Following the posting of The ‘gospel truth’ according to ‘Father’ Paul Symonds to our website I received the following email on 5 April 2007 –
Dear Mr Andrews,
Just as a matter of accuracy, I should inform you that Fr Paul Symonds is no longer a Jesuit priest. He resigned some time ago from the Jesuits and is now a “diocesan” priest. In other words, he is a priest now under the authority of a bishop within a diocese, rather than a priest under the authority of an Order. This is a very significant difference in status which you may wish to reflect in a revised version of the currently inaccurate article you are running on your website.
I do hope you won’t mind this correction. The truth matters.
With love in Christ,
This was my reply of 6 April 2007 to that email –
Thank you for your email and I should be very grateful if you would confirm to me the source of the information that you have sent to me concerning your assertion that Paul Symonds has resigned from the ‘Society of Jesus’.
I am most willing to update any ‘out of date’ information contained in any article but naturally need to be certain that any such ‘update’ is grounded in fact.
You are quite correct when you wrote ‘truth matters’ and of course when it comes to ‘gospel truth’ the question of whether or not Paul Symonds is or is not still a Jesuit will not affect or alter the main thrust of this article which is to identify the false ‘gospel’ of Roman Catholicism that sadly Paul Symonds is wedded to.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Your servant for Christ
‘Take Heed’ Ministries
PS I should add that at the time that Paul Symonds was denying to me that he was a Jesuit [in the run-up to the public debate] he was also affirming to a neighbouring Protestant minister that he was a Jesuit.
I received a reply to my email on 6 April and herewith are the relevant extracts
Thanks for your email. I totally agree about ‘Gospel Truth’. I learned about Paul Symonds’s departure from the Society of Jesus from friends in the area where he is now a parish priest. It was much talked about a year or more ago when it took place…There are many, like me, who trust Take Heed because it is based on fact. I say that knowing that you agree whole-heartedly on the importance of truth
Thanks for your email. God bless.
This was my reply of 7 April 2007 to that particular email
Many thanks for your follow-up email and be assured that I will act upon what you have told me – I just need to reflect on things and seek the Lord’s guidance as to the best way to attach and phrase what you have passed on to me.
Unlike a certain gentleman in Rome I make no claims of ‘infallibility’ and unlike that same certain gentleman in Rome I am not above correction and I am truly grateful to the Lord for the many of His people like yourself who keep me abreast of what is happening ‘in the field’.
- Your servant for Christ
- Cecil Andrews
In the light of this information, which I have absolutely no reason to doubt, I would reaffirm that it in no way negates any of the historical facts or judgments contained in my original article. In fact it has actually I believe added to the ‘Jesuitical’ intrigue surrounding this whole ‘affair’ – what do I mean by that?
Prior to being ‘posted’ to Ballymena, Paul Symonds had to my knowledge served as an ‘ordinary’ parish priest in 2 other Roman Catholic Dioceses in Northern Ireland – firstly as a priest based in Carryduff [this is where he was based when I asked him to take part in the public debate]and then subsequently in Newtownabbey. As his resignation from the ‘Society of Jesus’ is of such recent vintage obviously his ‘membership’ of that order cannot have been any hindrance to his serving Rome in that capacity of parish priest. So, the question is – why did he choose to resign following his posting to Ballymena?
In the second email to me my ‘informant’ wrote – ‘…It was much talked about a year or more ago when it took place’. That would place the timing of it as probably being around late 2005/early 2006. Is there any significance to that timing? Well, as Max Bygraves[older UK readers will recognise this name of a much loved entertainer of the post-war era] used to say ‘let me tell you a story’.
On 13 August 2005, following a report in the Belfast Telegraph of vandalism to the Roman Catholic Chapel in Ballymena where Paul Symonds was based and of the subsequent ecumenical help he received with the clean-up, I wrote to quite a number of ministers and pastors in that area and herewith are extracts from the letter sent…
Greetings in our Saviour’s precious name. I see from the attached Belfast Telegraph newspaper article that ‘Father’ Paul Symonds is ‘weaving his ecumenical magic’ in the Ballymena area. Not for one second do I condone but utterly condemn the malicious attacks upon the Roman Catholic chapel – attacks that are carried out by people who are as obviously ‘lost’ as the poor souls that are in bondage to the Roman Catholic religion.
Enclosed herewith is a ‘warning’ report on Paul Symonds that I sent to ministers in the Newtownabbey area back in 1999 and it now seems timely to send it on to yourself in order that you may “Take Heed” to this man and may be fully informed about his tactics and theology.
- With all good wishes.
- Your servant for Christ
- Cecil Andrews
That ‘warning’ report that I enclosed with the letter did of course detail the ‘Jesuit credentials’ of Paul Symonds. The question I now ask is this – was it just pure coincidence that Paul Symonds apparently decided to resign from the Jesuits within approximately 6 months or so of my letter and ‘warning’ report being sent out to ministers and pastors in the Ballymena area? That is of course always a possibility but could there be an alternative explanation?
Could it be that whilst carrying out his usual ecumenical ‘overtures’ to churches in the Ballymena area that he was perhaps being ‘challenged’ by some ministers or pastors about his ‘Jesuit credentials’ and was finding that his membership of the ‘Society of Jesus’ was proving to be a stumbling block to his ecumenical endeavours and therefore decided that tactically it would be a good move on his part to resign from that order. Only Paul Symonds [and of course the God of Heaven] know precisely what it was that prompted Paul Symonds, at that particular time and in that particular place, to resign from the Jesuits.
Whatever the explanation for his decision [assuming that it is fact] I would be certain in my own mind that it was not motivated by any doctrinal recanting on the part of Paul Symonds of anything that he publicly affirmed during the debate in Carryduff. If a priest is truly converted, within a reasonable period of time he will either resign or be removed [by the Roman Catholic hierarchy] from the priesthood.
In my original article I referred to the book ‘Far from Rome: Near to God’ that chronicles the testimonies of 50 converted, former Roman Catholic priests and I quoted from the testimony of one former Jesuit priest, Jose Rico.
I want to conclude with another quote from that book and again it is from the testimony of a former Jesuit priest called Victor Affonso. If you have ever watched the excellent video/DVD called ‘Catholicism: Crisis of Faith’ Victor was the contributor who ‘inspirationally’ described the Roman Catholic treatment of the Ten Commandments as ‘crookery’.
Victor was a successful business man in his native India when he heard what he believed at that time to be the call of God and in his own words this ‘led me to leave the world and join the Society of Jesus, a missionary order that promised by its very title, its “Spiritual Exercises” and Constitution to serve Jesus at any cost’
Following his true conversion to Christ, Victor wrote ‘The Roman Catholic hierarchy had requested me to stop teaching because I had publicly admitted that some of their main dogmas and practices were contrary to God’s Word in the Bible, making it a religion separated from the one true church of Jesus Christ. The true church consists of believers who uphold God’s Word without blatant perversions…now my conscience convinced me that in remaining under the Roman Catholic authority or headship, I would be forced to submit to teachings that were false and lies coming from the anti-Christ spirit…These qualities were evident in the Roman Catholic Church during the inquisition and murder of the reformers. The false dogmas have not been changed at all by Vatican II. This Council fully supported Trent in totality…It breaks my heart to leave the Roman Catholic people…May the Lord sovereignly bless them with his truth and set the prisoners free to follow Jesus without compromise’.
In his letter of resignation ’From the Roman Catholic Church and its Jesuit Order’ Victor wrote the following – ‘I, Victor John Joseph Affonso, a disciple and servant of the Lord Jesus Christ, saved by His precious blood…hereby declare my resignation from the membership of the Roman Catholic Church and from its religious order called the Society of Jesus…Henceforth I do not accept the headship of Roman Catholic authorities since they deny the Bible…I hereby renounce all the religious vows taken in the “Society of Jesus” which includes the special “cultic” vow of obedience to the Roman Catholic Pope. I hereby renounce all false vows and consecrations to Mary or to any other departed saint or created spirit that have been performed by me or by anyone else on my behalf, with or without my knowledge’.
That is a letter of resignation from the Jesuits by someone who has truly experienced a genuine conversion to Christ – I would venture to suggest that Victor’s letter of resignation bears little resemblance to any letter of resignation written by Paul Symonds, assuming that he did submit one.
Just as a PS [post-script] to this article on another ‘PS’ [Paul Symonds] I want to share extracts from some encouraging emails that I have received in recent days. The first one came to me on 7 April 2007 as a direct result of the posting of the article on Paul Symonds to our website and it read –
Dear Brother Andrews,
I just finished reading your recent Current Concerns article entitled, “The gospel truth according to ‘Father’ Paul Symonds.” As a former Roman Catholic, I more than appreciate what you’ve taken the time and effort to document. Thank you for continuing to ‘earnestly contend for the faith’ amid the perilous times in which we’re living. May the Lord heartily reward your labour and service to Him.
Your sister in Christ,
The second email actually arrived with me on 30 March 2007, a few days in advance of the posting of the Paul Symonds article to the website but as you read it you will see that it has relevance to this whole subject. It read –
Hello Mr. Andrews!
My name is CL, and I’m a college student attending a school in the United States.
One of my friends wants to do a project on Irish Catholicism, and some of the particular / specific problems Irish Catholics have in regards to accepting the true gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.
I told him that I’m not sure how much different Catholics in Ireland are than Catholics anywhere else–whether that be here, Mexico, Poland, or Italy. Catholicism always runs along family lines, and it’s a very big part of the country’s culture and way of life.
I have never been to Ireland, but I figured that if you have the time, and if you can think of anything particular about Irish culture and how it is so intertwined with Catholicism, I would greatly appreciate it. [Cecil’s comment – I did send a reply that CL felt was very helpful]
Thank you for everything you have done and continue to do in His service. As an ex-Catholic who hails from an extended family that is almost completely engrossed in Catholicism, I can tell you firsthand that everything you do is worthwhile. Don’t stop!
Cecil Andrews – Take Heed’ Ministries – 9 April 2007