On January 7, 2016, Fr. Joseph Pfeiffer gave a sermon in Boston, Kentucky on Ambrose (a.k.a, William) Moran. In this sermon, he responded to some of the propositions made by Fr. Juan Carlos Ortiz in his study entitled “A Theological and Canonical Study on the Case of William Edward Moran-Dolgorouky” (publication retracted). What I found most perplexing in Fr. Pfeiffer’s sermon is that he continues to maintain that Ambrose Moran is Catholic and has never been proven to be otherwise. At 23 minutes & 10 seconds, Father says that Ambrose Moran has been accused of being non-Catholic, but he has never been proven to be non-Catholic. At 31 minutes & 10 seconds, Father says that Ambrose Moran has been accused of being a schismatic Orthodox and yet it has never been proven that he is a schismatic Orthodox. At 49 minutes & 30 seconds, among other things, Father says that Ambrose Moran was accepted as a Catholic priest by the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of Toronto and that it is very clear that he is a Catholic, Catholic, Catholic in good faith. And to say, therefore, that Ambrose Moran is not a Catholic priest is completely false. It is incredible that Fr. Pfeiffer maintains his view that Ambrose Moran was and is Catholic despite the preponderance of evidence demonstrating Ambrose Moran’s schismatic past and that there is no evidence that Ambrose Moran has repented of this schismatic past. In order to do the latter, Ambrose Moran would have to first admit that he had a schismatic past. At 17 minutes and 0 seconds, Fr. Pfeiffer does say that Ambrose Moran made a profession of the Catholic Faith and repudiated Orthodox heresies. This is all good, but the whole of Fr. Pfeiffer’s sermon indicates that Ambrose Moran has not admitted his schismatic past. Therefore, I don’t see how what he did is much different from what I do when I recite the Credo at a Sunday Mass. I cannot, then, agree with Fr. Pfeiffer.
The evidence already published on the Our Lady of Good Success Mission website that demonstrates Ambrose Moran’s schismatic past can be found at the following links (in chronological order of publication):
4. A Theological and Canonical Study on the Case of William Edward Moran-Dolgorouky – Fr. Juan Carlos Ortiz (publication retracted)
In this article, I would like to focus on the time period of 1974 to 1980 to show some of the serious discrepancies that exist between the documents and testimonies available and Ambrose Moran’s claims regarding his priesthood and episcopacy with the end goal of providing an even greater degree of certitude to the reader of Ambrose Moran’s schismatic past.
May 1974 – Ordination Certificate
This is the ordination certificate found in the archives of the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of Toronto and Eastern Canada. Here are the comments of Fr. Bohdan Bilinksy, current Episcopal Vicar of the same Eparchy, regarding this certificate in an official letter to Fr. Juan Ortiz dated November 18, 2015:
“The letterhead is from the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church of Kiev. The signatory, Bishop Nicholas is that of an Orthodox Bishop and not connected with the Catholic (Roman nor Eastern) Church hierarchy.”
Fr. Bilinksy is only stating the obvious, that is, that this ordination does not come from the Catholic Church! Willliam Moran was ordained by a schismatic Orthodox bishop! This certificate, however, was not presented to Fr. Pfeiffer by Ambrose Moran. Why not? It is me, rather, who sent this ordination certificate to Fr. Pfeiffer and Fr. Hewko via e-mail on Thursday October 15, 2015. Ambrose Moran, on the contrary, tells us in this video, at 4 minutes & 50 seconds, that he was ordained a priest by Cardinal Josyf Slipyj in the same year (1974). Not once in that video or in these two videos (one, two), does Ambrose Moran mention his ordination by Bishop Nickolaus Ilnyckjy. Why? So, then, how does Fr. Pfeiffer resolve this discrepancy (he didn’t speak about it in his Jan. 7/16 sermon)? Was William Moran ordained twice in 1974 – once by Bishop Nikolaus Ilnyckjy and once by Cardinal Josyf Slipyj? If he was ordained twice, why was he so? If he was also ordained by Cardinal Slipyj, then where is that certificate of ordination? All we have as evidence of Ambrose Moran’s claim that he was ordained by Cardinal Slipyj is his word. Sorry, but his word is not good enough when it comes to such an important matter.
February 14, 1975 – Letter of Bishop Borecky to William Moran
This is a letter found in the archives of the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of Toronto and Eastern Canada. It was first published here. Here are the comments of Fr. Bohdan Bilinksy regarding this letter in the November 18, 2015 letter mentioned above:
“This is an authentic letter. I cannot explain why Ambrose would request and Bishop Isidor would accept him into the Eparchy for two years and at the same time give him permission to live and study outside the Eparchy i.e. in the US where he would need the local Bishop to give him faculties. HE WAS NOT incardinated into the Eparchy of Toronto and Eastern Canada.”
Fr. Bilinksy, later in the November 18, 2015 letter, emphasizes the following:
“I do, hereby, declare that (Priest, Bishop, Archbishop) Moran IS NOT and NEVER HAS BEEN incardinated into the Eparchy of Toronto and Eastern Canada.
“All his credentials indicate that he is associated with some division of the Orthodox Church. The Catholic Church has no claim on him and he has no Canonical connection with the Catholic Church.”
Regarding this February 14, 1975 letter, Fr. Pfeiffer, at the 49 minutes & 30 seconds mark of his sermon, states that it shows that William Moran is a Catholic because he was accepted as a priest by a Ukrainian Catholic bishop for his eparchy. I object! If the Catholic Church authorities were in their Catholic minds, I would not object. However, we know that since Vatican II the Church authorities have gone mad with ecumenism. Let us remember that Pope Paul VI lifted the excommunication of the ecumenical patriarch of the schismatic Orthodox, Athenagoras I, on December 7 1965. Therefore, the spirit of ecumenism was running high at that time (Pope Paul VI was still alive in 1975). I don’t know for sure, but it may have been that Bishop Borecky himself was caught up in that spirit and that therefore a priest ordained by an Orthodox bishop did not need to formally renounce his Orthodox religion.
Regarding William Moran being incardinated into the Eparchy of Toronto, it is clear that he was NOT incardinated into the Eparchy of Toronto. I emphasize this because I have heard Fr. Pfeiffer repeatedly state that William Moran was incardinated into the Eparchy of Toronto. Even if we don’t take Fr. Bilinsky’s testimony into account, the February 14, 1975 letter itself states the following:
“After this time [a period of two years], a review of your record will be made, and the possibility of incardination will be discussed.”
Fr. Pfeiffer received the February 14, 1975 letter from Ambrose Moran himself several months ago, so I don’t understand why he has repeatedly stated that William Moran was incardinated into the Eparchy of Toronto when the letter states otherwise.
Conclusion: William Moran was accepted as a priest of the Eparchy of Toronto for a period of two years (even though he resided in United States during this time), but he was not incardinated into this eparchy during this time.
1976 – Year of the Episcopal Consecration(s)
Ambrose Moran presented this certificate dated July 1976 to Fr. Pfeiffer as proof of his episcopal consecration by Cardinal Josyf Slipyj. I downloaded this certificate from here. I posted here a strong negative response I received from Don Marco Yaroslav Semehen, Rector of the St. Sophia Basilica where Ambrose Moran was supposedly consecrated a bishop, regarding the authenticity of the certificate. Here, in addition, are the comments of Fr. Bohdan Bilinksy regarding this certificate in the November 18, 2015 letter mentioned above:
“The signatures of Cardinal Slipyj and Bishop Borecky are not congruent with their signatures we have on file. I allege that they are forgeries. The signature of Bishop Dmitri is not familiar to me but Bishop Dmitri was not likely to sign for another.”
This certificate dated September 1976 was the one that Ambrose Moran gave to Bishop Gregory of the Genuine Orthodox Church of America (GOC), which is anti-ecumenical just as Traditional Catholics are, as proof of his episcopacy at the time (2007) Ambrose Moran joined the GOC. Ambrose Moran did not present this certificate to Fr. Pfeiffer; rather, I am the one who provided this certificate to Fr. Pfeiffer on October 17, 2015. This certificate was confirmed authentic by a high-ranking schismatic clergyman of the Holy Protection Cathedral. This clergyman telephoned Ambrose Moran, asked him questions, and was satisfied with his answers. In his January 7, 2016 sermon, at the 51 minutes and 25 seconds mark, Fr. Pfeiffer acknowledges the Orthodox certificate (without saying that it was from the Orthodox), but states that the Catholic one was unable to be thoroughly proven.
Isn’t it interesting that Ambrose Moran was supposedly ordained a priest twice in 1974 and then supposedly consecrated a bishop twice in 1976? Wow! He surely got around!
Conclusion: William Moran was not consecrated a Catholic bishop, but was consecrated a schismatic Orthodox bishop.
August 26, 1976 – (Alleged) Letter of Bishop Borecky to William Moran
This is a letter NOT found in the archives of the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of Toronto and Eastern Canada. This letter was provided by Ambrose Moran to Fr. Pfeiffer several months ago. It was first published here. Here are the comments of Fr. Bohdan Bilinksy regarding this letter in the November 18, 2015 letter mentioned above:
“A copy of this letter is not in our files. The signature on this document is not congruent with other signatures of Bishop Isidore’s that we have on file. I allege that it is a forgery.”
Conclusion: See next section.
June 30, 1980 – Letter of William Moran to Bishop Borecky
This is a letter found in the archives of the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of Toronto and Eastern Canada. It was first published here (go to the Clemens Maria post that starts with “I received a reply from….”). I provided this letter to Fr. Pfeiffer on October 15, 2015, which is the same day that I myself received it from the Eparchy of Toronto. As far as I am aware, Ambrose Moran did not provide this letter to Fr. Pfeiffer. Nonetheless, there are two key points in this letter that I bring to the reader’s attention:
1. William Moran identifies himself as “Fr.” Basil Moran. Hold on a minute! Why does he identify himself as “Father” when he was supposedly consecrated a bishop twice in 1976 (and this while he was continuing his graduate studies as per the February 14, 1975 letter, which is also referenced in this June 30, 1980 letter)? And don’t forget that Bishop Borecky himself, according to Ambrose Moran, co-consecrated him a bishop in July 1976 and provided him a letter dated August 26, 1976 congratulating him for being appointed the successor of Cardinal Josyf Slipyj. It is obvious here that William Moran was NOT consecrated a bishop either by Cardinal Slipyj or Bishop Borecky! Furthermore, this authentic June 30, 1980 letter proves that the alleged August 26, 1976 letter from Bishop Borecky to William Moran is a fake!
2. William Moran writes the following:
“I am writing to inform Your Grace that I have submitted to the jurisdiction of Metropolitan Archbishop Theodosius of the Orthodox Church in America in order to regularize myself finally. I want to express my sincere thanks to you for all your help and kindness in past years.
“As I am in the process of being received into the Orthodox Church in America, a short note from Your Grace would be very helpful….stating that I am of good character….”
By his own words, William Moran here admits that he was joining a schismatic Orthodox church! And yet at 31 minutes & 10 seconds of Fr. Pfeiffer’s January 7, 2016 sermon, he says that Ambrose Moran has been accused of being a schismatic Orthodox and yet it has never been proven that he is a schismatic Orthodox. Incredible!
The June 30, 1980 letter is also some evidence, as in the “February 14, 1975 – Letter of Bishop Borecky to William Moran” section above that Bishop Borecky may have been caught up in the ecumenical spirit of the time. Once again, I don’t know for sure, but William Moran was certainly comfortable asking Bishop Borecky for a letter of recommendation towards joining a schismatic Orthodox church.
Conclusion: William Moran joined a schismatic Orthodox church!
Our Lady of Good Success, pray for us!