Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

The Christifidelis Newsletter

December 10th, 2014, Promulgated by Diane Harris

I just finished reading the latest (excellent) Christifidelis Newsletter published by the St. Joseph Foundation, and which has recently relocated from San Antonio, TX to Hopedale, Ohio.  The website is being updated too, so I was reading — gasp! — a paper copy.  Many of Cleansing Fire’s readers know that the SJF was a key force and of immeasurable assistance to the laity in resisting church closures.   Some of you came out last May to hear Philip Gray, JCL speak at “Ask a Canon Lawyer,” so I won’t reprise that content-laden presentation.  For any who don’t know, the path to reopening St. Thomas the Apostle began at the St. Joseph Foundation, and with Mr. Gray.  

St. Joseph's Bench at Basilica of the National Shrine of Mary, Queen of the Universe, Orlando FL

St. Joseph’s Bench
at Basilica of the National Shrine of Mary, Queen of the Universe, Orlando FL

But, for now, I just wanted to share a few highlights from the St. Joseph Foundation’s most recent newsletter, which is a retrospective on the 30 years since their founding, and the accomplishments in vindicating the “Rights of All the Faithful.”  Of particular interest may be their data on Latin Masses.  The founder/publisher/chairman, Charles Wilson, reports that in 1984, when the Foundation was founded, there was not a single Latin Mass celebrated weekly in the U.S.  Last year, there were over 400 such regular EF Masses held each weekend, yet still less than 1% of all Masses of Sunday obligation, and about 2 per diocese, on average. 

Here are a few other highlights of interest from this recent newsletter, the first of a 2-part series:

“I doubt if there is a Catholic in North America whose right to the word of God has not been violated to  a greater or lesser degree over the past fifty years….”

Re the Synod: “One thing is clear.  There are bishops, archbishops and cardinals who give every indication of doubting two thousand years of Catholic teaching on the nature of marriage and human sexuality.”

In citing the particulars of one case:  “Then the diocesan bishop unwittingly presented a legal opening.  In his zeal to crush any opposition to the new catechetical program, he declared that the parish had become “dysfunctional” and, unless the parishioners agreed to undergo psychological counseling, the Blessed Sacrament would be removed and Mass would not be celebrated there until it was determined that a ‘reconciled Community existed.’  The Foundation prepared an appeal and arranged for a prominent Italian canon lawyer to represent them in Rome.  In the end, … the Blessed Sacrament was restored and Mass was again celebrated.”

“It is shameful that Catholics who believe their right to true teaching has been violated have so few remedies.  Besides, if many don’t know what true teaching is in the first place, how can they tell if their right to it is being violated?”

“In some parishes the reception of first penance was delayed until the fourth grade…for confirmation until the candidates were in senior high school.”  … “[Sometimes] informal solutions work best because a formal process would take so long that the candidates for confirmation would have graduated from high school and college by the time the matter is resolved.  In one case, parents arranged to take a group of children to a nearby diocese in Mexico by chartered bus… a whole convoy of buses…. “The whole thing was a great success….”  And Mr. Wilson adds, with no doubt a twinkle in his eye:  “I would have loved to have seen the faces on the DRE’s when those young people marched into the office with their certificates of confirmation in hand and asked that they be recorded in the parish registers.”

Regarding the “turning around” of the altar, “Priests who persisted in celebrating Mass ‘facing the wall’ were soon brought to heel.  In one egregious case, diocesan law made the celebration of Mass ad orientem a crime, for which the penalty was suspension.”  The St. Joseph Foundation argued the case to Rome and “the Congregation for Divine Worship agreed” with the Foundation.

“…some 1,000 priests have been trained to celebrate the EF and many have reported that this training influences how they celebrate the OF.”

“The Foundation has been active in assisting private associations and has prepared canonical opinions to support their position and refute false claims that their assets are in fact temporal goods of the Church.”

These are just a few quotes from the recent newsletter.  To get on the St. Joseph Foundation mailing list, write to them at 85882 Waterworks Rd., Hopedale, Ohio 43976 or email to   The new President of the St. Joseph Foundation is Philip Gray, JCL and I’m sure he’d appreciate hearing from those who are delighted to have STA reopened.  I’m also sure that support would be welcomed from those of us who have been there on the front lines, and know that so many of our brothers and sisters in other dioceses desperately need the help which Mr. Gray and the Foundation offer.  They do not charge for the Foundation’s services, but rely on our donations.  This work is too important not to support.



2 Responses to “The Christifidelis Newsletter”

  1. Ben Anderson says:

    Good post – thanks for typing it up.

  2. Hopefull says:

    A lot of these problems occur because of secrecy. See what Bp. Cunningham is thinking of doing and also see the DoR reference here:

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