From Whence the AmChurch Name Comes and its Dictionary

meat grinder photoIn the wake of John Paul II’s celebrity and the tide of hope Pope Benedict brought to many who long for plain chant, reverence, and clear succinct catechetical materials, there is a creature of machinery long forgotten. This beast of a machine used to present itself as the future of the Church, progressing headlong into a world of Carole King songs (or at least bad knockoffs of John Denver) at offertory, women priests, detente over sexual aberrations, greet your neighbor in the pew worship space, social justice, and no more confession. Behind the cries of “Common Ground” and seamless garments, this machine rent asunder the sacraments, hymns that reverence God, and anything resembling the liturgy of the Roman church since Trent. Because it had been 10 years, many have forgotten or never knew what it was like to have your parish destroyed by the priest who was supposed to be an “alter Christus.”

This Beast is the AmChurch.

Back in the 1990s there was a different feel in the pews of American parishes in many places. For one thing, if you believed that the Blessed Sacrament was the real presence of the body, blood, soul, and divinity of Jesus Christ, you were likely scoffed at and corrected. In many places, the priest and the chancery would be engaged in an outright assault on the major points of Catholicism: literally, prayer, belief in the saints, grace, use of the sacraments, let alone belief in them as channels of supernatural power, were destroyed. Nothing supernatural was acknowledged. Mass itself was reduced to an expression of community and channeling good feelings. This destruction didn’t happen through laziness or chance. Rather, there was a systematic effort by some in the Church to do this. Over the years, this anti-church de facto “other church” operating within the very walls of Catholic parishes, dioceses, and seminaries to destroy Catholic beliefs.

I’ve commented before that I was told as a young man by an unnamed bishop that the Blessed Sacrament was nothing more than a symbol of community. This same expression was echoed in religion class and by general sentiment. This is not hyperbole or exaggeration. People with apparent, or real, authority to teach the Catholic faith said these things. Today, more people recognize this as a heresy. Hopefully, the day will arrive again in America where all people who call themselves Catholics recognize the blatant heresy in denying the actual effects of the Blessed Sacrament. Today, though, people forget about this rough torn beast that slouches towards anything traditional in the church to devour it.

I could go on and on. The religion book I was given to learn catechism referenced God with lower case letters and lead one to believe that God was not a person, but a force representing the kind acts community can make when caring for the poor. I, again, need to remind that I am in no way exaggerating — rather, if anything, I am softening the reality. Instead of teaching that confession is a merciful sacrament that lets you hear with your own ears “I absolve you of your sins,” I heard from people entrusted to teach the faith with authority that it was possible to confess bad feelings anywhere. Sin was not taught. Sin to the beast is nothing you do personally, rather, it is institutional errors like racism, sexism, poverty, and other things that are common Marxist targets of divisiveness. People forget that this stuff used to be shoved into the face of people in the pews constantly.

I recall once going to a Franciscan parish in Cincinnati during a Sunday in lent. It had been wreckovated — however, they still had a statue of St. Francis located somewhere in the garden, and around which they’d have the pet blessing. The holy water fonts had been filled with sand. In the center aisle of this very large church had been placed a life sized cross. Mass proceeded as you’d expect, the priest told everyone to greet each other, and he walked down into the pews and did so himself. Then, as if inconvenienced, he gave some effort to say prayers and do the readings. At the homily, he dutifully left the circle of a area up front and walked among the pews, speaking of lent as a time to eradicate sinful structures from the world. Then, he pulled a sign that said “sexism” out and proceeded to nail, physically with a hammer and nail, the sign to that cross. On the cross already hung signs saying “racism” and others. You get the point — we don’t sin — society does. That’s the beast!

Back in those days, there wasn’t the wide reach of the internet, however. There was internet relay chats, some Catholic websites with forums, and private bulletin boards as well as some on AOL. Most people never read those, though. You didn’t have a cell phone with a camera that could take instant evidence. Finding people who knew the problems and knew true Catholic faith was difficult. Made more so by pastors that cancelled prayer groups, would label criticism as divisive, or otherwise destroy any group that held some semblance of Catholic faith. The beast doesn’t like competition.

the-wanderer-january-28-2010-golisano-chump-change-articleYour only wellspring back then was underground in many archdiocese. A Latin Mass, a marian prayer group, or a Catholic bookstore. Then, for sanity’s sake, there was a newspaper that called it like it was: The Wanderer. Often traded like contraband out of the sight of the pastor, this newspaper was your connection to the rest of the real Catholic world. It carried the wednesday audience. It had reports of papal activity and teaching. It had analysis of Catholic topics that could be relied upon. If you were really lucky, you’d get cassette tapes of Catholic talks from groups like Keep the Faith with its weekly programs sent by mail. If you didn’t directly subscribe, these tapes were traded and handed around like treasures. It was like gold — a river of honey.

There, in that crucible of hiding underground, the term “AmChurch” was born. It is a term that refers to the apparent schismatic church that had destroyed Catholicism in the United States. Literal destruction — of lives and of sacred things. Again, I am not exaggerating. Jackhammers being taken to a marble high altar and communion rail is literal destruction. Emptying souls of the knowledge of grace and denying them reconciliation through sacramental confession is destruction. This thing needed a name. It got it from one of three people: either Paul Likoudis, Al Matt, or Frank Morriss. Have no doubts, though, despite what this page on angelfire claims, the term was not invented by Malachai Martin in the book Windswept House. No, that book was pubished in February of 1998. The year prior, in 1997, Paul Likoudis had written in The Wanderer an article titled “Planning For The Millennium: Where Is The ‘Amchurch’ Heading?” In that article, Paul reported:

“In March, Chicago will play host for the Great Lakes Pastoral Ministry Gathering’s 21st annual conference, “Come Feast at the Table,” a three-day event for parish leaders featuring leading “Amchurch” reformers, such as John Buscemi, Richard Sparks, Pat Livingston, et al.”

To readers of The Wanderer, the term was already a decade old. It’s not clear from my memory who among the three named above coined the term, though.

I’ve been using the term “AmChurch” and it has become apparent that a lot of people today don’t know the history of this term and the specific nuances of it. When I use it, I mean to import a twenty+ year history of usage into it, with all the connotations and discussion from those twenty years into this term today.

You’ll see around the internet that some claim the term to be used only by traditionalists and schismatics as a derogatory. It was a name for a heretical machine of destruction — of course it is derogatory! Are we supposed to cuddle our destroyer?

Similarly wrongheaded is the charge that schismatics use the term only. Nonsense. They didn’t invent it. Most of the schismatics have been sterile. All they can do is throw labels around blindly. (I chuckle whenever I get called a “neotrad” on SSPX sites. They have no idea what they are saying.).

You’ll see people marginalize traditional beliefs a lot. That’s a tactic of AmChurch. If tradition is part of the Magisterium, and traditionalists refers to people who wish to uphold the traditions of the Catholic Faith, then is it not derogatory to refer to them as marginal interests? That’s what AmChurch did that regular people today don’t realize: marginalize traditions in the Church. They’ve inverted what we ought to extol. That’s how AmChurch works — it is a master machine of Saul Alinsky tactics.

You’ll see a spurious reference occasionally, such as this one by Fr. Dwight Longenecker. There, he uses the term but in a way ignorant of the term’s history. AmChurch is not a reference to the entire Catholic Church in America. Rather, it is specific to the machine that calls Mass a “Celebration around a Table”, and denies that the miracles in the Gospels are real. It is heretical. Thus, it is not the Catholic Church. It is an interloper. Fr. Hardon used to refer to heretics that claim to be devout as “pious heretics.”  If AmChurch claimed anything close to piety, something they avoid even mentioning, then we could have called it that, a pious heretic. It isn’t, though. It is a sanitized, whitewashed, secularized meat grinder. It needs its own name.

beast photoI’m still working on a good definition of it. It was headed by noted persona – a nomenklatura of sorts. Cardinals Mahoney and Bernadin, as well as Archbishop Pilarczyk (the erstwhile head of ICEL, which brought you the inane psalm translations used in American liturgy today, as well as the now defunct Mass translations that desacralized the very language of Mass). Others along the way, such as Rembert Weakling and his rainbow triangle on his miter, as well as his rainbow sash is a great example. AmChurch has this strange homosexual bent. It is also rife with pedophilia. Whatever else it is, it is not Catholic. It just claims that it is. Paul Likoudis authored the book Amchurch Comes Out in 2002 that was a compilation of articles on it from over the years. (I’m looking for my copy to perhaps answer the mystery in this post). In his articles of the past, he tied much of the homosexuality and pedophilia connections into AmChurch.

The point is, for today, to get it straight that the term AmChurch has a specific history. It refers to a specific heretical machine. It is rearing it’s head again. Even Rorate Coeli has brought back their samizdat moniker to define the revisionist and forced deletion of Monsignor Pope’s article. That’s how AmChurch works:  it destroys voices critical of it.

It is like a beast of Daniel’s apocalypse, or the beast of the apocalypse.  It is a beast. It is not Catholic, and it destroys.  Have no doubts – it’s not done.  It didn’t evaporate in the 2000s. It appears it’s just changed its wardrobe and vocabulary a little in order to hide better today — apparently among an ignorant populace.

Below, I have pasted a file I’ve had since 1996 at least that came from an old email newsgroup. I am not able to tell who wrote it from my copy. But, this kind of thing used to get photocopied and stuck in the middle of The Wanderer copies at the back of Church, or circulated at Marian prayer cenacles. It is 90s humor.


A mistranslated term from Vatican II’s Sacrosanctum Concilium used to excuse using the laity for readings, distributing Holy Communion, handling the sacred vessels and other tasks once reserved for the priest as well as creating the need for “cantors” to lead tone-deaf congregants into bellowing so loudly that no one can pray.

A gender-neutral term replacing “altar boys”, employed by Modernists to ease the entry of females serving at Mass.

[JBM note:  Pilarczyk was the first to do this, in Cincinnati in 1984 or 5. When challenged, many recall him to have stated in the diocesan newspaper:  “I don’t care what Rome says, I will make the Pope approve altar girls.]

A misleading reference to the Last Supper, used to support the de-sacralization of Holy Mass, justifying the destruction of traditional altars and robbing the Mass of its sacrificial meaning, reducing it to a mere “meal”.

Adjective employed when a new church or church renovation is completed. It is first used by the pastor or a parish employee to describe the empty, barren look of the church building and repeated incessantly until every parishioner is chanting it with them, making its usage a common groupthink tactic. A similar technique is used in the children’s story, The Emperor’s New Clothes.

Disgraced fundraising initiative of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, used to finance leftist causes, many of them pro-abortion and pro-homosexual in nature. Many dioceses have dropped the annual collection.

[Readers should recall that your Bellarmine Forum’s Stephanie Block was the leading force of exposing CCHD in The Wanderer and Wanderer Forum Foundation publications.]

Can be applied two ways: 1) A term of appeasement used to make leftist parishioners think that they are running the show, or, 2) A practice used by uninterested priests to actually allow parishioners to run the show.

A type of meeting where the decisions have already been made, but giving the appearance of letting the parishioners decide. Most often used when presenting architectural designs for new churches.

Emotion felt by modernist Catholics whenever they see a nun wearing a habit.

Can be used two ways: 1) Condescending term used to diminish the majority and compel them to do what the minority desires; or, 2) An excuse for tolerating sinful “lifestyles” like homosexuality or living together outside of marriage.

Valid term used pejoratively to attack any Catholic who follows the Catechism and believes that there are laws and rules that must be obeyed. [JBM: cf. “Traditionalists” in the article above]

Selling out one’s beliefs and standards to attain false unity with Protestants. The term is also beginning to find usage to indicate such unity with pagan religions.

Almost always used without the article “the”. Instead of saying, “You should receive the Eucharist” the modernist will say, “Come to Eucharist”. When parishioners are invited to “come to Eucharist”, no mention is ever made of the necessity of being in a state of grace. Also used as a substitute for the term “Mass.”

Normalizing term for Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion (EMHC). Even though canon law teaches that the priest is the ordinary minster of the Eucharist, and EMHC’s are only to be used in the case of a shortage of priests or when congregations would take too long to receive Holy Communion because of their size, the use of such ministers has become the norm in most parishes. In order to keep these ministers placated and busy, Communion under both species has also been introduced as a norm.

[JBM note: The regular use of Eucharistic Ministers every Sunday, as if it was a dire emergency, was quashed plainly by Rome in 1997 – see this doc on the Vatican website  but AmChurch could care less what Rome says].

Used in place of “Parish.” Also used to describe Protestant churches.

Originally a term describing an individual’s choice to either serve God or himself, it is often used by modernist priests to convince potential penitents that their mortal sins are “nothing to worry about”, so long as somewhere inside they desire to serve God. This misuse was condemned by the Holy See in Persona Human (1975).

Term used to denounce any Catholic who uses critical thinking ability. This term is especially popular with non-Bible-readers who believe that the entirety of Holy Scripture can be summed up in two words: “judge not.” A favorite defense for people who have no rational argument for whatever wrongdoing they persist in. See Dogmatic.

An “expert” on how to change the Mass. Usually carries an impressive-sounding degree from a University that once taught the Catholic faith.

Another de rigeur link in the diocesan bureaucracy, used to bully traditional churches into renovating or consulted by young parishes for advice on the design of a new church. This “expert” usually collects a generous fee for advising traditional churches how to destroy their interior and re-work the church into a bland “worship space” or advising parishes building new churches how to build their temples of emptiness from the ground up. Some famous examples are Fr. Richard Vosko and former priest Rod Stephens, who used his income to pay for foreign vacations with his male companion.

Used to obliterate the term “Mass.”

Used to justify absurd deviations from the General Instructions of the Roman Missal.  Often dressed in the clothes of multiculturalism and preference for the poor. The appeal was that this local community had peculiar needs (that were more important than the white man’s Roman imposition). NEVER used to permit latin Mass for that community’s special traditions and needs.

Term used to name busybody activities and groups that replace prayer devotions, adoration, or productive living in society.

Popular term used to describe the deconstruction of Catholic practice, belief and discipline since Vatican II. For a better understanding, again read The Emperor’s New Clothes.

Describes the emotions of modernist Catholics when they see any traditional church with a centrally located tabernacle or a communion rail or both. Also describes their reaction to hearing any traditional hymns that are not in the Glory and Praise hymnal.

New term used with intent to erase “Protestant” from the English language. The goal is to obliterate any differences with Protestant congregations in the pursuit of false ecumenism.

Layperson hired to run parish while priest is absent. Especially prevalent in dioceses where seminaries have worked to eliminate new vocations. Relegates visiting priests to being mere sacramental ministers with all the dignity of being hired by a temp service.

Fluffy statement of gobbledygook used to appease diocesan bureaucrats. Usually begins with phrases like, “We are the people of God…”

Diocesan program for couples seeking sacramental marriage, almost always requiring hefty registration fee. Often involves several hours of listening to inane speakers spouting platitudes or attempting to sell their goods and services for your wedding. It’s original intent was to reduce the number of divorces, but with Catholic divorce rates as high as every other denomination now, the program is a proven failure.

Pejorative used to describe the way the Church functioned before the “New Springtime” implemented by the disciples of Vatican II. Most people who use this term have never read the Vatican II documents. Also used pejoratively to describe traditionalist Catholics.

Acronym for “Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults”. A program used to replace private instruction in the faith, it usually consists of a series of classes that must be attended by adults with little or no catechetical instruction who wish to be baptized or confirmed. In many parishes, it has devolved into a series of “feel-good” seminars that gloss over basic Catholic teachings, and is often taught by a “Director of Religious Education” who is almost never a priest.

An outdated sacrament that no one wants to go to and no priest wants to hear. The name has been changed from “Confession” and it is offered in many parishes for 15 minutes on Saturday afternoon to satisfy the “dogmatic kooks” who insist that they still need to go.

Brainwashing seminar used to help catechists and CCD teachers “get their minds right” so that they will not even attempt to pass on the teachings of the Church.

May refer to the program itself or the process of destroying tradition through a series of small group exercises, bible studies, or committees whereby a preselected leader guides the groups to a progressive outcome.

Term used by diocesan bureaucrats and AmChurch enthusiasts to justify the destruction of any Church that looks Catholic.

JBM:  I prefer “Wreckovation” — another term that spawned from decades of reading The Wanderer.

Pejorative used to describe any Catholic who believes and follows what the Church teaches.

Ideological term coined by Cardinal Bernardin that hoodwinked Catholics into thinking they could be excused for voting for pro-abort politicians if they supported other areas of “life” like ending all warfare, increasing welfare, etc..

Code term for encouraging Catholics to vote for all Democratic Party candidates.

A shakedown system used to generate income, made necessary by the decline in tithing which came as a result of a) reduced Mass attendance after the introduction of the “new Mass” and b) reduced sense of responsibility with the decline of Catholic identity. There are also Stewardship Conferences, where hours are spent teaching the faithful that the local parish needs one’s time, talent and treasure. Forget time and talent. In most cases, all they really want is the treasure.

Protestant Term used to supplant “Mass.” Also used to de-emphasize the sacrificial nature of the Mass.

Allegedly the most important quality possessed by Jesus Christ. See Diversity.

The unrelenting emotion felt by modernists and AmChurch disciples when they learn of any Traditional Latin Mass being offered anywhere.

The 21st Ecumenical Council of the Catholic Church, whose name is invoked for any act of departure from Catholic belief, teaching and tradition, including misuse of laity during Mass, Mass facing the people, Mass in the vernacular, Holy Communion in the Hand, ugly and empty church architecture, etc.. Of course, Vatican II never called for any of these things, but telling any modernist know-it-all about Vatican II is a waste of breath. Showing them the documents is also pointless, because any text that is more complex than a Danielle Steele novel is too much for them and their decisions are based on subjective feelings anyway.

The excuse given for doing things that were never called for by Vatican II. The only way to deal with this “spirit” is exorcism.

A window-dressing program designed to show concern for young people and protect them from the criminal actions of bad priests by treating the laity like criminals.

Term used when a reporter from The Wanderer, The Remnant, or any other media uncovers the misdeeds of any bishop, priest or parish employee.

New term for any place where liturgy is celebrated (Mass is offered). When constructing new churches or renovating (destroying) old ones, it is critical that this space be open and bare, in order to conform to the vapidity of the “Spirit” of Vatican II. Also used as excuse for offering Mass outside of Catholic sanctuaries in places such as parks, sports fields and Protestant churches.

Photo by Dennis Burger

Photo by The British Library

Photo by The British Library

This article, From Whence the AmChurch Name Comes and its Dictionary is a post from The Bellarmine Forum.
Do not repost the entire article without written permission. Reasonable excerpts may be reposted so long as it is linked to this page.

John B. Manos

John B. Manos, Esq. is an attorney and chemical engineer. He has a dog, Fyo, and likes photography, astronomy, and dusty old books published by Benziger Brothers. He is the President of the Bellarmine Forum.
  • ‘We must fear that terrible beast, self love; it is a serpent with seven heads which intrudes itself everywhere. There is nothing which frightens me more and puts me more on my guard against the impulses of my heart, lest they be prompted by it.’

    St. Paul of the Cross

  • ‘Without sanctifying grace it is not possible to refrain long from mortal sin.’

    St. Thomas Aquinas

    And if, as it appears, the AmChurch doesn’t believe in either, never talking about hell or sin or the need for confession … I’ve no words. There’s a lot of ‘cleaning up to do’ isn’t there? I pray for holy perseverance.

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