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