Archbishop LEFEBVRE and the VATICAN

Four Non-Catholic
“Episcopal Consecrations”

It is permissible to have heretic Lutheran or Methodist “episcopal consecrations” in Catholic churches, as these news stories prove, yet the consecration of traditional Catholic bishops are disallowed. In the mentality of the Conciliar Church ecumenism has come to have more value than the continuation of Catholic Tradition.


“Lutherans to Use New Cathedral”
St. Louis Post-Dispatch (May 28, 1987)

In a highly symbolic ecumenical step, Lutherans here will use the Roman Catholic St. Louis Cathedral this fall for a worship service to mark the merger of three Lutheran denominations.

The Rev. Vincent Heier, the Catholic priest in charge of ecumenical relations for the Archdiocese of St. Louis, described the Lutherans’ choice of the cathedral, at Lindell Boulevard and Newstead Avenue, as “a watershed” in Catholic-Lutheran relations here.

“This shows how far we have come,” Heier said.

The Rev. Samuel Roth, pastor of Zion Lutheran Church in Ferguson and chairman of the event, said the service, scheduled for Nov. 22, will be a major celebration sponsored by 45 Lutheran congregations. Bishop Herbert W. Chilstrom, recently elected head of the new 5.3 million member Lutheran church, will preside over the service...

Many ecumenical leaders here recall when relations between Catholics and Lutherans were strained and on occasion marked by deep hostility. The tensions date as far back as the 16th century Reformation in Europe, but they have gradually diminished since the mid-1960’s after the Second Vatican Council in the Roman Catholic Church.

Lutherans trace their roots to Martin Luther, a Catholic monk whose conflicts with Church leaders led to his excommunication from the Catholic Church and the birth of Protestantism. Historic barriers between Catholics and Lutherans began to erode with the Second Vatican Council’s exhortations to Catholics to work for Christian unity.

Roth said he hopes the service will be “quite spectacular. We think it speaks volumes that we’re holding the service at the cathedral and that they have been open to our being there.”

The Rev. Martin Rafanan, pastor of Resurrection Lutheran Church, said the symbolism of the event extends beyond Lutheran-Catholic relations.

“We are doing the service at the cathedral as a sign that our new church is going to be more open to a variety of ecumenical endeavors in the future,” he said.

The Rev. Robert Betram, a participant in recent dialogues between Lutherans and Catholics in the United States, said the choice of the cathedral is “doubly significant” because the service is to be a Eucharist.

“For Lutherans to conduct a service in a sanctuary consecrated for eucharistic services of the Roman Catholic communion, that can’t help but mean a lot to Lutherans and Catholics alike.”

Bertram, of University City, is a professor at the Lutheran School of Theology in Chicago.

Ecumenical leaders, including Roman Catholic Archbishop John L. May, will be invited to participate.

Heier said the cathedral has been used by the United Church of Christ for a prayer service about 15 years ago. But that was not a communion service, he said.

“Lutherans in Our Cathedral”
by Archbishop May
St. Louis Review (June 12, 1987)

It was my intention to announce to you that the new Evangelical Lutheran Church in America would celebrate its birth in their first solemn liturgy in our Cathedral, but another local paper beat me to it. It will not occur until Nov. 22, so I was a bit surprised to have them break the news. Perhaps some background will help.

In January of 1988 one church body to be known as the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America will come into being officially. It is being created from three church bodies which were formerly independent. They were the Association of Evangelical Lutheran Churches, the American Lutheran Church and the Lutheran Church in America. There are 47 congregations in the St. Louis area who will be part of this one new church body. We thank God for this step toward the day when we will be “one body, one spirit in Christ.” We pray, too, that this one step will be one of many prompted by the Holy Spirit so that the prayer of Jesus at the Last Supper will be realized: “That all may be one.”

When representatives of those who are involved in this church reconciliation began to meet to plan their celebration of their new unity in Christ, they wrote to me asking if it might be possible for them to gather in our Cathedral for this occasion. Among other reasons that they cited for their request one stands out. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America is committed to seeking further unity with all brothers and sisters in Christ. Furthermore, they were seeking an appropriate setting with adequate seating capacity. They hoped to avoid a convention hall or sports arena.

We have agreed to extend the hospitality of our Cathedral to the congregations of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America in the St. Louis area for their celebration of unity and thanksgiving on the Feast of Christ the King, Sunday, Nov. 22, 1987. The newly elected Bishop of their church will preside at their eucharistic celebration and preach on that occasion. I plan to be present as a gesture of good will to give a word of welcome and congratulations.

In coming to this decision I was mindful of the commitment to Christian ecumenism in the teaching of Vatican Council II. More recently the example of our Holy Father was persuasive—especially in his approaches to Lutherans in his sermon in their church in Rome and during his two visits to Germany. In our country very fruitful Catholic-Lutheran theological dialogues have been going on over recent years thanks to our bishops’ conference. The new emphasis on Eucharist in Lutheran worship has been noted in this dialogue and it is something we greet with joy.

This is not the first time for a gathering like this in our Cathedral. The United Church of Christ gathered in our Cathedral some years ago for a worship service. More recently the Methodist Church in Washington, D.C. gathered in the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception there for a Eucharistic Celebration and the ordination of deacons for service in their church. Years ago in Springfield, IL, Bishop McNicholas hosted the installation liturgy of the new Episcopal bishop in Immaculate Conception Cathedral there. So this is really nothing so new or controversial.

Someone has said that this is a nice gesture, but 400 years too late. We may be latecomers in ecumenism but I hope we can make up for lost time.


“Methodists Make History at St. Louis Cathedral”
The Times Picayune (July 16, 1988)

For the first time in the long history of the St. Louis Cathedral—the most notable Catholic landmark in New Orleans—three Protestant ministers knelt at the altar Friday and were consecrated as bishops of the United Methodist Church.

As the cathedral’s bells tolled at 10am and the Munholland United Methodist Church Choir of Metairie sang, a procession of twenty United Methodist bishops marched down the main aisle to the altar for the ecumenical ceremony.

The cathedral was packed, with some people standing in the back of the church.

Archbishop Philip M. Hannan and the cathedral pastor, the Rev. Gerard Barrett marched in the procession and took seats on the altar among the bishops, but didn’t participate in the service. The Revs. William B. Oden of Enid, OK; Bruce P. Blake of Winfield, KS; and Dan E. Solomon of Corpus Christi, TX, knelt at the altar to be made bishops. Each of the participating bishops, about half of whom are retired, laid their hands on the heads of each for the consecration blessing.

“This is a historic event,” said Mildred Koschel, a member of the Lake Vista United Methodist Church. “I wouldn’t have missed it for the world...”

In 1985, the late Bishop Walter L. Underwood, the United Methodist Bishop for Louisiana, asked Hannan for permission for the next consecration of United Methodist bishops to take place at the cathedral. Underwood wanted an ecumenical service at the cathedral because of its beauty and history, said Marian Eggerton, a local United Methodist official.

Hannan happily accommodated the request, but Underwood died in April 1987.

“I know that Walter Underwood is smiling on us today,” said Bishop Benjamin Oliphint of Houston, interim bishop of Louisiana since Underwood’s death.

The consecration service was the climax of a conference of the United Methodists of the South Central Jurisdiction that opened Tuesday at the Marriott Hotel. Many of the people who packed the cathedral were delegates to the conference.


The Catholic Standard and Journal
 (Sept. 29, 1988)

Archbishop Bevilacqua who will be in Rome at the time of Bishop Turner’s consecration will appoint someone to give an official greeting on behalf of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, according to Fr. Diamond.

The Philadelphia Inquirer
(Sept. 8, 1988)

The consecration of Bishop Turner was the second protestant celebration in the Catholic cathedral in recent months. Lawrence L. Hand was inaugurated as the first bishop of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, at a ceremony in the cathedral in April.

Auxiliary Bishop Martin N. Lohmuller welcomed the Episcopalians to the cathedral on behalf of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

He said, Catholics were “complemented” that the Episcopal Diocese had asked to use the cathedral and extended “our congratulations, our very best wishes” to Bishop Turner.

Courtesy of the Angelus Press, Regina Coeli House
2918 Tracy Avenue, Kansas City, MO 64109

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