A semi-retired Catholic Priest. Lombardy was one of the leading American chess players during the 1950’s, 1960’s and 1970’s. He also made various important appearances after that time frame. Poverty assisted by the grandiose US Chess Federation and made his retirement a forced retirement! He was a close friend, teacher, coach and adviser contemporary of Bobby Fischer, whom he coached from the time Fischer was 11½ years old.[See Biography]
Since then, because of Ecclesiastical politics (Rev. Father)William Lombardy left the active ministry, (after long investigation of Church History, Politics and Theology, Lombardy concluded that the Law proposing the State of Celibacy, certainly an abnormal enterprise, was entirely unjust. Celibacy is enforced in the Roman Church only. As for the lower Clergy, a minuscule number of those would or could be permitted into the Episcopacy, and those only who were open to the current politics and/or the authoritarianism plan of rule. To repeat: becoming a Bishop and perhaps later a Pope, Celibacy was always traditionally a pre-required condition.[See Biography]
For those of interest in one technical and historical vicissitude of the Roman Catholic Church and the processes of Rule, we essay the fact that early on in its History there was a Pope who had been married. The man was an Ordained Priest(like me), was married(like myself), had a likable son(as did I). Then his wife died, which event made him eligible for elevation to the Papal Throne. Since he was rather popular, he was thus elevated.
The differences between that Pope and me are that my wife did not die but had a rather incapacitating brain tumor, which apparently gravely interfered with regular normal brain functioning. A Dutch Court, minus my presence, approved a divorcee and tacitly also approved the act of”Parental Abduction(an International Law passed in 1981 in order to protect one or the other parent from taking advantage of the other parent by taking a child too far off from the other parent., on the legal technicality that Lombardy had from afar(Lombardy did not travel to Holland.) recognized the Dutch Court. Thus on a Legal Technicality, Lombardy lost his son and did not see him until he was 24, some 15 years after the abduction! So the comparisons between him and the Pope was essentially that Lombardy did not become Pope! Man as Lawmaker often thinks to do good, but too often does he pass Laws without thought of all the facets and consequences, and so creates irreparable injustice! Worse yet, Lombardy was never chosen by Papal Election! The following are lyrics appropriately written by a clever Seminary classmate: “Life was rather unacetic in the 16th Century(Chorus of Cardinals in Robes and in chorus!); We were rather energetic in pursuit of Luxury. Every Cardinal was a fatso, living in his pink palazzo!(Robert Ryan, 1961 Ryan would have made a welcome Pope! Passed in that Century, the Law of Celibacy was to Reform the corrupt Church.Not an easy task in an ecclesiastical authoritarian atmosphere, however Just that new Law may have been. And that Law was decidedly unjust and suggested unnatural behavior. Add to that, the unthinkable Law unjustly competed with the sex and Love in Marriage(a Holy Sacrament, which Celibacy was not! I affirm that even in those days without computer or Lightning rods, there were numerous other valid choices to target for Church Reform!
Finally, the son of that married Pope was also ordained a Priest but did not marry.So he succeeded his father to the Papal Throne, as he too was politically popular! Quite a story, especially as the story is true! The First Vatican Council in 1545, for reasons known only to itself, installed the Law of Celibacy for all and only its “Roman” Lower Clergy. So the trouble began, as today everyone on Earth knows!.[More to come in the Biography and look for the Movie, “The Bishop Sacrifice!”
Chess and Cardinal Cooke: Almost three decades ago, Father Lombardy was asked to visit the Archbishop’s Residence(452 Madison Avenue) for an Interview. Terrence Cardinal Cooke knew full well all of the oppression his visitor had tolerated, but offered no apology nor redress. Neither had he expressed an ounce of gratitude nor offer the simplest polite .personal pleasure for the favorable exposure the Church had received through Father Lombardy’s presence at the Reykjavik Match in summer 1972. Nor had he thanked Lombardy or International Master I.A. Horowitz for the framed remembrance published in the latter’s NY Times Chess Column entitled “Three Father Lombardy Brilliancies”. Cooke was excited about only one matter, forcing Lombardy to accept another dubious assignment within his Diocese. Father Lombardy flatly refused, saying that he could and would best serve the Diocese and the Church by using his good reputation in Chess for the Church. As the Cardinal turned beet red in inept unjust anger(for authoritarians cannot tolerate what they deem as disobedience),he became irrational and quipped in his customary authoritarian manner by saying the most injudicious retort:possible, “Chess is nothing but pushing meaningless wooden Pieces across a wooden Board.” Father Lombardy had not seen Cooke since the boy served as his altar boy at St. Athanasius parish.Cooke failed to understand one crucial point: “If one expects to exercise Authority, one must act justly and also exhibit tolerance, the foundation of any Authority! Father Lombardy assessed that the reunion was disjointed and at its end. The beleaguered Cooke rushed from the small office without a hint of any courtesy necessarily endemic to one holding the exalted rank of Cardinal. Monsignor Ted Mc Carrich offered a bewildered glance and shrugged his shoulders in apparent dismay. Mc Carrick was post Ordination Father Lombardy’s first and reasonable superior at the Chess priest’s first assignment. Soon enough Mc Carrick was named Archbishop of Newark, and a few years later, , elevated to the Rank of CardInal, was installed as Archbishop of Washington DC.Many years later, during which time Cooke was deceased and later was entered in a curious Cause for Canonization to Sainthood. “The meek shall inherit the Earth”? Having witness so many ecclesiastical celebrations held for unearthly reasons, Father Lombardy reverted to the reflection harbored at the close of his meeting with Cooke: “With friends like this, one needs no enemies!” In the late 1960’s while stationed at St. Mary’s parish in the Northeast Bronx, Father Lombardy visited his parents’ apartment, next door to the rectory. His very young brother(by 20 years) Michael was home and related that while he was at the Catholic Youth Organization Camp Upstate, he had met Cardinal Cooke, whom Father Lombardy had not seen since he himself was an altar boy at St. Athanasius Parish. Michael was quite forward and approached the Cardinal to ask whether the prelate knew his brother Father Lombardy. The Cardinal replied “Yes,” he’s a great Priest.” After the last raucous meeting with the Cardinal that took place a couple of years later, Father Lombardy never saw him again. Just as well. Neither did the priest say anything detrimental to his brother. [See further details in the Biography.]
In that above mentioned Century, there lived a famed Artist(Painter), comparable to Rembrandt. His name was Jan van Schurling. He is honored by the fact that a Dutch town is named after him. It also happens that Jan was a Canon(Pastor) of a large Parish and had a wife and five children. History records that the Artist-Priest lived and honorable life. So perhaps we may conclude that the state and Sacrament of Marriage exists on a higher plain than does Celibacy. A final point: the State of Celibacy and/or Virginity is not automatically to be considered as a Virtuous State. [Father Lombardy sent to Cardinal Mc Carrick some details of this artist-priest and received a most intolerable reply.[Details later in the Biography]
Eventually, Lombardy could no longer believe that “Celibacy” was in itself a Virtuous State nor its oppressive and abnormal Rule a Just Law. Historical and possibly sordid events clearly bear out this conclusion.
But Lombardy continued pastoral counseling without fee. And Finally after seven years beyond officially leaving the so-called active ministry, he decided to marry and was rewarded by the birth of his son Raymond. Lombardy is still a validly ordained Catholic Priest and is so accepted, with correspondence to authenticate this. More on this story will be detailed in Lombardy’s full Biography.
As to Theological education in General and the Nature of the Priesthood in particular, American Catholics are routinely ill versed. To be polite to authority (if indeed authority deserves such consideration!) there are those in Authority who take full advantage of the ignorance under their tutelage. But Lombardy observes that even the Holy Roman Church understands or knows or finally gains the realization that it must embrace its own Traditional Doctrine, contrary to or versus the defective (Authoritarian) teaching the Universal Center of Learning has proposed in the past, must accept or rather reembrace its own words “ employed in the Ordination Ceremony”– “You are a Priest forever, according to the Order of Melchisedech!” Lombardy’s Biographical work will contain much more on this and other facets.