We publish this sermon of Fr. De Pauw as the new school year begins, realizing that so of our parents today are faced with what Father described as “caught in an impossible situation not of their making….a nightmare to sincere Catholic parents”, because of the conditions in both the so-called Catholic and public schools.
But as you will immediately see, such a “nightmare” does not absolve sincere Catholic parents from their responsibility before God to ensure that their children are not knowingly “ educated or instructed in a non-Catholic religion.” We urge Catholic parents to let this sermon be their guide.
For those of our members who no longer have children of school age or any children at all, this sermon should serve to fortify in you the determination to remain faithful to the Faith of Our Fathers without compromise remembering the words of Our Lord: “ No man can serve two masters…beware of false prophets..”
BEWARE OF FALSE PROFITS
In this Sunday’s Gospel Our Lord warns us against false prophets. “Beware of them!”… The Lord says: Don’t let appearances fool you, the Lord adds, and don’t fall too quickly for sweet words either, He says as some of these false prophets will come to you in sheep’s clothing while in reality they are wolves and some of those appealing to the “Lord, Lord” are in reality as far removed from God as a bad tree is from a good tree.
The record shows that “false prophets” come in all shapes and forms. Some are men, others are women. Some are lay people, some are clergymen or religious, some are young, some are old.
The record also shows that “false prophets” have a field-day in those periods of history where confusion has replaced clear thinking and where spiritual leaders seem to have abdicated their authority with a resulting number of self-styled experts disguising their alleged wisdom to everyone willing to buy it.
“False profits” have been at work in our Ave Maria Chapel community these past five months ever since on March 4th, I publicly announced that beginning next school year I could no longer tolerate seeing some of our children attending Protestant schools where they are forced to attend Protestant chapel services and/or religious instruction and Bible classes.
After personally speaking to some of the children attending one such school as well as their parents, St. Andrews Episcopal in Oceanside, and fully aware of conditions in both our so-called Catholic and public schools, I personally wrote to the Protestant minister-headmaster of that school expressing my willingness to permit our Roman Catholic youngsters attend his school provided he would excuse them from “attending or participating in Protestant church and chapel services as well as Protestant religious instruction or Bible classes”.
As of today, in spite of two letters on my part with the same request the Reverend has refused to grant that simple contrite request giving, instead, a vague general promise “never to do anything that would weaken the children’s Traditional Roman Catholic beliefs”.
I had naively hoped that after I informed the parents involved of the minister’s unyielding attitude, these parents would back me up and try to pressure the minister-headmaster into accepting the simple solution I proposed ― have the Catholic children excused from chapel services and religious instruction classes. Instead, some parents have taken the side of the Protestant minister against me and organized a campaign to have me change my position.
Between letters and phone calls, some letters signed and others anonymous, some phone callers identifying themselves and others disguising their voices, some writing themselves and others using the always available services of chronic letter writers … between those letters and phone calls, I have been subjected to the kind of pressure campaign that would make even the most patient man sigh: “with friends like that, who needs enemies!…”
I have no intention of carrying on any “ad infinitum” correspondence or discussions about this matter. But, for the second and the last time today, I wish to explain once more my position regarding our children attending St. Andrews Protestant Episcopal school in Oceanside or any other Protestant school for that matter.
As Catholic Traditionalists – and in my book that is the same as saying “as true Roman Catholics, we will consider ourselves bound by Canon 2319,1,n.4 of the Roman Catholic Code of Canon Law: “Catholic parents who knowingly have their children educated or instructed in a non-Catholic religion … are automatically excommunicated …”
How “un-Catholic” some parents indeed have become and how unconsciously they have become contaminated by the Conciliarist virus of the “updated” Catholic establishment, becomes evident when they now write me and may I ask when they became experts in Canon Law? – that “the Church regulation regarding not sending Catholic children to Protestant schools does not apply now” since this rule was made for ages past and circumstances entirely different from the ones we live in! Now, isn’t that the very same reasoning the Conciliarist Catholics use when they talk about clerical celibacy behavioral rules for nuns, sex-education in schools, premarital sex, artificial birth control, divorce, abortion euthanasia, etc? At least there is one thing we can all agree upon: you can’t have your cake and eat it! … be a traditionalist when it suits you and a Conciliarist when that becomes convenient and expedient!
Surely I accept as true everything a Protestant minister writes me about the “secular” schools as breeding grounds of immorality, materialism, humanism and anti-Americanism”. And equally do I accept as genuine a minister’s commitment to “keep Christ in the hearts and souls of these little ones”. In all charity I am even inclined to recognize that type of “good intentions” as having existed at one time or other in all Protestants, from Martin Luther and Henry VIII down to today’s Billy Grahams and Oral Roberts.
But every educated Roman Catholic parent surely must immediately feel that not everything is “kosher” in a minister’s letter when he does not even come near to giving the simple “yes” that could solve the problem of Roman Catholic children in his school at once the affirmative answer to my simple request: to have the Roman Catholic children at his school “be excused from attending or participating in church and chapel drills as well as religious instruction or Bible classes”.
Then there are the following statements in the Reverend’s letter which bring “spiritual chills” to this former professor of Fundamental Dogmatic Theology.
―“Our aim at our school is hopefully to produce good Christians and good Americans”. To which I answer: “our aim is to produce not just good Christians, but good Roman Catholic Christians and good Americans” a difference which, of course, Conciliarist Catholic ecumaniacs no longer consider “relevant” but which is precisely at the very heart of our Catholic Traditionalist Movement!
―“You and I are of different traditions” … the Reverend of St. Andrews school writes, as if that is all that separates the Roman Catholic Church and the Anglican Episcopal sect. Probably some of the experts writing to me these days are unaware of this, but any first year theology student can tell you that all the Reverend is doing here is echoing the so-called “Branch theory” of his Episcopalian seminary professors according to which the true Church of Christ like a tree with three branches, consists of three equally valid “traditions” the Roman, the Anglican-Episcopal and the Orthodox one. As every one of our children trained in our religion classes is able to tell you, we, traditionalist Roman Catholics, with all due respect for our separated brethren, consider the Anglican and Orthodox faiths as incomplete forms of Christianity and schismatic and heretical sects for whose return to the Roman Mother Church we continue to work and pray.
―“While there might be slight differences in a word here and there, or a particular phrase used, the children at St. Andrews are taught the truths which you and I share: God, the Father, created them, God the Son, redeemed them and God the Holy Ghost strengthens them”.
If the Reverend is sincere in writing this, and I for willing to believe he is, then his knowledge of the unreformed Roman Catholic Church is indeed abysmal. His description of what he calls “the truths you and I share” is indeed acceptable to the ecumaniacs who have taken over the establishment of our Church but do you or anyone else who knows me and the CTMs Fight for Truth and Tradition really expect me to buy the theory that all that separates Roman Catholics and Protestants are “slight differences in a word here or there, or a particular phrase used?”
I have no argument with the statement “God, the Father, created them”. But immediately the question marks start popping up when the Reverend says: “God the Son redeemed them”.
How does God the Son’s redeeming work reach today’s people? Directly from God to the individual, or indirectly through an organization called Church? Did God, the Son, personally institute that Church? How many Churches did He found?. One? Three of them? Three hundred fifty of them? (350 is the approximate number of today’s Protestant denominations in the USA). What is the structure of Christ’s Church? Monarchical with a Pope at the top; supreme and at times infallible successor of St. Peter? Or “oligarchial- -episcopal” with a Ramsey presiding over his peers? And one could go on with all the other questions to which I used to devote an entire academic year course of five hours a week while teaching young clergymen their course on “the true religion”.
Surely the Reverend is right where he writes: “God the Holy Ghost strengthens them”. But how? Through the Seven Sacraments the Lord instituted? Then, where are those Sacraments to be found? An Episcopalian minister, referring to himself as a priest, insisting on children addressing him as “Father”, and talking about his church’s “communion” and “confirmation” leaves no doubt that he considers his “Episcopal” Tradition” at least as equal to what he calls “Roman Catholicism”. But, have we forgotten that our Popes in the past have infallibly declared that all Anglican-Episcopal so-called orders are invalid with the result of their ministers being no closer to the real priesthood than our sacristans and their so-called communions and confirmations being as worthless as any similar Lutheran or Presbyterian or Baptist ritual?
And what about the Blessed Virgin Mary, for whom our Chapel is named and for whose position in the Church we of the CTM ― “Christ through Mary” movement have been defiantly fighting the Establishment? Does the Reverend consider it again just another “slight difference in a word here or there” when his church practically ignores the Blessed Mother as well as all other Saints while our Faith teaches that all “strengthening” the Holy Ghost does is done through the Mediatrix of all graces whose Immaculate Conception, we profess as an infallible dogma of the Faith?
Do parents who know their Roman Catholic Faith and value it, really expect me to approve of our children being educated in an atmosphere bound to lead them, first to “relative indifferentism” ― “All religions are equally good” ― and then, realizing how deeply religions differ from each other, to that “absolute indifferentism”. “All religious are equally useless”, which is only a step away from agnosticism and, indeed, atheism, communism.
This past week I received what I consider a piously veiled threat bordering on blackmail. I was first told that I was mistaken in believing that all of the parents of the children going to Protestant schools intend to go along with me if I reaffirm my position. I was then piously told – and this is a quote “many of them will not. They are praying that you will change your mind, but they feel if you don’t they have no choice but to disobey you”.
As to what kind of praying some people allegedly are doing for me in this regard, it would indeed be blasphemous on their part if they fully realize what they are doing: asking God to induce a priest to sell out the very Faith he solemnly swore before the same God to uphold “till the last breath of life”.
As to there being no other solution to what I know has been a nightmare to sincere Catholic parents even more so as it has been to me the spiritual Father of the children involved, there is another solution and that is for the same people who have been pressing me to change my position, to use half of that pressure on the Reverend minister, the only one who can still solve this entire problem, in one minute by sending me a three-line statement and how many times need I repeating this? – excusing our children from attending or participating in his church or chapel services as well as religious instruction or Bible classes.
As a former theology professor and a Doctor of Canon Law, I am fully aware that by agreeing to let our youngsters attend St. Andrews or any other Protestant school under the minimum requirement I insist upon, I have gone as far or even further than the strict letter of our Church law permits. I prayerfully hope that I’ll never regret it and that the Lord will forgive me if already I compromised too much, knowing as He does, that I did it out of compassion for the children and parents caught in an impossible situation not of their making. But, asking me to go any further in making concessions is asking me to betray the Roman Catholic Faith and with the grace of God, that I have never done, and never will.
The blackmail-ultimatum I received this past week was very clear. Either give in on this matter of St. Andrews Protestant school or so many people will stop attending your Chapel that you will have to close. Those were not the exact words used, but that was the message.
For the past nine years I have served God, the Roman Catholic Church and the people as leader of the Catholic Traditionalist Movement. I have fought some of the most powerful coalitions, the combined religious and political establishment could put together. They have not been able to make me fall down and worship anything but the God to whose Church I dedicated my life the day I was ordained “a priest forever”. I assure you that a handful of lay people on Long Island are not going to succeed where those powerful forces failed!
As to the threat of our Chapel being forced to close for lack of people attending, I repeat the suggestion I have previously made that those malcontents who do not approve of what I am doing, stop coming to our facilities which are still overcrowded even in the middle of the vacation season. Those less than loyal individuals should have it much easier to leave the CTM and turn their backs on the Ave Maria Chapel now that their political friends have provided them with an option which was not available to them and their children the previous five years when Father De Pauw was the only one to be used and abused by them. The record of the same five years, however, also shows that for every Judas who ever left us, there were at least ten Mathiases to take his place.
And even if my refusal to do what I know before God to be wrong would indeed mean the end of our Chapel, I would rather see that happen than become another Judas myself. We could always place another bronze plaque over the door of the then closed Ave Maria Chapel and may that plaque read: “The sower went out to sow his seed. And some seed fell by the wayside and was trodden under foot, and the birds of the air ate it up. And, other seed fell upon the rock, and as soon as it had sprung up, it withered away because it had no moisture. And other seed fell among thorns and the thorns sprang up with it and choked it”.
And, who knows, a couple of loyal friends I still hope to have at that time, might wish to add another small plaque to it this one saying: “In this place Father De Pauw spent some of the best years of his life, doing what the Lord Himself warned him never to do: throw pearls before the swine…”
I have no doubt that after what I said here today some of you present at this moment will never return to this Chapel. I wish them and their children well and may God forgive them. And, to those of you who understood what I spoke of here this morning and whose loyalty to our uncompromising Roman Catholic Faith makes them “the seed that fell upon good ground, … they who with a right and good heart, having heard the word, hold it fast and bear fruit in patience, …” to you, the good seed, I say: “See you again next Sunday … my friends …”