Memorial Tribute for Fr. Christopher Riehl (+)

Laudetur Iesus Christus!  After posting the news of Father Riehl’s passing, we received the following memorial tribute from Mr. Nathaniel Slattery who was both a close friend and the editor of Fr. Riehl’s recently published book on the Blessed Mother entitled, “Listen to Our Lady”

We share this memorial tribute with Mr. Slattery’s permission:

Rev. Christopher Michael Riehl

Father Christopher Michael Riehl told me and my wife that we came into the Church at the twelfth hour of Her passion. We also came into his life in the twelfth hour, and so as I write this, I know that I will say very little about him.

Father Riehl was a good and holy priest, recognized by many as suited for leadership in the Church. He possessed the virtues of courage, wisdom, and magnanimity in the correct proportions, at least from my humble lay point of view, in order to revivify and renew a diocese. Likely, in a just and ordered society, he would have been a bishop shortly, and this is exactly what he would have been doing. He would have extracted his body, mind, heart, and soul of all of its energy and capacity, jogged from one end of the diocese to the other, and removed every semblance and hair of error from every corner such that the faithful could have looked and seen nearly the spotless Bride of Christ within his diocese, or until he collapsed. But this would have necessarily involved ruffling many feathers, not lay so much as clerical, and no doubt very, very many people would be removed by the gravity of their errors. That is why he was not a bishop, and very likely we will never see a bishop like him before Our Lady triumphs. He was exactly the type of person that intimidates the type of priest with which most people live.

Maybe I didn’t know him well enough, maybe I was transported with joy at finding more than a single holy priest (my own parish has a holy priest who knew that his job was to provide the Sacraments these last couple of years), maybe I am a dirty flatterer (pray God no), but this is what I see. We live in such a time, bathed by oceans of infant blood, steeped in the darkness once reserved for homosexual relations before they were allowed to speak up near the altar on Father’s Day in a Catholic Church in Chicago, and under the boot of our Nominalist overlords, that we don’t deserve priests and bishops and popes that remove error and dispel confusion. We have ancestors that for hundreds of years have likely prayed that their progeny would not convert to Catholicism. We have the pride to judge God Himself, and we blaspheme the Holy Ghost to pass the time in our boredom. We live under curses, justly earned, and so we live under poor shepherds.

But God still creates these men in the womb and suckles them in the Sacraments, because His Glory and Holiness are too intoxicating to allow it not to happen. So they exist, and what He seems to do is this: prevent them from having any authority, hide them away from the world that hates Him, and let them do other things than help save people who don’t deserve it.

That is what Father Riehl was. He was a good and holy man, who with all of the capacity and virtue of a saintly bishop in the chrysalis, instead wrote a humble book, and now we can read it. He may not have been suited for writing, which is good, because it is tiresome to read pretty words that say nothing, and those types of books and documents are easy enough to find within the Church. He was suited for salvation and sanctification.

I knew him only a year, and in that year, he perfected my devotional life, consecrated me completely to Mater Dolorosa, and enflamed my desire for sanctity. I firmly believe he was in the rich odor of his own sanctity. His last work was his book, Listen to Our Lady (Or Go To Hell), and you all should read it, because Our Lady took him right after he put down his pen.

—Nathaniel Slattery, Editor