The Battle of the Civic Center: SSPX Public Reparation to Black Mass in Oklahoma City, Sept. 21, 2014
The Battle of the Civic Center
SSPX Public Reparation to Black Mass in Oklahoma City, Sept. 21, 2014
“Be not deceived; God is not mocked”
By Dr. Brian McCall
This exhortation from St. Paul comes from the Epistle for the Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost which in the Wisdom of Divine Providence fell this year on September 21, the date that God’s Faithful joined to do battle not with flesh and blood but with spiritual powers vainly striving to mock Almighty God. As widely reported in the national media a group of Satanists led by a known sex offender rented a small theater in the Oklahoma City Civic Center with the announced purpose of performing a black mass. This action is the most virulent blasphemy and a sacrilege aimed at insulting God in the very act of redeeming the human race, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Notwithstanding the petitions of civic and religious leaders including the Archbishop of Oklahoma City and the Governor of Oklahoma, city officials refused to cancel the outrage.
The U.S. District of the Society of St. Pius X watched the situation with a prudent eye hoping that this public insult of Christ and His Sacrifice would be halted. On September 10, the new district superior of the United States, Father Jurgen Wegner made the decision that a public act of reparation was necessary. The blasphemy was a public act taking place on civic property and thus it required a public response. Government officials are charged by natural and divine law with making use of public resources for the common good of civil society. Yet, city officials decided to hand over the public space of the Civic Center for a frontal assault on the common good, an act whose intention is to invoke the forces of evil upon the city.
Given the enemy to be engaged, Father Wegner entrusted the command of Our Lord’s army of defense to a trusted cleric, Father Daniel Themann, professor at the Society’s St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary in Winona Minnesota. When Father Themann called me on September 10 to inform me of Father Wegner’s decision to sponsor a public Solemn High Mass and Rosary Procession on the spot of the planned sacrilege, my first thought was “this is impossible.” Father Themann told me that the district expected about 300 people to come to the Mass and since our chapel can only hold 200, Father Wegner wished us to find a hotel to host the Mass. I thought how can we arrange for an event of this magnitude in only 10 days?
Humanly speaking it seemed impossible to find a suitable venue and obtain permits to march through the city. On top of it quoting the words of Our Lord from the Gospel of the multiplication of the loaves and the fishes, “if I shall send them away fasting to their home, they will faint in the way; for some of them came from afar off” Father Themann told me the district wanted to provide a lunch for the participants after the Rosary Procession. My wife remarked this was like planning a wedding for 300 people in a little over a week and I added with a public march on top of it! Yet, the subsequent events have proven that when one says yes to God miracles will happen.
Within a day we were able to secure a hotel to host the Mass and lunch and the city, notwithstanding the late filing of our permit which should have been submitted weeks before this type of event, granted us a permit to use the public sidewalks and the park in front of the Civic Center within 24 hours of our request. With these two key logistical details in place, Father Wegner announced his call to the Faithful of Tradition to participate in the Mass of Reparation. Catholics of Tradition responded with extraordinary generosity to this calling of a crusade of reparation. From the moment the announcement was issued, responses poured in from across the district. The events of the next few days were reminiscent of the organization of the 1976 Mass in Lille of Archbishop Lefebvre.
Every morning I would call the Sheraton hotel to ask for a larger ballroom. When our responses topped 600 the hotel told us that there was no more room in the ballroom as chairs would already be pressed up to the back wall of the room. On September 19 we arranged for a live video feed to two monitors in the hotel foyer. On the Sunday of the battle over 900 Soldiers of Christ, ranging from a few weeks old to over eighty years old, flooded into the hotel. Buses and caravans were arranged from St. Mary’s, St. Vincent’s in Kansas City, and La Salette Boys Academy in Illinois. The Franciscan sisters from Kansas City made the five hour journey in their traditional Franciscan habits to bear public witness to their total gift of self to Our Lord in their sacred vocation.
Traditional Catholics from chapels in Texas, Oklahoma, and Kentucky also sent delegations. I even heard of individuals from Pennsylvania and New York among the congregation. At 11:00 a.m. Father Daniel Themann assisted by Fathers Patrick McBride and Michael Goldade and seven seminarians offered a Solemn High Mass. Angelic sacred music provided by a schola from La Salette and the choir from St. Michael’s chapel in Bethany, OK could be heard throughout the hotel alternating with the voices of the throngs of Faithful assisting in the Mass of All Ages. The La Salette boys who were not in the Schola eagerly volunteered to act as ushers to direct the crowd more than three times original estimated, take up the collection and direct the distribution of Holy Communion. Over eighty Knights and Honor Guard from St. Mary’s led the faithful behind the seminarians with youthful joy. Their enthusiasm and numbers deeply impressed the media and other onlookers as they passed by reciting the Rosary in unison.
In his sermon before the Rosary Procession, Father Themann reminded us that we were not entering into battle with flesh and blood but with spiritual powers. He reminded the Faithful that a good soldier is motivated not by the hatred of that which is in front of him but by the love of that which is behind him. He called for all to march out of a deep love for Our Lord. While condemning the Satanic blasphemy permitted by civil authorities to occur in the Civic Center, he also reminded the Faithful of how each of us has also offended God by our own private sins. He echoed Father Wegner’s call for reparation not only for the public sacrilege of evil but for our own private insults to Our Lord. In a press conference after Mass, Father Themann explained how it was a violation of logic to call the demonic ritual a religion.
Reminding the media that religion is the worship of a Supreme Being, the satanic worship not being directed toward a Supreme Being but a mere creature it could not be classified as a religion under any meaningful definition of the term. In response to why this public event was organized now and not three years ago when the same Satanic group met in Oklahoma City, Father explained that as he had been the priest stationed in Oklahoma City when that past event occurred he could elucidate the important distinction. Three years ago the group did not perform a black mass. In 2011, he led protest of their meeting by writing an editorial for the Daily Oklahoman and organizing acts of reparation in St. Michael’s Chapel. Since this year the group announced their intention to perform the most virulent public attack on Christ and the Mass the response of Catholics had to be proportionately greater and more public. Father Themann is the first public figure to my knowledge who was able to answer this important question being batted around the public square, providing a reasoned explanation for the greater and more public response in 2014.
Following the Solemn High Mass, the crowds moved through the hotel in a profound silence that left a lasting impression on the hotel staff and city police who witnessed it. The column which stretched several city blocks then marched to the front of the Civic Center where they were joined by even more people who had not attended the Mass. Despite a predicted 80% chance of torrential rain, a blazing sun beat down on the procession as it wended its way through the city with the fifteen decades of the rosary and the Christus Vincit reverberating across town. As the crowds rose from their knees after receiving Father Themann’s blessing, groups of the Faithful could be heard bursting into joyful praise of Our Lord with the Jubilate Deo and Viva Christo Rey resounding across the streets as they made their way back to the hotel.
Following the Mass and Rosary procession of reparation, the U.S. district provided a buffet lunch to the participants in the Sheraton Hotel and in a local restaurant (as the crowd exceeded the capacity of the hotel). Acting as true pastors, the priests of the U.S. district showed their deep concern not only for the spiritual but also the temporal needs of their flock and refreshed their bodies exhausted from long travel and fasting after having publicly professed their Faith and defended the honor of Almighty God.
The extraordinary events of this week following the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross demonstrated two important facts about Almighty God and His Faithful. God is truly in charge and can make anything happen. The human participants in this effort were only His instruments. The river of His grace flowed abundantly upon Father Wegner’s act of Faith in calling for this Crusade of Reparation. This attack against Our Lord in His Act of Redemption was not made without a counterattack. The number of Faithful enlisting in the Crusade surpassed all expectations.
In addition to making public reparation for the blasphemy, according to news reports only half of the people who purchased tickets to participate in the black mass turned up. The sacrifices and acts of reparation of those in Oklahoma City and those united in spirit with them around the country may have merited the graces to save the souls of approximately forty people who chose not to hurl themselves over the abys and participate in this outrage. We know that even one soul is precious to Our Good Master. We must be grateful to God for granting the actual graces that turned these souls away from their prior intention. Secondly this event demonstrated the essence of the spirit of the Society of St. Pius X and the formation her priests give to the Faithful attached to them.
The nearly 1,000 clerics and laymen fought this fight with a spirit of meekness, decorum and evident love: love for the Mass, love for Our Lord and His honor, love for the Mass of All Ages, and love for our neighbor—even those whose hearts are set against God’s love. The spirit of the formation given by the Society was brought home personally to me when 26 seniors and juniors from La Salette stayed in our house for two nights so they could participate. These men, and I call them men and not boys because they exhibited a maturity beyond their years, could not be better representatives of the solid principles of foundation held dear by Archbishop Lefebvre and the priestly Society he founded. The students brought the spirit of La Salette into our home. The secular world would not believe that 26 sixteen and seventeen year olds could conduct themselves in such an ordered, respectful, tranquil and joyful manner. They slept from one end of our house to the other, with my own son sleeping on the floor of our laundry room.
Throughout the night and each morning as they rose, dressed and prepared themselves my wife and I were amazed at how quiet the house seemed. Nobody would believe there were over two dozen teenagers staying in our house sharing two and a half bathrooms. When they left at the crack of dawn Monday morning there was hardly any evidence of their camp. They treated our home with the utmost respect, volunteering to grill dinner Sunday night, clean the kitchen and leaving the house as they found it on their arrival.
Lest one think their impeccable order lacks human joy, at the appropriate times they filled our house and surrounding neighborhood with youthful recreation. From music pouring out of our piano to games of pool in our sunroom to football passes on the field behind our home, these young men showed that true joy comes from an ordered and disciplined life. They pray and play with all their hearts at the appropriate times.
When Father Gallagher their chaplain for the trip called them for a nigh time blessing before retiring their youthful recreation ceased instantly as they dropped to their knees to receive his blessing. Their hard work transporting the interior of our chapel to the hotel for Mass, powerful singing of the Mass, assistance in directing the crowds for Mass and the reception of Communion, precision in bearing the LaSalette flags and banners through the blazing sun, and their manly comportment and youthful joy are a credit to their school, their teachers and their headmaster, Father Michael McMahon.
Their Catholic spirit epitomized the spirit formed and nurtured by the Society evident in all who fought in this great battle. Father Wegner and those who took up his challenge ensured that indeed God was not mocked on September 21, but rather he used His Faithful servants to manifest how He could use even this evil act to manifest His Greatness. The zeal of the nearly 1,000 who stood publicly and the unknown number who united themselves in spirit from afar overshadowed and made a mockery of the paltry few who showed up for their pathetic attempt to defy their Creator. In the end their efforts merely manifested the power of Catholic Tradition, the Mass of All Ages, and a Traditional formation. With hearts fixed on their final end, the Faithful of Tradition rose up immediately to answer the call of the Church issued through the voice of Father Wegner to defend God’s honor with the greatest weapons given us, the Mass and the Rosary.
These few lines from the Epistle of the Mass of the Sunday truly apply to the spirit of the army assembled on the streets of Oklahoma City in answering this challenge of Father Wegner who merely echoed the same call of St. Paul in these lines. I am proud to have been one of their number.
“[Y]ou, who are spiritual instruct such a one in the spirit of meekness, Be not deceived; God is not mocked; for what things a man shall sow, those also shall he reap. For he that soweth in his flesh, of the flesh also shall reap corruption; but he that soweth in the spirit, of the spirit shall reap life everlasting. And in doing good, let us not fail; for in due time we shall reap, not failing. Therefore, whilst we have time, let us work good to all men, but especially to those who are of the household of the faith.”
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