By Roberta Ward
In a Dec. 10 letter “To the People of the Diocese of San Jose,” Bishop Patrick J. McGrath explained the status of the Oratory of Our Mother of Perpetual Help in Santa Clara which has been housed since 2006 in a former Protestant church purchased independently.
• Full text of Bishop McGrath’s letter may be found on the diocesan website: www.dsj.org, under Bishop McGrath Statements.
The bishop explained that he “canonically erected the Oratory to provide pastoral care to people who are attached to the traditional Latin Mass”…and he “entrusted ministry to priests of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest…since Jan. 1, 2007.”
Bishop McGrath said, “Because recent internal matters related to the governance of the Oratory could not be resolved in a way that is satisfactory to the Institute, the Institute has now withdrawn from its ministry to the Oratory.” The bishop invited the Oratory board to rescind its decision, but they refused.
“Consequently, I must now suppress the Oratory, removing its canonical status as an established and recognized Roman Catholic community in the Diocese of San Jose,” the bishop wrote. Five Wounds Portuguese National Church, San Jose, has welcomed, as of Dec. 15, “the faithful of the newly erected Oratory of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.”
In early December, Bishop McGrath explained, “It was announced at Our Mother of Perpetual Help that priests from the Society of Saint Pius X will begin ministry there. This is a matter of grave concern because of the unlawful status of the Society.”
Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre founded the Society and in 1988, against papal direction, he consecrated four men as bishops who have been excommunicated for their objections to teachings of Vatican Council II.
Bishop McGrath stated, “The doctrinal questions that remain unresolved between the Roman Catholic Church and the Society of Saint Pius X are not insignificant.”