sect,
4. While MSM had once been a psychologically destructive cult, it is not so now, and
5. that MSM was very scandalous in its past, and continues to be at least somewhat scandalous since he felt that it needs a stronger repudiation of its past (such as by changing its name or the color of the nuns' habits) than has as yet taken place.
So well researched was his article that it is generally accepted by most traditional priests and bishops of the sedevacantist position. The one exception this writer takes to Fr. Ahern's conclusions is the issue of scandal. There really is no scandal which can be rightly derived from the CMRI having retained its name and the blue habits for its nuns, even though those details are of Shuckardt's invention. That is because those details stem from an early period in his career as leader of the CMRI which came well in advance of the later weirdness.
Indeed, as this editor can attest from research, the CMRI had rocky beginnings but so did the Dominicans and other major orders in their early formulative years for satan will do all he can to thwart the will of God. Again the maxim holds, if it is of God it will last, if not, it will die. The CMRI is not dying but flourishing though, like all traditional groups, so short on priests. The priests they do have are dedicated, totally Catholic men committed to all Christ asks and that is what attracted Fr. Cekada to do more research and establish an alignment with the CMRI. It was reciprocated when Bishop Mark Pivarunas consecrated Fr. Cekada's long-time colleague Father Dolan a Bishop on the Feast of Saint Andrew the Apostle on November 30, 1993.
It was a strengthening of the Traditional Movement both in Cincinnati and Spokane as well as other areas. Bishop Pivarunas had providentially been the last bishop consecrated by Bishop Moises Carmona Riviera on September 24, 1991 - the Feast of Our Lady of Ransom. We say providential because a week later Bishop Carmona would be killed in a car crash in Mexico's mountains enroute to a mission church. Bishop George Musey had been the first consecrated by Bishop Carmona on April 1, 1982 a year before the split of the nine from the SSPX, Bishop Pivarunas the last.
To this day there remains excellent relations between Bishop Dolan and Bishop Pivarunas, Father Cekada and the CMRI priests. In 1993 in a Brief Defense of Mount Saint Michael's and the CMRI, Father Cekada wrote:
"Traditional Catholics inclined to condemn CMRI for its past ought to remember that no traditional Catholic organization — indeed, no human organization — is impeccable, unsullied by misdeeds or immune to occasional scandals. The histories of SSPX, SSPV, ORCM, TCA, TCM or any organization in the traditionalist alphabet soup would turn soap opera writers into millionaires.
Let us keep this in mind as we seek to preserve the truth of the faith — which will profit us nothing without charity.
Of course, this association with the CMRI made Fathers Cekada, Dolan and Sanborn, etc. enemies in the SSPV camp and Bishop Kelly resorted to threats and slander in withholding Holy Communion and the sacraments from those suspected of attending the Fathers' Masses and Chapels. In typical Thomistic logic Father Cekada fired a salvo for Bishop Kelly to put up or shut up. If he was making the accusations, prove to all that their parishioners were in schism. He laid this all out beautifully in his work The Great Excommunicator It should be evident to all by now that Father Cekada, as well as Bishop Dolan and Bishop Sanborn are not afraid to tackle any subject and take on all comers in defending Tradition and exposing the errors of novelty and imposed jurisdiction. A word to the wise, if you want to take on Father Cekada, be forewarned and at least be honest with him and with yourself, for that is what he will arrive at - the truth - the unmitigated truth whether readers like it or not, his conclusions will always be totally Catholic, totally Traditional.
For the last seventeen years Father Anthony has focused on ministering to souls as assistant pastor to Bishop Dolan at St. Gertrude the Great just north of Cincinnati, Columbus and still in Milwaukee, as well as teaching Canon Law, Liturgy and Scripture at Most Holy Trinity Seminary in Warren, Michigan once a month. In addition over this time he has become probably the most thorough Thomistic theologian of our age. Using the Angelic Doctor's methods of stating the objection and then refuting it with solid evidence in syllogistic logic he has addressed a plethora of issues covering sedevacantism, Canon Law, Vatican II errors and heresies, the New Mass, Liturgical changes, Feeneyism, the SSPX, FSSP, Modern Errors, Heresies and Errors of John Paul II and Benedict XVI, the Validity of the Thuc Consecrations, and the Sacraments as well as numerous other issues - all available at Traditional Mass.org.
It was his documentation in The Validity of the Thuc Consecrations which we studied several times in both settling in a CMRI parish and agreeing with the voters that Archbishop Pierre Martin Ngo dinh Thuc truly deserved enshrinement into the Tower of Trent Hall of Honor. It is evident Father Cekada was not voted in for that as much as his taking the lead in debunking the attack on the "Sedevacantist Enterprise" launched by Ferrara last summer and which we published last fall and last December in "Are the conciliar popes Catholic" Round One and Round Two. Many are suspicious that there were conciliar strings tied to the SSPX which prompted Ferrara to be the hit man, but as we said earlier, he was no match for the Thomistic logic of Father Cekada's arguments. To make matters worse for the Society and the conciliarists, following two issues in The Angelus which went out of its way to pander to the conciliarists by trying to justify the episcopal consecrations since 1968, chiefly because the Society through Bishop Bernard Fellay and Father Schmidberger, were cozying up to a man who isn't really an authentic bishop - Father Joseph Ratzinger, let alone a cardinal or pope. Father Cekada wrote a devastating piece that further put the Society in limbo if they pursued "reconciliation" with the true schismatics - the conciliar church - with his magnificent Absolutely Null and Utterly Void in which he proves that the changes made by Montini have made a wasteland void of true prelates after 1968, leaving only those traditional bishops validly consecrated with the true rite as true successors of the Apostles per His Holiness Pius XII's decree Sacramentum Ordinins.
Father Cekada is not afraid of controversy, and has tackled the biggest issues spending countless hours in research and study in seeking the truth of tradition no matter where it leads for he seeks to be honest with himself and with the faithful. This dedication has also prompted him to write pamphlets critical of the post-Vatican II liturgical reforms and to educate the faithful with two very popular booklets "Traditionalists, Infallibility, & the Pope" and "Welcome to the Traditional Latin Mass." The latter is a true treasure that every Catholic should read. This quick read would convince even the the greatest skeptic, if they were honest with themselves, that only in the Immemorial Canonized Traditional Latin Mass is the Holy Sacrifice pleasing to God. In addition he has published other works including a new translation for The Ottaviani Intervention, and "The Problems with the Prayers of the Modern Mass" in which he details the systemic omission of hell, anima, miracles, the true holy Catholic Church, and more from the Missal of Paul VI, an invention of the thirty-third degree Mason Annibale Bugnini.
Most recently he took our last honoree Bishop Bernard Tissier de Mallerais to task for not going far enough with the heresies of Ratzinger and for waltzing on some issues such as not knowing "communion" as it was posed by questioner Stephen Heiner and not knowing the Archbishop's intent as well as some would think the offiiclal biographer would. Let us not forget that Father Cekada also knew Archbishop Lefebvre fairly well and states that the Archbishop told him he considered the new rite of episcopal consecration totally invalid. Regardless wrote Father Cekada, "The validity of the rite is not determined by a dead Archbishop’s opinions, but by applying the principles of Catholic sacramental theology." And that is what he has done from his days at Econe to this very day in seeking to follow tradition tried and true.
Before we complete this tribute, I think Griff Ruby's explanation in which he finished his book The Resurrection of the Roman Catholic Church in the Second Appendix Objections and Questions lays out the scenario that we are faced with in these dire times and to revert a metaphor, this time the duck is good:
This whole Church crisis reminds me of a magic trick where a perfectly ordinary duck is placed in a box which the magician showed to be "perfectly ordinary" by holding it up and showing us the inside and tapping on its walls. We all see the duck go into that box, and at some point later on, we all see him pull a rabbit out of that box. The box is too small for both animals, and it was in plain view all the time. The magician was trying to make it seem that he was changing a duck into a rabbit.
Let the Church be compared to that duck. If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, then it's a duck. Just as we know that duck cannot really be changed into another animal, the Church cannot be changed into anything other than what Christ created it to be (otherwise known as indefectibility). Just as we know that the duck will not be killed (if only so as to have the use of his trained duck for the next performance), the Church cannot be done away with because God promised it wouldn't be. And yet, at the end of the trick, the magician pulled a rabbit out of that box.
A conservative of the Novus Ordo religion is like someone who tries to convince himself that the rabbit is really still a duck. He twists his brain into a pretzel trying to rationalize to himself that this is just a duck with an unusually large head, unusually long ears, an unusually short and thick neck, unusually hairy feathers, unusually leg-like wings, an unusually small and hard-to-see bill, and maybe if you give it enough time you might hear it quack. A liberal would be someone who says he likes rabbits better than ducks anyway.
A sedevacantist is someone who admits that the animal is obviously a rabbit. What he can't figure out is how the duck got changed into a rabbit, or if the duck might have been destroyed and replaced with a rabbit, or if the duck might have been driven into some ghostly, phantasmal invisible existence. All he knows for sure is that the animal coming out of the box is far too much unlike a duck, to be the duck. The SSPX just says, "Ducks don't change into rabbits, and that's all I'm going to say."
A conservative says what he says out of a pious belief that the duck must always be a duck (the Church is indefectible). He calls the sedevacantist a heretic because the sedevacantist seems to be saying that the duck has been changed into a rabbit (the Church has defected), or that the duck has been done away with (the gates of Hell have prevailed against the Church), or that the duck has been driven into some ghostly, phantasmal invisible existence (the Church is no longer visible).
A sedevacantist says what he says as a result of his highly detailed and accurate knowledge of ducks and their nature, and also his knowledge of rabbits. He calls the conservative a blind lunatic who is out of touch with reality, because he can plainly see that the animal in question is obviously a rabbit, not a duck. Both sides fault the SSPX for not siding with them or taking a stand one way or the other. The SSPX returns the complement.
Where do I fit into all of this? Like G. K. Chesterton's Fr. Brown, I know that ducks do not change into rabbits, nor disappear, nor turn invisible. I also know how to tell a duck from a rabbit, and that the animal in question is a rabbit. Knowing all this, I proceeded to look for the point at which the duck was being smuggled out of the box and the rabbit smuggled into the box. By rolling back the film and studying it carefully, I have found the exact point at which the substitution took place, and if one looks carefully, they can see it for themselves. [Editor's note: See Down the Yellow Brick Road to Apostasy: The Lumen Gentium Syndrome] Finally I have traced the whereabouts of the duck and found it hidden in the magician's pocket. In this book, I have reached into that magician's pocket and pulled out the duck for all to see, alive and well, and every bit as much like a duck as it ever was.
In retrospect, it all seems so obvious. The rabbit is obviously not a duck. The duck cannot be killed, made to disappear, or made invisible. Therefore the duck must be somewhere else, alive and well. Q. E. D. I then proceed to look for the duck, and find it, since it is not hard to find, once one knows to start looking for it. One just has to wonder how so many Catholics could get caught up in such pointless activities as examining the hairs of the rabbit for traces of duck ancestry, or speculating on the life of an invisible duck, when all along the duck was simply somewhere else alive and well.
And Father Cekada is an expert in "duck hunting" and "hare raising" the truth about rabbits for the conciliar rabbit is much like the fictionary rabbit of Alice Through the Looking Glass, rushing toward the abyss without knowing the purpose or reason, just hurrying all the time because it is not rooted in the Truths and Traditions which Father Cekada has researched so thoroughly and passed on to each reader who should realize our Lord's words in St. Matthew 24: 15 "he that readeth, let him understand" - "qui legit, intelligat" To mix metaphors, it is the sheep who are starving and Father Cekada has always sought to feed them as Christ commanded in St. Matthew 28: 19-20, St. Mark 16: 15-16, and St. John 21: 15-17. The problem is simple: the sheep have had the wool pulled over their eyes and do not see the devastation done to their Faith. Father Cekada, as a good shepherd, has worked tirelessly to remove the wool from the eyes of the scattered sheep at this time when the pastor is struck. He has done so by keeping intact the insoluble divinely-ordained sacraments and educating the faithful with the Truths and Traditions of Holy Mother Church so that all will clearly see where the Church truly is, and not follow the majority of wolves in sheep's clothing whose siren is leading so many souls to the precipice of hell.
And thus we complete our tributes for 2006 in which three of the enshrinees were intricately linked in this time of the Traditional Movement's trials and tribulations. Father Cekada and his pastor Bishop Daniel Dolan and their colleague Bishop Donald Sanborn were ordained by Archbishop Lefebvre and both Dolan (1993) and Sanborn (2002) were consecrated by a successor of Archbishop Thuc. In fairness both Bishop Dolan and Bishop Sanborn, consecrated by Bishop McKenna, should be considered for enshrinement as well, but the voters have not yet seen fit to cast enough votes for them and in deference to our readers, we cease from elevating someone until the vox populi have spoken. Nevertheless, they too are deserving considering the frontiers they forged and their equally expressive and inspiring, informative documentation on many of the same topics. They are a trio that we hate to break up for this award, but must. Thus, we salute the reader's choice Father Anthony Cekada for his consistent adherence to the Immemorial Canonized Mass of Tradition, the indefectible Sacraments, and the infrangible doctrines of the Church and his ability to express in a clear, concise manner to the flocks the same as was taught before the disastrous Vatican II. For that, we honor Father Anthony Cekada's perseverance and dedication to standing firm to the Truths and Traditions of Holy Mother Church for well over 25 years. Thus we proudly present the Cross of Truth in his honor and enshrine him in the Tower of Trent Hall of Honor and proclaim today, the Feast of the holy father of the Blessed Virgin Mary and temporal grandfather of our Lord Jesus Christ Saint Joachim, husband of Saint Anne, and throughout the upcoming week through the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary as Father Anthony Cekada Week throughout all of Christendom.
For those inducted so far into the Tower of Trent Hall of Honor see HALL OF HONOR