A Turbulent Traditionalist Priest

The Catholic Church has been infiltrated thoroughly by ministers who do not have the faith, and the fallout is erupting from the top.

This was made glaringly manifest when Francis closed churches for Easter during the COVID pandemic. He withheld the Sacraments from the faithful and explicitly taught that it was an “act of love” for them to submit to an unproved vaccine. His regime during the COVID years both exhibited how much faith had evaporated, and caused its further deterioration. When churches reopened, in many parts of the world they collaborated with state vaccine regimes to bar the noncompliant, and in some cases they even reported them to the police. In the name of public health, it became the norm to treat the sacred species with mundane disdain. Before distributing Holy Communion, screens had to be erected, gloves put on, disinfectant used, and Jesus, truly and substantially present in the consecrated bread and wine, was even left abandoned, unadored in plastic bags for remote collection, or posted through the mail.

An Englishman born in Germany, for six years I was a priest of an ecclesial fraternity with the charism of devotion to the traditional Latin Mass and sacramental rites. In 2020, I was serving in Vienna, Austria, when we were told by the Archdiocese not to give Holy Communion on the tongue. This command is illegal. No priest may refuse Holy Communion to those who present themselves worthily. No local ordinary, not even a cardinal, can overturn this universal law. I refused to comply and was removed from ministry.

What mental derangement must one imbibe to think Communion on the tongue is dangerous? It is virtually impossible to transmit a COVID virus by passing in front of someone and pausing to put what has the accidents of dry bread in their mouth. The chances of infection are so negligible as to be literally unmeasurable. Yet bishops preferred to starve the faithful rather than use their brains or backbones to resist the secular authority. In doing so, they implied that they know better than God, as if Jesus overlooked the dangers when He instituted the sacraments. 

The following year, reassigned to Germany, I was again ordered to turn the faithful away from the Easter ceremonies, the highest days of the Christian calendar, if the number of the faithful exceeded the seemingly arbitrary number of 62. We were packed. Of course I did not impose this spiritual cruelty. No one got sick as a result of my refusal to comply with this illegal command, but once again I was removed from ministry.

At my next assignment in Switzerland, I was not permitted to offer Masses publicly because I refused to wear a mask during the distribution of Holy Communion. Again, one must be detached from reality to think there is any proportion here. I was told that wearing a mask was a little thing, not important. And yet the refusal to wear one was counted more important than the disruption of the administration of the sacraments. Evidently those imposing the mask mandate thought it the most important thing in the world. So Catholics make themselves agents of secular tyranny.

By this stage, in July 2021, Francis had unleashed Traditionis custodes, the most evil document ever issued from the Vatican—a category that is not meant to be competitive! Long hostile to traditionalists, Francis made his move to try to eradicate the traditional Latin Mass. His letter to the world’s Catholic bishops impossibly asserted that the new Mass, or Novus Ordo, promulgated in 1969 is the unique expression of the Roman Rite, as if the ancient apostolic liturgies do not exist. It further makes explicit that in due course we are all expected to worship at the Novus Ordo. A raft of godless measures followed to strangle the ancient liturgy and to restrict its continued growth. In Switzerland, I came under pressure to abandon Latin readings in the Mass. The aim of Francis’s measures, and of the ecumenical new Mass, is to please the spirit of this world. This is not Catholic Tradition. It is not how we learned Mass, and not what we were ordained to do.

Again, I refused to comply. This time, my expected reassignment was blocked by Traditionis custodes as the local bishop ruled that, in keeping with the recommendations of that letter, he would not accept any more traditional priests.

After some 14 months without ministry, it was clear to me that I would not serve again as a priest free from the expectation that I submit to and enforce tyranny until the tyrant’s teeth be broken. I do not mean Francis; he will soon be gone. And I do not mean the devil; crushing him is the Virgin Mary’s prerogative. I mean the globalist tyrants, the totalitarians who deny Jesus Christ in the flesh and appoint themselves as Messiah. We see their diabolical depths, not only in the crippling worldwide lockdown and fanatical pressure to inject all with what is, at best, a medical experiment. We also see it in police protection of drag queen story hours, in governments supporting the surgical and chemical sterilization of children. We see it in the media deplatforming, and banks freezing the accounts of, those who stand for personal and national sovereignty. We see it in the enslavement of households and nations to inescapable debt. We see it in the international juggernaut driving Western nations into wars for profit and worse. 

Before I became a priest, I was a prisoner of conscience in Myanmar, and in 1999 I was arrested, tortured, and held in solitary confinement for 416 days because of my support for the country’s pro-democracy movement. I experienced the peace of Christ while a prisoner, and learned that after moving from terror to repentance, Christ gives his followers pure joy. My experience also taught me that public displays of fearlessness disempower tyrants. We should not fear those who can kill the body but not the soul.

However, no amount of courage or any other natural virtue will be enough. This I realized in glimpsing implacable evil in North Korea, having organized and sat in on high-level visits to what at the time was the most crushing totalitarian system on earth. Now as we face an all-pervasive, global tyranny, many who try resisting are realizing that our resistance must rise to the spiritual. Totalitarianism, once established, can only be broken by something beyond its reach. By God’s design, only His constant intervention in the world will save us: His grace.

It is our refusal to comply with the totalitarian lie, our faith that this world is subordinated to the next, our love of Christ truly present in the Blessed Sacrament, that overcomes totalitarian secularism with Christ’s Light and His Truth. Master yourself by making Jesus Christ your Master. Anyone can do this. Our Lady did it best, her perfect participation on Calvary active in all the Masses ever since, and her role established by Providence: to crush satan’s head. We have nothing whatsoever to fear.

(Repeat & Correct: An earlier version of this article contained several factual errors, including in the third and 10th paragraphs regarding Fr. Mawdsley’s biography, specifically his place of birth and the number of days he spent imprisoned in Burma. The third through sixth paragraphs also incorrectly mischaracterized the restrictions on the distribution of Communion as coming from the governments of several European countries; Fr. Mawdsley clarifies that the restrictions were rather coming from the Church in an effort to please the governments of those countries. In the final paragraph and in the title of Fr. Mawdsley’s book mentioned in his biography, the word “satan” is amended to be lowercase, in accordance with his wishes.)

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