May 31st would normally be reserved for the Double of the Second Class Feast of the Queenship of Mary. However, this year, because it falls on Pentecost Sunday, it is transferred to the first available day it can be celebrated which will be Monday after Trinity Sunday. So this year, in essence, Our Lady gets her month of May extended by eight days, so to speak.
My column today is dedicated to all the priests who have inspired this editor in his spiritual journey for it is the day when we celebrate the birthday of the Church, the day we dwell in joy on the coming of the Holy Ghost, the One Who instills the graces to truly see and recognize what we must do to reach our eternal destination.
One priest whom I have never met but who has been graced with such vision is Fr. Thomas Dignan who will celebrate his 52nd anniversary as a priest tomorrow, June 1st. He assists the pastor Fr. Louis Campbell at St. Jude's Catholic Church in Stafford, Texas. Fr. Campbell for years provided us pertinent, concise sermons on the truths and traditions of holy Mother Church.
There is another priest my bride Cyndi and I would like to send congratulations to, but, alas we must do so from a distance. On Pentecost Thursday the feast of the holy confessor St. Francis Caracciolo this year will also be the day when Fr. Aloysius Svobodny, OMI will celebrate his 60th anniversary as a priest. It was on June 4, 1949 that he laid prostrate before the altar to be consecrated as an alter Christus. It will be 65 years on August 24 when he will commemorate taking his first vows.
Fr. Al, affectionately known to one and all as "Uncle Al", is a true priest of God who, along with so many other older priests were swept up in the euphoria of change. Fr. Al served us well and was our spiritual director for several years. He first introduced us to the Medjugorje phenomenon which, as we later learned, was just that a phenomenal phenomenon stirred up by satan to confuse and distract souls as we pointed out in our editorial The Medjugorje Menagerie. We admit we were duped and if we can be, then anyone can and that is the tragedy of what has happened to the faithful over the past 50 years.
This editor's association with the sincere charismatic priest Fr. Al goes back to 1956 when, as Vocations Director for the Oblates of Mary Immaculate Missionary order, he sparked something inside my soul to dedicate my life to God by serving others in providing the life and grace-giving Sacraments. He was a role model for young men to emulate as he conducted himself always above reproach, ever a friendly smile to those in the age bracket when self-conscious impressions mattered foremost.
For the first time I see the irony in the day of his ordination for the June 4th saint's Neopolitan last name is Caracciolo and it was indeed to OLO (Our Lady of the Ozarks) where Fr. Al recruited many young men along with yours truly to the seminary. It was there for six years in Carthage, Missouri on that pristine campus that this editor's faith and character was formed in the absolutes, and why ever since I have always been suspect of gray areas and change. In retrospect, I can see how, in effect, God was protecting me by hiding me away in the magnificent foothills of the Ozarks, gaining the necessary discipline and spiritual foundation to stand against what was not only already on the horizon, but also moving at breakneck speed behind the scenes at the touted Second Vatican Council.
Another irony is that this was the very campus where, twenty-one years after I had left, Archbishop Pierre Martin Ngo-dinh-Thuc died on the feast of the holy martyr Saint Lucy on December 13. The seminary had been sold by the Oblates to a Vietnamese order in the late 70's, because the OMI's had already sold out to the conciliar way and, true to form, vocations dropped off the table. Who needs a seminary when there are few, if any, seminarians? As way of background it is through this valid prelate's succession dating back to the Apostles and documented by specific successor dating back to Pope St. Pius V's time, that we have true Catholic Successors of the Apostles today in Bishop Robert McKenna, O.P., Mark Pivarunas, CMRI, Daniel Dolan and Donald Sanborn to provide the valid sacraments here in the United States to name a few of the more prominent Traditional prelates. In respect to the Vietnamese Archbishop, it was there at Our Lady of the Ozarks where he was taken against his will from New York and drugged to keep him quiet. Those orders came from Rome, carried out by the Masonic Pio Laghi and passed on to none other than 'Bishop' Bernard Law, then ordinary of Springfield-Cape Girardeau diocese before his rapid ascent up the conciliar ladder to infamy. That was his payback for his delivering the man who is responsible today for providing several true bishops and priests to traditional Catholics. Kind of remind you of Judas betraying Christ, doesn't it? Except Law received a lot more than thirty pieces of silver. It's the Boston way when you see what that area has wrought from the Kennedys to 'cardinal' Sean O'Malley. What, pray tell are in those Boston beans?
Gratefully, there was nothing in the beans at Carthage when I was matriculating there. In fact the closest thing to gag food was the eggplant on Fridays. Treating it like liver, we smothered it with mustard and onions, anything to kill the taste. Oh, it was fitting penance for fasting when that was on the menu which was like clockwork every other Friday and several times of the week during Lent. That seldom changed and that was, believe it or not, a good thing for few things changed from my first year of prep through my sophomore year of college. That included changes in the liturgy and rubrics, as well as the doctrines. All the changes we've seen since were slow to be filtered down and that left me untainted by the radical transformation that took place from the mid-sixties on.
I can remember several spreading the rumor that the Council in Rome was even thinking of having the Mass said in English. Of course, to most who were weaned on the Latin Mass and who, even despite struggling with Cicero from the opening sentence "Quo usque tandem abutere, Catilina, patientia nostra?" to the very last paragraph of that odyssey, this was pure lunacy. Some even dared saying such would be heresy, apostasy even. Sure sounded crazy back then. Today, well, you be the judge. Perhaps I should have taken a cue from Cicero's words for he asked in that first line: "How much longer, Catalina, will you try our patience?" and we should have asked way back then to those perpetrators of changing the Faith, "How much longer, conciliarists, will you try our patience?" Unfortunately, it has been way too long.
I recall our Latin professor Fr. Don Joseph Paris, OMI said it would never happen and if it did, it would be over his dead body. Well, he did die but many, many years after he caved because his order caved. And that is the tragic case of dear Fr. Al who, because of the Oblate Vow of Obedience, was swept into the vortex of Vaticantwoarianism. It happened to all of them. It's an interesting situation that someday will create much discussion as to both vulnerability and accountability of sacerdotes who offered little or no resistance to what was happening to their beloved Church. Were they aware? Or were they told not to worry that the 'Pope' and his bishops approved it and 'it's the way the Church in the early days did things' ruse? Consider also the peer pressure of those in the Oblate Order or other religious congregations or diocesan priests with their bishops. It must have been immense. It was certainly soul-shattering.
Few there were of the caliber of the nine priests who left Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre's Society of St. Pius X when they realized a true Pope could not teach error so persistently and still be Catholic, let alone a true Vicar of Christ. Today, 26 years later they have been proven they were right and still are, in fact, the only ones who had it right by not giving any concession, compromise or consideration to the counterfeit church of conciliarism. On the other hand, those who have, well, just look around. There have been several other priests who left the conciliar climes to return to the truths and traditions of holy Mother Church such as the late Fr. Gomar DePauw, Fr. Vincent Miceli, Fr. John O'Connor, O.P., Fr. Patrick Fox, Fr. Lawrence Brey, Fr. Frederick Schell, Fr. Paul Wickens, Fr. James Wathen, Fr. Carl Pulvermacher, Fr. Harry Marchosky, Fr. Eldred Leslie and Fr. Vincent Bowes, O.C.D. to name a few of those who have earned their heavenly reward as dry martyrs. There are those still toiling in this vale of tears. Besides those raised up and ordained in the traditional ranks today, there are others who have fled the conciliar confines, dedicating their lives to souls. Men like Fr. Martin Stepanich, O.F.M., Fr. Stephen Somerville, Fr. Paul Trinchard as well as Fr. Campbell and Fr. Dignan and many others not mentioned here who have received the graces.
The very same graces we have long prayed would be given to Fr. Al and yet, in his old age, suffering with severe macular degeneration and trapped within the confines of his Order, we can only ask God to have mercy when his time comes. As they say, it is difficult to teach an old dog new tricks, even if those 'tricks' are not new but passed down from Apostolic times as infrangible. He served us well during our sojourn in the conciliar swamp and was actually a conduit to our discovering the great deception foisted on the faithful though would not or could not follow us in our exodus from the conciliar church which we had been suckered into believing, because of our own unwillingness to connect the dots, When I left the seminary on Holy Saturday after nine months at Immaculate Heart of Mary Novitiate in Alton, Illinois 1964, I can remember so vividly my last conversation with the Novice Master Fr. Leo Figge, OMI the day I left. I told him I truly believe I can reach more souls without a Roman collar on. True to those words it has been for had I continued I would not have been ordained until 1970 at the earliest and I would not have been a true priest for I would have been ordained in the New Order that is invalid and completely null and void for it contains the same ceremony as the Anglican rite which the Church has ruled is null and void. God is so good and I often wonder why He spared me. The only thing I can think, being the sinner I am, is that I was open to His graces and He had plans for me that I didn't know at the time.
Yet, for over thirty years I wallowed in the Novus Ordo, never at home, always consternated by the fact that something just wasn't right. I fell into that conformity trap several times and tried to justify it, but knew I could not and finally, with maturity, came common sense and courage to carry out the Catholic convictions with which both Cyndi and I had been ingrained.
When we finally did realize that, well there was no alternative to do what we have done and would do it all over again. As we have said all along, it's a lonely road, but the only road. It has cost us a dear friend in Fr. Al, who we will always love and remember in our daily prayers in gratitude for all he did. But we cannot follow him and he understands that as I told him the last time I saw him when back in Minnesota for the final time a week before my dad's death two years ago last week, May 23.
I also realized at that time that Fr. Al was so ingrained and indoctrinated (read brainwashed) by the OMI collective who had gone along with all the wholesale changes, that he couldn't change. That and the fact he had, as I mentioned, severe Macular Degeneration would make it most difficult for him to even be able to see and read the Missale Romanum to say the Latin Mass as it was decreed infallibly by the dogmatic Council of Trent and Pope St. Pius V that it must be said "in perpetuity" and could never be altered. We know now, don't we, that it was and drastically altered that it no longer is the true Sacrifice of the Mass but nothing more than an "eucharistic celebration" - a Protestant service, if you will where there is no confection of the bread and wine into the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ Jesus. Fr. Al is one of the few true priests left since he was ordained during the pontificate of His Holiness Pope Pius XII. He, like every priest ordained up until 1968, vowed to God the Solemn Oath Against Modernism. He, like every priest, should have stood against it when it raised its ugly head, but he, like us, were duped, lulled to sleep. Few saw the Trojan Horse in our midst. Truly, Vatican II was the greatest revolution in history and so few know how badly their souls, minds and psyches have been raked, or should we say raped for that is what the barbarians who eclipsed holy Mother Church upon the death of His Holiness Papa Pacelli have done.
Two incidents stand out in illustrating how the Oblates went south. Several years ago Cyndi and I partook in a retreat at the Oblate run Christ the King Retreat Center over a weekend. Since the early 90's Fr. Al has been the public relations director there on the scenic grounds above Buffalo Lake in Buffalo, Minnesota about forty miles west of Minneapolis. During that time the retreat master, an Oblate priest whose name escapes me,(but I would remember if reminded)professed that "we don't know if Mary was conceived immaculately." Pardon us, but that is heresy in denying the dogma of the Church pronounced by Pope Pius IX in 1850. We brought this up to Fr. Al who said he'd look into it, but we never heard anything back on this heresy his fellow peer was spreading. Mind you, everything Fr. Al always imparted to us was absolutely orthodox and in full harmony with Church teaching. But we realized he was basically helpless to do anything, so great had the apostasy grown within the Order where priests I once admired were cavorting with women and wearing shorts with little regard for their priestly demeanor, asking you to call them by their first name, not by the prefix 'Father.'
The second event that proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that there was no hope was several years ago when we were still in Missouri and there was a reunion of all the students that ever attended the seminary. Some 300 showed up at St. Henry's Seminary in Belleville, Illinois for a weekend or reminiscing. As great as it was to see so many faces from the past that prompted so much nostalgia of seven of the happiest years of my younger days, a great sadness overwhelmed me when I discovered that all had sold out. I was the only one out of that entire assembly that still practiced Catholicism the way we had in the seminary from demeanor to assisting at holy Mass each day. I was also the only one who did not participate in the abominable concelebration 'eucharistic celebration' held on a Saturday evening (to count for Sunday) when some 30 priests and presbyters all in white albs and stoles surrounded a stark table in an even more sterile building and held up wine glasses (I kid you not) at the Novus Ordo "con-secration". I watched this circus through the glass by the main door so I could make a quick exit. I remained true to my vow never to step inside a Novus Ordo lodge ever again, and technically, staying in what can best be called a hallway vestibule, did not enter. However I could clearly see this charade playing out where former classmates, having turned Baptist, Lutheran, agnostic and what have you, all partook in the bread and wine at the time of 'distribution of the eucharist.' Oh, did they celebrate each other when they all joined hands at the our Father and then had a hug-in at the 'kiss of peace.' Later that evening, I realized there really was no hope for the Oblates when, at the banquet, they celebrated a man who had left the priesthood, pouring plaudit after plaudit on this man who had disgraced his vows. I couldn't take any more. It put a damper on everything that evening and prompted me to make a quick getaway the next day so I could get to a Sunday Latin Mass in the St. Louis area. I've had e-mail contact with a few of those classmates since, always trying to convince them of the error of their ways by remembering what they had. It has all fallen on deaf ears and cold hearts that grow ever harder with each day that they reject God's graces. Why? What else but Vatican Two.
The Oblates weren't the only religious order to sell out. Name me one congregation that didn't. Too few were the men like the late Dominican Fr. John O'Connor whose stability and convictions prompted him to leave his order and stand up against those ravaging the Faith even if everyone else was going along with the changes. Fr. O'Connor is the one who exposed the homosexual collective within the Order of Preachers and was criminalized by the very criminals who created the Sodom scandal within St. Dominic's vaunted Order.
On the other hand, the Oblates were relatively free of such tendencies within their ranks during my seminary years. Thank God for that for I can attest that never was that even remotely sensed in my seminary days. Rather my spiritual director Fr. Francis Zachman, OMI (to whom I owe, for the most part after my parents, all that I am today as a staunch Traditional Catholic) went to great lengths, first as the seminary prefect and then as my history professor and later as counselor for my body, mind and soul to be on guard against the very inclination or situation that might arise in calling such perversion for what it is - a sin that cries to Heaven for vengeance.
I can remember several priests who helped mold me besides Fr. Francis who died of cancer in 1984 in Rochester, Minnesora after serving as pastor at Assumption parish in Richfield south of Minneapolis, my parish where the seeds of a vocation first began to flourish when Fr. Al nourished it with his sincerity and perseverance in the mid fifties. Then were those who left the priesthood because of the confusion that rained down on so many with the changes of Vatican II and relaxation of the disciplines. Men like Fr. Dean Dauw, OMI who taught Greek and a course I will forever be grateful for: Etymology which has helped in every facet of my life. There was the crusty Bostonian Fr. William Regan, OMI who taught Physics and Chemistry and helped this editor break from his shy shell by encouraging in his thick New England accent to "Stick your neck out, jocko. Don't be afraid to get it cut off. It's good for you." How right he was. Men like Fr. William Minwegan, OMI who taught Algebra and Trigonometry. Ouch! Later other priests left the priesthood, unable to cope with the confusion wrought by Vatican II; priests like Fr. Carl Becherer, OMI who taught me French, Algebra, and Latin. Then Fr. Robert Eimer, OMI our Varsity basketball and baseball coach and the man who instilled a love for literature and writing. Whenever he saw me he'd always call me by the pronunciation of my name in Latin. You see Latin was not foreign to the Oblates.
Sadly, it is now. Like the vast majority of Catholics, the Oblates were swept up and carried away by the euphoria of Vatican II. Few if any delved beneath the surface. There was also the carrot of having their founder canonized. That would be Bishop Eugene de Mazenod who in the aftermath of the French Revolution, formed the Oblates dedicated to Mary Immaculate for evangelizing the faith and saving souls as missionaries. He was a good and holy man and someday we pray he will be duly recognized by a true Pope as a saint. However, right now he remains in that limbo with worthy men like Padre Pio who are forced to share the stage with such apostates as Roncalli and the scandalous scoundrel Josemaria Escriva who basically bought conciliar recognition, to name but a few. Thus, do you really think the Oblates, even if the mission they were founded for was fast becoming obsolete with the constant rejection by the Modern Vatican to proselytize and convert souls, would stand up to the steady move away from Catholicism? It's all about quid pro quo. And if anyone dared to speak out, they would feel the wrath and retribution of both their superiors and peers. Hmm, does that sound familiar to SSPX members today? So what's a priest to do? Confusion has reigned and most could not rein in their sensus Catholicus to stand against what was offending their sensus Catholicus. Of course, after awhile, dulled by habit and acceptance, such things were no longer offensive. Thus complacency and conformability set in quite easily within the ranks of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate as well as every other order and congregation. All par for the course for satan has had a field day over these past 50 years.
Ah, 50 years. It seems to have gone by so quickly. Events are moving so fast that one keeps looking in the rearview mirror for the Four Horsemen to gallop up on our tail bumper. The once slow-moving, dependable dusty country roads with all its natural scenes and senses (anyone from farm country gets the drift) have given way to the superhighway paved in pathetic pantheism masqueraded as pathos. The conciliar concrete of syncretism is showing cracks wide enough to bury fifty 1958 Chevrolets in it, all caused by the temblor of terror traced to the Pact of Metz in 1962 where progressive northern Europe student drivers steered the hierarchy away from the sure path Our Lady had requested at Fatima with their unstable Volkswagens and Edsels, forcing the faithful Fiat drivers to veer off the road and stall.
This tremor began when the driving inspector Angelo Roncalli not only passed these reckless drivers, but gave all of the offenders licenses to continue freewheeling through the faith. Who were these reckless cads? The very ones who had tried to crash their Hegelian, Marxist and Masonic models into the Barque of Peter, temporarily in dry dock with the death of the director of the Road to Heaven, Eugenio Pacelli. He had been detoured in his later years by cancer and the toll of World War II. Had he been healthy, many believe he would have straightened up the DMV (Divine Mother's Vision) which the Blessed Mother revealed to the world in warning of Russia's errors to spread.
So what did Roncalli do? He aided Mary's adversary by signing away the Church's responsibility for souls by giving free reign for the Soviet semi to mow down millions of souls bodily and spiritually. All for having two Russians participate in the bottleneck called Vatican II. Then, in a scene right out of Steven Spielberg's acclaimed film 'Duel', he allowed fear to creep in and for trust to swerve into the gulches for cover. All because they were intimidated by the VW vans that rumbled over the soul of man in the same manner as the man who created the Nazi car. The result has been the same, while Hitler killed the body, the out-of-control Rhine rambunctious bunch ramrodded their agenda through, creating ruts and potholes that have forever left their Modernist mark. Little did the faithful realize this was a dead-end road with only two exits. A narrow one that led back to the right road which the progressives, perverts, and patronizers tried to camouflage so that few could see this salvific path. This, of course, could only be seen, as we understand now, by the grace of God. Did I not say it was a lonely road, but the only road? Then there is the wide off-ramp leading to the superhighway referred to above that is so crowded now with those in a hurry to get somewhere without realizing where they're heading and why.
What was done to the Church over the past forty plus years is exactly what Resident Barack Hussein Obama is doing right now to the U.S. and the masses have been lulled to sleep, oblivious of the destruction he is inducing. I'm truly amazed how two weeks ago Ratzinger aka Benedict XVI made so public his manifest heresy as an apostate to the world with his statement that there is no need to convert the Jews anymore. Evidently he knows more than Christ Who said so clearly in Ascension Thursday's Gospel of St. Mark 16: 16, "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved: but he that believeth not shall be condemned." But then the wily Hegelian German has no intention to please God but rather man and we all know what St. Paul says in Galatians 1: 8-10 about anathema and not being a servant of Christ. Ratzinger has proven, as did Wojtyla before him, Montini before him and Roncalli at the beginning of the conciliar coup that they are working for the "common good" of man on earth with no responsibility for the countless billions of souls being lost by their documented apostasy through syncretism and sophistry which puts them outside the Church as the Church has decreed, not I.
This is why when we realized how badly we were duped we went back to basics. First dropping to our knees for discernment and help, then studying every Council from the Apostles' Council of Jerusalem through Vatican I. Then we read Vatican II. The former were all in full accordance with the perennial Magisterium of the Church; the latter a new-founded new order with the purpose of placating man, so much so that Montini aka Paul VI appointed on a committee of 8, 6 Protestant ministers to orchestrate the sacking of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass with his sacrilegious Novus Ordo Missae released on April 3, 1969; just four years almost to the day after I had left the seminary. Perhaps I was also protected at that time by being at remote airbases and radar sites as an Information Officer in the Air Force. What Paul foisted on the faithful that day and ever since is, as Christ identified it in St. Matthew 24: 15, the "abomination of desolation". Once we realized the scope of the deception and confirmed it with past infallible teachings, we not only had to flee the false church as fast as we could, but we owed it to our readers to tell them the truth no matter how many we would lose and how many benefactors we would lose. Since then we have done that, losing some very wealthy benefactors but we take comfort in what Jesus says, "What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world, but suffers the loss of his soul?" Thus we continue to cling to the truths and traditions of holy Mother Church as taught and practiced from St. Peter through Pope Pius XII no matter the price.
Granted, chapels where the true Presence is present are few and limited because His Church has been relegated to a remnant Church but as long as one authentic Catholic priest still exists, there is the Church and "the gates of hell shall not prevail against it" (St. Matthew 16: 19). This becomes all the more evident and vital as so many good true priests are dying off, other true priests like Fr. Al are trapped within the syncretistic system, forced even to celebrate sixty years of his priesthood with a 'concelebration' (something unthinkable with the True Mass) on Pentecost afternoon at Kingshouse Retreat Center (it's actually Christ the King, but that's no longer in the conciliar lexicon per their leader Benedict's abdication of striving for the Social Kingship of Christ). They are celebrating his 60 years five days early because, well that's the way they do things in the counterfeit church of conciliarism, continuing to this day to not follow the traditional calendar for that would be Catholic.
And so another good priest is so sadly left to wile away his late autumn years away from the true Apostolic Mass of All Ages, waiting wistfully and hopelessly for that "New Springtime" that will never come. Rather what's left is an endless winter of woe that has frosted over the consciences of so many souls. Because of that, they are either falling through the thin ice or have fallen into those huge chasm cracks on that superhighway mentioned above. Either way it makes the road to Heaven all that more rocky and difficult for so many souls who think Heaven is a given. Why? Because that's what they were taught. You don't have to earn your way to Heaven. Christ did that for us. We can relax and be saved in practically any religion. Just be kind to people and tolerant and respect their right to do whatever they want to do no matter how much it offends God, because, after all, we want peace and harmony among all men for the common good. That's what they really think. That's what they are taught to believe today. Thank you, Vatican Two!