While Fr. Cekada’s paper entitled Untrained and Un-Tridentine Holy Orders and the Canonically Unfit demonstrates a strong desire to return to the Church of the 50’s rather than a return to sound Catholic principles, and as such demonstrates a certain lack of understanding of the problems that many Catholics face at the present time, I shall only address myself to that part of the paper which in a thinly disguised manner almost certainly pertains to, and aims at devaluating my ordination.


Despite his failure to use names several friends have pointed to possible similarities. The following comments are made with the intention of avoiding further confusion.


On the assumption that Fr. Cekada is referring to myself, let me say that if he had any doubts about the facts surrounding my ordination, he might have given me the courtesy of asking for the facts. I am reminded of verses 14 and 15 of Psalm 55. Again, on the assumption that his comments refer to myself, let me say that he has almost all the facts wrong. In fact the only thing he got right was that Bishop Jose Lopez-Gaston used a photocopy of the Pontifical.


First of all, Bishop-Lopez Gaston is extraordinarily well educated and qualified for his function of ordaining Bishop. He studied with the Marists in Cuba with the intention of entering the priesthood from 1944 to 1960. With the advent of Castro, he left for Spain. He subsequently completed studies in Philosophy, and Theology and received certificates of competence from Cardinal Manuel Aertaga (also exiled from Havana) in Theology and catechesis as well as a degree in theology. In the interim the changes in the Church occurred and he met his wife and married.


He has two separate doctorates, one in Romance Languages and one in Humanities, Philosophy and History obtained from universities in this country as well as degrees from the University of Havana in Philosophy and History. He is fluid in Latin, Greek and Spanish and indeed was head of the Department of Humanities at the University of New Mexico where he taught, among things, Latin.


When he was older, and after Bishop Carmona was consecrated by Archbishop Thuc (he incidentally in turn consecrated Bishop Pivarunas and Bishop Pivarunas consecrated Bishop Dolan), Bishop Carmona who knew Lopez-Gaston suggested to him that he should now be ordained. Both Bishop Gaston Lopez and his wife took public vows of celibacy and Bishop Carmona ordained him. He was subsequently consecrated as a bishop in the Thuc line.


It is virtually impossible for Bishop Gaston Lopez to have skipped a page at the time of my ordination – especially as there were several bishops and priests present. Every detail of the ordination rite was in fact followed correctly, and there are photographs that bear witness to this.


One problem arose. One of the people present thought Bishop Lopez-Gaston didn’t actually touch my head during the critical part of the rite. I of course cannot bear witness to this as I was too much too involved in the process of ordination to check on such a detail. I however recently looked at the photographs which were taken and offer two as evidence to the contrary.


However, my close friend and mentor, Bishop Malachi Martin, stated that he wished there to be absolutely no doubt about my ordination. He therefore proceeded to conditionally re-ordain me. Hence it is that I received the graces of Ordination from a double source.


Father Cekada seems to have a particular antipathy against married clergy – indeed this would seem to be the basis of his views on “canonicity.” Now eleven of the apostles were married; several of the canonized saints were married; some 29 popes were married, and some of them had their wives live in the Vatican; The Eastern “uniate” Churches allow for marriage and the Church has never denied the validity of their Sacramental functions,  finally the New Testament  speaks of the duties of married bishops. While under normal circumstances a married clergy in the Western Church is unusual from the 12th century onwards, cases of dispensation from Ecclesiastical canons have continually been allowed. For example, Pope Pius XII allowed married Episcopal and Anglican clergy who converted and wished to be priests to retain their wives. Just for the record marriage in no way invalidates the Sacrament. Of course there is a difference between a married person being ordained, and a priest who has already taken vows of celibacy getting married. Under the present circumstances it would seem that there is room for a carefully selected married clergy.[1] (This should not be misconstrued as to my advocating an across the board married clergy, but is offered to show that the canons involved are “ecclesiastical” and subject to dispensation.)


I cannot resist one final comment. It is clear that Fr. Cekada, despite his vaunted seminary training, never understood the sin of calumny. In his article he refers to Malachi Martin (again, not by name) as an “Apostate priest.”


For the record, Father Vincent O’Keefe, S.J. former Vicar General of the Jesuits has publicly admitted that Fr. Malachi Brendin Martin was granted a full and legal dispensation from his Jesuit vows except for chastity and given a perpetual celebate to celebrate the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.  (cf. Michael Cain, Editor of the Daily Catholic, Easter Wednesday, April 14, 2004)


Perhaps a few words from Father Fiori, O.P. who know Malachi Martin for over 20 years, and who recently passed away may be of interest.


“Malachi Martin never left the Catholic priesthood, but was personally dispensed from his vows of poverty and obedience by Paul VI on leaving the Jesuits in 1964. I have seen and authenticated his dispensation papers. He did not seek release from his vow of chastity. When he came to New York, Cardinal Cooke gave him priestly faculties and advised him to find lodging with a family rather than live alone as he initially did.”


I might add that Malachi, like many of us, changed his views over the course of time, but that Cuono bears witness in his rather puerile book An American Exorcist, that Father Malachi never said the Novus Ordo Missae.


Finally, let me make it clear that I am not interested in a debate on these issues. I initially intended to ignore Fr. Cekada’s diatribe, but as I do hear confessions, do write on theological issues, and at times impart spiritual advice, I think it important to defend the validity of my orders.


Picture #1


Picture #2

Rama P. Coomaraswamy, M.D., F.A.C.S. +

[1] It has been suggested by some that a married individual who is ordained should separate from his spouse. This is not an Apostolic requirement. In any event, those who suggest  such action should perhaps suggest some novus ordo convent (or some favorite convent of their own) for the wife and then provide nursing and care for the husband . In my case this would cost in the range of 300.000 dollars a year. Quite apart from the fact that we are not living in the 50’s to make such a suggestion without offering to cover the costs is a mockery.