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DETROIT (ChurchMilitant.com) - Not willing to give up after the loss of their leader, members of the St. Joseph Battalion are keeping the group alive and urging prayer warriors to help persecuted priests.
After Theodore McCarrick's predation and the Church's tolerance and cover-up of it was exposed, Fr. Mark Goring, a priest of the Companions of the Cross, was inspired during prayer to start the St. Joseph's Battalion to address corruption in the Church.
Through a website and YouTube channel, Fr. Goring called on the laity to take up the mission of acting as "prayer warriors" to "call the entire Church, especially the clergy, the episcopal hierarchy, and Catholic institutions to model and live an authentically Catholic life."
After Fr. Goring's successful campaign to prevent Cdl. Donald Wuerl, the archbishop of Washington, D.C., from presiding at the Mass of the March for Life Youth Rally in January, his superiors silenced him. He was forbidden from posting videos for the St. Joseph Battalion or calling out the hierarchy for corruption.
Since then, Battalion members have continued campaigns through two Facebook groups and a YouTube channel.
The Facebook groups started simultaneously; one is based in New Hampshire and another in California. The California group is currently on day two of a novena campaign to help a priest overcome difficulties preventing him from publishing a book on consecration to St. Joseph.
Members of the group maintaining the website note, "We regard Fr. Goring as a white martyr, with his persecutors coming from the Church itself."
A third member of the Battalion, living in Texas, was inspired to start a YouTube channel. He told Church Militant he doesn't want his name used because he is not looking to replace Fr. Goring but is only acting a "placeholder."
This "placeholder" said he was already angry about the persecution of Fr. Jeremy Leatherby by Bp. Jaime Soto, the bishop of Sacramento, California, and "Fr. Goring's silencing was the last straw."
He considers Fr. Leatherby to be a "dry martyr," and in 2017, he was inspired to pray 100 Rosaries for him just prior to the 100th anniversary of the Fatima apparitions. He said this was long before published reports on Fr. Leatherby's story and at the time, he wasn't sure if he was praying for a good priest or a fallen one.
Father Leatherby was suspended from exercising his vocation after his father, Deacon David Leatherby Jr., reported a housekeeper's claim that she walked in on two priests in bed together.
Instead of removing the homosexual priests, multiple sources claim Bp. Soto retaliated against Fr. Jeremy Leatherby by trumping up a false allegation against him. Deacon David Leatherby was also removed from a ministry he worked in while the homosexual priests remain in their parishes.
While there is a canon law process to address wrongful suspension, similar to the case of Fr. Eduard Perrone in Detroit, priests have little recourse if the bishop employs stalling tactics such as refusing to file the paperwork, interview witnesses or speak with attorneys for the priests.
Additionally, the Establishment Clause makes the courts very reluctant to hear cases of "employment issues" within the Church. Without civil redress, priests are fully at the mercy of their bishop.
Father Leatherby has been in this type of "priestly limbo" for over three years. He is not alone; there are countless good priests across the country suffering at the hands of their bishops.
"This corruption network within the Church feels like a leviathan, but it's not," Fr. Goring's "placeholder" explained. "Can you imagine how Pope John Paul II felt when He took on the Soviet Union? In the end, it was only a house of cards to the Blessed Mother. Bishop Soto has no recourse here. He can solve this tomorrow, or maintain his sin and lose his episcopate."
He likes the idea of targeted campaigns because "in a battle, and this is a battle, you have a strategic offensive and then a tactical offensive."
He added, "Church Militant and a few other faithful Catholic newsgroups shine the light of truth on the atrocities committed within Our Lady's Church. These are the strategic fighters that begin the campaign. But once you expose the enemy's positions, you must then do the tactical."
This "tactical" amounts to three things, wearing the Green Scapular and praying as She instructed.
According to Fr. Marie Edouard Mott, the author of The Green Scapular and Its Favors, the Blessed Mother appeared to Sr. Justine Bisqueyburu several times in 1840 with the purpose of promoting the use of the Green Scapular for the conversion of sinners.
The use of the scapular is simple:
That the scapular, not being like other scapulars, the habit of a confraternity, but is merely two holy pictures put on a single piece of goods and hanging by a string as would be a medal, no special formula is requisite to bless it and there can be no question of imposing it. It suffices that it be blessed by a priest and worn by the infidel or sinner whom we wish to benefit by its happy influence. It may even be slipped unknown to him in his clothes, or his bed or room. As to the prayers to be recited, there is but one that should be said every day, the one that forms the oval inscription with which the Holy Heart is surrounded on the Scapular: "Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us now and at the hour of our death."
However, if the person in need of conversion does not say the prayers, then the one who makes use of or gives the scapular to them must say it in their place.
Secondly, St. Joseph Battalion members should place Fr. Leatherby's photo in churches throughout the diocese of Sacramento with the phrase "¡Viva Cristo Rey!" written on it.
"If you hang his image within your churches, every one of them, there will be an outpouring of God's grace upon this whole deplorable situation within your diocese," he explained.
The third action is to stop funding the diocese until Fr. Leatherby is restored to ministry.
He suggested "redcarding" the donation basket as a way of protest. Instead of their donation, parishioners "take a red piece of paper and write on it what you would have given, with Fr. Jeremy's name written on it as well, and deposit it in your collection baskets."
He said the red color of card is to indicate the blood of the martyrs.
Saint Joseph's Battalion has three goals for this campaign: Fr. Leatherby's faculties restored, either by Bp. Soto or another bishop, the religious conversion of Bp. Soto and a transformation of the diocese of Sacramento.
"Father Mark Goring was called by the Blessed Mother to fight for her cause in the Battalion's first mission and he was effective," he said. "As a placeholder for him while he is manacled, we too will fight for this cause of our Blessed Mother and we will also be effective."