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Shoots Itself in the Foot - AgainThe Wanderer

by Christopher A. Ferrara

In recent days The Wanderer has been conducting a journalistic jihad against Roman Catholic traditionalists - i.e., those Catholics who have simply remained what all Catholics were before that great age of enlightenment known as the Sixties.

The Wanderer has enlisted some strange allies in this cause. In an article bashing Father Nicholas Gruner (by Farley Clinton, who should know better), we find E. Dhanis, the neo-modernist Jesuit, cited for the proposition that perhaps Sister Lucy concocted the whole notion of the consecration of Russia. ("The Strange Case of Father Gruner," October 25, 2001). So, in order to bash Fr. Gruner, The Wanderer will bash Sister Lucy herself - whatever it takes to "win" the argument. But, of course, all The Wanderer did was undermine its own credibility. Why would anyone trust the word of a modernist Jesuit, and the newspaper that cites him as an authority, over the word of Sister Lucia of Fatima, a chosen messenger of God?

Well, The Wanderer has committed an even bigger gaffe, if that were possible. In a recent article by one Peter Vere ("Custom and the 1962 Missal"), The Wanderer trotted out Father John M. Huels as a canonical "expert" in support of the highly amusing claim that the 1500-year-old traditional Latin Mass was never an immemorial custom in the Church, so that Paul VI did not have to make specific mention of it in order to suppress it legally. The notion that the traditional rite of Mass in the Roman Catholic Church was never an immemorial custom is about as silly as saying that kneeling was never an immemorial custom.

At any rate, two months ago The Wanderer’s "expert" took "a medical leave of absence from his Canadian university teaching post and announced plans to seek laicization" after being accused of sexual molestation by "Michael J. Bland, a former Servite priest and a member of the U.S. bishops' National Review Board for sexual abuse cases." (Catholic News Service, August 8, 2002) According to CNS, Huels also admitted to his bishop, Archbishop Gervais, "that he had been guilty of inappropriate behavior with minors [how many he did not say] decades earlier and that he was repentant and contrite."

According to CNS, after Bland’s allegations were first investigated, "Huels stepped down from his leadership post with the [Servite] order and was barred from working with minors or celebrating public Masses." Huels was then sent off to South Africa, but eventually returned to the United States, where he served (among other capacities) as "an adviser to the U.S. bishops' Committee on Liturgy."

As a recent article by Helen Hull Hitchcock points out ("Liturgy Commission Plagued by Pederasty Problems", Adoremus Online bulletin, June 2002), the American liturgical establishment is plagued by a homosexual problem. Within a year both the executive director (Rev. Michael J. Spillane) and the chairman (Father Kenneth Martin) of the Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions have been forced to resign due to allegations that they molested young boys. Spillane is responsible for the "official prayers" of the horrendous "Children’s Mass" that was invented after Vatican II.

So it seems that traditionalist-bashing makes for strange bedfellows. But what else is one to expect from a newspaper that seems to view Roman Catholic traditionalists with more antipathy than it does the Church’s true enemies?