By Jim Bowman
CHICAGO, Illinois, March 21, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A strange situation is unfolding at St. John Cantius, the Chicago parish known for its otherworldly liturgies, yellow-balloon touting youth at the March for Life, and faithful, orthodox priests.
Voted in 2016 the "most beautiful church in America" as part of the annual "Church Madness" competition, St. John Cantius is home to the Canons Regular of St. John Cantius, a religious order that offers Mass in the Extraordinary and Ordinary Forms, focuses on "restoring the sacred," and aims to "preserve and foster the devotional, musical, catechetical, and artistic traditions of the Catholic Church."
Sounds unassailable, doesn't it?
St. John Cantius parishioners were shocked, therefore, when this past weekend, a letter from Chicago's ultra-liberal Cardinal Blase Cupich was read at Masses informing them Fr. Phillips had been removed as pastor over accusations of "improper conduct" with adult males.
First they knew about it, he's outa there, period, sent back to his religious superiors at the Congregation of the Resurrection for decision and adjudication.
Even though it is standard procedure in most dioceses for priests accused of sexual impropriety – or even pedophilia and preying on minors, of which Fr. Phillips is not accused – to be placed on administrative leave, Fr. Phillips was immediately removed as pastor of St. John Cantius.
He is now facing a review by the board of the Resurrectionist order, of which he technically is a member even though he founded the Canons Regular of St. John Cantius. Cardinal Cupich has removed Fr. Phillips' priestly faculties, preventing him from administering the sacraments or performing other priestly duties.
It's the Chicago way?
"I hope for a swift resolution to this especially because I don't believe the allegation. I just don't," Father John Zuhlsdorf wrote on his popular blog. "Given that Phillips seems not to have broken any civil laws the move against him seems pretty sudden and draconian, but I guess that's what they do around there."
Not in Chicago, however. Until now. Should we note something about the grand high executioner in this case?
Cupich's hostility toward the Traditional Latin Mass has been public for years.
In 2002, when he was the Bishop of Rapid City, South Dakota, Cupich locked the doors of a Catholic parish during the Easter Triduum, one of the holiest points of the Catholic liturgical year, in order to prevent Traditional Latin Masses from taking place. The church was forced to hold its Good Friday liturgies on the sidewalk.
Pretty harsh, that. A retired Texas bishop was "stunned."
Bishop Rene Henry Gracida, Bishop Emeritus of the Diocese of Corpus Christi, wrote on his blog. . . . . What I find so disturbing . . . 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.
So the Latin Mass part looms larger because of Cupich's tolerant attitude toward homosexual behavior.
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.
He uses the H-word:
The hypocrisy of removing Father Phillips as Pastor based on a possible false accusation of homosexuality on the eve of Father [Martin's] talk at the Cathedral promoting 'respect' for homosexuals is too much for people of common sense to accept and to wonder about hypocrisy.
Looks that way.
The full letter from Cardinal Cupich can be viewed here.
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