May 2003 Print

Father Fights for the Latin Mass


Fr. Clement Procopio, O.F.M., is another in the Latin Mass, who celebrated the Latin Mass, who ministered with the Latin Mass, who can no longer celebrate theNovusOrdoMass. Here's what Father's bishop thinks about that and Father's reasons why he won't change his mind.

January 6, 2003

Rev. Clement Procopio, O.F.M,
306 S. 18th Street
Cottonwood, AZ 86326-3965

Dear Fr. Procopio:

I am deeply saddened by your letter of December 24, 2002. As Fr. Michael L. Diskin, Assistant Chancellor wrote to you on December 10th, you have served the people of Arizona for many years. In the past I have expressed my appreciation for ministry you have performed, both as a Franciscan and for almost ten years as a priest of the Diocese.

It should be clear to you, however, that I am responsible for the liturgical life of the Church of Phoenix. On several occasions the issue of approving the celebration of the traditional Latin, "Tridentine" Mass has come up for discussion at meetings both of the Presbyteral Council and Diocesan Pastoral Council. The last time the issue was addressed it was strongly recommended to me by both priests and members of the laity that I not grant permission for this Mass to be celebrated in the Diocese. My decision was not an arbitrary one, but involved consultation with both clergy and laity.

That you would insist that you do not have to abide by my decision and would act in disobedience of my expressed direction when I spoke with you previously on the telephone and as Fr. Diskin communicated to you on December 10, 2002 leaves me with no alternative, but to remove your faculties to function as a priest in the Diocese of Phoenix.

You may no longer function as a priest in the Diocese of Phoenix. I would consider any future public celebration of the Tridentine Mass by you to be analogous to a schismatic act. You are leading the faithful astray and causing division with this local Church. In a spirit of fraternal concern, I appeal to you to renounce the position that you have taken and agree to abide by my direction in this matter. Should you do so, I would consider the restoration of your faculties.


Faithfully yours in Christ,

Most Reverend Thomas J. O'Brien
Bishop of Phoenix


CC: Very Rev. Robert M. Campagna, O.F.M.
Rev. Emile Pelletier, Jr.




January 31,2003
Rev. Clement Procopio, O.F.M.
306 South 18th Street
Cottonwood, AZ 86326-3965


The Roman Catholic Church of Phoenix
Office of the Bishop
400 East Monroe Street, Phoenix, AZ, 85004-2336


Your Excellency:

I received your letter of January 3, 2003, a letter that shocked me to no end, hence my delay in answering you. In my fifty-nine years of service as a priest in the Catholic Church, this is the first time that I have been told that "my public celebration of the Tridentine Mass is analogous to a schismatic act," and that by celebrating that Mass "I am leading the faithful astray and causing division in the local Church." For you to equate my celebration of the Tridentine Mass, which was offered up at the Last Supper and consummated on Calvary, the living renewal of the Sacrifice of the Cross, as being instrumental in leading the faithful astray and causing division in the local Church, can only come across to me as a sound of blasphemy. I hope that you don't really mean it.

You express in your letter your appreciation for my many years of faithful service in your Diocese of Phoenix, for which I am grateful, but yet you say you are deeply saddened by my returning to the celebration of the Tridentine Mass without your approval, as if I had committed some kind of a crime. According to the Pope, the choice of Mass was left to the faithful, i.e., the Tridentine Mass is to be allowed for those who want it. Meetings of clergy and of laity cannot decide who wants it, and who doesn't want it, for that is a matter of individual conscience. Your decision should be to obey the Pope and allow the Mass. The rest will follow.

At any rate, you should not be saddened by my return to Tradition; on the contrary, that should be a matter for rejoicing. What you should be saddened by, however, as all of us should be, is what has happened to the Catholic Church since Vatican II. That revolution is what brought about changes in doctrine, such as, false ecumenism of a Cosmic Christ that doesn't exist, universal salvation in which all are automatically saved, distorted notions of religious liberty that eliminated Christ as King of the Universe; changes in morals such as immoral sex education in the Catholic schools, the defense of homosexuality, a sin that cries to Heaven for vengeance, that has resulted in the glaring scandals in the priesthood and in the hierarchy; changes in the liturgy, like substituting the Mass of All Ages, instituted by Christ, with a Masonic Protestantized Novus Ordo Mass, that was concocted precisely with the intention of destroying the True Mass and the whole Catholic Church, by lending itself to all kinds of abuses, sacrileges and circuses at the altar, resulting in disastrous effects, such as the loss of many vocations, the loss of faith, the loss of discipline, etc. etc.

These false teachings and practices, my dear Bishop, are what has led the faithful astray and divided the Catholics, NOT the celebration of the Tridentine Mass, the Mass that was codified by Pope St. Pius V at the close of the Infallible Council of Trent in 1570, and given in perpetuity as the Mass to be said for all times and in all places, publicly and privately, in the Latin Church.

I, for one, am neither divisive nor schismatic. On the contrary, I am trying to pick up the pieces in the devastated vineyard, and putting the faithful back on track. It was the Judases in the Church itself that let in "The Smoke of Satan" that brought about the auto-destruction of the Catholic Church. We are living in the era of "the blind leading the blind, and both shall fall into the pit."

Finally, as I told your Vice Chancellor in responding to his letter, I am utterly convinced that for the Latin Rite Church, the Tridentine Mass is the only Mass there is and no other, so I in my conscience cannot accede to your demand to stop saying the Tridentine Mass.

There is no power on this earth that is going to take that right away from me. If that is the only reason you have for denying me the faculties to work in your Diocese under your jurisdiction, then let it so be. Wherefore, I have decided to assist the priests of the Priestly Society of St. Pius X, a congregation of faithful and holy priests, unjustly persecuted, who are keeping sanity alive in a Church gone mad. Yes, Christ is still with His Church; He is in the hearts, minds and souls of those who are still holding on to our Traditions.


Yours in Christ,


Fr. Clement Procopio, O.F.M.

CC. Very Rev. Robert M. Campagna, O.F.M.
CC: Rev. Emile Pelletier, Jr.