oday we begin presenting the Tower of Trent Trophy to those the majority of voters chose among the living - those who carry on the good fight in keeping the Faith and preserving the Truths and Traditions of Holy Mother Church. There are eight and we've broken it down by honoring first those members of the clergy and then the last three will be the three outstanding lay honorees. In beginning with the clergy alphabetically it is no coincidence that we honor first today Father Gommar A. De Pauw
, a Belgian-born priest who has been a priest for 62 years and still going strong for the years have been good to him as God has preserved his noble general of Tradition. Father has seen action on the front line of the wars - the Second World War where he was a medic and then later a Chaplain, and later at Vatican II where he was a personal expert and "procurator" and saw first hand how the Rhine was indeed flowing into the Tiber for the subterfuge wrought from that 21st Council would so throw Holy Mother Church into a terrible malaise over the next 40 years. While Father was cooperative in many things, he would never say the Novus Ordo
and, indeed was the first priest to establish the Catholic Traditionalist Movement before Vatican II had even come to completion. Before Cardinal Ottaviani ever penned his Intervention, before Archbishop Lefebvre ever established the Society, Fr. De Pauw began the preservation of the Faith with the CTM (Catholic Traditionist Movement).
Though he is a United States citizen, Gommar Albert De Pauw was born in Belgium in 1918 at the end of World War I. He grew up in the antebellum years of Western Europe where north a new menace was forming in Germany. After graduating as a Diplomate in Classical Humanities, magna cum laude, from the College of St. Nicholas, Belgium, he entered the diocesan seminary of Ghent, Belgium, for his philosophical and theological studies. When World War II broke out he joined the Belgium military, serving as a combat medic with the 9th Belgian Infantry Hunters Regiment in the campaigns of Belgium, Holland, and France. It was at the mighty Battle of Dunkirk the Germans captured him and imprisoned by the Nazis. Like St. Peter and St. Paul, God allowed him to escape from his incarceration.
He knew God had preserved his life in order for him to complete a greater mission - becoming a priest. He returned to the seminary to complete his theological studies even though the war was still raging all around him. Because of this time of emergency he received a special indult at the age of 23 from Pope Pius XII to be ordained two years earlier than normal. At that time he was the youngest priest in the world. He was ordained along with 37 others by Bishop Honoré Coppieters, ordinary of Ghent which had been established in 1559. Father was privileged on April 14, 1942 to say his first Holy Mass in the same church where he had been baptized and received his First Holy Communion - the Church of the Holy Cross in "Flanders Field" in Belgium.
Soon his beloved land was occupied by the Nazis and he was a wanted man because of his escape from the POW stalag and the fact that he had given Extreme Unction to two dying British Royal Air Force aviators who had been shot down by German gunners over East Flanders. He would become a member of the famed Belgium Resistance as a chaplain without military insigne to allow him to pass in and out of harm's way. After the war he was rewarded for his noble efforts by being presented the Cross of Honor and a full-fledged uniform of Chaplain by the Free Polish Forces for his participation with them in liberating Belgium and the Netherlands. It was in 1949 in New York that this honor, first proposed and granted in 1946, was presented when he was celebrated as a distinguished guest at the annual Pulaski Polish Parade and physically given the honors.
Father received in 1945 the triple crown of his post-graduate licentiate in Canon Law, Moral Theology and Church History, was asked to join the 500-year-old line of scholars of Europe's Catholic University of Louvain, founded in 1425 by the Rector of the institution Bishop Honoré Van Wayenbergh, who had been Belgium's number-one World War II Resistance hero. It would be the beginning of a beautiful friendship between Father and the Bishop.
On the feast of the Annunciation - March 25, 1949, Father De Pauw landed on American soil in New York City, having arrived via the Dutch ship S.S. Veendam. His first stop was Ellis Island where he was not the first De Pauw to do so. In fact, his ancestor Michael De Pauw, while employed by the Dutch West Indies Company, became the first proprietor of this very island as well as Jersey City and Staten Island.
Not only that, but his family history incorporates several famous early American settlers, including Charles De Pauw, the personal aide-de-camp of Lafayette during the American Revolution; and Washington Charles De Pauw for whom the DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana is named. His maternal grandparents immigrated to the U.S. in 1911 and settled down in Paterson, N.J. He served for two years as a parish priest in New York City, St. Stephen in Manhattan and St. Clare in the Bronx, while at the same time preparing his doctoral dissertation on "The Educational Rights of the Church" for the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.
Father, being a Belgian ran into discrimination as he saw it first hand in the Irish and Italian sectors even in the 50's. He sought to see in every person not their ethnicity but their soul made in the image and likeness of God; so much so that while completing his Ph.D. at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., he volunteered--a rather rare event even among the Catholic clergy in the fifties, - to minister when he had spare time - to the black children in the back streets of D.C.'s ghettos. It wasn't long before he was most popular with the children for they could sense his genuineness and sincerity.
Having received his Ph.D. as a Doctor of Canon Law in 1953, he was offered a chair of moral theology in at the esteemed seminary of Mount St. Mary's College in Emmitsburg, Maryland which is the oldest independent interdiocesian Catholic major seminary in the U.S. He would hold that chair until 1965. If only the Church had more Fr. De Pauw's teaching in the seminaries over the years, we would never have been so hoodwinked by Vatican II and the smoke of satan that has so enveloped the church today through the New Order agenda which has manifested nothing but barren fruit because it is a bad tree destined for the fire as Christ affirms in Matthew 7: 15-20.
In 1955 two promotions occurred in his life. First he was appointed Academic Dean of St. Mary's and on May 9, 1955 he became a United States citizen. But he never forgot the land of his birth and neither did the King of Belgium who visited him in 1959 and honored him for his service to his country during the war and then to God. A year later he was elected "to the office of General Secretary, making him, with the College President, one of two security-cleared officials representing the institution in its unique relationship with the U.S. Department of Defense." He was also elevated to official master of Pontifical Ceremonies for he was and still is thee expert on true liturgical exercises. Many clamored to have him speak throughout the academic meccas of the U.S.
That same year of 1960 he was granted a Certificate of Achievement for outstanding service during the war by the U.S. Army.
His dossier relates that "when Baltimore's leftist Archbishop Lawrence Shehan tried to limit Father's privileges as Vatican Council 'personal expert,' 'Good Pope John' promoted Father to 'Council Father' on Nov. 3, 1962, with all the privileges attached to that position, Vatican diplomatic passport included." It was Cardinal Spellman who called Father, 'the best informed man around here' at Vatican II. If only Father had been Pope. But Father, as a loyal priest also was filing stories as an accredited journalist for the Belgian paper where his late father had been editor-in-chief.
Cardinal Spellman,Archbishop of New York and Military Vicar of the U.S. Armed Forces, remained until his death in 1967 Father's and the Catholic Traditionalist Movement's staunchest backer among the American Catholic bishops despite, as Father wrote, "the establishment's denials."
With the death of John XXIII and the election of Paul VI the Council was suspended; many looking back now wish it had been suspended completely. In fact, "In between sessions of the Second Vatican Council Father coordinated the nationwide reactions to the incipient liturgical reforms, summarizing them into a CATHOLIC TRADITIONALIST MANIFESTO, which, on December 31, 1964, he mailed or personally delivered as a "confidential" communication to Pope Paul VI, and the cardinals and bishops of the Roman Catholic Church the world over." He received back from Cardinal Cigognani the reply that the Pope blessed Father's efforts. It was the origin of the Catholic Traditionalist Movement. Some believe this Manifesto gave courage to Cardinal Ottaviani to five years later present his Intervention. As Father De Pauw noted in getting only a generic reply and no sense of alarm from Rome, the words of the Apostle Paul from Galatians 4: 16, "Am I then become your enemy in telling you the truth?"
As CTM reports, "After three months of unsuccessful behind-the-scenes attempts to make the hierarchy of his Church recognize the danger signs on the horizon, Father publicly launched the CATHOLIC TRADITIONALIST MOVEMENT at a March 15, 1965 press conference in New York City. -- The long fight 'FOR TRUTH AND TRADITION' had started." For more, we recommend the New York Times articles.
November 16, 1965 came his day of liberation for he received personally from Paul VI the prelature of being placed under the jurisdiction of the bishop of Tivoli-Rome and out of harm's way of the Baltimore archdiocese. This would allow him full freedom in leading the Catholic Traditionalist Movement. He had tried without success to rally others throughout the world, but the modernists were too strong, and those who longed to stay traditional did not have the courage of Fr. De Pauw. Many would divide into splinter groups. Sadly, had more responded to Fr. De Pauw's pleas then, the Traditional Movement might have been able to stave off the liturgical abuses and interpretations and quite possibly ever have prevented the Novus Ordo Missae from being released. Only God knows.
As is typical of the way the New Order turns on those seeking to uphold the Truths and Traditions, Fr. De Pauw faced the full brunt of accusations and persecution but persevered. The most vicious attacks came from Cardinal Lawrence Sheehan of Baltimore who still would not recognize that Father was no longer under his jurisdiction despite what the Holy See had decreed. It was par for the course for the New Order to reject truth in favor of fabrication that will place Traditional Catholics in a bad light. Every Catholic who has left the synthetic Novus Ordo and returned to the Traditional Latin Mass can equate with the disapproval of others and opinionated remarks that the person has gone off the deep end and into schism. The truth is the ones in schism are those who have abandoned the liturgy of the Old Faith. Thanks to Bishop Blaise S. Kurz, O.F.M in a public letter, the truth finally freed Fr. Gommar from the shackles of Sheehan's scourges. Fr. De Pauw called Bishop Kurz the best friend one could ever have.
Father was the first to warn that a new religion was being formed - the American Catholic Church separate from Rome and that the new reforms of Vatican II were Protestantizing the Church. Truer words were never spoken, yet, to our chagrin today, few listened.
On June 23, 1968 he established Ave Maria Chapel in Westbury, New York on Long Island becoming the first and only publicly functioning Traditional Catholic parish in the entire world. It was dedicated by Bishop Kurz on August 10 of the same year. In the aftermath of Vatican II it seemed that Father was a voice crying in the wilderness because he hit the nail on the head but so few could understand the hammerer's point. Back in 1970 he boldly stated to the St. Louis Globe-Democrat, "The 'liturgical beatniks' striving to 'de-Romanize' the Catholic Church for 'the collective madness which has taken possession of the establishment of our once Catholic Church in America. Their ultimate goal, is a one-world religion controlled by a one-world government."
A veteran of WW II, Father was the first to erect a monument to the fallen soldiers of the Vietnam War in 1970, at a time when it was not the politically correct thing to do, but then, thank God, Father has never been one for political correctness, only God-correctness.
With Paul VI's death in 1978, Pope John Paul I was elected and Father sent his best wishes and purpose of CTM. He received back from Cardinal Jean Villot, Secretary of State at the time, the following from September 5, 1978: "Reverend Father: I have the pleasure of informing you that the Supreme Pontiff, John Paul I, was most eager to accept the good wishes which you sent him the day he assumed the office of Supreme Shepherd of the Church. -- He personally sends you his profoundest thanks for such an expression of loyalty and love, while at the same time taking the greatest satisfaction in sending his Apostolic Blessing to you personally and equally to all those in your care. -- While I am sending this letter to you by order of the most Holy Father, I declare myself at the same time your most devoted (s) J. Cardinal Villot."
It was with great sadness that Father heard of the mysterious death of this pope. With the election of Cardinal Karol Wojtyla as Pope John Paul II Father realized the Resistance would be all the more difficult and that has proven true. While one president President Richard Nixon lauded him for his courage in erecting the monument to the fallen in Vietnam, another invited him personally to the White House. In 1987 he was the guest of President Ronald Reagan
Probably one of the most important documents received by Father was a letter he received from John Paul II dated February 12, 1980 in which the pope apologized for the treatment against a loyal Traditional priest who had started that same year the flagship publication of CTM, "Quote...Unquote". He was making waves and was not one to shy away from controversy or the truth. That is why the letter from the pope was a vindication of sorts but only surface as has this pontiff's entire papacy been. The words JPII wrote to Father in 1980 are something that are needed to be made public fosr the world today to vindicate many more priests and loyal soldiers of Christ who have remained true to the Faith of our fathers in following the example of the man who blazed the trail - Father Gommar De Pauw. Here is what the Pope wrote to him personally:
"As I bring these considerations to an end, I would like to ask forgiveness--in my own name and in the name of all of you, venerable and dear brothers in the episcopate--for everything which, for whatever reason, through whatever human weakness, impatience, or negligence, and also through the at times partial, one-sided and erroneous application of the directives of the Second Vatican Council, may have caused scandal and disturbance concerning the interpretation of the doctrine and the veneration due to this great sacrament. And I pray the Lord Jesus that in the future we may avoid in our manner of dealing with this sacred mystery anything which could weaken or disorient in any way the sense of reverence and love that exists in our faithful people."
Of course, due to Vatican machinations and stonewalling of Archbishop Lefebvre, Ecclesia Dei was circulated eight years later, but Father De Pauw was way ahead of the rest and, as he wrote, "a loyal, but discouraged priest." He could see the great facade long before any one else and it was only growing worse as he was growing older.
By his own admission, the Reverend Doctor Gommar A. De Pauw's "most controversial and influential publication was his 1989 book, The Challenge of Peace through Strength, an updated version of his 1983 essay Weighed and Found Wanting, in which he exposed the American Catholic bishops' pastoral letter on war and peace, The Challenge of Peace, as doctrinally unsound, pastorally confusing, and damaging both Church and State." It should be revived today in light of all that has happened and the rubbish being proclaimed from modern Rome about peace and justice and the confusion that has ensued and the way the American bishops are in the back pocket of the Democratic Party. We need more challenging theologians with the caliber of Fr. Dr. De Pauw.
On April 12, 1992 Father celebrated his golden anniversary of his priesthood and many sent their congratulations on his 50th from President George Bush, Sr. to former President Ronald Reagan and many others available at 50th Anniversary.
The photos here show how really Father has changed very little over the years which is in concert with his Faith for nothing has changed of his total commitment to preserving the Sacred Deposit of the Faith no matter what!
In 2000 Father was honored for the millennium by the International Biographical Centre, Cambridge, England which awarded a 3-fold honor to him: One of the "Men of the Millennium,"
Among the "Two Thousand Outstanding Scholars of the 20th Century," and one of the "World's Oustanding Speakers."
Many other honors have come his way over the years such as the "Who's Who in American Education," "Who's Who in the East," the "Directory of American Scholars," the "National Social Directory," the "Royal Blue Book" (London), the "Dictionary of International Biography," "Community Leaders of America," "Who's Who in Religion," "Two Thousand Men of Achievement," "Catholic Who's Who," "International Who's Who in Community Service," and "Who's Who in the World."
There were several other honors and organizations that, due to his convictions and commitment to Truth and Tradition he had to resign from after Vatican II in protest, which included the Catholic Theological Society of America, the Canon Law Society of America, the American Catholic Philosophical Association, the National Catholic Educational Association, the International Health Society, American Association of University Professors, University Professors for Academic Order, the Order of Lafayette, the American Security Council, and the U.S. Congressional Advisory Board.
Over the years
Father De Pauw has contributed to several joint publications such as the New Catholic Encyclopedia, Encylopedic Dictionary of the Bible, the Homiletic and Pastoral Review, and the Epheremides Theologicae Lovanienses.
The best known of his own numerous publications are his TRADITIONAL ROMAN CATHOLIC MASS, published in book form, as well as on phonograph records, audio and video cassettes, and his most controversial work, as mentioned above, The Challenge of Peace through Strength.
Despite his years he has continued as editor of the CTM-publications SOUNDS OF TRUTH AND TRADITION and QUOTE…UNQUOTE, and produces the worldwide SUNDAY RADIO MASS.
How much longer God so deigns to allow Father Gommar Albert De Pauw to remain with us, we should treasure that time and as you read this cherish that God gave us this great priest. Send him your encouragement by writing him at Ave Maria Chapel, 210 Maple Ave., Westbury, NY 11590 or call and just leave a message of thanks at 516-333-6470. You might very well regret that you passed on the opportunity to express your gratitude and admiration to this phenomenal disciple of Truth and Tradition who, were it not for him, the Resistance might have died out. But thanks to his example several other priests followed his exemplary action. It is with great honor that we present to the Founder of the Catholic Traditionalist Movement the Tower of Trent Trophy and declare this day Father Gommar A. De Pauw Day in all of Christendom.
For other charter members honored in this inaugural presentation of the Tower of Trent, see Charter Recipients of the Tower of Trent Trophy
DOCTORS OF THE CHURCH