A few weeks ago, Fr. Justin Wylie, a priest from South Africa who works at the U.N. and helps serve the Traditional Catholic community at Holy Innocents, which is threatened with closure, gave a homily that included some words about how the traditional community is treated in NY.
It was polite and charitable, but also plain spoken about the situation in NY. Fr. Z. covered the remarks here and I reproduce some of them below.
Now it is being reported [by Christine Niles] that Fr. Wylie has had his faculties in NY revoked and he is being sent home.
Fr. Justin Wylie, a good priest, has been sent packing to his home diocese of Johannesburg. Why? For speaking out eloquently & charitably on behalf of the community at Holy Innocents Church, which is targeted for possible closure by the NYC archdiocese.
This is an injustice.
Please write a respectful letter to Cdl. Dolan: Communications@archny.org
This is an injustice.
I will admit that detail is minimal right now, but this is a potentially troubling development and perhaps a sign of the times for traditionalists. I will stay on top of this story as it develops more clearly.
I have been provided some background and additional info:
Ever since the archdiocese learned of his homily remarks, he has been forbidden to offer public Masses in the NY archdiocese. A letter of complaint has been ldged with his home diocese of Johannesburg, S. Africa, as well as with his nuncio in Pretoria.
Fr. Wylie has been in NYC as a visiting priest for three years. His term at the Holy See’s Permanent Observer Mission to the UN was supposed to end in July. Once his remarks got out, he was sent packing immediately; he no longer works there.
Excerpts from homily.
As I said: during the dark days of prohibition, New York seemed to be a happy place to be for you because of the indult-masses at places like St. Agnes, but in the fresh juridical freedom Summorum Pontificum brings, New York has become, in my view, a less felicitous place for traditional Catholics: because nothing is structured, nothing acknowledged. Who takes responsibility for you pastorally?
Pastores dabo vobis, the Lord promises Jeremiah: I will give you shepherds!Fundamentally – and this is something about which I urge you to think well and pray much about – as a priest, I have to say: I worry about the situation of traditional Catholics in the Archdiocese. Yes, the archdiocese ‘permits’ a traditional mass here or there — but responsibility for the matter continues to rest upon the initiative and resourcefulness of the laity, who with enormous difficulty have to source priests hither and thither as though we were seemingly still living in Reformation England or Cromwellian Ireland. Isn’t it high time for the Church to take pastoral responsibility also for these sheep? Do they not deserve a shepherd? a parish? or at least some sense of juridical security? What happens to you when the parish you are harbouring in closes its doors?
What will become of the priestly vocations aplenty I see in these numerous young men of such quality as we have in abundance serving here at Holy Innocents, St. Agnes and elsewhere – remaining as they do at the mercy (and sometimes, caprice) of ‘landlords’ who, for one reason or another, ‘permit’ their presence in their parishes? Doors everywere seem closing to them. Our Saviour has closed its doors to them. St. Agnes, for its part, guards its doors vigilantly to make sure they don’t enter the building 5 minutes too early or don’t overstay their welcome by 5 minutes more. Now, it seems, the doors of Holy Innocents will be closed to them, too. Taken together, this is, in my view, a clear instance of exclusion: an injustice which you should bring to the attention of your shepherd, I think. You are fully-fledged members of the baptised Faithful, for heaven’s sake: why are you scurrying about like ecclesiastical scavengers, hoping for a scrap or two to fall from the table for your very existence? The precariousness of your community cannot hinge on a church building being available to you as though you were a mere sodality or guild. The days of renting space in hotels and the like must surely be over. You are not schismatics! Are you schismatics?
Whatever happens to Holy Innocents – and this will be the decision of your chief-shepherd here, who will base his decision on more information than any of us has at his or her disposal – you need to assert that you belong to the Church as fully as any other community. You have found a home here, largely through your own hard work and perseverence: no good shepherd could dispossess you of your home without providing safety and good pasture elsewhere. Parishioners of a Novus ordo parish closure might easily find another ‘home’ nearby; but what of you? You have a right to find the Mass (and not only on Sundays); and not only the Mass, but the other sacraments and rites of the Church. Closing this parish is more akin to closing a linguistic parish or a Oriental rite parish. What becomes of you?
No longer, I say, should you think of yourselves as squatters in the mighty edifice of Holy Church, nor should you find yourselves turned out like squatters. Shepherds must needs make difficult decisions, such as the erection or suppression of parishes – that is their onerous duty and in this they must have our obedience, charity and prayer: but never should they throw open the sheep-fold and allow the uncertain dispersion of their sheep into a world full of wolves. Charity, of course, is a two-way street.