This year two have been elected into the Tower of Trent Hall of Honor and worthy to be presented with the Crimson Cross - the posthumous arena for those who have passed from this earth and having served faithfully in adhering to the Truths and Traditions of Holy Mother Church during their mission while alive.
Within one week in July of 2004 the world lost two traditional sacerdotal stalwarts in Father Oswald Baker and Father Paul Wickens. Yesterday we provided a tribute to Fr. Baker. Today we honor Father Paul Wickens, a dry martyr of Tradition who passed away six days after Fr. Oswald Baker's death in England whom we paid tribute to yesterday. Part of the profile below was taken from various memorial tributes to Fr. Wickens which we incorporate into this tribute.
Father Paul was was born and raised in the Roseville section of Newark, New Jersey, one of nine children by saintly parents in the pre-Vatican II days when families thrived. As a young boy he attended St. Rose of Lima parish school and then matriculated to Seton Hall Prep and University. There is vocation became evident and he enrolled in Immaculate Conception Major Seminary in Darlington, New Jersey where, six years later he was ordained to the priesthood on June 4, 1955 by Archbishop Thomas A. Boland during the glorious pontificate of His Holiness Pope Pius XII. He was blessed in his formation as a priest by having as one of his seminary instructors the holy and militant prelates Bishop George Ahr and Bishop Justin McCarthy, back when bishops were true shepherds. His foundation that would sustain him in holding fast to tradition was nourished by the pastor of his first church he was assigned to after ordination - St. Venantius in Orange, New Jersey where Monsignor Thomas Powers guided and counseled him, setting the example for what a holy priest should be.
Among other assignments under Monsignor Peter Kurz and Father Carl Merzena besides parish work, was as chaplain for Orange Memorial Hospital, New Jersey Orthopedic Hospital, and Whitehouse Nursing Home. He was also a parochial school teacher, youth director, athletic coach (basketball, baseball, and football), and Cana conference moderator. Besides the usual daily Masses, Baptisms, weddings, funerals, and convert instructions, Fr. Wickens found time to serve as the police and fire chaplain for the city of Orange.
Being the obedient servant, it troubled Fr. Wickens the changes that were being approved following the problematic and, as has been proven, heretical Second Vatican Council. Fr. Wickens gradually became aware that the "changes" in the Church were causing a wholesale loss of souls. When Archbishop Boland retired in 1974 and Paul VI appointed Peter Leo Gerety to head the See of Newark in April of the same year, things really headed down hill fast. Everywhere, genuine Catholic life was lessening: marriage breakups became frequent; schools, convents, and seminaries were closing, or, as has been seen over the last several years, sold off to pay for the sins of the "fathers" at an accelerated pace. New generations of Catholic youth were being deprived of their religious heritage. In fact, some new-breed priests and nuns encouraged young people to forego humility, chastity, and obedience. Catholic parents, who had always given good example, became puzzled and sorrowful: How could this moral decline have entered their homes? What caused all this damage? Obviously, the enemy (i.e., heresy and moral relativism) had sowed his evil seed through diocesan pulpits and classrooms. But the greatest victory for Satan was this: the Traditional Latin Mass-the faith of our fathers-was thrown aside for a new, "updated," so-called "liturgy." The New Order "Mass" invaded the sanctuary. What a disaster! Father Wickens realized the Novus Ordo was not only man-centered, but definitely not God-centered. The new liturgy was scarcely a reenactment of the Holy Sacrifice of Calvary. It was virtually devoid of grace. The tabernacle was placed off to the side; communion in the hand and other disrespectful practices diminished belief in the Real Presence. As a consequence, unbelief and immorality became unbridled.
The renowned Latin Mass advocate became even more vocal with his alarms after Vatican II. After the proclamation of the Novus Ordo Missae in 1969 he clamored against the vernacular liturgy for which he blamed the decline in the Roman Catholic Church. Later he would be branded a "maverick priest" when he voiced his discontent and stood up almost alone against the unholy forces which entered The Church Catholic. He wore those diatribes nobly as badges of honor.
After trying to justify the innovations, Father Paul decided enough is enough!
The final straw that broke the camel's back when Father Paul decided enough was enough, was the demonic promotion of classroom sex education. It was bad enough that Catholic bishops energetically lobbied for this perversion into the public schools. But when these Gerety and his Auxiliary bishops of Newark mandated the sex ed in Catholic schools (from kindergarten through Grade 10), Fr. Wickens called a press conference to express the outrage of Catholic parents. He contended that it is never permissible to discuss the delicate subject of marital intimacy in classroom settings and that the material was without moral guidance and inappropriate for some age groups. He also loudly protested they were stealing innocence from children and violating the absolute ban on all such classroom instruction that had been imposed by Pope Pius XI's Divini Illius Magistri in 1929.
In typical progressivist retaliation as every apostate bishop has done, the local modernist Gerety immediately moved to punish Fr. Wickens. His salary, pension savings, hospitalization, stipends, and all temporal resources were taken away. Gerety banished him to the outer territories but couldn't move him from the rectory until the modernist prelate enlisted and coerced a civil court to step in. It wasn't long before Fr. Wickens discovered that recourse to civil and ecclesiastical courts was futile, because both judicial systems were in league with the liberal prelates. Every attempt for a fair hearing was met with a summary dismissal. No testimony, no witnesses, no depositions, no opportunity to present both sides of the dispute. The parishioners waged war against the bishop and actually, with the help of conservative Novus Ordinarians, assisted in forcing Gerety to resign. But little good that did for out of the frying pan into the fire with the appointment of Theodore McCarrick. We have all seen what a yellow-livered modernist McCarrick has shown himself to be over the years. It was evident to Fr. Paul from the very beginning.
Although John Paul II personally invited Fr. Wickens to concelebrate Mass with him in his own Vatican chapel-obviously, to assuage the "rebellious traditional priest" -- rather than an outward sign of solidarity and support, it was really an insult to True Catholic sensibilities. Fr. Wickens realized that no one has ever "concelebrated" the True Latin Mass. It can't be done. The Mass to Fr. Paul was the most important thing in the world and could not be tampered with, yet this same pope had not only tampered with it, but made it worse and more non-Catholic than even its architect Annibale Bugnini could ever have hoped. Add to this the fact that the modern Vatican has always been afraid to correct the bishops, especially the affluent Newark Diocese. That proves out why one as bad as McCarrick was given the choice See of Washington D.C. It sure wasn't for his being a good shepherd or a holy man! But Father Paul was a holy man and thus he placed it all in God's hands saying, "So be it! God will provide"- and He did provide.
The heavy-handed persecution was a blessing in disguise. A door had been closed, but God opened a window - a beautiful and large window. Fr. Wickens discovered a well-kept secret-namely, that there are hundreds and thousands of Catholics who are determined to resist the harmful changes and to maintain the true Catholic Faith. The founding of St. Anthony of Padua Chapel was the result of the faith and zeal of these courageous Catholics. Unafraid of the opprobrium hurled at them by modernists, they remain to this day faithful to tradition. Their love of Jesus Christ and their love for their families has taken priority over any sacrifices of times, distance, or persecution.
To show their appreciation and the fruits of Fr. Paul's impact on their lives, there are several testimonies from parishioners which we gleaned from various sites who remember Fr. Wickens.
"The words of Our Savior, Jesus Christ, echo in our hearts: Blessed art thou when men persecute you for My sake. Your reward shall be great in Heaven. The great St. Anthony of Padua has been our constant guide and intercessor. We pray that more and more people will say 'no' to liberal Catholicism and embrace once again the true Catholic Faith-the faith of our fathers and of the saints and martyrs."
"He taught how much we need to always praise God in both joys AND sorrows. He taught how to enjoy the possession of Truth, and to pass it along to others. His virtues of patience and perseverance gave great encouragement. By example of his holiness and love of God, his flock learned never to worry or despair, that the good God will not abandon His faithful no matter what if we would only turn to Him in confidence. This extraordinary soul was an ardent and fearless defender of the Faith, and a true warrior for Christ."
Another wrote, "He, too, was a hammerer of heretics, and constantly exposed their perfidiiousness. Although he ministered to a large flock, he was always accessible and ready to serve when the occasion arose. He was such an energetic figure that it was all the more of a shock that his final illness was so rapid."
Another testified, "I learned more about my Catholic Faith and heritage from him after only one month of his Masses than after nearly 12 years of supposedly Catholic education. Father Wickens returned to me a thousand times over all that had been stolen by the liberal Modernists. And what a way with words he had! I know he could challenge the most learned intellectual, and yet at the same time speak clearly to the youngest of the flock!"
"He was a good man as well as a Holy Priest. A tireless servant faithful to his vocation, whose only desire was to preserve the Holy Roman Catholic Faith. He desired no personal fame or recognition. He always said he would rather be a 'spear carrier' than a chief. He loved his faith. He loved children and families."
He loved them so much he wrote some very treasured Traditional Catholic books to guide them through the dark conflicting times. Three books stand out. One is an explanation of what happened with his book Christ Denied in exposing those who caused the turmoil in the Church today. Covering the bases for solid Catholic upbringing, he wrote Husband and Wife and the most popular Handbook for Parents providing discipline, rule, commands, obedience and how to mete out just punishment in order to establish a fear of the Lord but more importantly a love for God and the True Faith.
To illustrate the evil that was going on while these imposters railed at, slandered and persecuted Fr. Wickens, one who knows wrote
" Little did he realize how much truth he was actually exhorting against these theological dangers of 'naturalism' and 'sensuality'... and I never had the heart to divulge this to him: Across town at my Our Lady Help of Christians parochial school in East Orange, a young, personable and ruggedly handsome curate priest in my OLHC parish, Fr. David Ernst, was still exploiting and abusing his role as male sex ed instructor to rape scores of my fellow male class mates. The first thing Fr. did was gleefully pull down all our classroom window shades and pass out his pack of smokes. These 'classes' also included group show & tell in the little boys room. This popular Boys Glee Club director fancied and styled himself as another Bing Crosby singing Going My Way. There were very few of Father Dave's troubled boys who did NOT know of Fr. Dave's oral talents. Some of his altar boys were "rewarded" during school time -- usually around 2:30 PM -- with private rides with Father in his small Cessna airplane ejaculated from a local airfield where it was then flown on automatic pilot... (Afterwards I scolded them in disbelief over these scandals, etc. they whispered about to me and the other boys.) I'd estimate his post-ordination crime spree of about 10+ years duration. Several parents reported him to the Chancery Office and the Supt of schools, Msgr Tuith, etc. So eventually the late Archbishop Thomas A. Boland quietly reassigned him to a string of rural parishes within our Essex County. Yet he still maintained his local 'boys club/bachelor's pad' in a apt. on South Munn Avenue within our home town. Young male house guests were shuttled to and fro in his jeep. My own accounts over the decades were scoffed, ridiculed and ignored. Utterly disgusted with him, his enablers, his blasť superiors and their novel myriads of liturgical abuses, etc. --- I finally left that Novus Ordo communion in 1975."
As one can see, even Boland, who had supposedly been a good bishop got sucked in with the cover-up. Instead of defrocking Ernst he moved him around, enabling the sodomite pedophile to harm more souls. This same practice has been repeated over the last 30 years in every diocese. Again, the 'fruits' of Vatican II. That same writer added,
" In reprisal and much belated response, RC Church authorities stipulated to Father Wickens - only two years ago (2002)- that the price of his "regularization" by the Archdiocese of Newark would entail his apology to Emeritus-Archbishop Gerity for having resisted him in the matter of sex-instruction.)
"....So instead he initially redirected his energies to a newsletter he published [New Jersey Catholic News] wherein he denounced the drastic changes and abuses wrought by Vatican II. He continued the publication in subsequent years using even more pointed language. Over the years he became a prolific author and wrote many books, tracts, and pamphlets devoted to parenting, the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony and the Holy Mass of Time Immemorial, etc.
"Father Wickens was one of the first to loudly and widely rail against female altar servers, Holy Communion in the hands of laity or under both species, non-clerics giving the homily, non-scripture readings at Mass, leaving the sanctuary to give the sign of peace, improper purification of sacred vessels, Eucharistic ministers used in non-extraordinary circumstances, elimination of patens, adding prayers to the Mass, etc.
"His constant admonitions also entreated 'flagrant acts of disobedience' such as 'heresy taught in pulpits, Modernist catechism in parochial schools, erotic sex ed in classrooms, unCatholic RENEW and R.C.I.A. programs, subjectivism in morality so common in confessionals, the proliferation of General Absolution in parishes, at weddings, in funeral homes; hospital chaplains who give Communion to anybody regardless of creed, etc.'
"In 1994, Father Paul Wickens began construction on the Saint Anthony of Padua Chapel in West Orange located at 1360 Pleasant Valley Way in West Orange, NJ, 07052-1313. The church was completed two years later. The Traditional Catholic parish has 900 members, and its three Sunday Masses typically draws 500 worshippers on any given Sunday or Holy Day of Obligation. It is one of the most spacious and most beautiful Traditional Catholic chapels in the country!
"The local church hierarchy was very resentful of the large crowds which flocked to his Latin Masses from around the tri-states area -- and even more so that he led the national Tridentine Rite Conference. In a 1997 interview, a spokesman for then-Newark Archbishop Theodore McCarrick (now Cardinal in Washington, D.C.) said Rev. Wickens' chapel was not a legitimate Roman Catholic entity.'He had no authorization to build it, to say Mass, to hear confessions or to preach. Those faculties were suspended in 1983 and have never been reinstated,' said the spokesman, Michael Hurley."
In April of 1984 the Traditional Latin Mass was first established at the Green Mountain Club in West Orange. Four years later it was moved to the American Legion Hall in Livingston to accommodate the growing congregation. Six years later groundbreaking ceremonies were held in October 1994 on a piece of property at 1360 Pleasant Valley Way in West Orange.Two years later St. Anthony's Chapel was opened for public worship, even receiving an 'Apostolic blessing' from John Paul II in October of 1996. One month later
Bishop Richard Williamson consecrated St. Anthony's Chapel. On that day His Excellency stated, "You don't have just anyone as your priest here. Every priest, St. Paul tells us, 'taken from among men is ordained for men in the things that pertain to God, that he may offer up gifts and sacrifices for his sins.' (Hebrews 5: 1)." Father Wickens spoke well of the Society of St. Pius X and had a good relationship with them, but he remained an independent priest to the end and desired a likewise independent priest to succeed him.
St. Anthony grew in size and grace with people coming from all over the tri-state area and further away to attend Father Paul's Holy Masses. As the fruits multipied, he remained a thorn in the diocese's side. Even when McCarrick was replaced by John J. Myers who so many thought was a conservative from his time in Peoria, things didn't change, though the pharisees in the chancery tried to coerce Fr. Wickens to reconcile. About the same time as the Priests of Campos were capitulating - and we can see how that has turned out - the Newark See tried to coerce Father Paul into agreeing to be "reinstated" and "regularized" if he would apologize for his to the retired Gerity for Father's opposition to Gerity's sex ed program back in 1983. Father Paul wasn't born yesterday and he could see a ruse when he saw it. He flatly refused just as the Priestly Fraternity of St. John Vianney should have done in Campos. They sold out, Father Wickens wouldn't.
Yet the modernists are so insidious, so manipulative. When Father was diagnosed with cancer late in 2003, they started moving in, positioning fifth columnists within St. Anthony's so that when the deadly disease took its toll the Diocese would gain St. Anthony's. . Perhaps, because the cancer took its toll so quickly, he didn't have the time to really decipher exactly who specifically he wanted to succeed him and make that known far and wide. In typical fashion the infiltrators did not demand the parish, but worked behind the facade of the FSSP to weasel their way in through the suspicious cult Opus Dei and the insult known as the Indult. Sure enough, shortly after Fr. Paul succumbed from esophogal cancer on July 8, 2004 they put their dastardly plan into action. Less than a month after his death, a parish board of directors (with several members suspiciously named the day before Father's death and supposedly with Father's approval) flatly denied that they would turn St. Anthony's over to the FSSP and the Archdiocese of Newark. However, it was discovered that such promises were not true for the 'Judas Board' had sold the beloved founder of St. Anthony's down the river. While drugged up on morphine in his last days, they had cajoled and supposedly wriggled out of him an agreement to turn St. Anthony's over to Opus Dei. Many didn't think that was possible and that Father would never have agreed to such a betrayal, but they hadn't realized how stealthy and vile the New Order is. They should have listened to Father Moderator at Traditio who had warned the parishioners of what was going on but they refused to believe. We refer you to his numerous posts , for example at Traditio.com for November last year. The truth came out on October 31 which to the parishioners became known as the "Halloween Horror" for the 'witches of Newark' had succeeded in deceiving so many. Now the battle for St. Anthony continues with the SSPX pitted against the FSSP and Opus Dei and accusations flying on all sides while attendance not only dwindled at St. Anthony's under a series of different priests trying to fill Fr. Wicken's shoes, but forced the loyal congregation out of their beautiful parish and back to the catacombs of the Ramada Inn where at last word Father John Murphy, an independent priest was trying his best to circle the wagons and maintain the Faith fostered by Fr. Paul which produced so many fruits.
This bickering is definitely not what Fr. Wickens would ever have wanted. So devious is the evil one that he could infiltrate Father's parish only after Fr. had been removed from the scene. It is a sign of how much Satan hated Fr. Wickens and conversely how much God loved this wonderful priest who was a New Jerseyian through and through from his accent to his bountiful heart. He would have loved the Requiem Mass afforded him at St. Anthony's with three SSPX priests officiating as celebrant, deacon and subdeacon. The church was packed. Today it has been transformed to meet diocesan specs and those who say both the Old and New Order rite are officiating in that holy chapel. Truly a horror of horrors, the very horrors Father Paul warned against, even coining the phrase "Vatican II Time Bombs" before Michael Davies made it famous in his book Liturgical Time Bombs.
We pray that wiser, holier and traditional heads will win out and keep St. Anthony's free of the stain of the sacrilegious New Order and rid the Judases from their parish so those who Fr. Paul nourished will continue to be nourished with the uncompromising faith and learn from this sad experience how valuable their pastor was, for he truly was the Good Shepherd to his flock. The Pastor Bonus who, we quite suspect because of his immense love for Saint Anthony of Padua - the holy Doctor who was known as the "Hammer of Heretics" -the A. must stand for Anthony. Regardless of what his middle name was, he was a priest forever. Tu es sacerdos in aeternum.
Therefore, in honor of the memory of Father Wickens, The Daily Catholic proudly proclaims today, Tuesday, May 31, 2005 - the Double of the Second Class Feast of the Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary to be declared Father Paul Wickens Day throughout all of Christendom and we hereby are honored to present him posthumously with the Crimson Cross Tower of Trent Trophy and add his name and feats of Faith into the Tower of Trent Hall of Honor as one of America's foremost 'Hammer of Heretics.'
2005 Recipients of the Tower of Trent:
For charter members honored in our inaugural presentation of the Tower of Trent in 2004, see Charter Recipients of the Tower of Trent Trophy