Fr Anthony Cekada, RIP

I refer my readers to the brief obituary in the New Liturgical Movement of Fr Anthony Cekada. I never met him and I have already said elsewhere that sedevacantism is the best refutation of what used to be called the Papal Claims. He has just died at the age of 69 from a stroke.

Fr Cekada’s career is well known in the USA and I have no need to repeat it here. He wrote several books supporting the sedevacantist theory and criticising the modern Roman liturgy of Mass and Holy Orders in particular. See Absolutely Null and Utterly Void. It is the reductio ad absurdam of condemning Anglican orders as invalid. There are references to other articles on the same subject in Unholy Orders.

What caught the attention of Dom Alcuin Reid was his book Work of Human Hands: A Theological Critique of the Mass of Paul VI, Philothea Press, West Chester, Ohio 2010, 445 pp. Dom Alcuin Reid wrote this important article Book Review: Work of Human Hands: A Theological Critique of the Mass of Paul VI, Anthony Cekada. Fr Cekada’s important contribution was to offer criticism not only of the Novus Ordo of Paul VI but also of the reforms of Pius XII in the Holy Week ceremonies and the 1962 revision of John XXIII. The “Naughty Nine” who left the Society of St Pius X in 1983 refused Archbishop Lefebvre’s orders to adopt the 1962 missal, so they returned to their native America and formed the Society of St Pius V. There was a later split between Fr (now Bishop) Daniel Dolan and Fr (now Bishop) Clarence Kelly who obtained episcopal orders from a source other than Archbishop Ngô Đình Thục. Fr Cekada remained with Bishop Dolan. The two main issues separating these priests from Archbishop Lefebvre were the pre-Pius XII liturgical rites and the alleged invalidity of the post-conciliar Church’s sacraments.

I am an Anglican, so have no sympathy with scholastic theology and this paroxysm of counter-Reformation Roman Catholicism. The comments to Dom Alcuin’s article from a conservative American Roman Catholic point of view are just as horrendous. Also, I do not use any form of the 1570 Roman rite of Pius V, so this controversy is not mine. I use Sarum.

Nevertheless, I praise Fr Cekada for his intellectual integrity and reasoned writing, which can only provoke independent enquiry and criticism. May he rest in peace.

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