Continuing with the clergy honors, today we present, in alphabetical order, the Tower of Trent Trophy to Father James F. Wathen, the relentless and mighty missionary of Truth and Tradition who has logged millions of miles over the last thirty years bringing the Sacraments to Traditional Catholics throughout the United States. For Father James, have the True Mass, will travel. While even to this day he remains a simple Traditional priest of the Order of St. John and not to be associated in any way with the SSJ, he has never been one to withhold his opinions and facts and it is his two books which will be his legacy for future Catholic generations who will see the wisdom of his words written shortly after Paul VI issued the synthetic rite of the New Order which basically was a fulfillment of Matthew 24: 15 - the "abomination of desolation." Father Wathen would never have any part of the Novus Ordo which he not only called a sacrilege, but has proven it with his incomparable sensus Catholicus book The Great Sacrilege, which in 2001 Father graciously gave us permission to publish on The Daily Catholic. Though the Novus Ordinarians will bad-mouth the book, the fact is that in over thirty years NO ONE HAS BEEN ABLE TO REFUTE his words for they hold up and are in harmony with the perennial, infallible Magisterium of the Church. It is a book we strongly recommend every Catholic read. In addition Father wrote a magnus opus called Who Shall Ascend, thus it is fitting that on this Octave of the Ascension we honor this noble Sacerdos in aeternum who continues the good fight while facing possibly his most daunting battle yet - fighting cancer of the body.
He has dedicated his life to eradicating from so many souls the cancer of the Novus Ordo and the unCatholic teachings promulgated since Vatican II. Indeed, Father realizes the body - his included - will return to dust, but our souls live forever and that is what truly counts. For the salvation of souls Father has committed himself as a faithful servant, totally dedicated to the dogma Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus - "Outside the Church there is no salvation!"
Though Father is very private about himself, we do know from his words that he is a descendant of the Catholic pioneer families of the Wathens and Spaldings who immigrated to Maryland in the 1600's well before America was a republic. The Truths and Traditions of Holy Mother Church were passed down through the generations. Two of the many fruits of this family line were manifested in two devoted, luminary shepherds who served the Roman Catholic Church in America in the 19th century.
One was Archbishop Martin J. Spalding, the seventh to head the first See in the United States. He was consecrated a bishop on September 10, 1847 as Coadjutor Bishop of Louisville and appointed by Pope Pius IX to head the Archdiocese of Baltimore on May 6, 1864 where he served until his death on February 7, 1872. He was also instrumental in helping establish the American College at Louvain and promoting the North American College in Rome as well as helping lay the foundations for an American Catholic University. He served on the Second Plenary Council of Baltimore in 1866 which produced the great Baltimore Catechism. He was also a Conciliar Father of the First Vatican Council in 1870, where he strongly supported the definition of the Dogma of Papal Infallibility.
Following him in the family was another prelate Bishop John Lancaster Spalding who was consecrated on May 1, 1877 as the first bishop of the Diocese of Peoria, Illinois where he served as a faithful, loving shepherd for thirty-one years until his retirement on September 11, 1908 because of mandatory age requirement. He was subsequently rewarded by Pope Saint Pius X the Titular Archbishopric of Scitopolis on October 14, 1908. He passed to his Heavenly reward two years and five days after the holy Pontiff, dying on August 25, 1916 during the pontificate of Pope Benedict XV. Bishop John Spalding was a prime mover for the establishment of the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.
The loyalties and love for the Church these men held are carried on today by Fr. Wathen who, besides the exemplary action of Father Gommar De Pauw, was one of the first to recognize the atrocities of the "New Mass" and its sure course of auto-demolition within the Church when most were buying the rhetoric from Rome sight unseen.
The more Father James researched, the more he realized he must warn not only his fellow priests but the laity as well for what Paul VI had proposed and then issued was indeed a sacrilege. Mindful of Sacred Scripture and the Lord of hosts' great displeasure with the sacrifice offered by the priests, God sent Malachias to reproach them for not offering pure sacrifices and neglecting their vows and covenant with God, Father became one of the modern prophets - a new Malachias - as the seventies broke and confusion reigned everywhere as priests abandoned their priestly vows and attention to the brievary and sacrifice. In the stead of sacrifice and humility, so many became social workers and prideful, blind slaves of the New Order. Becoming, if you will, a modern Malachias, Father James realized popularity and acceptance could never be his before the throne of God if he followed the false prophets of modern Baal and the Novus Ordo.
Therefore he set out to prove through Roman Catholic doctrine, documents, Sacred Scripture and Papal pronouncements, that the "New Mass" - the Novus Ordo
and the Apostolic Constitution Missale Romanum of Pope Paul VI issued on that fateful day of Passover April 3, 1969 did not involve Papal Infallibility, totally changed the essence of Mysterium Fidei ,
strayed from the Truths, Traditions and Teachings of the Catholic Church. He wanted to point out that Novus Ordo's initials were NO, the opposite of YES to God!
Through his masterful logic and proofs he showed meticulously how the new rite was anathema, and therefore not only illegal, but immoral as well for it mocks the Holy Sacrifice by decreasing its importance. By detailing it he proved beyond a doubt that the Novus Ordo is not Catholic, and therefore, since the Pope was exceeding the limits of his office and violating the very oath not to change the Traditions handed down, that the pontiff's actions were null and void and definitely not to be obeyed if one valued his eternal salvation. Through simple syllogism Father Wathen laid out so clearly that if we believe all that the Church taught before Vatican II, then we must adhere to the Council of Trent and the official documents of the Church. That would not only consign the 'New mass' to NO Mass at all, but the very "abomination of desolation" standing in the holy place! Therefore, the logical deduction every Catholic must hold is that it is THE GREAT SACRILEGE and to be avoided at all costs.
Sadly, few heeded his wisdom or the truths that
the Apostolic Constitution Quo Primum of Pope Saint Pius V is still in effect and the "Tridentine Mass" - the Latin Mass - the Mass of All Ages is the ONLY Mass of the Latin Rite - of the universal One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church! It was mandatory for Father James to publish this in 1971 in his masterful book The Great Sacrilege pulling no punches and backing up every word. Consider it was written 33 years ago, nothing of what he wrote has changed since then. Rather things have gotten worse, much worse and much of the barren fruits that would result, as he foretold back then, have indeed been borne out. He identified over three decades ago exactly the sad, tragic state the church would fall into today because the powers that be - specifically the malleable and manipulated Paul VI who was not only a bad pope, but a terrible administrator, and, as many have attested to, loved by very few. Misery loves company and, as has been verified by several sources, this man who attained the highest order of the church badly besmirched the honor of the Mystical Bride of Christ not only by his unCatholic actions in selling out Holy Mother Church by desecrating the divinely ordained Immemorial Sacrifice, but allowing the seven capital sins to fester both inside and outside the Vatican. Sadly, so sadly, over the past 26 years his successor has done no better, in fact worse by allowing the cancer to metastacize while trying to celebrate the ugly carbuncle that grows grosser and claims more fatalities by the day.
Father, being a loyal priest forever according to the Order of Melchisedech, remembered the oath he had taken on his ordination - the Oath Against Modernism. Those words vowed to God meant something to Fr. James and when Paul VI did away with it, that was the final straw. How could he defy God, this proud man who through the New Order Rite he established, in effect proclaimed that man had replaced God? If the Lord of hosts was upset with the Israelites for their carelessness in Old Testament times, He was furious with these new traitors who dared besmirch the work of not only Christ Himself, but His saints who were so loyal. Father followed up his first work with his much more in-depth book on Church doctrines: Who Shall Ascend. Naturally, this just like The Great Sacrilege, was met with rejection by the Novus OrdinArians in Rome and the U.S. No matter, Father was not looking for accolades from man, for he realized the Apostle Paul's words of truth in Galatians 1: 8-10, about anathema and that if one sought to please men rather than God they could not be servants of Christ.
And that was what Father has always sought to be - a servant of Christ, serving the Son of God and being loyal to His Blessed Mother Mary by bringing the Gospel and the Sacraments to her Divine Son's starving faithful remnant - scattered throughout the country. By foot, by air, by road and by rail Father was always available to travel anywhere to bring the Mass of All Ages to those who refused to partake in the great sacrilege Paul VI ushered in.
He has continued this missionary spirit throughout the sad 25-year plus pontificate of Pope John Paul II who has done nothing to eradicate the grave errors of Paul VI and that, in and of itself, is an even greater tragedy for the 264th successor of Peter has allowed this "abomination of desolation" foretold in Matthew 24 and Daniel to continue, greatly enabling the adversary of God to capture more souls for perdition.
Today, Father James laments that he can no longer make the trips he used to make for his health has deteriorated from cancer but he boldly fights on knowing that when God is ready, he will be called home. Though he has done so much in reinforcing the spirits and resolve of the faithful remnant in providing exclusively the
"Tridentine Mass" - the Mass of All Ages - the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass of the Roman Rite so that souls may be fed, nourished and saved and vocations will again flourish in the tradition which Fr. Wathen's own families and countless other dedicated, selfless Catholics passed down, perhaps in Heaven he will be in a position to help our children ever more in preserving the True Faith that has been taken from so many.
In this fleeting life, which is but a drop of water compared to a never-ending ocean of eternity, Father Wathen has made the most with that drop he was given. In doing so, he has helped quench the thirst of so many for the Truths and Traditions of Holy Mother Church. Now his work nearly accomplished, he, like every one of us should, ask the prayers of all in preparation for the inevitable event in everyone's life: death...as he prepares to make ready his exit from this earth and be a worthy and pure recipient to be in the presence of the Beatific Vision, the merits of his work as a loyal priest forever will go far in placing him in the fast lane to Heaven. Quite possibly the very holy man and guardian of the True Mass - Pope Saint Pius V - to whom Father James dedicated his defining work The Great Sacrilege, will be there to personally escort him to the Father's throne where one longs to hear from God Himself, "Well done, good and faithful servant."
And so it is right and proper that we pay tribute to this loyal son of Jesus and Mary on this Octave of the Ascension as we focus once again on the Ascension of our Lord and ask the very words which Father titled his book: who shall ascend? We pray it is us and only by adhering to unadulterated Catholic truth can we be assured of that. To Father James we all owe a debt of gratitude for keeping our eye on the Prize and encouraging us to run the good race as Paul speaks of. Thus, for setting the pace, it is with great honor that we enshrine Father James in the Tower of Trent Hall of Honor, presenting him with the Tower of Trent Trophy and declare this day Father James F. Wathen 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