25 January 2013

Post-Dispatch Hits a New Low: Aids and Abets a Fake "Catholic" Priest in Misleading the Faithful

Phillip Lichtenwalter, a former colleague of the flamboyant Mr. Marek Bozek at formerly Catholic St. Stanislaus Kostka, pretends to be a Roman Catholic priest. He claims to be "pastor" of St. Catherine of Siena "Catholic" Church. The problem is, of course, that his priesthood does not come from the Catholic Church, and no Catholic bishop ordained him. Even if some rogue prelate in the past started a valid chain down to him (which I doubt greatly) it is definitely illicit, and he has no faculties to administer the sacraments. And St. Catherine of Siena is not a Catholic Parish-- not to mention that it displeases its would-be patroness.

So far, no big deal. Lots of people who reject the Catholic Church and her claims sure seem desperate to call themselves Catholic.

What makes this case different is that the Post-Dispatch makes no effort to properly identify Lichtenwalter as non-Catholic, nor even to issue a minimal note that the Catholic Church doesn't consider him Catholic.

Now, to be fair, Lichtenwalter may have properly identified his religion to the Post (the so-called American National "Catholic" "Church"), and the Post did not draw the distinction. Mr. Lichtenwalter in the past has rebuked Mr. Bozek for his canonical crimes at St. Stan's; maybe there is some mistake. Also, it is possible that the Post might be guilty of merely very lax proofreading. Either way, one or both parties to this charade should issue a correction and clarification.

I won't post the letter, but you can read it here. I would say, "Shame on the P-D," but they have no sense of the term.


Fr. Phillip Lichtenwalter said...

How did I know that this would have made your blog! Can we get a few things things clear.

First, I am not Roman Catholic nor pretend to be. I am a national Catholic member of the American National Catholic Church. I have never identified myself as Roman Catholic. I want to be clear. I am not misrepresenting myself. I want nothing to do with the Roman Catholic Church.

Second, my past with Fr. Bozek has nothing to do with this. Seems you have nothing better in your argument than to fall back on the St. Stan's situation. I have left St. Stans long ago and want nothing more to do with that situation. Seems as though you have an extremely unhealthy obsession with Fr. Bozek and St. Stans.

Lastly, your theology is flawed. No matter how hard to try to paint us with the non-Catholic brush, you are wrong. I was validly ordained a Catholic priest by a Catholic bishop with valid apostolic succession. Our sacraments are valid, yet illicit according to Rome. Your understanding of ecclesiology is flawed. Catholicism is much bigger than Rome. Even Rome recongizes non-Roman Catholic communities. So get your facts straight.

I applaud your tempts to twist my letter, but your words are flawed. I am not leading the faithful astray. Sadly, Rome has made that their mission for the past few decades. May God have mercy on them!
Fr. Phillip Lichtenwalter

Unknown said...

Hello Timman,

One expects so little of the Post-Dispatch on this (or anything else regarding the Church), but they did let slip a very interesting tidbit that I did not know on their feature story on Cardinal Dolan's love of Stan the Man this weekend:

"Musial was a longtime member of St. Stanislaus Kostka, but as soon as the troubles began between the Polish church and the St. Louis Archdiocese, Musial sided with the archbishop."


Perhaps you knew that, but I did not. But I sure am pleased to hear it. I love Stan even more now.

Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him.

thetimman said...

Phillip, I guess you knew that I would post as I knew you would comment on it. I did allow for the possibility of succession, as I wrote. I would be curious to see if you could prove it up, but no matter. As you say you are at least illicitly acting as a priest. If you were Catholic, you would know this constitutes grave matter. I would pray for you to have a change of heart and to cease your adherence to a schismatic and heretical group.

Ken C said...

There are other non-Roman rites rooted in history to the Catholic Church. And there are sham rites. Here in the St. Louis Archdiocese, we have several that all believe the same thing and,when they can, pretend to be really Catholic or offer the bells and smells. the fact that they all believe the same thing but are juridically separate shows how they are focused on the individuals who created them.

Anonymous said...

First of all, let me applaud your willingness to give your life in service, which is an admirable quality even if I do not agree with the ends of that service. And I also understand your anger stemming from the pedophilia/hebephilia/ephibopehlia scandal, which is shared by many Catholics, but I’d maintain that anger is getting extended to unrelated topics. A few thoughts on your letter:

1) I agree that you did not represent yourself as a priest in union with Rome, but the general public is usually not familiar with the nuances – when people see the term “Catholic priest”, they automatically assign it to the Catholic Church led by the Pope. In the interest of clarity, I would recommend you specify the “American National Catholic” part. (I have to admit the name “American National Catholic” strikes me as a bit contradictory – the church is universal, i.e. Catholic, but “American National” at the same time.)

2) Yes,what a few priests did in the abuse scandal, and how some bishops handled it, was terrible. But first we have to acknowledge that much progress has been made (according to Our Sunday Visitor, the number of credible charges of abuse happening in 2011 was six), that the Church has due process, like any large organization, which takes time to work and has numerous privacy provisions, and that the abuse scandal has little to do with the various doctrinal changes that people want. The abuse scandal gets used as an all-purpose hammer to attempt change of Catholic teaching.

Why do more people not leave the Catholic Church despite failures in its leadership? For the same reason that social conservatives do not leave the GOP when an official fails to live “family values”, or that progressives do not depart the Democratic Party when its officials decry how little our society offers the poor while owning $1 million+ houses: Because people believe the principles espoused are sound, even when the leadership fails to live up to those very principles.

To be continued...

Anonymous said...

3) The Leadership Conference of Women Religious is not being investigated for helping the poor, oppressed, and marginalized; if that were the case, the Missionaries of Charity would have been suppressed long ago. It is being reviewed because of persistent reports of a not insignificant number of its members advocating for contraception, same-sex marriage, and women’s ordination, and even incorporating some elements of New Age theology. Given the dearth of vocations to these orders, one might suggest that something about the current implementation is not working.

There is a common perception that social mores and poverty are at the very least entirely separate issues, or that liberal social mores (such as contraception, etc.) actually help those in poverty. I would suggest that is not the case at all, that such mores actually exacerbate poverty:

- Due to our nation’s embrace of “family planning”, our country is demographically aging; as a result, our retirement systems are breaking. Through abortion alone we eliminate one-sixth to one-fifth of our future domestic-born workers, taxpayers, and entrepreneurs every year, which is a recipe for economic decline.
- Ironically, the most reliably Blue states, despite presumably embracing every policy that supposed reduces abortions, have such markedly higher abortion rates that they collectively lost House seats and electoral votes after the 2010 census. Thus, progressives are actually losing the ability to advocate for things like Obamacare on a federal level, and the same has occurred on a local level with abortion-tolerant St. Louis’ loss of a House seat.
- It is strange that a society so worried about toxins in its food, water, and air enthusiastically asks women to ingest artificial contraceptive hormones designed to deliberately mess up a natural process in their bodies. Consider that WHO labels estrogen-progestogen contraception a known carcinogen, and drospirenone has risk of thrombosis (to the point where one of our local law firms was soliciting Yaz users via billboard to initiate lawsuits). I do not wish to risk correlation without causation, but it is interesting to note that a woman’s lifetime chances of breast cancer were 1 in 25 in 1970, but had become 1 in 8 by 2000.
- The libertine sexual ethic has led to a rise in HPV-related cancers. Heaven help us when a future STD morphs into more virulent form.
- Then, of course, there are the social costs: broken families (after a half century of the Pill, we have more out-of-wedlock births than ever), body image disorders (with girls literally starving themselves to be suitably attractive in a sensual culture), sex trafficking, and pornography (which has a stunningly prominent role in fracturing marriages).

In short, despite the “war on women” slogans advanced by some, the above shows it is the Sexual Revolution that is producing actual casualties; indeed, more than if it had been an actual shooting war.

4) The bishops are not actively protesting the implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act; they are actively protesting an executive brach ruling pertaining to the PPACA (i.e. it does not appear in the Act itself) requiring religious bodies to pay for contraceptives and abortifacients. Strange that the Administration (a) makes the fine for failing to cover contraception many times larger than the fine for failing to offer insurance at all and (b) seems obsessed with making the Catholic Church pay for contraception and abortifacients, rather than simply reducing workers federal tax withholdings by $9 - $50 per month so that they can purchase such things if they wish to.

To be continued...

Anonymous said...

5) Charges are often brought that the bishops “engage in politics”. In the past decade, Catholic bishops have made public calls for stricter gun control, a higher Missouri minimum wage, an end to the death penalty, and support for the DREAM Act. Are these the political dalliances you are denouncing?

Such charges are virtually always leveled only when it comes to Church opposition to contraception, abortion, and same-sex activity. Our society tends to label things “politics” in religious circles and “religion” in political circles when we want to remove them from discussion. Heck, a religious sister was actually a featured speaker at the Democratic National Convention – about as intermingled with politics as you can get - and that seemed to draw no such charges.

The various independent Catholic churches in the area (I count about four) are not united in one church, so if unity is not necessary, what elements make them catholic (i.e. universal)? I realize many individuals seek changes to the Catholic Church out of a sincere desire to fix a perceived problem. To that very sincere desire I offer the example of the Episcopal Church, which incorporates virtually every reform that is sought. Election of bishops? Check. Acceptance of contraception? Check. Less condemnation of divorce and abortion? Check. Married priests, female priests, priests in same-sex relationships, and even part-time priests? Check, check, check, and check. Full pews and church unity? Ch… Well, actually, that church has plunged from 3.6 million members in 1960 to less than 2 million today (even as the nation’s population more than doubled), and some of its dioceses have sought to split off from the American church and come under the jurisdiction of overseas bishops. In spite of declining lay numbers, it even suffers a relative priest shortage now (smaller congregations cannot afford to hire a priest, especially one with a family), and if its worst-case ordination numbers come true (not likely, but possible), it will have an absolute priest shortage. Of course this does not impugn the personal holiness and efforts of many Episcopal laity and clergy, which I’m sure surpass my own in many cases; it simply shows that embracing worldly values can accomplish quite the opposite of curing a church of its ills.

Bryan Kirchoff
St. Louis

Anonymous said...

"I would pray for you to have a change of heart and to cease your adherence to a schismatic and heretical group." That's rich, Timman, coming from a Lefebvrest.

thetimman said...

Dear anonymous,

I posted this because I suspect that you have been trying to post similar false charges on prior attempted comments. You really need to have a name on your comments to be posted, fyi.

But, to the point-- I am not a Lefebvrist or an attendee of the SSPX chapels. In fact, I have never attended an SSPX chapel, and really have never set foot in one.

So, you're wrong.

My sympathy for the SSPX in some of their positions vis-a-vis Rome is just that: sympathy for certain positions. I never have supported the unauthorized consecrations that sparked the Ecclesia Dei effort. I give them credit for sincerity of their beliefs on issues like emergency jurisdiction and the like, but that doesn't mean I agree with them. Whatever the issues of the past, I do not agree that there is anymore (at the least) a reason to claim emergency jurisdiction for their confessions, matrimony, or confirmations, at least in those dioceses where the traditional rites are available.

Because I am Catholic, I agree with the Catholic Church. As the delegated representatives of the Vicar of Christ have not stated that the SSPX is in schism, nor do I.

Have a great day.

Delena said...

If I could be oh-so-eloquent here:

What the crap is the American National Catholic Church?

Aaaaannndddddd why have I never heard about this?

P.S.---> Are you shocked to find I still read your blog, T-man? It's difficult to find time. I'm so busy writing such intellectual pieces over at mine, you know? Highly academic.

thetimman said...

Suggestion: take used cloth diapers, lightly rinse, put in blendtec. Let dry. Presto: affordable, slightly funky, home insulation!

Ken C said...

As Kwanzaa is to Christmas, so is the American National Catholic Church to the Roman Catholic Church. Or is this unfair to Kwanzaa?