Rev. Michael DeSaye of Trenton, NJ

Novus Ordo Priest becomes Sedevacantist, Diocese Excommunicates

On June 2, 2018, Rev. Michael G. DeSaye was ordained a Catholic priest.

At least that is what he thought at the time.

Less than three years after what he has since come to understand was an invalid ordination ceremony, presided over by a Modernist layman rather than a Roman Catholic bishop, “Father” DeSaye asked his local ordinary, “Bishop” David M. O’Connell, to accept his resignation from the diocese of Trenton, New Jersey. The request was granted.

On May 10 of this year, “Bp.” O’Connell released the following extremely diplomatic announcement:

Rev. Michael G. DeSaye, parochial vicar of Holy Innocents Parish, Neptune, NJ, and Catholic chaplain at Jersey Shore University Medical Center, has resigned from ministry in the Diocese of Trenton effective immediately to pursue his vocation elsewhere.

(“Clergy Appointments Announced”, Our Diocese Today, May 10, 2021)

As Rev. DeSaye has related, he was “excommunicated” from the diocese for schism, which makes sense from the Novus Ordo point of view. After all, he has defected from the communion of the faithless, having found that he does not believe in the counterfeit Catholicism of Vatican II but in the pre-conciliar and timeless Roman Catholic religion, the religion of St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas, that of St. Bernard of Clairvaux and St. Francis of Assisi, that of St. Alphonsus Liguori and St. Pius X, that of St. Bernadette Soubirous and St. Maria Goretti.

The theological errors of the Second Vatican Council (1962-65) become ever more glaring with each day that passes. How ironic that the religion that now blasphemously proclaims that God wills a diversity of religions to exist has no room for the only true one, that is, for Roman Catholicism. On second thought, however, it is not really ironic, for it should stand to reason that if there is one thing the “operation of error” (2 Thess 2:10) cannot tolerate, it is “the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth” (1 Tim 3:15).

In 2018, the diocese of Trenton had released the following brief informational video about Mr. DeSaye and his vocation:

Michael DeSaye’s case is a beautiful testimony to the love and pursuit of truth and the fruit it bears, enabled and assisted by God’s grace. In this he has much in common with Fr. Michael Oswalt, a former Novus Ordo priest from the diocese of Rockford, Illinois, who became a Sedevacantist and, after proper seminary training, was ordained a real Catholic priest.

To explain his departure, Fr. Oswalt penned a letter to his former diocese which lays down the facts very succinctly. It is available on the internet in English and Spanish:

Fr. Oswalt also gave a presentation on the Novus Ordo Church from the inside, so to speak, and he produced nine podcast episodes on why and how to leave this false church:

For a Novus Ordo priest to recognize not only that he has been unwittingly caught up in a counterfeit “Catholic” church, but also that through no fault of his own he is not even validly ordained and thus all his Masses, absolutions, and anointings have likewise had no sacramental effect, is extremely difficult. We ought to pray and make sacrifices for these souls, who are but human! May they recognize this truth: “I can do all these things in him who strengtheneth me” (Phil 4:13).

Like Fr. Oswalt, Mr. DeSaye too has released a letter in which he lays out why he has left his diocese and is now pursuing studies and, eventually, ordination at a real Catholic seminary. The text of this letter was printed as an appendix (pp. 3-4) in the June 2021 newsletter of Most Holy Trinity Seminary in Brooksville, Florida, under the direction of Bp. Donald Sanborn. We reproduce it here:

Letter of Former Novus Ordo Priest Michael DeSaye to His Friends on the Reasons for His Departure from the Novus Ordo

Dear Friends,

A short while ago, I requested that Bishop O’Connell accept my resignation from the Diocese of Trenton and the removal of my priestly faculties. Upon informing the Bishop that I was in agreement with the position of Most Holy Trinity Seminary in Florida, a position called sedevacantism, and that I intended to pursue studies there, I also received notice of excommunication for the crime of schism.

I assure you that this decision was not made lightly, nor was it a reaction to any stimulus of emotion, anger, stress, or frustration. My motivation was not tactical or political, nor was I desirous for a career change. The decision was the result of prayer and contemplation, and from an independent study of the teachings of the popes and doctors of the Church. It was a decision that became necessary for me to make because of a conclusion derived from applying traditional principles of Catholic theology. Permit me to offer a brief explanation of how I reached this decision, along with a list of references that support it.

In my research, I came to understand that the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) teaches error against Catholic faith and morals, and is irreconcilable with the previous magisterium of the Catholic Church.

It is a Catholic doctrine that the Church of Christ cannot err when it teaches universally concerning matters of faith and morals. The reason for this inerrancy is that the Church is guided by the Holy Spirit, whom Our Lord sent to teach [lead] us “into all truth” (John 16:13). In theology, the common term for this inerrancy is indefectibility. For two thousand years, from the time of the Apostles to the present day, the Catholic Church has consistently taught the true faith and morals of Jesus Christ and his Church to the Catholic faithful. She has done so without the slightest deviation, i.e. without the slightest defect. This indefectibility is not an accident of history, but an essential property of the Church.

The Second Vatican Council is commonly held to be a general or ecumenical council of the entire Catholic Church, duly promulgated, and upheld by successive popes until the present day. It is commonly held to teach universally, with the authority of Christ, concerning matters of faith and morals.

In reality, this council clearly and absolutely contradicts the previous magisterium of the Catholic Church on those same matters of faith and morals. These contradictions present an enormous problem for Catholics. For contradictions in matters of faith and morals cannot exist at the universal level in the Catholic Church, since she is protected from error in these matters by the Holy Spirit. If Catholics were to accept the council as having been promulgated with the authority of Christ, then Christ would be leading the whole Catholic Church away from Himself. Catholics would be obliged to confess that the gates of hell have prevailed against the Church, contrary to the prophecy of Our Lord. She would have defected from her divine bridegroom by the universal promulgation of a false faith. But this is impossible according to the perennial Catholic doctrine which has been taught repeatedly by the Church’s magisterium from the apostles until the present day. It is impossible to apply the counterargument that these teachings were only applicable to modern times rather than all times, for such an argument is rooted in modernism, and would end by reducing the entire magisterium to contingencies. It also does not help us to apply the hermeneutic of continuity, for hermeneutics can only help to show continuity if continuity already exists.

Therefore, we must conclude that the Second Vatican Council did not come from the universal teaching authority of the Catholic Church. The popes who promulgated Vatican II did not possess the authority over the Church to teach universally in the name of Christ. They were legally delegated to receive the papacy, but did not actually receive the spiritual authority from God to rule, sanctify, and teach the Catholic Church. Their authority was only an apparent authority. They were not true popes.

This position has a rather unattractive-sounding name: sedevacantism. It is the position of those Catholics who, by applying the logic of indefectibility, conclude to a present vacancy of the See of Peter, due to the universal promulgation of error. Sedevacantism is the only theologically correct observation concerning the present crisis in the Church because it is the only position based on traditional Catholic principles. It is not a schismatic sect based on personal feelings.

This conclusion is profoundly difficult to process emotionally. Catholic instinct shuns the idea of a false pope who is only an apparent authority, rather than a real authority. Many practical questions immediately spring to mind: how could a pope be legally elected and not have the papacy? Are Catholics allowed to make a judgement of this sort? How could thousands of bishops be wrong? If this thesis is true, then where is the Catholic Church? How do apostolic succession and jurisdiction function in this context? How would the present crisis be resolved?

These are good questions that deserve to be answered, but it would require too much space for this brief letter. The point that I wish to articulate here is that, as difficult as it might be, Catholics are bound to reject falsehoods taught against the faith, even when they come from apparent authorities. If we who live in these times wish to preserve our Catholic faith, which is necessary for our salvation, then it is essential that we acknowledge Vatican II as invalid, along with the papacies of those who promulgated it and continue to promulgate it.

Our Lord said that pseudo-prophets and pseudo-Christs would rise up and deceive, if possible, even the elect. St. Paul taught that even if he or an angel from heaven should teach a gospel against what he has taught, let him be cursed. In the Apocalypse, St. John predicted a worldwide religious deception. Thus we have direct warnings from Sacred Scripture that a fate such as what is described here would someday befall mankind. It is not for us to choose the times in which we live. It is for us to witness to the truth, even at great personal cost.

Fr. Michael DeSaye

List of References

1. The principal error of Vatican II (the heresy of ‘partial communion’) condemned by the Catholic Church:

2. A common conservative or ‘trad’ objection is that we should acknowledge Vatican II and Francis as something like wayward authorities. Even though they impose universal errors upon us, we should ignore them until a future traditional pope arrives to fix the situation. This position has also been condemned by the Catholic Church:
Vatican I, Session IV, Chapter 3, No. 2
Pope Leo XIII: Epistola Tua (1885)
Pope Leo XIII: Est Sane Molestum (1888)
Pope Pius XII: Mystici Corporis (1943), No. 41

3. Answers to common questions arising as a result of sedevacantism:

4. I was personally astonished to discover how many times, and with such great force, the popes and saints condemned the errors of Vatican II (please email me for a detailed list of these teachings). In reflecting on the reason why I did not learn these teachings in seminary, it became evident that the academic program for priests has taken great care to remove certain aspects of the previous magisterium, saints, and doctors of the Church because they are not in conformity with Vatican II. This is the principal reason why I am currently seeking additional formation at Most Holy Trinity Seminary.

[italics in original; links added]

Deo gratias!

May God bless Mr. DeSaye and grant him great perseverance in his beautiful vocation! May his conversion give courage to those souls who are also pondering making this big step but for one reason or another are reluctant to do so.

“Being confident of this very thing, that he, who hath begun a good work in you, will perfect it unto the day of Christ Jesus” (Phil 1:6).

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