This moving testimony was posted on 28th September by Torch of The Faith :
As the Canadian Vox Cantoris blog has revealed, Pope Francis has just appointed this sacrilegious character to be the new auxiliary bishop of Merlo-Moreno in Argentina. No true Catholic could view this picture of Mass – complete with vast crumbling loaves, pottery vessels and wine glasses – without experiencing deep interior distress and sorrow. It is above all else a grave offence against the Most Blessed Sacrament. As such, and of course less importantly, it also offends against the sensitivies of genuine Catholics.
As Vox Cantoris also demonstrates, this grave scandal is only intensified by the fact that this sacrilegious priest has spoken in relativistic terms about the life of human embryos and on the theme of homosexual pairings.
Far from being promoted, this priest should be having his priestly faculties suspended by his superiors. I say that for the good of the Church, for the souls of those promoting him, for the priest’s own soul and for the salvation of the souls who will be forced to suffer his leadership.
Although shocked, I must say that I am not at all surprised to learn that Fr. Oscar Eduardo Minarro has previously been put in charge of the seminarians in his home diocese.
At so many levels, this latest news gets to the very heart of the crisis searing the Catholic Church. What we are witnessing is nothing short of Satan’s war on the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
The Warning of St. Alphonsus
The great St. Alphonsus de Liguori famously warned: ”The devil has always attempted, by means of heretics, to deprive the world of the Mass, making them precursors of the Antichrist, who before anything else, will try to abolish and will actually abolish the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, as a punishment for the sins of men, according to the prediction of Daniel, ‘And strength was given him against the continual sacrifice’ (Daniel 8:12).”
The War from Without
Some years before finding Catholic Truth, our family spent about a year in the mid-80’s attending a ”free-evangelical church” on Merseyside. The self-appointed ”pastor” was very anti-Catholic and frequently used his weekly platform to rail against the ”ancient whore of Babylon” and the ”Antichrist in Rome!”
At a certain point each week, he would put down his King James Bible and raise up a bap of bread in one hand. In a bold and scoffing voice, he would announce that this was only bread and that it would not change its state. After reading the Last Supper narrative from one of the Gospels, he would then tear off chunks from this bread and share them out with a cup of Ribena.
He was right of course.
As a self-appointed minister with no Catholic priesthood, that bap would indeed remain a mere bread roll. Without Holy Orders or communion with Christ’s Church, he could only serve people with his own errant interpretations of Scripture and nourish them with mere earthly food.
Looking back, it is amazing to think that such a strand of real Lutheran Protestant bigotry had survived so intact into mid-1980’s Britain. Whilst most of the nation grooved into post-modernity to the musical accompaniment of the Communards and Whitney Houston, here was this little group bashing its tambourines to ”Let the Fire Fall” and babbling in strange tongues…
The point is, this guy hated the Catholic Church, the Catholic priesthood and the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. From the amount of time he dedicated to this theme, his hatred for the Catholic Church was clearly a foundational aspect of his entire belief system. As such, he set up his little ”church” to reflect that hatred with a circle of chairs gathered around his chair and a low, unadorned table, on which he stood the King James Bible, a bap and a mug of fruit juice.
Oh, there was also a buzzing overhead-projector for the words to the praise and worship songs. Well, it was the 80’s!
As a true follower of Luther’s heresies, this chap waged his personal war against the Catholic Church from beyond its borders.
He was wrong, but he was honest.
That ”pastor” was right about one thing though: he described Catholic seminaries as ”cemeteries” where young men go to die spiritually. When he said that, I was a 15-year old Protestant. I never dreamed that I would become a Catholic 6 years later; much less that I would go off to a Catholic seminary 4 years after that. Neither could I have known what trials awaited me there…
The War from Within
Far more sinister than the weekly rantings of that pastor fellow was the war on the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass that I encountered from within the Catholic Church a whole decade later at Ushaw Seminary.
From 1997-1999, this was the view from my bedroom window at Ushaw on the windswept moors to the west of Durham.
It was consoling to look down at St. Joseph’s chapel in the dead of night and see the red Sanctuary Lamp; denoting the Real Presence as it flickered through the stained glass window above the Tabernacle. That faithful red sentinel acted like a beacon of hope in the midst of so many of the spiritual storms that my friends and I weathered in that dark place.
It was especially consoling to look out at that crimson lantern when groups of drunken and effeminate ”gin queens” partied beyond my locked door, in the early hours, night after night.
As I found out to my cost, complaining only made matters worse…
O Sacrament Most Holy, O Sacrament Divine, All Praise and All Thanksgiving Be Every Moment Thine!
A far more serious cause of sleepless nights in that place though, was the manner in which the Blessed Sacrament was treated.
Upon arriving at the seminary, I had been greatly shocked to hear students disparaging Eucharistic Adoration as ”bread worship”. I had also been greatly troubled to learn that we were not allowed to kneel at Holy Mass, even for the Consecration and Elevations.
I felt like I’d left the world of 90’s Britain for the grim times of Nazi or Soviet oppression.
A theologically orthodox priest told me not to rock the boat if I wanted to get ordained. It became an annoying pattern in those days to hear solid priests telling me to ”keep my head down and get ordained”.
I remember thinking that I’d either end up with no faith at all, or else as a totally compromised priest, if I were required to keep my mouth shut about everything bad that was happening to Jesus, to Catholic doctrine and to good vocations in that grim place.
Anyway, that priest recommended that instead of kneeling, I should make a profound bow towards the altar at the key moments in the Mass. I was not happy, but there was no other help forthcoming from anywhere else and I could see no other way to reach ordination.
So much for ”religious liberty” eh!
Soon after beginning this practice of bowing, a lady on the staff pulled me to one side in the cloister. She made a deep bow towards me and said, ”Ah yes, you are the one who did this!” As she stood back upright, she narrowed her eyes at me, as if to say, ”I’m on to you young man!”
The next problem concerned the hosts used for Mass. Although not on the scale as that pictured above in Argentina, the breads used were also large, crumbling and powdered. They were circular with triangular segments marked off for ”fractioning” prior to distribution. Every single day, large particles scattered far and wide from these breads. The hurried ”fractioning” process carried out by priests and deacons only made this worse.
Holy Communion was administered standing and in the hand only.
One had to develop a way to surreptitiously consume all the powdery fragments that came away in the palm of the hand.
This was because some members of staff kept a close scrutiny on students to see if they checked or licked their hands after Communion to consume all of the fragments of the Blessed Sacrament. Those caught doing so could expect to receive accusations of ”scrupulosity” on their end-of-term reports.
One morning, a priest stacked about four crumbling triangles of this bread onto my palm as I was the last in the line that day. I never made the mistake of being last in line again…
During the first days at the seminary, each new student was allocated to a small team and told to join them for a ”group Mass” every Monday evening. Again, I was aghast to discover the nature of these Masses: the priests wore lay clothes with no vestments at all and used a low and unadorned coffee table as the ”altar”, the deacon and students would lounge on bean bags or even lie giggling like schoolgirls across the floor during Mass, students would ”share personal reflections” or ”bring along something that helps them to pray” after the Gospel, and the paten of hosts was passed around for each person to help themselves and do their own elevation prior to reception…
We even had one priest in our group who replaced the words, ”Lord, we are not worthy to receive you”, with the phrase ”Sisters and brothers… you are worthy to receive!”
By the way, that whole ”sisters” thing referred not only to the female lay students, who may be reclining on the beanbags among the seminarians, but to the occasional presence of women who were training to be Anglican vicars at the nearby Cranmer Hall!
As in the burned heretic, Thomas Cranmer…
Due to the ”pass the paten” procedure prior to the elevation, one had to be careful not to sit next to any of these Protestant lasses, so as to avoid being required to offer them Holy Communion…
To have refused to offer them Communion, or even to have complained of the danger of them trying to receive, would have been one of the fastest tracks right out of the seminary door. Choosing to miss the weekly ”group Mass” would also have quickly become a damaging ”formation issue”.
During those Masses I always knelt for the Consecration regardless of the consequences. Send me home if you like Jim but, whilst I could just about square bowing toward the altar, lying back on a beanbag was just not on!
Eventually, I was made a sacristan and then head sacristan the following year. This was a brutal crucifixion which included untold difficulties when I discovered that particles of the powdery Blessed Sacrament were literally everywhere.
During that time, I asked the priest in charge of liturgy several times to change to the regular white hosts used by the Universal Church in order to avoid the grave problem of large crumbling fragments. He was not interested because he said I was being ”too scrupulous” and claimed that the ”bread used at Mass must look like ‘real food’ since Vatican II”.
I could write a book about the problems that I experienced in that sacristy. Basically, I experienced many months of bullying and mockery for trying to gather up the myriad of crumbs of the Blessed Sacrament after each Holy Mass.
Two incidents will have to suffice as illustrations in the limited space here: A non-Consecrated altar bread was once mopped around a paten containing Consecrated crumbs of the Blessed Sacrament by an aggressive seminarian who then thrust the results in my face with the snarled words, ”Get eating!” Another time a priest on the staff discovered me and my late friend Fr. Mike Williams checking a corporal cloth for crumbs in the sacristy after an evening Mass. He came up and scoffed, ”Are you checking for crumbs there? What are you going to do when you find them? Take them up to your room and worship them?”
Although it is 17 years since I left Ushaw, I have experienced periods of intense interior anguish every single day since then, with regards to the treatment of the Blessed Sacrament in that place.
I had finally crashed and burned when we were forced to attend a silent retreat led by liberal priests and nuns. One priest sneered when he consecrated the Blessed Sacrament, throwing down the Host and crashing down the Chalice with a sneer each time during his Mass. This fellow, dressed in lay clothes and without any genuflection, also similarly crashed down a Monstrance containing the Blessed Sacrament when he was asked by some of the lads to let us have Adoration during the ”retreat”. Something broke inside me during that guy’s Mass and, although I lasted at Ushaw another 6 months, that was the point at which I know that I lost my vocation and began to suffer terribly in the mind. These are very painful things for me to write here, things I have only shared with my dear wife, family, close friends and spiritual directors, but I now think the urgency of the times demand it.
Several years ago, Ushaw College closed its doors as a seminary due to an unsurprising lack of vocations. I’ve written elsewhere about orthodox students being persecuted for their orthodoxy in classes and so-called spiritual direction sessions; as well as others who were prevented from even joining the seminary by dissenting liberals who grilled them on their selection weekends for admitting to their belief in the hierarchical nature of the Church, expressing their pro-life views or acknowledging their acceptance of Humanae Vitae.
The above picture of a Traditional Latin Mass being offered in one of the small chapels at Ushaw was taken during a Latin Mass training weekend of the Latin Mass Society, in the year that Ushaw ceased to be a seminary. Such beautiful events would never have been allowed to happen when I was there as a seminarian. Indeed, these very chapels used to be used as store rooms for music stands, mops and buckets. I know, because I often used to pray silently in them after Mass on Sundays.
Whilst Masses were regularly offered on coffee tables in bedrooms, lounges and even in the bar, these splendid chapels stood empty for years.
One of my good friends was described as being ”dangerous” by a leftist nun, when he suggested in her presence that Holy Mass should be offered on one of these altars instead of on a circular coffee table in a lounge.
”Animators of Lay Leadership”
In my first term at Ushaw, the priest-leader came in to our classroom one day and demanded to know our views about having a ”Mass-free ecumenical day” to ”celebrate the Millennium”. Realizing the danger to our vocations if we crossed swords with him, most of the class remained silent. He then demanded a response from each of us. One student attempted to give an academic response, by speaking hypothetically in the third party. This priest then countered that he was not interested in such academic opinions, but in how his suggestion made us feel emotionally.
When we had all had to answer, mainly in defence of the Mass, this priest-leader gave us an angry lecture about ”sectarianism”. He said that in ”true ecumenism” we do not just go off and do our own ”little Catholic bit”.
He was speaking about the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass…
The following weekend, this priest used his homily at the main college Sunday Mass to berate our year group in front of the whole college body for supposedly holding ”sectarian views”.
We had given up our whole lives, with good friends, careers and financial security, for the Holy Mass and here we were being persecuted for that love by those who were supposed to be forming us to offer the Mass!
In such an environment, orthodox lads quickly learned to keep their heads down. In fact, they were told to do so by everyone from orthodox priests, to prayerful nuns and on to their own friends and families.
This ”keeping your head down” business has allowed the evil in the Church to flourish for at least five decades now. It has got to stop.
Even after several years in the place, vocations could be thwarted at the very last minute. I know a good lad whose ordination was delayed 6-months just because he wore clerical dress on Sundays and to visit the sick!
A few months before diaconate ordination, students could suddenly be required to join engaged couples on a pre-marriage course, wherein leaders were speaking against the Church’s teachings on contraception.
Other times, just weeks before priestly ordination, they may be required to attend a Mass where a priest would share the altar with a woman vicar ”saying” her eucharist prayers alongside him in a kind of mock concelebration. In both these cases the student would face a grave moral dilemma – stand up for the Faith or lose their chance to be ordained after so many years. This all ties in to my recent article referencing Hilary White’s comments about a purge making it impossible for seminarians to get ordained unless they compromise with the desecration of the Holy Eucharist…
You never knew what was going to happen to you next. I was on two separate occasions made to consume literally dozens of Consecrated Hosts in the Sacristy. These experiences have caused me immense psychological trauma for many years.
The above-mentioned priest-leader who so publicly scolded us for upholding the celebration of Mass for the Millennium also took us for a course of study on Pastores Dabo Vobis, the apostolic exhortation on priestly formation.
Unfortunately, the content of his course did not include much of the actual content of the document! Instead, we were told that our future job as priests would be to act as ”animators” working to ”empower the laity” in taking over the leadership and decision-making in the Church. He suggested that the hierarchical ”model” of the Church was to be replaced by one of lay leadership at the local level.
Again, I’ve written elsewhere how various priests and laity, who were back-then helping to create a vocations shortage, have since gone on to take on leadership roles in dioceses where they now work to bring on lay leadership in parishes, due to the supposed lack of priests! Archbishop Elden F. Curtiss of Omaha, Nebraska, was not wrong when he suggested that the ”vocations crisis” was engineered by dissenting liberals…
In our own area, as in so many others in the devasted vineyard of post-Conciliar Catholicism, there are many parishes with aging leftist lay women running things and pushing on with their lay-led ”model of church”. And this goes on even as parishes continue to shrink and close.
”Facilitators at the Eucharistic Assembly Meal”
St. Robert Bellarmine once said: ”When we enter ornate and clean Basilicas, adorned with crosses, sacred images, altars and burning lamps, we most easily conceive devotion. But on the other hand, when we enter the temples of the heretics, where there is nothing except for a chair for preaching and a table for making a meal, we feel ourselves to be entering a profane hall and not the House of God.”
The good saint could have been describing that Protestant pastor in 80’s Merseyside!
I see that the above picture was taken during the above-mentioned training weekend of the Latin Mass Society at Ushaw College in 2011. The image shows the majestic High Altar in St. Cuthbert’s chapel being used for the celebration of the Traditional Latin Mass, as it was originally intended, after years of standing unloved and neglected.
When I was at Ushaw, this sanctuary area was actually ”fenced off” by ornate black and gold metalwork. On those occasions when there were sufficient visitors to permit Holy Mass in St. Cuthbert’s chapel, the ”fenced-off” High Altar was never used. In fact priests walked past the grand Tabernacle without even a single genuflection. Instead, Mass was celebrated on a low table-style altar standing on the un-raised chapel floor between the collegiate seating area in the main body of the church.
More often, the Mass was offered in the small St. Joseph’s chapel or on the coffee tables I have described above.
In all that has been written here, I have tried to convey the reality of a dynamic that was working to force out students who held that the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass was just that.
Students who tried to live from the traditional conception of the Church, the Holy Mass, the priesthood and Catholic moral teaching, experienced bullying, mockery, psychological pressure and ultimate exclusion.
On the other hand, those who viewed the Church as a kind of social-working NGO, the priesthood as a vehicle for therapeutic counselling and the Mass as a community meal facilitated by their entertainment skills, were generally given encouragement towards ordination.
Certainly, lads who enjoyed lying on a beanbag for Mass, because ”it felt like the Last Supper with Jesus and His friends”, would have little problem with the new order of irreverence.
How ironic that the Lutheran ”free-church” pastor on Merseyside thought seminarians became spiritually dead because of their love for the Mass!
How scary that the theology of those leading the seminary seemed closer to his understanding than to that of Catholic Truth.
Indeed, I would say that he was actually closer to Catholic Truth than them because he at least believed that Christ was our Divine Saviour, Who died to save us from our sins. With some of the staff and students, I am not so sure that they even believed this.
In all that has been said here, who can fail to discern the horrid words of the excommunicated heretic Martin Luther echoing down to our times, ”Take away the Mass, destroy the Church”?
Pope Francis has just appointed the publicly sacrilegious priest Fr. Oscar Eduardo Minarro to the episcopate. In a few weeks Francis will travel to Lund to actually celebrate that same excommunicated heretic Martin Luther.
What we are witnessing seems to be nothing less than the latter stages of Satan’s war on the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
The most grave warnings of St. Pope Pius X a century ago are now upon us!
St. Padre Pio, that great priest whose whole existence was mystically transfigured by the Holy Sacrifice of Calvary, once said that it would be easier for the world to survive without the sun than to survive without the Holy Mass.
May he help us to remain with Jesus, Our Lady, the True Faith and the most august Sacrifice of the Mass in the days ahead.
It’s worth checking the last book in the Bible – we know that God wins in the end!