Skip to comments.Fr. Eugene Heidt and Archbishop Levada (A diocesan priest's experience)
Posted on 05/13/2005 9:57:43 PM PDT by Canticle_of_Deborah
Fr. Eugene Heidt and Archbishop Levada
Excerpted from Priest Where Is Thy Mass, Mass Where Is Thy Priest.
Q: So obedience is not really an objection against saying the traditional Mass, when you consider that its not forbidden by the Church?
Fr. H: Correct. There is no question of disobedience involved here, no way.
Q: How did your convictions about the old Mass sit with the Chancery?
Fr. H: Things just got worse. A couple of years before, I had written a letter about what they called the Stewardship Council. That was a program that they used to raise money for the operation of the Archdiocese. I told the people in the parish that we couldnt contribute to that. I black-balled the Stewardship Council!
Q: Why did you black-ball it?
Fr. H: Because of the immoral causes that they were promoting. I named some of them in the letter I wrote. But I have to go back a little bit to explain some of this. It all came to a head with this question of the money for the Stewardship Council thats what really got Archbishop Levada going. I remember coming home from meeting with him on one of those occasions. I said, You know, that man isnt Catholic. The Archbishop is not Catholic! I was telling the whole parish this. No wonder he got so angry with me, in the end of it all!
When Archbishop Levada had first come to the Archdiocese, I was the first one to have an appointment with him after he was installed. I went in there for an hour and a half, and I poured out my heart to him, because I was told he was a good, traditional, orthodox bishop, and that he was going to straighten this Archdiocese out. So I really churned my heart out to him, and he just sat there. He was like an episcopal vacuum cleaner, sucking all this stuff up and listening to it. I told him about the homosexuality in the Church, and I said I can name six or seven homosexual priests in the diocese. They call themselves the altar society. He said, Youve come in here with a bunch of rumors, and Im not going to listen to that. I said, Well, one day, somebody is going to have to pay! But he wouldnt listen.
Every time I went to see him, Id go in and argue with him. I think there is only one pastoral letter he wrote, supposedly on the Mass and the Eucharist. I read the thing and I took it to his office, and I said, Did you write this? Is this supposed to be a complete treatise on the Eucharist and the Mass? How did you manage to get through this whole thing without once mentioning Transubstantiation? Well, thats such a long and difficult term anyway, he said, and we dont use that term anymore.
I said, I dont think thats the correct estimate of that word. When I was in the first grade and our good little Benedictine Sister was preparing us for First Holy Communion, I can remember her putting that up on the board. She put trans, and then she put a line. Then she put substantiation, and then she went through and explained what each of those things meant. She was able to put it in terms we could understand, so that we knew that the Bread and the Wine are substantially different from what they were before the Consecration. He just repeated Thats such a confusing term! So, I said, Lets go on to the next item.
The next item was his having gone to Our Lady of Atonement Parish thats what they called a Catholic-Lutheran joint parish, where they have a priest on one end of the altar and a Lutheran minister on the other, and they go back and forth. I asked, What did you do over there? and he answered, We concelebrated liturgy. What does that mean? I asked, Did you and the Lutheran minister say Mass together? What did you do? He just wouldnt discuss it any more.
And then, one night during all this Stewardship business, the Archbishop really got angry. He called me up, it was after hours, 5:05 pm! He was supposed to be on his way home, but he stopped and called me. He was SO livid, he could hardly talk on the phone. He said, You be in my office at ten oclock tomorrow morning before the diocesan consulters and the other bishops of the diocese. Plead your case there! I said, Well, all right, I will be glad to come in and do that, but I havent got any time to document all this. He said, Thats okay, just come on in and tell us whats on your mind.
So, I was in there probably an hour altogether, and those priests were lined up in a big horseshoe, you know, and I was at the table on the end by myself. I had my tape recorder, which I set up beside me, and, as I was trying to plug it in, I heard a voice up at the other end: Hey, you cant use a recorder in here! I turned around, and it was the archbishop. I asked, Why not? He said, We dont record this kind of meeting. And I said, Oh, all right, but Ill plug it in while Im talking and unplug it while youre talking, hows that? Then I set up a chair beside me, and one of the bishops, who used to be a very good friend of mine, asked what the chair was for. They were waiting for an attorney to come in, I suppose. I said Well, thats for my Guardian Angel. And these priests looked at me like I was kind of crazy, you know.
At the end of my little speech, the Archbishop said, Okay, I agree with you on everything except for the question of homosexuality in the Seminary. We took care of that a couple of weeks ago. Of course, you wouldnt know about that meeting, but its already been taken care of. But he sided with me on the rest of the other complaints that I had.
Afterwards, he got on my case, and he finally told me to take a sabbatical. He said, You can take you sabbatical if you want, and you are free to write up a proposal of what you want to do. I agreed, and I took a month to get my plan together and brought it back to him.
I told him that I wanted to spend five months or so studying the Council of Trent, Vatican I, Vatican II, and all of the papal encyclicals from the last two hundred years. But he said, No, No, Thats non-productive. You will go to the University and take their Credo course (which was an updating in theology). But I said No, No. I said, like the boys said when it was time to go to Vietnam: Hell no, I wont go! No thanks. So he said, Then Ill send you to a monastery for your sabbatical, and I will draw up a course of studies for you. You will have a private mentor. I said, No, I do not need a guru. Finally, he told me to go ahead and do what I wanted.
I said then that I wanted to spend the last couple of weeks of my sabbatical in Fatima, to talk all this stuff over with our Blessed Lady, and then I would come back. And he agreed. Well, I never got to Fatima, but in the meantime this place came up for sale, and I knew I had been had by that time. When I went back to see him, after the sabbatical was over, he told me that, because I had said the Latin Mass in excommunicated chapels, mainly Portland and Veneta [Oregon], he could no longer use my services. So I said, Okay. You do what you have to do. But youre going to have to tie me up in chains to stop me from offering the Latin Mass. He threatened to suspend me if I didnt stop.
A month or so went by, and I got a letter from him telling me to get an attorney so that we could have a hearing in Portland. I thought it was over, and I decided that, no matter who I got, the result would be the same. In conscience, no Novus Ordo priest could defend me, and, if I got one of the Society of St. Pius X priests, they wouldnt listen to him. So I wrote back to him and asked him to appoint an attorney for me. I sent this priest the whole case, and he read it and sent it back to me. He said to go back to the Archbishop and tell him that I was sorry and then submit and obey the Archbishop. And then, at the end of the letter, he said, Besides, the traditional Latin Mass is a thing of the past, and within ten years it will be nothing more than a footnote in the history of the Church. And so I get nowhere with that. The next thing I knew, the Archbishop sent me a letter of suspension. I never did have a hearing.
I moved up here in 1988, the very weekend that Archbishop Lefebvre ordained the four Bishops. Then, I asked Fr. Laisney if I could help him out in the chapels in Portland and Venata, and he said, Welcome aboard! And I have been doing it ever since.
Q: So youre a renegade because you wont give up the traditional idea of the priesthood and the Mass. How would you describe the new idea of the priest? What do they think the priest is, in those theological updating courses, for instance?
Fr. H: I dont know because I never went.
Q: You never went to a seminar?
Fr. H: No, I stopped that right in the beginning. They used to have three-day seminars, once a year. I went to the first one, and I stayed the first morning. At mid-morning, we met with the Archbishop, and we could ask him any kind of questions that we wanted. Well, the Archbishop started out with one of the directives that came from Rome, and he said that the Masses of priests who use anything other than unleavened bread and sacramental wine are to be questioned. But the Archbishop himself was pooh-poohing the idea. So these priest go the idea that they could go ahead and use pita bread, cookie dough, whatever. You could go down to Safeway and get a jug of wine or even grape juice! It didnt seem to make too much difference to him.
I poked the priest sitting to one side of me and said, Hey did you hear what he just said? He said yes. I poked the one on the other side (he was a classmate of mine), and I said, Did you hear what he just said? He said yes. I said, Well, in my book thats unacceptable! and I got up and walked out the door and went home. And thats the last one I attended. I dont know what they say anymore about the priesthood, the sacraments, or whatever. I just dont pay any attention to them.
Meet our new guardian of orthodoxy.
Hey that's pretty much what I did when I was in a pastoral [mal]formation class offered by my diocese.
I just met Fr. Laisney. He was giving a lecture on the Shroud a few weeks ago. It was excellent.
More Levada information in this old FR thread -
Among his [Mahony] former classmates, to name a few, are William J. Levada, archbishop of San Francisco; George Niederhauer, bishop of Salt Lake City; Justin S. Regali, archbishop of St. Louis; Manuel D. Moreno, bishop of Tucson, Arizona; Tod D. Brown, bishop of the Diocese of Orange, and John T. Steinbock, bishop of Fresno.
New Times has learned that Mahony chum and longtime Zieman friend and fellow St. John's alum William Levada, the archbishop of San Francisco, is playing a prominent role in supervising Zieman's "spiritual rehabilitation." This, despite heated denials by Levada's spokesman that the archbishop has had nothing to do with Zieman's supervision in Arizona. Levada publicly lauded Zieman on the day he resigned his Santa Rosa post, even as the bishop insisted that the allegations against him were false. Even the location of Zieman's exile hardly seems coincidental. The bishop in whose jurisdiction the monastery is located is none other than Manuel Moreno, a classmate of both Mahony's and Levada's at St. John's and another longtime Zieman friend.
Archbishop Levada of San Francisco, a longtime Zieman friend and another of Mahony's chums from St. John's, issued a statement that sounded more like a testimonial than a farewell to a disgraced spiritual leader. Levada said he joined "friends throughout California and beyond in thanking [Zieman] for the energy and gifts he has shared far and wide. Our prayers and good wishes go with him."
Church officials' reluctance to discuss one of American Catholicism's most notorious bad boys is understandable, considering his close ties to Roger Mahony. Take Levada, for example. Sources say that before former San Francisco archbishop John Quinn resigned prematurely in 1995, he submitted the names of 10 bishops to the Vatican as possible successors and that Levada (St. John's class of '61), then bishop of Portland, Oregon, wasn't among them. Rather, within church circles Mahony is widely credited with having exerted his influence with the Vatican to win the coveted San Francisco appointment for Levada, his longtime friend and former St. John's classmate.
And despite the vigorous denials by Healy and another San Francisco archdiocese representative that Levada has played a role in his friend Zieman's supervision, both Wagner and Quinn revealed the opposite. Indeed, the two church leaders say Levada -- along with no lesser personage than the papal nuncio, the Vatican's ambassador to the United States -- is directly involved in supervising the activities of the group charged with helping to restore Zieman to spiritual health. Levada consults with one or another member of the group after each session with Zieman and has met personally with Zieman and the group at least twice. Asked if Zieman is welcome to attend the meeting of American bishops that was to begin in Dallas on June 13, Quinn says he supposes "that he [is], but I doubt very seriously that he would attend given his circumstances." Meanwhile, when asked if he foresees a time when Zieman's role as a bishop may be normalized, Wagner, the vicar general, concludes, "We never like to say never."
I bumped it out of the archives...pinged you to it.
I should add, prayers are requested for Fr. Heidt. The word is that he is in poor health and not expected to survive much longer. Ironic this news comes on the day Levada is appointed to CDF and the first day of Our Lady's apparitions at Fatima.
More info on Levada here.
sad bumpus ad summum
It sounds like we're screwed....unless the Holy Ghost hears our S.O.S. very soon.
Thank you for this ping. This is just the sort of thing I knew was out there but couldn't put my fingers on.
More than heartbreaking. Diabolical -- unless I am really missing something here.
On the morning of his election, Ratzinger had breakfast with four cardinals from Asia and Africa and also Roger Mahony of Los Angeles. At breakfast, and throughout all the meetings leading to the conclave, Ratzinger was able to address each cardinal by name and spoke to them in shared languages, according to Mahony.
The slime trail always leads to Mahony.
I think the honeymoon is over and we are getting a clearer vision of where Pope Benedict will be taking the Church. No place new apparently.
All those good feelings and hopes I had are starting to wear thin. Somebody once made the comment here, and that I had long held, that the office of CDF was charged with simply slowing down, not stopping, the creep of modernism in the Church. To allow it (modernism) to play out unchecked would destroy the Church overnight rather than allow it to morph into a modernist tool. That apparently was Ratzinger's job, and now falls on Levada.
I believe you meant to ping Diago to your post #17, not Diego.
In the words of the character Zorg from the movie "The Fifth Element," "I am very... disappointed," to say the least. Thank you Debbie for posting this. I have this book too, but it's been a while. I agree with kstweskis that we need to pray, and pray HARD, particularly to the Holy Ghost. Between this, his connection to Mahoney, and the pagan prayer that his archdiocese had posted, Levada's posting to Ratzinger's old post is not a good development at all. As with all things, we should be vigilant.