Q. There are many wolves in sheep's clothing, taking aggressive advantage of the remnant who desire only to remain faithful Roman Catholics. Is it a breach of propriety to question a priest concerning his canonical credentials? Do we not need to address the issue of credentials with priests with so many men of questionable validity going about now? C. H. I, Brighton, Tenn.
A. No, it is not a breach of propriety to ask to see a priest's credentials. If he is unable to produce them within a reasonable time, you might write to the diocese where he was ordained or to the religious order from which he comes. Such records are very carefully kept at his place of origin.His baptismal record also would have a notification of ordination. Priests ordained in Canada are not normally found in the U. S. Catholic Directory. Also, priests ordained in Europe and Switzerland by Archbishop Lefebvre. These priests should possess their documents of Ordination to the Priesthood and they should show them to you if you ask for them humbly and sincerely.
There have been several cases in the last few years where lay people have gone about playing themselves off as real priests, saying Mass in Latin, preaching fine sermons, and even hearing confessions. The faithful need to be careful. This column cannot provide you with a list of authentic priests because it would take more time and space than I have. Besides, there are more than I know or could remember!
"So let us be confident, let us not be unprepared, let us not be outflanked, let us be wise, vigilant, fighting against those who are trying to tear the faith out of our souls and morality out of our hearts, so that we may remain Catholics, remain united to the Blessed Virgin Mary, remain united to the Roman Catholic Church, remain faithful children of the Church."- Archbp. Lefebvre 1980