(LifeSiteNews) — Protect Our Priests, a non-for-profit Catholic organization, has launched a new apostolate dedicated to connecting stable groups of Catholics across the United States with priests willing to provide for their spiritual needs.
According to the organization, there are approximately 2,200 priests who have been canceled by their bishops in the USA alone, and they are the perfect pairing for communities deprived of their diocesan Traditional Latin Masses (TLM).
“There are currently more than 300 diocesan Traditional Latin Mass locations in danger of being canceled by bishops,” said engineer James Michael Francis Komaniecki, the president and CEO of Protect Our Priests. Komaniecki said that the organization is currently working with Catholics in Maryland, Illinois, and South Dakota to set up private chapels together with priests to serve the faithful.
“The current need is greatest for locations west of the Mississippi River, due to the fact that alternatives such as the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter [FSSP], the Institute of Christ the King, and the Society of St. Pius X [SSPX] are often scarce due to long travel distances,” Komaniecki said.
Komaniecki explained that the organization plans to work within the structure of the Catholic Church and according to canon law to tend to the needs of the lay faithful. The clergy involved will be primarily diocesan priests who have been canceled by their bishops.
“We have received canonical counsel from canon lawyers that such arrangements could be set up on an emergency basis—similar to the ‘highest good and the salvation of souls’ canonical argument used by the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX),” Komnaiecki said.
“The Traditional Latin Masses and locations will not be publicly promoted with a common time or location. This effort is underway as a response to the spiritual crisis triggered by Traditionis Custodes.”
In other words, the sole objective will be to provide the sacraments in the traditional rite for the lay faithful desiring them and neither to compete with nor challenge the authority of the local Ordinary and his priests.
Current potential locations number between 30 and 100. They include remote locations where Catholics cannot reach either diocesan TLMs or the care of TLM institutes established by the now defunct Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei.
The organization currently has 50 to 60 cancelled priests in mind. This number has been increasing steadily, for more priests have been canceled by their bishops during the current pontificate for ideological or political reasons, Komaniecki said.
The Society of St. Pius X has often picked up the slack in regions where established TLM parishes have been discontinued, but the demand is exceeding the number of SSPX priests available, even as more continue to be ordained. There are, as it happens, just over 700 SSPX priests worldwide. Meanwhile, the cessation of diocesan TLMs has led to the fragmentation of Catholic traditionalists.
“A considerable amount of disunity exists in many remote communities when the local TLM is canceled,” Komaniecki said.
In the diocese of Corpus Christi (Texas), some Catholics will seek out a reverent Novus Ordo, while others may gravitate to the SSPX if available. Some may seek out an Eastern-rite Catholic solution, but others might consider an independent chapel served by priests who are professed sedevacantists. Protect Our Priests hopes to prevent this scattering of the faithful.
“We will strive to offer everyone a way to remain united with Holy Mother Church with access to the TLM and sacraments via services offered by validly ordained, and often canceled, diocesan priests,” Komaniecki said. “We will continue to be open to other options as the program rolls out due to the fact that a significant disparity exists between the number of available priests and the number of canceled diocesan Traditional Latin Masses.”
The organization has historically have operated with a tiny annual budget but expects its financial needs to increase significantly in the coming months. Neither Komaniecki nor any of the officers of the organization receives any compensation for their efforts. Donors are assured that 100 percent of the funds they receive directly aid priests and laity establishing these chapel locations.
Protect Our Priest pledges that all clergy involved will be vetted by a very strict investigative organization well experienced in background checks and related issues.
Komaniecki hopes that Protect Our Priests will succeed in answering Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò’s recent clarion call, outlined in “Exsurge Domine,” to help displaced clergy.
“Archbishop Viganò is also on record that it remains valid to offer the Traditional Latin Mass under the conditions of the current persecution, as long as we continue to pray for the Pope Francis and the Church,” Komaniecki said.
Archbishop Viganò has stated:
The Catholic faithful should open their homes to priests persecuted by the tyranny of the bishops allied to globalism, making them available for the celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Gathered around these domestic altars, the refractory communities will thus be able to continue to render due worship to the Holy Trinity and to benefit from the spiritual assistance of their ministers. And may fraternal charity, nourished by the sharing of the one Faith and prayer, mark the beginning of a rebirth of the Holy Church, today obscured by mercenaries and traitors.
“We stand united with Archbishop Viganò,” Komaniecki said, “and we intend to put his sage counsel into practice across America.”
Financial contributions can be directed to www.ProtectOurPriests.com.