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Wednesday, June 23, 2021

The “Parking Lot Priest” to Archbishop Viganò: “You are the warrior Prelate!”

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The “Parking Lot Priest” to Archbishop Viganò: “You are the warrior Prelate!”

We typically don’t publish letters not initially intended for public consumption.  As I see it, however, the following exchange provides a teaching moment for us all, since it speaks to the profound impact Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò is having on the lives of hundreds of thousands of battle-weary faithful Catholics, including not a few priests.

Why does this matter?

Christ established a hierarchical institution, and it is through that hierarchy that His Church will ultimately be restored.  In a moment of crisis such as this, then, all the blogospheric commentary in the world cannot possibly replace the witness of one faithful Prelate whose fidelity reminds us of Our Lord’s promise to be with us always, even unto the consummation of the world.

At the very heart of the current crisis is the fact that the shepherd has been struck and the sheep are scattered, which is why for the past half century traditional Catholics have been begging God to send faithful shepherds to lead us out of this post-conciliar wilderness.  

Traditionalists are not renegades. We are scattered sheep, abandoned children, who know that tradition means to hand down that which has been received.  We know that the Church is not a democracy. We know that it is not our job to save God’s Church, even if it were within our power to do so.  

We keep the Faith of our fathers, we pray, resist, and constantly scan the horizon for the advance of the faithful shepherds God will send. And when He sends one, it is our sacred duty before God to “fall in” behind them and let them lead.

God will save His Church in His good time and through the hierarchical channels He has established.  Until then, we keep the Faith of our fathers, we pray, resist, and constantly scan the horizon for the arrival of the faithful shepherds God will send. And when He sends one, it is our duty before God to “fall in” behind him.

One of those faithful shepherds is Archbishop Viganò--a man of God who has proven himself spiritual father and effective leader of the scattered soldiers of Jesus Christ. 

In a short period of time, His Excellency has taken the holy cause of Tradition not only to the Chair of St. Peter but also to the attention of the princes of this world. Readers will recall this presidential tweet from last year:Trump and Vigano tweet

Not surprisingly, therefore, Archbishop Viganò has come under attack, from quarters expected and, more recently, from some rather unexpected. He is accused of having a “ghostwriter”, of being a conspiracy theorist, of using a negative “tone” and of harboring “extreme views” that are dividing the Children of Light and even alienating members of the episcopate who are sympathetic to Tradition.

To all of that, I would say this: BASTA! 

Let me be clear: Archbishop Viganò has not asked for my defense, nor does he need it. But I would like to offer a few personal thoughts on the recent controversy, if for no other reason than to explain my own editorial support of the Archbishop.

I count legendary pioneers of this movement (such as Michael Davies) as friends and mentors. And yet I must admit that I can think of no other person who has exposed the corruption in the Catholic Church to the extent which Archbishop Viganò has. Just ask MISTER McCarrick!  

I have been in the fight for Catholic restoration all of my adult life. It is my honor to have received Confirmation from the late, great Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre. I count legendary pioneers of this movement (such as Michael Davies) as friends and mentors. And yet I readily admit that no other person has exposed the corruption in the Catholic Church to the extent which Archbishop Viganò has. Just ask MISTER McCarrick!  

Viganò has stood strong against the current disastrous pontificate, taking his old “boss”, Pope Francis, to task as no one else has.

And even when it comes to the Liturgical revolution and the destructive spirit of Vatican II, I can think of few other Prelates whose work can rival Viganò’s success in raising the profile of the traditional Catholic counterrevolution on the world stage. 

And yet, even among some traditional Catholics, there is at this moment a concerted effort to discredit him primarily over his position on vaccines and the Great Reset.

Do not slander the most effective critic Francis has ever faced.   

One can certainly disagree with the Archbishop, as I have done from time to time. Viganò is not infallible, and he makes no claim to be. But it is the height of folly to seek to undermine his massive contribution in exposing the rot and scandal in the human element of the post-conciliar Church.

Do not slander the most effective critic Francis has ever faced.

Do not calumniate one of the few members of the hierarchy who has the courage to stand up and resist the attempted takedown of the Bride of Christ.    

Given his position as former Apostolic Nuncio, Viganò is their most formidable adversary. He has walked with the post-conciliar popes. He has moved in circles of power most of us have only read about. He knows the enemy, which is why they fear one Viganò more than an army of bloggers and YouTubers. And with good reason.

Look at the damage Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre did to the Revolution! Viganò is on a pace to match or exceed that. Even if you disagree with his approach, then, please, for God's sake, let the man do his work and pray God gives him the grace to continue. If you don't like his "tone," there are plenty of “nice guys” in the hierarchy who can be counted on to never ruffle any feathers. But know this: There are many of us who stand with Viganò precisely because he is the voice crying in the wilderness.  

I have met Archbishop Viganò and found in him a razor-sharp intellect and strong faith. He is also a kind and humble gentleman, who is motivated by a manifest concern for the faithful and for their children betrayed.  

His critics allege that Viganò has a ghostwriter.  To which I say: Please, God, send this indefatigable warrior the able assistants he needs to do his work. I have met two of his team, in fact, and I thank God for them both.  

The enemies of Tradition would like nothing better than to see Viganò fall. So, let us stand with him!  

As for the man himself, let me say this: I have met Archbishop Viganò and found in him a razor-sharp intellect and strong faith. He is also a kind and humble gentleman, who is motivated by a manifest concern for the faithful and for their children betrayed.  

I met His Excellency in Munich back in January 2020. We spoke at length about the important issues affecting the Church, after which he gave me his blessing:

Since that time, I have worked with him on a regular basis by email and telephone, and I can assure the reader that the Viganò I know personally is the same Viganò I publish on a regular basis in The Remnant.

If he has changed his outlook over the past couple of years, it is perfectly consistent with the transformation we’ve all seen in those priests who, after returning to the Traditional Latin Mass, come to a more profound understanding of the depth of the Revolution in the Church.  Archbishop Viganò’s wrath is righteous. He has moved beyond raising “respectful dubia” against those who have declared war on the Church. And, yes, his “tone” reflects that move.

But a heavy-handed ghostwriter? This would be inconsistent with his personality. I suspect that nobody tells Archbishop Viganò what to do, much less what to think or write.  And anyone who says otherwise, presumably does not know the man.  

So that’s my experience with Archbishop Viganò. I don’t pretend to speak for him, nor do I lay claim to inside information over and above that which comes naturally through the friendship and alliance that has formed between us.  

I suspect that some of his most powerful enemies plot to destroy Viganò primarily because he stood with us, making his cause the cause of traditional Catholic resistance.   

What I’m offering here is the personal testimony of just one lifelong traditional Catholic who sees in Viganò a long-awaited ecclesial ally to the cause of Catholic restoration. But let me be clear: I am not out here on this battlefield because of Viganò. He’s not my “personal magisterium.”  Over the past few years, Archbishop Viganò cut the chains of collegiality and walked out onto No Man’s land to join us on the frontline. We welcomed him with all our hearts. But we were already here, and Viganò has never suggested otherwise.

In fact, I suspect that some of his most powerful enemies plot to destroy Viganò primarily because he stood with us, making his cause the cause of traditional Catholic resistance.  

I pray this short exchange between Archbishop Viganò and the Parking Lot Priest, Father John Echert, will serve as just one small example of the good that is being done, the important alliances that are forming, and the clans that are uniting around the manifest fidelity to Christ’s Bride on the part of this good and faithful shepherd. As he is now under renewed attack, please pray him!

The Exchange

June 10, 2021

Your Excellency:

Allow me to introduce myself. I am a priest of the Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis, Minnesota and longtime pastor of Michael Matt and his family. Michael was gracious enough to forward this email to you, at my request. I have been offering the Tridentine Mass in this South St. Paul community for more than twenty years now, going back to the “Indult” days. Though slightly too young to have been trained as a seminarian to say the traditional Mass, having begun seminary in 1970, it was the traditional Mass which first awakened in me a vocation to the priesthood. What a blessing to have rediscovered this venerable treasure as a priest. We now have upwards of 600 faithful attending our Tridentine Masses every Sunday, as well as on weekdays.

I am writing this email to express my profound gratitude to you for your courageous, faithful words and actions these past couple years in particular. I frequently quote you from the pulpit and regard you as the one warrior Prelate who has not wavered or waffled in the face of the crises which we face in the institutional Church and the world. You showed yourself a true friend of our Nation, which you formerly served, when you encouraged American Catholics to pray on behalf of President Trump and his reelection. My congregations were on their knees at church and at home praying daily rosaries for this cause.  Though Divine Providence has another plan, our numbers swelled in my parish and our faith was strengthened in the face of testing and adversity.

Be assured of my continued prayers for your well-being, especially in light of the mortal dangers you face at the hands of our adversaries in the ranks of the institutional Church. God bless you.

Sincerely in Christ,

Father John Paul Echert
Pastor, Holy Trinity Church
St. Augustine Church

A Reply from Archbishop Viganò

June 13, 2021
Dominica III Post Pentecosten

Dear and Reverend Father John Echert,

It is with great pleasure that I receive your kind letter and learn of the long-standing relationship with our mutual friend Michel J. Matt. Just as I am really happy to know that you celebrate since the beginning of your priesthood the Holy Sacrifice in the traditional rite with great spiritual fruit for your faithful.

I have often had the opportunity to listen to your homilies, always well formulated and from which a great supernatural inspiration shines forth. From your words I understand what an inestimable source not only of spiritual progress, but also of ascetic and mystical growth, is the Liturgy of the Holy Church.

Unfortunately, difficult times are preparing, at least to hear the rumors coming from Rome about the limitations to the Motu Proprio that the enemies of the Mass are preparing. Not only the laity, but also and above all we Ministers of God will be asked for a courageous witness, which will make us understand that “obedire oportet Deo magis quam hominibus” (Acts 5:29), if men of the Church abuse their authority in damage of souls and against the glory of the divine Majesty.

I therefore urge you to persevere in the words of the Apostle: “Prædica verbum, insta opportune, importune: argue, obsecra, increpa in omni patientia, et doctrina” (2 Tim 4: 2). In this month dedicated to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, we are reminded of the promise that the Lord made, to the priests who will carry out the pious practice of the Nine First Fridays: “I will give priests the gift of moving hearts more hardened”. Let us therefore pray that we can also move the hardened hearts of our Shepherds, to snatch them from the flames of Hell and have them as valiant leaders in the battle that is being prepared alongside Christ the King.

Let us continue to live with generous zeal the expiatory and reparative nature of our Priesthood, on the model of Our Lord Sovereign Priest: may the Most Sacred Heart spur us to make reparation for the injuries to which it is made the object, in particular those that come to Him from His Ministers and those whom He constituted in the fullness of the Levitical Order. May the oblation of ourself merit their conversion.

Joining every day my prayers to yours for the USA, I invoke the most abundant graces on you, on your loved ones and on the faithful entrusted to your pastoral care, while I impart my fatherly Blessing to you with all my heart.

+ Carlo Maria Viganò, Archbishop

Related: The Parking Lot Priest during COVID

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Last modified on Friday, June 25, 2021
Michael J. Matt | Editor

Michael J. Matt has been an editor of The Remnant since 1990. Since 1994, he has been the newspaper's editor. A graduate of Christendom College, Michael Matt has written hundreds of articles on the state of the Church and the modern world. He is the host of The Remnant Underground and Remnant TV's The Remnant Forum. He's been U.S. Coordinator for Notre Dame de Chrétienté in Paris--the organization responsible for the Pentecost Pilgrimage to Chartres, France--since 2000.  Mr. Matt has led the U.S. contingent on the Pilgrimage to Chartres for the last 24 years. He is a lecturer for the Roman Forum's Summer Symposium in Gardone Riviera, Italy. He is the author of Christian Fables, Legends of Christmas and Gods of Wasteland (Fifty Years of Rock ‘n’ Roll) and regularly delivers addresses and conferences to Catholic groups about the Mass, home-schooling, and the culture question. Together with his wife, Carol Lynn and their seven children, Mr. Matt currently resides in St. Paul, Minnesota.

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