My Dear Brothers,
My Dear Brothers,
I am writing this letter to you at the direct request of Archbishop Joseph A Vellone, Metropolitan-Archbishop of the North American Old Roman Catholic Church – Utrecht Succession, Archdiocese of California.
It has come to Archbishop Vellone’s attention that several clergy of the Archdiocese of California have been circulating messages to others of the clergy, stating that the Archbishop is so enfeebled in mind and body that he no longer has any control of his mind, his mental faculties, his perception or decision making abilities and that they have been placed in a position that they have taken control of the Archdiocese from him. They have told people that they should disregard any and all statements, pronouncements, decrees decisions, suspensions and the like that emanate from the Archbishop. Please allow me to set the record straight. Archbishop Vellone indeed is suffering a decrease in his physical prowess as is to be expected of a man entering the later years of life, a stage that if God gives us all a life of similar number of years, we too shall endure. HOWEVER, while his physical stature may be diminishing, his mental ability, competence and comprehension of what is taking place in his life and all around him has not diminished a single iota. He has asked me to make this statement for him for one reason, and for only one reason, he is not connected to the electronic media communications systems such as email, texting, the Internet, etc. It is for this reason and only for this reason that you have not heard from him directly but through others, such as myself, Bishop Castaneda, Canon Raphael, etc. Archbishop Vellone is very much capable of making his mind known and making his own decisions as can be attested to by his Medical Care personnel, Canon Raphael Villareal and Father Thomas Dowling who have visited with him personally, by Bishop Castaneda and myself who are in regular telephone communication with him.
The clergy who have been orchestrating this “coup” by usurping the Archbishop’s authority and jurisdiction have done so for their own ulterior motives. They opposed the reunion of our two jurisdictions because they feared that their nefarious plots would come to light. They claim that it was the reunion of the two jurisdictions that caused them to take the actions they have done. The proof of their dishonesty is seen by the dates of the changes that they made to the civil corporation of the Archdiocese behind the back of Archbishop Vellone and without his knowledge. M J Logsdon has seized control of the Archdiocese’s corporation since 2012 and Archbishop Hernandez has placed his own name as Archbishop for California and CEO of the corporation since 2017, long before the reunion was being contemplated. What is clear however is that these persons have been planning their coup for many years now. The Reunion was a very real threat to their underhanded and dishonest dealings and they were afraid of being found out. Thus they had to oppose it by any and all means possible. Their undoing however has been their complete and total lack of proper theological (seminary) training. Their actions were theologically and canonically scurrilous and invalid, and once anyone with even a modicum of theological knowledge would happen to come along, their plans would be revealed for what they were and so would they themselves. They have misrepresented the reunion in terms of their own paranoia and have attempted to scuttle any possibility of it being accepted or of allowing their “power” slip through their hands and back into the hands of their only legitimate Ordinary, Archbishop Joseph Andrew Vellone. The reunion did not do away with the Archdiocese of California. It remains as it was, and is now the Western Province of the North American Old Roman Catholic Church, just as the Archdiocese of New York-New England is the Eastern Province of the North American Old Roman Catholic Church. We are ONE CHURCH, TWO PROVINCES, under a SINGLE CONSTITUTION and CODE OF CANON LAW. This frightens the living daylights out of these individuals because now there is a Constitution and Code of Canon Law that they will have to obey and operate under.
Let me make a final clarification here: Archbishop Joseph Vellone is and remains the sole Ordinary and Metropolitan of the Archdiocese of California with full authority and jurisdiction; his decisions are valid and final. He has my continued and unqualified support now and in the days to come. All who attempt to oppose him or to usurp his authority will face his full punitive response and that of my authority as both the Primate of the Church, and as a true friend of Archbishop Vellone. Archbishop Vellone has appointed Bishop Ivan Castaneda as his Vicar General in accordance with the Code of Canon Law. He has appointed Father Thomas Dowling as the Chancellor of the Archdiocese of California in accordance with the Code of Canon Law. These appointments have been made by Archbishop Vellone, and they are valid and final. Archbishop Vellone has also issued suspensions to Bishop Michael Goddard, Archbishop Chris Hernandez and to Bishop Vasquez. There is very likely another suspension forthcoming in the very near future. The reasons for these suspensions (specific charges and names will not be published here) have been for proven and just causes which include but are not limited to: usurpation of titles and authority never canonically granted, failure to correct abuses by the clergy when notified of them, conduct unbecoming of a cleric, actions contrary to the Doctrine, Discipline and Worship of the North American Old Roman Catholic Church, exercising Holy Orders in a church not in communion with the North American Old Roman Catholic Church, disobedience and obstinacy in the face of directives from the Ordinary of the Diocese, sexual misconduct by a cleric, just to mention a few of the charges. Archbishop Vellone desires that it be clearly known and understood that these Suspensions are indeed Valid, True and Canonical. These Suspensions issued by the authority of Archbishop Vellone are upheld by me and by the College of Bishops of the North American Old Roman Catholic Church. Any cleric of whatever rank or office who disregards them or fails to obey and abide by them, will bring further condemnation and canonical penalties including the penalty of deposition and degradation from the clerical state upon themselves. “He that hath ears to hear, let him hear”. Matthew 11: 15
In Nomine Christi,
Archbishop Edward J. Ford, T.O.R., S.T.D.