Wrecking More Than Churches
Thomas A. Droleskey
A report in the November 14 edition of the New York Post caught me by surprise. The report indicated that Saint Ann's Church on East Twelfth Street in Manhattan was nearly destroyed, having been sold by the Archdiocese of New York to New York University, which plans to build a twenty-six story dormitory on the spot upon which was offered countless thousands upon thousands of Masses on a Privileged Altar. Several articles on this site last year discussed the impending demise of Saint Ann's. Initial reports, which proved to be spurious, indicated that Saint Ann's was to be sold to the United States Postal Service, which has a facility next to the site where Saint Ann's Church stood. I had not received any updates about what had happened in the meantime. Thus, I was very saddened to learn the fate of Saint Ann's from the following report in the New York Post:
Governmental regulations got sidestepped as NYU officials made plans to plunk a mammoth, 26-story student dormitory on the site that once housed a historic, 158-year-old church, a postal official says.
St. Ann's Church on East 12th Street has already been nearly demolished to make way for the new, 190,000-square-foot residence hall — which would be the tallest building in the East Village.
Spokesman Robert Anderson said the Postal Service became involved because the church abutted its landmark Cooper Station post office, allowing the federal agency to sell its unused development rights — or "air rights" — to whomever owned the church.
But before the sale, the Postal Service neglected to perform a National Historic Preservation Act review — dubbed "section 106" — meant to ensure federal agencies take into account the impact a land sale may have on historic structures.
"We did not know at the time what the developer had in mind," Anderson said.
The Archdiocese of New York in the midst of closing a number of historic churches. So are the Archdioceses of Boston and Newark and the Diocese of Buffalo. These sorts of closures are unprecedented in the history of the Church, indicative of the wreckage of the Faith that has been wrought as a result of the doctrinal and liturgical revolutions of the past forty-seven years. Never before in the history of the Catholic Church have her church buildings been sold at such a wanton pace. These closures are not principally the result of "shifts of population," as diocesan shills contend. No, they are the result of the abandonment of the Faith of our fathers. There are more than enough Catholics in the the Borough of Manhattan, for example, to fill the churches that have been closed and/or are slated to be closed. Thousands of Catholics have quit the practice of the Faith in the wake of the imposition of the Novus Ordo Missae and the falsified religion that is at the base of the Novus Ordo Missae.
To the extent that undeniable shifts of population have indeed taken place in various archdioceses and dioceses, you see, the proper response on the part of chancery officials is not to close church buildings but to win converts for the Catholic Faith! It is that simple. The pastors who founded the churches that have been and are slated to be closed sought out souls to fill their churches, including those Catholic immigrants who had grown lax in the practice of the Faith after their exposure to the materialistic culture at the root of all things American. The pastors of yesteryear had a zeal for souls. They recognized that the fate of their own immortal souls depended in large measure upon their seeking out the lost sheep of their own flock and augmenting that flock with sheep wandering far from the fold who were in need of hearing the Divine Master's voice as He expresses It through His true Church. Not so in our own day when the errors of ecumenism indemnify pastors who desire to be slothful, insulating themselves in cozy rectories as souls, both Catholic and non-Catholic alike, wander about aimlessly right within view of their bedroom windows. This is the real reason why our churches are empty. Our cardinals and archbishops and bishops and many, although not all, of our priests have lost their zeal for souls and do not see any need to actively evangelize others by going door to door and inviting the lost sheep back into the Church and those outside of her into her maternal bosom.
The selling of our church buildings is said to have been made necessary in large part because of the millions upon millions of dollars that have had to be paid out by archdioceses and dioceses to pay the victims of perverted priests. Most of the crimes of these priest-predators were covered up by chancery officials as they were transferred or promoted despite their immersion into one of the four sins that cry out to Heaven for vengeance. Even if those crimes had not been committed and covered-up, however, I am convinced that the Shylocks who populate our chancery offices would have used the artificial "crisis" of the "loss of parishioners" that they themselves have engineered by their own commitment to the ethos of the Novus Ordo Missae and the Second Vatican Council to sell off church buildings simply to have more money for their own bloated bureaucracies.
The wreckage of our churches, therefore, is merely symbolic of the wreckage of the Faith that is the major cause of the loss of parishioners in our parishes and the lack of converts to the true Faith. Catholics whose Faith was fortified by a deep prayer life and frequent Confession became easy prey for Protestant sects of one sort of another. Catholics who lost sight of the fact that the Church is divinely founded and maintained that that she will last until the end of time despite the bad example of ecclesiastical officials and others, ourselves included, became angry when their own parishes were closed or their children were first abused bodily by perverted priests and then abused by the phalanx of attorneys and insurance companies intent on making the victims suffer once again rather than admit the guilt of an archdiocese or diocese or a religious community. Some Catholics have gone so far as to blame God Himself for the sufferings they have endured at the hands of the revolutionaries, which is one of the principal means that the devil has used from time immemorial to lead the weak of Faith out of the true Church and into the clutches of despair that leads to earthly depression and quite possibly to eternal perdition.
That is, one of the chief ways that the devil seeks to discourage others from the practice of the true Faith is the bad example given by others. The most common way this is done is to convince a child that a parent's alcoholism or drug addiction or promiscuity or bad temper or any number of other faults must be attributable to the Faith, not to the sins and weaknesses of the parent. The easiest thing to do, therefore, is to "liberate" oneself from the "tyranny" of the Faith, thereby throwing oneself, usually unwittingly, into the tyranny of the devil himself.
Another common way by which the devil seeks to lead people out of the Church is by the bad example given by priests or nuns. There is a man in my acquaintance, now eighty-one years of age, who was abused by an alcoholic priest at the age of twelve. Traumatized, he left the Church, reaffirmed in his decision by his Protestant mother. When he was faced with the prospect of adhering to Church "rules" to marry his fiancee fifteen years later, the man balked, convincing his fiancee to quit the Church herself. She was reaffirmed in her decision by her Protestant mother. (More joys of American pluralism, thank you: Mixed marriages.) Two of their six children eventually found their way into the Faith. Four others remain with them in a steadfast contempt for the Faith and everything to do with it. All of that from the bad example given by one priest and the lack of the sensus fidei on the part of a mother to explain to her son that the bad example of anyone, including a priest, is indicative only of the weakness of one human being, not of any problem at all with the Faith itself.
Legion, of course, are the examples by which school children have decided to leave the life-giving bosom of the Church and the sacraments entrusted to her by her Divine Bridegroom, Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, because of having been spanked or otherwise disciplined by a nun. "I survived Catholic School" is a popular bumper-sticker to evoke sympathy from fellow "survivors" of the alleged "horrors"of Catholic education in the 1940s and 1950s. Such anti-Catholic plays as "Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All" and "Late Night Catechism" have exploited the hostility of many thousands of baptized Catholics who have been taught by the doctrinal and liturgical revolutionaries to have an execrable hatred for the entirety of the Catholic past prior to 1958 and the pontificate of Pope John XXIII.
We are now faced, most sadly and tragically, with increasing numbers of priests who are using the injustices visited upon them by bishops and their chancery factotums to grow angry with God and to come very close to losing the Holy Faith altogether. One of these who come to mind is Father James Haley, a priest of the Diocese of Arlington, Virginia, who uncovered grossly offensive material in a pastor's office and reported the pornography to the chancery office. For his fidelity to his duties, as most of you probably know by now, Father Haley was charged with disobedience and causing public scandal. He was subjected to a solemn trial under canon law, the results of which are still not known even to Father Haley some years after the trial had been concluded. Father Haley has become very embittered, writing in The Washington Times on November 14, 2005, that he was, among other things, angry with God and angry about the suffering to which he has experienced since coming forward with his information. Yes, more than churches are being wrecked: the very Faith of priests themselves is being wrecked by the thugs who wear mitres and carry staffs that are used to browbeat the innocent while those who abuse bodies and abort souls are rewarded time and time again in every precinct of Catholic life in this nation.
Thus, I make this plea to Father James Haley:
Father Haley, you have been ordained to the Priesthood and Victimhood of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. You are suffering right now at the hands of men who have contempt for the Deposit of Faith that Our Lord has entrusted to His true Church and who had made a mockery of the honor and glory that are His due in the offering of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. You are not suffering alone. You are suffering with Our Lord Himself, Whose Victimhood you re-present in an unbloody manner at the altar of sacrifice every time you act in persona Christi as an alter Christus by offering Holy Mass. God the Father has no more abandoned you, Father Haley, than He abandoned His only-begotten Son, the Word Who was made Flesh in Our Lady's virginal and immaculate womb and dwelt amongst us so as to redeem us on the wood of His Holy Cross by the shedding of every single drop of His Most Precious Blood. God the Father is very much with you as you suffer in the image of His Son in Spirit and in Truth.
There is nothing, Father Haley, that any of us suffers that is the equal of what one of our least venial sins caused Our Lord to suffer in His Sacred Humanity during His fearful Passion and Death. God never permits any of us to suffer anything that is beyond our capacity to endure. Each of us must suffer in order to pay back the debt of our forgiven mortal sins, our unforgiven venial sins and our general attachment to our sins and our selfishness. Suffering is the price of discipleship. Indeed, God only asks souls with large enough hearts to endure the sort of sufferings that you are bearing at present. Rather than be angry with God, Father Haley, you should be thanking Him for this cross of humiliation and material loss. This is the way you are being asked to help His Divine Son redeem the world. Although your anguish is moving and most understandable, you are losing merit, Father Haley, by succumbing to the devil's desire to rebel against God. Bearing our crosses with love and fortitude is a sign of our love for the God-Man Who paid back in His Sacred Humanity the blood debt of our own sins that was owed to Him in His Infinity as God.
Our Lady, she who is the Help of Christians, has stood with you at every single Mass you have ever offered. She stands with you at this very moment. If you are totally consecrated to her Immaculate Heart, Father Haley, then you are called upon to give her the very real and deep sufferings that you are experiencing as a result of the injustices that have been visited upon you by ecclesiastical officials. She will use those sufferings in ways that you may come to understand fully only in eternity. No human being suffered the way that she suffered as she stood by the foot of her Divine Son's Holy Cross. The sword of sorrow that had been prophesied by Simeon pierced her Immaculate Heart through and through. That same Immaculate Heart breaks anew, Father Haley, as you, an alter Christus, suffer with her Divine Son by bearing the crosses you are carrying at present and have carried for so long. Give her your sorrow and your anguish. Spend time with her Divine Son in His Real Presence in the Blessed Sacrament. Entrust yourself to her through her Most Holy Rosary. Pray her Seven Dolors daily.
Remember, Father Haley, that you are not the first priest in the history of the Church to suffer at the hands of ecclesiastical officials. Many of your brother priests have suffered tremendous injustices in the wake of the almost unprecedented liturgical and doctrinal revolutions of the past forty to fifty years. I have known many of these priests personally. Some have come to realize that they have the absolute right, for example, under Quo Primum to offer the Immemorial Mass of Tradition without any unjust and illicit preconditions imposed upon its offering by any ecclesiastical official. Others, and I have one particular priest in mind here, suffer silently as they endure thuggery at the hands of prelates who are as eager to destroy traditional-minded priests as they are sell church buildings to the highest bidder for their destruction. And it was just about 528 years ago that Saint John of the Cross, who had founded the Discalced Carmelites with Saint Teresa of Avila, was imprisoned for nine long months in the most degrading conditions by the provincial of the Carmelite order in which he had been ordained to the priesthood. Saint John of the Cross was imprisoned unjustly because some of the Carmelites were envious of the success he had in founding his new order, which was devoted to restoration of the fullness of the original Carmelite discipline and rigor.
Importantly, Father Haley, you must come to understand that your anger, while understandable, must give way to forgiveness. You must pray for your persecutors, offering them the same forgiveness that you administer as an alter Christus in the Sacrament of Penance. The Pater Noster really means what it says when we beg God to forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. Et dimitte nobis debita nostra, sicut et nos dimmitimus debitoribus nostris. A priest must be heroic in the witness that he gives by holding no grudges against others and by willing the good of those who have subjected him to unquestioned injustices. A priest must remind the members of the laity that it must be their goal to be united with everyone, including our persecutors and detractors and people who have cut themselves off from our lives, in Heaven by living in such a way so as to die a holy, sacramentally provided for death.
There is spiritual and temporal help available for you, Father Haley. Although I have not communicated with him about this matter, I am sure that Father John Fullerton, the District Superior of the Society of Saint Pius X, would be happy to assist you at Regina Coeli House in Kansas City, Missouri. The Society welcomes priests who have been persecuted by diocesan officials, helping them to understand the glories of Tradition and how the Mass of all ages best communicates and protects the fullness of the Catholic Faith without compromise. You need not languish in the limbo imposed upon you by the Diocese of Arlington and the unjust canonical process that was started against you. You have help available to you. While it may much time in prayer and spiritual direction for you to overcome the obvious anger you have expressed quite publicly, you are indeed a priest forever. The Society of Saint Pius X may be able to offer you the opportunity to serve valiantly once again as an alter Christus who takes deep into his heart the Priesthood and Victimhood of the Chief Priest and Victim of every Mass, Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
Finally, Father Haley, you and your needs are in the prayers of many thousands of Catholics. Many of us have no financial resources (or even income!) with which to help you ourselves. We offer you something far more valuable: our prayers and our sacrifices, given to Our Lady's Immaculate Heart as her consecrated slaves to be used as she sees fit. She will surely use some of what we give her freely to assist her Divine Son's priests, who are so very close to her own Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart.
Once again, trust in her and the miseries of the moment will fade into oblivion. A crown of glory awaits those who persevere in patient suffering until the end. I pray you will indeed recover the Faith of our fathers and entrust all to Our Lady's Immaculate Heart.
Yes, my friends, the wreckage involves far more than church buildings. It involves souls. The bishops are meeting at present in Washington, D.C., smugly thinking that more novelties, such as expanding the role of "lay ministers" (no, I am not making this up) will improve the wreckage of souls that they have help to visit upon the Church Militant in the wake of the Second Vatican Council and its wretched aftermath. Talk about revolutionaries caught up in the vortex of a cause that has decimated our churches, scandalized the faithful and given great offense to God Himself!
In the midst of this wreckage we must remain steadfast in our total consecration to Our Lady's Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart, seeking out the Immemorial Mass of Tradition where it is offered by a validly ordained priest without any of the unjust and illicit conditions imposed in the past twenty-one years. We have to protect ourselves from the rot that emanates from chancery offices, those bastions of indecency that reward doctrinal dissent and liturgical irreverence while our church buildings our sold to the highest bidder and souls are driven out of the true Church and priests such as Father James Haley are driven to the point of despair.
Pope Benedict XVI is busy talking once more about the nonsense of "healthy secularity," most recently to the Italian Parliament, something that would have made Popes Pius IX, Leo XIII, Saint Pius X, and Pius XI blanche with horror. Nevertheless, we must pray for our Holy Father, hoping that he will indeed one day consecrate Russia to Our Lady's Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart with all of the world's bishops and thus bring about an end to nightmare that has cost the Church so dearly, both in terms of her physical legacy and, much more importantly, in terms of the good of the souls for whom Our Lord gave up His life on the Holy Cross.
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us.
Saint Joseph, pray for us.
Saints Peter and Paul, pray for us.
Saint Jude, pray for us.
Saint Rita, pray for us.
Saint Jean-Marie Vianney, pray for us.
Saint Philomena, pray for us.
Saint Albert the Great, pray for us.
Saint Gertrude the Great, pray for us.
Saint Gregory the Wonderworker, pray for us.
Saint John of the Cross, pray for us.
Saint James the Greater, pray for us.
Saint James the Lesser, pray for us,