by Patrick B. McGuigan
OKLAHOMA CITY – The Roman Catholic archbishop of Oklahoma City, Paul S. Coakley, is recipient of a nationwide Award for Outstanding Catholic Leadership.
The designation comes from the Catholic Leadership Institute of Wayne, Pennsylvania. In a press release, the group praised Coakley for organizing peaceful opposition after the municipal government of Oklahoma City permitted rental of space in the tax-supported Civic Center to a a group which sponsored a Satanic ceremony.
The institute’s release said, “He responded to this challenge with steadfast determination, as he and the faithful in the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City stood together against the ‘Black Mass; being held at the City Civic Center. His main weapons were a very effective peaceful procession and holy hour prayer service. In the weeks leading up to the event, Archbishop Coakley’s voice was a rallying cry for his community and for the nation—a voice of truth and strength, but also one of unwavering hope in Christ’s victory over Satan. He also prayed for mercy, calling upon Catholics to trust in the power of the Lord’s grace and to pray for the conversion of those involved.’
Catholics and Christians supported Coakley’s stance, as the controversy garnered worldwide attention.
On the day of the blasphemous service, one Christian pastor told CapitolBeatOK (in a news report first posted worldwide at the website Alteia.org) that he wanted Archbishop Coakley to “know that many of us would be standing with him. Oklahoma City is fortunate to have a man like this. He stood for what is right, and against what is wrong. We want our Catholic brothers and sisters to know we support them in opposing this Satanist event.” (http://capitolbeatok.com/reports/outside-oklahoma-city-black-mass-prayers-and-protest)
Those comments came from Paul Crone, an ordained minister who runs a non-denominational Bible group called The Market Place Minister. He said he emailed churches all over the state, asking people to be supportive of Catholics in Oklahoma City.
“I believe those who are entering to see this service, they still have hope,” Crone said. “The Lord Jesus Christ died for them. He loves them whether or not they accept that sacrifice or that death.”
Catholic Christians from across the United States supported Coakley’s stance, including hundreds from Tradition, Family, Property (TFP) who brought busloads of activists to Oklahoma City for a prayer service Coakley led at St. Francis of Assisi Church a few hours before the Satanic ritual held downtown. TFP members then led prayers at a peaceful rally in front of the Civic Center while the demonic inversion of sacred liturgy took place inside.
Along with other state officials, Commissioner of Labor Mark Costello decried the city government’s decision to permit use of tax-supported facilities for the direct assault on Catholic belief (https://city-sentinel.com/2014/09/are-oklahoma-city-bureaucrats-smarter-than-harvard/). His comments also drew national attention, including in The Oklahoman, The City Sentinel, and on the CapitolBeatOK.com news wewbsite.
The Catholic Leadership Institute said its award each year honors “outstanding leaders who exemplary leadership in the family, workplace, community and Church.”
In his statement, Timothy C. Flanagan, founder of the Catholic Leadership Institute, said, “Catholic Leadership Institute is blessed to honor these outstanding Catholic leaders and Christian witnesses, like Archbishop Coakley for their commitment to living and sharing the Gospel values with passion and humility.”
More information about the institute is available here: http://www.catholicleaders.org.
In comments included in the institute’s press release, Archbishop Coakley (https://city-sentinel.com/2011/04/catholic-leaders-call-respect-for-human-dignity-and-rights-in-immigration-policies/) reflected, “To me faith is really like the air I breathe, the light that illuminates all of my life. It determines the way I look upon the world and understand the world in light of God’s love. Certainly there have been moments of conversion, but my journey of faith has been for the most part not so dramatic, but quite ordinary, and I suspect that is quietly, silently, in a very hidden way that has deepened, grown and matured through the years, and please God has born some fruit and please God will continue to bear fruit.
“I’m so grateful for the gift of the way most people live their faith and have grown in their faith. Faith has been more like a seed-sown faith. And so what does faith mean to me? It means everything. It’s a tremendous gift, a gift for which I’m profoundly grateful.”