Punished for speaking "unfiltered" truth
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During the past two generations, there has been a growing problem in the Catholic Church. Solidly Catholic priests with traditional theological views are not welcome in the post 1970 Church, that is, the Catholic Church after the Second Vatican Council. The Church changed in ways the very Bishops who participated in the 1962-1965 Second Vatican Council never intended. Priests who would have been the normal product of seminaries two generations ago have been/are being largely marginalized, detracted, or put out to pasture and exiled.
What happened to Fr. Juan Carlos Gavancho, a priest of 11 years for the Archdiocese of Chicago, is no different. He is part of a huge wave transforming the Catholic landscape that is largely being ignored by the Catholic leadership. Fr. Gavancho was most recently serving in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles at a church in Santa Barbara. My friends who know him there inform me that a sermon he gave on the priestly abuse scandals got him removed. Fr. Gavancho gave a homily that was “unfiltered” and exposed the corruption of certain chanceries.
First Things reported that Fr. Gavancho “spoke with urgency and abject anguish about the corruption in the Church and the agenda-driven machinations of those in authority. He recounted in general terms Archbishop Vigano’s claims that the corruption reaches the top levels of the Church. But Fr. Gavancho exclaimed that he would not give up on the Church, his mother, and he …[called] upon the laity to fight for the Church, their mother too.” https://www.firstthings.com/web-exclusives/2018/09/fr-gavanchos-fate. Fr. Gavancho also spoke about the priests who were trying to destroy the Church from within. https://www.beautysoancient.com/was-father-juan-carlos-gavancho-silenced/ . The full text of Fr. Gavancho’s homily and additional facts surrounding the case can be found at https://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/the-sermon-that-cost-a-brave-priest-his-job/ .
The Archdiocese of Los Angeles and the pastor at Our Lady of Sorrows in Santa Barbara provided very different reasons for his departure. Disputing that his removal was over the homily, they instead cite his allegedly difficult interpersonal relationships as an administrator. However, based upon my experience, no one gets to be an administrator unless someone in the chancery trusts you and he was entrusted to function as an administrator in two different parishes. His critics claim he was not good with money and was difficult. Even if true, such charges are inadequate to warrant removal of the priestly faculties (to hear confessions and say public Masses) and/or expulsion from any parish.
The plain fact is that he was booted from his parish the same week as he gave the sermon (two days after the sermon) and was not even given 24 hours to vacate his rectory residence.
I am motivated to help this priest or any priest who is thrown out of his rectory without a good reason because a similar thing happened to me 20 years ago (May 1998).
Fr. Gavancho has hired a Civil Lawyer and a Canon Lawyer. Usually, any Diocese frowns on a priest getting representation, but I am convinced it is the only way to protect one's self in today's uncharitable climate. Fighting this kind of battle takes time and money, both for the professional fees and for the priest to live on during the process. Fr. Gavancho's family is in Peru. He'd like to stay here in the USA.
There are plenty of USA Dioceses that would be happy to have a priest like Fr. Gavancho working in their Diocese. We just need to find him a better fit.
Hopefully, the Archdiocese of Chicago will release him so that he is free to incardinate elsewhere as a priest in good standing. My feeling is that Fr. Gavancho just needs to be under a pastor that is traditional and amiable to his curates (priestly assistants).
We are asking for a minimum of $25,000 to help Fr. Gavancho with his bills and legal costs for 6 months. I've already received assurances from many of our parishioners here at St. Mary's Norwalk, CT that they will donate as will I myself. I'm not a man to ask others to do something I won't help do myself!
Father Donald Kloster,
St, Mary’s Church,