Robert McKenna

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Ordination history of
Robert McKenna
Priestly ordination
Episcopal consecration
Consecrated byGuerard des Lauriers
DateAugust 22, 1986
Episcopal succession
Bishops consecrated by Robert McKenna as principal consecrator
J. Vida ElmerJuly 2, 1987
Richard F. BedingfeldDecember 17, 1987
Oliver Oravec[citation needed]October 21, 1988[citation needed]
Francis SlupskiMay 20, 1999
Geert Jan StuyverJanuary 16, 2002
Donald J. SanbornJune 19, 2002
Robert L. NevilleApril 28, 2005

Robert Fidelis McKenna, O.P. (8 July 1927 – 16 December 2015) was an American bishop and former Roman Catholic priest of the Dominican order. He was known for his traditionalist Catholic positions and was an advocate of sedeprivationism. He was also known from the Fox TV-movie The Haunted, which is about the Smurl haunting where McKenna conducted two exorcisms.


He was ordained a Catholic priest for the Dominican Order in 1958 by Cardinal Amleto Giovanni Cicognani. After the Second Vatican Council, while working as a translator and scientific researcher for his religious Order, he became increasingly concerned with the ramifications of the Vatican reforms, and finally removed himself from those in his Order with whom he felt he could no longer associate in good conscience. He continued as a Dominican priest while joining other priests in the Orthodox Roman Catholic Movement (O.R.C.M. or ORCM), a traditionalist Catholic organization founded by Father Francis E. Fenton that represented itself as preserving authentic Catholicism from what its members viewed as radical modernist changes in doctrine and liturgy. The ORCM still exists as a corporation for legal purposes, but has long ceased to be used to represent a religious organization. As early as his October 1985 issue of Catholics Forever, Father McKenna referred to his involvement historically as "in ORCM days".

Fr. McKenna was consecrated a bishop on August 22, 1986 in Raveau, France by Mgr. Michel Guerard des Lauriers, O.P, one of the bishops consecrated by Archbishop Pierre Martin Ngô Đình Thục without papal mandate.[1]

Bishop McKenna also consecrated Rev. Donald Sanborn as Bishop; Bishop Sanborn, who has his seminary in Florida, also works with Bishop Dolan and Fr. Anthony Cekada in West Chester, Ohio at St. Gertrude the Great.

Bishop McKenna retired from his duties at Our Lady of the Rosary Chapel in Monroe, Connecticut due to health concerns. He resided in Michigan until his death.

Public stand[edit]

Since being consecrated a bishop, McKenna had been one of the main promoters of the Cassiciacum Thesis developed by his consecrator, which states that the papal claimants since Paul VI have not been true popes due to their public heresies, but have only been papa materialiter. According to McKenna, by teaching that men have a "natural right" to worship as they see fit, the successors of John XXIII have attempted to put the heresy of ecumenism in place of Catholicism. Referring to this heresy as "a spiritual insanity," he wrote in, On Keeping Catholic:

Now while the Popes of Vatican II, including the present Benedict XVI, can function on the purely natural level in running the Church as an organization or legal corporation, they have on the supernatural level - in view of their spiritual madness - no divine authority to speak for the Church as the Mystical Body of Christ or to govern the faithful in His name; no power, that is to say, to function precisely as the Vicar of Christ for so long as this insanity continues. They and the bishops under them, blindly following them, are lacking the jurisdiction they would otherwise have under normal circumstances. We must simply ignore them and carry on as best as we can without them.[2]

Concerning the bishops who are in union with Rome, McKenna published a similar view in 1980:

Practically all bishops who are not definitely heretics are at least gravely suspect of heresy by reason of the sacrilegious outrages they have tolerated in their dioceses. As a consequence, they have either lost their jurisdiction or possess a very doubtful jurisdiction, and Canon Law itself expressly supplies priests jurisdiction in such cases.[3]

Although he is sometimes classified as a sedevacantist or a sedeprivationist, McKenna considered himself to be a Catholic bishop just dealing with the Church crisis of the present day.


Bishop McKenna was also a noted exorcist[according to whom?] and worked closely for many years with Religious Demonologist Dave Considine and Fr. Rama Coomeraswamy M.D. While performing exorcisms is not in itself noteworthy for a Catholic priest, some of his cases were also investigated by psychic researchers such as the Warrens, and some of his cases have been sensationalized against his wishes.[according to whom?] He attempted exorcisms in the Smurl haunting case, which case was described in various books and in the Fox TV-movie The Haunted.[4][5] Another exorcism he performed in 1985 in Warren, Massachusetts was featured in the Boston Herald and later recounted by the same reporters in the book Satan's Harvest.[6] Furthermore, he believes that "the official establishment does not believe in the devil ... but the devil believes in them. They do not believe, and when they do, they don't want to get involved."[7]


Bp. McKenna died at the age of 88 on December 16, 2015.[citation needed]


  1. ^ Edward Jarvis (2018). Sede Vacante: the Life and Legacy of Archbishop Thục. Apocryphile Press. Berkeley CA. pp. 109-111 ISBN 1949643026
  2. ^ Rt. Rev. Robert McKenna. "On Keeping Catholic". Archived from the original on 2016-03-04. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  3. ^ Fr. McKenna, OP. "Common Law and Common Sense". The Angelus. Archived from the original on September 28, 2007. Retrieved 2006-05-20. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  4. ^ "The Smurls". The Warrens. Archived from the original on 2008-03-11. Retrieved 2008-03-16.
  5. ^ Robert Curran (1988). The Haunted: One Family's Nightmare. St. Martin's Press. ISBN 0-312-01440-6.
  6. ^ Michael Lasalandra (1990). Satan's Harvest. Dell. ISBN 0-440-20589-1.
  7. ^ Chris Wright (June 20–27, 2002). "The Fright Club". Boston Phoenix. Archived from the original on 2005-11-23. Retrieved 2006-05-20. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)

Audiovisual material[edit]