Monday, July 23, 2018

Where Fr. Phillips is Going; What Fr. Phillips Created

As we reported a few days ago, Fr. Frank Phillips, founder of the Canons Regular of St. John Cantius and pastor of the church for thirty years, will be moving to St. Louis on the orders of Fr. Gene Szarek, the provincial superior of the Congregation of the Resurrection, with which Fr. Phillips was originally ordained.

Fr. Szarek is an accomplished letter signer.

The Resurrectionists are an international order with headquarters in Rome. Here in the American Midwest they have a seminary in St. Louis and a substantial presence in Chicago.

Indeed, on the Ministries page of their website they list St. John Cantius as one of their parishes.

They should take that down.

How do the Resurrectionists present themselves? Here is their Mission page:

Liberation of society, solidarity, unjust structures.

The paschal dynamic.

I've heard that people spoke that way once.

But I have no reason to doubt the Congregation contains some good priests.

Fr. Phillips is one of them.

By contrast, here is the Home page of the newly redesigned website of the Canons Regular:

And here is the first part of their mission statement:
The members of the Canons Regular of St. John Cantius seek personal sanctity by imitating Christ in radical opposition to the values of this world. They wish to “Restore the Sacred” in the Church, in the world and in their own lives in pursuit not only of their own sanctification, but also the salvation and sanctification of all.
Radical opposition to the values of this world.

If that's not cutting-edge, nothing is.

Fr. Phillips is about to begin temporary residence in a place that is a sort of stale relic of an earlier century after being at the center of "where the action is" for thirty years.

And it was that center because he made it so. He created all of it, with the help and grace of God.

This is another reason why Fr. Phillips' exile fills me with sympathy and sadness.

What did Fr. Szarek create?

As you can see, the "Where Fr. Phillips is Going" images, below, are the three featured photographs on the "Mission" page of the Resurrectionists.

The "What Fr. Phillips created" images are taken from the substantial Flicker album at the new Canons site.

Are the following comparisons fair?

Of course not. Cantius has better photographers.

Where Fr. Phillips is Going:

What Fr. Phillips Created:

Where Fr. Phillips is Going:

What Fr. Phillips Created:

Where Fr. Phillips is Going:

What Fr. Phillips Created:

Friday, July 20, 2018

Fr. Phillips to Live at Resurrectionist Facility in St. Louis

Fr. Frank Phillips
On March 17 of this year it was announced that Fr. Frank Phillips, pastor of St. John Cantius in Chicago and founder and superior of the associated order, the Canons Regular of St. John Cantius, had been removed from public ministry (and thus from his positions as pastor and superior) by Cardinal Blase Cupich, allegedly based on "credible accusations of improper conduct involving adult males." (The more precise nature of these charges as well as the identities of the accusers has never been officially stated or released.) On June 23, after an investigation by the Congregation of the Resurrection ("Resurrectionists") - where Fr. Phillips was ordained and with whom he was also still a member - the archdiocese of Chicago declined to reinstate Fr. Phillips and confirmed that his faculties for ministry would remain withdrawn. Though neither the investigation report itself nor any other details were publicly released, it is known that part of the recent decision was made against the recommendation of Resurrectionist Provincial Fr. Gene Szarek, based on the report and the results of the investigation. The contents of the report were said to have "exonerated" Fr. Phillips.

At the request of his superior, Fr. Szarek, Fr. Phillips has now relocated to St. Louis where he will presumably be living in a Resurrectionist facility. Today, Protect our Priests, the independent St. John Cantius parishioners group, published this letter from Fr. Phillips:

July 18, 2018

Dear Protect Our Priests:

From the founding of the Canons Regular of St. John Cantius, I have instructed the men how to live the vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience. One of those vows, obedience, may especially challenge Religious because it is difficult to submit your will to a superior.

As you know, the Canons are requested not to have contact with me, which is difficult for them and for me as their Founder. Also, I have been asked by my superior to relocate to St. Louis. I am requested to do this not under formal obedience but willingly in the virtue of obedience. Is this difficult? Yes, it is.

The great saints were always obedient to their superiors, and their examples help to sustain me now. We need only look to St. Padre Pio to see the extent of his lived obedience. If I could not or would not listen to my superior, how could I then expect the Canons, as their Founder, to be obedient to their superior?

What does the future hold for me? I am not certain. What does the future hold for the Canons? Time will tell. I feel confident that they will be blessed with vocations for their dedication to the restoration of the sacred in obedience.

I thank everyone who has supported the Protect Our Priests initiative with prayers, sacrifices, Masses, and contributions. May St. John Cantius, our heavenly patron, extend his blessing to all of you. Please keep the Canons and me in your prayers as well as all priests who find themselves in similar situations.

Rev. C. Frank Phillips, CR

Some Cantius parishioners initially interpreted the letter negatively in the sense that it makes it seem as if Fr. Phillips is "giving up."

I don't share this view.

Disobeying a superior concerning a request that is not obviously immoral or illicit would arguably make one a rogue priest. And that is decidedly not what Fr. Phillips had in mind when he wrote in his earlier letter: "I am free to continue in my calling to serve God in all other geographical locations on the planet."

Fr. Phillips is not Fr. Pfleger.   

Also, Fr. Phillips has to live somewhere, and staying with the Resurrectionists at this time is perfectly logical. If Fr. Szarek had not betrayed his old friend (to speak frankly about his role in this), it is reasonable to assume that Fr. Phillips might also have been invited to St. Louis, though obviously in a happier atmosphere.

Any communication from Fr. Phillips would naturally raise the spirits of parishioners. But I think it fair to say that the current mood is mixed. 

Virtually all believe Fr. Phillips to be innocent. Emotions now include praise for Fr. Phillips and his "obedience" as well as anger against the accusers (whose identities are now known to many) and the archdiocese. Many want a fight. Some advise caution. But I think almost all are, to use a word I heard a number of times in just the last hour, heartsick.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Funny and Touching Video of Young British Boy: "I Want Donald Trump to Come!"

While the haters here spew venom about military coups and impeachment, and the haters there launch silly balloons and hold slow-motion dance-in protests, one little boy has different ideas.

He just wants to meet Donald Trump.

H/t Bare Naked Islam from the Daily Mail.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

1775: "New England militia men screamed, 'No king, no pope' as they charged into British lines."

Death of General Warren at the Battle of Bunker Hill by John Trumbull

For the record, I do not believe that the U.S. Constitution is an evil or anti-Catholic document, nor do I think that, say, swearing an oath to uphold it, and doing so, is wrong from a Catholic point of view.

And for this Catholic, I think Independence Day is worth celebrating, not just commemorating but celebrating.

For a contrary take on the constitution, see Justice Scalia: A man of “true faith and allegiance” by Louie Verrecchio. I have great respect for Verrecchio and his arguments, but I think he is wrong on this one.

I won't defend my own view, here. But I will say that it's not based on the documents of Vatican II or any similar nonsense. And I wouldn't call myself an "Americanist" Catholic, at least as I understand the definition.

In any case, there's absolutely no question that for faithful Catholics, wherever they come down on the "rightness" of the American Revolution or the founding era in general, the history of the Revolution and Catholicism is unquestionably mixed, to put it mildly.

Which in some ways is curious. After all, we were fighting the British, who had a bloody record of persecuting Catholics and attempting to destroy the Catholic Church in England.

Queen Elizabeth was a monster.

Two years ago, for Independence Day, Hillsdale College professor Bradley Birzer wrote a fascinating piece on 10 Things You Should Know about Catholics and the American Founding. Getting the history right on the founding is not anti-American, nor even anti-founding. But getting the history right, for anything, of course, is always important and often fascinating:
1. With the exception of Maryland—but only for a bit—each of the English colonies along the North American coastline despised and feared Roman Catholics as well as Catholicism. For most English Protestants, whether Reformed and Presbyterian or low-Church Anglican, Catholicism represented the corruption of the Christian faith. Catholics, far from being the brethren of Protestants, were the worst enemies—far worse than pagans or even Muslims. Why? Because Catholics, in the eyes of those Protestants, should have known better; that is, they should have seen the errors of their Catholic ways. In many respects, it was a case of nearness creating division. In New England, beginning in the 1640s, no citizen could enter a church on a Sunday morning without bearing both a bible and a firearm. When service ended, the men of the congregation secured the area before allowing women and children to leave the church, just in case Catholics might be out raiding that day. Even as late as the American Revolution, New England militia men screamed, “No king, no pope” as they charged into enemy lines.
2. Protestants, however, were rarely tolerant of even other Protestants; Calvinists, for example, often hated Baptists as much as they did Catholics. Far from the “land of the free” that our textbooks usually portray, colonies sought not religious freedom and liberty, but rather religious autonomy. That is, they wanted freedom to worship as they saw fit, but they certainly did not believe that other sects should have the same rights. In this, the first century and a half of American colonization (with only a very few exceptions) were defined by a whole variety of intolerances. Because the frontier was huge, however, such tolerances could be alleviated—at least as long as you were willing to move west, away from the respectable folks. From the 1600s through 1774, America was really a sea of intolerance with islands of tolerance. Your freedom was essentially the freedom to choose which intolerance you liked best.
3. Of the 13 original colonies, only Pennsylvania and Maryland offered anything that we might today recognize as religious toleration. Maryland, for an almost 30-year-long period prior to 1689, might very well have been the most tolerant place in the world when it came to religion. To enforce its religious toleration, however, it traded its freedom of speech. Society protected the diversity of religious communities by forbidding 1) blasphemy against the Holy Trinity; 2) mocking of Mary or any of the saints; and 3) referring to any Christian sect by a derogatory name. When radicals seized the provincial government in 1689, however, they undid all laws of religious toleration, demanding that every resident of Maryland honor the Church of England as the established Church. The new government of 1689, which lasted until 1774, for all intents and purposes outlawed Roman Catholicism, double-taxing Catholics, forbidding the education of Catholic children, and actually permanently removing children in danger of being “raised in a Catholic fashion” from their birth parents.
Read the rest, here.