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My Seminary Life as Student and Teacher

IN ADDITION to my writing and pastoral work since my ordination in 1977, I’ve been involved in teaching seminarians, first in the Society of St. Pius X in Armada MI and Ridgefield CT (1977–1983), and then at Most Holy Trinity Seminary in Warren MI and Brooksville FL (1995–present).  My current work at Most Holy Trinity takes me down to Florida for one week a month during the academic year.

One of my colleagues (and former students) Fr. Nicolas Despósito thought this aspect of my priestly work might be of interest to traditional Catholics, so I sat down with him for an interview on the topic in February 2019. It was only then that a surprising fact occurred to me: seminary teaching, in one way or another, has been a part of my life for nearly 30 of my 42 years as a priest — a turn of events (as you will learn from the video) that I could have never foreseen in my twelve years as a seminarian!

May God continue to grant us more well-trained and zealous priests!


A Bit Rich, Vicar! Fr. Hunwicke vs. Pius XII

Fr. John Hunwicke

On his Mutual Enrichment blog in early January 2019, ex-Anglican-turned-Novus Ordo High Church apologist Fr. John Hunwicke posted three short articles that attempted to refute my lengthy study of the 1968 Rite of Episcopal Consecration, “Absolutely Null and Utterly Void,” which, among other things, demonstrated that the essential sacramental form in the new rite did not univocally express the conferral of the episcopal order, and was therefore invalid.

Fr. Hunwicke, it seems, had posted the first two articles on the topic more than a year ago, and in the second, written in his coy and ever-so-precious style, dropped hints about the existence of some supposedly damning “evidence,” which he then failed to deliver.

Now comes Fr. Hunwicke with a third article and the supposed evidence, claiming that the form Pius XII himself specified in 1947 did not univocally express the conferral of the episcopal order.

Yes, you read that right.

As his proofs, Fr. Hunwicke offers (1) an opinion from Cardinal Gasparri (+1938) in his treatise on Holy Orders, and (2) a “medieval manuscript” that reads “mysterii” where the Pius XII form reads “ministerii.”

In response: (Continued)

Hollywood Meets Homeschooling: A Saint in Hiding

THE POWER of film to engage the heart and mind for the good is tremendous, and faithful Catholics who can skillfully employ the filmmaker’s techniques to edify and instruct are now able bring the truths of the faith and a spirit of devotion to countless souls who might not otherwise be inclined to pick up a catechism or a saint’s biography.

For this reason, I was delighted to view a new movie by Hannah Petrizzi, A Saint in Hiding. (Continued)

Bp. Dolan’s Anniversary: Celebrating an Influential Apostolate

Most Rev. Daniel L. Dolan

NOVEMBER 30, 2018, the Feast of St. Andrew the Apostle, marked the 25th anniversary of the episcopal consecration of the Most. Rev. Daniel L. Dolan by the Most Rev. Mark A. Pivarunas. We observed the happy occasion at St. Gertrude the Great Church in West Chester, Ohio, with a splendid Pontifical High Mass celebrated by Bishop Dolan and attended by a dozen priests and two bishops.

The story of how his consecration came to pass, however, is worth telling once again as we celebrate this event.

Our Search for a Bishop

Well before 1993, the year of the consecration, the situation looked bleak for the apostolate of former members of the Society of St. Pius X like me. Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre had expelled nine of us from SSPX in 1983 because we opposed his step-by-step program to “reconcile” his organization (even then!) with the heretics in the Vatican, and with the chief heretic of them all, John Paul II. Readers who are unfamiliar with the history of this crisis can consult the then-Father Donald Sanborn’s 1984 article, The Crux of the Matter and my own extensive account of the events, The Nine vs. Lefebvre.

Because Our Lord established the sacraments as the principal ordinary means of salvation for Catholics and since most sacraments require priests to confer them, the question of finding a bishop to ordain future priests for our group weighed heavily on our minds. Virtually every bishop in the world had embraced the religion of Vatican II. The few prelates who were worried about the Council’s effects would not take a public position by ordaining priests, we suspected — still less, by consecrating a bishop.

De Castro-Mayer with Lefebvre

Nevertheless, we charged on, contacting a retired South American bishop and a retired American bishop who had belonged to an Italian missionary order. Fr. Sanborn spearheaded the effort. He met with Bp. Alfred E. Mendez, the former bishop of Arecibo, Puerto Rico (who in 1993 would in fact secretly consecrate a bishop for the SSPV).  We rejected Bp. Mendez because he told Fr. Sanborn he wanted to draw all traditionalists into a sort of “ordinariate” under John Paul II — to become part of the heretical V2 religion under its false popes, in other words. (More facts about Bp. Mendez’s unsuitability would come to light later.)

Fr. Sanborn travelled to Campos, Brazil, to meet with Bishop Antonio de Castro-Mayer to ask him to ordain for us. Bp. de Castro-Mayer, though more of a hard-liner than Abp. Lefebvre, was not a sedevacantist then (he would become one later), so he declined. But he told Fr. Sanborn to “Go to Guérard” — Guérard des Lauriers, a Dominican theologian and one of our former professors at Ecône who had been consecrated a bishop in 1981 by Abp. Pierre-Martin Ngo-dinh-Thuc, former archbishop of Hué, Vietnam. Since Guérard was a theologian, Bp. de Castro-Mayer continued, one could be certain that his consecration was valid.


WWPD — “What Would Pius Do?”

The 1950s Pius XII liturgical reforms were trial balloons, created by the Mason Bugnini and company, for the Novus Ordo Mass that the same modernist gang created in 1969. But since these changes were promulgated by a true pope, Pius XII, would traditional Catholics still be “legally obliged” to follow them?

Father Anthony Cekada discusses the cast of characters involved, and answers this somewhat controversial question in this video.

Consecration of Bp. Selway: Photos

The three bishops impose hands.

by Rev. Anthony Cekada

ON FEBRUARY 22, 2018, the Most Rev. Donald J. Sanborn, assisted by the Most. Rev. Daniel L. Dolan and the Most Rev. Geert Stuyver, consecrated the Rev. Joseph S. Selway to the episcopacy. The rite took place during the course of Pontifical High Mass, at Most Holy Trinity Seminary in Brooksville, Florida.

The consecration, which Bp. Sanborn announced in November, was intended to ensure continuity in providing priests and sacraments to future generations of faithful Catholics, and in particular, Bp. Sanborn’s apostolate of properly forming seminarians for the priesthood.

Bp. Sanborn was joined by two c0-consecrating bishops who jointly conferred the sacrament with him: Bp. Dolan, at whose consecration the fifteen-year-old Joseph Selway was present at a quarter century ago this November, and Bp. Stuyver, a member of the Institute of the Mother of Good Counsel who works in his native Belgium.

The consecration was a happy and solemn occasion, drawing hundreds of souls from all over the United States, as well as from England and Australia. The music was provided by the seminary Gregorian schola and the Sisters of St. Thomas Aquinas, who sang works by William Byrd, Thomas Tallis, Marc-Antoine Charpentier and Rev. Anthony Cekada. The ceremony was followed by dinner for all the attendees, served by the students of  Queen of All Saints Academy under an enormous tent erected on the seminary grounds.

Bishop Selway, 40, studied at St. Peter Martyr Seminary in Verrua Savoia, Italy, and at Most Holy Trinity Seminary. He was ordained to the priesthood in December, 2001. Thereafter, Fr. Selway supervised the establishment of Our Lady Queen of All Saints Church and Academy in Brooksville, as well as the foundation of the Sisters of St. Thomas Aquinas. His most recent projects have included supervising the foundation of Queen of All Saints Online Academy, and preparing for the construction of a motherhouse for the Sisters of St. Thomas adjacent to the seminary grounds.

Bishop Selway is expert in Latin and Greek, fluent in Italian, French and Spanish, and teaches philosophy and dogmatic theology at Most Holy Trinity. He also plays the violin.

We congratulate Bp. Selway on his consecration, and assure him of our prayers for a long and fruitful apostolate.

A video of the consecration is currently in preparation, but in the meantime, we offer a few photos from the event to whet your appetite.

The “Position of the Society” as Substitute Magisterium

Saints? The “position of the Society” says otherwise.

by Rev. Anthony Cekada

THE SOCIETY OF St. Pius X’s flawed theology of papal authority has led it to promote countless errors, but one of the more obvious ones emerges in its position on canonizations made by the post-Conciliar popes.

The standard pre-Vatican II theological teaching was that canonizations are infallible — otherwise, said the theologian Salaverri, it could happen that the Church would solemnly propose and order the perpetual veneration and imitation of men who were in fact depraved and damned. (De Ecclesia, 724) Indeed,  the very language that Pius XI and Pius XII employed in their canonization decrees made it abundantly clear that their acts were infallible. (“”…infallibilem Nos… sententiam,” “”falli nesciam hanc sententiam…”)

Yet despite SSPX’s insistence that the post-Conciliar popes are true popes, and despite the language in post-Vatican II canonization decrees reserved for infallible papal pronouncements (“by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ… we declare and define“), the Society rejects the canonizations of  José-Maria Escriva, John XXIII and John Paul II, as well as the beatification of Paul VI.

One can see why the Society would find these particular canonizations distasteful. Escriva, John XXIII and Paul VI were enemies of Archbishop Lefebvre, and John Paul II excommunicated him. So too, the beatification of Paul VI, whom Bergoglio has slated for canonization later this year.

But if you recognize the post-Conciliar popes as true popes — Successors of St. Peter and Vicars of Jesus Christ on earth — there is no room whatsoever for you to challenge the validity of the canonizations that they solemnly promulgated. (Continued)

SGG’s Young Organist Composes a Magnificent Mass

by Rev. Anthony Cekada


Andrew Richesson with Fr. Cekada

Note : The following article originally appeared on the Rorate Caeli blog on August 31, 2017.

MOST OF Rorate’s faithful followers, whatever their opinion on a whole array of other disputed issues, would no doubt agree that the Church’s great patrimony of sacred music deserves to be preserved, augmented and handed down to succeeding generations.

It was with this in mind that I decided to offer Rorate readers an account of how this process of handing down the musical treasures of the past unfolded in one case in my own experience. It is a story that all those who love good liturgical music will find most encouraging.

Readers who know a bit about my background from reading the Preface to my book, Work of Human Hands, may recall that, during my youth in the late 1960s and early 1970s, I was an aspiring organist and composer of church music.

In a post on my blog several years ago, I mentioned that I tried to revive these talents when I wound up as our parish organist here at St. Gertrude the Great Church in 2009.

In the same post, I told the story of how one of our young schoolboys with a good piano training, Andrew Richesson, had picked up the rather specialized art of organ improvisation on Gregorian themes merely by listening to me improvise. I posted a video of one of his improvisations at age twelve, and another video of him, at age fourteen, confidently blasting his way through the Bach Gigue Fugue, with his feet flying up and down the pedalboard. Andrew’s ability to perform the latter was fruit of his study, beginning at age 11, with a top local organ teacher, Dr. John Deaver, of the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music. (Continued)

Mass in Union with the “Pirate Pope”: Some Questions

Peter or Pirate: No difference?

By Rev. Anthony Cekada

IN MY 2007 article, Grain of Incense: Sedevacantists and Una Cum Masses, I examined at great length the issue of whether a sedevacantist could actively assist at a traditional Mass where a Vatican II pope is named in the Canon of the Mass. On the basis of the dozens of theological, canonical and liturgical sources, I concluded that no, one could not.

In 2014, after the election of Bergoglio, I posted a resumé of my argument entitled Should I Assist at a Mass that Names Pope Francis in the Canon. This explained in simpler terms the points I had made in the original article.

On the face of it, the conclusion should just be a matter of common sense: If you don’t believe that Francis is a true pope, you have no business participating in an act of worship that proclaims he is.

But since the practical application of the principles I outlined would prevent sedevacantists in many cases from assisting at what might be the only traditional Mass offered in their area, I often get questions about the issue. This has increasingly been the case over the past few years, because Bergoglio’s antics have led more and more traditionalists into the sedevacantist camp.

Moral participation in a common action.

I.  Do the Laity in fact “Consent”?

The first series of questions about the conclusions in “Grain of Incense” came to me several years ago from a fellow sedevacantist priest. (Continued)

My Response to Fr. Chazal’s “Contra Cekadam”

Fr. François Chazal

by Rev. Anthony Cekada

FATHER FRANÇOIS Chazal is former member of the Society of St. Pius X who left the organization several years ago when the prospect of an SSPX-Vatican deal looked particularly likely, and with a number of other similarly-minded ex-SSPX priests, formed a loose association of priests known as “the Resistance.”

The Resistance priests maintain they are carrying on the authentic teaching of SSPX founder Abp. Marcel Lefebvre, which was to “recognize” the Vatican II popes as true popes, but to resist on a case-by-case basis papally-approved teachings, laws and commands that the archbishop and others decided were evil or erroneous.

This position is now generally referred to as “R&R” or “Recognize and Resist” — a label, by the way, that I myself coined in a December 2005 article in The Remnant. Several years ago, I circulated a video which summed up the position as The Pope Speaks: You Decide: Traditionalists Who Destroy the Papacy.

As I and others have repeatedly pointed out, the R&R position simply cannot be reconciled with traditional Catholic teaching on the indefectibility and the infallibility of the Church. Once you say (as all traditionalists do) that the officially-approved post-Vatican II teachings contain error or evil, the only logical conclusion you can come to is that the men who promulgated them had no authority when they did so — sedevacantism, in other words. Otherwise, you wind up with a defecting Church. (Continued)