Mass expulsion of Catholics from parish in California

Mass expulsion of Catholics from parish in California

A reader sends a link to the blog of the Orange County Register in Orange County, California, which highlights the actions taken by Bishop Tod Brown against a group of traditionalist Catholics. St. Mary by the Sea parish in Huntington Beach used to have the Tridentine Mass celebrated there, with the permission of the bishop. However Brown has revoked that permission and the parishioners have responded by distributing flyers critical of the bishop and the local pastor.

The response has been to tell the parishioners that they are to leave the parish and the diocese.

With full responsibility, authority and faculties of an Administrator of St. Mary’s by the Sea, appointed by Bishop Brown, for the sake of the common good of the Church, the parish and the diocese, with the approval of the Bishop, I (very sadly) officially invite you To leave the parish St. Mary’s by the Sea and the diocese of Orange.

Apparently, it’s not the protest over the loss of the Tridentine Mass that has really motivated the expulsions, but the fact that they wanted to kneel at the Agnus Dei. The pastor says that the USCCBureaucracy allows local adaptions of the Liturgy and in Orange, Brown has decided that standing is preferred to kneeling. However, Rome has said that such rules cannot be imposed.

Kneeling is OK

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Written by
Domenico Bettinelli
  • Correct me if I’m wrong, but I am assuming that this bishops pastoral beginnings tie back to Cdl. Mahoney.

  • Great post Dom.  This is exactly why the power of the hierarchy needs to be in check.  The heterodox hierarchy are also authoritarian (and irresponsible).  There must be some method where orthodox Roman Catholics can practice without interference, perhaps by having more independence from such meddling bishops.


  • They can and should appeal to the apostolic nuncio because the Pope exercises full and immediate universal authority. It falls to the Holy Father to safeguard the faithful from such abuse.

  • Well, they can appeal, but does anyone have any numbers on how those appeals progress?  In church closings, it is safe bet that Rome sides with the Bishop.  Is there ever a case where these appeals are judged on merit rather than subsidiarity to local hierarchy?


  • Hi Dom,

    I plead guilty to spending about 40 hours a week working on leaky domes on Churches, and have an attachment to keeping the Roman Catholic Faith as expressed in its ecclesiology and liturgy.

    I agree this this is different circumstance, but stil would like to see an example of good decision making.  Has Rome ever come out in favor of a Parish against a Bishop?


  • Distributing flyers is bad. But we don’t know the way this was done? Was the kneeling done in manner where a group of people did it, such that it could be seen as a protest, or resistance? Or a special setting aside for those that want something else?

    If so, Bravo for this Bishop!

  • I don’t recall ever before hearing of a bishop telling Catholics in the pew to leave his diocese.  Where in Canon Law does he get the right to do this?

  • A Pastor/Bishop cannot through people out of his parish/diocese since we obtain our parish/diocese automatically based on our residence (canons 102 & 107 of the 1983 Code of Canon Law). The only analogous procedure is excommunication – but this most extreme penalty can only be imposed with due process, and never by a pastor on his own authority. The parish/diocese should be asked exactly what the pastor’s intentions were and what canons permit him to act so.

  • I suspect kneeling at the Agnus Dei, as well as for Communion was a pre-existing “cultural” condition in this Parish that happened to host the Indult. Often the parish culture in Bi-ritual parishes tend to influence each other such as carrying over Tridentine customs and rubrics into the celebration of the Novus Ordo. I also suspect the Bishop was trying to impose a uniform posture reflecting the current USCCB approved Liturguical Norms without any pastoral regard for a well established local tradition. Who’s side do we take on this?

    A similar situation erupted at St. Agnes in Manhattan when both Msgr. Eugene Clark and Fr. John Perricone were reassigned after Archbishop Eagan’s installation. The “Novus Ordo” community, like their confreres attended a “ad orientem” Mass and the custom of kneeling for Holy Communion became a well entrenched custom. Along came the new Pastor (the former Rector of St. Patrick’s whom Msgr. Clark traded places) and he had no tolerence or respect for this local custom. It created much dissension for a very long time. Sadly, if I recall correctly, this priest died of a heart attack while saying Holy Mass.

  • The distribution of flyers, even if true, was an occasion of profound scandal,caused public intrigue and above all was a sin against charity to the pastor and the bishop. If there is legitimate heresy, church crimes, etc; then take it up with the proper authorities and in a venue that involves those who can correct them.

    If you are treated unjustly because of your loyalty to the Church, take it on the chin and accept the persecution because they persecuted HIM before they persecuted you. This is the “price” of fidelity – a little pinch to pride and personal wishes. No doubt the administrator is in error as Dom pointed out. Call his Eminence or the Papal Nuncio who can do something to effect change, do not post a flyer that only scandalizes the reader.

    When will the Faithful ever learn that petition drives, posters and protests do not work at all? Ever?

    One should never answer a small scandal (and this is a small scandal) that can be managed easily (like kneeling) by creating an even larger scandal by incorporating accusations that expand from local parish to the bishop and even to the USCCB. That action, if true, was a far greater sin. The USCCB? What do they have to do with kneeling in Orange County?

    I am not defending the “invitation to leave” either. Neither party acted with justice or charity if the hyperlinks are accurate and that is too a scandal. Both are shameful and a disgrace displaying pride, the worst of all vices. Even Christ can not speak to the proud, recall His encounter with Herod during his Passion.

  • In my parish we also kneel at the Agnus Dei.  Unless the bishop or his representative is around, in which case we stand as he has mandated.

    I wonder if Pilla will be taking Brown lessons and I will be invited out of my parish and diocese as well?

    I asked the question about Canon Law out of more than just idle curiosity.

    We are talking about faithful Catholics being ghettoized for following the directives of the Vatican and the Pope.  It boggles the mind!

  • So Daniel,

    When does one stop “taking it on the chin” and throw the moneychangers out of the temple?  When the Hindu’s hold rites in our Churches?  When the Leftists preach socialism during the announcements?  Or when the Hierarchy twaddles away our liturgy?

    I am not convinced that Christ calls us to deny the Faith to please His tormentors; rather He calls us to defend the Faith despite long odds.


  • To correct the impression that there is something “wrong” about standing following the Agnus Dei, here are relevant sections of the revised General Instructions to the Roman Missal.

    First, an item in No. 43 describing the practice of the universal church:

    … as circumstances allow, they may sit or kneel while the period of sacred silence after Communion is observed.

    With nothing in the U.S. adaptations, authorized under No. 390 of the GIRM, negating this, those who wish to kneel after receiving communion may do so. As Cardinal Arinze says, in this case they cannot be forced to stand or sit.

    Note also that the practice of the universal church for kneeling, although adaptable under No. 390, is to kneel only for the consecration (No. 43, universal edition).

    2. As for kneeling for the distribution of communion itself, in the U.S. it is a local option that the bishop has the authority to require or forbid, under the last sentence of the U.S. adaptation of item No. 43:

    In the dioceses of the United States of America, they should kneel beginning after the singing or recitation of the Sanctus until after the Amen of the Eucharistic Prayer, except when prevented on occasion by reasons of health, lack of space, the large number of people present, or some other good reason. Those who do not kneel ought to make a profound bow when the priest genuflects after the consecration. The faithful kneel after the Agnus Dei unless the Diocesan Bishop determines otherwise.

    Note carefully that Cardinal Arinze did NOT “address this very question”—the question refers to the situation I have described in No. 1 above, AFTER Communion.

    You may or may not like that the bishop has determined otherwise here, but in this diocese he has chosen to follow the practice of the universal church as is his right.

  • Dear John –

    Two wrongs do not make a right. One may not do evil to hope for good (Rom 3:8). The individuals who wish to kneel should kneel.

    I concur that Catholics are ghettoized…

    Even more wrong is detraction (CCC 2477)of the character of the parish and calumny against(CCC 2477)the USCCB, presuming the blog is accurate.

    As I recall the moneychanger incident, it was Jesus who did the throwing out, not the apostles (who were there). 

    Which begs the legitimate question, what would I do? Well, for starters, I would kneel, no one would stop me. You can humiliate me, refuse me communion and arrest me for trespass but I’m kneeling. Two, I would digitally video every monstrous, pagan thing and send it to the papal nuncio and to various Vatican agencies and USCCB committees that have oversight on a quarterly basis UNTIL the ad limina rolls around. Then I would step it up to monthly two years in advance with whatever newspapers, still photos, etc. I can gather.

    Then I would wait for those responsible to act and pray and do sacrifice for their good judgment. I would not discuss this outside of a few trusted friends and family and not at all with the press. I would publicly to reiterate my loyalty to the Church and my love for her rubrics and my continual prayers for Fr. T and the Bishop. I would suppress to the bottom of my soul every single remark (even though my evil twin would love to humiliate them)and suffer in public silence.

    To act otherwise is to presume a post not your own and invite scandal to those who have nothing to do with the corrections you so dearly want to see.

    I rebut your contention that I suggested a denial of the Faith. This is a case study in prudence.

  • Daniel, have you in your possession one of the flyers? If anyone can, it would be a good thing to know what was printed before one passes judgment on those who passed out the flyers.

    Remember, the faithful are “members of the Mystical Body of Christ, the Church. The faithful are not lackies or slaves or servants of the bishops or priests. Just the opposite, They have been called to “serve” the faithful and attend to all their rightful spiritual needs.

  • Daniel,

    I commend you on your prayerful reaction, and hope that your prayers will lead to the appropriate actions before the orthodox are driven out of the Church.


  • No I do not. The blogs hyperlinked as sources for this story describe the contents in bullet points, that if accurate, are profoundly uncharitable and contrary to Catholic teachings on both sides of the issue.

    That being said, my proposed course is hardly suggests a lackey or slave mentality. It involves a ton of work and sacrifice, humility and substantially more effort than photocopying flyers and calling a reporter. I suggested a prudent course of action to facilitate change that conforms to the CCC. It is not timely but Americans in general are very impatient.

    Slander, detraction, calumny and public humiliation on either side (and it appears that this is the case on both sides if the reports are accurate) is not per se Catholic methodology.

    My suggested course of action has been successful in the Corpus Christi case in Rochester, NY. When the bishop finally put the hammer down coincident with his ad limina, the parish went into schism. That case has a bad ending but correct methodology. At least the scandal was removed from a Catholic Church.

    Flyer campaigns and petitions of practically any sort are minimally in poor taste and can easily step into the realm of sin and I suggest that if the blog is accurate, sin has entered the equation on both sides. Again, slander, detraction, calumny and public humiliation has no “exception” in the CCC.You will never get a good result if you leverage actual sin or an occasion of sin into you actions to facilitate change.

    We are all part of the body of Christ and one family under one father. If you would not do this to your wife or husband to facilitate a change in behavior, you should really seriously consider not doing it to your shepherd. I am not saying that the “Bishop is always right” but rather, correction will not come from the newspaper, blogs and the rumor mill. Rather correction, if it is indicated will or at least should come from above.

    I think that if the reports are accurate, all parties involved have acted reprehensively and inconsistent with standard Catholic practice.

  • I live in Orange County, about 15 miles from St. Mary’s. At this point, I have not seen the flyers so I cannot address their contents.

    Also note that Steven Greenhut is a non-Catholic who has a history of being – while not overtly anti-Catholic – very hostile to the Church and to Bishop Brown in particular.

    About a year ago, Bishop Brown instituted several changes within the Pauline rite, one of which was to remain standing after the Pater Noster through the beginning of Communion. After Communion, people are free to kneel, sit, or stand.

    Given what was reproduced from the letter, “- Personal attack and false allegations against Bishop Brown” and other items listed, it sounds like this has brewing for awhile. I doubt that Bishop Brown took this course of action as his first step.

  • Daniel, thank your for your response. And as you have prudently said—-“if accurate”—- It certainly would be beneficial to have the flyers information. Not have the first hand content of the flyer, I will refrain from further comment.

    By the way, I do agree completely that the proper procedures should be taken. And that “Christian chairity” should be upper most in whatever the endeavor is taken.

  • It seems to me that however the “protest” was done, the treatment of traditionalist dissenters is markedly different than that of “liberal” dissenters. 

    Whatever happened to “dialogue” and “sensitivity” and “tolerance”?  I am 48-years old, and I can NEVER remember a “gay”, pro-abortion, militant feminist group ever being asked to LEAVE a parish.  I know, because if it had happened, I’d be on my knees to this day, in rapturous thanksgiving!

    If there had been action taken against these dissident groups, then maybe I’d be on the Bishop’s side on this.

    Is clarity and consistency too much to ask?

  • Daniel,

    We need soldiers of Christ to pray (preferably on their knees) and fast and we also need soldiers to fight the battle “on the ground”. We need both. Daniel, by virtue of God’s grace you understand the value of prayer, a weapon not properly deployed by those in dissent. The battle that we are fighting in the Church today is not of flesh and blood, and ultimately will not be won without prayer and fasting. So you are spot on in this regard. Having conceded that point, are you living in a cloistered community, where prayer and fasting are your only tools, or in the real world, where it is necessary to assert yourself? Don’t be a “doormat”, or demand that others be. Whether a person is being uncharitable is often a matter of prudential judgment. I haven’t read the flyer in this case; it is plausible that while defending themselves, they were uncharitable. It happens where there is discord. We don’t disengage our adversary because of it. I am sure that both sides in this case have been uncharitable. What is required is an apology and a sacramental Confession. Then you move on with the merits of the case.

    These people are being persecuted and need to defend themselves. If their cause is just, the Holy Spirit will guide them to greater charity. Of course, whether they will respond to the Spirit is another matter. The point is, you do not limit the tools that you have at your disposal. 

    Yes, Daniel, the Rosary is the greatest weapon and they need to be praying it. But, petitions, flyers, letter-writing campaigns, law-suits and prayer meetings are also acceptable ways to redress wrongs, particularly if your pastor and bishop refuse to offer a just remedy.

  • ppiux13:

    Do you have any catechetical, historical or biblical support for defending yourself with petition or flyers in the public arena? If not, then I would suggest that such a method is at odds with Catholic teaching no matter how well intentioned.

    I am all for canonical law suits, possibly even civil ones. It is the public scandal and public humiliation of brothers and sisters in the faith (however misguided or sinful) that I object to. It is the holding up the Church for ridicule that I object to. And I would be kneeling consistent with the rubrics until the sheriff took me away.

    The faithful are always free to communicate with their bishop privately. Always free to bring a cannon law action if wronged. Always free to pray.

    And with all respect and seriousness, what individual or group of individuals has been appointed to judge a just remedy in this matter? Is it the parishoners? The papal nuncio or curia or just anyone who feels that they have been slighted. When has public humiliation been part of the tools at one’s disposal? Has there ever been a saint that publicly humiliated a bishop or college of bishops? Who is the adversary here? The Bishop? The parishoners?

    If one throws mud, one tends to get muddy. If your garment is muddy, will you enter eternal life? Will Christ be pleased that one of his own laid out a bishop he called to serve in public?

  • Ah, yes. Bp. Tod.

    In the Land of fruits and nuts.

    All he wanted was an excuse to get rid of the Old Rite folks, and he found one.

  • Having migrated from Southern California, about ten years ago, I can attest to the Cesspool of what passes for liturgy, catechists and vocations over which Mahoney serves as Metropolitan.

    The Traditional Mass and traditional Catholics are about as welcome in Southern California Church as a Rosary Rally in a Masonic Temple.

    Not only are there no Indult parishes in Southern California, much travel, in most cases, is required to even attend a Traditional Mass at a “convenient time and location”.  There are four per month in the LA archdiocese in a different location each Sunday. I might mention that a local “independant” place is drawing lots of people for Mass weekly.  Too bad they are not in full Communion with Rome.  However, I find it difficult to believe the following bishops are “defacto” speaking of course.

    Todd Brown, Gerald Barnes Robert Brom are all cronies of Mahoney.  Any one remember Patrick Zieman?  He certainly was great!  All but one of the afore mentioned prelates have been accused of either sexual abuse or covering it up.  The only exception has been Barnes.

  • “GIRM-O-RAMA” – interesting discussion of the GIRM and how various dioceses deal with kneeling at the Agnus Dei.

    Anyhow, a sad and tragic day in the life of Bishop Brown’s diocese. Some traddies can be a bit stiff necked but to ‘disinvite’ them for kneeling??? Looks like these traddies will no longer be a kneeling rebuke to the bishop merely by existing in one parish.

    Although I will never leave the Church I did once leave my home parish when the pastor forbid kneeling after Communion… I found a parish close-by where the parishioners were allowed to kneel at the GIRM proscribed times. Interestingly, when the home parish pastor was transferred elsewhere, the entire parish resumed kneeling at the ‘normal’ times (I honestly think most parishioners missed it and felt the lack of reverence)… and my parish is what most of us would call ‘progressive’.

  • The members of Restore The Sacred have never been guilty of slander or detraction.  They have not repeated anything untrue or unknown.  Moreover, they aren’t causing scandal; they are being scandalized.  They are being ordered to be less reverent by a prelate who lacks the authority to do so.

    Their suffering comes on every side, as Church authorities spurn them and progressive and orthodox Catholics tell them to obey.

    The thing is, they have obeyed, and obeyed, and obeyed, and they see that things are being stripped away, but by bit, without just cause.  They understand that Bishop Brown is straining the gnat (liturgically) and swallowing the camel (liturgically and even morally in his support for homosexuality and silence on pro-choice Catholic politicians in our diocese).

    Members of Restore The Sacred have been falsely accused of malice, even here in this blog, as well as by Fr. Tran.  They have been accused of pride when all they are doing is worshipping as they always have and demonstrating that there is not a valid reason to change.  Their motives are questioned.  People accuse them of being “more Roman than Rome” or question their motives for worshipping as they always have.  Suddenly what they have always considered reverence is being called an act of pride, or defiance, or an act of protest.  It’s really quite sad, as their motives have never changed.

    Consider the flyer Fr. Tran criticized.

    The “Restore the Sacred”, issue #15, dated February 19, 2006 essentially reprinted the following article from the March 2002 issue of the Homiletic & Pastoral Review:

    Lex orandi, lex credendi, by Anthony J. Manuppella:

    Note that there was never any detraction in any of the flyers.  All actions exposed were public.  Dots are just being connected in the hopes that an apathetic laity will join together and do something about these things.

    Contrary to what has been posted here by some, it is absolutely scriptural to do the things Restore The Sacred has done.  In the Church, the voice of one is the voice of none.  Only the voice of many is taken seriously by Church authority and capable of receiving a response from the Holy See.  This is in keeping with the following scripture:

    “If your brother sins (against you), go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have won over your brother.  If he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, so that ‘every fact may be established on the testimony of two or three witnesses.’  If he refuses to listen to them, tell the church.  If he refuses to listen even to the church, then treat him as you would a Gentile or a tax collector.” (Matthew 18:15-17)

    St. Paul publicly rebuked St. Peter.

    St. Catherine of Siena was publicly critical of cardinals and told Pope Gregory XI to go back to Rome.

    Moreover, According to St. Thomas Aquinas in the Summa Theologica, (ST II-II.33.4 ad 2) we have the duty to rebuke our prelate if he commits a fault.

  • I left one parish when the priest (Augustinian) said that there was no “hell”.  That was in a converstation we had after he called God, Mother God, during the Liturgy.

    I then went to another parish, where the young priest had a female parish admiistrator read the Gospel and give the Homily.  He placed his hands on her head (similar to what a Priest does to a Deacon) and then HE went into the pews and sat down to listen to her.

    After Mass, I went to the Monsigneur, asking about what had just happened, and he told me that it was because they were “short-handed”.  Uh…what about the Priest sitting in the pews?  Gee, did you just lie to me?

    …and so I was asked to go to another parish…

    All of this was in the San Francisco Bay area.  I moved and haven’t looked back. 

    The rules should apply to both sides.  But they don’t.  The Bishops seem to have no rules, because there doesn’t seem to be any consequences for abuse, as long as it is “liberal” abuse. 

    If the Church was a business, heads would roll.  Instead, they get called to the Vatican to become “PREFECT OF THE CONGREGATION OF THE DOCTRINE OF THE FAITH”. (Leveda)

    BTW, I’m not a “traddy”.  I have only gone to one Latin Mass since I was 8 years old.  My wishy-washy, post-conciliar catachesis just about lead me out of the Church. 

    Thank GOD for EWTN!

  • It seems to me that however the “protest” was done, the treatment of traditionalist dissenters is markedly different than that of “liberal” dissenters.

    I think this is the crux of the issue here. When all those liberals were protesting about Fr Walter and making the most scandalous allegations about Cardinal O’Malley where they “ordered to leave the parish and diocese”. I don’t think so. When VOTF gets up and makes the most outrageous statements do conservatibve bishops rush for the bell book and candle – hardly. So what is it about liberal bishops, supposedly committed to tolerance and compassion, that makes them reach for the big stick so quickly. I have a theory that “liberals” in the current political context (i.e those who support the essentially leftist progressive agenda of the baby boomers) are in essence coercive. They love nothing better than forcing people to conform to their views. And it is because they judge others by themselves that they are terrified that now the tide is moving against them that they will have done to them what they did to others – hence all the talk about the need to be tolerant and copmassionate and not impose changes that would disrupt the parish and confuse the faithful (sound like the way the vernacular liturgy was introduced??). I do not support public protests against bishops but I will take the bishops more serioulsy when I see an even handed approach to dissent. At the moment it seems the orthodox can be treated with total insensitivity but not the liberal. Brown like most leftists is just a bully.

  • John, you have this statement in your posting—-
    “Bishop Brown …….(liturgically and even morally in his support for homosexuality and silence on pro-choice Catholic politicians in our diocese)”.

    Can you or someone else supply the documentation where and when Bishop Brown has supported homosexuality?  To go against just one aspect of the Church’s teaching breaks communion with Peter, the Vicar of Christ.

    Code of Canon Law:—-Bishops

    “§2 By their episcopal consecration, Bishops receive, together with the office of sanctifying, the offices also of teaching and of ruling, which however, by their nature, can be exercised only in hierarchical communion with the head of the College and its members.”

    The last sentence is extremely important. When it can be documented that a bishop is by word or deed no longer one with Peter, who is the head of the College and its members, the exercising of ruling is voided.  Until the bishop is replaced by the Holy Father, the faithful show respect for his powers of administrating the Sacraments,—but respecting or obeying what he teaches or his power of ruling are not binding.

    Keep in mind, this holds only if there is factual documentation by word or deed that the bishop (or pastor or priest etc) are not one with the Teaching Magisterium.

  • Blanchard,

    You are asking John to prove a negative.  Silence on a topic or event can be an effective means of support, although impossible to document.  At least to the level someone demanding documentation usually requires.

    The only way to document a LACK of response, is to contrast it with a response.  That is what is happening here. 

    If the Vatican under Pope John Paul II and B16 can’t find it in their hearts to excommunicate Hans Kung, who CAN be excommunicated?  Oh yeah.  SSPX, that’s who.

    Only traditionalists.  And one can easily find documentation of that!

    Can you document any examples of liberal dissent being handled in a comparable way?  Being asked to leave a parish?

    Good luck.

  • Blanchard wrote

    “Can you or someone else supply the documentation where and when Bishop Brown has supported homosexuality?  To go against just one aspect of the Church’s teaching breaks communion with Peter, the Vicar of Christ.”

    Where should I send you the documents?

    Bishop Brown’s Memo in response to “Instruction on the Criteria for Vocational Discernment with Regard to Persons with Homosexual Tendencies in View of Their Admission to the Seminary and Holy Orders.” dated December 2, 2005

    “Many people in our own culture are obsessed by the sexual; we need priests who see themselves in a wider and more mature way, whatever their sexual orientation.”

  • Fact: Homosexuality is an issue of deep personal significance for Bishop Brown, and he has made significant efforts, at the risk of confusing the faithful, to support homosexual relationships.  Upon his arrival in the Diocese, Bishop Brown had an interview with the Orange County Register that appeared in their July 1, 1998 edition.  The article was titled, “Middle of the road’ bishop to lead O.C. Catholics RELIGION: Tod Brown is praised by his Idaho diocese, but his moderate views `riled’ some.” The article states, “…he has not been afraid to ruffle feathers, speaking out in favor of gay civil rights…” and later added that, “In one instance, some were upset when he refused to support an anti-gay initiative in Idaho. The bishop said it would have “contributed to attitudes of intolerance and hostility directed at homosexual citizens.”

    Fact: In February of 2000, Bishop brown faxed each priest in the diocese two articles by Fr. Gerald D. Coleman dealing with the Prop. 22 ban on homosexual marriage.  Included was a brief note from Bishop Brown, sent with the faxed articles, saying that Fr. Coleman’s article[s] “expresses very well my own thoughts on this subject.” In his article, Fr. Coleman argued, “Some homosexual persons have shown that it is possible to enter into long-term, committed and loving relationships, named by certain segments of our society as domestic partnerships.”  The ensuing controversy this memo caused was chronicled in the Los Angeles Lay Catholic Mission. (“Damnable Falsehood”, Los Angeles Lay Catholic Mission, January 2001: (“Studied Ambiguity”, Los Angeles Lay Catholic Mission, May 2001:  Lynch Responds To Coleman:

    Fact: Bishop Brown has yet to publicly recant his support of homosexual domestic partnerships, despite the fact that support for legal recognition of such relationships is contrary to Church teaching.

    Fact:  Bishop Brown and chancery bureaucrats downplayed the actions of Fr. Cesar Salazar and continued to support him, while knowing he had been looking at pornographic pictures of young boys and young men on his computer.  (“No Vow Of Silence Here”, OC Weekly, Dec. 26, 2003 – Jan. 1, 2004, ) Under the administration of Bishop Brown, Father Salazar remained assigned to a parish with a school despite the fact that he was already known to be feeding an unhealthy sexual appetite with homosexually oriented child pornography.

    Fact: Bishop Brown concealed and tacitly supported the homosexual relationship between former director of liturgy and evangelization, Fr. Rod Stephens, and Howard Sellars, Fr. Stephens’ business associate and longtime companion. Although Fr. Stephens has since taken a leave of absence from the priesthood, you have retained his consultation services through the diocese and paid him handsomely, reportedly to the tune of around $300.00 an hour at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish, St. Anthony Mary Claret Parish, and the Mission San Juan Capistrano. (All That Perceptions Stuff, Robert Kumpel, Los Angeles Lay Catholic Mission, July/August 2004,

  • Fact: Bishop Brown appointed Fr. Gerald Horan, O.S.M. as the Superintendent of Catholic Schools.

    Fr. Horan’s progressive views on moral theology have made headlines since media attention focused on the presence of twin five-year-old boys in the kindergarten class at St. John the Baptist school in Costa Mesa who have been adopted by a homosexual (male) couple living in a domestic partnership.

    When questioned about the matter by the press, Fr Horan made the following statements to the Los Angeles Times that were quoted in literally hundreds of news articles that picked up the story:

    “But Father Gerald M. Horan, superintendent of schools run by the Diocese of Orange, rejected the idea of a parental covenant. If the school barred gay parents from enrolling their children, they would also have to ban children of parents who violate other church teachings, including those who are divorced, use birth control or weren’t married in the church, he said.

    “This is the quagmire that [the parents’] position represents,” Horan said. “It’s a slippery slope to go down.” (Los Angeles Times, Sunday, January 2, 2005)

    These statements were widely reprinted in the secular media and jubilantly reported by homosexual activist websites with resultant confusion as to Church teaching on all of the matters mentioned by Fr. Horan (and no longer just those of homosexual activity and domestic partnerships).

    Fr. Horan was also quoted as saying:

    “It’s not really our role to make moral judgments on the life choices of our parents,” said Father Gerald Horan, the diocese’s superintendent of schools. “We’re there for students, not to endorse or condemn parents.”

    “Furthermore, Horan said, the kindergarten- through eighth-grade campus is a private school, and if parents don’t approve of who is allowed to attend, they have the option to enroll their children elsewhere.” (Orange County Register, Tuesday, January 4, 2005)

    Fact: In a letter to Fr. Martin Benzoni, O. Praem., then pastor of St. John the Baptist parish, Bishop Brown hailed the admission of the aforementioned openly homosexual couple, living in a domestic partnership, and introduced to the parish as “father and father” of their adopted children at St. John the Baptist parish.  In the letter, he encouraged the community’s acceptance of these men’s lifestyle, proclaiming it part of a “diversity policy”.

  • Where Are You Leading Us, Bishop Brown? (Part 1)

    It has been brought to our attention that you have expressed confusion and distress as to why many of the laity within your diocese should be unhappy with your leadership.  As Catholics who respect the authority of Pope Benedict XVI, strive to be faithful to the Magisterium, and are informed about Church teaching, we care deeply about our diocese. This document is intended to clarify some of the reasons for our extreme disappointment with your actions as our bishop.

    Upon your arrival in the Diocese, you had an interview with the Orange County Register that appeared in their July 1, 1998 edition as a means of introducing yourself to your new flock.  The article was titled, `Middle of the road’ bishop to lead O.C. Catholics RELIGION: Tod Brown is praised by his Idaho diocese, but his moderate views `riled’ some.  In that interview, we were disappointed to see that you referred to yourself as a moderate. Was Christ a moderate, Bishop Brown?  Did He introduce Himself to His disciples as “middle of the road”?  We prayed that your moderation was not in regard to your fidelity to Christ and upholding the teaching of His Church.  However, we had grave apprehension as our contact with some of the faithful in Boise had given cause for serious concern. (“Yes He Is! No He Isn’t!” Los Angeles Lay Catholic Mission, September 1998: )

    In the same interview, you listed your activism in the area of homosexual rights among your accomplishments.  The article states, “…he has not been afraid to ruffle feathers, speaking out in favor of gay civil rights…” and later added that, “In one instance, some were upset when he refused to support an anti-gay initiative in Idaho. The bishop said it would have “contributed to attitudes of intolerance and hostility directed at homosexual citizens. “  We saw this as significant because, as you must know, first impressions are important.  By letting us know upon your first introduction that homosexuality is an issue close to your heart, you revealed (perhaps more than you meant to) the direction you wish to take us.

    In February of 2000, you faxed each priest in the diocese two articles by Fr. Gerald D. Coleman dealing with the Prop. 22 ban on homosexual marriage.  You wrote that Fr. Coleman’s article “expresses very well my own thoughts on this subject.” In that article, Fr. Coleman argued, “Some homosexual persons have shown that it is possible to enter into long-term, committed and loving relationships, named by certain segments of our society as domestic partnerships.” We have a copy of your message, and it was chronicled in the Los Angeles Lay Catholic Mission. (“Damnable Falsehood”, Los Angeles Lay Catholic Mission, January 2001:  It is shocking that you felt secure enough in your position to fax an article to every priest in the diocese written by Fr. Coleman that claimed that homosexual partners are entitled to the same rights as married couples, adding that Fr. Coleman’s sentiments are the same as your own.

  • As far as Bishop Brown’s inaction regarding pro-abortion politicians:

    Pro-Abortion Politician Receives Communion At Catholic High School Celebration

    Bishop Tod Brown Was Present At The Mass.  He may have been the chief celebrant.  (I don’t remember that detail, and I wasn’t there.)

    Here is what I do know:

    On Tuesday, February 17, 2004, Servite High School (an all boys Catholic high school in the Diocese of Orange, but not a diocesan school) had an all school Mass to celebrate the feast of the Seven Holy Founders of the Servite Order.  Rev. Tod Brown, Bishop of the Diocese of Orange attended the Mass.

    Loretta Sanchez, a staunchly pro-abortion member of the House of Representatives (Democrat, 46th District) was also in attendance as an invited guest.  Ms. Sanchez received Holy Communion at the Mass in front of the student body.

    The presence of Ms. Sanchez was announced to the congregants and students, and she was aplauded.

    All of this was done with Bishop Brown right there.

    Sanchez represents a portion of Santa Ana, a portion of Fullerton, a portion of Anaheim, and a portion of Garden Grove (all cities within the diocese of Orange) in the United States Congress.  Servite High School is in Anaheim (one of the areas Ms. Sanchez represents).  She is a vocal advocate for “abortion rights” (including partial-birth abortion) and she has attempted to use the Catholic faith to further her career (as she is a baptized Catholic). 

    Bishop Brown has never publicly called Ms. Sanchez to fidelity (although his predecessor, Bishop Norman MacFarland told her not to speak in churches).

    Additionally, Bishop Brown’s vocations director has publicly supported Loretta Sanchez in the past.  He is a known liberal, and his support for Sanchez was known before he was selected by Bishop Brown to be vocations director.

    For details, see: “She’s Okay, Vote for Her”, by Maggie Garcia, Los Angeles Lay Catholic Mission, July/August 1998:

    More on Bishop Brown:

    “Just Innuendo and Hearsay?”, by Robert Kumpel,Los Angeles Lay Catholic Mission, June 2004:

  • Below is a selection from:
    “The Roots Of The Catholics’ Scandal”
    By Steven Greenhut
    The Orange County Register
    June 9, 2002

    The examples the local Catholics pointed to do not directly impact the sex-abuse crisis, but they confirm the post-Vatican II attitude of envelope-pushing on issues of sexuality and hostility toward those with orthodox views, as described by author Rose and others:

    •The July 2000 Wanderer reported allegations about a local priest responsible for sanctuary design throughout the diocese: “For Bishop Brown, the fact that almost every informed Catholic in the Diocese of Orange knows – and has known for years – that [Fr. Rod] Stephens is living what appears to be a scandalous and open homosexual lifestyle, does not appear to be a matter of any import.” The article, by Paul Likoudis, referred to a $10,000-plus per-person luxury cruise Fr. Stephens took with his “longtime companion,” and reprinted a joint Christmas-Chanukah card Fr. Stephens and his alleged companion sent out, with the phrase, “From our digs to yours.”

    Fr. Michael McKiernan, the assistant to Bishop Brown who handles personnel matters, told me this month that Fr. Stephens lives in a rectory and that Fr. Stephens assured the diocese he is celibate. Fr. McKiernan refused to comment on whether Fr. Stephens was spoken to over the allegations. (Fr. Stephens is leaving his official diocese post in July, Fr. McKiernan said, for reasons unrelated to the allegations from the Wanderer article.)

    When I asked Fr. McKiernan about the facts of the Wanderer article, he replied: What facts? That he took a trip?

    Relatives of Fr. Stephens told me they have met with the bishop and Fr. McKiernan to discuss their concerns about Fr. Stephens’ alleged improprieties, and said they faced an astounding lack of interest.

    •In February 2000, Bishop Brown forwarded to priests two articles by Fr. Gerald D. Coleman dealing with the Prop. 22 ban on homosexual marriage. The article, the bishop wrote, “expresses very well my own thoughts on this subject.” Fr. Coleman, a Bay Area priest who writes regularly for the Diocese of Orange newspaper, supported Prop. 22, but argued, “Some homosexual persons have shown that it is possible to enter into long-term, committed and loving relationships, named by certain segments of our society as domestic partnerships.”

    After a laity newspaper reported on the debate (one person quoted called Fr. Coleman “a well-known dissenter from Church teaching on homosexuality”), Fr. Coleman clarified his remarks in the diocese newspaper: “When I speak of ‘committed lifelong homosexual relationships,’ I am speaking of chaste unions.”

    Minor point. He just forgot to mention it.

  • Final quotes from:
    “The Roots Of The Catholics’ Scandal”
    By Steven Greenhut
    The Orange County Register
    June 9, 2002

    •A 1999 memo to the bishop from Ruth Bradley, director of the diocese’s office for religious education, and Carmela Treanor, director of the office of family life, criticized an article promoting teen chastity that appeared in a former diocesan publication, the Bulletin. Although they agreed with the goals of the article, they said the chastity program it described has a “pietistic approach and there might be an audience for it among home schoolers and fundamentalists.” They complained about references to sex education in schools being an “abysmal failure,” and took issue with the argument that schools should not teach explicit sex education to children under age 12.

    •A 1998 letter from the diocese’s current vocations director, Fr. Wilbur Davis, to Director of Communications Msgr. Lawrence Baird, also deals with topics in the Bulletin. Fr. Davis depicted Catholic Family Radio as extremist. He called Mother Angelica, the TV nun who offers kind-hearted but traditional Catholic opinions, an apostle of “religious intolerance and arrogance.” He criticized one of the nation’s well-respected traditional Catholic colleges as “the home of Catholics United for the Faith, a pathetic organization of bitter people.”

    • Clearly, the church’s liberalization and hostility to orthodoxy depicted in Rose’s book ring true. Until the church is dominated by people who honor tradition rather than demonize it, more good men will say goodbye. And bishops will continue to spend their time dealing with lawyers rather than tending to the flock.

  • As can be seen by thhe dates on many of the articles I have quoted, faithful Catholics at St. Mary’s by the Sea and in the Diocese of Orange have been “taking it on the chin” for quite some time now.

    How long are they supposed to take it?  How long are they supposed to fund it?

    How long are they supposed to pretend the diocese isn’t being hijacked by a progressive agenda?

    There is only one way to deal with hijackers these days: don’t give in, because no matter what they say, they will likely kill you anyway.

    Restore The Sacred isn’t spreading scandal, they’re just not content to leave the Catholic frogs of the Diocese of Orange in increasingly hot water to continue believing they are only hot tubbing.

    It’s time to fight the hijackers.

    Let’s roll!

  • DaVinci, right on! Silence speakes louder that words.

    So, can someone indicate where Bishop Brown has remained silent on the issue of homosexuality. I have not been following the actions or words of this Bishop.

    Yes I can give you examples of “dissent” disobedience and defamation, very openly prevalent for years in my diocese and nothing from Rome was done about it. I have written and published a doucumentary or a book, (of approximately 300 pages) as proof of this fact.  If you would like further info. just email me

    As regards ordering people to leave a parish I have never experienced that.

  • P.S.

    Jesus didn’t just “take it on the chin”:

    The high priest questioned Jesus about his disciples and about his doctrine. Jesus answered him, “I have spoken publicly to the world. I have always taught in a synagogue or in the temple area 10 where all the Jews gather, and in secret I have said nothing.  Why ask me? Ask those who heard me what I said to them. They know what I said.”  When he had said this, one of the temple guards standing there struck Jesus and said, “Is this the way you answer the high priest?” Jesus answered him, “If I have spoken wrongly, testify to the wrong; but if I have spoken rightly, why do you strike me?” (John 18:19-23)

  • johnchrysostom——WOW!!!!

    What more is needed to show that Bishop Brown is not one with the Supreme Head of the Teaching Magisteriunm.

    In my view, this is factual evidence that does allow the faithful not to acknowledge his “ruling” authority. Here the faithful have a right and duty to confront their spiritual leader to get back in line with the Vicar of Christ, or have the decency to resign.

  • I will kneel if I have to do it in the street outside the building.  What are they going to do, put casts on my legs?

    It was not wise to distribute flyers.  But they cannot govern your body posture.  It is not possible for them to police every person in that way. 

    They can’t throw us all out.

  • Though not a fan of the new postures and ways of the Church in America, I think you are mistaken about invoking Cardinal’s Arinze’s response. His comments were regarding kneeling after communion and not during the Agnus Dei. There is a difference. The local ordinary—the bishop—does have authority to institute standing during the Agnus Dei but not demanding it upon returning after communion (which this latter aspect is the point of Arinze’s response).

    The original question beginis with this: “the faithful are accustomed to kneeling or sitting in personal prayer upon returning to their places after having individually received Holy Communion during Mass.”

    As you can see, Arinze’s response is in relation to “upon returning to their places after having individually received Holy Communion during Mass.”

    If the bishop institutes something within his authority and it is not a sin, we are obliged to obey. It is that simple. We may not like it, but we must do it. Remember Acts 5:32. The Holy Spirit is given to those that obey. Within reason and within the ordinary’s authority, we must obey.

    In Him,

  • The licity of kneeling after the Agnus Dei and whether the bishop has a right to forbid it is a secondary point.

    My main point was to wonder at the recourse to a nuclear option against these people, especially when so many dissenters and heterodox hear nary a peep from their chanceries.

  • I agree with your main point. Many of the bishops do not seem consistent.

    It just seemed like your point was made by using the secondary point, which in fact is not a valid point.

    However much I agree with your main point, I am still a bit put off by those who choose what they are going to obey from a bishop, regarding the customs and teachings we are supposed to follow. If we are supposed to obey the bishop in certain areas, then obey. Otherwise, the bishop seems to be in his right to seek other measures. It is his duty. I just wish they were consistent, like you mentioned.

    For what it is worth,  I used to attend St. Mary’s and went for the Tridentine Rite of the Mass. I went consistently for a few years. My daughter was even baptized there and I made many friends there. However, I (and some though not all of those friends) began to realize that many folks there (not the priests, however) were not so keen on following the bishops or the Pope in certain matters in which they should have followed. They wanted to follow their own understandings of still living a faith as they believed it was expressed before the Council. I picked up on hostility towards the Pope and public disrespect to bishops, even when it did not merit it. As well, I encountered irrational hostility when I engaged in discussions on “Ecclesiae Dei,” to the point where any questioning of their interpretation of the document made them reply to me as if I was just like the rest of the so-called “Vatican II Catholics.” Well, I would tell them, I just try to be a Catholic, one that tries to live according to the teachings of the Church, a Church that incorporates the authentic teachings of Vatican II into her treasury.