Mt. St. Michael

A Systematic Study

Father Daniel B. Ahern

Fr. Ahern is an independent priest at St. Dominic Savio Catholic Church in Freeland, Michigan (parish site). This study was written in 1993.

1. Introduction


At some point in the early 1980's, I first heard tell of a supposedly traditional Catholic organization from the Pacific northwest. The whole thing seemed fairly distant and insignificant as well as bizarre. Since I had no dealings with this organization or its adherents, there was neither the need nor the opportunity to learn more.

In 1984 I happened upon a copy of a newsletter called Salve Regina, in which a spokesman for this same group offered a criticism of Archbishop Lefebvre's dealings with the Vatican. My thought at the time was, "What standing have you to complain?" Also in I984, one of the faithful showed me a newspaper clipping about Francis Schuckardt. I believe it was titled "Bishop on the Run." He had recently been forced to leave his facility and followers in Spokane, Washington, and feared for attacks on his life. Later, I read that his motel had been raided by a SWAT team looking for drugs and weapons. The whole thing was amusing, sad and ridiculous, but seemed quite insignificant.


1. Reign of Mary - In 1986 or 1987, an associate priest began to receive complimentary copies of The Reign of Mary, a magazine published by Schuckardt's former group in Spokane. Doctrinally and graphically, it was impressive, indeed very professional. Nevertheless, both the recipient and I viewed it as window dressing for a fringe group.

2. Tridentine Conference - In 1987, Father Joseph Collins attended a "Tridentine Rite Conference" in Phoenix. His purpose was to become acquainted with some of the figures on the Traditional scene. Needless to say, he did not commit himself to any approval of their various viewpoints. Among those present were a couple of "Mount Saint Michael" (MSM for short) clergy, from the same group that published Salve Regina. I expected to hear that they were ignorant, heretical wrecks. Quite to the contrary, Fr. Collins observed that they were knowledgeable and balanced, and serious about the Faith. I now began to wonder what to make of them, and to fear that they had the potential to do great harm.


1. Connections in Detroit - About a year after the Tridentine Rite Conference, a number of parishioners from St. Pius X in metro Detroit went over to a MSM Mass center there. Some of these were friends of many years. One lady wrote to me that she had joined a "seven sacrament church," an allusion to the group's connection with various Thuc, bishops. The matter was coming closer to home, and I was beginning to lament the paucity of good information.

2. Backyard - The information at hand indicated an entity with notable size, organization and list of Mass centers. They claimed to be traditional Catholics, but it was unclear whether their claim was legitimate. I realized that the problem could "land in my back yard" any day, in the sense that someone who looked to me for guidance would conclude that he could and should avail himself of the services of MSM clergy. Eventually, this is exactly what happened.

3. Controversy in Cincinnati, Columbus - Society of St. Pius V resolutions - In the summer of 1989 Frs. Daniel Dolan and Anthony Cekada had a parting of the ways with Fr. Clarence Kelly and company. By the next year, Fr. Dolan was welcoming to the communion rail "adherents" of MSM and developing friendly relations with MSM clergy. Many readers are familiar with the acrimonious contest that followed, especially in Cincinnati and Columbus, Ohio. For my part, I loathed the partisan spirit. I also sensed a willingness to condemn first and investigate later. If there be condemnation, let it be for due cause; if there be not cause, let there not be false condemnation. I also greatly feared that false accusations and specious argumentation would distract both clergy and laity from real dangers: it is like the case of the boy who cried wolf. It is for this reason that I embarked upon an investigation of MSM. For over two years, I have sought to discover the truth of the matter, and my findings are now presented for your consideration.


For questions of Church law and history, I made several trips to the library of Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. The late Mauro Ciotola managed to dig up considerable information on Old Catholics, and even interviewed one Polish National clergyman. A number of people provided me with copies of documents, and tapes of Schuckardt's talks. In addition, I interviewed about a dozen people, some friendly, some hostile to MSM, who had been involved at one time or another. In November of 1991, I spent five days in the Spokane area where I observed the MSM communities first hand and interviewed a number of people. Two very kind ladies, one in New York and another in Michigan provided assistance in transcribing the tapes and interviews. May they receive an abundant reward in heaven!

In May Of 1992, I sent a letter to all the North American clergy on the Sacerdotium mailing list. This letter informed them of my investigation, proposed a status quaestionis, and canvassed them for information and suggestions as to procedure. I was impressed by the number, promptness, and general courtesy of the responses. None of the respondents was able to provide startling new information, but did help to fill in some gaps. The status quaestionis has undergone a little refinement since the letter.


In our day, we must often grapple with difficult theological and pastoral questions. The good of souls is at stake; hence we clergy are obliged to approach the matter with the utmost care. We can do this by proceeding in a systematic and scientific manner, as with a problem to be analyzed and solved, not as with a cause to be championed. To this end, I have laid out a modus agendi and modus argumentandi. The format is a general one, applicable to a variety of moral and pastoral questions. I hope thereby to serve the common good by considering this matter in a balanced manner, while at the same time setting forth a method by which to do the same for other topics. Such a format should avoid misunderstandings and useless controversy while stimulating constructive debate and inquiry. One can then hope to arrive at practicable conclusions.

2. Objectives

Is the matter worthy of inquiry?

The Mount Saint Michael priests, religious and lay adherents (MSM) claim to be traditional Catholics, for the most part act as traditional Catholics, and frequently impress prudent people as such.

MSM is active in many parts of North America, and appears to be expanding its influence as well as the numbers of its priests and religious. A coherent organization, the ability to elect new superiors, a seminary program, schools, chapels and publishing capabilities give it the potential to be a major factor in the Catholic resistance over the next decade.

There is doubt and controversy as to how one ought to comport himself with regard to MSM, a doubt founded in the question of its ecclesiastical status and connection with scandal. But that which concerns, disturbs and divides Catholics concerning the identity and status of fellow Catholics is a matter worthy of consideration. Therefore the question of MSM is worthy of our scrious consideration.

As of December 1993, it appears that no systematic study of the topic has been done and evaluated among "traditional clergy," hence such a study is a useful undertaking.

Interest & Competence

Do we have any interest in the matter?

As Catholics, we have a general right to know who is of the household of the faith since there are certain special duties to fellow Catholics.

Given the current crisis in the Church, we have a need to know who is friend and who is foe, who is tolerable and who is a menace. We might call this a matter of spiritual self-defense.

Priests have a duty to give prudent direction to their flocks regarding this matter.

Therefore, traditional Catholics in general, and priests in particular, have an interest in the matter of MSM.

Do we have sufficient intellectual competence?

The matter before us concerns relatively recent events in accessible places, and matters of fundamental moral theology, as well as some Canon Law and Church history. It is quite different from the question of the correct interpretation of some ancient Syrian manuscript. Hence, we can reasonably expect that careful and prayerful research will turn up sufficient information for a prudent judgment.

Do we require juridical competence?

To render a probable practical judgment for ourselves and others who are convinced by our arguments, no.

To pursue a prudent consensus among traditional Catholic clergy of good will, no.

To determine someone's juridical status in a manner that is binding upon him and Catholics in general, yes.

Good to be Accomplished

That the truth be known - bonum et verum convertuntur.

That acrimonious controversy be resolved, or at least reduced to respectful disagreement.

That the good name of the Church be preserved.

That any involved in schism or scandal be shown the peril of their situation, and recalled to safety.

Evil to be Avoided

  1. Approval or affiliation with a non-Catholic sect.
  2. Calumny against fellow Catholics.
  3. Approval of a Catholic but scandalous organization.
  4. Divisions among faithful Catholics.

3. Overview

History of MSM

In the 1960's Francis Konrad Schuckardt was active in the Blue Army as a promoter of the message of Fatima and as an organizer of the Fatima Cell Movement. Around 1968 he began to voice objections to Vatican II and its effect in the Church, and to suggest that Paul VI had defected from the faith. This resulted in his departure from the Blue Army. He thereupon founded the Fatima Crusade. An eloquent speaker, Schuckardt convinced a number of people to join him in the founding of a community that would promote the message of Fatima, and resist the moral depravity in society and in the Church. He obtained property in the area of Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. For a time, he had the assistance and/or advice of several priests, among them Fr. Lawrence Brey, Fr. Burton Frasier, S.J., Fr. George Kathrein C.Ss.R., Fr. Pinneau, and Fr. Clement Kubish. Fr. Brey dissociated from the group after his attempt to correct some aberrations was received with indignation by Schuckardt. Fr. Frasier was killed in a car accident. (Only his hands survived mutilation, and his pyx is now at St. Hilarys Chapel, Baltimore.) At some point, Schuckardt began to call himself "Brother Francis". During this time a fair number of people had moved to Idaho for his organization and community as well as the little school which it operated. The group rejected the Novus Ordo, but it became progressively more difficult for them to attract and retain a traditional chaplain; hence there were notable periods without Mass. Sometime in 1970 "Brother Francis" came in contact with Daniel Q. Brown. Brown was baptized a Catholic, but as an adult, had joined the North American Old Catholic Church. He became a priest, then a bishop, and subsequently ended up on his own, in the Akron, Ohio area. Brown seemed to want to get back into the Catholic Church, and was sympathetic to Schuckardt's anti-Vatican II stand. Brown said that he offered to ordain Schuckardt, but that the latter insisted on immediate consecration as well. On Oct. 30, 1971 Brown appears to have made some sort of abjuration, after which he tonsured Schuckardt. The following day, all seven holy orders were conferred, and the subsequent day the episcopacy. This all took place at a motel in Chicago with about forty people present.

Brown proposed an organization named "Tridentine Rite Catholic Church." Schuckardt established a non-profit corporation with the name "Tridentine Latin Rite Church," and only rarely used the name otherwise. Brown never publicly visited Coeur d'Alene or Spokane and had nothing to do with the operation of Schuckardt's communities there. In about I973, Brown and Schuckardt had a failing out and ceased whatever cooperation there had been between them. Schuckardt ruled a men's religious-type community, a women's religious-type community, a sporadic seminary program, schools and a parish-type cornmunity. At some point, he obtained a large residence for himself. Schuckardt and his associates would regularly travel throughout the United States on a lecture tour, and missionary circuit. He also led "pilgrimages" to Europe for his followers.

Throughout the mid and late seventies Schuckardt and his operation became the object of charges of mind control, marriage wrecking, child abuse and general fanaticism. He generally forbade his followers to have social and religious contact with anyone outside the group, and led them to believe that they were the only Catholics left in the world.

In the late seventies and early eighties, Schuckardt apparently had a medical condition for which he took a pain killer. MSM people assert that Schuckardt took excessive doses, and hallucinated, perhaps becoming addicted. During this period he is also reported to have engaged in various acts of unnatural immodesty and impurity on a repeated basis. Several seminarians later asserted that they were seduced by him. In about 1984, accusations of seduction were made in the secular press, there was a palace revolt among the MSM clergy, and Schuckardt was forced to leave. Fr. Denis Chicoine took over as head of the MSM communities. Contact was eventually made with the late Bishop George Musey of the Thuc line. He agreed to provide sacraments and to help straighten out MSM. Though asserting that he personally had no doubts concerning catholicity or validity, he did receive an abjuration ad cautelam from, and conditionally reordained, the MSM clergy in April of 1985.

The relationship with Musey later ended on a somewhat sour note. A subsequent relationship with Bishop McKenna (also Thuc line) seems to have waned. In the fall of 1991, Rev. Mark Pivarunas, former MSM superior, was consecrated by Bishop Carmona (Thuc line).

The MSM religious say that they have adopted an adaptation of the Servite rule, and call their community Congregatio Mariae Reginae Immaculatae (CMRI). They have changed leadership: Fr. Chicoine is in New Zealand; Fr. Casimir Puskorius is the present overall head. MSM clergy administer chapels in the mid-western and western United States as well as Canada, Mexico and New Zealand. In Spokane, Washington, MSM operates a grade and high school with approximately two hundred students. They also publish a magazine, The Reign of Mary. Priests associated with MSM number about ten, brothers two and sisters about forty-five. The priests operate a small seminary in Omaha, Nebraska. At Mount St. Michael itself, most of the bizarre practices from Schuckardt's time have gone, and there is a desire for friendly contact with "traditional" Catholics. One would "guesstimate" that the laity associated with MSM in the United States number about two thousand. The theological position of MSM is sedevacantist with an appeal to epikeia and supplied jurisdiction for its ministry.

B. Opinions as to the ecclesiastical status of the MSM adherents are basically five:

  1. They are schismatic because Schuckardt sought consecration without an apostolic mandate, and sedevacantism keeps them schismatic.
  2. They are schismatic because Brown was a schismatic, and Schuckardt set out to found an (Old Catholic) religious organization in concert with him. There has never been an adequate abjuration or repudiation.
  3. They never were schismatic since it is questionable that Brown was a schismatic at the time of the consecration, and since one may approach a schismatic for holy orders under certain circumstances. Furthermore, MSM never repudiated the name Catholic, nor did it refuse submission to the Holy See.
  4. They were once at least materially schismatic, but are no longer so. Most of those involved were deceived and acted in good faith. They corrected their irregularity by the abjuration, and should not be harassed over the past.
  5. They became schismatic because of Schuckardt's claims to the papacy, and are now irretrievably irregular since only the Holy See can absolve an organization of schism.

4. Status of Questions

General Nature of Topic

1. Do we seek private guidance or "Public" position and practice? We seek public position and practice since this concerns a published evaluation of a public organization, and an attempt to arrive at a consensus concerning that organization.

2. To what discipline does this matter pertain? - We will be concerned with historical, moral and practical questions: What did Francis Schuckardt and his followers do? What is the morality of their actions, especially with regard to schism and scandal? How does one apply prudence and Church law to the current situation? There does not seem to be a dogmatic question as there would be in the matter of Feeneyism. Likewise, there does not seem to be a ritual question, as in the celebration of Mass without a server.


Specifically exclude what is not meant to be treated.

If we attempt to study or discuss too many topics at once, we invite confusion and error rather than clarity and accuracy. In mathematics one soon learns that he can only solve for one unknown at a time. Such is also the method of the Summa Theologica. Hence we set aside certain questions for another time and place, in order to deal with the precise matter at hand.

1. Whether there is reason to doubt the validity of consecrations and ordinations following from the consecrations of Guerard de Lauriers, Moises Carmona and Adolpho Zamora by Archbishop Pierre Martin-Ngo-Dinh-Thuc. This is a separate study.

2. Whether Old Catholic orders can be accepted as valid. Again, this is a separate study.


The present study is only useful and reasonable in the context of today's situation in the Church. In normal times, the matter would have been dealt with by competent authority, but today that authority is not functioning. We take for granted certain conclusions about the state of affairs within the Church, and these serve as presumptions or general premises for the whole of our investigation and discussion. It is helpful, then, to list certain of those presumptions.

  1. The sedevacantist "Position" is at least probable, and that adherence thereto is not a schismatic act.
  2. The Conciliar church is not the true church of Christ.
  3. Given the current state of the Catholic Church, it is not per se schismatic or disobedient to seek or confer Holy Orders without the appropriate dimissorial letters or apostolic mandate.
  4. There is no recourse to competent juridical authority for the resolution of doubts.
  5. There is no recourse to competent juridical authority for absolution from censures of the external forum.

Organization vs Individuals

Our primary concern here is an organization rather than the individuals connected with it. Indeed, we will consider individuals, their perceptions, their intentions, and their actions, but we will do this in order to know the organization as it was and is.


Mount Saint Michael (MSM) - Literally, this refers to a facility on the north side of the city of Spokane, Washington. It was formerly a Jesuit scholasticate, and was obtained by Francis Schuckardt's organization in I977. The facility consists of several buildings, and is currently the mother house of the Congregation of Mary Immaculate Queen (CMRI) as well as a grade and high school. For convenience, we shall use the term to refer to the religious communities connected to Mount Saint Michael (priests, brothers, sisters), as well as the "Parish" there, and affiliated chapels. Unless specified otherwise, it shall also refer to predecessor organizations, in particular the Fatima Crusaders, the Oblates of Mary Immaculate Queen of the Universe, the "third order," and a variety of lay organizations connected with the above.

Non-catholic sect - The very word sect is derived from sectari and denotes a strong adherence to a particular school of thought. Among ancient writers it was not necessarily a pejorative term. In ecclesiastical usage, it often refers to secret and destructive societies such as the Freemasons or the Communists. In the Code of Canon Law, the term has a more specific meaning, namely religious or pseudo religious societies of apostates, heretics, schismatics, infidels or atheists. We shall use the term in this latter sense. The distinguishing note of a Christian sect is that it refuses to accept the entire doctrine or to acknowledge the supreme authority of the Catholic Church. It is therefore schismatic or heretical, or both.

Schism - A somewhat onomatopoeic term, schism is derived from the Greek, a tear or rending asunder. "In the Ianguage of theology and Canon Law, it is the rupture of ecclesiastical union and unity, i.e. either the act by which one of the faithful severs as far as in him lies the ties which bind him to the social organization of the Church and make him a member of the mystical body of Christ, or the state of dissociation or separation which is the result of that act." St. Augustine distinguishes schism and heresy: "By false doctrines concerning God heretics wound faith, by iniquitous dissensions schismatics deviate from fraternal charity." The Code of Canon Law defines a schismatic as a baptized person who retains the name Christian but refuses to be subject to the Supreme Pontiff or to be in communion with members of the Church subject to him. The essential characteristic is the refusal of submission and the refusal of communion, rather than a disobedience or negligence. Most schism engenders, or is accompanied by, heresy.

Heresy - The doubt or denial of those things to be believed by divine and Catholic faith.

Old Catholic - This tide applies variously to three categories of sect.

  • (a) Primary Old Catholics - Supporters of the Jansenist heresy in Holland refused to accept the condemnation of Cornelius Jansen. In 1723, the chapter of Utrecht chose one Cornelius Steenhoven as its bishop. He secured episcopal consecration from Dominique-Marie Varlet, a Catholic missionary bishop who had been suspended for previously aiding the Jansenist's. The jansenists thereby obtained a valid, if illegitimate, episcopal succession. In 1870, Ignaz Ddllinger oversaw a movement that rejected papal infallibility. These organized a variety of national non-papal churches, and obtained episcopal orders from the Utrecht bishops. The Jansenists and the Dollingerites sought to promote "old" Catholicism in opposition to the "new" idea of papal infallibility and authority. They fairly quickly discarded clerical celibacy, indissolubility of marriage, Latin in the liturgy etc., and began to promote "ecumenical" Christianity.
  • (b) National (or Secondary) Old Catholics - Typical of these are the Polish Nationals. These were Polish immigrants to North America who felt that they were receiving unfair treatment from the Irish and German clergy. Around 1900, they broke from the Catholic Church and set up their own national "parishes." Eventually Francis Hodur from Scranton, PA., and Fr. Antonius Kozlowski from Chicago were consecrated by European Old Catholic bishops. This was done on condition that their organizations subscribe to the heretical Utrecht Declaration. One could characterize national Old Catholics as Catholics who have gone into schism for some reason, then subscribed to Old Catholic doctrine in order to obtain episcopal orders
  • (c) "Old Catholics Vagi" - or "Independent Old Catholics" These are typically the creations of clergymen, often renegade Catholic priests, who deviously obtain episcopal orders - usually from an Old Catholic line - then establish themselves as the head of some little (often tiny) congregation. Many of them have incorporated the name "Old Catholic" into the title of their organization. Most Independent Old Catholic clergy trace their orders to Jules Ferette, Joseph Vilatte or Arnold Mathew. Their common theological denominator is a refusal to be regulated by the Holy See.

Abjuration - In general, the retraction and renunciation of ideas, persons and things that one has abandoned. According to the prescriptions of Canon Law, a juridical abjuration is an external retraction made before the Ordinary and witnesses, of errors contrary to the faith or the unity of the Church. The essential elements of an abjuration are (a) to identify one's errors (b) to renounce and repudiate them and (c) to profess Catholic faith and submission, particularly in that which the errors opposed. The abjuration and profession of faith are usually made under oath. The Roman Inquisition used different degrees of abjuration according to the degree of suspicion or guilt.

Scandal - In the wide sense scandal is any spiritual or moral harm that one brings upon another. Included in this would be shock or discouragement given to virtuous persons, but distinct from an inducement to sin. In the strict sense, scandal is defined as "any conduct that has at least the appearance of evil and that offers to a neighbor an occasion of spiritual ruin." Strict scandal is subdivided according to the intention of the scandalizer. It is directly intentional, or diabolical, if the sin of the other is sought after. It is indirectly intentional if the inducement to sin is an effect of the evil action, but the other's sin is not directly sought after. Strict scandal is also subdivided according to subject. It is active on the part of one directly or indirectly intending scandal. It is passive on the part of the one scandalized. Passive scandal is scandal given when one succumbs to the bad influence of another. Passive scandal is called scandal taken when there is no active scandal, but one misinterprets an action. If the misinterpretation is malicious, we have pharisaic scandal; if it is due to frailty or ignorance, we have scandal of the little ones.

External ecclesial communion - "Communion a relation of member to head and of member to member of the Mystical Body. This relation is founded on the act of incorporation into the Mystical Body through (1) valid Baptism (2) the profession of the Catholic Faith, and (3) submission to the pope, the authority of the Catholic Church."

Cult: The general meaning of the word is religious belief and ritual. In the past two decades, it has taken on a special meaning as "destructive cult." This is an organization in which psychological manipulation is used to engage and retain adherents. Destructive cults may be religious, political, therapeutic or commercial. The recruit is attracted by an appeal to ideals or some need of the moment. He is then weaned from his past by group dynamics, sleep privation, and other types of disorientation. Next, he is conformed to the program of the cult by one or another means of behavior modification. Then he is locked in by guilt, fear, unbearable work loads, irregular sleep and food, and the idea that he is somehow specially chosen. Access to information is often regulated, as is time alone with non-cult members. A cult is typically controlled by one charismatic leader who demands blind obedience. It is also typical that a cult leader requires poverty and sacrifice from his followers, but retains a comfortable lifestyle for himself. Deception is commonly used in the process of recruitment. A religious cult is not necessarily heretical or schismatic, but is a proximate disposition to both. Typical effects of cult membership are disruption of family ties, reliance on the group to do one's thinking, a view of those outside the group as thoroughly evil, and a state of constant mental pressure. Those who dissociate from a cult frequently find themselves subject to one or another psychological disorder.

Points of Difficulty or Uncertainty

Possible Sources of Error

I believe that there are some pieces of correspondence between Brown and Schuckardt in the MSM archives which have not been made available for inspection.

My own contact with the MSM clergy and faithful in Spokane was significant, but still limited.

There is uncertainty as to whether the false claim of ordinary or quasi-ordinary jurisdiction is schismatic.

5. Questions & Answers


1. Does the reception of orders from a schismatic render one schismatic?

If the willful reception of holy orders from a schismatic per se rendered one schismatic, then such an action would always be gravely sinful, and should be punished as schism, i.e. with excommunication.

But the Church, in spite of her general and severe prohibition, has allowed absolution to those who planned to approach a schismatic bishop for orders, and punishes schismatic ordination much less severely than schism. Fr. Ignatius Szal discusses the matter in his dissertation The Communication of Catbolics with Schismatics:

In spite of the teaching set forth in the instruction Sanctissimus of Clement VIII, the Holy Office seemed to take a rather lenient view toward permitting ordination by schismatics in its response of June 7, 1639. It was asked how one should act toward those who when coming to confession had the intention of presenting themselves to a Greek Bishop for the reception of sacred orders, and in particular to a bishop who was a schismatic or a heretic, or who was involved in simony inasmuch as his consecration had been accompanied with a payment of money. The answer was given that those who for a just cause wished to approach a schismatic bishop who, if excommunicated, was nevertheless not a vitandus, could be absolved, since the desire, motivated by a just cause, did not entail a sin. However, it was not permissible for one to entertain the arbitrary desire to approach a simonical bishop for the reception of Orders. At the same time it was asked whether it was licit to absolve those who approached the confessor in good faith, thinking namely that they had not sinned and that they had not incurred any censure or any penalty by having received sacred Orders from dissidents and simonical bishops, and further, whether they should be left in good faith. The Holy Office stated that they could be absolved, in so far as they needed absolution, by one who had the requisite authority, and that they were to be given a warning or an admonition in the same sense in which it was called for in relation to other sins.

On this same matter there was still another response of the Holy Office on November 21, 1709. No Armenian Catholic bishops were available for ordaining priests who were needed in Ispahan, and so it was asked whether sacred Orders could be received from schismatical or heretical bishops. The Holy Office replied that in no way could that be allowed, and that those who had been ordained by such bishops were irregular and suspended from the exercise of their Orders.

The reception of holy Orders from the hands of schismatic bishops has practically always been forbidden by the Church. Rarely has the Holy See ever considered it necessary to receive orders from a schismatic bishop.

Those who presume to receive sacred Orders from a schismatic bishop arc punished with a suspension reserved to the Holy See. Those who have received Orders from a schismatic in goodfaith are not suspended, but irregular, and may not exercise the orders so received until they have received a dispensation. There is no mention of abjuration or schismatic status, hence it seems that there is no presumption of schism. Fr. Szal doses his discussion of Orders from schismatics with what prove to be prophetically ironic words: 'In present it is impossible to imagine a situation in which necessity the would warrant the reception of Orders from the hands of a schismatic contrary to the prescriptions of the Church."

Conclusion: The reception of holy orders from a schismatic does not per se render one schismatic.

2. Is it a schismatic act gratuitously to claim jurisdiction in the external forum?

Jurisdiction is the power to govern the faithful for the superatural end for which Christ has instituted the Church.

Jurisdiction is ordinary when it is attached to an office by law. If the law or a superior grants jurisdiction to a person, rather than the holder of an office, this is delegated jurisdiction. If there is common error, or positive and probable doubt of fact or law, the Church supplies jurisdiction for the validity of particular acts.

The Roman Pontiff enjoys supreme, universal and immediate jurisdiction over the whole Church. Residential bishops govern particular churches (dioceses) with ordinary jurisdiction under the authority of the Roman Pontiff.

The naming and confirming of a bishop for a particular see is the prerogative of the Roman Pontiff

One can gratuitously claim jurisdiction in one of four Ways:

With Regard to the office itself,

a. By intruding himself into a see or office to which he has not been elected or confirmed;

b. By claiming to possess an office which has never been canonically erected;

With regard to authority or authorization,

c. By claiming jurisdiction and faculties for an office which he does possess, but to which the law does not grant those faculties;

d. By claiming supplied jurisdiction in cases where there is neither common error nor probable positive doubt of fact or law.

Now, let us consider each case.

a. Intrusion is the classic case of setting altar against altar which St. Cyprian so vehemently condemned among the schismatics of his time. It is a refusal to be subject to the Roman Pontiff in the most proper exercise of his office, and is precisely what the Luciferians and Arians did in the fourth and fifth centuries. Intrusion, especially when the office is legitimately held by another, is directly contrary to unity of government within the Church; hence it is per se schismatic.

b. Claim to a non-existent office would be foolish and fraudulent if the goal were some personal gain, but schismatic if the goal were to avoid legitimate authority, for the formality of schism is the refusal of submission. Imagine (in normal times) some cleric claiming to be Ambrosian Eparch of Vermont in order to refuse the scrutiny of the local ordinary with regard to his curious religious order. Such an action would definitely smack of schism. If the same cleric were to declare himself Metropolitan of Antarctica, one would chuckle, but not accuse of schism. Therefore, claim to a non-existent office is per accidens schismatic, i.e., if the claim is a means to refuse submission to the pope or the legitimate ordinary. It is not per se schismatic.

C. Exaggerated authority is the fault of the patriarchs of Constantinople. Each was indeed bishop and patriarch, but sought to be ecumenical patriarch, and exempt from the authority of the pope. History testifies that this fraud disposed them to schism. One can nevertheless conceive of a case where presumptuous claims are rather the result of ambition or impatience, e.g., a pastor who attempts to divide his parish into two. Thus the claim of jurisdiction beyond one's legitimate office is per accidens schismatic.

d. False claim of supplied jurisdiction would constitute error or fraud rather than schism, since one is implicitly appealing to the authority rather than rejecting it. Subsequent to a decree which repudiated the claim, though, such a claim would be implicit rebellion against the authority that issued the decree. Hence, the false claim of supplied jurisdiction is only schismatic per accidens.

Therefore, only intrusion into an existing and occupied see is per se schismatic. Other false claims of jurisdiction may be schismatic per accidens, but only if certain conditions are present.

As an aside, it is interesting to note the theories concerning a bishop and jurisdiction. All agree that a bishop possesses a proximate disposition to jurisdiction. One theory holds that a bishop possesses jurisdiction as a potestas ligata which the pope looses for a particular diocese. The other theory holds that a bishop does not possess any jurisdiction vi ordinis, but receives it by his appointment to a see. Tanquerey says that the first is now communis et certa, but does not label the second as condemned


Did Francis Schuckardt daim to be pope?

Francis Schuckardt secretly claimed to be pope, and made this known to his inner circle of most favored followers. There is evidence that he was preparing to "reveal" this to the MSM community, but his departure/expulsion in 1984 thwarted his plans. Therefore, this claim was never part of the public policy or teaching of MSM.

During an interview at MSM in November 1991, Sister Mary Agnes CMRI, recounted that one of the sisters, since departed from the community, had claimed to have a vision in which she saw Schuckardt mystically crowned pope at St. Mary Major Basilica in Rome. Sister Mary Agnes never heard him explicitly claim to be pope, but observed that he did not refuse expressions of papal honor. Fr. Casimir Puskorius, in a separate interview, recalled how he became aware of the matter:

I had heard rumors to this effect for a year or two before he left but I did't know what to think of it. He never came out in public and said we had to believe it so I just merely shelved it in my own mind, and wondered after all if it was only a rumor. After he left all the information came out that he did believe that he was crowned the Pope by Our Lady when he was in St. Mary Major Basilica on a pilgrimage. I think he was afraid to come out with it though. As much as he controlled people, I think he knew better not go against the Pope now. Some of his intimates were told that. I have a letter from one of the sisters addressing him as your Holiness and how wonderful that you were given the Papacy. It wasn't just a secret, it was a super secret.

Some issues of Ecclesia, a newsletter written and edited by Schuckardt, showed photographs of him in a white cassock, but with dark buttons and piping. These were taken during the course of various "pilgrimages' to the Holy Land and Europe. Apparently the initiate knew what the white meant while others thought it was just hot weather wear.

Claim to the papacy is cited by Fr. Denis Chicoine as one of the reasons why Schuckardt was forced out. In a June 21, 1984 letter to the laity of MSM, Fr. Chicoine, then "vicar general," asserted that Schuckardt allowed himself to be addressed as pope (Hadrian VII), told his inner circle that he was pope, wore a papal cassock, and had pictures printed showing him as pope. These things were done secretly, as a preparation for going public. "It is my belief that in the near future Bishop Schuckardt would have proclaimed himself Pope."

I have found no evidence that Schuckardt publicly proclaimed to the MSM community that he was pope. On this, both friend and foe concur.

At best, this pope business was a hallucination brought on by excessive pain killers; at worst it was an act of schism. In neither case can one assert that MSM acknowledged Schuckardt as pope.

Assessment - Sect

Was MSM ever a non-Catholic sect by heresy?

An organization is a heretical sect if its teaching doubts or denies some article of divine and Catholic Faith. This is simply the application of the standard definition of heretic to an organization. For example, the Church of England denies the Real Presence, therefore it is a heretical sect.

But the teaching of MSM has not doubted or denied any article of divine or Catholic Faith. My research constantly sought evidence of doctrinal error. The few allegations which I encountered were either unfounded or not heretical. Mr. Martin Gwynn alleged that Schuckardt denied devotion to the Sacred Heart, but the MSM seminarians had regular First Friday devotions, and Schuckardt himself promoted enthronement of the Sacred Heart. Fr. Martin Skierka, in an informal interview, recalled that one of the MSM clergy had characterized smoking as a mortal sin. Fr. Skierka's recollection confirms a statement attributed to Schuckardt by the Inland Register. This assertion concerning smoking is clearly rigorism and a theological error, but neither denies a definition of the Church, nor refuses a decision of the Holy See. Further, it appears that MSM has abandoned its former stand on smoking. Hence, one may not accuse of heresy.

There is reason to believe that Schuckardt looked down on marriage. This was an attitude rather than an explicit teaching. It was related to me in an informal interview by Mr. and Mrs. James Kerns of Post Falls ID, and confirmed by Fr. Casimir Puskorius CMRI. It also corresponds to pressured "vocations" of a convent high school and a seminary high school. At the same time, Schuckardt did have an association for those contemplating marriage, did officiate at weddings and did uphold the indissolubility of marriage.

Fr. Gregory Post recalls Feeneyite errors from the late 1960's. I pursued this in my investigations, but found a rigorist tendency rather than Feeneyite errors proper. Both friend and foe of MSM recount that Schuckardt rigorously insisted on "no salvation outside the Church" but did not deny baptism of desire and blood. Fr. James McGilloway CMRI described Schuckardt's position as a failure to allow for invincible ignorance. Such failure is evident in conferences given by Schuckardt in the early 1970's, of which I was given a tape.

These distortions are indeed grave, for they give a rancid "flavor" to the Catholic faith; nevertheless, they do not cross the threshold of heresy.

Therefore MSM was not a sect by heresy.

2. Was MSM ever a non-Catholic sect by schism?

The formality of schism is a refusal of submission to the Roman Pontiff and/or a refusal of communion with those who are subject to him. Evidence of schism may include an explicit declaration, repudiation of the commands and laws of the pope, the establishment of a counter-hierarchy, the concoction of one's own liturgy, repudiation of the name Catholic, rejection of the disciplinary laws of the Church, adherence to a body that is professedly schismatic, or repudiation of Catholics in good standing. The present situation in the Church renders it difficult to discern schism, for enemies have occupied the places of authority, and resistance to the usurpers is often difficult to distinguish from resistance to the office usurped. In each of the following categories we are looking for clear and compelling evidence of schism.

a. Name - The Church of Christ upon earth is known by the name Christian and Catholic. Thus if an organization repudiates the name Christian or Catholic, it is repudiating the unity of the church of Christ. The same would be true if one consistently used another name in place of Catholic and Christian. Hence the Lutheran Church, the Baptist Church, the Polish National Church distinguish themselves and their name from the Catholic Church. The name, then, is a clear sign of schism and heresy. On the other hand, it has several times been necessary to add a modifier to distinguish true Christians from usurpers. To Christian was added Catholic in the second century. "Roman" was at first a pejorative term in England, but in time it became a statement of fidelity to the Holy See, in opposition to the "Anglo-Catholic" church of the heretics. In our own day, "traditional" and "tridentine" have frequently been used to distinguish faithful Roman Catholics from the Conciliarist usurpers. Does this mean that they are repudiating the name "Catholic?" Certainly not. A name is a vox significativa ad placitum, sine tempore. In this case, the name "Catholic" has lost its univocal signification, and the modifiers attempt to recover that univocity.

Schuckardt edited a little newsletter entitled Ecclesia. It was ostensibly the "Church Bulletin published by the Mary, Immaculate Queen of the Universe Catholic Community of the Tridentine Latin Rite," in Coeur d'Alene (later Spokane), but was often sent to supporters in other parts of the country. In it, Schuckardt promulgated his "official" episcopal pronouncements. Ecclesia routinely included a declaration of purpose. It will be quoted here for it manifests both a theological position and a certain hysteria:

THE TRIDENTINE RITE CATHOLIC COMMUNITY OF MARY, IMMACULATE QUEEN OF THE UNIVERSE is a traditional Catholic community which adheres to all of the doctrinal teachings of the one, holy, catholic, apostolic Church founded by the Son of God, Jesus Christ. Our official liturgy of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and the Sacraments is according to the ancient rites of the Church as confirmed, solemnly ratified, and petpetually decreed by the sacred Council of Trent and His Holiness, Pope St. Pius V. We totally reject the doctrinal and liturgical aberration of the spurious "Vatican Council II" and the resultant ecumenical sect which it has spawned. We are unalterably opposed to the intrinsic evils of Modernism, Liberalism, Communism, and all other such forces of satan. While we are staunchly loyal to the true papacy, we reject any and all spurious pretenders to the Chair of Peter who embrace the heretical tenets ofthe postconciliar ecumenical sect which still dares to blasphemously call itself Catholic. We further refuse to recognize any priest or bishop who does not totally renounce the postconciliar "Church" which is a mockery of Almighty God. We believe the continuing mission of the Church to be the salvation of souls...

One can see that Schuckardt did not in the least repudiate the name Catholic. He did use "'Tridentine," "Latin' and "Rite," in a variety of combinations. Thus we find "Tridentine Latin rite Catholics," "Tridentine rite Chapels," "we of the Tridentine Latin rite," "Tridentine Latin Rite Catholic Schools," "the Remnant Catholic Church," "Chapels of the Tridentine Latin Rite Catholic Church," "The Roman Catholic Church of the Tridentine Latin Rite," and "The Tridentine Latin Rite Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe Ecclesiastical Province."

How did the laity understand these labels? I asked a number of ex-Mount St. Michaelites this question. "Tridentine Latin Rite Church ... as a parishioner what did that name mean and did you hear it very often?" The response, "Yes we heard it and we accepted it. It seemed to make perfect sense. It meant that we were faithful to the Tridentine Mass, that we were faithful to the Holy Catholic Church." "Did it mean to you anything different from the Roman Catholic Church?" 'No, we felt that we were the Roman Catholic Church." They and others pointed out that "Fatima Crusaders" was the common name of the organization, and that they always identified their religion as Catholic. The name Tridentine Latin Rite Church was mostly used by outsiders, particularly the news media.

b. Declaration - A declaration of schism involves some affirmation that one is not subject to the Holy See or the Church of Rome, or that one enjoys authority equal to the Bishop of Rome. It would also be schism, not to mention heresy, to assert that the Bishop of Rome has a primacy of honor, but no authority to command other bishops and churches.

But in the utterances and publications both of Schuckardt and MSM we find the opposite: "... We are staunchly loyal to the true papacy." Indeed MSM's appeal (or bait) for Catholics was its adherence to the papacy as opposed to the rebellion of the American Conciliar Church.

c. Laws and commands - If one were habitually to reject or ignore the laws and commands of the Supreme Pontiff, this would be schismatic. Refusal of one or another command is disobedience, but refusal of all commands is a refusal of subjection.

With regard to MSM, we have a curious situation. They consistently maintained a sedevacantist position, so there were no commands to obey or disobey. We can only guess at whether Schuckardt would have submitted to the commands of a proper pope.

With regard to laws enacted by previous popes, we find a general submission, and an appeal to the Code of Canon Law when various hostile laity and clerics were declared to have incurred latae sententiae excommunication. On the other hand, MSM priests and seminarians were not permitted to read the Code itself, but had to rely on Schuckardt's explanations and interpretations.I think Schuckardt can be accused of hindering the promulgation and knowledge of the law within MSM, and of interpreting it according to his own whims.

d. Liturgy - The very unity of the Church is manifested in unity of worship. It pertains to the Holy See to regulate matters of ritual. On the other hand, sects frequently modify their ritual to suit their errors. Hence, if one rejects the traditional liturgy and ritual of the Church, or sets out to concoct his own, then this is fair reason to suspect him of heresy or schism.

With regard to MSM, to the best of my information, they have always held to the traditional (Tridentine) liturgy, and have neither accepted the Novus Ordo nor devised their own liturgy. Indeed, for what it is worth, Schuckardt would annually quote Fr. Kubish as saying that one or another ordination ceremony was exactly the same as Father's own some forty years ago. There is no question that Schuckardt had Mass at strange hours, and toward the end, postponed ceremonies for weeks at a time. Nevertheless, he has not been accused of violating the ceremonies themselves.

e. Hierarchy - The establishment of a parallel hierarchy is a sure sign of schism. We find this among the Novatians and Arians of old, as well as the independent Old Catholics of the early twentieth century. Arnold Harris Mathew, in particular, merited an excommunication vitandus when he declared himself Anglo-Catholic bishop of London, made contact with the modernist Tyrell, and offered an "alternative" for those who found things too uncomfortable in the Catholic Church under St. Pius X. Now, in the Novatians' and Mathew's case, there was a clear attempt to rival the legitimate hierarchy, thus a refusal to submit to it.

In the case of Schuckardt and MSM, there was a definite attempt to carry on diocesan functions. They claimed to have a cathedral church, a chancery, a vicar general, to grant faculties, to erect religious institutes, to regulate holy days of obligation and to pass declaratory sentence. Epikeia was cited as the justification for such claims and actions.

On the other hand, they did claim to operate in a vacuum caused by the general apostasy of the national hierarchies. They did not claim to govern one diocese or another, to depose one or another bishop, to establish parish boundaries, to appoint pastors, or to inflict ferendae sententiae penalties. They did not set up altar against legitimate altar.

Therefore we can say that Schuckardt and MSM erroneously, if not fraudulently, carried on the functions of a diocese, but not that they operated in opposition to legitimate authority.

f. Adherence -To join or adhere to a schismatic sect is an act of schism, and is punished with censure. Thus if one were to join the Greek Orthodox Church, he would be considered a schismatic, even if he had said or done nothing else to manifest rebellion against the Holy See. Two elements are necessary. First that the organization be clearly schismatic. Second, that one actually join or adhere, rather than favor the sect.

Our inquiry concerns the nature of Daniel Q. Brown's organization in 1971, and whether Schuckardt or MSM adhered to it. Brown definitely adhered to the North American Old Catholic Church when he received his orders. Nevertheless, in offering to ordain Schuckardt, he did not receive the latter into the Old Catholics, but on the basis that the ordinand was "...willing and able to join us, as Roman Catholics, in our movement to maintain and preserve our orthodox Catholic faith in doctrine, liturgy and discipline." Brown continued his offer of ordination, "If you feel that your ordination would be an asset to our common work, give me a letter of application, incorporating agreement to the following qualifications.... Thirdly, we must agree to submit to the Holy See immediately upon the election of a valid Pope." In a letter of April 14, 1973 to the Coeur d'Alene press, Brown denied the charge that he was then an Old Catholic Bishop, "First of all, I am not an 'Old Catholic' bishop. It is true that I was consecrated a bishop in that Church.... However, to avoid any connection with schism, I severed all ties with the Old Roman Catholic Church before consecrating Bishop Francis Schuckardt." Brown likewise asserted his separation from the Old Catholics in a Dec. 14, 1975 letter to Fr. Frank Korba of St. Mary's Byzantine Catholic Church in Marblehead, Ohio. "Before assuming leadership of several parishes of Catholics who have left the Paul VI Church for reasons which I have outlined, I left the Old Roman Catholic Church and made the Profession of Faith and the Abjuration of Heresy in the presence of some 40 witnesses."

Even if one should question Brown's sincerity and ability to rehabilitate himself, it is evident that he did not receive Schuckardt and his work into some professedly schismatic organization. Neither did he co-found MSM for that organization predated Schuckardt's consecration. Subsequent to the consecration, Schuckardt made a cross-country "victory tour" whereupon he returned to Idaho. Brown never visited MSM, had no say in the running of the place, and was little known to the people there. There is no evidence that Schuckardt or MSM joined Brown's former (Old Catholic) church. Schuckardt rather, got orders, talked about a common Catholic endeavor, cooperated informally with Brown concerning some Mass centers in Ohio and Illinois, then went his own way.

Therefore, neither Schuckardt nor MSM adhered to a schismatic sect.

Was MSM ever suspect of schism?

Suspicion of heresy is both a status and penalty in the Code of Ca-non Law. It results from certain deeds and omissions which imply an attachment to heresy. The suspect is to be issued an official warning, and directed to remove the cause for suspicion. If he fails to remove the cause for suspicion within six months, then the law considers him a heretic subject to the penalties for heretics.

Our discussion of suspicion differs from the above on two points. First, we are speaking of schism rather than heresy. Second, we are speaking of a doubt and a moral judgment rather than a legal presumption. Suspicion of schism is not spoken of in the Code; hence the reference to suspicion of heresy is simply for background and analogy. Neither are we concerned with censure.

Our question may be expressed as follows: Did Francis Schuckardt and MSM say and do things that would lead a reasonable person to suspect them of schism?

Jurisdiction - Francis Schuckardt definitely did claim a type of ecclesiastical jurisdiction over traditional Catholics. In particular, he received a pledge of obedience from Fr. Kubish, and criticized those "independent" priests who did not want to be subject to a bishop. It also appears that he sought to grant faculties to a Fr. Paront. Schuckardt occasionally referred to his sphere of influence as "the Ecclesiastical Province of Our Lady of Guadalupe." The entity was ill defined, and may only have been a grandiose tide, but we must bear in mind that it pertains to the Roman Pontiff to erect dioceses and archdioceses. It is also a fact that Arnold Harris Mathew and his progeny presumed to erect a variety of ecclesiastical entities.

Schuckardt imposed upon his followers several holy days of obligation, including Corpus Christi and the Annunciation. He stated in writing that these were to be observed under pain of mortal sin. It takes jurisdiction to bind men's consciences, but Schuckardt sought to bind where an indult of the Holy See or the general law of the Church did not bind. Schuckardt seems not to have inflicted excommunication ferendae sententiae, but rather declared that his adversaries had incurred excommunication latae sententiae. He nevertheless insisted that these delinquents must seek absolution only from a Catholic bishop, i.e., him. Finally, we have the claim to the papacy, and with it immediate and universal jurisdiction over all the faithful. The attempt to bind men in matters normally regulated by the Holy See, and contrary to the prescriptions of the Holy See, implies a refusal to be subject to the Holy See. This leads one to suspect schism. One might object that all who presume permission to do some good thing, or who conclude that a given law does not presently bind, are likewise suspect. Not so, for they use epikeia to interpret the mind of the lawgiver, rather than attempt to make a law.

Practical non-communion with other groups, people Schuckardt regularly referred to himself as "the only Catholic bishop that we know of" and his followers as "the only faithful Catholics that we know of" Yet, it appears that when he came in contact with others who had rejected Vatican II and held to the traditional Faith, he expected them to submit to him. Otherwise he would find fault such that they were not truly traditional, thus to be spurned by his followers. This was the attitude with regard to Archbishop Lefebvre, "Madman Thuc," and a variety of non-aligned traditional Catholic clergy and laity. The confusion in the Church most certainly blurs the distinction between those who are Catholics in good standing and those who are not. Nevertheless, one has reason to suspect that Schuckardt's "standards" refused communion with many who were indeed Catholics in good standing. Hence one has reason to suspect schism.

Canon Law - Schuckardt forbade his seminarians to read the Code of Canon Law, but rather gave them his commentary and interpretations The effect of his action was to hinder the promulgation (in a certain sense) of the ordinances of the Holy See. Implicit in this is the substitution of oneself for the governing authority of the Church, which substitution is implicitly schismatic. Hence, one may suspect schism.

Secrecy about Brown - Subsequent to his consecration in 1971, Schuckardt maintained secrecy about the identity of the ordaining prelate. In particular, it was only after the pressure of publicity generated by his adversaries that Schuckardt admitted to Daniel Q. Brown's Old Catholic background. The very irregularity of the situation would cause one to fear that Schuckardt had joined Brown's sect, hence to suspect schism. It should be borne in mind here that there was no direct evidence of Schuckardt having joined the North American Old Catholics. However, it would be reasonable to expect that, if Schuckardt had joined the Old Catholics, he would not immediately want to acknowledge the fact, for he would surely alienate many of his followers.

Is MSM Presently suspect of schism?

Suspicion is a doubt or probable opinion rather than a certitude; hence it can be confirmed or removed by changing circumstances, new information or further analysis. In the case at hand, we shall consider whether the causes of suspicion continue, or whether they have been removed.

jurisdiction - MSM never publicly accepted Schuckardt's claim to be pope. Indeed, Fr. Chicoine presented these claims as evidence that the "Bishop" was not mentally competent to function as such. Extra holy days have disappeared. As to jurisdiction, the MSM clergy whom I interviewed, claimed only supplied jurisdiction. Fr. Louis Kerfoot recalled that during the time of Schuckardt, and for some years afterward, most of their clergy held that a bishop has jurisdiction vi ordinis. Subsequent research and debate led them to abandon such a position. Their point of view with Bishop Pivarunas is that he has a certain moral authority, but no ordinary jurisdiction. I have seen no recent evidence of a chancery office, vicar general or declaratory sentences. There is likewise no more evidence of the "ecclesiastical province" business, nor of a prohibition on the reading of Canon Law.

Communion - Present day MSM is quite willing to give the sacraments to, and receive them from other traditional Catholics; hence there are no longer grounds to suspect refusal of communion with Catholics in good standing.

Canon Law - In their Theological Position, the CMRI priests reject the new Code, and assert that, "The 19I7 Code of Canon Law will continue to be the priests' guideline." While one may or may not agree with certain MSM applications of a particular canon, there is an evident spirit of submission to the law as a whole. From my own discussions with MSM clergy, it was evident that they were reasonably familiar with the text of the Code. With regard to jurisdiction and submission, then, there is not now any basis to suspect MSM of schism.

Brown - With regard to Daniel Q Brown, the veil of secrecy was eventually lifted, and it became evident that Schuckardt used him rather than joined him. There is likewise no evidence that Schuckardt joined an Old Catholic sect or subscribed to its errors.

However, no explicit repudiation - While in justice, we must conclude that the causes for suspicion of schism have either been removed or dissipated of themselves, we notice that they have never been explicitly repudiated. In particular, one looks in vain for a statement which says: "Francis Schuckardt claimed to have jurisdiction to command the faithful, and to impose holy days of obligation. We of MSM held this same view. Even though we never willfully contradicted the Church, we now recognize that we were in theological error. We retract and repudiate our previous position, and affirm that no bishop enjoys jurisdiction over the faithful except by the appointment to a see, which appointment is the prerogative of the Roman Pontiff. For ourselves, we claim only that jurisdiction which the Church supplies for individual sacramental acts in time of necessity."

Is MSM an Old Catholic church?

Primary - As we saw above, the primary Old Catholics deny papal infallibility. By contrast, Schuckardt and MSM have always upheld papal infallibility. It was their very insistence on infallibility that led them to conclude that the Vatican II popes were not indeed popes. Hence, MSM is not a primary Old Catholic church.

National - The distinguishing mark of a national Old Catholic sect is its subscription to Old Catholic doctrine in order to obtain episcopal consecration. As we have just stated, MSM did not subscribe to any Old Catholic declaration, and did not obtain orders from a primary Old Catholic sect. Hence, we must conclude that it is not a national Old Catholic church.

c. Independent - It is a matter of undisputed fact that Francis Schuckardt obtained holy orders from an independent Old Catholic line. Does this make him and his organization Old Catholic? From the principles and facts discussed earlier in this study, we answer: not necessarily. As we have seen, simply to receive ordination or consecration from a schismatic does not per se render one schismatic. Furthermore, Brown consistently claimed to have renounced his schism at the time that he ordained and consecrated Schuckardt. Next, we ask, "Does, or did, MSM possess the characteristic traits of Old Catholic sects?" We encounter a problem here because independent Old Catholics are by their nature anomalous and mutable: it is a little like describing the characteristic shape of gelatin. Nevertheless, we can examine for the typical anomalies of Arnold Harris Mathew sects. The first anomaly is that of "alternative Catholicism." Mathew wished to provide a refuge for those who were ill at ease with the sternness (i.e. orthodoxy) of St. Pius X or the doctrinal void of the Anglicans. Prior to Vatican II, the Old Catholic would not so much condemn the Catholic Church, as offer a more palatable alternative. Subsequent to Vatican II, the Old Catholic would offer relative decorum in contrast to the liturgical revolution. Schuckardt did not in any sense offer a "kinder, gentler" Catholicism. He categorically rejected the Conciliar Church, and denounced as non-Catholic all who adhered to or tolerated it in any way. For evidence, we need only look to the statement of purpose regularly published in Ecclesia and to his practice of requiring an abjuration from all who had followed the Vatican II church.

Also typical of independent Old Catholics is their syncretism with the Orthodox, Anglicans and such like. The very names of the Mathew sects manifest this tendency. Now, with Schuckardt and MSM, there is no evidence of melding with other religions. They rather insisted on Catholicism as the one true religion, condemned ecumenism, and claimed to be the only remaining Catholics "that they knew of " Again, following, Mathew's example, independents are inclined to modify their doctrine to attain an alliance, a consecration or other temporal advantage. In our discussion of heresy with regard to MSM, we did not find evidence of doctrinal error. But that which is consistent with a standard, is consistent with itself. Therefore, we cannot say that MSM modified its doctrine in the manner typical of independent Old Catholics. It is true that Schuckardt adopted progressively more bizarre and severe practices for his followers. This will be addressed in the question of cults.

Finally, it is typical of independent old Catholics that their congregations are not only small but minuscule, and poorly organized. The longer the name, the smaller the group. By contrast, MSM has grown steadily, and has attained an impressive size. In fact, their congregation in Spokane is among the largest traditional Catholic "parishes' in North America. It is that very size and coherence which prompted this study. With regard to organization, MSM has had its problems, but has managed to survive them. Schuckardt established a variety of communities and apostolates. Each was to have its specific program and local superior. Schuckardt then allegedly began to intimidate and undercut the various superiors, in particular by reserving all manner of minor decisions and permissions to himself. He even deprived the sisters of a schedule "lest they become attached to it." In spite of this, MSM continued to function. Subsequent to Schuckardt's departure, life, activities and responsibilities became much more regular. I have definitely observed diligent and orderly activity in pursuit of natural and supernatural goals. Indeed, there are difficulties, but nothing like the chaos of the Mathew sects.

On the basis of the evidence before us, we conclude that Francis Schuckardt received holy orders from an Old Catholic line, but neither joined the Old Catholics nor established MSM as an independent Old Catholic Church. Further, the characteristics and operation of MSM have not been those typical of independent Old Catholics. In fine MSM neither was nor is an Old Catholic sect.

Assessment - Cult

1. Was MSM a cult? a. Appeal to ideal and need - Destructive cults attract members by appealing to some ideal and proposing to fulfill some present need. Thus the Moonies would sell themselves as a movement for world peace and offer friendship to lonely or disillusioned college students. In the late 1960's Francis Schuckardt perceived the errors of Vatican II and the Conciliar Church. He then proceeded to expose and condemn those errors during his lectures on the message of Fatima. Many of his hearers saw these same problems in the Church and were troubled by them. Schuckardt managed to say what these good Catholics were thinking, thereby gaining their respect and confidence. The late 1960's were also a time of great moral and social upheaval, particularly in California. Amid the crisis, our "apostle of Fatima" set forth a course of action: Renounce the new religion, renounce the modern world; pray, do penance, and hold fast to the traditional Catholic Faith. Soon the City of Mary in Idaho became a refuge from the hippie revolution and a sanctuary in which the Catholic Faith was preserved. At each step, Schuckardt subtly overstated his case, thus heightening the crisis for his listeners, and implicitly urging them to partake of his solution. b. Wean from past -The second step of cult recruiters is to separate new followers from their past. It may be partly physical with a move to a new locale, a new daily routine, even new clothes' The newcomer is meanwhile persuaded that his past, his family and his associates are thoroughly evil, and must either conform to the cult or be treated as a reprobate and the worst of enemies. Schuckardt pointed out the true evils of the modern world, and the tepidity of most Catholics. His followers were urged to a conversion of life, but also to see family and former friends as tools in the hand of Satan, who would try to lull them back to evil ways. In some cases MSM religious refused, or were refused, all communication with their families. In other cases, one spouse would want to move to Idaho, but the other would not. In a number of cases, marriages broke up. It appears that part of the cause was Schuckardt's teaching. c. Psychological manipulation - The distinguishing note of a destructive cult is psychological manipulation. It is this manipulation which differentiates a cult from a simple false religion, political party or other organization. In some cases the manipulation is aggressive and intense; in others it is subtle. I. you're special - Pride and vanity are the common weaknesses of humanity. For their sakes otherwise sensible men and women will endure every manner of discomfort, degradation and contradiction. Our pride is nourished when we are told that we are special, specially chosen, not like the rest of men. In Schuckardt's case, he subtly used St. Louis de Montfort's True Devotion and Holy Slavery to persuade people that they were the apostles of the latter times. Bishop Schuckardt would be the leader of these apostles. All along, the situation was used to wring a "hundred percent" commitment out of those involved. II. fear - A human being can be as effectively imprisoned by fear as by a barbed wire fence. In the case of a devout person, this can consist of fear that he will incur the wrath of his Creator, or the Creator's "special representative." Schuckardt fashioned a psychological prison for his followers, particularly those at Coeur d'Alene, later Spokane. The Church as a whole was in shambles. The forces of Satan were everywhere tempting against faith and purity. There was only one truly Catholic bishop to be found, and Schuckardt was he. Therefore, all the forces of Hell would concentrate their attack upon the "bishop" and his apostles of Our Lady. Indeed, some had let down their guard, and entertained doubts. They had subsequently departed, fallen into impurity, drugs and worse, and were now surely on the road to hell. The same fate awaited anyone who faltered in obedience to the "bishop" or gave ear to the critics. To this was added the fear of losing Schuckardt's approval, or worse, of incurring his wrath. No matter how hard one strove, he was led to believe that he was failing God. III. irregularity - It is a common experience that rotating shift work or excessive travel can lead to physical exhaustion and mental disorientation. Sensitivity trainers, Cursillo leaders and other brainwashers will try to deprive their subjects of regularity. We see that Schuckardt would never start ceremonies on time. On occasion, he was ten or twelve hours late. The sisters, in particular, often missed a meal or two. Then there would be the surprise all-night vigil. The net result would be to keep people mentally off balance, impair their ability to analyze and reason, and dispose them to suggestive manipulation. IV. sow distrust - Schuckardt was in the habit of criticizing one "religious" to another. It also appears that he used a similar technique among certain of the laity. In addition, there was an inner circle among the "religious," as we saw' with regard to the papal claims. The overall result was a spirit of mistrust and uncertainty, which would induce a psychological isolation, and render one susceptible to suggestion. V. control information - Schuckardt and his community were the object of considerable criticism from the Conciliar Church press, local press, local residents and disaffected former members. The problem was dealt with by commanding followers not even to talk with former members, not to read critical newspapers and magazines, and not to believe anything that Schuckardt had not approved. At one point, Schuckardt had each family's library purged of objectionable material. The literature in question was actually confiscated. VI. identity practices - It is typical of any human organization to have certain objects or actions to manifest its identity. These can range from flags, to religious habits to cheers at a football game. In a cult, though, these identifying marks serve to reinforce psychological manipulation. d. Despotic leader - A cult leader is usually a charismatic and strong-willed person. This was clearly the case with Schuckardt. He was an engaging and convincing speaker; he was pleasant in conversation, reasonably good looking, and a man of big ideas. On the other hand, he was very adamant about getting what he wanted, as Daniel Q. Brown attested. e. Psychological scars - Even after one has left a Cult, he may suffer from psychological scars. These may include cynicism, disabling fear, memory lapse and emotional instability. I have observed this first hand with regard to MSM. However, my own observations only confirm the reports of others. f. Cult admission - Rev. Louis Kerfoot and Rev. Casimir Puskorius candidly admit "we were a cult." Rev. Anthony Cekada, a defender of present day MSM says that they were a typical personality cult." Back in 1980 the Inland Register of Spokane and a local cult awareness center classified MSM as a cult. Even Daniel Q. Brown accused Schuckardt of turning the Fatima Crusaders into a cult: 'Schuckardtites.' g. Not everyone totally taken in - Even though MSM was clearly a cult, it does not follow that all involved had succumbed to psychological manipulation. From the beginning, many saw the problems and left. Others stuck it out for the sake of the faith and the sacraments, in spite of all the weirdness. On the basis of the evidence before us, we must conclude that MSM was a destructive cult. 2. Is MSM a cult today ? People and organizations do change, so what was true of them yesterday may not be so today. MSM has certainly undergone notable changes since 1984. We then ask whether those changes have modified its nature as a cult. a. Change of leadership - Schuckardt's departure has rid MSM of the 'immoral tyrant who held the keys of heaven.' There have been two rather peaceful changes of command, and neither superior has assumed the role of Schuckardt. There appears to be a rule of law now, in which each knows his rights and duties, and where matters of common life proceed according to a reasonable plan. The insane irregularity of the past seems to have gone. b. Flow of information - The books confiscated under Schucka-rdt have since been returned. The religious are able to communicate with their families on a frequent basis, and the laity seem reasonably aware of happenings among traditional Catholics. c. Weird practices gone - The more bizarre practices have diminished. For example, school uniforms are now similar to those at various traditional Catholic academies; there is no general practice of backing out of church, and rosaries are only occasionally seen around someone's neck. d. May be hold overs - fear - It is difficult to determine whether manipulation by fear and guilt is gone from MSM. . The paranoia of the past seems to be absent, but I lack information as to whether a more subtle guilt and fear manipulation is used within the religious communities. e. Secrecy with documents - MSM claims that it has nothing to hide, and that it is open to scrutiny. During my visit there in November 1991, I asked for a copy of the 'norms" which had constituted the rule for the religious under Schuckardt. I also asked for a copy of their present rule, as well as correspondence between Brown and Schuckardt. Rev. Casimir Puskorius, the CMRI superior general, refused these requests on the basis that it would "expose" the congregation to some harm. Whether or not they have something to hide, the fact is that MSM is hiding a number of things. We can safely conclude that MSM is no longer a destructive cult such as it was in 1980. Certain attitudes and actions suggest that some,vestiges of cultism remain.


1. Was MSM intolerably scandalous? a. Cult - A destructive cult, as we have defined it, is evil, for it uses evil means, often for an evil end. In the first place, it is deceitful, for it attracts adherents on the basis of idealism, and retains them on the basis of fear. Secondly, it offends justice and charity by impeding adherents in the legitimate use of their free will. Thirdly, it is often a vehicle for the promotion of heresy, schism, sedition and other vices. A cult is an occasion of spiritual ruin because its adherents are encouraged to participate in its wrong doing, and are deterred from true charity. Hence a destructive cult is scandalous. MSM was a destructive cult, even if it did not partake in all the evils of cults. Therefore MSM was gravely scandalous. b. Sacrilege - is defined as the unbecoming treatment of a sacred person, place or thing in as much as these are consecrated to God. In the case of MSM, they used the Catholic faith and sacraments as a means to attract adherents, then used psychological manipulation to hold those people to a very human organization. It is akin to establishing a shrine in order to rob and kidnap pilgrims. I do not believe that most involved had evil intentions, but the effects of their actions were evil, and it seems that, objectively speaking, those effects participate in the notion of irreverence or sacrilege in the wide sense. As a result, the name of the traditional Catholic movement was sullied, and various victims were burdened with a distrust and loathing for the things of religion. In my estimation, strict, but indirect scandal was given over a protracted period of time. Furthermore, the scandal concerned the means of salvation, hence it was intolerable. 2. Is MSM still intolerably scandalous? a. Schuckardt connection - The judgment of Francis Schuckardt's soul rests with the Almighty, and we pray that he will depart this world in sanctifying grace. Nevertheless, we can judge actions here below, and that is the sense of what follows. From the externals, we can conclude that Schuckardt was a sepulcher of hypocrisy with regard to Catholic discipline, purity, charity, poverty and Fatima. With regard to Catholic discipline, he claimed to uphold tradition, then falsely claimed jurisdiction and imposed holy days of obligation. With regard to purity, he insisted on exaggerated modesty for his followers, while allegedly practicing and justifying homosexuality for himself. With regard to charity he spoke of divine charity while imposing every manner of hardship upon his followers. With respect to poverty he spoke of financial difficulties while living affluently and taking expensive pleasure trips. (He had the sisters beg for his needs, but failed to provide for them.) With regard to Fatima, he built an empire for his own power and glory, rather than tend to his daily duty, and overcome his impurity. The name of Schuckardt will always be connected with MSM, in particular the CMRI communities. How can it not be? He founded and ruled the organization for fifteen years. Who knows what he will do in the future? It is difficult enough to explain why one rejects the apparent pope, and attends an illicit Mass. But is not the burden increased if the Mass is said by clergy who belong to an organization 'founded by a weirdo-pervert cult leader who was made a bishop by an Old Catholic?' b. Danger of recurrence - Once a person has had pneumonia, he is at increased risk for a subsequent infection, which subsequent infection may do great harm. MSM did allegedly have homosexuality within its ranks. It may have been limited to Schuckardt and his aides, or it may not. He is gone, but one has always to fear a recurrence. Indeed, any organization in any time must be vigilant. How much more this organization in our depraved times? I certainly do not accuse any one at present day MSM of wrongdoing in this regard. May God preserve them from such a scourge! Nevertheless, they must realize that they carry with them a particular potential for scandal. c. Unnecessary liability to defense of faith - MSM was intolerably scandalous in the past, and although much has improved, it is substantially the same organization. As a result, it is burdened with the shame of the past. Furthermore, it does not repudiate its origin. Hence, one who accepts and approves the present organization, must explain (or hide) the past of the same organization. This is an embarrassment to faithful Catholics and an obstacle to converts; hence there is scandal. But is there a greater good to be accomplished by tolerating this situation? One might suggest that several thousand faithful depend upon the CMRI for Mass, the sacraments, schools etc., and that these are exceptional times. While it appears that the priests and religious do considerable good work, they could do most of that same work as members of another community or as seculars. Hence, there is not sufficient reason to tolerate the scandal which does, and will, linger about the MSM communities: MSM is intolerably scandalous.

6. Summarize & Evaluate


The conclusions which follow are each graded after the pattern of notes for theological propositions. It is an attempt to apply the principles pejorem partem conclusio semper sequitur and a chain is no stronger than its weakest link. The grades are no more or less than my own evaluation. A. The reception of Holy Orders from a schismatic bishop is not per se an act of schism - morally certain from the decisions of the sacred congregations and the precepts of Canon Law. Let it be remembered, though, that such reception of orders is normally disobedient and scandalous, and that it may per accidens manifest an adherence to the rebellion or sect of the ordaining bishop. B. Of the four ways that one can gratuitously claim jurisdiction, only its usurpation by intrusion into a see is per se schismatic; all other cases must be judged according to the circumstances, particularly the manifest intention of the claimant - probably true. With regard to the claim of jurisdiction "in a vacuum", this is more probably fraud or foolishness than schism. I have not been able to find any decisions of the Holy See treating such a situation. C. Francis Schuckardt secretly claimed to be pope - most probably true. Francis Schuckardt did not publicly claim to be pope, and did not make this claim the doctrine of MSM - most probably true. D. MSM neither was nor is a sect by heresy - morally certain. E. MSM was not previously a sect by schism - probably true. MSM is not presently a sect by schism - most probably true. F. MSM was previously suspect of schism - probably true. MSM is presently suspect of schism - more probably false. G. MSM is an Independent Old Catholic sect - most probably false. H. MSM was previously a destructive cult - most probably true. MSM is presently a destructive cult - probably false. I. MSM was actively scandalous in the past - most probably true. MSM continues to be scandalous inasmuch as it continues the name and organization which was so scandalous under Schuckardt, and inasmuch as it has failed explicitly to repudiate the errors, misdeeds and connection with Schuckardt - probably true.

7. Objections

Brown's Division of Power

Obj.: Daniel Q Brown intended to have a shared jurisdiction with Schuckardt in which each of them would have a certain territory. Brown later complained that Schuckardt refused to share authority, and that the latter was trying to crowd him out. But to claim territory is per se schismatic since it intrudes upon existing sees. Therefore Schuckardt and Brown set up a schismatic church. Respondeo I distinguish the major. That Brown claimed a designated territory of activity or sphere of influence for each, concedo. That either of them claimed to establish, possess or rearrange proper dioceses within those territories, nego. I counterdistinguish the minor. That the claim of a territory, as a range of episcopal influence is per se schismatic, nego. That the claim of a diocese, in opposition to the legitimate ordinary, is per se schismatic, concedo. Nego conclusionem.

8. Evaluation of Evaluations


Rev. Clarence Kelly publishes a monthly monograph and newsletter called The Bulletin from Oyster Bay, New York. It is sent to supporters and contributors throughout the United States. Several issues of The Bulletin have been devoted to the MSM question. We shall attempt to collate and summarize his statements on the matter, then evaluate them. Some thirty-four pages are devoted to the topic. There is considerable repetition, and vehement exhortation not to be deceived by the wily errors of the last times. There is likewise a recounting of various events, and an analysis of them.

Fr. Kelly takes a dim view of MSM, and characterizes it as a schismatic Old Catholic sect which poses as a traditional Catholic group, and thus is a great menace to souls. Over the course of seven Bulletins spanning twenty-eight months, the conclusion is successively stated, discussed at length, and stated again. Along the way, Fr. Kelly replies to assertions contained in some opuscula of Fr. Anthony Cekada. Fr. Kellys principal points are summarized as follows:

1. MSM is a schismatic Old Catholic sect because of:

a. the source of orders - There is an outline of the history of the Jansenists, Primary Old Catholics and Independent Old Catholics, with considerable emphasis on the various episcopal successions. The conclusion is then drawn. "Consider the succession: Mathew to de Rache: de Rache to Carfora; Carfora to Rogers; Rogers to Brown; Brown to Schuckardt. From Mathew to Brown - they were all Old Catholic 'pseudo-bishops' as St. Pius X called Mathew. From the Jansenists to the Old Catholics to Mount St. Michael's we are dealing with sects.... From a sow you get a pig. From an Old Catholic pseudo-bishop like Mathew you get pseudo bishops like Brown and Schuckardt.

..."Such pseudo-bishops do not start traditional Catholic communities. They start schismatic sects - sects that have much in common with the scores of Old Catholic sects that exist." (MAR 92:4-5)

b. its name - Tridentine Latin Rite Church is similar to the names of several Independent Old Catholic churches, is listed in The Old Catholic Sourcebook, and is included in a list of Old Catholic sects compiled by Fr. Anthony Cekada in 1980. (SEPT gi, MAR 92)

2. MSM falls under St. Pius X condemnation and excommunication of Arnold Harris Mathew - "The words of St. Pius X are as clear as his action was decisive. To regard the descendants of this Arnold Harris Mathew differently than St. Pius X regarded Mathew himself, is to disregard St. Pius X." (JAN 9I:3) "To oppose being in communion with the Tridentine Latin Rite Church is not a usurpation of authority... On the contrary, it is to be faithful to the magisterial condemnation of St. Pius X-" (JAN 91:4)

"Father Arnold Harris Mathew did what Daniel Q. Brown and Francis Schuckardt did. He approached an Old Catholic for episcopal consecration. And St. Pius X decreed:

'Arnold Harris Mathew .. and all others who lent aid, counsel or consent to this nefarious crime, by the authority of Almighty God, we hereby excommunicate, anathematize, and solemnly command and declare to be separated the communion of the Church and to be held for schismatics, and to be avoided by all Catholics ...'

We need no more than this to settle the issue. St. Pius X has spoken. The cause is finished. The case is closed." (SEPT 9I:7)

"We must do today what the Church did in the past. We must. condemn today what she condemned in the past. Pope St. Pius X, speaking as Vicar of Christ and Visible Head of the Church, did in fact and truth condemn, excommunicate and anathematize the Browns and Schuckardts of his day." (FEB 92:8)

"From the Jansenists to the Old Catholics to Mount St. Michael's we are dealing with sects. From an Old Catholic pseudo-bishop like Mathew you get pseudo-bishops like Brown and Schuckardt.... Brown and Schuckardt are the lineal descendants of Mathew and are worthy of condemnation." (MAR 92:4)

"The decree of St. Pius X, which is the third document, is a clear and certain expression of the mind of the Catholic Church on the sub'ect of seeking episcopal consecration from schismatics.

... One has only to read it carefully and thoughtfully to know the mind of the Catholic Church on the question of "pseudo-bishops" like Arnold Harris Mathew, Daniel Q Brown and Francis Schuckardrt." (APR 92:1)

"(Citation of decree of excommunication against Mathew et al.) Conclusion: Now Brown and Schuckardt trace their orders to none other than Arnold Harris Mathew. They are his heirs as it were. The mind of the Church is clear. it shows us how we are to regard Arnold Harris Mathew. It shows us how we are to regard Schuckardt and Brown, his. spiritual descendants." (JAN 93:2)

3. MSM's orders are dubious - three reasons are given:

a. A general uncertainty as to the validity of Old Catholic orders. (FEB 92:4)

b. The three MSM clerics conditionally reordained by Bishop Musey on April 23, I985 had no doubts about the validity of their previous orders; therefore they lacked the intention to receive the sacrament of Holy Orders. (JAN 91:3)

c. Bishop Musey, and others who have subsequently ordained men for MSM, are all of the Thuc line, and Fr. Kelly questions the validity of their respective consecrations. (APR 93:2,3)

4. There has been no substantial change in MSM since Schuckardt's departure - The thesis is stated in a 'resolution' of the "Society of St. Pius V" which was variously reproduced and defended:

RESOLVED that the Society of St. Pius V considers the Tridentine Latin Rite Church - also known as the Mount St. Michael's (sic) group and the Congregation of Mary Immaculate Queen - which was founded by Francis Schuckardt and Bishop Brown - an Old Catholic married bishop - to be in origin an Old Catholic sect and that it continues to be such. (OCT 90; JAN 91; FEB 92)

The conditional abjuration made before Bishop George Musey in 1985 is to be considered a "sham":

a. because MSM, "still refuse(s) to admit the schismatic nature of the church founded by Schuckardt and Brown." (JAN 91.)

b. because "(t)he Rev. George Musey was himself a schismatic and received the members of the Tridentine Latin Rite Church not into the Catholic Church but into his own church.- (JAN 91)

c. because the MSM clergy did not return as laymen. (JAN 91; SEPT 9I; APR 92)

5. Catholics are forbidden even indirectly to communicate in sacris with MSM - 'There must be no communion with the schismatic Tridentine Latin Rite Church .... And lay people associated with the schismatics must be refused Holy Communion. If they receive Holy Communion kneeling next to you, from the hand of the same priest who gives the Host to you, then you are in communion with him and them.- (JAN 91)

6. Returning schismatic clergy must always return as laymen In reference to what is claimed to be a parallel case, Fr. Kelly inserted and approved a statement by Fr. William Jenkins: 'We insisted that according to the practice of the Church, they had to return as laymen and could not function as priests. That they insisted on being accepted as priests proved to us the insincerity of their abjuration. For the Church demands both reparation and restitution. Even if their orders were valid (they were doubtful), the Church would not permit them to function as priests upon their return. They could not keep what they sacrilegiously stole. This is the practice and the wisdom of the Church." (SEPT 91)

Fr. Kelly repeated this in April 1992 when he wrote, "When a Catholic leaves the Church and gets ordained or consecrated by an Old Catholic bishop he does not have the right to function as a priest or a bishop ... If such a person wants to return to the Catholic Church, he must do so as a layman." Father then refers to the case of Joseph Rene Vilatte. He also reproduces an article of his from 1979 wherein he noted that several Old Catholic clergy had approached him about becoming Catholics, but had refused to return as laymen.

ANALYSIS Fr. Kelly's position and statements on MSM labor under several difficulties:

1. Failure to define terms - MSM is labeled as a schismatic sect from the beginning of Fr. Kelly's utterances, but nowhere does he define or discuss "schismatic" and it was only after two years of voluminous controversy that an attempt was made to define and discuss "sect."

2. Mathew misconnection - Fr. Kelly implies that, because Francis Schuckardt's orders came from the Mathew line, he was subject to the excommunication against Mathew. "Condemnation" is the term used, but the average reader will conclude "excommunication." The decree says opem, consilium, consensum praebuerunt not praeburituri sunt or praebuerint. Furthermore, odiosa sunt retringenda. The decree cannot be expanded to apply to other persons or different deeds. It is useful to note a few of Mathew's doings. After Mathew was made bishop, the English hierarchy ignored him for they considered him to be a nutcase. He subsequently collaborated with the Modernist Tyrell on a book attacking priestly celibacy. Three years after his own consecration, Mathew consecrated "suffragans," and set himself up as the "Anglo-Catholic Bishop of London." He promptly wrote to Cardinal Merry del Val announcing the fact, and suggested that they be given a status as a separate rite. That is when the excommunication came. No one has yet accused Francis Schuckardt of establishing a counter church as a haven for modernists.

Fr. Kelly is adamant and explicit that Schuckardt and his organization share in St. Plus X's condemnation against Mathew. As we have seen, the cases are specifically different, hence one cannot transfer the condemnation. Let's arrange it syllogistically:

M St. Plus X condemned what Mathew did. m But Schuckardt did what Mathew did. C Therefore St. Plus X condemned what Schuckardt did.

The major has the authority of the papacy; the minor has the reasoning and authority of Fr. Kelly; therefore the conclusion has the reasoning and authority of Fr. Kelly. (Pejorem partem conclusio semper sequitur.) Now we all agree that Fr. Kelly is neither pope nor ecclesiastical judge. Therefore, it is false to say, "St. Pius X has spoken, this case is closed."

3. Schism through orders - Fr. Kelly implies that the reception of holy orders from a schismatic, itself renders one schismatic, hence all the emphasis on "lineal descendants." As we have seen, this premise is false; hence the conclusion is worthless. Father Kelly likewise falls to distinguish between subscribing to schism and approaching a schismatic minister. Many have joined sects, then received orders therein. However, it does not follow that they joined the sect by receiving orders. Furthermore, part of Mathew's schism consisted in receiving and conferring episcopal consecration without apostolic mandates. On Schuckardt's part, he does not stand accused of defying the legitimate pope.

4. Name - In Bulletins of August-October, 1990, then January and September of 1991, the name "Tridentine Latin Rite Church," is emphasized, bold-typed and repeated. The designations of "Mount St. Michael" and "Fatima Crusade" are mentioned in passing, as if for reference sake. These tricks of typography are misleading, for they give the impression that TLRC was the name by which Schuckardt and his followers commonly referred to themselves. It also implies that they abandoned the name Catholic. Of course, as we saw above, neither of these assertions is true. I have found no evidence of the name TLRC being used since Schuckardt's departure. On the other hand, the name has never been repudiated, a point which Fr. Kelly fails to notice.

5. Change - Fr. Kelly seems to take no account of the changes in MSM over the past nine years. He simply says that they want respectability now, as opposed to past isolationism. While he might criticize the nature and degree of the changes, he should at least acknowledge and assess them, for he is treating as excommunicate present friends, adherents and "connectees" of MSM. It is also a matter of fact that the Church has repeatedly received returning schismatic clergy as clerics, and allowed them to exercise their orders. There are other cases where the suspension has not been lifted. Fr. Kelly might argue that one may not presume a relaxation of the suspension and irregularity, even in today's situation. However, he cannot claim it as an iron-clad principle, and would have to establish his thesis. I would be delighted to see him submit his theory for discussion and evaluation in Sacerdotium.

6. Fails to prove sect - In February 1992, Fr. Kelly finally proposed a definition for sect: he quoted Augustine's Commentary on the New Code of Canon Law, "a religious society established in opposition to the Church, whether it consist of infidels, pagans, Jews, Moslems, non-Catholics or schismatics." He then alleges six points of opposition, but fails to consider schism.

a. Orders from Old Catholics. But we have shown that this does not necessarily make one a schismatic.

b. Name other than Catholic - But we have seen that they never identified themselves as other than Catholic.

c. Authority and jurisdiction, particularly excommunication and holy days. - But we have seen that Schuckardt, even if presumptuous and fraudulent, never directly opposed existing legitimate authority. Excommunications were done in a declarative way. Even the holy days were "implemented" within the framework of the "fifteen major" and 'twelve lesser" days of obligation listed by Holy Mother Church. The fact of holy days is obvious, but Fr. Kelly doesn't even attempt to prove that it is per se schismatic.

d. Claims to the papacy - We have shown that these were secret, were never the doctrine of MSM, and were a cause of Schuckardt's being expelled.

e. An abjuration of error and profession of faith required of newcomers. The error abjured was the Conciliar Church and the faith professed was the Catholic Faith.

f. A claim to exercise the magisterium of the Church. - This is based on a quote of a quote by Bob Cubbage in 1980. Bear in mind that Mr. Cubbage was writing from a Conciliarist point of view, and abbreviates his own citation. Furthermore, the context of Mr. Cubbage's article shows that the MSM people were talking about an ad hoc function carried out by Schuckardt until the Church would once again have a proper pope. The position may be theologically erroneous and selfserving, but is it a refusal of submission to the legitimate Roman Pontiff ? Fr. Kelly doesn't even address the question.

Overall, Fr. Kelly would have done much better to have defined his terms, to lay out his argument in a syllogistic format, to stick to the topic, and to admit the limits of his information and competence. Needless to say, all this should have preceded condemnatory "policy" statements. He has also totally missed the question of MSM as a cult. Finally, he errs when he characterizes his analysis as the only one compatible with faithful Catholicism. This is a matter of a practical analysis of a concrete and complex matter. It is normal and Catholic that there be a certain variety of prudent opinions, especially when there is no recourse to functioning authority.

9. Corollary - Praxis?

Evaluate this evaluation

I claim neither to be omniscient nor infallible. If you believe that there are omissions or errors of fact, principle or assessment in this study, please contact me through Sacerdotium, or submit a piece for Forum. Please do not launch into polemics and character assassination in your favorite pulpit or newsletter. I would likewise caution readers against "charging off" in one direction or another, on the basis of this study, until there has been time for review.

Let MSM repudiate its past.

We are not speaking here of a juridical abjuration, but a repair of harm. Members of MSM have privately admitted and reproved the excesses and errors of Francis Schuckardt. Nevertheless, this has never been done systematically and publicly. However much they might have been manipulated and deceived, these same people were Schuckardt's agents and associates. Unless they repudiate his program, they will continue to appear as giving a certain approval. In particular, they should renounce the names Tridentine Latin Rite Church, and Ecclesiaitical Province of Our Lady of Guadalupe. They should also repudiate the claims to ordinary jurisdiction. Finally, it is time to abandon the notion that Schuckardt was a good man and Our Lady's apostle, but that he went astray on a few things.

Let MSM undertake reparation.

Even a sincere token will console the Sacred Heart and ease the pain of those hurt in the past. A weekly litany or Rosary would seem to suffice.

Let MSM restart

This would constitute an organization clearly different from that of Francis Schuckardt. Certainly, no more blue nuns, no rosaries around the neck, no medals over the clerical habit.

Let MSM submit to third party review

A cancer patient in remission goes back for a regular check-up. In like manner, the new-name, new-habit MSM should arrange for regular inspection by a small panel of unbiased priests. In particular, the panel would look for any relapse into cultism or impurity. There would have to be a balance between effective inspection and undue interference, but it would be worth the effort.

Let Fr. Kelly and SSPV retract accusations of schism and sect

They have not proved the accusations, but have used them as the basis to deny sacraments. This is not to say that they must embrace or approve MSM. It is time to admit and correct their mistake.

For myself, inasmuch as my name has been associated with the Society of St. Pius V "resolution" declaring MSM to be presently a schismatic sect, I declare the following:

  • I have never personally asserted that MSM is presently a schismatic sect;
  • I reject and repudiate any such assertion made under the name of Society of St. Pius V.

Let each leave his neighbor in peace.

Even with loyal submission to the Church, a variety of opinions there will be, and thoroughly discussed they should be. Nevertheless, none of us is pope, so we may have to practice a great deal of toleration: live and let live.

Let Clergy be very careful not to put their faithful on the spot

Even if much of the controversy over MSM has been uncalled for, the fact is that there has been controversy, and many lay people are rightly sensitive about the matter. It would be uncharitable, if not unjust to impose the MSM problem upon them. Therefore, non-MSM clergy should avoid inviting MSM clergy into situations where the laity will be offended. Likewise, the clergy should not pressure lay people to spurn those who are connected with MSM.

I. Nevertheless, pursue non-committal contact.

The MSM clergy whom I have met, have generally impressed me as decent men with a sense of the Faith. I am all too aware of the problems with their organization and its history-, hence I do not want to get involved with it. They likely have difficulties with me as well. One can hope that charitable contact (communicatio in cibis) will eventually lead to a resolution of those difficulties according to the mind of the Church. It is in this spirit that I have suggested the various reforms for MSM.