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.