Friday, April 13, 2018

Pope Shuts Down Traditional Order

Pope Francis has confirmed the abolition of the Priestly Society of the Holy Apostles by the Brussels Archbishop De Kesel. The reason: too many and too orthodox priestly vocations.

(Rome) Pope Francis signed a decree dissolving the fraternity of the Holy Apostles. Nothing is charged to the Brotherhood. It was guilty of nothing. Their only mistake seems to be orthodoxy in a liberal environ that seems to despise nothing more than faithful priestly vocations.

The Fraternité des Saints Apôtres

The Fraternity of the Saints Apôtres, Dutch Broederschap van de Holy Apostles, was canonically established in April 2013 by the then Archbishop of Mechelen-Brussels and Primate of Belgium, Mgr. André-Joseph Léonard. The brotherhood goes back to the French priest Michel-Marie Zanotti-Sorkine.

Priestly Society of the Holy Apostles

Archbishop Léonard called the faithful community to Belgium to help with the spiritual renewal of his archdiocese. He allowed the fraternity and gave it the parishes of Sainte-Catherine / Sint-Katelijnekerk, in the center of Brussels, and Saint-Joseph in the formerly Flemish, now French-speaking Ucclé (Ukkel) in the south of Brussels.

Archbishop Léonard, Archbishop of Mechelen-Brussels since 2010, who was strongly opposed because of his faithfulness inside and outside the Church, built with the help of the Priestly Fraternity a parallel formation of priests outside the diocesan seminary. This is a path other bishops had already taken before him.

Archbishop Léonard’s initiative proved to be a complete success. The Society was able to achieve what the progressive diocesan institutions could no longer do: to lead young men to the "beauty of vocation and service as diocesan priests". The Brotherhood is a community of world priests, but with a strong community life. She sees in it the answer to the crisis of the world priesthood in Western Europe. The parishes entrusted to them flourished in contrast to the neighboring parishes and were visited by numerous young people.

Although the community was only three years old, in the spring of 2016 it included six priests, one deacon and 21 seminarians. An extraordinary success considering that last year there was not one new entry into the Archbishop seminary in the Archdiocese of Brussels.

Danneel's retribution

Among the pope makers of the current pontificate, there is  the progressive Cardinal Godfried Danneels, who was Archbishop of Mechelen-Brussels before Msgr. Léonard. Pope Benedict XVI. made him an archenemy when he did not chose Danneels’  preferred candidate. Archbishop Léonard had therefore to face heavy resistance in the liberal archdiocese from the beginning. This massive resistance made the necessary reform of the seminary impossible for the time being, which is why he wanted to promote priestly vocations by establishing a second seminary and to build a new clergy.

Michel Marie Zanotti Sorkine

But his episcopate was too short. With the resignation of Benedict XVI. and the election of Francis the hour of the long-retired Danneels struck again. As a personal friend of the new pope, he was able to take revenge. Pope Francis refused Léonard the cardinalatial dignity and made instead the then apostolic nuncio in Belgium a cardinal, who had been Danneels’ preferred candidate and whom Léonard wanted to prevent. A double affront to Léonard.

Hardly had he completed his 75th birthday then he was retired by Francis, and Pope Bergoglio made Danneel's preferred candidate, albeit with a five-year "delay" yet, the new primate of Belgium. Not only that: he raised the new Danneels-compliant archbishop, Jozef De Kesel, immediately to cardinal.

There has seldom been more a demonstrative presentiment  in this pontificate than in Brussels, of who is in papal favor and who is not, and what that means.

De Kesel's purge

The new Archbishop De Kesel,  with whom Danneels also retired to the Archbishop's Palace, began to systematically eradicate what Archbishop Léonard had done to recover a local church lying on the liberal soil. It is not just about people, but about a far more  involved conflict of direction.

Archbishop Leonard ordains SocietyMembers 

One of the first victims of the purge was the Priestly Fraternity of the Holy Apostles. In June 2016, De Kesel threw the Brotherhood out of his diocese. And to make sure that it did not find acceptance in another Belgian diocese, he immediately made for an expulsion from all over Belgium. The reason? Hard to believe: too many and too orthodox priestly vocations.

The official reasoning was obviously just a pretext: The expulsion was "out of solidarity" with the French bishops - several members of the Society, especially their superior Zanotti-Sorkine, are French - because there is also a shortage of priests there. The seminarians were offered the opportunity to switch to the diocesan seminary or to leave Belgium, as if the training at the Brussels Priestly Seminary was the same as that of the Priestly Fraternity.

But that was exactly what it was about. A progressive episcopate obviously wants progressive priests or if not, the. no priests. In one of the first public statements as Primate of Belgium, De Kesel called for the abolition of celibacy with reference to the prevailing lack of priests.

It is easy to see a direct connection between the expulsion of the fraternity and his plea for married priests.

The thing is not surprising. In 2017, De Kesel "totally" applauded the proposal to set up an Islamic prayer room at every Catholic school.

Brussels: dechristianized and islamicized

The fact that two Brussels parishes would remain without a priest as a result of the expulsion did not seem to burden Archbishop De Kesel. Neither is the fact that the parishes experienced a veritable renaissance after being transferred to the Society. After the expulsion of the Society, De Kesel ordered the demolition of the St. Catherine's Church, as it is no longer needed because of massive parish mergers. One third of the churches have already closed or are due to close.

Ordination by Archbishop Léonard 2015

Since the Society was established according to diocesan law, the new Archbishop De Kesel could also dissolve them again. He did just that for the Saints Peter and Paul Day in 2016, the day on which the new priests are traditionally consecrated in the dioceses. The main task of the Society is the promotion of vocations and the formation of priests. However, the consecrations of the Society had been suspended by De Kesel.

Brussels today is the heavily de-Christianized and massively Islamized capital of the European Union (EU). Nevertheless, the incumbent archbishop has the luxury of removing from his archdiocese those forces that promise renewal. The Priestly Society of the Holy Apostles was only one stage of his purge against orthodox groups. Others were to follow.

Believers are taking legal action

The members of the two parishes of Brussels, under the auspices of the Society, did not for a moment believe that their Archbishop, out of sheer "solidarity" with the French bishops, showed the Society to the door. At the same time 80 seminarians were studying in the diocese of Namur, of which only 25 were Belgians. So far, however, the other 55 seminarians have not been sent home out of  "solidarity". Not even the numerous African or Polish priests who work in Belgium. Therefore, the parishioners asked De Kesel for a discussion. Without a result.

Several laymen then took legal action and turned to Rome. They appealed to the Congregation of Clergy objecting to De Kesel’s decree of dissolution. However, the prefect of the Congregation of Clergy was the first dicastery leader, which Pope Francis changed after his election. Cardinal Beniamino Stella, previously Vatican diplomat, has been sitting there ever since.

In November 2016, the Congregation of Clergy rejected the cases filed by the faithful "without any justification".

Sainte-Catherine church of Brussels

This left only the path to the Apostolic Signatura, to which anyone, layman or cleric, can turn if he sees his rights violated. Prefect of the Signatura was the brilliant canonist, Cardinal Raymond Burke. But Pope Francis had also exchanged him. To be precise, he had been similarly rudely thrown him out of the Vatican, as De Kesel had thrown the Priestly Society out of Belgium. Since the end of 2014, the former Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Vatican, Msgr. Domenico Mamberti, is Prefect to the Supreme Court of the Apostolic Signatura. Formerly a Vatican diplomat like Stella.

In December 2016, the Brussels faithful brought their case before the Signatura. The promoter Justitiae gave a positive opinion. According to the notification to the consignors, the cause should be submitted to a judge's collegium in autumn 2017 for treatment. "We were in good spirits, the right is and remains right."

But then things happened differently.

“A bad story "

On 25 November 2017, the consignors received a succinct statement that the case had been closed. Even before the ordinary legal process was completed - or perhaps for that very reason - Cardinal Stella, the Prefect of the Congregation of the Clergy, had visited Pope Francis and submitted to him a decree for the definitive dissolution of the Priestly Fraternity of the Holy Apostles. Pope Francis signed the decree, challenging the case. The objection to the resolution decree by Cardinal De Kesel had become obsolete with the dissolution decree of Pope Francis.

Taking advantage of the papal powers, the ordinary legal process was reduced to absurdity without any apparent necessity. The procedure is understood by those affected as arbitrary. It recalls the approach of Pope Francis against the Franciscans of the Immaculata. With the decree of the Congregation of Religious, the disempowerment of the Order, the appointment of a commissioner and the ban to celebrate without special permission the Holy Mass in the traditional form, the affected religious, including the Superior General and founder of the Order, P. Stefano M. Manelli appealed to the Apostolic Signatura. Pope Francis, however, highhandedly rejected any recourse. The persons concerned have since arbitrarily delivered the decision.

The Catholic Internet newspaper Nuova Bussola Quotidiana commented on the papal decision against the priestly brotherhood of the Holy Apostles by saying:

"The decree signed by Pope Francis seems to violate the right of the weakest in the Church. It’s a story that does not throw a good light on the way business is done by the head of the Reformed Roman Curia and the Pope. A bad story. "

Text: Giuseppe Nardi
Trans: Tancred


  1. Replies
    1. One after the other most of those unadapted clerical foundations that sprang up under John Paul II 'New Evangelization' will be suppressed.
      Two major reasons for this is that practically all of them have bypassed the local bishops and their canonical control by securing pontifical Rite status. Furthermore, with few or no exceptions they were founded and governed by very authoritarian narcissists who have built a personality cult around them.
      The biggest nut of them all to crack will be the older Opus Dei whose highly regimented membership spends more time worshipping at the shrine of Jose-Maria than sitting silently at the feet of Jesus Christ. They will probably have to be suppressed within the next fifty or so years.
      They neither of the Church nor for the Church.

    2. Another reason why the SSPX should be wary of the Vatican.

    3. The Holy Apostles Society was not traditionalist. They did the Mass of Paul VI. They just didn't want to be totaly protestant. Even that is to much for the Church in Flanders...

  2. Why? the FSSP spouts the party line--Vatican II is great, JP II is great, and hey, the FSSP parish nearby just celebrated Divine Mercy Sunday with Divine Mercy "sundaes" (including red and blue toppings) after "mass" on the Roman rite Low Sunday!!

    1. Are you kidding? What FSSP parish was this? I guess they can't be trusted anymore either.

    2. I’ve never seen that, either.

    3. This has to be fake. I cannot imagine it happened.

    4. As soon as I saw this I checked the first FSSP parish in North America where I suspect the priest would do something like this. And sure enough, there it was, right in the bulletin, Divine Mercy.
      Simply appalling. From all the heterodox and extremely problematic issues I've seen with that priest over the years, the fact that he still remains the pastor of that parish says all you need to know about the FSSP.

    5. Anonymous
      Is that FSSP parish in Texas? If not, did they have Divine Mercy sundaes too?

    6. Yes, the FSSP are SSPX sin cojones.

    7. Anon at 5:55, the one I saw the bulletin for wasn't in Texas, it was on the Eastern Seaboard.

    8. There's a couple of FSSP parishes which include the Divine Mercy devotion (Phoenix, for example, did it last Sunday). It's quite rare, and seems to have happened where they took over an existing community which had some history with the devotion in some form.

      That said, there's a danger in hasty assumptions about how the devotion is understood and practiced in these places. I am no fan myself - I find certain aspects of Sr. Faustina and her visions troublesome - but I am reluctant to assume that a Catholic with an attachment to the Divine Mercy chaplet is heterodox per se.

      I understand the contentious history between the Fraternity and the Society (in which the FSSP has not been without blame), but I have to say that the way this manifests itself among a certain minority of followers of the SSPX in such a way as to suggest that only the Society has the truth faith - that every one of us outside that fold are as good as damned - is extremely alienating, and is not exactly helping your efforts to evangelize.

    9. I’m sure the FSSP isn’t perfect, but I think something is broken when you throw the whole thing out because one parish embraces a questionable devotion.

    10. The Divine Mercy devotion is beautiful. What do people find objectionable about St. Faustina or the Divine Mercy devotion?

    11. The fssp in Olathe ks celebrates the DM farce, tho I cannot attest to sundaes.

      The fssp in Quincy IL has DM propaganda in their narthex.

    12. FSSP Tulsa had it, too. Whoever thinks this is an isolated parish or two isn't paying attention.

    13. FSSP is just conciliar Church playing Catholic, wearing the clothes and make believe, like a little girl wearing her mama's heels and lipstick, feeling good about herself while pretending she's a grown up. But mama can come in and take away the heels, the lipstick and reprimand her. Just like Francis can and will likely do to the FSSP. Then maybe they'll finally realize Lefebvre wasn't the disobedient fool after all.
      The whole world is indebted to Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, whether they know it or not, whether they like it or not.

      Ora pro nobis, Lefebvre!

    14. What is wrong with the Divnine Mercy devotion? It is not everyone's cup of tea, to be sure. Teh nun who received the revelations about it only attended the Tridentine Mass! Also, the invocation, Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One seems to come straight from the Good Friday lamentations.

    15. "What is wrong with the Divine Mercy devotion?"-- As a former adherent, I do not follow it anymore. This is one of the best explanations against it.

      It's principle error is it promotes an unconditional mercy that is contrary to Church dogma.

  3. No surprise here. The current climate is against tradition of any kind. It is all about the perceived taking over of Church reform by the Holy Spirit in the form of Teilhard de Chardin.

  4. I would guess that the FSSP and others similar should all be on alert. Yes, these unfaithful liberals would rather have no priests than holy traditional ones. I have known of a diocese where priests deliberately sat out Sunday Mass (mortal sin) and had lay people, especially women, conduct a "service" to "get people used to not having a priest". Demonic.

  5. The day that Pope Benedict dies, the true “Reign of Terror” will begin. God help us all!

    1. Why? He was a liberal heretical modernist also. Francis is just more outspoken. We've ben Popeless since Vatican II. The Church run rom Rome is no longer Catholic.

    2. They're all heretics. Innocent III would have burned them at the stake then used the ashes on his rose garden.

    3. Pope Michael is definitely Catholic!

    4. And yes, Michael lives in Madison WI.

    5. I'd trust Pope Michael a lot more than the renegades in Rome right now.

    6. I’ll say this. He’s a lot more kindly, wholesome and thoughtful than most clergy I’ve met.

    7. Oh, but "Pope" Michael is just a nut, albeit perhaps a kindly one.

    8. I saw him destroy the apostolic vicar in debate, and he doesn’t seem particularly unwholesome. You on the other hand...

    9. I used to think Bp.Michael Bawdin was delusional.
      After reading his site and watching a handful of his videos,hes intelligent humble and teaches saving your Soul.
      I can't say if he's our Pope but we need 500 more Bishops just like him.

  6. Another proof confirming the non catholicism of Vatican II sect....If you still hold that Mr. Bergogglio is a pope after all this promulgation and condemnations...I hate to say it...but you have missed the boat completely. This man is not a catholic...not a pope...Sedevecantism is the answer.

    1. Sedevacantism is a dead end.

      If the Catholic Church has not had a pope for the better part of a century - and no longer has any obvious means of electing any new pope - its truth claims are simply not going to be credible. You might as well swim the Bosporus.

    2. You all have a lot to explain before the throne of God for your self righteousness and egotism at falsely judging our Church, the church Jesus died on the cross for. Lack of humility in trusting,” you are Peter and upon you I shall build(not tear down) My Church..... with friends like all of you, who needs enamies!🙄God help you.


    4. If this pope is right, then the Catholic Church’s claims are pretty empty.

    5. Perfect example of how these diabolical men are tearing the church in two. We don't even know anymore if we have a pope or a church.

  7. "If this pope is right, then the Catholic Church’s claims are pretty empty." He's as right as Honorius was.

    And may we live to see the same correction as he earned.

  8. But the Catholic Church is not any pope’s Church. It is Christ Church, and even if “she” is in agony in the cross like Jesus himself was, she will flourish again like Jesus resurrected. Jesus is always attacked, betrayed etc. Didn’t HE started the Church that way? Judas and even Peter are good examples to remember, but only 3 remained by the cross Blessed Mother, Mary M. And
    good young John! Will we abandon Jesus too? Those that leave when the wolf attack are as guilty as those that attack HIM. REMEMBER? “Why do you persecute ME? Paul”

  9. Wave goodbye to Summorum Pontificum, everybody.

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