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After WorldNetDaily published my obituary
of Dr. Malachi Martin last week, I was contacted by one of his closest
friends and confidants who wanted the opportunity to clear up some
errors and misconceptions about a great Catholic man.

Fr. Charles Fiore, who spoke with me at length over the weekend,
wanted both critics and supporters to know one thing if they knew no
other — that, first and foremost, Malachi was always a fully functional
and — in the eyes of the Church — “legal” priest, as well as an avid
defender of the traditional Catholic Church.

“I want people to know that after 25 years as a Jesuit, Malachi did
in fact receive a special dispensation personally from Pope Paul VI
regarding his status within the Church,” Fr. Fiore said. “That is
perfectly rare, but also perfectly within the rights of the Holy See to
grant.”

“But Malachi also received permission to remain a priest and made
sure he told Paul VI that he desired to keep his vow of chastity so he
could continue his work as a laicized priest,” Fr. Fiore told me.
Malachi still gave Mass, still heard confession, and still was,
in fact, a priest in every sense of the word.

Fr. Fiore, who lives in the Diocese of Madison, Wis., and belongs to
the priestly fraternity of St. Peter, knew Fr. Martin for over 20
years. He worked, by personal request, as an editor for several of
Malachi’s best-selling books, and spoke with him at least weekly. In
fact, he told me he had spoken with Malachi just a week or so before his
death and had discussed, among other things, his newest book — a
nonfiction piece about Vatican power as the Church approaches the third
millennium.

Regarding that book, “Primacy: How the Institutional Roman Catholic
Church Became a Creature of the New World Order,” Fr. Fiore said Malachi
indeed believed it would be “his most controversial and important
work.” However, far from being fiction, the book would have dealt
exclusively “with power and the papacy,” and would have “analyzed the
revolutionary shift in the ancient dogma of primacy that lies at the
heart of what many now see as the first breakdown of papal power in two
millennia.”

In short, it was a book fashioned after one of the things Malachi was
most noted for — his uncanny ability to see through and predict the
hidden geopolitics of the Vatican and its “complex global dealings with
governments and nations.”

“Among his legacies,” Fr. Fiore said, “is a decades-long public
record of predicting the unthinkable and getting it right every time.
Malachi foretold events over the last 30 years that seemed unbelievable
at first, but that in the end changed the lives of generations of men
and women in every quarter of the world.”

“The battle that concerns Martin is the fundamental survival of
belief in God, and the struggle that supersedes our individual faiths is
the one between us and those who would destroy all faiths,” wrote Alan
Caruba of Malachi once for “The Jewish Future.”

“That was Malachi — a traditionalist to the end,” Fr. Fiore said.
There goes that myth.

In fact, what Fr. Martin anguished over the most was the trend away
from centuries-old traditions within the Church, and the disunity among
religions — the latter a frequent subject of our current Holy See, Pope
John Paul II. Fr. Fiore told me — and this was echoed by Malachi
personally when I interviewed him on a radio show in 1997 — that Fr.
Martin could see the trend towards “liberalization” of the Catholic
Church as early as 1964, when Paul VI released him from his vows of
obedience and poverty. And he didn’t like what he saw and
foresaw.

“That was a main reason why Malachi asked to be released,” Fr. Fiore
said. “He knew that as a Jesuit with an ironclad vow of obedience, he
could never speak out against the subversion he saw happening even back
then. He had told Paul (VI) that the change of doctrine contained within
Vatican II and other political changes were against his conscience.”

The rest is, as they say, history. Malachi’s books, as well as his
scholarly writings, all reflect this point of view and were always
uppermost in his mind until his last day. Throughout his commercial
writing career — which amounted to 16 works, many of them bestsellers
– Fr. Fiore said he was continually amazed at the accuracy of his work.

“His last book, ‘Windswept House,’ for example, was 80 percent
factual, by Malachi’s own admission to me,” Fr. Fiore said. “Many of
his works were that accurate.”

That did not earn him praise from every sector of the Church,
however, and Fr. Fiore — a Church traditionalist and often outspoken
critic of Church policies in his own right — knows how cynical and
potentially damaging that can be to a priest. Credibility often became
an issue as forces within and without — interested in maintaining a
“less-than-traditional direction” for the Church — attacked Malachi’s
work as a nonsensical impossibility. But, in reality, they could never
refute it.

So there it is — my corrected epitaph for a man who always put God
first, not religion. My thanks to Fr. Fiore for setting me –
and those who also appreciated, admired and respected Malachi –
straight.

“May the Lord be with you,” Fr. Martin. We’ll miss you.

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