But for Morgan Gilcrest, being a police officer is a double calling. Before he joined the force, Gilcrest was in another kind of academy: a seminary, training to become a Catholic priest.
The Catholic seminary is often no place for a believing Catholic.
“I grew up in California in a Catholic family,” Gilcrest says. “We went to Mass on Sundays, but we weren’t especially devout. However, as a senior in high school I decided I wanted to be a priest. I went to Franciscan University of Steubenville for two years and then went back to California to enter seminary.”
Gilcrest chose the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, much closer to home than Ohio. He says that, while there were many good things about his experience there, after just one semester he had to admit that he was not happy in LA. He offered prayers during Novus Ordo Masses for the end of abortion, for example, but was told by his superiors to keep quiet about such things. He insisted on receiving Communion on the tongue, and ran into the usual resistance from those who prefer to manhandle Our Lord. The Catholic seminary is often no place for a believing Catholic.
At a retreat for seminarians, Gilcrest remembers, a Modernist priest taught the heresy, a distortion of St. Matthew 15: 21-28, that Christ had to “learn” about His mission from a Canaanite woman. And at dinner one evening, a fellow seminarian called Gilcrest a “Pharisee” for pointing out that social justice problems were usually the result of sins. He was rebuked as “too rigid” by the Modernist majority, borrowing the favorite words of tolerance from the then-newly installed Pope Francis.
While I am out on the streets, there is a real sense of being a sheepdog protecting the flock from the wolves.” - Gilcrest
The only time he felt really free to discuss the Faith was with a Jewish history professor at the community college where the seminary sent men to study philosophy and other subjects. Gilcrest has a background in philosophy and so was able to ignore the anti-Catholic rants of Marxist and other atheist professors to whom the Archdiocese of Los Angeles had entrusted Holy Mother Church’s seminarians. Others, Gilcrest says, weren’t so lucky—the younger men had no philosophical training and so were defenseless against the lies of the hard-left academicians. But even that may have been better than being back in the seminary, where Gilcrest was often told that he was “talking about the Faith too much”.
After a semester in seminary, Gilcrest had had enough of the anti-Catholic harassment. He went back to Steubenville. But he was still unfulfilled. He knew he had a calling, but the seminary apparently wasn’t it, and the Novus Ordo environment at Franciscan was also growing stifling. Then, one day, he found a Latin Mass online.
“I knew, right then and there, that that was the Mass I wanted to celebrate if I ever became a priest,” Gilcrest enthuses. “I was able to find a missal online, too, so I would watch the Latin Mass and follow along in the text. I had heard from others that the Latin Mass was boring, difficult, old—but I found it absolutely beautiful. I couldn’t get enough.”
The police and paramedics arrived within minutes. I understood then that police work was what I was called to do.” - Gilcrest
Unfortunately, Steubenville didn’t have a Latin Mass at the time—“Franciscan is Novus Ordo to the hilt,” Gilcrest says—so he followed in the footsteps of a rebel Franciscan undergrad who started making trips to Pittsburgh to hear the Latin Mass at an SSPX parish there. “There was just that one student and myself going to the SSPX, but even so Franciscan University may have been worried about losing out to the Latin Mass,” Gilcrest adds. “So, they brought in a Swedish Franciscan brother to help with the Latin Mass that the university began offering once a month in Steubenville.”
As Gilcrest tells it, the Swedish Franciscan had once been a Lutheran, but had been won back into the Church by the Latin Mass.
Gilcrest grew into ever-deeper communion with the Church through the Latin Mass. He read everything he could get his hands on from SSPX. “Archbishop Lefebvre’s writings on the priesthood are profound,” Gilcrest relates, his voice lowering and his eyes lighting up. Gilcrest also began following the work of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter, as well as the videos by Michael Voris exposing corruption and Modernism in the Church.
It was Voris, ironically, who introduced Gilcrest to The Remnant.
“I found out about The Remnant when Michael Voris’ spiritual confrere Fr. Paul Nicholson attacked Michael Matt,” Gilcrest says. “I went over to The Remnant site and found so much great material by Matt, Christopher Ferrara, and others. I knew then that I was never going to bother with the Novus Ordo crowd again.”
By the Grace of God, Gilcrest had come home. But there was still the question of his calling. He felt God was tugging at his heart, but he couldn’t figure out what he was supposed to do. On a trip back to his parents’ house, Gilcrest says that God revealed part of the puzzle in the negative: “I knew without a doubt that God was not leading me into the priesthood,” Gilcrest says. Another answer soon followed: Gilcrest began courting the woman who would become his wife.
Most of my cop friends are Catholics. There’s a wave of young Catholic men entering the police force. They sense the danger. They are stepping up.” - Gilcrest
“I and my wife have known each other since we were kids,” Gilcrest recalls. “Her parents went to St. Thomas Aquinas College in California, and they often attend the Byzantine Rite Catholic Mass. My father-in-law is a devout Catholic gentleman. I knew, one day, that I would marry his daughter.”
On Gilcrest’s first date with the woman whom he would wed, the final answer from God came. It was, as answers to prayers always are, completely unexpected.
“We were on a trolley in Old Town San Diego,” Gilcrest remembers. “A man riding with us had his bicycle with him. At one of the stops he got off the trolley and mounted his bicycle. A few moments later he sped off, crossing a busy intersection at night against the traffic light. He was hit by an SUV and killed instantly. My then-girlfriend and I prayed for him, asking for God’s mercy at the moment of death. The police and paramedics arrived within minutes. I understood then that police work was what I was called to do.”
Gilcrest worked a company job for a couple of years while he and his new wife established a household together. On his off days, he would often watch old episodes of the TV show “Cops” or go on ride-alongs with officers on the local police force. He learned that becoming a policeman was highly competitive, so he prepared intensively to give himself an advantage.
The Morgan Gilcrest Family
Family connections in Virginia eventually led to his and his wife’s moving across the country so he could finally start his new career as a policeman. In a hotel room halfway through their drive, though, Gilcrest was watching television and saw endless footage of the Democrat-driven chaos in America’s streets. He began to doubt whether he could follow through on his plans. “Can I do this job?” he wondered out loud.
“My wife encouraged me,” Gilcrest says. “‘This is what you are called to do’,” she told him.
Then Gilcrest added something remarkable. “Most of my cop friends are Catholics. There’s a wave of young Catholic men entering the police force. They sense the danger. They are stepping up.”
The Novus Ordo seminaries are rotted out, but Catholics have found a new priesthood in police work. A new way to serve God and man, to stand up and protect the country and the people we love.” - Gilcrest
Gilcrest recalls Ezekiel 22:30: “And I sought among them for a man that might set up a hedge, and stand in the gap before me in favor of the land, that I might not destroy it: and I found none.”
“Catholic men are stepping into the gap, into the breach,” Gilcrest says. “The Novus Ordo seminaries are rotted out, but Catholics have found a new priesthood in police work. A new way to serve God and man, to stand up and protect the country and the people we love.”
In his daily work now as a police officer, Gilcrest says he sees firsthand how much of what the media tells readers and viewers is fake news. “What is phoned in to a police office by the community is not always the truth,” he tells me. “People lie to the police for any number of reasons—to protect themselves, to cause trouble for hated family members or neighbors, or just to hurt cops.” The lies get taken up unfiltered and reported as truth by the media, Gilcrest says. He knows now more than ever that what is in the mainstream “news” simply cannot be trusted.
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But the new Catholic priesthood of the streets is stepping into the breach. They are pushing past the lies and the divisiveness, putting their lives on the line to heal where others have harmed. “We need good, strong, faithful men in the seminaries, absolutely,” Gilcrest says. “But we need them on the streets, too. We need Catholic men to be men—to join the police and answer God’s call to give without counting the cost.”
As with many other officers who patrol the streets, Gilcrest senses dark influences in our broken society. “I encounter actions and behaviors that I believe to be demonic (possession or oppression) on a near daily basis,” he says. “My wife and I pray the Rosary and Auxilium Christianorum prayers from Fr. Chad Ripperger daily. We cannot imagine our lives without those prayers.”
In a powerful way, the police of America have become surrogate fathers to the legions of fatherless children who grow up to eke out a life of crime. Gilcrest didn’t become a priest—but that is because God had much more urgent pastoral work for him to do.
“I work night shift, six in the evening to six in the morning, and there is something very Scriptural about it,” Gilcrest concludes. “Many Psalms and passages in Scripture speak of keeping watch at night. While I am out on the streets, there is a real sense of being a sheepdog protecting the flock from the wolves.”
—Calling All Cops—
Editor's Note: I’m asking Remnant readers to get the word out to police officers and their spouses—Catholic or not—to share their stories with us, or to sit for a Remnant interview, or at least to submit the names and accounts of fallen police officers whom we will then honor in this new Remnant series. The cops are not the problem in the streets of America today. The politicians and their globalist puppeteers are. - MJM