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How a disordered generation of modernist priests worked a revolution in the clergy….. August 18, 2015

Posted by Tantumblogo in abdication of duty, different religion, disaster, episcopate, error, General Catholic, horror, Latin Mass, Papa, persecution, sadness, scandals, secularism, self-serving, Society, the struggle for the Church, Tradition.

……or, at least one episode in that process.  I almost said a “wicked generation,” but I chickened out. Do you think the term wicked too strong? Wicked, to me, implies willful maliciousness.  Were many of those young priests of the 60s who wanted to work a revolution in the Church knowledgeable that their revolution would be catastrophic for souls, or were they simply imbued with the spirit of the times, something that caused them to accept a lot of destructive ideas?  Many of those priests are winding down their careers after seeing the Church implode on their watch…….do they have any regrets?  From my experience…..not too much.  And to what degree did their demonstrated propensity for immoral lives (priest sex abuse scandal, sodomy, 40% left the priesthood, etc.)

Another factor to consider in the below is how many good and holy priests were drummed out of their vocation by these revolutionary forces, who almost always had episcopal backing?  If Vatican II was a coup of a small modernist minority against the majority, why did so many bishops then quite willingly, even forcefully implement the revolutionary program, rather than impose it?  Also something to keep in mind in the below, if Baltimore is at all representative, there actually was quite a bit of resistance to the massive novelties imposed after Vatican II, but consistent episcopal policy led to those resisters being ostracized, marginalized, and drummed out of active ministry if not out of the priesthood altogether.

A lot of  questions.  I found this little episode quite revealing but also quite saddening.  Such a fever came over so many souls at that time!

On February 9, 1969, parishioners of St. Anthony’s Church in Baltimore picketed their own church, carrying homemade signs declaring: “We want Monsignor Manns, Send Martel far way,” and collecting signatures to petition Cardinal Shehan to halt the forced resignation of Manns, who was their pastor. [Baltimore, once the primatial see for the entire United States, fell into disorder earlier and further than most dioceses.  Some see in this a lingering effect of Cardinal Gibbon’s Americanism.]  A week earlier, the cardinal sent Monsignor Manns a personal letter explaining the reasons why he was requesting his resignation, including the monsignor’s clash with his associate Father Martel, and the cardinal gave him ten days to respond. The Friday night before the Sunday morning protest, Monsignor Manns informed the women of the sodality about his imminent removal, and they asked him what they could do for him. A handful of women then quickly organized the small protest. At the early Sunday morning Masses at 6:00 and 7:00AM, Monsignor Manns informed the congregation that he was being replaced. After Mass, members of the sodality collected signatures in support of their pastor. [At what other time in Church history have the most faithful souls felt compelled to protest their own parishes due to injustices worked against them or faithful priests?  There were some episodes in the early Church to be sure, but this has been a constant feature of the Church since Vatican II]

The situation escalated after the 7:00 AM Mass when Father Martel approached Mrs. LeVeta Sakievich and attempted to seize her petition. When she refused, he pushed her to the ground, after which she was taken to the hospital to be treated for her injuries. Later, she pressed assault charges against Father Martel. [Just wow] Cardinal Shehan was informed about the unfolding situation, and he telephoned the monsignor. He instructed Monsignor Manns to stop the protests, and that any encouragement of the protests would be an “act of rebellion” under canon law. He also dispatched Auxiliary Bishop T. Austin Murphy to St. Anthony’s to ensure that the picketing and collection of signatures had ended. The women agreed to stop their protest, but they had already collected several hundred signatures in support of their pastor. [It’s difficult to tell from this distance of time the merits of the case.  This raises the question that has vexed so many Catholics since this time: how to respond to episcopal authority seemingly complicit in the destruction of the Church and behavior damaging to souls, when ordered under obedience by that same authority to acquiesce.  I don’t know if obedience was merited in this case but I do think, rather strongly, that the revolutionaries have always used the mantra of obedience to quell orthodox reaction, to a degree that has hurt both the Church and souls.  There is precedent in Church history for faithful who have refused authority’s demands for obedience for the good of souls and the maintenance of orthodox belief]

Five days later, Monsignor Manns met with the cardinal……By the end of the week, Monsignor Manns submitted his resignation, and it was made effective immediately, with the requirement that the beloved priest leave his former parish by March 1. [I wonder, what was the threat against him if he did not resign?  Involuntary sacking and the diocese seeking a forced laicization, denial of whatever stipend he received from the Archdiocese, etc?  IOW, the usual threats?]

The official press release of the archdiocese, as published in The Catholic Review, read:

[I]t became painfully clear that the monsignor found it impossible to carry out the Archdiocesan policy in keeping with the spirit of the Second Vatican Council, particularly in the areas of liturgical renewal in the parish, lay responsibility and the proper role of associate pastors in the parish. [The revolution will brook no dissent] Monsignor Manns has served the Archdiocese well in various capacities for over forty years. It is regrettable that his resignation was attended by so much distasteful publicity.”

Even Monsignor Manns’ detractors agreed that he was an effective administrator. In his twelve years as pastor of St. Anthony’s Church, he built a new rectory and convent, remodeled and built an addition to the elementary school, and increased the parish membership from 7,500 to 12,000. The parish boasted twelve Masses every Sunday. Today, the parish school is closed, and the school building is up for sale. The parish has merged with a neighboring parish, and only two Sunday masses are scheduled, which are reduced to only one Sunday Mass during the summer months. [So typical]

Father Martel has left active ministry. [If one were to count the instances in which bishops have sided with progressive priests who later left the priesthood or were drummed out by even higher authority…….well, the number would be pretty high]

………A Catholic revolution in the priesthood was afoot in the 1960s even without the impetus of the council. [Very true.  But the Council ramped up the “dissent” by an order of magnitude and gave it a patina of ecclesiastical approval]

The forced removal of older and more traditional priests was much more pervasive than the single case of Monsignor Manns.……The following year, the senate drew up a list of a dozen pastors who did not accept all the implications of the Second Vatican Council, in particular liturgical changes and lay involvement.  [Meaning trashing the Mass, EMHCs, lay people lectors, and Ms. So and So advising divorce at the family ministry?] According the The Premier See, Cardinal Shehan requested that these pastors resign based on the senate’s recommendation. When the senate agreed to make seventy the mandatory age for retirement and sixty-five the optional age, twenty percent of pastors in Baltimore were forced to retire between 1967 and 1969, representing a titanic shift in the leadership of the archdiocese……..The old priests were out — especially those who expressed reservations about the changes occurring — and the young and more progressive priests were in. [It’s a delicious irony that now the young priests are the orthodox ones and the older ones are those bitterly clinging to their power.  Most  young priests have to hide their orthodoxy so long as these aging hippies remain]

……..One year prior, fifty-five archdiocesan priests from Baltimore signed the Statement of Dissent composed by Father Charles Curran, and the list of priests was printed in The Baltimore Sun. Without informing the cardinal, these priests publicly voiced their opposition to Humanae Vitae, yet none of them were forced to resign from their positions. Reflecting on this disparity, the 1960s marked a new era for the Catholic Church. Priests have always run afoul of the hierarchy, but perhaps for the first time, priests who upheld the traditional teachings of Catholicism were running into opposition from above and forced from their positions whereas priests who openly challenged church teachings were tolerated.

And thus the revolution is efficiently described.  Yes there were many portents and trends in this direction prior to 1962, but it was only after Vatican II that these trends became so dominant and overpowering.  Nothing describes the cataclysm that afflicted the Church during those tumultuous years more than this fact: modernist-progressives could literally get away with murder, or at least raping 11 year old boys, while those adhering to what the Church had always believed were persona non grata.  That’s a very effective policy to radically make over any body, but especially one so dependent on the public maintenance of a constant line of belief and practice like the Church.

Another interesting perspective on the same subject: fighting revolutionary ideals takes constant vigilance and enormous effort. Somewhere during the course of the 20th century, many leaders in the Church opted out of the fight. Those modernists forced  underground by St. Pius X were clearly surfacing even by the late 1920s in places like Germany, and around the world by the mid-40s.  By the time of the decisive moment, the orthodox elements were woefully out-manned, out-gunned, and out-maneuvered.

I’m trying to cap posts at 1500 1600 words, so I’ll end there.



1. Baseballmom - August 18, 2015

“Were many of those young priests of the 60s who wanted to work a revolution in the Church knowledgeable that their revolution would be catastrophic for souls, or were they simply imbued with the spirit of the times, something that caused them to accept a lot of destructive ideas?”

The leaders of the Revolution, like all leaders of Revolution, knew exactly what they were doing and what the result would be. Their number was likely about 10%. The other 90% were useful idiots… Like most followers of a revolt….

2. Marc - August 19, 2015

I can only speak from my own brother’s experience. He attended St Peter’s Seminary in London, Ontario in the early 1980’s. By then it was a modernist sodo sewer. To make the sign of the cross with Latin was a public scandal. The rector promoted the homosexual seminarians to “come out” with their fellow seminarians and report their reaction back to him. Anyone with a negative response was deemed not pastoral enough and asked to leave. Anyone with conservative let alone traditional theology was asked to take a year off in reflection for being too dogmatic. Needless to say he and a few of the others lasted about a year before finding the SSPX although never became priests. These modernists knew exactly what they were doing including the bishop, Bishop Sherlock. This miscreants destroyed the faith of almost everyone in the London area. They persecuted anything and everything that even hinted at Traditional Catholicism. To this very day these Judas’, these vile, traitorous, treasonous dogs in ecclesiastical clothing do everything to keep the Tridentine Mass out of London. Those in control knew exactly what they were doing.

Camper - August 19, 2015

I love that strong language. Wicked is not too strong in the case of Wuerl or Farrell because they give the Body and Blood of God Incarnate to monsters who persecute the Church. Benedict XVI gave the same to Robert Mugabe, the tyrant of Zimbabwe. Farrell needs to be confronted publicly as the swine he is. First, discreetly by email, then publicly, not in front of the chancery, where morality is in short supply, but in front of the Cathedral during Sunday Mass. In the case of Wuerl, there is no point in being charitable. We should use the harshest moral language possible. In the case of Farrell, he might plead that his hands are tied. Then we must call for Farrell’s resignation. He has committed enormous sacrilege and must be forced to resign.

How much filth is in the Church! God needs it to be cleaned out by any moral means necessary. Who will help?

DM - August 19, 2015


As a former resident of London I can confirm what you say about that seminary, the priests it has produced have all but destroyed the diocese (and many others) and turned it into the most heretical in English-speaking Canada. (Quebec is even worse, I recently witnessed gay pride banners on the walls and disgustingly, hung over the altar in a Montreal Catholic parish.)

Ironically, that former rector from the mid 1980s is now one of the VERY few bishops in Canada who ever speaks out publicly against the homosexual and abortion agendas in this country. I don’t know whether he has had a change of heart, so to speak, because on the other hand he treats Traditional Catholics in his diocese like garbage, and banned the FSSP from celebrating Mass during so called flu “epidemics” because Communion is received on the tongue.

But overall, most of these men knew what they were/are doing and will pursue it to the very end, as we will see this October.

3. richardmalcolm1564 - August 19, 2015

“[The revolution will brook no dissent]”

And it didn’t, especially not in Baltimore. Just a few months before Msgr. Manns’ firing, then Fr. (later Cardinal) James Stafford recalled a meeting held among Archdiocese of Baltimore priests a few days after the issuance of Humanae Vitae. It turned out the meeting was purely an effort to get every priest present to sign a public statement to denounce the encyclical. Stafford was the only priest to refuse. He recalled what happened next:

“The priest/leader, drawing upon some scatological language from his Marine Corp past in the II World War responded contemptuously to my decision. He tried to force me to change. He became visibly angry and verbally abusive. The underlying, ‘fraternal’ violence became more evident. He questioned and then derided my integrity. He taunted me to risk my ecclesiastical ‘future,’ although his reference was more anatomically specific. The abuse went on.””

Stafford refused to back down, and his career did, through some unusual circumstances, still manage to prosper. 55 priests signed the letter, most of them younger priests, the vanguard of clergy that effectively completed its takeover of the Archdiocese, including parishes like St. Anthony’s. But that was the temper of the time in Baltimore. And given that most of those priests had gone through seminary before the Council, it raises some very hard questions about just what formation was like in Baltimore’s seminaries in the decades before Vatican II.

4. richardmalcolm1564 - August 19, 2015

P.S. Speaking of resisters of the liturgical revolution in Baltimore, Msgr. Manns was not the only or even the most famous one. We must also remember Fr. Gommar DePauw, until then a highly regarded seminary professor at Mount St Mary’s who had incardinated from Belgium. DePauw clashed so strongly over the changes being pushed through that Cardinal Shehan removed him from Mount St Mary’s. DePauw would shortly thereafter obtain a transfer to the Diocese of Tivoli, which Shehan fought fiercely – it was not enough to be rid of DePauw. In 1967(!) – two years before the Pauline missal was issued – DePauw wrote a harsh letter to Pope Paul VI condemning, among other things, the liturgical revolution underway:

“In open violation of all past and present liturgical directives, the Roman Catholic Liturgy, once the envy of all other religions, has for all practical purposes been destroyed…Our churches are no longer Catholic in appearance, atmosphere or aim. Tables looking like butcher blocks or ironing boards have replaced our altars in perfect harmony with the 16th century Protestant Reformation directives bent on destroying the belief in the dogma of Transubstantiation and the sacrificial nature of the Mass and replacing it with a symbolical transignification-communal meal.”

Fr. DePauw ended up establishing the first outpost of traditional liturgy in his Ave Maria Chapel in Westbury, Long Island, where he continued to celebrate the traditional Roman Rite and published two magazines until his death in 2005.

DePauw was well known enough; but one does wonder how many unsung Msgr. Manns there were out there in those days, rolled over by the revolution.

5. TF - August 19, 2015

Wicked is the word, even if some revolutionaries had good intentions. I doubt there were many that did.

6. Brian E. Breslin - August 19, 2015

Tantum, it is still the Prime See, but you knew that.

Tantumblogo - August 19, 2015

Is that formal or informal, though? I thought it was more informal now, like it really didn’t have much significance.

7. Mme Scherzo - August 19, 2015

I’m a new convert (2013). It seems to me that evil men make effective use of laws in order to subdue and corrupt the law they are supposed to uphold. It’s everywhere, not just in the Church. What it does is disarm and quell any righteous uprising. How do we even begin to fight this evil?

Baseballmom - August 19, 2015

Welcome aboard! The Ship has taken on lots of water and we need as many balers as we can get! Because, with all Her problems, She is still the ONLY Ship to board 😀 So, how do we fight the evil? First, we root out all the evil in our own sorry souls as much as we can through frequent confession and reception of Jesus in the Eucharist. Then, we stay informed through wonderful blogs like this one and sites like LifeSite News. When given an opportunity to speak the Truth in Love to souls we seize that opportunity immediately – and finally, we pray as though it all depends on God and work as though it all depends on us…. Hope that helps?

8. David - August 19, 2015

I have had conversations with a few Catholic men who were in college seminary in the 60s. With the confusion of Vatican II, many seminarians thought celibacy would end (some of their teachers thought the same). A couple college seminarians began dating girls on adjacent college campuses, and after finding that celibacy would not end, discerned out. In hindsight, these 60s seminarians did the Church a favor, but the confusion did not.

I also know a good priest from a religious order who was in high school seminary circa 1966. Their rector gave them permission to date for the first time around this time. High school seminaries were common in the 40s, 50s, and 60s (particularly northeast and Midwest) and at least 167 were closed by 1977. What I don’t know is if some of these high school seminaries (not all) were more like all male Catholic prep schools. I know some were stronger on formation than others, since students were between 14 and 18. Some students may have been committed to a diocese or order, while others were not. From what I gather, a low percentage of alumni went on to ordination.

Baseballmom - August 20, 2015

David, I have a dear priest friend who was in seminary in the late 80’s – even then the faculty was telling seminarians that they soon would be able to marry…. That proposal went on for a very long time.

9. Angelic Doctor Games - August 19, 2015

Pardon my ignorance but it seems that this accusation of Modernism gets thrown around quite a bit in certain Catholic circles. Please explain to me how these examples cited exemplify a position which expresses ‘vital immanence’ as explained by Pope St. Pius X. Many thanks.

Tantumblogo - August 19, 2015

It’s speaking with a broad brush, obviously, but “failure to implement the spirit of Vatican II” is a highly leading phrase.

Modernism expands well the core or distilled belief that some aura stemming from people’s beliefs somehow creates “god.” A billion things spill out from that, leading to, for instance, a denatured Liturgy, a faulty and minimalist understanding of the priesthood, firm belief in moral relativism, doctrinal relativism, the notion of doctrinal “development” even in in contradiction to itself……all these things and much more flow naturally out of “vital immanence.” Basically, reducing “god” to a human creation or at least humanity as the creator/revealer of “his truth” is a great seed bed for any crazy idea.

And, I couple modernist with progressive, so I can drag in all kinds of other distant phenomenon, as well. It’s sort of a catch all

c matt - August 19, 2015

Modernism, in essence, appears to be anthropocentrism. Man becomes the measure of all things. Hell breaks loose from there.

10. David - August 19, 2015

There was a Carmelite priest who regularly visited my Houston parish as a kid. He was a good preacher (from what I remember) and my brother and I often served with him at the altar for Saturday night Mass. He later taught religious education to adults on Sunday mornings. Keep in mind this was the 80s.

Fast forward to the mid 1990s. This priest in question left the priesthood, and married the choir director’s sister. Years later, I found out that this priest was a member of Call To Action. I wish I knew then what I knew now.

I had another comment that I think got eaten by the WordPress spam filter.

Tantumblogo - August 19, 2015

Should be fixed.

11. skeinster - August 19, 2015

Re: the Sixties and the early Seventies.
I think the real revolutionaries were in fact carrying out a long term plan. The rank and file, especially the young, were more caught up in the various enthusiasms of the age. You kind of had to have been there…

Tantumblogo - August 19, 2015

It is your constant attestation to that fact, that encouraged me to write as I did! And I think it true, I don’t think most rank and file priests were seeking to usurp the Church, they thought they were on the cutting edge and doing the right thing, but there were others who knew, or certainly should have known, better.

12. Margaret Costello - August 20, 2015

Too many priests and religious were immature, emotional and narcissistic in their formation to realize what was happening. They followed the leadership naively and blindly b/c it felt good and was easy. But these priests and religious have now grown up, have brains and consciences. There is no excuse for them to continue following this insanity. If I had been taught Scripture, Tradition and the Magisterium for a number of years it would take forced obedience for me to follow any novelty or contradiction, even if I were young. But they are old now. The denial and delusion is what holds them on this destructive path now. Have mercy Lord. God bless~

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