No Excuses For Those Who Indemnify the Society of Saint John

As noted in the preface to the posting of the Special Report on the Society of Saint John that I wrote in September and October of 2000, the investigation that I conducted at the behest of two laymen who had served on the Society’s board of advisors before resigning in protest over what they concluded was reckless fiscal mismanagement and a refusal to heed any advice on practical matters. The report was submitted to the Diocese of Scanton and to Father Urrutiogity in the October of 2000, prompting a “Bishop” Timlin to issue a statement to me that is completely laughable in light of all of the evidence that came to light later. Equally laughable is the assertion made on March 22, 2006, by the “papal” nuncio to Paraguay, Archbishop” Orlando Antonini, to attorney James Bendell that “no trace of this Society remains anywhere in Paraguay.

Those subsequent events demonstrated that an episode involving “skinny dipping” on the property of the Society of Saint John in Shohola, Pennsylvania, in the summer of 2000, which was disturbing in and of itself, was an indicator of far greater problems.  Those problems that could have been forestalled in the 1980s in Argentina if then Father Alfonso de Galaretta of the Society of Saint Pius X, then the Society’s District Superior in Argentina, had not rejected the conclusion reached by the then rector of the Society’s seminary in La Reja, Argentina, Father Andres Morello, Father Urrutigoity had engaged in homosexual behavior as a seminarian. 

Alas, Father Alfonso de Galaretta, who was consecrated a bishop by the late Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre in Econe, Switzerland, on June 30, 1988, was predisposed to disbelieve Father Morello, who was consecrated a bishop in 2005, because he, Father Morello, was a sedevacantist. In this way, you see, the truth about then seminarian Carlos Urrutigoity was obscured by the resentment of the action taken by “The Nine” in 1983, thus predisposing Bishop de Galaretta at the time to disbelieve the accusations against Urrutigoity and thus recommend this predator to be accept at Saint Thomas Aquinas in Winona, Minnesota. A summary of this situation can be found at The Early Years of Father Carlos Urrutigoity’s homosexual career.

There is an important lesson to be drawn from this as the then Father de Galaretta had his objectivity clouded by his feud with the then Father Morello. It is part of fallen human nature for those who are at odds with each other on other matters to let personal animus for a particular person (based sometimes on intense dislike of the person or and/or seething resentment at particular injustices that one may have suffered at the hands of one deemed to be an adversary) predispose one to be blinded to the truth about a third party or about a matter of substance (theological, political, scientific, etc.).

Many, although not all, in the “resist while recognize” camp reject anything written by one who has announced his acceptance of the papal vacancy at this time of apostasy and betrayal. Some even resist even examining with dispassionate objectivity any of the evidence brought forth in behalf of the theological principles of the sedevacantist position. “Don’t listen to ‘so and so,’ he’s a sedevacantist” is a common refrain in “resist while recognize circles.

It is thus a sad part of the saga of Father Carlos Urrutigoity and the Society of Saint John that the truth about his proclivities was obscured because of the hostility that existed within the Society of Saint Pius X between those who were said to be “loyal” to Archbishop Lefebvre and those who were said to be “disloyal” to him by means of “siding” with “The Nine.”

Mind you, this is not to say that seminarian Carlos Urrutigoity could not have found a conciliar “bishop” to have accepted him if Bishop de Galaretta had not recommended him to be accepted at Saint Thomas Aquinas Seminary, although he would not have been a true priest had he been installed to the conciliar presbyterate. It is to say, however, that it is all too frequently the case that people take a sophomoric “If he’s for something, I’m against it” or “If he says something is so, then it cannot be so” approach to almost every situation in life, especially those that bring out longstanding hatreds or resentments against a particular person or persons.

As noted in Led by Thoroughly False Spirits, part two, Bishop Bernard Fellay, the Superior General of the Society of Saint Pius X, certainly did his due diligence to warn “Bishop” James Clifford Timlin of the Diocese of Scranton about Father Urrutigoity’s homosexual behavior. He is to be commended for this. By that time, however, the behavior, which was not the reason for his expulsion from the Society, could not be denied.

There is perhaps a simpler way of looking at all of this: If it looks like a duck, waddles like a duck and quacks like a duck, you’ve got yourself a duck on your hands. It does not take a great deal of “insight” for one to recognize clear signs indicative of homosexual behavior. As the late John Joseph “Jackie Boy Sullivan reminded us in class with him at Holy Apostles Seminary in the 1983-1984 academic year, it was the case in his days at Saint Bernard’s Seminary in Rochester, New York, in the late-1930s that two seminarians simply caught behind closed doors in the same bedroom were deemed to be guilty of homosexual conduct, “And out on their butt they went. Boom! Gone! The same thing’s going to happen to you gorillas if try this here.”

Alas, as I noted in an article about five years ago, life is not like a Perry Mason episode in which the guilty party confesses and admits all under cross-examination (and who would ever have thought that the late Raymond Burr, who hid his own perverse proclivities from public view very well, was what he turned out to be?). No, there will always be people, sometimes substantial numbers of them, who want to turn a blind eye and/or excuse the indefensible. Everything does get revealed on the Last Day at the General Judgment of the living and the dead, and it may very well be the case that those who are blind to the truth about certain situations now may not discover their errors until eternity. Such are the vagaries of fallen human nature.

Thus it is that, barring a miracle, Father Carlos Urrutigoity, now ensconced in his position as vicar general of the Diocese of Ciudad de Este, is now in the “pipeline” to be a conciliar “bishop.” After all, who is Jorge Mario Bergoglio to “judge” Father Urrutigoity when he does not want to “judge” another proven pervert, Monsignor Batista Ricca, whom he named and has kept as the head of the conciliar Vatican’s Institution of Religious Works (the Vatican Bank)?

Urrutigoity claimed upon his arrival in Winona in the late-1980s that the charges against him in Argentina were “trumped up” by sedevacantists, and it is likely that he will use such an argument yet again if Vatican authorities actually questioned him no. Scoundrels always like to use the “charges were trumped up by my enemies” card to defend themselves. There’s little that can be done when such a defense is used in a self-righteous, sanctimonious manner as all manner of viciousness is used on the accusers other to suffer the situation and offer it to the throne of the Most Blessed Trinity through the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary.

Commenting on Concerns Noted in the Special Report

The rest of this commentary will seek to elaborate on a few matters noted in the posting of the Special Report about the Society of Saint John that was written in 2000:

(1) The 1962 Missal. My discussion of Father Urrutigoity’s views on “liturgical development” reflected own belief that the 1962 Missal, which incorporated changes made by “Saint John Paul II” in 1960, was a “rock of stability” when it was, of course, merely a transitional phase in the modernization of the Immemorial Mass of Tradition that began with the handiwork of Fathers Annibale Bugnini and Ferdinando Antonelli, O.F.M., in the 1950s during the pontificate of Pope Pius XII. While there is nothing heretical in these changes, Bugnini and Antonelli mean to chip away at the Missal of Saint Pius V in order to prepare Catholics for a regime of ceaseless liturgical change and innovation as a part of the normal life of the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church. This is a point that has been made many times on this site, including most recently in Leading Up to the Decrees of the Third Council of Nicea. (For a review of the changes that led up to the 1962 Missal, please see Liturgical Revolution and The Pius X and John XXIII Missals Compared.)

The purpose of focusing in my Special Report on the Society of Saint John’s liturgical direction was to illustrate the fact that Father Urrutigoity was being deliberately vague with potential donors about his desire to see the “liturgy grow.”

Although the conciliar authorities undermined the “integrity” of “Saint John Paul II’s Ecclesia Dei ad afflicta motu proprio of July 2, 1988, by permitting conciliar priests and presbyters to use readings from the Protestant and Masonic Novus Ordo service so as to spare the “presider” the “burden” of having to prepare two sermons on a Sunday, there has never been any “mixing and matching” of Missals approved by the Catholic Church. Mind you, Father Urrutiogity’s “vision” of combining elements from the various Missals with the Novus Ordo was something along the lines of Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI’s “reform of the reform” and in perfect accord with his stated desires in Summorum Pontificum and his explanatory letter about it on July 7, 2007.

Look, there are differences amongst sedevacantist clergy which Missal to use, that which was in effect in 1954 before the Bugnini-Antonelli changes or that which was in effect in 1958 at the time of the death of Pope Pius XII. Those who assist at the chapels of such clergy generally are informed as to the Missal that is being used. There is, noting a few exceptions here and there, no “mixing and matching” of rites.

All well and good.

The point that I tried to make in my report was that Father Urrutigoity was not being honest with his donors and supporters, which is why it was the first subject I brought up with him when interviewing him in November of 1999 in Shohola, Pennsylvania.

(2) “Monsignor Arthur Calkins’” view of reforming the liturgy. “Monsignor” Arthur Calkins has laid out his own view on the liturgy very clearly, and they are certainly sympathetic to the goals outlined to me by Father Urrutigoity in November of 1999:

One of the problems thus far, at least in this writer’s humble opinion, is that too often traditionalists have stated their case in “black and white,” “life or death” terms, and have not seen themselves as part of a greater movement in favour of “a return to mystery, to adoration, to the sacred,” and to the common patrimony of the Roman Catholic Church.

Now, what do I mean by that?  I wouldn’t want you to have to read some of the things I am obliged to read.  For instance, someone petitions his bishop for the traditional Latin Mass and in support of his argument says “we want the ‘true’ Mass, not the ‘new’ Mass.”  This is very unfortunate language that really undermines the faith because we must recognise that the sacrifice of Jesus is the sacrifice of Jesus in every rite that the Church has officially authorised.  We may have our preferences, which is all well and good, but let us not assault and attack.  What has happened in extremist hard-line literature is that the new Mass, almost always described with all the abuses imaginable, is demonised, so that the only way to preserve the faith is with the old Mass.  This is not a healthy Catholic attitude and unfortunately it is present in all too many traditionalist circles. (See Msgr. Calkins on the Mass, the Council and Traditionalists.)

Father Urrutigoity was thus proceeding in the late-1990s with full support of the Ecclesia Dei Commission in Rome, something that was clear from that Easter Vigil Mass in 1999. The views held by Father Urruitgoity and “Monsignor” Calkins are almost identical to those expressed by the supposed “pope of tradition,” Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI.

(3) Father Carlos on an “attachment” to one missal. Actually, yes, noting those exceptions for local usage dating back more than two hundred years prior to Pope Saint Pius V’s issuance of Quo Primum, July 14, 1570, and the variations of usage to be found in various religious communities (Benedictine, Dominican, Franciscan, Carmelite), the Mass of the Roman Rite is to be the same everywhere. Father Carlos is the one who has the “Protestant mentality.”

(4) Lay influence in the traditional movement. Father Carlos Urrutigoity’s denunciation of what he called the excessive influence of the laity in the traditional movement is not entirely without merit. It is, although, self-serving and distorted.

That is, Father Urrutigoty did not want to have his “vision” reined in or question by members of the laity who, though lacking advanced degrees in the Sacred Liturgy, did not actual history about the liturgical development of the various rites of the Catholic Church.

While it is certainly true that the spirit of Americanism and egalitarianism has led to some unnecessary conflict between the laity and their shepherds in some instances, it is also true that some clergy have used the “anticlericalism” card as a means of blunting or deflecting all criticism of their misuses of the funds that had been donated to them or criticism of their refusal to take instances of alleged pastoral abuse seriously.

Then again, Father Urrutigoity, who is from Argentina, does not seem to realize that there would be no traditional chapels of any kind had it not been for  the hard work and sacrifice and prayers of the original lay leaders in the traditional movement in the United States of America and elsewhere around the world.

Sure, there have been battles galore amongst the laity and between the laity and the clergy in many of these chapels. Granted. It is nevertheless true that Father Urrutigoity was biting the hand that fed him and disparaging the legal structure that enabled him to purchase the property in Shohola and to live extravagantly while there. A board of advisors exists to advise priests on temporalities, not those things belong to the nature of the sacerdotal, hierarchical priesthood instituted by Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ at the Last Supper. To scoff at this advice as reckless decisions are made is to display contempt for the very people who donated money to be used for stated purposes, not for personal extravagance.

(5) The Society of Saint John’s disdain for “polemics.” I was very uneasy with the “touchy-feely” disdain for “polemics” as expressed to me in Elmhurst, Pennsylvania in May of 1998 by Tony Myers and in November of 1999 by Father Urrutigoity in Shohola, Pennsylvania. It is not be “polemical” to denounce error and to call sacrilege, blasphemy and apostasy by their proper names. Maybe Saint Athanasius and the saint whose feast we commemorate today, Saint Basil the Great, should have avoided “polemics”? Once again, it is Father Urrutigoity whose position is not Catholic.

(6) Reference to donors and liturgical change. Once again, the Special Report was written in 2000. It was written with a view to warning potential donors about the problems with the Society of Saint John, which did not, as noted above, support the concept of a stable, fixed liturgy.

(7) Brother Gabriel Francis and his “reading material.” As it turned out Brother Gabriel Francis, aka “Father” Virgil Bradley Tetherow, has had his own problems in matters pertaining the reading of “material” that offends the binding precepts of the Sixth and Ninth Commandments. See Father Gabriel Tetherow. Malefactors will always have their defenders no matter what evidence is presented against them. Irrationality must trump objectivity in the minds of those who have convinced themselves that what quacks like a duck is not a duck when in fact it is.

(8) The “Skinny Dipping Episode. A person who knew Father Urrutigoity dismissed the “skinny dipping” episode when I mentioned it to her in the Fall of 2000. “There’s not a thing in the world wrong with skinny dipping.” Really?

The Catholic Church teaches us that we are not never to expose ourselves in public.

Would anyone want to claim that Saint Alphonsus de Liguori, the Patron of Moral Theologians, or Saint John Mary Vianney, the Patron of Parish Priests, would approve of “skinny dipping”? What about Padre Pio?

Those who seek to minimize or dismiss as perfectly moral behavior that is aberrant or patently immoral will come to accept higher and higher degrees of such behavior with the smug, self-assured “There’s not a thing in the world wrong it.”

Although I did not know what it meant at the time in September of 1965 as I was walking with fellow Catholics from Oyster Bay High School to “released time” religious education instruction at Saint Dominic’s High School, I will always remember a fellow student telling me, “Don’t go near Father Alfred Soave. He will will grab you by the rear and give you a squeeze.” I did not know what that meant. However, I knew that it was pretty disgusting and terrible. As it turned out three years after his death on March 18, 1999, Father Soave was a serial abuser (see: Suffolk County Grand Jury Report and the tale of an embittered man, A Legacy of Corruption.)

Look like a duck, walk like a duck, quack like a duck. You’ve got a duck, and the protection of such “ducks” has been common place in the conciliar church as well as in traditional circles now and again.

There are no excuses for those who continue to indemnify Father Carlos Urrutiogity, Father Eric Ensey and the Society of Saint John.

We must remember, as always, to make reparation for our own many sins as the consecrated slaves of Christ the King through the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, praying as many Rosaries each day as our state-in-life permits.

Our Lady, Help of Christians pray for us!

Saint Basil the Great, pray for us.