It is our extreme privilege to honor and enshrine into the Tower of Trent Hall of Honor this year the Most Reverend Daniel Lytle Dolan for his tireless, uncompromising dedication to the truths and traditions of holy Mother Church. He was born in 1951 in Detroit Michigan. He began his preparation for the priesthood in 1965 at the archdiocesan minor seminary in Detroit. When he began to get wind of the changes being introduced following Vatican II, he yearned for what he had been weaned on. Thus he continued his studies in the Cistercian Order and then at the seminary of the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) in Ecône, Switzerland, where he was ordained a priest by Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre on June 29, 1976.
As a seminarian at Ecône back in the autumn of 1973, he had already come to the conclusion that the only logical explanation for evil of the the New Mass and the errors of Vatican II was that Paul VI, due to personal heresy, had lost the pontificate. Ever since, he has steadfastly held that position regarding Paul VI and his successors, and never once acknowledged them as popes in the Canon of his Mass.
This explanation for the situation after Vatican II later came to be known popularly as "sedevacantism" (from the Latin term for the interregnum between popes) - "the seat is vacant"
In early 1977 Father Dolan returned to the states, where he acquired a reputation as an eloquent preacher, and where in a few years, he had founded over 35 Traditionalist Mass centers from the East coast to the Pacific Time Zone. It was the same year that the Archbishop had 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 Pope 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.
Another professor who had an impact on the "nine priests", who could not justify what the Archbishop was proposing, was Dr. Rama Coomaraswamy who passed away two years ago on July 19, 2006 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 provided 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 Dolan's close associate Father Anthony Cekada who was enshrined into the Tower of Trent Hall of Honor two years ago.
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 in May of 2006.
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 Dolan along with 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 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."
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 Dolan, Cekada, 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; Bishop Dolan and Fr. 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.
Father Dolan and his cohorts, certified in their consciences about the Thuc Consecration of Bishop Musey, 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 Dolan, Sanborn and Cekada, and eventually others, including Father Ahern to split from the SSPV. Father Dolan and Father Cekada relocated to Cincinnati at the fledgling parish St. Gertrude the Great which Father Dolan founded himself in 1978. It has grown over the years with new facilities in West Chester north of the Queen City where the two priests have continued their missionary apostolate while increasing the number of activities at this blossoming traditional parish, one of the largest and best organized in the entire United States where today there are 600 members and increasing.
To the west, the CMRI fathers had selected Fr. Pivarunas, whom Bishop Moises Carmona Riviera then duly consecrated. The Most Reverend Mark Anthony Pivarunas, CMRI had providentially been the last bishop consecrated by Bishop Carmona 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. In 1992 Bishop Pivarunas, with a view towards assisting clergy formerly belonging to SSPX, asked Fr. Dolan to receive episcopal consecration. After considerable hesitation, Fr. Dolan agreed in mid-1993. Bishop Dolan was consecrated a bishop in St. Gertrude the Great Church in Cincinnati on November 30, 1993, the Feast of St. Andrew the Apostle, during the course of Solemn Pontifical Mass. The rite took three hours, and all the solemnities of the Pontificale Romanum were observed with Bishop Pivarunas serving as the main consecrator. Seventeen traditional Catholic priests from the United State, Mexico and Canada participated in the ceremony, along with several hundred Catholics from various parts of the country. A professionally-produced videotape of the consecration is available. Ever since he founded St. Gertrude the Great Bishop Dolan has continued to serve as Pastor there in Cincinnati, Ohio.
It was a strengthening of the Traditional Movement both in Cincinnati and Spokane as well as other areas. To this day there remains excellent relations between Bishop Dolan and his priests with Bishop Pivarunas and his CMRI priests. Of course, this association with the CMRI made Fathers Dolan, Cekada and Sanborn, et alii 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 Bishop Dolan dispatched Father Cekada to fire 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. Fr. Cekada laid this all out beautifully in his work The Great Excommunicator It should be evident to all by now that Bishop Dolan as well as Bishop Sanborn and Father Cekada, 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 Bishop Dolan and Father Cekada, be forewarned and at least be honest with them and with yourself, for that is what they will always arrive at - the truth - the unmitigated truth whether readers like it or not. Their conclusions will always be totally Catholic, totally Traditional with no concession to conciliarism. There are several articles composed by Bishop Dolan at TraditionalMass.org.
Presently Bishop Dolan continues to conduct a modest national and international apostolate. He confirms in churches in the U.S. operated by former members of SSPX, and has also travelled extensively to conduct episcopal functions for Traditional Catholic churches and organizations in Mexico, France, Belgium and Italy. His Excellency has ordained seminarians and priests for Trento, the Institute Mater Boni Consilii of Verrua Savoia, Italy, and other organizations.
In particular, he encouraged the foundation in 1995 of Most Holy Trinity Seminary in Warren (Detroit) Michigan, which now offers the complete traditional seminary program. Information on Bishop Dolan's apostolate appears in the St. Gertrude the Great Newsletter which appears several times a year and is sent out free of charge to those who request it. One can also go to Saint Gertrude the Great as well as the site Traditional Mass.org and for tremendous treasure of his audio sermons, you can listen to this man who has the oratory skills of Bishop Fulton J. Sheen and the quiet humility and clarity of Pope Saint Pius X at Traditional Catholic Sermons.org
For this year's honorees we've asked Dr. Thomas A. Droleskey to provide a personal commentary on each inductee into the Tower of Trent Hall of Honor this year. Since it was Bishop Dolan who personally asked Tom to record and post the powerful sermons of St. Alphonsus Ligouri on Traditional Catholic Sermons.org under "Save Thy Soul" category, who better to add a tribute. Tom has graciously complied with his excellent perspective of his dear friend Bishop Daniel Dolan.
Each of the true bishops whom we have been privileged to meet in the past two years have demonstrated a consistent zeal for the sanctification and the salvation of souls during this time of apostasy and betrayal. Each of these brave shepherds has sought to defend the Faith without making any concessions to conciliarism or to the nonexistent legitimacy of its false shepherds. No matter the differences on some liturgical or pastoral or canonical issues that exist in some cases among them, each has had nothing other than one goal in mind: the transmission of the entirety of the Deposit of the Faith to the sheep of Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ's One true Sheepfold, the Catholic Church, outside of which there is no salvation, as they administer unto the immortal souls of these sheep, some of whom have been foraging in the wildnerness without a true shepherd for a long time, the true sacarments for their sanctification and salvation.
His Excellency Bishop Daniel L. Dolan has the pastoral heart and the laser sharp mind of Pope Saint Pius X. No one knows more about the lives of the saints that does Bishop Dolan. Those who listen to his sermons at www.traditionalcatholicsermons.org know that this is indeed the case. The The liturgical year comes alive every day of the year at Saint Gertrude the Great Church. His Excellency's sermons on the lives of the saints resonate with the depth and clarity and charity of Catholic truth, inspiring one and all to the heights of personal sanctity. There is usually a portrait of the saint of the day on a table in the middle of the main aisle of the nave of the church. The large statues behind the main altar vary in their placement and arrangement depending upon the liturgical season. Every feast day on the calendar of the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church in honor of Our Lady is celebrated or commemorated as devotions to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, many of Whose secrets were revealed to the parish's patronness, Saint Gertrude the Great, are offered each Friday of the year. All night adoration before the exposed Blessed Sacrament takes place each First Friday into First Saturday. Devotions to the Immaculate Heart of Mary are offered on First Saturdays and all fifteen decades of Our Lady's Most Holy Rosary are prayed publicly around a row of restaurants in West Chester, Ohio, on the thirteenth of each month from May through October to promote Our Lady's Fatima Message. Triduums in honor of various Marian feast days are kept. And a thirteen week Novena to Saint Anthony is prayed after Mass each Tuesday form June to September.
The liturgical year at Saint Gertrude the Great Church is characterized by the offering of High Mass almost every day of the school year. Bishop Dolan explained to us two years ago that he grew up in Michigan with a High Mass at his school every day, as did Father Anthony Cekada in Milwaukee. (Both His Excellency and Father Cekada were born in 1951, meeting each other at the Cistercian seminary outside of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in 1969.) Vespers is sung on Sunday afternoons before the exposed Blessed Sacrament. Benediction is imparted upon those present at the close of vespers and before the Blessed Sacrament is reposed. This is done also on major feast days throughout the liturgical year, the highpoint of which is Holy Week.
One cannot even begin to describe the glories that are given to the Most Holy Trinity during Holy Week at Saint Gertrude the Great Church. Indeed, the whole liturgical ambiance at Saint Gertrude the Great Church, enhanced by the choir that is now under the direction of Mr. Tim Duff, reflects Bishop Dolan's and Father Cekada's love of the Faith as they seek glorify God and to uplift the souls who have sought them out in this time of apostasy and betrayal to the Father through the Son in Spirit and in Truth.
Possessing a particular charism for and interest in the children of the parish, including the children who attend Saint Gertrude the Great Academy and who assist at Holy Mass daily, Bishop Dolan speaks to the children without ever speaking down to then. He takes time during the school year to to teach the children and to read stories to them, holding forth with them in special gatherings on feast days such as the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary on September 8 and the Holy Innocents on December 28. This great pastoral solicitude for children is coupled with an uncompromising defense of the Faith: Bishop Dolan pulls no punches about the state of apostasy and betrayal as he implores the children to remain ever steadfast in their own lives as they grow up.
Bishop Dolan spends a great deal of time with his parishioners. He conducts a monthly night of recollection on Friday evenings for mothers. He is also assiduous about providing for the social life of his parishioners by arranging for pot-luck dinners after the Friday evening Mass in honor of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. There is an annual parish picnic in Sharon Woods park in Sharonville, Ohio. And various other events are scheduled throughout the year so that Catholics who make no compromises to conciliarism or to its false shepherds may socialize with each other. This is especially important as so many Catholics in the catacombs are castigated and/or rejected by their own closest relatives.
Bishop Dolan also spends much time in correspondence with Catholics from around the world who write to him after having listened to one of his sermons. He also makes it a point to travel to his mission churches in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and Opelousas, Louisiana, several times area, and this is in addition to the foreign travels that he makes to Mexico and Argentina and France and Belgium and Germany and Poland to adminster the Sacrament of Confirmation and/or to ordain men to the holy priesthood. His Excellency also teaches a course in pastoral theology at Most Holy Trinity in Brooksville, Florida, every other year. He will do so in the upcoming academic year, that is, the 2008-2009 academic year that begins in September.
We have been most blessed to have gotten to know Bishop Dolan, who is a true spiritual father to us. Sharon, Lucy and I love each of the shepherds we have gotten to know. Each have touched our lives in different ways. We love each as a true representative of Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ Himself. Words are truly inadequate to express our gratitude to Bishop Dolan for all that he has done for us, including helping us to realize once and for all in the summer of 2006 that heretics and apostates cannot hold ecclesiastical office legitimately and that we must not assist at Masses offered by those who mention the name of the apostate-in-chief in the Canon of the Mass. This narrowed our Mass options considerably.
Then again, the path to Heaven is supposed to be narrow, is it not. I, for one, do not want to send any mixed signals to my daughter about the state of the Church. I do not want any association with the One World Church that is the counterfeit church of conciliarism. We owe Bishop Dolan, who is so tenderly devoted to the Mother of God and who one can find praying in the church any time of the day or night, so much for helping us to choose the narrow path without making any concessions whatsoever to conciliarism or its false shepherds.
We need to pray and to make sacrifices to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus through the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary for our true shepherds. As noted above, there are going to differences among them on certain matters given the fact that we lack a Chief Shepherd on earth, that we are, as Bishop Dolan has noted so poignantly, fatherless orphans at this time. Those of us who are but mere sheep must always show respect to our true shepherds and to count it as a blessing that they have been given to us to sanctity and to teach us unto eternity.
Please say an Ave Maria right now for His Excellency Bishop Daniel L. Dolan, a successor of the Apostles and a devoted client of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
As we mentioned above, this dedicated episcopal servant of God reminds many of Bishop Sheen with his sermons that reach young and old alike. Bishop Dolan speaks as Christ would with a mellow, assuring voice that exudes trust and love for Our Lord and Our Lady. If you do not have the opportunity to assist at his Holy Masses at St. Gertrude the Great, you have the benefit of his sermons available on line for all to hear and profit spiritually from at Traditional Catholic Sermons.org and sgg.org and we strongly encourage all to take advantage of the treasures of his words placed there for all posterity. Bishop Dolan exemplifies the virtues of the holy Pope Saint Pius X and, therefore, we can think of no better day to honor His Excellency than on this saintly pontiff's feast day - September 3. Therefore, we have chosen St. Pius' feast to officially honor His Excellency and we proudly present the Cross of Truth in his honor and enshrine him in the Tower of Trent Hall of Honor and proclaim the Double Feast of St. Pius X Bishop Daniel Lytle Dolan Day throughout all of Christendom.
For those inducted so far into the Tower of Trent Hall of Honor see HALL OF HONOR