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You Are Wrong to Criticize a Dancing Priest

Objections from England

Dear Sir,

I have enjoyed your website for some years: it is often edifying and several articles I have kept for re-reading. However, your article about Rev Fr F. Mulgrew shocked me by how you have got, as we English put it, “The wrong end of the stick”. I am the strongest of traditional Catholics: my wife and I are most fortunate in being able to go to the traditional Mass, not only every Sunday but on most Fridays and Saturdays as well. I stick rigorously to Catholic teaching. I was for some twenty-four years Headmaster of English Catholic schools.

Fr Mulgrew is a personal friend of one of our sons and I have known him some years. As it happens, before he was ordained, I once spent holy week in his company at the English Catholic seminary of Valladolid – a gift from the Spanish kings in the sixteenth century. His behaviour throughout was not only impeccable but edifying. As it happens, shortly afterwards, I had a heart-attack in Madrid, and the young Mr Mulgrew, as he then was, went out of his way to visit me.

Since he has been ordained, I have been to confession to him, which he might not realise, and he was everything that the most traditional Catholic (and I am one of those) might desire.

I don’t think that Fr Mulgrew’s dancing is a great performance, but you will note that he is, as he always does, wearing the Roman Collar. Your article, which seems astonishingly biased, implies there is something wrong in Fr Mulgrew’s family’s being connected with the stage. The family is well-known throughout the north of England for its family entertainment, and support for the Catholic Church, in particular, Catholic charities.

I was, in the 1950s, in what you Americans call the “teenage years”, educated by Salesian priests – saintly men and excellent teachers. They told us of how their great founder, St John Bosco, used to do tricks, balancing on a tight rope and other stunts, to attract boys to his schools. These great priests, used to play our games with us each day at lunch-time, football and cricket, with their cassocks tucked in.

I can see nothing in the video that I watched that even mentioned immigration. It is a complicated problem over here but I have to note, smilingly, that “Mulgrew” is an obvious immigrant name, Irish, as is my own surname – my great grandfather came to England from County Offaly in Ireland.

Your website does much that is good. I hope you will consider very carefully before naming people and accusing them of things which seem not prima facie, to be proven or heinous. Indeed, in a Church where, as Our Blessed Lady predicated, cardinal is against cardinal, there is much more to which one can object than a priest’s dancing.

Yours is a fair web site and so I hope that you will publish this letter in its entirety.

Keep up your good work, so necessary in these difficult days.

     Yours in Jesus, Mary and Joseph,

     Eric Hester, England


TIA responds:

Dear Mr. Hester,

We are aware of your long standing traditionalist position and we are grateful for the erudite book reviews you wrote on Dr. Marian Horvat"s book Catholic Manual of Civility and on Mrs. Judy Mead’s and Dr. Horvat’s book Courtesy Calls Again.

During the years we have received many of your interesting correspondences, most of which we have posted on the TIA website.

It is surprising that you, being a regular reader of our site, have not noticed the constant criticism we make of Popes, Bishops, priests, monks and nuns dancing. These critiques are all over our website and quite easy to find when, for instance, you place the word “dancing” in our search engine. The rationale for our opposition to this progressivist bad custom can be found in many of those postings.

Why, only now, did you become upset and censure us? It is a point that probably could be explained by a long repressed objection that exploded now when we criticized one of your acquaintances, the dancing Fr. Frankie Mulgrew.

You lectured us like we were schoolboys for having “the wrong end of the stick.” So, you, as "the strongest traditionalist" tell us that we are “astonishingly biased” for thinking that a priest should not dance in public and that it is not prima facie evidence that he is wrong when he makes monkeyshines to the wide audience of the internet in a performance alongside a sensual belly-shaking young woman.

The fact that you do not see anything morally wrong in that performance shows us that you still have some points in which you pay tribute to the progressivist customs and mentality as they already existed in a considerable part of the clergy and religious orders during the ‘50s and early ‘60s. Soon afterward, during and after the Council, these tendencies became an avalanche of relaxed habits and bad morality. Today, we all are witnessing the sad result of that general apostasy.

The stick with which you measure these topics does not seem to be as Catholic as you suppose.

Although in principle we can comprehend that Don Bosco did acrobatics to attract children and that some Salesians could imitate him, when you generalize those exceptions and apply them to all the clergy and religious orders, you are paying tribute to Progressivism, to the Conciliar Revolution.

If Fr. Mulgrew was correct in his circus-like performance, then what would be wrong with wearing a clownish red nose as Pope Francis did? What would be wrong with dancing to rock as John Paul II did in Australia? We suppose that you would approve such actions since both Popes were dressed in full cassock and not just wearing their collars... Why should Bishops not dance as they ridiculously did in Rio? Why should contemplative nuns not dance and clap?

So, applying the criterion you used to criticize us, you cannot fail from approving all these excesses. You seem to consider every action appropriate so long as you receive from a priest some good counsels in the confessional, kindly visits when you happen to be in the hospital and he still wears some remnants of the proper clerical garb.

Another point difficult to believe is that we need to offer prima facie proof to an Englishman showing that Fr. Mulgrew is favoring immigration when he performed in that video whose theme was mercy. Here are the reasons:
  1. You live in the U.K. which registered 3.2 million legal immigrants in 2015, more than 500,000 illegal immigrants and about 117,000 refugees; in a country that just exited the European Union because it can no longer bear the weight of this immigration.

  2. We have the Year of Mercy that finished some weeks ago. Who benefited from this period in which the entire Church deliriously preached mercy? More than anyone else, it was the illegal immigrants. Pope Francis multiplied his gestures sending the message that his greatest goal during this time was to favor illegal immigrants or refugees. Please, check the pictures below.

  3. In this context, it is obvious that the song of Fr. Mulgrew's repeating ad nauseam that we have to have mercy was part of this campaign.

  4. To not make the connection of these three points and see the larger picture in your own country seems to reveal a remarkable lack of perspective.
We certainly want you to change and become a more consistent traditionalist Catholic and a true Counter-Revolutionary.

You can be sure to count on our prayers for this.


     TIA correspondence desk

Pope Francis supporting illegal refugees

From the top first row, Maundy Thursday 2016; second and third rows, June 20, 2016


Blason de Charlemagne
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Posted December 13, 2016



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