Apologia pro Marcel Lefebvre
Volume 3, Chapter XXV

Archbishop Gerety


Has he Left the Roman Catholic Faith?
April 1980

The following article appeared in the April 1980 issue of  The New Jersey Catholic News.1 This excellent journal was established to enable concerned Catholics to learn the truth about what is taking place in the Conciliar Church. The type of reporting found in the English official Catholic weekly, The Universe , show a just how great is the need for such journals. The question posed by this article is one which Catholics in all too many dioceses today must ask concerning their bishop. From a strictly canonical standpoint Archbishop Gerety had not left the Roman Catholic Faith as he had been excommunicated by the Pope, nor has he denied pertinaciously any truth which must be believed by divine and Catholic faith, nor has he specifically repudiated communion with the Roman Pontiff or the members of the Church subject to him.2 But, as the article makes clear, he does at least implicitly deny de fide  doctrines and does implicitly repudiate communion with the Roman Pontiff. A bishop who promotes in his dioceses practices explicitly forbidden by the Holy See can hardly be said to place much importance on communion with the Roman Pontiff. What is most significant for the reader of this book is that while a prelate of such exemplary orthodoxy as Msgr. Lefebvre is suspended a divinis, Archbishop Gerety and hundreds of prelates like him remain free from any censure. It is within the context of such widespread de facto episcopal schism and heresy that the alleged disobedience of Archbishop Lefebvre must considered.

Archbishop Gerety:
Has He Left the Roman Catholic Faith?

Having been reared in that storied era in which it was de rigueur never to question one's doctor, lawyer, or clergyman, most of us become hesitant to ask hard questions about a Catholic bishop. Heaven forbid! Our Irish grandmothers often warned us of the special curse that befalls those who "talked about the priest."

Keep in mind that we are not so presumptuous as to judge the subjective culpability of anyone, including a bishop, nor are we concerned with judging private worldliness or unworthiness. For those who erroneously feel that all criticism and judgment making is wrongful in the sight of God, consider:

  • a. Jesus Christ often criticized religious leaders and encouraged His Apostles to do the same.
  • b. Our Savior bequeathed to us the great spiritual work of mercy , to " admonish the sinner." How does one admonish without making judgments as to who, objectively, is a sinner?
  • c. St. John the Baptist passed judgment on King Herod, "It is not lawful to have her" (Mt. 14:4).
  • d. St. Anthony was the Hammer of Heretics, not merely of heresy.
  • e. The Catholic laity , during the reign of Henry VIII, was obliged to judge which of their new hierarchy had defected to the King's new religion, and which of them had remained loyal to the Pope.
  • f. So also were Roman Catholics in Germany and Scandinavia compelled to make judgments about sacerdotal apostasy to Lutheranism.
  • g. The Biblical dictum:Judge not lest ye be judged," must be taken, as all Scriptural quotes,  in the context of God’s total revelation and the example of Christ. This New Testament instruction obviously refers to rash judgement  and/or judgments of a sinner's subjective culpability.  If all judgments were immoral then no parent ,no priest, no teacher, no police officer, could ever exercise the necessary judgment as to whether the lad up the block is an evil influence on your son; or criticize the radical who bums crosses on the lawn; or make judgments about Mao Tse Tung, Adolf Hitler, Hugh Hefner or even Bert Lance.
  • h. Of course Liberals have no such conscience hang-ups. They will judge Richard Nixon, or Spiro Agnew, or Archbishop, until the cows come home , with nary the slightest twinge of remorse.

At the outset, let us acknowledge that no one, especially a bishop, ever says, "Look at me. I'm a heretic," or "Ladies and gentlemen (drum roll), I have separated myself from papal authority. " So we must ,with God's grace and a open mind, look at the record.

Archbishop Peter L. Gerety , during his six years of stewardship in the Archdiocese of Newark, New Jersey, has:

1. Co-sponsored and given his blessing to the infamous 1976 Detroit Call to Action, at which conference homosexuality, lesbianism, and artificial birth control were approved. Furthermore ,at this same conference the method was germinated for the take-over of the Roman Catholic Church , i.e., to systematically separate from Vatican authority, and convert into an independent American Catholic Church. (This process, in most dioceses, goes under the name of "renewal.")

According to Msgr. John Egan, assistant to the ultra-Liberal president of Notre Dame University(who doubles as a member of the Rockfeller Foundation), the 1976 Call to Action was described , incredibly, as “the clearest sign of the Spirit in the Church. It shows the beauty of the Church transforming itself. "

2. Proposed the following amendments to the final draft of the Catechetical Directory, the supposedly definitive national catechism:

Amendment 64: Strike: "Sin and its effects have been part of the human condition ever since our first parents sinned." Insert: Sin and its effects have been part of the human condition, as reflected upon in the early chapters of Genesis."

Amendment 128: Strike: "The Pope, in virtue of his office, enjoys infallibility when as the supreme shepherd and teacher of all the faithful, he defines a doctrine of faith and morals. Therefore his definitions of themselves, and not from the consent of the Church, are justly styled irreformable. Even when he is not speaking ex cathedra his teaching in matters of faith and morals demands religious submission of mind and of will." This was not to be replaced by anything-just stricken from the text. It is a quotation from Lumen Gentium, the Vatican II Constitution on the Church, and was added to the document by the NCD3 Committee after their previous version was sent out to the bishops. Where rejection of the Pope's supreme authority was implicit by omission in the earlier version of the NCD, it is explicit in this amendment proposed by Archbishop Peter Gerety. What his proposal amounts to is  a recommendation to the American bishops to reject the teaching of Vatican II concerning papal authority.

Amendment 36: Strike: "at the devil's urging." The sentence to which this applied ran as follows: "Made by God in the state of holiness, human beings from the dawn of history abused their liberty at the devil's urging." Thus the intention of the amendment was to remove any reference to the devil or his influence in human history.

Amendment 143: Strike: "..offer the Sacrifice of His and Blood. " Insert: "...to celebrate the Eucharist." Such a substitution seems a clear indication of the Archbishop's distaste for clarity when it comes to the Sacrifice of the Mass, and of the doctrine of transubstantiation.

Amendment 186: Strike: "...in accordance with the norms of the decree Quam Singulari." Insert: "By Church law adults are not obliged to confess sins unless they are conscious of serious sin; similarly, children cannot be obliged to confess before receiving First Communion unless they are conscious of serious sin."

Amendment 193: Strike: "...the evil of artificial birth control and of sterilization for that purpose, and of the crime of abortion." There was no substitute offered for this; it was simply to be stricken. The sentence to which the amendment applies, reads: "Catechesis also includes a clear presentation of the Church's teaching concerning moral methods of regulating births, the evil of artificial birth control and of sterilization for that purpose, and the crime of abortion; it should stress the protection of human life once conceived."

3. Never once gave total and public ratification to Pope Paul VI's encyclical Humanae Vitae, the most significant moral position of that Pope's reign.

4. Welcomed into his diocese Rev. Charles Curran, an outspoken enemy of papal teaching, including Humanae Vitae. Moreover, Archbishop Gerety introduced him as "a good friend with whom I agree substantially," and saw to it that Father Curran lectured at numerous study days for priests, nuns and laity.

5. Turned over the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart (Newark), an edifice built by the sacrifice of our Catholic mothers and fathers, to a Protestant diocese for the installation of a Protestant bishop. All the blood shed by the holy English Martyrs, the most notable being St. Thomas More, rather than compromise their faith, apparently means nothing to Bishop Gerety. Typically, this cathedral lending was done without consultation and approval by the priests and laity in his diocese. Whatever happened to the vox populi that the Liberals claim to revere so much?

6. Has permitted Immaculate Conception Seminary, Darlington. New Jersey, to become a hothouse of "on-going revelation, " "fundamental options" and the principles of Teilhard de Chardin  - all theories considered pernicious by the Holy See. Seminarians who profess orthodoxy are often harassed; many are forced to pursue their vocation elsewhere.

7. Sponsored,  with advance notice, four General Absolutions sessions(euphemistically called "Father’s Embrace"),and set in motion hundreds of other such sessions on the parish level, despite the papacy’s clear and equivocal prohibition of general absolutions.

8. Publishes a diocesan newspaper called The Advocate, which habitually takes issue with our Holy Father(often in a sarcastic manner), on the subject of ordination of women, priestly celibacy and the like. Among the most flagrant insults to Catholic sensibilities were articles by Father Greely entitled, "Papal Blunder" and Father Holden’s "My Friend, The Adulteress. "

9.Allows religious textbooks in our parochial school system which openly contradict papal teaching, and spread grave moral error: in other words, textbooks that subtly plant into our impressionable children the deadly philosophy of secular humanism.

10. Perhaps the worst of Bishop Gerety’s shortcomings is his penchant , reflected in public pronouncements, for skilfully dodging certain Catholic dogmas and Catholic moral principles, like O.J. Simpson " dodging tacklers on an open football field."

Second to this is his gross neglect in confronting really serious moral problems afflicting our communities today, such as pornography, street crime, drugs, divorce and birth control. Come to think of it, has he or any of his auxiliary bishops ever sent  a letter " to be read at all the Masses" on any of the above? What kind of leadership do we have anyway? (Don’t be fooled by Bishop Gerety’s Johnny-come-lately posturing for the pro-life movement. It smacks of the wily politician’s trick of getting on the bandwagon, but he might fall out of  favor  with his constituents  or contributors. His support is a classic case of lip service)

11. Received, early in 1979, a sincere and well prepared letter from an ad hoc committee of forty prayerful laymen from New Jersey, urging him to express publicly his belief in the divinity of Christ, transubstantiation, original sin, papal infallibility, since there was a growing cloud of doubt over the Bishop's orthodoxy. Not only did the

bishop not publicly express his belief, but did not even extend the courtesy of a reply to these laymen whose names, addresses and occupations were clearly stated on the petition- men and women who had given time and money to the Church throughout the years. In effect, Archbishop Gerety thumbed his nose at them.

Now, the question: Has Archbishop Peter L. Gerety  left the holy Roman Catholic Church?

Many devout Catholics are convinced that, somewhere along the line, this he has previously done- and that we are kidding ourselves if we think otherwise. What else, what other reprehensible actions contrary to papal directives, must he do before we are convinced?

Of course, there are always those Catholics who, refusing to draw any conclusions about any bishop until it is too late, will not believe what they do not wish to believe, merely because the alternative is too difficult to accept.

It is indeed a sad situation! Who would have imagined ten years ago, that members of the Catholic hierarchy would contradict and/or ignore papal teaching? But lookback, regretfully, we did let it happen. The priests, the nuns, and to a lesser extent, the laity , who remained silent while  heresy grew, afraid, timid, whispering in our vestibules and convents, for fear of suffering the label "out-dated," or "ignorant of Vatican II." " Anyhow ," we comforted ourselves, "our ecclesiastical higher-ups will come through soon, " like the cavalry arriving in the nick of time to save the wagon train.

Our trust in authority held us back. And our reverence for authority holds us back even now from making an honest judgment. Historically, Catholics are reluctant to criticize priests and bishops. All well and good. But what of truth? We cannot separate veritas from caritas. And, therefore, in a certain sense they are one and the same virtue. Our tendency for respect has held us from truth. Our reverence has allowed Our Savior's teachings to be contradicted and misrepresented. Could it be that our virtues have somehow been transmogrified into vices?

It is not charity to allow evil- the absence of the Divine Good- to perpetuate itself. It is not love of God and it is not love for our neighbor. True love, i.e., true charity, desires the glory of God and the salvation of souls. And, by the way, this all-embracing charity includes the sinner, and the heretic and the schismatic, that they be converted to live again in Jesus Christ.

Too bad the enemy doesn't have a scowling face, a screeching voice and a crude vocabulary. We have rather the gentle demeanor, the soft accents, the warm grin,poetic words of love, the ecumenical handshake-herein lies the danger. Lucifer was a beautiful angel before the Fall, and the old boy still manages to look attractive in all his modern guises. He usually appears to mankind as an angel of light, never with cloven feet. The product is religion, my friends, and with all products on the market, caveat emptor.

How many young girls have been seduced and abandoned by the gentle, handsome, sensitive young man?

How many public servants have risen to power through their good looks, shirt-sleeved tours of the ghetto, and a thousand babies kissed, while at the same time they sponsored ugly, destructive pro-abortion laws?

It is no secret that a segment of the American public, Catholic and otherwise, has the tendency to fall hook, line and sinker, for shadow rather than substance. The Bard of Avon well understood the wiles of human nature and the pretensions of those who would lead us to ruin, when he said, "That one may smile, and smile, and be a villain" (Hamlet, Act 1, scene v.).

Mark Twain once remarked, "Let us be thankful for the fools. But for them, the rest of us could not succeed." If a man were bumming down your house, would you not be a fool to pay for his lighter fluid and matches? If a bishop is contributing daily to the loss of faith in your children and your grandchildren,would you not be a fool to subsidize that bishop? Did not Christ instruct His followers, "Be as simple as doves and as wise as serpents? " Not as dumb as an ox, but as wise as a serpent!

Should we not withhold financial support from parishes which follow the bishop’spolicies? From parishes which hold General Absolution Services? From parishes which let Bishop Gerety's Liturgical Commission drain ounce of tradition and devotion out of our churches? From parishes which allow Bishop Gerety's School to recommend catechisms that actually harm the student’s immortal soul?

If we do not act forcibly now, perhaps we are only forestalling the inevitable. The longer we go on funding (and Liberals need money!) these "separated" bishops, the more we are contributing to the destruction of the true Faith in yet another generation.

When these Modernist aberrations in the diocese were first  introduced, our sensus catholicus told us something was wrong, even though we could not always put our finger on it. Our sensus catholicus, which in every case proved to be correct, is  taking a relentless pounding. It is a situation that parallels our sense of patriotism, which also undergoes constant bombarding from the media.

We all know priests, for example, who a few years back were as orthodox as could be, but subjected themselves to a steady diet of reading The Advocate and The National Catholic Reporter, attending study days and workshops, continuing education programs, accepting diocesan propaganda- and now, after all this conditioning, are hardly recognisable as those former men of priestly strength and faith.

Sometimes, we ourselves fear- as St. Paul, who worked out his salvation "in fear and trembling"-that they have broken us down, that they have " gotten to us." Have we lost some of our strength and loyalty? How long can we hold out? We cannot dabble with Liberalism, passively tolerate it,drink it,sleep it, eat it, be surrounded by

It, and still remain strong in the Faith if Jesus Christ.

Grace builds on nature. "He who loves the evil, will perish in it." In other words, the Divine Master is telling us to fight the evil, or flee from it, not only moral evil but doctrinal evil as well. The waiting game will not work.

Evil spreads rapidly; the heresy of secular humanism is metastatic by nature. Soon nearly every area of our society will be touched. If we hold our ground here and now, we will save ourselves many heartaches later on.


1. The New Jersey Catholic News can be obtained from P.O. Box 461, Kearney, New Jersey 07302.

2. Code of Canon Law, Canon 751, new Code, Canon 1325, old Code

3. National Catechetical Directory.


Chapter 24

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