DOUBLE STANDARD IN SAN ANTONIO: Prelate sent faithful sisters packing after embracing gay priest

DOUBLE STANDARD IN SAN ANTONIO: Prelate sent faithful sisters packing after embracing gay priest

by Stephen Wynne  •  •  February 13, 2018

Prelate sent faithful sisters packing after embracing gay priest

SAN ANTONIO ( – Recent statements by San Antonio Abp. Gustavo Garcia-Siller are reinforcing the glaring divide between his words and deeds.On Saturday, the prelate took to Twitter, saying, “Sinners can become saints but the corrupt not.”

It comes six weeks after Garcia-Siller evicted a group of Poor Clare nuns from their adopted home, Our Lady of the Atonement Catholic Church (OLA), allegedly as an act of revenge against the parish.

The archbishop’s move, OLA members say, was in retaliation for the parish’s transfer to the Anglican Use Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter in Houston. The parish had been locked in a power struggle with Garcia-Siller for years, who wanted to retain control of the property. When Rome finally sided with the parish in March 2017, the prelate seems to have exacted his revenge, taking out his wrath on three religious sisters.

Looking further back, the gulf between Garcia-Siller’s words and actions becomes clearer still. For more than a year, the archbishop of San Antonio has waged an open campaign of persecution against Our Lady of the Atonement — against orthodox Roman Catholics.

A year before he severed the sisters from their parish, as part of the same alleged “land grab,” Garcia-Siller dismissed OLA pastor Fr. Christopher Phillips in a move Atonement parishioners described as “illegal and abusive.”

Fr. Marco Mercado

And yet, just before he fired Fr. Phillips, Garcia-Siller welcomed a disgraced homosexual priest — a former colleague from the archdiocese of Chicago — into ministry in San Antonio.

For engaging in “an inappropriate relationship with an adult man,” in October 2015, Fr. Marco Mercado was removed from ministry at the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Des Plaines, Illinois, and his faculties withdrawn.

In the wake of the scandal, Mercado left Chicago and returned to his native Mexico for several months. He then came knocking on Garcia-Siller’s door.

A former auxiliary bishop in the Chicago archdiocese, Garcia-Siller welcomed his former colleague to San Antonio, assigning him a position in hospital ministry.

Just weeks after banishing the Poor Clares from his archdiocese, the archbishop is exhorting Catholics to adopt a selfless, people-centered way of life. Tweet

Observers branded the move a classic case of the “good ol’ boy” network in action.

The ploy was blasted by the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) as “wrong and reckless” — a classic example of “what bishops have done for decades: splitting hairs and making excuses instead of protecting parishioners.”

“Every sexual contact between a Catholic cleric and a Catholic parishioner is, by definition, improper and unhealthy, in part because of the huge power differential between the two,” observed SNAP director David Clohessy.

San Antonio’s Poor Clare Sisters

Clohessy accused Garcia-Siller of “protecting a colleague’s career and pretending to have ‘investigated,’ when we strongly suspect he hasn’t even contacted Fr. Mercado’s victim.”

On Tuesday, Church Militant contacted the archdiocese of San Antonio to determine if Fr. Mercado is still in ministry there. When asked to confirm the priest’s employment, a representative with the archdiocesan Hospital Ministry — the department he was assigned to just a year-and-a-half ago — replied, “I do not know that name.”

Next, the apostolate reached out to the Pastoral Center and asked whether Fr. Mercado is employed by the archdiocese. “Mmmm … one moment,” came the response. Church Militant was then transferred to an empty desk at the Office of Clergy. The apostolate is still awaiting word on Fr. Mercado’s status in San Antonio.

Just weeks ago, Abp. Garcia-Siller banished the Poor Clares from his archdiocese — again, allegedly to punish the people of Atonement for defending their property from a “land grab.” Now, the archbishop is exhorting Catholics to adopt a selfless, people-centered way of life.

On Sunday, he tweeted: “Put people before profit! This is a practice hard to live. Our lack of virtue, the cult of our ego, our irrational way of acting leads us to live in anger, indifference and provoking wars trashing people lives. Is there another way to life? Lent is coming.”

Faithful Catholics in San Antonio are praying their archbishop will begin practicing what he preaches.

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by Stephen Wynne  •  •  January 8, 2018

Banishment by Abp. Gustavo Garcia-Siller described as payback

SAN ANTONIO, Texas ( – Texas Catholics have suffered a loss at the hands of San Antonio’s Abp. Gustavo Garcia-Siller.At the end of Mass Sunday, parishioners at Our Lady of the Atonement Catholic Church (OLA) were stunned to learn Garcia-Siller had commanded three Poor Clare nuns attached to the parish back to their motherhouse in Alabama after nine years in San Anotonio. They had been in the process of raising funds to build a monastery.

The sisters left Sunday morning before the announcement was made; parishioners weren’t even given the chance to say goodbye.

The whole affair, inside sources at Our Lady of the Atonement allege, is a retaliatory tactic by the archbishop. They believe Garcia-Siller banished the nuns as an act of revenge after losing his battle over the parish, which last year was transferred from Garcia-Siller’s control to the Anglican Use Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter in Houston.

Michael Voris interviews the Texas Nuns in 2016

Members of the Poor Clare Nuns of Perpetual Adoration — an order distinguished by its orthodoxy and traditionalism — Sr. Grace Marie, Sr. Elizabeth Marie and Sr. Mary Peter originated from Our Lady of the Angels Monastery, the Hanceville, Alabama convent established by the late Mother Mary Angelica of the Annunciation, PCPA, founder of EWTN.

Their call to San Antonio dated to September 2007, when then-Archbishop Jose Gomez invited them to Texas to launch a new foundation in the Alamo City.

San Antonio’s Poor Clare Nuns

On August 11, 2008 (the Feast of St. Clare), they arrived in San Antonio to begin their mission: the establishment of a Texas monastery — the Poor Clare’s second cloister in the South — under the patronage of St. Michael the Archangel.

Their base of operations was in a house lent to them by Fr. Christopher Phillips, then-pastor of Our Lady of the Atonement, a parish recently brought under the umbrella of the Anglican Ordinariate.

From their earliest days in Texas the young nuns worked diligently and prospered, establishing a blog to respond to the Culture of Death, starting an organic soap business, and establishing a live radio program.

Our Lady of the Atonement Parish

Sunday morning, the parish read a letter written by Mother Dolores Marie.

Our three sisters in San Antonio, Texas … have been blessed to encounter Christ’s light in the many holy men and women they’ve met during their nine years of ministry in the Hill Country. Honoring the request of Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller, the Sisters are returning to our monastery in Hanceville, Alabama this week. Like the Magi, they will follow the Light of Christ in discerning their next steps, confident in God’s providential care.

The letter explained that parishioners could stay in touch with the sisters via email at [email protected]

Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter

Our Lady of the Atonement Catholic Church was founded decades ago by converts from the Anglican Church.

In the 1980s, Fr. Christopher Phillips, then an Episcopalian priest with a wife and children, convertedto Catholicism after St. Pope John Paul II established a Pastoral Provision permitting Anglicans (Episcopalians) to leave the rapidly deteriorating denomination.

Together with a small core of other Episcopalian converts, Fr. Phillips established Our Lady of the Atonement, becoming the very first Catholic parish in the United States to incorporate Anglican liturgical and musical traditions into the Mass.

In 2012, Pope Benedict XVI established a series of Personal Ordinariates (similar to diocesese) for Christians raised in the Anglican tradition who wanted to become Catholic, including the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, which covers all of the United States and Canada.

Father Phillips — with the backing of Abp. Garcia-Siller — petitioned to join. But the parish hit a snag: The Personal Ordinariate’s initial head insisted that as a precondition of joining, Our Lady of the Atonement would have to surrender its property (land, school, buildings, etc.), which parishoners had worked for more than 30 years to build.

Our Lady of the Atonement lost three beloved sisters. Texas lost an entire monastery. Tweet

As a result, Fr. Phillips rescinded his petition. Garcia-Siller, meanwhile, pledged to support any future resubmission.

In 2016, the Chair of St. Peter received its first bishop, Steven J. Lopes. Bishop Lopes immediately set out to rectify OLA’s plight, seeking help from Pope Francis himself.

Under the Pope’s guidance, Fr. Phillips resubmitted his petition to transfer Our Lady of the Atonement from the Pastoral Provision under the umbrella of the Archdiocese of San Antonio, to the Ordinariate.

Fr. Christopher Phillips

This seemed to incite Garcia-Siller’s wrath. He insisted he was fine with OLA leaving his diocese, but demanded the parish surrender its property as a precondition for doing so — a reversal from his 2012 position.

Father Phillips refused; standing firm, he pushed the petition forward.

According to sources inside OLA, Garcia-Siller dug in his heels, refusing to forward to Rome the material required to settle the question of authority over Our Lady of the Atonement.

In January 2017, the archbishop announced he was removing Fr. Phillips as pastor so the priest could “dedicate some time to reflect on some specific concerns that I have shared with him.” Parishioners denounced the move as “illegal and abusive.” (Fr. Phillips was reinstated shortly after, but has since retired.)

In March 2017, Pope Francis gave final approval for Our Lady of the Atonement to join the Anglican Ordinariate.

This, parishioners believe, set the stage for Sunday’s expulsion — a move they have described to Church Militant as punitive, vindictive and godless. Their sadness is compounded by their recognition that the loss is bigger than their parish. Our Lady of the Atonement lost three beloved sisters. Texas lost an entire monastery.

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by Stephen Wynne  •  •  February 14, 2018

Garcia-Siller denying students Confirmation at Anglican Use parish

SAN ANTONIO ( – First, the archbishop of San Antonio fired the pastor of Our Lady of the Atonement Catholic Church (OLA). Next, he banished a group of nuns attached to the parish for almost a decade. Now, it appears he’s turning on children from his own diocese.Inside sources tell Church Militant that as part of an ongoing campaign of persecution directed against the Anglican Use parish, Abp. Gustavo Garcia-Siller is refusing to allow some students attending its school to be confirmed along with their classmates.

The Atonement Academy has been awarded a National Blue Ribbon of Excellence by the U.S. Department of Education and earned a spot on the Cardinal Newman Society’s Catholic Education Honor Roll. It is ranked San Antonio’s top Catholic school — and one of the 50 best in the United States.

Owing to the academy’s spiritual and academic excellence, parents from across San Antonio sacrifice to send their children there. Many students, registered members of OLA, are part of the Houston-based, Anglican Use Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, under the care of Bp. Steven J. Lopes. Students who worship at other parishes on Sunday, meanwhile, fall under the jurisdiction of the archdiocese of San Antonio, under archbishop Garcia-Siller.

Bishop Lopes will be at Our Lady of the Atonement on Sunday, April 15 to confer the Sacrament of Confirmation on academy students.

Abp. Gustavo Garcia-Siller

But Abp. Garcia-Siller is reportedly refusing to allow those who are not OLA members — any student who attends a parish under his jurisdiction — to be confirmed with their Atonement Academy classmates.

The ban is highly unusual. Bishops almost always give permission for students to receive sacraments in a parish or from a bishop not their own.

Sources in San Antonio describe Garcia-Siller’s refusal as the latest in a string of retaliatory acts against OLA — his way of penalizing the parish for transferring to the Personal Ordinariate last year without surrendering its property to the archdiocese.

In January, the archbishop expelled a group of traditional sisters, members of Mother Angelica’s Poor Clare Nuns of Perpetual Adoration, from OLA, ordering them back to their motherhouse in Alabama. OLA members noted that even as he tore their parish family apart,  Garcia-Siller was tweeting statements like “Anything or anyone who divides families is not from God,” and “Families should be together. We know it; We believe it! God wants it! Everything else is from the devil.”

In his zeal to retaliate against Our Lady of the Atonement, Garcia-Siller has now decided to punish the children of his own archdiocese, using a sacrament of the Church.Tweet

By tossing out the sisters, Garcia-Siller destroyed their plans to build a new monastery in San Antonio, robbing his city and all of Texas of a tremendous wellspring of grace.

A year earlier, he dismissed pastor Fr. Christopher Phillips from OLA’s pulpit, in a move parishioners blasted as “illegal and abusive.” Father Phillips’ dismissal, they noted, came just months after Garcia-Siller welcomed disgraced gay priest Fr. Marco Mercado (an old colleague from his days in the archdiocese of Chicago) into ministry in San Antonio.

All this, inside sources allege, is not enough for the archbishop. In his zeal to retaliate against Our Lady of the Atonement, Garcia-Siller has now decided to punish the children of his own archdiocese, using a sacrament of the Church.

Church Militant reached out to the archdiocese of San Antonio for comment on Wednesday and Thursday, but the apostolate’s calls were not returned.

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