Fr. Patrick Fox CM, R.I.P.
A memorial by Fr. Kevin Robinson of the SSPX.
Fr. Patrick Fox CM
23 July 2007, aged 91
Born September 9, 1915, ordained priest 1939, Fr. Fox became professor of Sacred Liturgy and History at Mosgiel Seminary in Dunedin New Zealand, and there taught numerous future bishops of that country.
When I met him in 1983, it was briefly at a Latin Mass he held at my grandfather's house in Thornliegh Sydney Australia. The next year I went once again, and then in late '84 he loaned me some books of Michael Davies about the liturgical revolution in the Catholic Church, and the great role of Archbishop Lefebvre in the Catholic Restoration of Tradition.
I had decided to enter the modern seminary at Manly, Sydney, when Fr. Fox encouraged me to assist at his daily Mass, inviting me to learn to serve. After a few months learning a great deal from him, the seminary (now shut down and moved to much smaller place) rejected my application, saying "you would not be very happy here". I was by then quite keen on the Latin Mass, and found my way to the SSPX seminary in the USA in '85.
To prepare me for that, Fr. Fox taught me to join him in saying the Divine Office in Latin with him for an hour after his early morning Masses, and I had the privilege that year to drive him to his various outback Mass centres around NSW and learn much more. His encyclopedic mind was bursting with Catholic history and scripture and law and liturgy and lives of the saints, all conveyed with true love for God and His holy Church.
He had taught the late Fr. Stephen Abdoo the same way, preparing him for the seminary at Econe a few years earlier. Fr Abdoo was the first SSPX priest who died, killed by a car after one year as a priest, aged 24 in 1987.
He had as a parishioner the famous Mel Gibson, of immortal memory for his dedication to the Latin Mass and the Passion of the Christ movie, the greatest movie ever made. Fr. Fox had to work at one time with Mel's father Hutton, who was secretary of the Latin Mass Society before the SSPX arrived in Australia.
The one burning desire of his life since the Council ended in 1965, was to be loyal to both the Church authorities AND the Tradition in all its fullness. Hence he never celebrated the new English Mass, but was not averse to helping priests distribute Holy Communion at that Mass, until he read a study questioning the validity of the English Mass. He was concerned about the mistranslation that falsifies the key words in the holiest part of the Mass, as if the Blood of Our Lord is shed at MASS for ALL, instead of what Christ said, FOR MANY. He was surely overjoyed that Pope Benedict has ordered this glaring and dangerous error to be corrected in all English Masses.
Father suffered much from fellow priests who thought it their sacred duty to prevent him from keeping available for the faithful the Mass of his ordination in 1939. They had heard Pope Paul in 1976 say the new Mass is compulsory, but they never read the fine print, that he did not legally oblige and never could forbid the Old and Venerable Mass canonised by St. Pius V at the council of Trent.
In vain did he try to convince his beloved brethren that there was no real prohibition on the Mass, and in his latter years he was not allowed even a server at his very private Masses. In other ways he was very grateful for the kindness of his order of Vincentians, who did look after him in so many ways.
I could fill a book with fond recollections of our many adventures together, and marvellous workings of God's grace through this man of God, but this will have to wait.
How greatly would he have rejoiced to read the Motu Proprio of July 7, just 16 days before his death where the Holy Father vindicated dear Fr. Fox, and declared solemnly to the whole world... "Fr Fox is right! This Mass has never been and can never be banned!" So in this same month of that historic decree, and in the octave of his glorious patron St. Vincent de Paul, The very reverend and saintly son of the Church-of-all-times, Patrick Fox, is taken by God to his eternal reward, to the embrace of the Sovereign All-Perfect Lover of souls.
MAY HIS SOUL AND THE SOULS OF ALL THE FAITHFUL DEPARTED, THROUGH THE MERCY OF GOD, REST IN PEACE.....AMEN!
Yours sincerely in Christ,
Fr Kevin Robinson
St. Ignatius Retreat House
209 Tackora Trail
Ridgefield CT 06877 USA
Tel 1(203) 431 0201