On August 26, of this year, Fr Juan Carlos Gavancho, shortly after giving a sermon, was told to pack up his bags and vacate the rectory of Our Lady of Sorrows in the Archidicoese of Chicago, where he was assistant pastor. Was Fr Juan Carlos Gavancho silenced?
STATEMENT FROM THE ARCHDIOCESE
“Father Juan Carlos Gavancho, a priest originally from the Archdiocese of Chicago who had been serving at Our Lady of Sorrows parish in Santa Barbara since early July, was asked to leave that assignment on August 29 and will no longer be serving in our parish or in the Archdiocese. Contrary to rumors and reports, Father Gavancho was asked to leave not due to the content of his homily on Sunday August 26, but rather because of issues with his interpersonal relationships with parish staff and parishioners. The Archdiocese is providing financial assistance during his transition back to the Archdiocese of Chicago, his home diocese.”
“So, what are we doing now? Where are we going from here? First of all, we must understand one thing. This Church, the Catholic Church, is the Church of Christ. It is the Bride of Christ. St. Paul is right when he said in the letter to the Ephesians, “He has cleansed the Church with His Cross, with His blood.” She is beautiful. We have betrayed her. This is not an abusive church. This is a holy church that has fallen into the hands of abusive, evil men, who are trying to destroy the Church from within, since they couldn’t do it from the outside throughout the centuries.”
“Second, pray. Do sacrifices. Pray the rosary. Come closer to the Lord. Ask the Lord to be part of his flock. Because you will see many wearing cassocks like this, or chasubles like this, many preaching from the pulpits. They are traitors. So you need to have something that in the Catholic Church is called discernment: the capacity to know where is God and where is not. Regardless of it seems like God is here or it seems like God is there. No, no — now you need real discernment, because the Devil has clothed his children with shepherd’s clothing, to make it more difficult to recognize him.”
“Now, what I’m saying might sound very hard for you, and I have to say I’m sorry, but I had to say it. Because I’m sick and tired of seeing my mother the Church being insulted and portrayed as an institution of criminals. Because it’s not. It’s my mother, it’s your mother! The one who gave you eternal life through baptism, who gave you the courage through confirmation, who gives you the Eucharist every Sunday you come. She’s our mother, and we need to help her in these dreadful times. So my dear brothers and sisters again, I have to say this because I am priest of Christ. Many people don’t say that, and I was afraid to say something like that. There are more things I want to say, but I don’t say it because I want to be here next week.”
These are some harsh words, right?
At first glance it does appear that Fr Gavancho was silenced because of the homily, but it is important not to jump to conclusions without proof.
The American conservative includes two updates to the story.
Fr Gavancho Weighs In
In one update, Fr Gavancho denies that he had any problems with Our Lady of Sorrows.
“He denies unequivocally that he had any problems with the parish staff at Our Lady of Sorrows. He says he got along with everyone. He also says that when the Archdiocese of Los Angeles states that it is helping him financially manage this transition, what they mean is they’re paying his hotel bill. He has no insurance, no salary, no severance pay.”
Did Fr Gavancho In Fact Alienate People?
“I just heard from a credible, informed source in one of Father Gavancho’s former dioceses that he — Gavancho — backing up what the former Gavancho parishioner said above: that Gavancho does give solid homilies, but that he was bad with money, and difficult to get along with — even alienating priests and laymen who supported his theological convictions.”
Was the homily just the last straw with a problem priest? If it was the last straw, why would such a homily be a problem?
What specifically about Fr Gavancho alienated him from priests and laity? Was he too strident in his orthodoxy or does he generally have an alienating personality?
It’s hard for those of us who are not parishioners in the parish to weigh in fairly and it’s important to avoid false accusations?
However, it’s important to point out that priests being silenced after “problem” homilies is not a new thing.
A few years ago, Fr Justin Wiley was dismissed from the Archdiocese of NY after a very frank sermon on the suppression of the Latin Mass, which many believed was speaking specifically about Cardinal Dolan’s attempt to close the Church of the Holy Innocents — a church which, offers daily Latin Masses.
So what do you think? Was Fr Juan Carlos Gavancho silenced because of his homily or was he just a problem employee?
Share your thoughts in the comments below.