Kansas: Priest says a prayer before House session. Hijinx ensues.

Priests and lay people need to rally around Card. Dolan and the whole USCCB in its effort to uphold the 1st Amendment, religious liberty rights not only of Catholics, but of all Americans in the face of blatant attacks by Pres. Obama and his Administration.

We need to give voice to our concerns in the public square and not allow ourselves to be intimidated into silence.

On that note, here is something a reader sent me from LJWorld.com with my emphases and comments:

Kansas House prayer gets political
By Scott Rothschild
March 15, 2012

TOPEKA — A prayer to open the House session on Thursday included comments about abortion, same-sex marriage and religious freedom.

Father James Gordon of St. John Vianney in Maple Hill, delivered the prayer, saying, “We ask you to strengthen our understanding of traditional marriage: one man and one woman. We ask you to bring us back to virtuous morals in society, morals that kept us from killing a child in the womb through abortion.

“We ask you to defend us now in the fight for true religious freedom and freedom of conscience, that seems to be threatened now in the public sphere.”

Gordon was a guest of Rep. Mike Kiegerl, R-Olathe. People who are invited to lead the daily prayer to open the House session are asked to steer away from political topics. [He was asked.  He declined.]

House Speaker Mike O”Neal, R-Hutchinson, said Gordon’s prayer “arguably went beyond” those guidelines.

House Minority Leader Paul Davis, D-Lawrence, said the prayer was inappropriate. [Ooooo… that’s about as bad as it can get!  “Inappropriate!”]

“The prayer needs to be ecumenical,” Davis said. [I think most religious groups, including Muslims and orthodox, observant Jews, would accept a prayer that included mention of morals, marriage and life.  These are things we embrace because of reason, not merely because of revelation.  Davis might not know what ecumenical means.  Unless he means: “It challenged my pro-choice, pro-homosexual political agenda I hold as a Democrat, and therefore it is not ‘ecumenical’.”]

Thomas Witt, executive director of the Kansas Equality Coalition, which advocates for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered persons, said, “Prayers at the beginning of the each day’s session of the Legislature are meant to ask for the blessings of the creator. Using prayer to launch political attacks against one’s opponents is unacceptable.”  [It wasn’t a political attack.  It was a prayer.  Liberals who promote perversity always turn issues of natural law into political “policies”.]

Someone prayers a prayer that isn’t vague and generic pabulum and the left has a nutty.

Most ministers of religion probably go all wobbly at the prospect – nay rather – the incredible prestigious wondrous ineffable honor of being able to stand up there in the focal point of secular political power and say a few words.  They therefore utter a few treacle-laden sentiments which anyone would be entirely right to ignore and then go home, probably bearing a little “Kilroy Was Here” certificate to put on the wall, perhaps alongside the photo that was taken.  There is always a temptation to bend to secular pressure.  I don’t know how good military chaplains walk this line day in and day out, but some of them do, and do it properly while maintaining their Catholic identity.

WDTPRS kudos to Fr. Gordon.

BTW… Fr. Gordon has the letters FSSP after his name.  He is a member of the Fraternity of St. Peter.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Brick by Brick, Fr. Z KUDOS, Just Too Cool, Mail from priests, New Evangelization, Our Catholic Identity, Priests and Priesthood, Religious Liberty, The future and our choices, The Last Acceptable Prejudice, Throwing a Nutty and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Liz says:

    God bless and protect, Fr. J. Gordon and the good senator who invited him. Good for them!

  2. Darren says:

    Molto kudos to Fr. Gordon!

    I am sure he knew what was to follow, but he went ahead with it anyway. He will probably face unending attacks in the local and state media… perhaps all over the country. And I am sure he expects it. Yet, he prayed for truth anyway. Many prayers for him, for all priests and bishops, and anyone willing to stand up for Truth.

  3. SonofMonica says:

    It’s amazing what courage priests can have when they know their superiors will back them up! May St. Michael the archangel defend Fr. Gordon.

  4. Jim in Seattle says:

    Deo Gratias! And pray for Fr Gordon and all the good priests everywhere who are taking a stand! They can expect to be the subjects of attacks.

  5. acardnal says:

    God protect, bless and make fecund the FSSP who formed Fr. Gordon. I pray for the FSSP everyday and the Confraternity of St. Peter’s intentions.

  6. kkroll says:

    Father Gordon is an amazing priest … I have the joy of having him as my parish priest. He has NEVER backed down from the TRUTH, and I was starved for that in my former parish; my husband and I thank God for leading us to this vibrant, traditional parish. On that note. … An amazing Lenten mission is taking place, given by the FSSP. Come here the truth about the Four Last Things, if you happen to be in the area — 7:00 p.m. — come early — crowded.
    Battle Lines Are Being Drawn.

  7. HyacinthClare says:

    Bless the FSSP! Fr. Gordon’s assistant, Fr. John Shannon, is a young priest who left us in Phoenix to go to Maple Hill earlier this year. With this kind of priests, we are not left without true shepherds. Defend them, St. John Vianney.

  8. Jbuntin says:

    Thank you Fr. Gordon for your courage.

  9. jfm says:

    Was Rev. Gordon invited to pray before a legislative session contingent on his accepting certain guidelines? Did he violate them?

    This is a welcome mat for other ministers to pray for opposing positions, and it will further kick religion out of the public sphere. In a pluralistic society, opening prayers of a legislative session will veer toward ‘treacle-laden’. How soon until we see a not-so-coded prayer for God to lift the blindness off those who do not see the love and devotion in non-traditional families? Sure, that’s what many Democrats think, but does it need to be in a future opening prayer?

    Even if the opening prayer traditionally does feature ‘treacle-laden statements’, can God hear it? Can God extend his blessing on the legislators if the prayer is treacly?

    He does miracles; He can do anything.

  10. kelleyb says:

    God Bless this courageous Priest. I wonder how before the progressives demand he be removed from active ministry for this outrageous “performance”.

  11. irishgirl says:

    Bravo, Father Gordon! You went into the lions’ den and faced them down with courage!
    I pray for you guys in the FSSP every day in my Rosary! And I’m a member of the Confraternity of St. Peter, too!
    And bravo to the senator who invited him! That took a lot of guts, too!
    Don’t let the liberals who threw a nutty (and their allies in the press) get you down, Father Gordon; there are a lot of us out here in the political hinterlands (the ones whom the pollsters NEVER talk to) who stand with you!

  12. May all of us who profess Christ follow your noble example, dear Father and brother!

  13. Tom Esteban says:

    I hope by the time I reach 30 that I never have to hear the word “ecumenical” or its variants ever again. Let the world say it as much as they like, actually, I just never want to hear it from a Catholic. Thankfully this good and holy Priest cares more about Christ and His Church! God Bless Father Gordon!

  14. ContraMundum says:

    If you’re speaking to the Father, speak to the Father. If you’re speaking to the legislature, speak to the legislature. It does not show the utmost respect for the Father to pretend to speak to Him when your real intent is to preach to someone else. That’s the sort of thing that might be expected from someone who does not believe that the Father even exists. This is a huge problem in Protestant churches, and it’s a big problem in the “prayers of the faithful” at Mass, too.

    It would have been better if he had said this prayer in Latin. Then no one would have understood except for the Father and those who were willing to take the trouble to find a translation. (I doubt that many of the legislators could translate Latin on the fly.)

  15. ContraMundum says:

    Incidentally, it will always be sufficiently “controversial” to merely pray “in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit”. One of my friends is Orthodox, and his priest was asked to open (if I remember correctly) the city council meeting for Columbia, MD. They were outraged that he prayed in the Name of the Trinity, but the priest was unapologetic: “I’m an Orthodox priest. What did you expect?”

    And no, I’m not saying that the priest should not preach to the legislature. I am saying that this prayer represents the same kind of problem as the Mass versus populum.

  16. MyBrokenFiat says:

    Bless you, Father Gordon! :) May your courageous witness foster seeds of wisdom and faith!

    @ ContraMundum – I sorta see your point. However, he was leading prayer, so it’s not just for himself to God the Father. It was a prayer for all who wished to participate, so having it in Latin might be a bit of a block towards those ends.

    While it could be seen as passive-aggressive, it took courage to speak up about taboo topics that are regularly dealt with by these politicians. If they’re not willing to ask God for guidance on these issues, what the heck are they looking for?

    But again – I do sorta see your point. That being said, I still agree (and am ridiculously proud of) Father Gordon! :)

  17. Mike_in_Kenner says:

    The full text of Fr.Gordon’s prayer is in the official legislative record:
    I love the quote from St. Thomas More. The allusions to the Declaration of Independence are pretty good, too. Great job, Fr. Gordon!

  18. MyBrokenFiat says:

    Woo – just read your second part – love it, ContraMundum! What in the world is wrong with people? *shakes head*

  19. StJude says:

    God Bless you, Father Gordon!

  20. SonofMonica says:

    ContraMundum has a valid point, but I think the day for being over-cautious or wary of preaching or being passive aggressive is not today. The enemies of God need to hear the truth because they are slaughtering God’s children and dividing his Body, and how will they hear unless there is a preacher?

  21. JKnott says:

    Father must have gained many graces for others in his moral courage. We should pray that they open their hearts to the grace.
    Let’s also pray that he (or the FSSP) isn’t the next orthodox priest on the liberal chopping block, accused of doing something against the Code of Canon Law, worthy of suspension and advertised, magnified, and confirmed to the world by expert canon lawyers.

  22. AGA says:

    @ContraMundum, how can you judge that Fr. Gordon was not praying to the Father?

    I don’t regularly pray to the Father about my local politicians (although I should!); but if I did, I would probably pray along the lines that Fr. G. prayed: assist the pols in protecting the life of the unborn, the sanctity of marriage, etc.

  23. smad0142 says:


    I think what Fr. Gordon did could go either way. In Mass the prayers often say something like, “O God, Who is rich in mercy and slow to anger.” That can also be considered preachy and not just praying. I think it just comes down to intent: is it showing off or an attempt at teaching and praying?

  24. Dr. Sebastianna says:

    If a conservative Imam or Rabbi were to have prayed this prayer, would people have dared to say anything???

  25. JoyfulMom7 says:

    Thanks for sharing this, Fr. Z! I just called Fr. Gordon and left him a message of thanks for his courage. Will add him to my prayer list. St Michael, defend him!

  26. Angie Mcs says:

    It is high time the public gets a clear picture of the Church’s stand on these issues, not the watered down language put out by clergy and “catholic” politicians for so long. Father Gordon did indeed display great moral courage in speaking to this audience rather than in church, where he would be “preaching to the choir”, as it were. However, as shown by the example headline Father Z uses here, this will give the liberal media yet another opportunity to use his words against him and for certain groups to play the victim. The saddest thing here is that the true victims cannot speak for themselves.

    One can ask is this was the proper forum for Father Gordon to have spoken so strongly, but I pray that whatever the answer to that might be, that his words touched the hearts of some of those listening.

  27. acardnal says:

    Off topic . . . but don’t forget to vote at Readers’ Choice About.com on sidebar above for WDTPRS. Fr. Z is at 56 percent.

  28. Tantum Ergo says:

    Did that mean old priest hurt their poor widdle wiberal feeeeelings?

  29. SKAY says:

    “The enemies of God need to hear the truth because they are slaughtering God’s children and dividing his Body, and how will they hear unless there is a preacher?”
    I agree SonofMonica.

    Kansas is Sec.Sebelius’s home state.

    It’s obvious she and this administration are using her HHS government position to infringe on the freedom of religion and speech of the Church as well as others..

    Thank you Father Gordon.

  30. PA mom says:

    Wouldn’t it be wonderful if his actions encouraged others to discuss these issues? I think that priests are removing the muzzles placed on them during their schooling, and it is not a moment too soon.
    The prayer is worded very respectfully and he is exercising his freedom of religion. After all, they ask him to come as a Catholic priest so that they can show everyone how inclusive they are, the trouble starts only when he insists on being more than skin deep.
    PS I was in attendance at the liberal parish I attend while vacationing this weekend, and the effect that the new translation has had is quite startling. It was definitely more reverent. There was even a broadway tunes version of the Kyrie complete with English and Greek together.
    There were Pebbles in the holy water tray, and the woman religious still up on the altar through the whole thing, but I guess these things take time.

  31. Augustin57 says:

    I’m thinkin’ Fr. Gordon needs to be looked at hard next time they need to promote a priest to bishop! He’s orthodox and he has a spine! Those who did the choosing in the past haven’t always looked at those two criteria. There are other criteria, but these are necessary, in my opinion.

  32. Rose in NE says:

    May God bless Fr. James Gordon. His brother, (who also has the letters FSSP after his name) is our assist. pastor and will be speaking at a ‘Stand up for Religious Freedom’ rally that will take place in front of our downtown courthouse this Friday. I have absolutely no doubt he will be courageous in saying what needs to be said. Our pastor (FSSP), a diocesan priest, and our Archbishop will also be speaking at this event.

  33. Clinton R. says:

    Since the word ecumenical came up, it is worth remembering that Our Lord did not come to be ‘ecumenical’, in the sense that most people have come to regard the word. He came to call sinners towards Himself and to save them. A Catholic priest worth his cassock will likewise call sinners to Jesus and His Holy Catholic Church. True ecumenism is unity within the Church. The false brand of ecumenism is just another word for religious indifference. May the Lord bless the faithful men called to His priesthood. +JMJ+

  34. Legisperitus says:

    Augustin57: The days when FSSP priests become bishops are probably far off, but I hope those days will arrive!

  35. Bea says:

    Prayers and Fastings so needed in these trying times.
    2 weeks left of Lent, lets all concentrate these for these courageous priests, including Fr. Marcel Guarnizo, Fr. Michael Rodriguez, Fr Gordon and Cardinal Dolan et al, may they inspire more and more priests to speak the Truth.

  36. wmeyer says:

    To imagine that one could invite a priest of the FSSP and then persuade him to give an entirely dull message in the face of all that has happened in the last few weeks seems to me to be the definition of folly. Had Fr. Gordon desired a friction-free life, he might have become a Jesuit ;)

    [Good one.]

    Fr. Z's Gold Star Award

  37. Fr Jackson says:

    Wow. Bravo!

  38. Laura98 says:

    Yeah for Fr. Gordon! Oh, to be a fly on the wall…I would have loved to have seen the looks on the faces of the “offended” ones.

  39. ContraMundum says:


    Are you judging that I judge the priest? Am I now judging that you judge that I judged? Do you judge that I am judging that you judged that I judged the priest?

    Ugh. Let’s get off the merry-go-round.

    – – – – – – –

    The more I think about the problem in general, the more I see the wisdom of the EF having inaudible prayers, in Latin, with little flexibility, and not facing the congregation. It’s just that hard to really stay concentrated on Who is being addressed.

  40. robtbrown says:

    There are three Gordon brothers in the FSSP, the older two were students of mine. One is a grad of the Naval Academy and was in the Marine Corps, the other two are grads of the Coast Guard Academy.

  41. Fr. Gordon has baptized one of my boys and also my God-Daughter.
    I am happy to see all the prayers for him and I hope they continue.
    He is never afraid to fight for what is right.

    God bless you all.

  42. Pingback: TUESDAY EXTRA: U.S. CULTURE WARS | ThePulp.it

  43. Rick DeLano says:

    “BTW… Fr. Gordon has the letters FSSP after his name. He is a member of the Fraternity of St. Peter.”

    Well that explains it :-)

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