Posthumous Tribute to the
Most Rev. Father Gommar A. De Pauw
Tradition in Action pays tribute to the memory of the Most Reverend Father Gommar A. De Pauw, J.C.D., president of the Catholic Traditionalist Movement (CTM), who died on May 6, and prays for the eternal rest of his soul in Heaven.
Fr. De Pauw had a quite notable background. A member of what might be called America’s first families (De Pauw University in Greencastle, Indiana was named for one of his relatives), the Belgian-born Gommar De Pauw graduated magna cum laude in Classical Humanities. At the age of 23, by special indult of the Holy See, he was ordained to the priesthood. He went on to study at the Louvain and received a triple major Licentiate (Ph.D.) in Canon Law, Moral Theology, and Church History. He was always proud of the military honor citations he received for the part he played in the liberation from Nazism of Northern Belgium and southern Holland during WWII as a battlefield-commissioned Chaplain.
Fr. Gommar A. De Pauw, pioneer in the traditionalist movement
He had moved to the United States and was holding the chair of Moral Theology and Canon Law at Mount St. Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg, MD, when Council Vatican II opened in 1962. He traveled to Rome and participated at the Council as a perito, or theological expert. Before him were all the prospects of a brilliant ecclesiastical career, provided he would go along with the progressivist reforms of the Council.
To his glory and immemorial merit, Fr. Gommar De Pauw did not go along with the novelties instituted by Vatican II. He numbers among the first ecclesiastics in America to publicly resist those changes that clashed with the traditional doctrine and practices of the Roman Catholic Church.
Supported by a strong grassroots community in Long Island, he founded the Catholic Traditionalist Movement in 1964. He continued to say the Tridentine Mass and resisted the novelties forced on us in the name of Vatican II.
In 1967 he wrote to Paul VI an eloquent letter in which he protested the liturgical abuses and false ecumenism engendered by the Council. When he realized no formal “fatherly reply” was forthcoming, he entitled the letter “Be Thou, Peter!” and made it public, in print and on tape, one of the first official statements of resistance made on behalf of traditional Catholics.
In open violation of all past and present liturgical directives - he noted in this letter - the Roman Catholic Liturgy had for all practical purposes been destroyed. In the name of traditionalist Catholics, he rejected the aggiornamento that changed dogmatic and moral precepts of the Catholic Faith. He refused to be absorbed in the Conclilar Church, which he condemned and rejected. Vatican II must be annulled - he concluded as a solution to the growing crisis in the Church.
His name deserves to be remembered by those who later joined and took up the fight.
These past five years Fr. Gommar DePauw has honored TIA offering his stimulus, friendship and support as a leader in the battle for the restoration of Holy Mother Church and Christendom.
In summary, what shone chiefly in this valorous soul was the militancy inherent to Holy Mother Church.
May Our Lady kindly receive the soul of this dutiful Priest and heroic Warrior, giving him the merited reward for his fidelity in such difficult times.
Marian T. Horvat, Ph.D.
Posted May 10, 2005
Read excerpts from Fr. Gommar De Pauw's open letter to Paul VI
protesting the novelties and liturgical abuses that came from Vatican II:
Be Thou Peter
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