The interior of Saint John Cantius Church in Chicago
The cause of my inability to fall asleep was the news that a regular reader of Abyssum.org sent to me in an email yesterday informing me that the Cardinal Archbishop of Chicago had removed Father Frank Phillips as Pastor of Saint John Cantius Parish. The reported reason for the removal was that Father Phillips had been reported as having had a sex with another man. The announcement of the removal by the Cardinal indicated that the man was not a minor.
I was stunned by the news. Several years ago Father Phillips had invited me to come to Saint John Cantius Church to celebrate that Parish’s annual All Souls’ Day Mass. That Mass is not a simple Mass at St. John Cantius Church, it is a Solemn Pontifical High Mass celebrated with a symphony orchestra augmenting that Church’s magnificent choir singing Motzart’s Requiem Mass. I went to Chicago and celebrated the Mass. Needless to say it was an unforgettable experience.
Thirty years ago Father Phillips, a member of the Resurrection Congregation, had founded at Saint John Cantius Parish a Diocesan Institute known as the Canons Regular of Saint John Cantius. Over the years the Canons Regular have grown in numbers and have made Saint John Cantius world famous as a church where the Traditional Latin Mass is celebrated in all its forms perfectly.
What I find so disturbing in the news about the removal of Father Phillips is that the public way in which Cardinal Cupich removed Father Phillips was so uncalled for. Every bishop at one time or another is faced with the sexual misbehavior of a priest with a man or a woman who is not a minor. In the case of minors the Dallas Charter demands rapid and harsh measures by the bishop in handling the case. In the case of adults, such measures are not only not required but are inadvisable because of the scandal of the weak which results. Instead, the priest is suspended and quietly removed from office and no public announcement by the Ordinary is necessary, a simple discrete letter to the people of the parish is sufficient.
Cardinal Cupich acquired a reputation in his former office as Bishop of Spokane as being totally opposed to the celebration of the Traditional Latin Mass in the Diocese. That fact combined with his welcoming of Father James Martin, S.J. to the Cathedral in Chicago to speak in support of the homosexual lifestyle that he promotes in his book Building Bridges, a lifestyle that sometimes involves the sin of sodomy, causes me to wonder if the removal of Father Phillips is not part of an elaborate plot leading to the suppression of Saint John Cantius Parish as a center for the promotion of the Traditional Latin Mass. The hypocrisy of removing Father Phillips as Pastor based on a possible false accusation of homosexuality on the eve of Father Martins talk at the Cathedral promoting ‘respect’ for homosexuals is too much for people of common sense to accept and to wonder about hypocrisy.
At Adoration last night, the thought occurred to me that it doesn’t make any sense that Cardinal Cupich is removing this priest, Fr. Phillips for (alledgedly) the same perversion that Fr. James Martin is advocating! Something is really fishy here. It sounds like a set-up, as that lady said..If it’s ok for Fr. James Martin, why isn’t it ok for Fr. Phillips, according to the Cardinal ??????
With prayers for poor Father Phillips … this is the way they get rid of those who are still doing beautiful things for the sheep … feeding us with words of pure doctrine and filling our eyes with the beauty that surrounds the truth in the Latin Mass… Its words ringing softly like pure bells, filling our souls, and, its ornaments of gold directing our eyes towards heaven. This is their MO. The MO of the coward and the MO of the brute. Rest Father Phillips and don’t listen to them. Thank you for your years of giving. Lots of prayers are covering you
It should not be acceptable for men to have sexual relations with men, despite being consenting adults. As an outsider, this response would be appropriate if the person in question were a minor, with suspension being appropriate no matter the age. This situation is the reason our church is in total collapse, and nothing will improve as long as this is the case.
But to invite James Martin during the time this is going on, is to do what the hierarchy of our Catholic Church now do par excellence, rub salt in a gaping wound. They revel in it, and there is no doubt but that this is the case. Cardinal Cupich is just enjoying the privileges of his position. He could paraphrase this pope and say “It’s fun to be Cardinal!”. They have the buildings, the money, the power, and they are making the most of it.
Hopefully he has underestimated the Catholics of Chicago.
PS..What a magnificent Church!!!! It must have been an unforgettable experience to celebrate a Solemn Pontifical High Mass there!!!
I pray that this accusation is false…Please Mother Mary, be with Fr. Phillips, and the congregation of St. John Cantius! Be with Bishop Gracida, also ,dear Mother Mary!
Agnus Dei, qui tolis peccata mundi, dona nobis pacem!!!!!!!!
Christine Niles of Church Militant had a short news quip on the situation in Chicago. She said that Fr. Philips is vehemently defending his innocence and said that there are other ‘agendas’ involved. He said that he was greatly looking forward to the investigation as it will clear his name. Church Militant is in the process of writing a story about the situation. We need to pray for him. I agree with you your Excellency, that this was a very heavy handed, crude and CRUEL way to handle this situation. This is not pedophilia we are talking about here, if indeed there is any truth to this, we are talking about two consenting adults. Yes, it should be dealt with if true, but at this point, these are only ‘accusations’. Why wasn’t Fr. Phillips put under ‘suspension’ instead of being ‘removed’ completely??!! That’s what Bishops do to priests being ‘accused’ of violation of minors and this was with another ADULT!! Being from this Archdiocese, I have heard that there were a few loud and public protests from parishioners over the week end Masses when the letter was being read to them. One woman stood up and yelled; ‘SET UP’!! Another gentleman got up said something inaudible and walked out of Mass. And yes, I do find it a tad hypocritical when he has invited the likes of FR. JAMES MARTIN to speak at his ‘Lenten Mission’ at Holy Name Cathedral not just for one night but for TWO NIGHTS!! If Fr. Phillips is found innocent, this may not end well for Cardinal Cupich. I am at the complete opposite end of the Archdiocese from St. John Cantius, but of course it is well known everywhere here and people here are FURIOUS if only because of the way it was handled!! It was very well suspected that St. John Cantius was on the Cardinal’s radar for destruction because of his virulent HATE for the Traditional Mass. I’m wondering how those collection baskets will look this coming week end? People in Chicago show their disapproval with their WALLETS, the CHICAGO way. As Chicagoans always say “It’s the only thing they UNDERSTAND”.
Your commentary is exactly how I felt at this news. Also, it was disheartening and kept me from going to sleep right away last night.
May God bless you.
Rev. Michael McMahon
My sentiments exactly, though I am never surprised by anything. I would say that we need to stop saying things like “have sex with another man”, because sodomy is not sex. Little things hold the line.
Heartbreaking what our Church is going through at this time.
Ongoing prayers for you and for all Bishops,
katey in OR