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Sometime, likely in the not-too-distant future, an earthquake is going to erupt in the Church, and its epicenter will be the ranch of Mel Gibson in Agoura Hills, California. Gibson is well-known for his splendid movies and acting ability. In terms of his faith, he is a sedevacantist — a word that comes from the Latin meaning "empty chair" — meaning, "The Throne of St. Peter has no occupant; it's empty."
There are different "camps" of sedevacantists, and while there are some divisions among them, there is broad agreement that Vatican II was bad and that there has not been a valid pope since the death of Pius XII in 1958. And yeah, you heard that right — not a valid pope in 65 years and counting.
And it's that "and counting" part that is becoming a problem for some sedes. It will come as no surprise that at least some sedevacantists do not accept bishops ordained in the Latin church under the completely revised rites after Vatican II. This inevitably leads to a sede priest personnel crisis — they need to replenish their ranks — and fast. This is where Mel Gibson starts to get involved.
A few years ago, a 97-year-old, retired bishop in Texas caught the attention of sedevacantists — Gibson included — after the bishop declared (with many nonsedevacantists) that Francis was not the validly elected pope. In 2020, Gibson met with this bishop, who claims that he was consecrated in the pre-Vatican II rite of ordination. Therefore, if he ordained a priest, that priest would fit the bill of not being a Vatican II priest, and thus be "validly" ordained.
In January 2021, the then-97-year-old, retired prelate was at Mel's ranch. There, the bishop provided an affidavit to Gibson, sworn to on Jan. 21, 2021, before a California notary public. Church Militant has the name and commission number of the notary. And so that those concerned understand we do have that information in our possession, we will reveal that the notary's commission number begins with 2217. The affidavit maintains that he had indeed been consecrated a bishop in the Old Rite, in 1972.
Prior to this event at Mel's ranch, various notable canceled priests had been quietly approached either by Gibson or an associate of his and asked, "Are you satisfied your ordination was valid?" — or a very similar question to it. Depending on the answer, these priests were led into a sacramental morass with the arrival of six priests in Gibson's private chapel in January 2021.
There, the retired bishop went through with these priests a "supplying-of-services" ceremony. It involved certain parts from the Old Rite of ordination (that had been removed after Vatican II) being said over these priests. On its face, this ceremony appears pretty innocuous. However, it is totally foreign to the Church's understanding of the sacrament of Holy Orders. Why do it if you don't question the liturgical reforms of Vatican II or doubt the reformed rite of ordination?
Given the context of Gibson's sedevacantist views, that it was done at his sedevacantist chapel, with an elderly bishop who seems to believe Francis isn't the pope, the ceremony is at least highly suspect. It gives the impression that these priests' ordinations were somehow "deficient" but have now been "corrected."
A similar ceremony was held a second time, later in 2021, with other priests. Church Militant knows the identities of several of these priests, but we are withholding them for the moment, as we expect this story will have larger ramifications with their bishops — not to mention the retired bishop who was involved. One or more may regret their actions and wish to recant.
It's not entirely clear if each of the individual priests actually understood what they had submitted to, or whether their original ordinations were somehow "defective." Church Militant has direct knowledge of some individuals, and we have spoken with some of them who alerted the hierarchy. Rome is also aware of what happened at Gibson's ranch, as are at least two of these priests' dioceses.
Whatever backroom and canon law issues may be at play, it is possible that the "supplying-of-services" ceremony is now at play in their cases before Rome and may be the reason some may be kicked out of the priesthood. To question or instill doubt about the validity of one's own ordination because it was done after 1958 is a grave matter.
The Church simply cannot have priests walking around doubting the validity of their own ordinations, so much so that they would participate in some kind of a ceremony manipulated by a sedevacantist celebrity. This story is not merely about the sacramental validity of individual ordinations but of questioning the Church's rite of ordination itself.
This kind of stuff is not terribly unlike what the schismatic SSPX group does in many cases when a priest comes to them and wants to join up. They conditionally ordain him into the schismatic society, "just in case" his ordination wasn't valid. Suffice it to say, this is the root of schism, its evil consequences and bad fruit: that the sacraments themselves — not just whether they are licit, but whether they are even valid —are doubted.
For almost two weeks, we have been pounding the drum about schism and the massive danger it poses to the peace and well-being of the Church. We have been doing this in buildup to this story as well as some others we will be revealing in due course. For example, we have come to learn that these canceled priests are not the only canceled priests or group of canceled priests who have been to Mel's ranch. Those who understand what is meant by that, that shout-out is for you.
What is in the process of forming right now in various places — more on that in upcoming episodes — is a type of underground church that will not be valid or legitimate but will move about as quietly as possible, undermining communion with the authentic Church. It will be the poison of a schismatic mindset that has been allowed to fester in the Church for decades by reckless, wicked, uncaring and cowardly bishops who allow any evil on the right or left to gain traction.
The world is in crisis because the Church is in crisis. Loyal sons of the Church must step forward and now become involved in this and put an end to it — all of it — by exposing it:
These dilemmas threaten the very life of the Church (as we have come to understand that) and all of this must be brought out and corrected for the good of the Church's unity and respect for the authenticity of the holy sacraments.