Monday, February 06, 2006

Catholics and Kansas - Nuts Falling from the Tree

The Catholic Church has been having an interesting experience in Kansas. The church's presence was small but has been growing since the end of the World War II. The city of Manhattan was lacking in a Catholic church for years but now has three with Sunday mass being packed at all three.

But the Church is being attacked in Kansas and not just from marginal Protestant bigotry (local Fred Phelps is Jack Chick on speed!). The main surprise is that Kansas has caused some Catholics to go crazy.

In a ten mile area there are two separatists groups.

First is David Bawden's group of Sedevacantist who have declared him Pope Michael I. He was elected as an anti-pope (he claims he is THE Pope) by six people including himself and his parents.

There has been very little media attention paid to David. However, he has been interviewed for the book "What's the Matter with Kansas?" When a priest was told David is still running around claiming to be Pope without doing any papal duties, the priest replied "Mike is still around?"

The second group is more international. The town of Saint Marys, Kansas is in all practical ways run by the Society of St. Pius X. Friends have told Catholicgauze that the society in Saint Marys does not care for outsiders and have told stories of hostility at in town restaurants.

The Society was founded by an excommunicated archbishop and former members have a habit of trying to assassinate the pope. Rome has tired several times to bring the group back into communion but the society has backtracked on agreements.


Curmudgeon said...

Speaking as a Catholic from Kansas (OK, from Missouri at the moment, but lately from Kansas), well, we know about Pope Mike, and we know about the SSPX enclave in St. Mary's, but this is the first I've heard of any assasination plots by former SSPX adherents.

Do tell.

And if you're interested in going into more detail about our fair Archdiocese, I've done a bunch of posts on old churches in Kansas City, Kansas, and a little commentary about Topeka. If you've got any detail that I don't, do share it.

Catholicgauze said...

The assassin was a former priest named Juan Maria Fernandez y Krohn (
Senor Fernandez tried to kill Pope John Paul II at Fatima with a bayonet.

That's a lot of nice information on Kansas City and Topeka! I'm just beging my thesis study on the Geography of Catholic Masses. I hope to study how geographical and demographic variables affect Mass style (from "Bells and Smells" to neigh-Baptist college band-choirs).

Currently I only have minor information on churches located near Manhattan but I plan to have more information soon. I will gladly share anything I learn.

Curmudgeon said...

Clarification: The Society wasn't founded by an excommunicated Archbishop. The Society was founded by an Archbishop in good standing who was later declared excommunicated. The excommunication declaration (and I won't bore you with canonical particuarlities, just chronological ones) came about 15 years later.

Catholicgauze said...

True. He was in good standing at first. But you see, I'm way too lazy to properly word it.