Jesus said, I have said all these things to you to keep you from falling away. They will put you out of the synagogues. Indeed, the hour is coming when whoever kills you will think he is offering service to God. And they will do these things because they have not known the Father, nor Me.—John 16:1-3.
What is interesting about Our Lord’s above prediction for the coming persecution against His Apostles in Acts of the Apostles is that the Jewish leaders who would kick them out of “the synagogues” would do so because they would believe “they are offering service to God.” In other words, the religious leaders who happen to have the power over buildings will kick out the true religious who are preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ to all nations (that is, the newly ordained Apostles.)
Although this was meant for the First Century, I find it also applies to many of the canceled priests of the 21st century: It is now due to “obedience” why traditional priests such as Fr. Michael Rowe of Perth, Australia (top-left) and Fr. Fábio Fernandes of São Paulo, Brazil (top-right) have just been removed from their parishes. They are not being removed for any accusations of moral failures against them. Rather, they are being removed for simply teaching and worshipping as Catholics have done for 2,000 years. Hence, those ejecting them actually believe they are “offering service to God.” (Jn 16:2) precisely because of the chain-of-command they claim to the top.
The Archbishop of Perth wrote this letter on 11 Dec 2023: “On 19 September 2022, I issued the Norms for the Implementation of the Motu Proprio Traditionis Custodes that came into force that same day. In these Norms I established the procedure to be followed by a priest who seeks authorisation to celebrate Mass using the Roman Missal approved by Pope John XXIII in 1962. Fr Rowe has been made fully aware of this procedure. I note that it is now over twelve months since the issuing of those norms. As of today’s date, Fr Rowe has not sought my authorisation to celebrate the Mass using the Roman Missal promulgated by Saint John XXIII in 1962.”
Thus, for simply failing to seek in writing the permission to continue offering the old Mass, the letter contains the punishment against Fr. Rowe and his parish community: “Consequently, as of the date of this letter, Fr Rowe is no longer authorised to celebrate the Mass using the Roman Missal of 1962 at the church of St Anne, Belmont, or any other location in the Archdiocese of Perth. For the avoidance of doubt, it has never been my intention that either the celebration of the Mass using the Roman Missal of 1962 be discontinued at the church of St Anne, or the community itself be ‘closed down’… Therefore, and as of today’s date, I have formally revoked Fr Rowe’s appointment as both the rector of the church of St Anne, Belmont, and as the spiritual leader of the community that gathers there to celebrate the Mass using the Roman Missal promulgated by Saint John XXIII in 1962.”
Fr. Rowe retains his sacramental faculties as a priest in good standing in the Archdiocese of Perth. But not only did Fr. Rowe not do anything wrong, he even recently wrote to his parish about their numerous successes:
“Our community has grown exponentially since that time, growing from around 30 people when we started in 1996 in the Pro Cathedral to the 850 odd ‘parishioners’ that now regularly attend Latin Masses at Belmont. Over that time our community has fostered at least 9 vocations to the priesthood and religious life, and continues to be a thriving parish with frequent baptisms, confirmations, first Holy Communions and marriages coming from within this community. Over the last 15 years, we have calculated that over $1 million has been spent on improving the land and property at St Anne’s Belmont…”
Fr. Fábio Fernandes of São Paulo, Brazil was also removed from his parish for simply being a traditional priest. The Archbishop of São Paulo demanded in Nov 2023 that he make a public adherence of faith to “the Second Vatican Council in its totality” and “the Magisterium of Pope Francis.” That is even more outrageous than the 1981 forced-resignation of Dom Antônio de Castro Mayer. As most of you know, Dom De Castro Mayer was the bishop of Campos, Brazil up until that time, but he had refused to institute the “liturgical changes” demanded of him by Rome through the 1970s. His life is beautifully captured in the book Mouth of the Lion by US Naval Academy professor David Allen White.
Fr. Fernandes is not groveling for mercy at the feet of a modernist, either. Rather, he has doubled-down in his traditional convictions. He has written several paragraphs, including these two encouraging ones to the faithful:
“One day, Our Lord Jesus Christ, who does not sleep and watches over us, according to his unfathomable designs and in accordance with His most Holy Will, will intervene implacably in this perplexing crisis of the Church and this entire storm will turn into a calm. The foundations of the Church will be repaired; the Catholic faith will be restored in the visible Church and will return to Rome, dioceses, parishes and families. Therefore, what is up to us is to remain in the true Catholic Faith without letting ourselves be influenced by the errors of the modernism of the Second Vatican Council, the Lutheranized ‘new mass’ and ‘synodality.’ And the grace of God, which has its mysterious ways, will do the rest through us and through those who come after us—all of us being His poor instruments.
“Let us be aware that everything we are facing will bear good fruit for souls today and for future generations, because despite our miseries and sins, if we suffer sincerely out of love for God Our Lord who suffered everything for us, contributing to the preservation and transmission of Tradition and the Catholic Faith, promoting the freedom and exaltation of the Holy Church and collaborating for the custody of the traditional family, the beneficiaries will be those for whom Our Lord Jesus Christ died on the cross, whose effects of grace will be poured out in spiritual fruits upon our country, upon our families, upon the recipients of our apostolate and upon all of us.”
Thanks to Anthony Stine at Return to Tradition for bringing both these good priests to our attention.