BEST ECUMENICAL HISSY FIT (2006)

Father Francis LeBlanc versus the Diocese of Phoenix

Father Francis LeBlanc leads a church in El Mirage that celebrates the traditional Latin Mass as well as numerous other ancient Catholic rites. The rest of the Valley's Catholics celebrate the modern Mass born out of the widespread modernization of the Catholic Church in the 1960s known as Vatican II. Because LeBlanc refused to change to the modern-style Mass, he was kicked out of the diocese by former bishop, pedophile hide-and-seeker and Native American hit-and-runster Thomas O'Brien. This summer, a diocesan priest incorrectly stated in his parish bulletin that LeBlanc had been "excommunicated" by the pope. A minor faux pas, you say? One would think. But the mistake sent LeBlanc into an old-school tizzy. He filed a lawsuit. He demanded a very public apology. What was more fun, though, were the letters sent out by LeBlanc and his fellow traditionalist priests, in which they blame Vatican II, and the priests schooled under its liberal laws, for just about every heresy committed by a Catholic priest in the past 30 years. Some nuggets: "You people don't even use the proper Roman Catholic Bible!" one priest wrote. "Your job is to save souls; it is not to destroy them. When you discourage Roman Catholics from attending the true Mass the Roman Rite Mass you are destroying souls. You are leading the souls of your flock straight through the gates and into the fires of hell." Ouch! Yet another thrust of the spear. "Is it any wonder why those of us who desire the true Mass the Roman Rite Mass abandoned your 'mainstream church' with your heretical bishops, pedophile priests and hootenanny services?" That last little stinker really hit home. "Hootenanny services." Have you been to Mass lately? They remind us of the fevered Baptist revivals of the hillbilly South. The weird little hand dance thinger. The blaring band of Creed wanna-bes. Women reaching for the sky like peyote-crazed medicine doctors. What's next? "Heal!!!!"? LeBlanc calls for solemn reverence in his church. After seeing enough Diocese-sanctioned services, that seems like a pretty damn good idea.

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