On the Closure of the Catholic Truth Apostolate…

On the Closure of the Catholic Truth Apostolate…

Editor writes… 

The final Catholic Truth Conference took place in the Burnside Hotel on Saturday, 25 March, 2023.  As promised, the three talks are published on the blog this week, on three consecutive days. The first talk, by Ellen Ward, was published yesterday here.  The second of the three talks, this one on Catholic youth by Anthony Wolfenden is available to read here

My talk, on the closure of the Catholic Truth apostolate follows the introductory  information below…

The Conference began with the recitation of the five joyful mysteries of the Rosary, to mark the Feast of the Annunciation of the Lord, followed by the beautiful hymn, I’ll Sing a Hymn to Mary, to honour Our Lady on this major Feast.  We closed the Conference by singing O Take me to Thy Sacred Heart.  So, first-up,  thanks to Petrus, who played the keyboard for us to accompany the singing.  Much appreciated.

Then, we spent a few minutes welcoming our visitors from England, Ireland and the far north and south of Scotland.  To those from out of Scotland the children-helpers delivered little gift bags, containing Scottish items.  As well as some Scottish Fudge, Macaroon and a little “Scotland” pen, we included The Story of Scotland, as published on a Tea-Towel, in which God describes the mountains and glens and so on that He is giving to this country.  Gabriel asks if God is not being too generous to these Scots, to which God replies:  Not really. Wait till you see the neighbours I’m giving them!  You will find this account of the creation of Scotland in the Book of Genesis.  You’ve just not noticed it yet…

Some of the children, Theresa-Marie, Annabelle, Emily and Aidan, took charge of the religious objects stall and made a very large profit – even before the end of the registration process!  Brilliant.

The youngsters also manned the Fatima / literature stalls and raced round to hand everyone the memento – a St John Ogilvie bookmark – to keep as a reminder of our humble apostolate.  We’ll be including a bookmark in the May newsletter as a gift for readers of the print copy as well.  Every child in the hall, and every young person, the older teens, were perfectly behaved with one of the older boys speaking in discussion intelligently and revealing sound Catholicity. One of the older lads, one of Petrus’s sons, took charge of the microphone during the discussions, and did a first-class job of allowing everyone their say while cutting short those with a tendency to make speeches 😀 Wonderful youngsters.

Since blogger Westminsterfly (WF) had been keen to attend the Conference but for very good personal reasons just couldn’t make it, and to mark his wonderful contributions to our blog and research work for the newsletter over the years, we posted a small gift box to him, containing the same items, and to an Irish reader who contributes regularly to our Letters page and who has almost single-handedly kept the Leprechaun column filled with material which really does fit the full title of that column:  When Irish Eyes Are NOT smiling…”   The Conference audience laughed heartily when I read WF’s response to receiving the Tea-Towel: on the eve of the Conference he wrote:  I’ve submitted your tea-towel to the police as racist hate crime evidence.  I’ve told them where to pick you up tomorrow 😊  LOL!!!

Dr Anne McCloskey, the GP from Derry in the north of Ireland received her goodies in the green tartan gift bag to mark her arrival from the Emerald Isle.  Dr McCloskey is the GP who was suspended from her post after conscientiously speaking out about the vaccine damage suffered by her patients.  She joined our panel for the final Q & A session.

My address to conference was not, as I explained, designed to uplift, inspire or edify.  Unfortunately, my talk is simply “for the record”.  The newsletter is archived at the National Library of Scotland and so, as we draw our apostolate to a close, I was encouraged to ensure a complete, accurate record, given recent, rather unsavoury events within the “traditional” community in Scotland, and the exit of some diocesan priests who had sought publicity for very serious scandals of the double-living clergy kind – details on these issues, to come.  That, and the reason why we had no priest speakers at our final Conference, demanded, I was told, a detailed explanation.  Thus, I apologised for the length of my talk which was necessary to do justice to that requested accurate record; an  explanation as to why the Catholic Truth apostolate is closing. Below, that “explanation”…

When we decided to hold this conference, we invited two well-known priests to speak on The Mass and The Priesthood. I hadn’t planned to speak at all today. I’d forgotten the old saying If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans.”  In any case, I’m told I must provide some background to the closing of the Catholic Truth newsletter and blog.

Before I continue, I want to remind us all that one key miracle of the priesthood is that, no matter how “bad” a priest may appear to be, no matter how much we may be disappointed in him, the fact remains that in giving us the sacraments he stands in the place of Christ.  It is not Father X who absolves us from our sins in Confession, when he says “I absolve you…” Those words come from the priest, but the action of absolving us, of taking away those sins, as we all know comes from Christ. So, nothing I say here changes that and nobody should be disturbed in the Faith by anything you hear today.  Here goes, then…

It soon became clear that the two priests who were asked to speak on the subject of the Mass and the Priesthood were not going to reply to my invitation. Father Andrew Southwell is based in London and is chaplain to the St Catherine’s Trust which runs an excellent annual summer school for youngsters, where they learn about the Faith, attend the Traditional Latin Mass (TLM), make new friends, have fun.  One of the boys who attends, hand-delivered my invitation to Father and brought me his reply: “This is very interesting. Tell her she will have to wait for my reply”. Well, I did.  I waited, and I waited and…  eventually I emailed a polite note of reminder. I wondered if the grapevine had been hard at work and Fr Southwell had heard about my unpopularity, not just with the modernist clergy (old news) but with the SSPX as well—more on that to come.  Fr Southwell is related to the English Martyr, St Robert Southwell, and I’d explained in my invitation that, for that reason, it would be thrilling for all of you to hear him speak on The Mass and the Priesthood.  Still, no reply has ever arrived.

Now, I know there are families here who attend the SSPX Masses in Glasgow, members of my own family included. What I am going to say about the SSPX clergy in Scotland might seem to be uncharitable for it is certainly shocking. It is  not, however, to be dismissed as “detraction”;  hopefully this will become clear. In any case, to protect sensitivities, especially those who know the clergy, I won’t use their names after my first mention—mindful of St Paul’s warning about not serving up meat to those who still can only take milk. (1 Corinthians 3:1-3);  instead I will refer to them by their position of responsibility—Father Prior and Assistant Priest or Fr Curate. Nothing should ever cause us to doubt the Faith, of course, and certainly our Faith should not be dependent on whether we believe any priest, bishop or pope to be “holy”.  Our Lord chose the first twelve apostles, His first priests, personally. They ALL betrayed Him when they took off in fright after His arrest;  it wasn’t just Judas and Peter who betrayed Christ, but all of the twelve.  The ordinary people, the disciples who followed Christ and who gathered to hear him preach at every opportunity, did not lose faith.   Thus, what I am about to recount here, should not make anyone doubt the Faith but should make us all the more aware of the need NOT to put priests, or anyone else, on pedestals. Nothing you hear today should scandalise you to the point of weakening your faith. It should actually strengthen your faith to know that God is coming to us in the Sacraments despite the weakness and even sinfulness of His priests.  For that, and other reasons, it is not wrong to expose scandals whether caused by the clergy or others. Indeed, Pope St Gregory the Great, who, like us, lived across two centuries (6/7th) says that “It is better that scandals should arise than the truth be suppressed.”  Moving on, then…

As well as inviting Father Andrew Southwell to address this Conference, I also invited Fr Nicholas Mary, the SSPX-affiliated priest who lives up on the island of Stronsay where he gives personal one-on-one retreats and runs an online “ministry”.  He didn’t reply either, until I had occasion to write to him on a separate subject and asked if my invitation had been received. Answer “yes” received but declined, saying:  “On the one hand, I would like simply to have accepted, as I think the conferences do great work, and I support them wholly. On the other, I understand that Fr Wall [Fr Prior] and Fr Hennick [Assistant Priest/Curate] have asked you to sign an agreement to abide by certain pastoral preconditions in order to attend Mass at our chapels. I support them too.”    I will spell out this situation and those “pastoral preconditions” shortly.  To those of you who are already dismayed, believing (rightly) that God sent us the SSPX to provide a “lifeboat” to keep alive the Traditional Latin Mass (TLM) and sacraments during this time of crisis, I would say simply that this unprecedented crisis in the Church is found everywhere, and we cannot expect the SSPX to be exempt. Lifeboats do leak, sometimes—they do capsize in heavy seas.

So, when it became clear that the invited traditional priests had no intention of even replying to my invitation, I turned my thoughts to Plan B,  inviting some diocesan priests to form a panel and take questions from the audience about their experience of offering the old and new Masses.  At around this time, I received an email from Fr Linus Clovis, the well-known pro-life activist, a priest of the Archdiocese of Castries, in St. Lucia, West Indies—we correspond from time to time: Father addressed our Conference in 2016, his excellent talk entitled “Francis, A Pope For Our Times”. So, when I replied, I invited him to join that panel and he accepted, since he hoped to be visiting his family in London around this time of year. Unfortunately, due to personal circumstances, he has not been able to come to the UK after all, but promises to remember us all at Mass today.  I also emailed a young English priest south of the border who courteously replied in jig time.  He was keen on the idea but had a genuine reason for not being able to accept.  He did, however, give me the names of other priests, here in Scotland, whom he thought for sure would want to participate. He thought, wrongly as it turned out, that they shared his zeal for souls. I emailed each one, and I also emailed a priest praised by one reader up in the Highlands as being such an obviously “holy” priest… He’ll accept your invitation, for sure. He’s so holy!  Well, I wondered, as I added his name to the list of priests who failed to even acknowledge my invitation: how many saintly souls do that—ignore people? If someone lacks elementary good manners, they are not climbing the heights of holiness. That’s a given.  In fact, I remember a visit from our Parish Priest (PP) years ago, when he enthused about a well known priest associated with the Carfin Grotto, Scotland’s national Catholic shrine.  He was, our PP insisted, very holy, everybody knew it. And every priest who had lived with him said how strict he was, to the point that he was difficult to live with—he was that holy.  Nobody could live up to his standards.  My mother replied, in her gentle way: “Well, Father, I would think that someone who is holy would be very easy to live with.”   Exactly.          

Ultimately, as you now see, we turned to Plan C—a couple of short informative talks on important topics from lay people, and a mostly lay panel to answer your general questions on the state of the Church today under the worst ever pontiff, Francis the First, and we hope, the Last!  Where IS Christ today—we all want to know.

In the light of all of the above, I checked with those involved in organising this event, about just how much I should say on the subject of the closure of the Catholic Truth apostolate, the ignored invitations to priests, and the prohibition on my attendance at the SSPX Masses.   “Everything” was the response from each one.  OK, but first a brief word about false thinking in the minds of some Catholics about criticising priests to add to what I’ve already said, because even today, even in the midst of the most horrendous scandals, there remains a mistaken view that priests are above all criticism; they are providing the sacraments, they are sacrificing wife and family for the sake of the Kingdom of God, they are serving us, so can’t we cut them a bit of slack?  Well, of course, we can cut them a bit of slack. We cut people some slack in all walks of life for their personal flaws, but if, for example, we find a teacher who is teaching false history or muddled maths, if he doesn’t know a noun from an adjective, that’s not the place for “cutting slack”. We need to speak out. The future life prospects of pupils will be adversely affected if we don’t. Priests are in the position of holding our future eternal life prospects in their hands. Thus, if they are obviously failing to teach us and to act in such a  way that their example will lead us to Heaven, Catholics have a right and an obligation to correct them.  You’d think this would go without saying these days, in the wake of the most horrendous clergy scandals imaginable, often not reported or not investigated for years because of the naïve idea that priests can do no wrong—and even if they do wrong, they must not be criticised.  Even those so-called traditionalist Catholics who are all for reporting the wrong-doing of modernist clergy, call “time” when traditionalist priests are in the frame.  I call them “social Catholics” because their main concern is to keep up their friendly relationship with the priests who are regular visitors to their homes for dinner/socialising.  This, is in the spirit of “it’s just too bad if they are harming souls—I enjoy their company!”

I discovered this to my cost when I published an article on our blog challenging a sermon delivered by the SSPX Scotland Prior in Edinburgh, on Trinity Sunday in 2022. (Scroll to 43.58). The sermon wasn’t about the Trinity, it was about Catholics in 1950s Scotland who attended the low Mass rather than the sung Masses which Father Prior prefers. For their crime, they were branded “tick box Catholics” – i.e. they were fulfilling their basic Sunday obligation by going to what he imagines they considered the quickest Mass, i.e. wanting to get Mass out of the way before they went on to enjoy a “family day”. Since my parents (and myself as a child) attended the local parish Mass in the 50’s, I was annoyed to put it mildly, at being branded a “tick box” Catholic.  So I asked Martin Blackshaw [pointed out in the audience] who has been attending the SSPX chapel in Glasgow for around 40 years—to write an article on the subject for discussion on our blog, given the seriousness of Father appearing to belittle the Low Mass in favour of the sung Mass, which has been a concern in Glasgow for years now, not to mention the uncharitable labelling of the fifties faithful as “tick box” Catholics.  I prefaced the article by emphasising that this was not intended as a personal attack on the priest, but as an attempt to correct the divisiveness caused by setting one group of Mass-goers against another, one Mass against another. It never ceases to amaze me that so few people can distinguish between issues and personal attacks.  I never make personal attacks.  My approaches to Fr Prior and the other Society priests have ALL been about issues, such as encouraging them to buy a bigger church with parking provided and good transport links—I never make personal attacks. But, just as I’ve published blog discussions criticising the errors of modernist priests, I felt it was important to address this error coming from a traditionalist priest.  For this, I’ve been prohibited from attending the SSPX chapel in Glasgow, and according to Fr Nicholas Mary’s email just quoted, all and every SSPX chapel. OK, fine. However, for the record, Church Law does not prohibit anyone from entering a church, attending Mass. Thus, several friends exhorted me to attend anyway, that the priest has no right to ban anyone. I know that, but I’ve always been careful to not knowingly impose my company on anyone. That is the standard I applied to this ban. It’s not a recognition of Fr Prior’s imagined “domestic authority” which he cited to justify his action—this has no basis in Tradition, Scripture or Canon Law.

Indeed, the Fathers of the Church have said that the worst sinner on earth might obtain grace and repent just by being present at Mass, so there is no question that Father Prior has overstepped the bounds of his authority by banning me, or anyone else from attending the chapel in Glasgow.  In Church Law, canon—# 915— identifies people openly living in opposition to God’s law as being prohibited from receiving Holy Communion but they may still attend Mass. It’s so hard to believe that any priest would ban anyone from Mass that, at first, I didn’t realise that I was being banned. What, me? This is partly because, more than once Fr Prior had responded to what he sees as my criticisms of the set up at the chapel (my helpful suggestions!) by saying that he really didn’t know why I would want to attend their Masses since I was so critical.  He’d said this to me before so I didn’t think much of it when I read it in one of his emails about the blog discussion. The penny only dropped when I returned from Mass one Sunday to find the following message from him in my inbox: “What I wrote was not just a suggestion or, indeed, the logical conclusion from your continued attitude to St. Andrews and, it seems, to me personally. When I say it must come to an end that means that forthwith you are not to set foot in St. Andrews Church.”  He went on to attack the apostolate and wrote about our “gossip blog”.

Now, given that Fr Prior was advertised as a speaker at our Education Seminar in May 2020 (left) which was cancelled by the venue due to lockdown, it came as quite a surprise to me to read this attack.  And most people who enquired about my absence in the church were appalled to learn the reason for my banning. Only those with a flawed understanding of the relationship between priest and people, took a different view. An example: the man who was approached by one of our organisers, asking if he wanted to purchase a ticket for this Conference replied: “Will the priests be criticised?”  He has no objection to us criticising the Pope but don’t dare say a word about any SSPX priest! He has them round for dinner and chats. The lack of logic reminds me of Sherlock Holmes when he became annoyed at Dr Watson during a camping trip. He’d asked Dr Watson what he deduced from the night sky, since they could see the sky and the stars. Dr Watson gave a detailed scientific answer and a religious response about the wonders of God’s creation, until Sherlock called him an idiot and said he had missed the obvious—someone had stolen their tent!  If a priest bans a member of the faithful from attending Mass in his church, he is wrong—entirely—whether he is a diocesan priest or an SSPX priest.

Canon Law permits the laity to correct pastors when we see cause, and the Gospel instructs us to take our criticism first to the faithful concerned (as I have done several times with the Society priests) and then, if there is no change, to take the matter to the whole Church (Matthew 18:15-17).  We apply this exhortation honestly and fairly.  Modernists and Traditionalists alike are contributing to the horrendous Church crisis and we don’t DO cover-ups. Sorry.

I have to put it on record, however, that I have not sought to alienate people from the SSPX, nor is this my intention today.  On the contrary, I continue to drive my family members into Mass on Sundays and collect them afterwards. In between I travel to one of the Summorum Pontificum parishes for the Sacraments. I have lost my respect for those SSPX priests, of course, not least because of the extent to which they were prepared to go, in order to exclude me from their chapel.  I was, and remain, particularly disappointed in the Assistant Priest whom I had liked as a personable young priest who preaches very good sermons. He had apparently expressed his dissatisfaction with my banning at an early stage, when he remarked to an enquirer that he would have dealt with the matter differently, but in the end he didn’t.  He wrote to let me know that he was siding with Fr Prior.

On 18 August, 2022, at 16.15, the Assistant Priest writes:

“As the curate overseeing St. Andrew’s Church, I find myself enmeshed in a most unpleasant situation but now must take a stand. By no means do I intend the stand to be antagonistic; it is merely transactional. Fr. [Prior], and the pastor of the two SSPX chapels in Scotland, communicated that you were no longer allowed in our chapels until you meet his terms. The terms were communicated as follows:

  1. “a recognition of the harm you have caused us over the years either through your own comments or facilitating the vituperative comments of others”
  2. “an at least grudging apology for the same”
  3. “an undertaking not to enter into fruitless criticisms of the priests who have provided you with the sacraments for years.”

The terms, as written, are reasonable and just. They can be realised both immediately and inconspicuously by means of an email to the pastor. Regardless, even were terms unjust, that would give the innocent party no right to disregard this particular precept barring your admittance, which comes from the domestic authority of the pastor of the chapel. Appeal to the pastor’s superiors is always possible. In your case, however, these have sided with the pastor…

Therefore, this weekend, not only will we have somebody to block your entry but, were you to enter the chapel somehow, I will simply refuse to offer Mass until you have left the premises… In Christ (signed).   Ends. 

To clarify, the superiors, although I copied them into the email correspondence have never contacted me, so it is interesting to read that they sided with the Prior and wanted me to be banned from attending the Glasgow (and perhaps all) SSPX Masses, agreeing that I should apologise even if I don’t mean it.  Such lack of integrity.

Now, over and over again, I’ve been asked why I won’t just apologise to  Fr Prior, if only to salve his pride.  But I did  apologise to him, for that very reason,  publicly, on the blog, when it became clear to me that he was unduly upset about the discussion—I had, in fact, notified him in advance about this discussion, inviting him to contribute a statement which I would include.  He declined.  Or, rather, more accurately, he sent a statement that put him in a really bad light and I wrote again to say so and encourage him to submit another statement.  Nothing.  Anyway, I had posted an apology for causing him upset, explaining that, having been publicly criticised myself, many times in the print-press and broadcasting media nationwide – indeed internationally, having been interviewed by a “gay” Catholic host of an American radio show –  not to mention on this same blog, and having been nominated for Stonewall’s Bigot of the Year Award for exposing something of the extent of homosexuality in the Church in Scotland, I have always taken such criticism as part and parcel of being a Soldier of Christ—so the fact that Fr Prior was reacting in such an extremely wounded manner, puzzled me.  In order to appease him, however, I published an apology on the blog, closed it to comments and then removed it from public view.

That wasn’t good enough, though; I had to fulfil the three part conditions for “re-entry” into Mass, which I’ve just quoted from Fr Curate’s email.  Since that would entail lying, I am unable to comply—no concrete example of the harm I’ve allegedly caused over the years has been provided, despite my requests.  In any event, this whole mentality of demanding apologies is un-Christian and prideful. Our Lord did not demand apologies from His many enemies when they insulted Him, not even during His Passion and Crucifixion.

Throughout the years of our apostolate we’ve had to battle this nonsense, that even if what we report is true about various priests who are spouting error and even living double lives, we should not be publicising it—because that’s causing scandal. No, it is not. It’s following Christ’s example of publicly warning that there are wolves attacking the sheep.

A major error emerged in this conflict with the SSPX – the fact that the priests serving Scotland are of the opinion, (presumably shared by the superiors because, as I’ve already said, I copied them into the email correspondence) that as lay people, we owe the same kind of obedience to our priests, as do monks and nuns who have made vows of obedience to their superior in Religious Life.  This is ridiculous. There is, of course, absolutely no basis for this claim.  It’s fake news.

Turning now to the small number of diocesan clergy who were keen to use our newsletter to publish scandals;  They were nervous of being caught so I  always guaranteed anonymity.   For years, we’ve had to deal with one Father Nicodemus after another. Nicodemus, if you recall, is the Pharisee who visited Our Lord by night.  I tolerated their fear of “guilt by association” and published what I could of the information they provided.

So, in the most recent situation where we sought to expose alleged double-living, and received a lawyer’s letter from one priest who is (allegedly) living a double-life, the priest-sources, from three different dioceses (Glasgow, Paisley, Motherwell) pressed the panic button and I haven’t heard from them since. Laugh? I thought I’d never start. You heard Ellen reminding us of Our Lord’s exhortation not to worry about the things of this world, where we are to live, what we are to eat and wear, but these priests won’t risk not being able to wear their Roman collars—no matter what— and so decided to follow the example of their mobile phones and go back into silent mode.

We had already been discussing the time-scale for closing down the Catholic Truth apostolate. The “will we / won’t we” discussion was over and we were into the “when”.  The weak response from the Nicodemus Club helped us with the “when”  –  and “as soon as possible” was agreed.

If you recall, I reported in the newsletter that I’d sent the list of names of allegedly double-living clergy to the Archbishop of Glasgow – William Nolan—and received no reply. I learnt later that he had raised the matter at a meeting of his priests—not to exhort them to live priestly lives, not to say he was horrified at the possibility that so many of his priests were allegedly living unfaithfully, nope;  he raised it to warn his priests against Catholic Truth; is it Trumpian to say that “every day is April Fool’s day” in the Church in Scotland at this time?  The Archbishop implied that the list [which he’d torn up] was the product of mere gossip. A pity, really, that our priest-sources disappeared in a cloud of terror, because lawyers’ letters get my hackles up and so we were mulling over the possibility of putting a professional private investigator on the case—the same one who had come up with the goods on a previous occasion, some years ago.  The priest who received a visit from the PI on that occasion is now
deceased, so we’ll leave it at that.

We had reached the conclusion some time ago, anyway, that it’s really pointless continuing to report clergy double-living scandals—people don’t care, bishops don’t care. God reveals His anger at this through the Prophet Jeremiah when He announces that “… the prophets and the priests are defiled; and in My house I have found their wickedness…” (Jer 23:11)  and  “My people love such things” (Jer 5:31).  Yes, the people love this crisis, they love the easy-going priests and bishops of the day who do not challenge them in their sinfulness.  That they are “defiled” and “wicked”  clerics is of no concern. They don’t care.

And look around this hall today.  As we know we have several people who have either crossed the border from England to attend this Conference or crossed the Irish sea, and we welcome members of one family who have travelled all the way from Elgin in the north as well as one of our bloggers who has made his way from Berwickshire in the south-east of Scotland.   There are many more, however, who haven’t bothered to cross the city of Glasgow, never mind travel a few miles from other places in the central belt of Scotland.  Clearly, it is time to shake the dust. I know I’m on record in one of our videos as saying that we would be here “for as long as it takes” but I didn’t mean for as long as it takes to end the crisis in the Church because how long is a piece of string!  No, rather “for as long as it takes to mobilise our brothers and sisters in Christ.”  And that’s not happening.

Pope Pius XI explains the problem back in 1925  in his letter Quas Primas (his First encyclical, for the Feast of Christ the King)  where he refers to the slowness and timidity in good people, who are reluctant to engage in conflict  and thus the enemies of the Church become bolder in their attacks.” (Pope Pius XI, Quas Primas, December 11, 1925).  This good Pope goes on to exhort Catholics to fight under the banner of Christ the King, to win souls for Heaven. Yet even now, in 2023, we see the same reluctance in our fellow Catholics, the same fear of conflict. So, no, we  can’t keep going until the crisis comes to an end, but we did keep going for as long as it took to realise that we were not going to out-zeal the zeal of the chief enemies of the Church—the enemies within.

And so, gradually, we saw signs that the end was near and took comfort in the quote from Ecclesiastes (3:1-8)  that there is a time for every purpose under Heaven, and a time to bring each purpose to an end:  here’s an extract from that passage: There is…

A time to be born, a time to die;

A time to plant
and a time to pluck up that which is planted;

A time to kill and a time to heal;

A time to destroy and a time to build;

A time to weep and a time to laugh;

A time to mourn and a time to dance;

A time to scatter stones
and a time to gather stones together;

The entire passage is beautiful but I’ll stop here because the “scattering and gathering of stones” best explains the significance of the closure of our humble apostolate.

Scattering stones was a kind of military tactic in Old Testament times, where stones would be scattered across the ground to hinder an invading enemy army. Later, the stones would be gathered up, to clear the land and prepare it for planting and growth. That’s been our purpose, I believe: to scatter stones, to hinder the modernist march within the Church in Scotland, if only a little. And now it’s time to gather stones together—that is to allow the planting to take place; to take the Faith in all its richness, its doctrines and devotions and plant them in the hearts of those left ignorant and confused by what has been going on in the Church this past almost 60 years now. We read the words of the Prophet Isaiah on this:  “And he fenced it in, and picked the stones out of it, and planted it with the choicest vines, and built a tower in the midst thereof, and set up a winepress therein: and he looked that it should bring forth grapes and it brought forth wild grapes.” (Isaiah 5:2).  

Catholic Truth was set up, remember, to alert our fellow Catholics to the crisis in the Church so that they would act on reading our reports.  So, it’s over to all of you to continue the fight against the modernist stranglehold within the Church, to correct doctrinal errors and to spread the news about important devotions, the choicest vines, such as the Rosary and the First Five Saturdays.  It’s up to you to correct the misguided clericalism which distorts the relationship between priest and people in one way or another.  In diocesan parishes the people play at being priests and the priests take on the role of laypersons; in certain traditionalist circles, as we’ve noted, the priest acts like the Father General of a strict Religious Order–he who must be obeyed!  And as if that’s not enough, we must  also battle the anti-Christian forces — such as the so called “Woke” culture embraced by some of those “defiled” and “wicked” clergy and even taught in our schools, as Anthony points out in his excellent talk.

Let us leave here today, then, armed with the knowledge that the crisis in the Church is, in fact, a crisis in the priesthood; we thank God for those faithful priests who edify us and for whom life cannot be easy, surrounded as they are by less zealous and even unfaithful brother priests.  We treasure those sound priests and pray for them, as we resolve to continue to hinder the modernist march within the Church using every means at our disposal to do so.

Let us resolve, especially, to tell others about the Fatima prophecies—that, knowing there would be a widespread loss of Faith to come in the middle of the 20th century, God sent His Mother to prepare us for it.  Spread this video far and wide, because it gives the full story of the apparitions concisely and accurately.  The  Catholic Truth blog will be closing in early July, so until then, there is a wealth of material on Fatima—and other subjects—published therein, which I would urge you all to access and use in your efforts to contribute to the restoration of the traditional Catholic Faith in Scotland and in the wider UK.

I hope it is now clear to everyone that it really is time to shut up shop at Catholic Truth, while continuing, each one of us, to fight as true Soldiers of Christ, in whatever way we can, to defeat the ongoing Satanic assaults on Holy Mother Church.

Thank you ALL for coming here today and for your wonderful support over the years. God bless you for it—and He will!

Note: A number of kind attendees at the Conference expressed a desire to “do something” about my “situation” but I do not  want this thread to take that shape. I am now attending Mass elsewhere, so that’s the end of that discussion!  I’d like the conversation here to look at ways in which individuals might – in practical terms – continue the fight against the modernist stranglehold in parishes and diocesan offices country-wide, as we wind down Catholic Truth.  It would be useful, also, to reflect on ways to encourage the members of the Nicodemus Club to take courage and stand against the kind of false obedience which is keeping them prisoners of the modernist outrages damaging the Church throughout Scotland in our times.  Let’s agree, too, to pray for all priests, especially for the SSPX priests in Scotland.  Your thoughts…


Comments (52)

  • Petrus Reply


    My answer to how we continue is that I really don’t know. Contributing to social media discussions seems fruitless. Writing to bishops seems fruitless. Sure, God knows our efforts and perhaps we will never know the fruits of our labours. Other than that, I don’t know.

    March 29, 2023 at 9:49 am
    • Antoine Bisset Reply

      I love the double entendre, even when wholly inappropriate. I like to think that my most frivolous comments contain a signpost to a more serious reality. I like to get my excuses in first, also.
      So here is my comment.
      We could join the Band of Hope.

      March 29, 2023 at 11:26 am
      • Josephine

        Antoine Bisset,

        “We could join the Band of Hope” LOL! I love it!

        March 29, 2023 at 11:45 pm
    • Bernie Reply


      Someone on the Catholic Schools blog suggested starting a study group to examine encyclicals – I think it was the one, the encyclical, on Christ the King, but if I go to check I’ll lose all this, LOL! That person said it was just a start, but I’m afraid my first thought was “a talking shop”.

      I think making an odd comment on some social media sites can do good but you have to pick and choose, not to be wasting time casting pearls.

      March 29, 2023 at 11:34 am
      • Petrus

        I did see that suggestion but I would be against it unless there was someone competent with the necessary qualifications leading it. Otherwise, it becomes like a Protestant Bible study, where everyone says what the text “means to them”.

        March 29, 2023 at 3:05 pm
      • Michaela


        I agree. TBH, I don’t see the need for “support” group type of things, I’m more into doing something when I see the need, as when I meet someone who doesn’t have the faith and there is an opening there to speak about Fatima. There’s lots of possibilities now due to the dire state of the world.

        I would agree that we should suss out the encyclicals, and be versed in their teaching, though. With that I would agree.

        March 29, 2023 at 8:28 pm
  • Fidelis Reply


    I appreciate that you won’t want this blog to get out of hand with criticisms of the priests, as it seems they can be quite vengeful, but I hope it is OK to say that the fact that so many of them didn’t even reply to your invitations to speak at the Conference, is appalling. It is disheartening to know that such bad manners is found in the traditional circles as well as the secular priests, but, as you say in your talk, this crisis is everywhere. I think that is what causes so many of us to struggle not to lose heart.
    It’s true what you say – if they don’t even have basic good manners, what hope is there that they are really holy.

    The Conference sounds like it was a great success. That’s fantastic, well done everyone.

    March 29, 2023 at 11:28 am
  • Elizabeth Reply

    Editor, your words make for sad reading and really I am impressed that you have persevered with the blog for as long as you have. The sheer discourtesy of the priests in not replying to your invitations is also sad but not wholly surprising given the reluctance by many priests to have the courage to speak out and the smoke of clericalism which blows round so many.
    I have been pretty much a daily visitor to the blog for years but must acknowledge that I have not contributed very often mostly because I feel I have little useful to say on a topic or it relates to Scottish situations on which I do not have the knowledge to comment. And some of the encounters on medical topics left me more than a little bruised! But I have been impressed by the eloquence and learning of others, especially Athanasius, and will miss their contributions.
    Be of good heart dear Editor! Yours has been a courageous apostolate and only God knows the good it has done. I would have loved to attend the Conference but I have mobility problems that made getting there too problematic. I remember the one I did attend and the warm welcome from your lovely family.
    The way you have been treated by the SSPX is shocking but is exactly how Our Lord said his followers would be received. To deny someone their right to attend Mass is quite dreadful. I hope you have now found a good church to go to.
    What a world we live in and what terrible times for the Church. But we hold fast to the message of Fatima. May we merrily meet in Heaven!

    March 29, 2023 at 12:02 pm
    • Josephine Reply


      You are so right about the shocking treatment of editor by the SSPX. I can’t help wishing they could read these comments – maybe they will – and perhaps they will get round to apologising to her for their outrageously uncharitable behaviour instead of demanding an apology from her. “Man up” as they say.

      March 29, 2023 at 11:50 pm
  • westminsterfly Reply

    Having worked in a similar apostolate in England for some years in the 1990’s, and knowing all the frustrations it brought (both from external and internal sources) I can only take my hat off to Editor CT and crew for keeping the CT apostolate going for as long as they did. I totally agree about the point Editor made about issues being taken as personal attacks, and I would also add, that when various people – clergy and laity – couldn’t defend the indefensible, they often resorted to ad hominem attacks on those of us trying to tackle the issues, instead of examining and addressing the very issues we were bringing to them.
    In these times, there is always the menace of despair lurking around us, when in a human sense, we have so few to turn to in order to seek the sound help and guidance we all need. I find constant solace in the message of Fatima, and urge others to.
    “Many persons,” Sr. Lucia once explained, “feeling that the word penance implies great austerities, and not feeling that they have the strength for great sacrifices, become discouraged and continue a life of lukewarmness and sin.” Then she said Our Lord explained to her: “The sacrifice required of every person is the fulfillment of his duties in life and the observance of My law. This is the penance that I now seek and require.”

    March 29, 2023 at 12:04 pm
  • Faith of Our Fathers Reply

    ED first of all i thank you and your team for keeping this Website Open over the years . As i have said a few times it was what led me to the T.Latin Mass .I also find it sad that Good Priests [ not on here ] get lumped in with not so good Priests . I will miss you all and wish you all the best and all on here the same. As for good and bad Priests not just in Scotland but nearly all over the West . I find it sad that good Priests are being cancelled whilst those who certainly dont preach Catholic Truth are allowed to flourish . It certainly seems that this is now the way of the future ,that Evil will flourish and good will diminish . We are certainly living in The Fatima Times and it really scares me . Not so much for myself as for My Daughter her Man and my Granddaughters. It seems though as if you all had a great time at your Conference . You all deserve it .

    March 29, 2023 at 1:27 pm
  • RCAVictor Reply

    I would like to compliment Editor on the detachment and resignation with which she ends this apostolate. There is not a hint of bitterness or resentment at the continuously disgraceful treatment she has received by corrupt clergy over the years.

    Meanwhile, back at the front, I second WF’s/Sr. Lucia’s/St. Michael’s/Our Lady’s call for penance. It appears we have arrived at the end game before the “period of peace” promised to us by Our Lady of Fatima. This call seems to fit well with an axiom I’ve been frequently reminded of this Lent: if we want to make the world holy, make ourselves holy first.

    Here is a prayer I was handed several months ago, on the back of a prayer card depicting a stained glass window image of Our Lady as crowned Queen, holding the Infant Jesus in her arms:

    “Prayer to live the full grace of the Consecration [to the Immaculate Heart]

    O Virgin most faithful!
    Make me, in all things so perfect
    a disciple, imitator and slave of
    incarnate Wisdom, Jesus Christ, Your Son,
    that I may come, through your
    intercession and your example,
    to the fullness of His age on earth
    and of His glory in heaven. Amen.”

    May Our Lord grant each of us the graces we need to be His faithful and zealous soldiers in this spiritual combat.

    March 29, 2023 at 2:06 pm
    • Laura Reply

      RCA Victor,

      I second everything you say – and had a good laugh at “meanwhile back at the front”, LOL!

      I also love your final prayer – it’s really beautiful.

      March 29, 2023 at 11:47 pm
    • editor Reply

      RCA Victor,

      Thank you for your charity; however, I must confess to having had my “moments” of anger and even bitterness. Believe me, I’m no saint. I’m not crazy (hang on there’s more…) about the extra driving on Sundays, and since I am a professional moaner at the best of times, I don’t exactly suffer in silence as I tour the churches on the Sabbath…

      One has to laugh 😀

      March 30, 2023 at 12:34 am
    • Marinaio Reply

      Yes, RCAVictor, I agree with you that our Dear Editor has shown a genuine graciousness and charity through all of this. It is clear that this is not about axe-grinding at all. This, of course, is how it will be perceived by the priests in question; however, any person of good will can easily see that there is not even a note of rancor. It takes a person with largesse of heart to withstand the “slings and arrows” that have been sent her way.

      The simple fact is: true obedience does not require the following of a malicious order or command. Often, in fact, following an illegal or illicit command is counter-productive to the greater good and is likely both immoral and unethical. If a senior military officer, for example, orders the summary executions of disarmed POWs, every junior officer and enlisted man would be morally obligated to disobey such an order. When this has happened in the past — a senior ordering the deaths of non-combatants — following such orders has led to court-martials. So, while it is obvious that the superior is guilty of both a crime and a sin, the junior cannot say, “I was just following orders”.

      The life of Archbishop Lefebvre is replete with occasions when critical observers said that he was being disobedient. But obedience to malicious demands is not a virtue; and even curates and associate pastors cannot obey their pastors when a pastor is wrong. It is clear that if such a situation occurs, the subordinate is culpable as well.

      Mrs. Marinaio and I congratulate you, Dear Editor, on a most successful conference, and can only say that we honestly wish we could have been there. I know that all of your readers and bloggers will agree with me when I say that Catholic Truth Scotland will be sorely missed; it has made a major difference over the years. God bless you and Our Lady keep you! As they say on the Emerald Isle, “You’ll be remembered in Heaven!”

      March 30, 2023 at 3:27 am
      • editor


        Thank you for your beautiful comment, which, as with other similar kind comments I honestly do not deserve.

        I’ve never heard that Irish saying “You’ll be remembered in Heaven!” So, that explains why I’ve not heard from my Irish cousins and friends for so long 😀

        March 31, 2023 at 5:23 pm
  • Liam Jenkinson Reply

    “The first and obvious duty the Priest owes to the world is service to the truth, the whole truth, the unmasking and refutation of error in whatever form or disguise it conceals itself. !to fail in this would not only be treason against God and your vocation but a crime against the true welfar of your people and your fatherland.” (Pope Pius XI)

    The Cure D’ars said we should please God not the public.

    Cardinal Manning: “You shall find it in the great harvest home upon the eternal hills. ‘They that are learned (that is with the science of God and of salvation) shall shine as the brightness of the firmament and they that have instructed many unto justice as the stars to all eternity). ” Dan.XII2.

    The above sums up Patricia’s apostolate a shining light in the darkness. A crucial role was that she kept us in a state of current awareness and led from the front with great courage and tenacity inspired by the Holy Spirit. A hero of the WW2, Pilot Francisek, refused to fly in squadron formation stating “I fly alone”. This will now be Patricia’s role. However, her legacy and inspiration will continue to inspire and motivate us. She deserves our continuous prayful support.

    “Many Cardinals, Bishops and Priests are on the road to perdition and are leading many souls with them.” (See Our Lady of Garandal the eye witness accounts YouTube.)

    Patricia’s support was invaluable in the transgender issue in the Hallam Diocese which had extensive coverage on Catholic Truth. A great support to what was for me and my family a very lonely furrow. Note this year the child in question in summer of last year and declared he was no longer a girl but a boy.

    The latter event shows the truth of the mystical body of Christ as manifested by Catholic Truth and Patricia for many years. May she be blessed with the strength and courage to carry on flying alone in her new apostolate.

    Love and prayers and God bless in Jesus name,

    Liam Jenkinson and family

    March 29, 2023 at 4:58 pm
  • Catherine Reply

    Thank you Editor, I commend you for dedicating these 24 years of your life to doing God’s work; for tirelessly trying to alert us to the Crisis in the Church; for correcting the errors within the Church – it’s no small miracle (s) when I hear the wonderful stories of the many that have found the Traditional Latin Mass through your newsletters, blog, and conferences; those who have converted to the One True Faith as a result; even those who have found a Traditional Priest from across the other half of the world, to administer the last sacraments to a loved one as a result of coming across your website and blog. I truly believe there are countless souls across the world that have been enriched by coming across this blog online – I therefore, believe and pray that God will reward you for this some day, and like you say, you will continue to be a Soldier of Christ in any way you can hereafter.

    I think what is important for us all now, is to reflect (both clergy and laity) and think how we can continue this work of being a Soldier of Jesus Christ because I truly believe we’ve been warned and that things, unfortunately, are going to get worse – Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us and protect us with your mantle.

    March 29, 2023 at 5:52 pm
    • westminsterfly Reply

      I second that!

      March 29, 2023 at 6:23 pm
    • mary Reply

      Catherine: I wholeheartedly support that. It has helped me enormously.

      March 30, 2023 at 8:48 am
  • Crawford Baptie Reply

    What a fruitless and very sad end to this self-described apostolate, which was, in reality, a gossip column that never actually met any of the conditions to constitute an apostolate and ultimately achieved very little.

    I hope we can all now take some time to reflect upon the fact that perhaps maybe, just maybe, some of the criticisms coming from various modernist Novus Ordo priests and bishops, alongside traditionalist SSPX priests and bishops were, in actual fact, correct – Catholic Truth Scotland was indeed, at times, destructive, malicious and sinful.

    There is a tragic irony in the fact that the Editor of this blog wasted all those years demanding a stricter, more clerical and traditionalist Church, only to be eventually banned by a hierarchical, conservative church demanding total obedience.

    In reality, it was obvious to everyone (except perhaps those at CTS?) that there was never any place for a lay-led movement, not least one led by a lay woman, within a traditionalist culture, based upon a restoration of the pre-Vatican II Church.

    Paradoxically, CTS was very much the fruits of VII, CTS would never have been permitted during the mythical 1950s Catholic golden age.

    This blog comes to an end, just as it began – embroiled in undignified, public petty bickering with the SSPX this time, rather than the Scottish Church.

    The swansong above is one long embittered litany of priests ‘lacking integrity’, priests being ‘painted in a bad light’, SSPX faithful having a ‘flawed understanding’ and so on, without any hint of humility or contrition.

    Indeed, a psychologist might even suggest that CTS was ultimately the story of one lay person’s subconscious resentment towards an all male priesthood, judging by just how many times priests are mentioned and the various ways in which they are constantly criticised.

    The narcissism contained in saying ‘I will not apologise because Jesus did not apologise’, is very telling, if not unexpected.

    Even as CTS whimpers out with a poorly attended afternoon tea in a provincial hotel, which was declined by scores of priests and lay faithful, there is still appears to be no self-examination.

    March 29, 2023 at 6:46 pm
    • Michaela Reply

      What a very unpleasant comment.

      You must have been reading a different article from me, because I didn’t read that “scores of priests and lay faithful” declined to attend the Conference. In fact, one of the most famous priests in the world wanted to attend but couldn’t make it (from the other end of the world). I searched for him when reading that he had spoken at a CTS conference in the past and found this blog on him.

      Also, there are plenty of lay faithful who would have loved to attend but just could not make it, but that doesn’t mean we don’t support and appreciate CTS – we do, 100%.

      I think if we knew your real identity it would prove to be very telling, as you come across as being full of hatred for Patricia and to my mind that speaks of someone who knows her and has wronged her and knows he’s guilty of that wrong. I won’t put it any more strongly than that.

      March 29, 2023 at 8:24 pm
    • westminsterfly Reply

      ‘Crawford’s’ comment has a very strong whiff of one of Pat Buckley’s disciples, if you catch my drift . . .

      March 29, 2023 at 8:46 pm
    • Athanasius Reply

      Crawford Baptie

      There is a striking sense of bitterness in your comment. I wonder what issue of conscience caused you to write it. Sadly, your words represent the downside of social media and the cowardice that cloaks itself in anonymity.

      March 29, 2023 at 9:45 pm
    • RCAVictor Reply


      Your supercilious post reeks of the very characteristics of which you falsely accuse this apostolate.

      March 30, 2023 at 8:11 pm
  • westminsterfly Reply

    Re-reading Editor’s article reminded me of a sad situation in my novus ordo days, way back when, and the appropriateness of propinquity to Catholic priests. My parish priest at the time – although not my ideal priest, by any means, even back then – was nevertheless an approachable and very kind man. He came to my home and dined with me on a few occasions. He met other priests in my home. He also became a kind of ‘spiritual director’ for a local group of religious that I told him about. When I began to complain to him about liturgical and other abuses in his parish, his ‘friendship’ noticeably cooled. He said to me after Mass one day that he felt he was being ‘watched by an owl’ whenever I attended Mass. As things got worse in the parish, my complaints increased, and on one occasion, because of the actions of a modernist nun in the parish, who exhibited tendencies to grave evil, I threatened to organise a protest of other parishioners to stop this nun from promoting the ‘Enneagram’ in the parish hall. I will never forget the anguished response in a phone call from the priest: “I thought you were my friend . . . ” In other words, in order to maintain that ‘friendship’, I had to keep quiet. Anything else would be considered some kind of betrayal – although those words were not said, they were implied. The irony is that he had no time for this nun or the Enneagram. Anyway, I didn’t keep quiet. But although the ‘friendship’ with the priest never really fully recovered, he never banned me from Mass. I stopped attending the novus ordo when he retired, and later the priest went abroad and I remember writing to him once or twice, and then I heard he’d died. I think the lesson to learn here is to keep an appropriate relationship with priests, no matter how ‘great’ you apparently find them, and to stand up to any clerical errors even when there is a cost to yourself. My ‘cost’ was very small. I think Editor’s is much greater, and may God bless her for it.

    March 29, 2023 at 7:49 pm
    • Catherine Reply


      I agree, the cost of standing up for the truth has cost the editor more than most. Most people will never know how much.

      March 29, 2023 at 8:33 pm
  • FDS Reply

    It’s shocking to see Patricia banned in sppx churches which they have no right to do so. It’s not their church but God’s church and also our monies which was used to fund that church etc. It’s a blatant abuse of their power to ban any parishioner such as editor of this blog.

    Its descipable to see re Nolan exhorting against CTS in particular. No wonder from my recollection, he was against Fr Despard when he was a lowly monsignor at that time. BTW, i have read his book as its available for free.

    Re attacks on Sppx, it was Christine Niles of church militant who first set the trend of attacking sppx, not CTS or Patricia. Sppx have some problems here in Ireland during Covid lockdowns cos one abuser from abroad was welcomed but was sent back home months later.

    The only problem that I have had with CTS was their full support towards Trump via their articles which I disagreed.

    Finally, it would be ideal to use a private investigator to back up CTS claims as we could contribute it as well.

    March 29, 2023 at 10:10 pm
  • Frankier Reply

    A couple of sayings come to mind on reading this sad, to me anyway, ending to the Catholic Truth blog, although completely understandable. “When the cat’s away the mice will play” and “You never miss the water ‘til the well runs dry.” I feel that will be the case here.

    When I happened to chance on the Catholic Truth newsletter, more a two-page pamphlet, a few years back, I couldn’t believe my luck that I had found people who had the same concerns as me regarding how the Church was heading. I thought I was the only person in the world with doubts.

    I can honestly say that, during all the years since, I still haven’t come across anyone, bar one maybe, in the parish or diocese in which I live who share the same sentiments as myself. I attend a parish which only has a vigil Mass on a Saturday, has no dedicated time for confessions far less holy devotions and the church is closed all week. I used to go to monthly confessions and holy communion during the Fatima devotions in a parish over ten miles away but shortly before Covid they were stopped owing to the failing health of the very pious lady who ran them. Communion on the tongue is still banned but I was lucky to get to confessions and holy communion on the tongue at the veneration of St Padre Poi’s relics in Barrhead last week, the first time for over a year.

    I haven’t been much of a contributor over the years, I left most comments to people more enlightened, but I have learned and enjoyed. I am sorry that I will be back where I started all those years ago with “no one to talk to” and I feel a bit sad.

    However, I wish to thank Editor for giving up so much of her time/life enriching us with her love of the Faith and her knowledge. I find it incredible that she should be treated in the way she has without even a trial of sorts. Talk about kangaroo courts!

    I was brought up on stories from the pulpit about the suppression, jailing and torture of people like Cardinal Mindzenty and Archbishop Stepinac by the communist authorities but I never in a thousand years thought that I would see a persecution of faithful Catholics on our own doorstep.

    Catholic Truth’s good work will sadly be seen when it’s too late.

    March 29, 2023 at 10:27 pm
  • Athanasius Reply

    I think Editor has shown great restraint in her comments regarding her excommunication from the SSPX – I’m not quite so tolerant!

    It’s worth pointing out here for the record that in 2011/12, when the then-UK District Superior of the SSPX took up arms against Bishop Fellay for daring to hold reconciliation talks with Pope Benedict XVI, this blog stood alone in defence of His Excellency. So angry was the District Superior with Editor and I at the time that he came to our Glasgow church to warn us from the pulpit that he was not averse to “cutting off limbs for the good of the body”. In other words, he was threatening to expel us from the SSPX for doing the right thing. I remonstrated respectfully with him in the sacristy after Mass that day, asking where he imagined he got the authority to excommunicate, and his response was to physically assault me. Still, he remained sufficiently Catholic not to follow through on his excommunication threat, for he knew that such a move would represent an unprecedented break with the mind and heart of the Church, which is the mind and heart of Christ, Our Lord.

    Sadly, said priest later left the SSPX and joined up with some sedevacantists. For his part, Bishop Fellay thanked Catholic Truth for the position it took in defence of the Society. His Excellency certainly didn’t consider the CT blog to be a “gossip blog”. That particular calumny has been uttered many times, but only by those whose dangerous behaviour is brought out into the light of day.

    I have to say for balance’ sake that having been affiliated with the SSPX for 40 years, my observation has been that the vast majority of the Fraternity’s 600 or so priests are holy and pious souls, despite their human failings. The two we have in Scotland at present, like the aforementioned District Superior who left, are quite unique in their authoritarian approach, which, as I have remarked to them directly, is more representative of the spirit of the Pharisees than that of Our Lord. In this regard, if I have one major concern about the SSPX, it is that seminarians are not sufficiently trained in pastorality. This is where we greatly miss the structure of the Church at diocesan/parish level. If the Church was healthy then this kind of abuse of priestly authority would have been swiftly addressed. If there is “slack” to cut in relation to the two priests in question, it is that they are both converts to the faith and therefore perhaps do not fully understand that the Catholic Church has never forbidden a single soul from attending Mass, much less use this means of our Redemption to blackmail a soul into not attending, which action, and I do not hesitate to say it, borders on sacrilege.

    I wrote to all SSPX superiors, both in the UK and Menzingen, about this and other concerns in Scotland, but was met with silence at the higher level. I did, however, receive a response from Bishop Stephen Robson in the matter of this fabricated excommunication and it was refreshingly Catholic. His Excellency pointed out, as we already knew, that putting someone out of a church is a very serious matter indeed. He then suggested that the issue be addressed with some urgency to the SSPX hierarchy in Menzingen, since there may well be abuse of clerical authority involved. Poor soul didn’t know that I had already had recourse to Menzingen, as did Editor, and the response was deafening silence. But it does show that good Catholic bishops recognise immediately that something is seriously amiss in this business of priests putting people out of their church with menacing threats.

    In this regard, I wrote to Fr. Curate about the matter, reminding him of the scandal it represents to souls and pointing out that such clerical behaviour is far removed from the spirit of Our Lord. His response, though, which was unexpectedly nasty in tone, was more or less a warning that Fr. Prior already had permission from his superior to expel me from the SSPX as well, so I would do well to keep my mouth shut. He clearly doesn’t know me very well!

    In fine, we should pray hard for these priests and all priests, for their judgment will be so much more exacting than ours given the holy vocation Our Lord has entrusted them with. “To whom more is given, more is expected”. That’s a daunting burden! Yes, priests can fail like the rest of us because they’re human. But putting souls out of the church and threatening public suspension of Our Lord’s Sacrifice to enforce compliance is, sorry to say, in a category all on its own. We should be seriously concerned for the eternal salvation of any priest who could even contemplate such an abomination. We should also be seriously concerned about the Catholic formation of lay people who fail to see just how serious this is and remain unmoved by it. Before Vatican II, there would have been general consternation amongst the faithful. Makes me wonder just how many so-called Traditional Catholics actually know the Traditional teaching of the Church or care.

    For me personally, and I have witnessed some incredible clerical scandals over the decades, this one act of these two SSPX priests has scarred me in a way the others did not. I know that if Archbishop Lefebvre were alive he would have been appalled and would have acted immediately to correct the supernatural harm done, but sadly he is not here to act and the one who sits in his place as Superior General is not remotely as Christlike. It is yet one more reminder that the crisis in the Church is nothing more or less than a crisis in the clergy.

    As Editor points out, however, these priests can still provide valid masses and sacraments to us, however unworthy they may be as individuals, so we cannot allow ourselves to be cast down too much. I can’t remember the name of the saint who once said that those who give scandal commit supernatural murder and those who take scandal commit supernatural suicide. Let us please avoid either tragedy and pray for our priests, even the worst of them, asking Our Lord to take away the blindness of pride and pour forth his charity into their priestly souls that they may burn with holy zeal and pious love for God and the souls entrusted to their care.

    March 29, 2023 at 11:13 pm
    • RCAVictor Reply


      Your former District Superior’s threat to expel you from the SSPX was not only absurd on its face, it was at odds with what I was told during my almost 8 years with them: that only the faithful who are SSPX Third Order members actually “belong” to the SSPX. Other faithful who attend their chapels do not belong to the Society.

      So that appears to have been a threat to terminate the membership of someone who was not a member (unless you are a Third Order member, that is)! You know, sort of like trying to indict Trump for crimes he didn’t commit….

      March 30, 2023 at 2:39 pm
      • Athanasius


        I hadn’t heard any SSPX priest say that before, but it makes sense – or rather it doesn’t make sense because it’s cult, not Catholic! Well pointed out.

        March 30, 2023 at 8:22 pm
  • Josephine Reply


    I loved the little tartan gift bags idea for the visitors – that’s sure to help cross-border relations, LOL!
    It goes without saying that it is beyond the pale to exclude anyone from any Catholic church. I’ve never heard of that happening before, but I can’t think of any way to improve on what Athanasius has said so eloquently.

    It’s wonderful that the Conference was such a success and I’m sure there are many of us who were unable to attend who would have loved to have been there, despite what the nasty commentator says at 6/46pm today. There’s always one!

    March 29, 2023 at 11:44 pm
  • editor Reply

    Thank you, everyone, for your supportive comments and for understanding that it would be wrong to dismiss the SSPX as “the bad guys”… As Athanasius points out, the majority of the priests are sound priests and it’s unfortunate that I had not better gauged Fr Prior’s possible reaction to my criticism of his Trinity Sunday sermon; nor did I sense that what I thought of as helpful suggestions to improve life at the Glasgow chapel, were seen as hostile criticisms. I can be slow at times! Had I been more insightful in that regard, I would not have put Father’s patience to the test as I clearly did, albeit unintentionally, which is – more or less – what I said when I apologised on the original blog thread. Anyway, water under the bridge now.

    Again, sincere thanks to everyone who attended the Conference and who contributed to this discussion today.

    The May newsletter – actually it will be (and this is a first albeit, ironically, in the last edition) dedicated to both the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Sacred Heart of Jesus so this will be the May/June edition – and that will be out soon, our final newsletter. Thereafter the blog will remain open until on or just before 5 July. Thus, you may want to copy the pdf newsletters from the Newsletter page and any other comments from various topic threads. If you blog elsewhere, you will be able to use those excellent and well researched comments from time to time.

    For now, a repeated thank you for all your kind support this weekend, and today on this thread. God bless.

    March 30, 2023 at 12:22 am
  • littlebellsofgold Reply

    Very well said Athanasius, I hope I can replicate your Charity. I am struggling to find some Charity for the two SSPX priests in Scotland and the Superior of the British Province in England.

    Although the Prior has not been in attendance for most of the past few years at St Andrew’s, it must be clear to all of these priests that most of the recent converts received in St Andrew’s Chapel have been as a result of their encounter with the Catholic Truth blog or newsletter. Also most of the newcomers to both St Andrew’s and St Margaret and St Leonard’s in Edinburgh ( these refugees from Novus Ordo Land!) have been inspired by this apostolate. Or perhaps that is the rub!

    I have been a supporter of the Newsletter and Blog since well nigh the beginning, and have witnessed the very real good it has achieved over these years.

    I thought the Editor’s address to the Conference on Saturday was excellent. I think all these things had to be said. As the crisis in the Church deepens, we must warn others who are not yet aware of these dangers. Most people do not fully appreciate all the opposition the Editor has had to face over these years.

    I hope someday, someone will write a record of what has been attempted and what good has been achieved

    March 30, 2023 at 1:11 am
    • editor Reply


      Your generous comment is hugely appreciated if entirely undeserved.

      When these times come to be written up by historians, they will see from the record of Catholic Truth lodged in the National Library of Scotland that there was some fightback from the laity, however inadequate, during this time of crisis in the Church in our neck of the woods. They will be able to compare that to the record of the dissidents which, I have no doubt, will also be logged in the National Library. Interesting times ahead – for the historians, at least 😀

      March 30, 2023 at 2:29 pm
    • Athanasius Reply


      You make a very good point, which is that many of the converts who have come to the SSPX in Glasgow have done so as a result of reading this blog and the CT newsletter. It has been Catholic Social Action such as the Traditional Popes praised and exhorted.

      March 30, 2023 at 2:40 pm
    • Julian Reply

      You have written…’recent converts received in St Andrew’s Chapel have been as a result of their encounter with the Catholic Truth blog or newsletter.’

      While this may well be true, the SSPX hierarchy seem to be under the misapprehension that Catholic Truth Scotland has driven far more individuals away from the society and away from traditional Catholicism in general.

      This is why they are seeking to distance themselves from what they feel to be a negative presence within their chapels.

      Sadly, I suppose that decision is up to the Society and those of us who continue to attend SSPX chapels must respect their decision in the spirit of fidelity and faithfulness.

      March 30, 2023 at 6:48 pm
      • Josephine


        I think there’s a mountain of difference between “seeking to distance” themselves and banning someone from attending Mass.

        Do you know the priests concerned?

        March 30, 2023 at 8:16 pm
      • Athanasius


        As any Traditional Catholic will tell you, “fidelity and faithfulness” to clergy very much depends on the clergy’s fidelity and faithfulness to God. That’s why we don’t go along with the Vatican II rebellion. Catholics are not slaves to a priest or bishop’s will, they are free children of the Church whose obedience to such authorities very much depends on whether they’re trying to save our souls or destroy them. Personally speaking, I don’t “respect” bad priests, regardless of their affiliation. I pray for them, yes, but I have little respect for them and I certainly will not become a door mat for them under the guise of fidelity and faithfulness. This is why the Church is in the mess it is today!

        March 30, 2023 at 8:20 pm
      • Michaela


        Did the priests actually tell Editor that she has driven people away from the SSPX and from traditionalism in general? I’d say they had a duty to do that – if she’s been a spiritual danger to souls, she should have been told, surely?

        I don’t respect their decision to ban her or anyone from Mass. How dare they! And TBH if you had anything like a proper understanding of the faith, you would not be respecting them either.

        March 30, 2023 at 9:44 pm
  • Petrus Reply

    There’s actually very, very few occasions when a lay Catholic must show fidelity to the wishes of an individual priest. Especially in non-doctrinal matters.

    March 30, 2023 at 8:42 pm
    • Julian Reply

      Goodness you sound like a modernist ‘my conscience comes first’ type.

      If numerous pastoral and traditionalist SSPX priests of good standing, tell you that you are clearly spreading scandal and gossip over a number of years.

      And in good faith and by their charity, they advise you to recant before receiving communion because you are evidently not in a state of grace…then they are doing their duty and taking good care of our souls.

      Do you want priests to turn a blind eye to sin?

      Sometimes it’s hard for us to be told the truth about ourselves. Yes we should be faithful to God before priests but be careful your not placing loyalty to CTS and fidelity to friends before faithfulness to God and his holy Church.

      March 30, 2023 at 10:39 pm
      • Josephine


        Who said there were “numerous” priests etc?

        Are you accusing Editor of being in a state of sin? Well, that’s a first – I’ve never met anyone who had the sheer nerve to make such a judgement on another person’s soul. I think you should take yourself off to somewhere that you will feel more comfortable, you won’t like it here with people of good will.

        March 30, 2023 at 10:58 pm
      • Petrus

        No, I am not one of those types. I’m simply stating a fact.

        You are missing the point entirely. Canonically, a priest cannot ban a Catholic from attending Mass. They can, under limited circumstances, withhold Holy Communion, but not them from being at Mass.

        March 31, 2023 at 12:10 am
      • Athanasius


        Absolutely right. There is no record in the history of the Catholic Church of any soul being forbidden access to Mass, not a single precedent recorded at any time in her 2000-year existence. Catholic Tradition, then, is Editor’s vindicator.

        What Editor was subjected to was cult behaviour, pure and simple. There was no justification for the evil perpetrated against her, as Julian should know. If he doesn’t know then he is more to be pitied than scorned for his ignorance of the Church and the Traditional Faith he claims to hold.

        March 31, 2023 at 12:37 am
      • Lily

        Too right, Athanasius. I’ve never known anyone to be banned from Mass. Even the drunks who were kept out of Midnight Mass for obvious reasons, weren’t banned, the pass-keepers just suggested that they go home and sleep it off and come back in the morning, LOL!

        It is a shame, I’ve heard friends who attend the SSPX say that there is a definite cult-like attitude now, that’s the downside. Maybe their work is now finished, in that they’ve kept the traditional Mass and sacraments going and now the secular priests are taking on that work. Francis’s attempts to strangle the old Mass won’t work, it’s already failing, as more bishops and priests are ignoring Traditiones Custodes. Maybe not in Scotland but in other places, especially in the USA. Personally, I’m resigned to the Church disappearing here, there’s nothing we can do about it, really, but unless the SSPX stops being so cultish, they’ll soon be finished here as well, IMHO.

        March 31, 2023 at 11:03 am
  • Julian Reply

    ‘Do you know the priests concerned?’.

    Yes I think so and if it is the priest I’m thinking of then he seems like a good lad and an honest bloke but I could be wrong?

    Maybe you could re-hire the aforementioned ‘Catholic Truth Scotland Private Investigator’ and have all the priests you dislike, followed and spied on again?

    March 30, 2023 at 10:24 pm
    • Josephine Reply


      So editor was correct when she said that the people don’t care about bad priests – you’ve just proved that! Jeremiah showed us how much that angers God. You lump them together as priests that she/we “dislike” – weird. I didn’t see anything about disliking anyone in her talk. You, on the other hand, are full of hatred, which is interesting since you outed yourself as being an SSPX Mass-goer.

      As for the priest in Glasgow being “a good lad and an honest bloke” – hardly respectful is it?! LOL!

      March 30, 2023 at 10:55 pm
  • editor Reply

    Josephine, and others who have responded to the latest (insert adjective) troll, thank you for your efforts but there’s no point; that (insert another adjective) nut troll is beyond reasoning. Indeed, it is my considered opinion that the only nuts worth bothering about are those covered in milk chocolate 😀

    You won’t hear from that (insert yet another adjective) troll again, so sweet dreams folks!

    March 30, 2023 at 11:10 pm
  • editor Reply

    N O T I C E . . .

    This is really NOT the most urgent matter of the day, but I forgot to post it here, at the time.

    At the end of the Conference, I was presented with two beautiful bouquets. Spectacular red roses, and then another gorgeous floral display set in a cardboard “vase”.

    I was asked simply to read out the card:

    With deep gratitude from all your friends, bloggers, readers.

    However, I don’t recognise the handwriting and nobody is admitting to being the author or purchaser of this wonderful floral display, so if anyone can enlighten me, I would be very grateful. I’d like to offer my personal thanks to the “friend, blogger, reader” responsible for such a thoughtful, kind presentation.

    I’ll post this notice on the Conference talk thread as well, in the hope that the “guilty party” sees it at some point and owns up 😀

    For now, be assured of my sincere gratitude – I was very touched to receive both bouquets.

    April 13, 2023 at 3:52 pm

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