Everyone in the Chicago area…

You would not make a mistake were you to choose to go to Mass at St. John Cantius on Sunday.


You remember the controversy that surrounded Fr. Frank Phillips of the Canons of St. John Cantius in Chicago?  HERE

The Review Board concluded that Fr. Phillips did not violate any secular criminal, civil or canon law.

From the site Protect Our Priests:

Fr. Phillips Exonerated

We have confirmation that after several weeks the Congregation of the Resurrection has indeed concluded its hearings and investigation of the accusations directed against Father Phillips.

An independent Review Board of three public-spirited leaders from the Chicago area, who are not members of St. John Cantius Church, was constituted. Thereafter, the Review Board interviewed the detractors and several witnesses, persons who personally know the accusers, and other individuals who came forward to testify in defense of Father Phillips’ integrity. In accordance with directives given by Card. Cupich the members of the Canons Regular were not interviewed..


This is very good news.  I didn’t believe the charges from the onset.

Therefore, today is a good day to sing Non Nobis and Te Deum.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Mail from priests, Non Nobis and Te Deum and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. RichR says:

    Very good news, but it leaves the reality of Church politics untouched, and that is:

    A priest is presumed BY HIS OWN DIOCESE to be a child predator unless proven otherwise. It is shameful how lawyers have backed Catholic chanceries into a corner with the liability of priest scandals. Priests are now required to present a shameful “Letter of Suitability” (eg: https://www.archmil.org/ArchMil/Resources/WMM/MCP/PDF-ExampleSuitabilityLetterPr.pdf ) when traveling outside his own diocese which basically says, “We don’t have any PROOF AT THIS TIME that this priest is a child molester, alcoholic, or druggie.” It stops just short of formally accusing a priest of said disorders, but, by implication, does not rule it out either.

    Imagine, say, in my profession of dentistry that I was required by law to present a letter to public health clinics where I wanted to volunteer and help poor people with their dental help. And this letter said, “We, the Board of Dental Examiners, do not have any proof at this time that Dr. R gropes his patients while under anesthesia, abuses his coworkers, commits tax fraud, overcharges for his services, beats up grandmothers in the subway, has racist tendencies, has a narcotic addiction, or neglects his children.” It’s basically saying, “We wash our hands of any liability because this person may very well have these problems, so YOU watch out for yourself if you let this person in your midst.” Once you plant that seed of doubt in people’s minds, you cannot keep it from bearing its fruit.

    It is a joke how good priests are thrown under the bus like this. It is shameful that the men who sacrifice so much for Our Lord and for His people are all tarred with the same cloud of suspicion because of a very few bad priests, and the tarring is being done by their own chanceries, even if only indirectly. It is something that will deter good men from becoming priests, because they will always be looking over their shoulders for the next angry parishioner who wants to whisper gross accusations just to get the automated wheels of the chancery machinery activated against a priest who is trying to do the right things, however politically-incorrect they may be.

    What future do you want for this Church? Do you want a society where priests are presumed guilty until proven innocent? Do you want good men to join the ranks of our shepherds? We cannot live in a risk-free world. Virtue, not fear, should govern our hierarchy. If we make the rules for life as a priest impossible, it will result in paranoid priests or no priests at all. I, for one, will bring these concerns up to any diocese that wants any (or all) of my five sons as a seminarian. If a diocese wants priests, they better be ready to be fair.

  2. Ave Maria says:

    I never thought he was guilty of any wrong doing. I do, however, think that whoever dreamed up this persecution is guilty of a terrible sin of calumny. And the instant trashing of the reputation of a good priest was a grave injustice to say the least. Too many of our good priests have been persecuted and too many of the unworthy ones just seem to get promoted.

  3. tho says:

    It makes me shudder to think of any innocent person trying to overcome the presumption of guilt, especially a priest who in the past was held in such high regard. Since VII we have such a run of weak kneed Bishops that I wonder where the answer is. Lawyers will exploit any calamity for their own gain, and when your guilt is their payday, heaven help us. There are too many good priests for us to lose heart, it is up to us lay people to treasure them.

  4. Mike in VA says:

    I think that this:
    is the link you wanted. The current link is to an article from 2013.

  5. NBW says:

    I am very glad Fr. Phillips has been exonerated! Blessed Be God!

  6. jbazchicago says:

    What is egregious is that there was no reason to remove our pastor in the first place….
    Bishops hide behind the term “credible evidence” because they will never release what that evidence is.
    The accusation was brought to the episcopal chancery in November
    No action was taken (not that there ever should have been) until this year’s Archdiocesan Appeal was completed. Traditionalists tend to give a greater percentage than their counterparts!
    And, he never fit the profile
    He loved being a priest
    He ALWAYS made time for people, even when he was sick.
    He was always finding ways to make the parish better and more vibrant (physically and spiritually and socially)
    He was too busy for any shenanigans.
    He simply didn’t fit the profile, it was a convenient opportunity to get him out as pastor and superior. It is diabolical from beginning to end.
    AND, the accuser….nevermind.

    Pray our parish recovers, there is a palpable emptiness without him.
    Thank you.

  7. hwriggles4 says:

    The sad thing is that when a Catholic priest or a Scoutmaster is accused of something like this, major media outlets and newspapers such as the Houston Chronicle, The Dallas Morning News, and the Minnesota Star Tribune print an article on the front page. When it’s a Protestant minister or a daycare worker, the story is either ignored or if it does make the paper, it’s on page 36 on Wednesday.

    A priest in my diocese was accused 10 years ago of financial impropriety (he was later cleared) and a television news station reported it three days after the story broke. Had a Protestant minister had a similar accusation, the television news crew would have found the story not worth the effort.

    Can you say “media bias?”

  8. VP says:

    While the priests are made out to be the monsters, the bishops as a group, so many of whom are sexually or otherwise corrupted, are now the real problem.

    And if the bishops have to sacrifice good priests to protect themselves, that’s OK, because the seminaries are full to bursting. As for the future, any that ensures their own position will suffice. Beyond that, it’s the next man’s problem.

    Five sons? A real blessing. I have one, and I would encourage a vocation if he wanted to pursue it. We are fortunate that we know enough to educate our sons about the pitfalls.

  9. MrsMacD says:

    Yay! My heart rejoices. Something told me that it was a wicked injustice. Blessed be God.

    St. Joseph please pray for Father McCrae.

    Don’t forget your priests O Lord, you are all that they have.

  10. Fr. Kelly says:

    Keep praying for Fr. Phillips.

    As the memo says:
    We now prayerfully await the response of His Eminence, Blase Cardinal Cupich, Archbishop of Chicago, for the return of our pastor.

    Pray that justice be done.

    [Amen. Everyone ought to pray. Meanwhile, everyone in Chicagoland who is reading this, might consider going to St. John Cantius for Holy Mass either this evening, Saturday or tomorrow Sunday.]

  11. Pingback: SATVRDAY EDITION – Big Pulpit

  12. Verygrateful1 says:

    Fr. Z,

    This letter uses exactly the same wording that was used to excuse McCarrick’s sex with adult men. Here’s the quote from a National Catholic Register Article from a canon lawyer:

    “If a priest was accused of having sex with seminarians who are adults, it is not defined as a canonical crime, but it would be taken more seriously. The same would go for a bishop,” said JD Flynn, a canon lawyer who also leads the Catholic News Agency, the Register’s sister news wire service.

  13. maternalView says:

    Thanks be to God! Prayers were heard! Too late of notice for me to get there this weekend. But I’d sure like to be there for Father’s first Mass back!

  14. Pingback: Fr. Phillips of @SJCantius will NOT be allowed to return to public ministry after he was exonerated | Fr. Z's Blog

  15. Sam Schmitt says:

    To follow up on what Verygrateful1 wrote, J D Flynn recently tweeted

    “Since [Fr. Phillips] was not accused of civil or canonical crimes, it is unclear whether a subsequent finding that he has not committed any crimes can be fairly characterized as an ‘exoneration.'”

  16. AA Cunningham says:

    Disappointing that Father Phillips public faculties remain suspended.

    Fr. Phillips Not Allowed to Return to Public Ministry

Comments are closed.