UPDATE & ACTION ITEM for St. John Cantius in Chicago – @SJCantius

UPDATE 20 March:

There is now a site Pray For Cantius: https://www.prayforcantius.com/

The intent is to start a round the clock Rosary for Fr Phillips and St. John Cantius. There is a signup form for additional activities such as fasting, holy hours, novenas or Masses.

UPDATE 18 March:

From a reader…

A dear friend who has been a parishioner of St. John Cantius for over 20 years was shocked to hear the recent news…being something of a social activist for causes like this, he suggested signups for a round-the-clock Rosary for Father Phillips, with the intention as you stated, for a swift resolution to this matter.

The signup is here: http://signup.com/go/SzQRgrW

There are time slots for every 20 minutes all day and all night at least through the end of May, and we can extend it if needed.

Thought you might like to let your readers know about this.

___ Originally Published on: Mar 17, 2018


Below is a statement from the Canons at St. John Cantius in Chicago.  HERE  But first some context and comments.

One thing you must be clear about from the get go.  

A letter from the Archbishop of Chicago was read at the Saturday evening Mass at St. John Cantius, so this information is now public.  In the letter that was read aloud it was clear that allegations against Fr. Phillips have nothing to do with minors!  According to my interlocutor, Fr. Phillips has not been accused of breaking any civil laws.  Instead, the allegation concerns an improper relationship with an adult male.

However, Fr. Phillips has been removed as pastor of the parish and Superior of the Canons.  He also had to leave the parish. An interim superior has been chosen from among the group itself.  Given that Phillips seems not to have broken any civil laws the move against him seems pretty sudden and draconian, but I guess that’s what they do around there.

I understand that the text from the Cardinal, which was read aloud at Mass on Saturday and which will be read at all the Masses on Sunday (as I write, tomorrow) will be released – or some statement will be released – by the Archdiocese in some form soon.  I’m guessing Monday.   Meanwhile, the Canons have posted their own statement on their website, below.

Please note two important items in the Canon’s statement below: “We hope and pray for a swift resolution to this matter….”


Everyone who can do something in addition to praying should also prompt, move, push and plead that this be swiftly investigated and swiftly resolved.   In justice, this must not drag out, to the detriment of his good name and the good works which have multiplied over the years at the now world-famous St. John Cantius.

Also, because Fr. Phillips belongs to the Congregation of the Resurrection (Resurrectionists), they will be doing the investigation.

Now the statement from the Canons:

Statement from the Canons Regular regarding Fr. C. Frank Phillips, C.R.

This statement is in response to the letter of Cardinal Blaise J. Cupich read at all our Sunday Masses today which tells of Fr. Phillip’s removal as pastor of the parish and removal of superior due to complaints of inappropriate conduct. A statement from the Archdiocese of Chicago will be forthcoming.

Statement of the Canons Regular

Sunday, March 18, 2018

We know that the news of complaints of inappropriate conduct against Fr. Phillips, our founder, present a difficult time for the faithful in our parishes and friends of our community.

The Canons Regular will remain focused on our mission of “Restoring the Sacred” and will continue our vital work at our parishes and apostolates.

Fr. C. Frank Phillips, C.R. our founder, has been pastor of St. John Cantius for 30 years and our superior for 20 years. As soon as Fr. Phillips became aware of the complaints he has been open and transparent with us, his community, and the Archdiocese of Chicago.

We ask for your patience and understanding while the Congregation of the Resurrection conducts an investigation into the complaints.

We hope and pray for a swift resolution to this matter and we ask that you keep the Canons Regular, Fr. Phillips, and any who are affected by this difficult situation in your prayers.

For my part, I hope for a swift resolution to this especially because I don’t believe the allegation.   I just don’t.

Fr. Phillips has a right to a good name and reputation.  That’s a compelling reason for this to be handled swiftly.

Please, at least say a prayer to St. Michael the Archangel to defend everyone involved from diabolical attacks, which must be underway right now with terrible fury.

St. Michael the Archangel….

St. John Cantius, pray for them.
Mary, Queen of the Clergy, intercede for them.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. thomas tucker says:

    Hmm. I would have expected Cardinal Cupich to have accompanied him in discernment rather than removed him.

  2. VanSensei says:

    Methinks this is a smear job by Cardinal Cupich (if that man is ever pope, *shudders*) because St. John Cantius is a conservative parish and Cupich doesn’t want that. This is hideous.

  3. Elizabeth D says:

    People who are not chaste often do not realize the stable interior reality of chastity and that a person who is well established in that virtue is actually exceedingly unlikely to do something contrary to it even under temptation. It’s like, liars think everyone lies. Others of us are perfectly certain that is not the case. We are all wounded with concupiscence due to original sin. We are all hated by and harassed by the devil who wants to drag us down into hell. We all live in this world that is full of brokenness and sin. Some people cannot see how a pure light might shine in that darkness. But a Christian knows that the darkness does not and cannot comprehend or overcome it.

    I am aware that sometimes accusations against priests are made by unchaste liars who think everyone lies and is unchaste.

  4. roma247 says:

    A dear friend who has been a parishioner of St. John Cantius for over 20 years was shocked to hear the recent news…being something of a social activist for causes like this, he suggested signups for a round-the-clock Rosary for Father Phillips, with the intention as you stated, for a swift resolution to this matter.

    The signup is here: http://signup.com/go/SzQRgrW

    There are time slots for every 20 minutes all day and all night at least through the end of May, and we can extend it if needed.

    Please join us in praying for Father Phillips, for the Canons Regular, and yes…even for the accuser.

  5. tzabiega says:

    Father Phillips is one of the greatest priests in the United States who founded one of the most unique religious orders in the world, which by itself has rejuvenated the Catholic Church in Chicago. What is interesting is that it is well known that there are multiple homosexual priests in the Chicago archdiocese and I highly doubt they are all perfectly chaste and haven’t had “inappropriate” acts with other homosexuals without any public statements from Archbishop Cupich. So to publicly accuse a priest of inappropriate conduct which is not criminal (where Archbishop Cupich is all for homosexual relationships and pro-homosexual priests like Father Martin) smacks of calumny. At the very least this should have been privately investigated and only if Father Phillips was found guilty by a canonical court should this have been released. After all: 1. This was not against a minor and 2. It was not a crime whatever he is accused off. So what was the hurry in publicly shaming Father Phillips. Lowest form of vindictiveness by Archbishop Cupich trying to destroy the Canons Regular of St. John Cantius who are at the forefront of fighting for traditional values, for life, and for the family. The Canons should try their best now to move their religious order to Springfield, Illinois, where they already have a parish and where the great Bishop Paprocki is in charge. Otherwise, the vindictive Archbishop Cupich will destroy them within a matter of a couple years like he has already destroyed their founder’s reputation.

  6. David says:

    This is so very upsetting. I have known Fr. Phillips for over thirty years, and his tireless work for Tradition has been both crucial and enormously inspiring to laity and clergy all over the country. I cannot help but think that whatever the truth of the matter is, from the most favorable to the least, that the leadership of the Archdiocese has launched step one of an agenda that it hopes will end with the elimination of everything St. John Cantius has stood for.

  7. ThePapalCount says:

    I join the many who are praying for Father Frank Phillips during this time. I pray for a swift resolution to the matter as you do Fr Z.
    I met Fr Frank years ago. I attended his ordination. He introduced me to Monsignor Martin Helriegel, the noted 1950s-1960s liturgist and hymn writer (To Jesus Christ Our Sovereign Lord). We’ve been out of touch for forty years! But, I follow his work in Chicago and who can not but be impressed. Fr Phillip’s work at Cantius in Chicago is stellar. The devil is busy. God be with Fr Phillips and may the canons be ever strong. May the Congregation of the Resurrection quickly bring closure to this unfortunate state of affairs.

  8. Matt R says:

    So Fr Philips was never separated from the C.R.? This is all so complicated.

  9. hwriggles4 says:

    I will say an intention at Mass tonight for Fr. Phillips. Let’s pray that he is cleared.

    A few years back, a good priest in my diocese took leave, and I didn’t believe the rumor and gossip mill (Catholics aren’t immune to this either) that was going around. This good priest returned to our diocese two years later, and is thriving in his current assignment.

  10. David says:

    +MattR: At the time the explanation of this given to me was that since Fr. Phillips was already a member of one Congregation of priests, he could not be transferred into another Congregation he himself had founded.

  11. Matt C. Abbott says:

    I’m keeping the Canons Regular in my prayers. They’re good priests.

  12. Michael Haz says:

    I don’t know Fr. Phillips. I attended Mass at St. John Cantius only once, when I travelled to Chicago for that specific puropse. So I don’t have an investment in this current matter, one way or another.

    As a neutral observer who has read the letters posted, my sense is that the underlying complaint may be of the “they won’t bake my cake” nature, with the added intent of destroying a good man’s life.

    But time will tell.

  13. Anchorite says:

    Your assessment of the matter is absolutely on the spot, Fr. Z. I’ve worried about the fate of this parish and anyone involved in running it from the moment Cupich was assigned to Chicago. Archb. Cupich is a great enemy of anything Catholic and has an unnatural aversion to tradional things. His own history of destroying sacred spaces is well-known, but, since Vatican is now occupied of the Vindictiveness personified, it was only a matter of time when good priests’ heads started to roll. Cupich and his ilk know that there is one sure way to destroy someone’s priestly career is to accuse them of inappropriate behavior. Then to start questioning the charism of the society they founded, and its very existence. Sad times indeed.

    [I’ve “assessed” no more than that I don’t believe the allegations and that the move seems a little heavy. What I have emphasized is that the investigation ought to be swift so that the truth can get out and be put to rest, one way or another.]

  14. Elizabeth D says:

    The page on the Cantius website that had the Canons Regular comment/statement about the Fr Phillips allegations does not have that anymore and just says “For questions and concerns in response to the letter of Cardinal Blaise J. Cupich read at all of our Sunday Masses in which Fr. C. Frank Phillips, C.R. is removed as pastor and superior please refer all questions to the Archdiocese of Chicago.”

  15. MotherTeresa says:

    This is infuriating. I know nothing of the situation at St. John Cantius, but I am aware of several outrageously scandalous situations that were tolerated and ignored by Bishop Cupich in his previous assignment. The situations I refer to were openly discussed as intolerable scandals by parishioners and even school children. Parents who wrote letters asking for a meeting with the bishop demanding that he take action were stonewalled and threatened. The idea that Cupich is acting in the best interests of the community or has genuine pastoral concern for his TLM flock is utterly implausible given his record of protecting notorious miscreants in Church leadership.

  16. Carrie says:

    I wouldn’t assume Cardinal Cupich is out to destroy a priest any more than I would assume an accusation against a priest is true— until there is an investigation and verdict. And even then, people will choose to believe what they wish. Thankfully, God knows the truth.

  17. roma247 says:

    Before everyone vents spleen over this, please, everybody, reflect:

    IF–and this is a very big IF–this were any sort of move on the part of the Archdiocese intended to harm Father Phillips or the Canons Regular, then I can guarantee you that the sorts of uncharitable rants I’ve been seeing against Cardinal Cupich–no matter how much truth may be in them–are only going to cause further harm.

    What better way to place a capstone on the fate of the Canons Regular, than to point to the angry, nasty accusations of their followers against the lawful church hierarchy?

    “You see? We told you so,” they will say. “These traditional types are just hateful, judgmental, nasty people who are lurking in corners and trying to force everyone to roll back the clock to a time when the church wasn’t welcoming and merciful. We need to clean up this fever swamp.”

    Let’s not fall into that trap. Let’s prove that we do what we do because we have loved much, not because we are hateful, judgmental, nasty people who just want to roll back the clock.

    Please pray for all involved, including the accuser(s), remembering that God’s Will is at the heart of all these things. With prayer and fasting, good can be wrought of the most evil of intentions.

  18. ManOfCarmel says:

    I have been a parishioner of SJC since 2015 – found out about the Latin Mass shortly after reverting back to Faith in 2014. I attend the 7:30 Low Mass and was stunned when the letter was read during Mass.

    If the order came from someone like Bishop Paprocki I would not have had doubts about the claims and the action taken. I spoke (respectfully) to the representative of the Cardinal after the Mass. I made the observation that on the one hand, Card Cupich took decisive action against Fr Phillips while the investigation is still ongoing. However, in just a few days, Card Cupich is hosting Fr James Martin, who is a vocal promoter of the same type of behavior that Fr Phillips is accused of doing. Seems like a mixed message to me but is par for the course for the current regime.

    I also expressed my opinion that if SJC was on board with the “new paradigm”, this action would not have been taken. Didn’t get much of a response from either point – I’m not holding my breath for Card. Cupich to cancel the Martin talk.

  19. LaPucelle says:

    March 22, 2018, Thursday, 6-7:30 pm, Rosary Rally against Fr. Martin’s Lenten talk. In front of the Holy Name Cathedral. Fr. Martin promotes the acceptance of the LGBTQ lifestyle in the Church, and Card. Cupich chose to invite him after he was disinvited when parishioners protested his talk. Let us show the cardinal the hypocrisy of this action not because I believe the allegations but because Fr. Phillips’ greatest fault is probably his extreme austerity and absolutely meek obedience to the Church hierarchy, such that these allegations are improbable.

  20. tzabiega says:

    In regards to the question why Father Phillips was part of the Resurrectionists and not part of the Canons Regular of St. John Cantius that he himself established. I have some thoughts that may be close to the truth:
    1. It is simply because Father Phillips still felt his calling was to be a Resurrectionist.
    2. The Canons Regular are under diocesan jurisdiction (as they haven’t been officially recognized by the Vatican), therefore if Father Phillips was a Canon Regular, he would be under the direct jurisdiction of Cardinal Cupich and therefore he would have even less of a chance for a just investigation of his situation. Cupich has the right to remove him from the parish, but the Resurrectionists will carry out the investigation and Cupich cannot remove him from the priesthood or inflict more damage on him without the consent of his religious order. So he is more protected by being a Resurrectionist. The Resurrectionists are a religious order founded by Polish priests when Poland did not exist in the early 19th century (one of their early goals was to help “resurrect” Poland by spiritually assisting the Polish political emigrants). They ran most of the original Polish parishes in Chicago and are still in charge of many of them. They tend to be on the orthodox/conservative side. For example, another iconic Resurrectionist priest in Chicago is Father Anthony Bus, the pastor of the oldest Polish parish in Chicago, St. Stanislaus Kostka (the epicenter of the Divine Mercy devotion in the city). Unfortunately, the politics of this may be a major factor in how fairly Father Phillips is treated. On the one hand, the Resurrectionists help the diocese out by staffing multiple Chicago parishes, but Cardinal Cupich may have too much influence in trying to destroy Father Phillips because he can remove the Resurrectionsts from some or all of these parishes if they don’t do what he wants them to do.
    3. Since St. John Cantius is a parish that has been assigned to the Resurrectionists since it was established, maybe the pastor had to remain a C.R. We will see if this is true if Cardinal Cupich tries to throw the Canons Regular out of Chicago by assigning the parish to another C.R. pastor.

  21. JesusFreak84 says:

    I’ve been to events at St. John Cantius on and off, and I’ve heard Father say some things that I think are nutty, (“Pokemon opens your kids to demonic possession,” etc., and I’m not indulging in any arguments with anyone else here about that point,) but precisely because he’s that sort of guy, I can’t buy this accusation for a second.

    Fr. Phillips is kicked out, Fr. Pfleger is in good standing, and Fr. Martin is getting the red carpet laid down for him to waltz into this Archdiocese. Let that sink in…

  22. NBW says:

    The hypocrisy runs deep with Cupich; he invites a pro-homosexual priest to speak at Holy Name and urges us to read Fr. Martin’s book and not to judge….Then he swiftly removes a priest because of allegations. I wonder if he even took time to talk to Fr. Philips….

  23. mindpopcornball says:

    If this doesn’t get a QUICK, FAIR AND THOROUGH investigation, adopt a tactic of the left and start picketing the Cardinal’s home and speaking venues because….FrancisMercy.

  24. billy15 says:

    This news really, really saddens me. Especially because I was JUST there on Wednesday afternoon with my family. It wasn’t the first time I was at the parish though. In fact, the first time I went there was about 6 years ago, and it was then I experienced my first Mass in the EF. Regarding the EF itself, it wasn’t “love” at first sight, that’s for sure, but it’s only because I was making that transition from pureed food to solid food, as Fr. Z mentions.

    But in any case, my wife and I, with two boys 3 and under in tow, were welcomed with open arms by the wonderful priests of the Canons Regular. This news saddens me deeply because I know first hand how wonderful the priests and the people at this parish are, and I don’t want to see the Canons Regular or the parishioners of St. John Cantius become objects of detraction. It seems to be happening already, as I saw one blog call St. John Cantius parish a haven for “rad-trads” in response to this story. My experience last week blows that perception out of the water, as St. John Cantius is literally one of the most welcoming parishes I have ever visited in any diocese.

    I don’t reside in the Archdiocese of Chicago, but I had started talking with one of the young (and fairly recently ordained) priests at St. John Cantius about a month ago. I’m currently starting a St. Paul Street Evangelization chapter in my diocese. There aren’t any other chapters in my general area. I was told by one of the directors of this apostolate that St. John Cantius has a parish chapter and that I should get in touch with them. The priest was more than happy to meet with me. He said I could bring my family with so they could see the church. He unlocked the doors for us and welcomed us in. My sons really enjoyed seeing this beautiful church, and Father was so nice to them as he let them explore the church (with our supervision of course!) My oldest was practicing confession a lot, as he walked from confessional to confessional, kneeling down and making the sign of the cross.

    As we did that, another man wandered in. He asked the priest if he could say a few words while he recorded a video inside the church, as he had a friend inquiring about returning to the church. Father came up to me and asked for a reprieve of a few minutes so that he could record a short welcoming address for this man’s friend. So not only did he take time out o his busy day to talk with me and show my family the church, but then he also accommodated this man who was trying to bring his dear friend back to the Church! How wonderful is that?!

    After this, he talked to us for a great deal about many things, pointing out stories as we made our way through the church, and told us about the life of St. John of Kanty. He showed us both of the private chapels in the church which were just spectacular and magnificent, as well as their collection of relics. He blessed us all and we made plans for he and I to meet up again when they go out on the street to evangelize in downtown Chicago after Easter. I’ll be “getting my feet wet” with their chapter before we begin work in my home diocese later this year.

    I’m probably preaching to the choir here, but I really do want it known that the hospitality I received at this parish was inspiring. And I’ve even seen it there before this encounter as well, but I think this story will suffice in showing how generous the priests there are with their time and talent. This priest, and his confreres, are great men dedicated to spreading the Gospel. They have such a gentle love for their fellow man. I hope others see that there is a very loving and “human” side to this parish, which its detractors would prefer to call “rigid”. That couldn’t be further from the truth. I hope others don’t let this story tarnish the great work these men and their parishioners are doing in the city of Chicago. I will keep praying for the Canons Regular and for their parishioners, and certainly for a swift resolution to this ordeal.

  25. Eoin OBolguidhir says:

    Don’t be naïve. It will not be quick. The PROCESS is the PUNISHMENT. Guilty or innocent’s got nothing to do with it. He’s toast. He’ll never be back. Things like this only move forward when everything is in place, and the outcome is a done deal. It’s the Chicago Way. Unlike Bernadin under similar circumstances, he’s not top dog, and he won’t be allowed to start fighting until after the final bell is rung. Ding Ding. Hey what’s that? It’s over. Going away to the Ressurectionists was as good as it could get for him. He might as well be named Fr. Frank Pentangeli. Take a bath, Franky-Five-Angels, and your Canonry will be taken care of. You might think this is hyperbole, but don’t be so sure.

    Meanwhile, I’m sure everyone is delighted to get to hear Fr. J. Martine in a-coupla-two-tree days. Get the message?

  26. TonyO says:

    I don’t know anything about Fr. Phillips – except to know that his work of supporting tradition at St. John’s is a “great work”. I don’t pretend to have more than a mere guess about the validity of any allegations against him.

    But one thing leaps out, screams, when I look at the process used. The bishops of America spent a large deal of time and effort to hammer out a process for when a priest is accused of sexual wrongdoing. If I recall it correctly, the first step is to put the priest on administrative leave while the investigation gets under way, both to get him out of the way (and so he can’t tamper with evidence), and to make it so he does not have to spend all day interacting with parishioners saying “it’s terrible…” in either of 2 flavors. But “administrative leave” is, by its nature, a temporary condition in which the authorities are saying “we don’t know what happened yet, we are not assuming he is guilty, we are not assuming he is innocent.” (It is also supposed to remind the people, also, that “You don’t know what happened yet, whether he is innocent or guilty, please withhold judgment until the facts are in…”) From administrative leave, if the allegations turn out to be invalid and he is cleared, the priest comes BACK to his post and his office INTACT. To take right back up where he left off. He remains pastor, but is unable to ACT in that capacity during the interim. The person who steps in to act is “acting” as pastor, i.e. he is an “administrator”, not “pastor”, because the parish can only have one pastor, and administrative leave does not remove the accused priest’s office of pastor.

    Above, the characterization of what the bishop did is “removed” Fr. Phillips as pastor and as superior of the order. The article I read (from the Tribune) is looser, says he was “withdrawn”. Neither of these are suitable. If the diocese meant “place on administrative leave”, they should have said that, in those words or words that make his status clear. If he really was removed, WHAT HAPPENED to the period while they do the investigation? Did they remove him before they investigated? That would be improper? Did they leave him in place while there were allegations against him and they were investigating? That too would have been improper. There is no getting around it: so far as we can see so far, the diocese is bungling things…again!

    I would caution those who ask for a quick resolution: we want a quick AND CORRECT resolution. The problem is that with some misconduct, there is simply no adequate clear and certain evidence. This can easily happen when the alleged misconduct happened years ago. He said vs. (other) he said is hard to prove out.

    Also, the diocese is not a court of law. The diocese can decide something on a lesser standard than “beyond a reasonable doubt” by a jury of 12 men. Being removed from the office of pastor is not a LEGAL penalty, like being thrown in jail, it is the loss of a privilege (actually, a benefice). Nobody has a RIGHT to a such a privilege generically – though pastors do have rights under canon law. The bishop can remove a pastor for conduct that he deems inappropriate, or that he finds probably happened even if not certainly so. But darn it, there’s procedures for this kind of thing, and removing someone from the office of pastor BEFORE the investigation is not cricket at all.

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  28. Ave Maria says:

    I cannot help but think of that other Fr. Phillips down in San Antonio who was removed for specious reasons just before Our Lady of the Atonement went to the Ordinariate. And that St. John Cantius would be in the crosshairs of the present Cardinal is really not a great surprise. And that is a very sad thought to entertain but holiness is in the crosshairs sad days in the Church when lies and confusion are issuing forth from the very Vatican itself.

  29. David says:

    Another thought occurred to me last night about this. I wonder if an attempt is not being made to make things look like another Legionnaire scenario, where the community is hopelessly compromised by its founder. In their case Fr. Maciel did turn out to be a monster, but throwing vague accusations at Fr. Phillips in today’s climate may have the same effect. And there are so few Canons they could easily be imagined just to wither away.

  30. aldini10 says:

    I am a St John Cantius Parishioner (although I am co-registered at Holy Name Cathedral).
    I am a homeowner in Chicago’s Gold Coast; East Coast Educated; 5th Generation Chicagoan; Member of the Sons of the Revolution and a St. John Cantius Member since 2007.
    I was at the 9 AM Mass when Father Dennis Lyle, the Vicar for Priests in the Archdiocese, read the letter. I have since had 1 email correspondence with him.
    I have personally known Father Phillips since 2007. He is someone who is a teetotaler; an intellectual introvert; a very disciplined and serene man. I know since his knee replacement that his weight – regardless of fasting – has been an issue. He is not at all effeminate in any manner. One interesting note is in general he is a skeptic when it comes to private revelation especially regarding Medjugorie.
    He is not immaculately conceived or above temptation. As to the veracity of the charges we shall see when the facts are presented.

    It was NOT clear Sunday that these were not complaints by minors. It had to be clarified in the Lobby after Mass.

    The timing right before Holy Week seems odd. As for the canons I think with Dennis Kolinski and Al Tremari running the show this will have little effect on recruits. As for parishioners, the Archdiocese would not want to alienate those who attend St. John Cantius – the movement is much bigger then any one man at this point. I will have dinner with Father Philips after Holy Week and chat on how things are going…

    I will be in attendance tomorrow night for Father Martin’s speech at Holy Name. I do not engage in polemics with Priests. I will merely report on the tenor of the meeting.
    On to Election Day and my vote for Jeannie Ives for Governor…

  31. Fr AJ says:

    Hopefully it is not like it is in my Diocese. We have men currently on leave 5+ years while their case is adjudicated.

  32. Elizabeth D says:

    Separate the three accusers and ask them what kind of tree they caught Fr Phillips under.

    [Well done.]

    Fr. Z's Gold Star Award

  33. David says:

    One final comment. There is a post above that says Fr. Phillips claimed that Pokeman will open you to demonic possession. I don’t know the circumstances, but since that sort of remark is so much associated with a certain kind of traditionalist that Father is emphatically not, I will relate another story that illustrates his wry sense of humor. At the beginning of the restoration there was a very eccentric woman who came to Mass draped in voluminous black skirts and veils, and she would practically crawl to the altar for Communion and then go into a kind of ecstasy after receiving. When I asked Fr. Phillips about her he said: “Oh, you mean Rosa Mystica? You get used to her.”

  34. Fr_Sotelo says:

    I also pray that Fr. Phillips is treated fairly and justly, and that the facts come to light. He is innocent until proven guilty. However, so are the authorities in the archdiocese of Chicago. Some who have claimed to defend Fr. Phillips’ innocence have then turned around and accused Cupich and his officials of the most sinister motives, doing a hit job, wishing to dissolve the parish, etc.

    It is not at all unusual in the dioceses of the United States to remove a pastor when there are allegations of sins against the Sixth Commandment, involving a violation of the promise of celibacy. In fact, that is the protocol. While the priest is away from the parish, there are interviews conducted not only with the accused priest, but with the accusers, with the parish staff, with active parishioners, and with fellow priests.

    The diocese goes through phone logs, credit card receipts, the appointment calendar of the priest, cashed checks, and may even call in law enforcement or retired law enforcement to check out alibis and various stories, as in a “Law and Order” episode. Rarely there is the use of technology, such as the GPS records of the phone or car. The end game is to see who is telling the truth, and where people are caught in a lie.

    The priest at any moment has a right to retain legal counsel, or canonical counsel. It does not look good if the accusers are in possession of intimate details about the priest or his life, of which they should not have any knowledge. If the accusers can describe well the inside areas of the rectory, to which they should not have had access, such as the pastor’s bedroom or bathroom, if they can describe details of his car or others corroborate seeing the priest at a tavern or motel for which the priest has no good explanation, this gives credence to accusations. Some accusations have described, for instance, scars or birthmarks on the priest’s body, which cannot be seen unless the priest is disrobed. Details such as these are investigated, and the more information an accuser knows about a priest, information which is not public, the more the accusations are labeled as “credible.”

    At times, the diocese speaks of an “ongoing investigation” while not divulging that even before the priest was removed from office, details came to light which were not at all in the priest’s favor–such as text messages or saved voicemails from an accuser’s phone which are incriminating. In other cases, accusers have recorded conversations or even videos of intimacy with a priest. Although such material may not be used in a civil court against a priest, the diocese is within its rights to use such technology as reasons for removing a priest even before an investigation is concluded.

    Such investigations are not so simple, as they appear. The modus operandi of the Church, previously, was to bury, bury, and bury. Now, even with allegations of sexual misconduct with adults, the Church is liable for legal damages if said adults decide to sue. It is for this reason that a diocese will move quickly to show a serious concern, and will remove the priest, and initiate an investigation, for accusations that are seen as “credible.”

    Af for Fr. James Martin speaking, that is apples and oranges. That a liberal dissenting priest is allowed to publicly speak has been going on since the 60’s, and no one sues the Church because a liberal dissenter spews his heresy. However, if a priest has engaged in sexual intimacy with men or women, there is precedent for legal liability, and the diocese has to act on that in a different manner than if someone is giving a conference.

  35. crjs1 says:

    Well said Fr Sotelo, the attacks on Cardinal Cupich are depressing and uncalled for. The church should be trusted to investigate in good faith.

    I can’t help thinking that if fr Phillips had been a ‘liberal’ the reaction would be quite different from traditionalist (and liberal!) circles. Hopefully Fr Phillips is innocent, I trust the church will come to the right conclusion.

  36. Kathleen10 says:

    St. Padre Pio’s relics are currently touring the US. We should appeal for his help since he certainly understood what it was like to be unfairly censured by his superiors, and to be vindicated.
    If Fr. Phillips receives justice, it will only be because Chicago Catholics make a fuss. Otherwise, I tend to think Cardinal Cupich will certainly prevail.

  37. Fr_Sotelo says:

    Kathleen10 said, “If Fr. Phillips receives justice, it will only be because Chicago Catholics make a fuss. Otherwise, I tend to think Cardinal Cupich will certainly prevail.”

    I hope your idea of justice isn’t from the “fuss” of any group. St. Pio, for one, never counseled people to make a fuss against his Capuchin superiors. Instead, we should pray that the truth come to light, and that Cupich act according to the facts of the case, not the sway of any mob making a fuss.

    Besides, most Chicago Catholics are very liberal. If Cupich were to listen to the fuss of most Chicago Catholics, he would not allow St. John Cantius to continue. I’m praying that Cupich not listen to the majority of Chicago Catholics, and allow this traditional parish to work in peace.

  38. Kathleen10 says:

    Well for sure silence won’t make anything happen. The thing is Father, at some point Catholics have to make some noise. We can’t take on every cause, but when something so weird and probably egregious happens in our own backyard, well if not then, when. Justice has nothing to do with the “fuss”, but there is nothing like a little light to act as a disinfectant. As much confidence as these men have in their ultimate power over things, they still don’t like the bad PR they get during these peccadillos. Like vampires, they blink in the sunlight. At this point, even if we lose, it feels good to make them blink. And sometimes, justice is bound to happen, and that would feel great for a change.
    We need to develop more of a fighting spirit. Pray, and do battle.

  39. David says:

    +Fr. Sotelo: One big problem for me in all of this is that the Archdiocese has only used the phrase “improper relationships”, and confirmed that minors were not involved. That phrase suggests to me something consensual, since if coercion were the issue, you can be sure they would be shouting that from the rooftops. If this is the case, what reason would someone have to run to the Chancery essentially to implicate himself in a scandal? To complain that his blackmail money was not being received on time? This makes no sense to me at all.

    And can anyone deny that St. John Cantius under Fr. Phillips is a major problem for Cardinal Cupich’s vision of the Church? It was an unfortunate fact that Cardinal George, for all the purity of his orthodox Catholic Faith, was able to do little if anything to undo the damage caused in Chicago by Cardinal Bernardin. Cardinal Cupich, I think, will be more aggressive with his “reforms”. The left in the Church is always more brutal to its enemies than the right.

  40. Mike says:

    Besides, most Chicago Catholics are very liberal. . . .

    This point accentuates the real issue. Irrespective of personal ideological bent, when a bishop’s top priority is to keep rich dissenters from slamming their checkbooks shut, the required balancing act is perilous indeed. Not, perhaps, as perilous as the consequences to be expected for failing to keep souls out of Hell, but that seems to be very few bishops’ top priority.

  41. Fr_Sotelo says:


    To answer your question, if a priest has sexual relationships with a minor, or with another adult, the Church is still legally liable. In the view of a court, it is argued that clergy are bound to professional codes when dealing with adults as well. If a code of conduct is broken, it can be seen as victimizing someone else from a position of power. It is for this reason that many professionals (therapists, doctors) are not allowed to have intimate relations with their clients, even “consensual.” Unlike other professionals, priests are never on “down time” but are considered by the Church to be priests 24/7.

    Why would the “consort” of a priest reveal what is happening? Well, anytime an intimate lover of a priest is feeling scorned or abused in some way, they will want to report this for revenge or to seek redress. Again, such people even if consenting adults, are considered victims because the priest is the one who should know better and is always, therefore, the more culpable one. The victim may also seek some monetary compensation in a civil lawsuit against the diocese.

    Mike, you wrote “when a bishop’s top priority is to keep rich dissenters from slamming their checkbooks shut…” I have no reason to believe that Cupich is out to make money by attacking Fr. Phillip or harming St. John Cantius, except for conspiracy theories which I don’t find credible. Also, St. John Cantius, as other parishes, helps to financially support the archdiocese, so it is very foolish for any bishop to disrupt the parish life and risk making the parish go into insolvency.

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