02 July 2008

A Shortage Of Seminarians?

A couple of weeks ago, or so, Fr Dwight Longenecker in a combox mentioned casually, when asked why he had not become a Catholic Priest in England, that there were Bishops in England and Wales who were turning away perfectly good orthodox candidates for the priesthood to suit their own ecclesiological point of view. This is clearly nonsense: there is no way that a Catholic Bishop would do any such thing. I waited for the Priest bloggers to respond, or at least for the seminarians to do so. None did. It was still obviously nonsense: as if a Bishop would do that sort of thing!

Except, of course, for the (now gone to his eternal reward) Metropolitan Archbishop (whose nickname was "Slimy") who did exactly that to one of my very close friends - bearing false witness to do so: but that was a one off.

As was the example of a young man who had been told that believing that he had such a clear vocation to the priesthood at the age of 16 was a sign of hysteria, a sign that would only be shown to have cleared up when he married.

Or the University student who told the Diocesan Vocations Director that he said the Rosary every day and was answered "Get real!"

And then I reassured myself that these examples were from the 80s and early 90s and that I hadn't heard anything like that since. (Mind you, I don't mix with people of an age and condition who are likely to be opting to respond to a vocation to the priesthood at the moment.)

And I start wondering again about what Fr L wrote.


the mother of this lot said...

I'm wondering what happened to the 16 year old. Did his condition clear up?

And thanks to you, everyone is now expecting a post of Alan Titchmarsh proportions. They're going to be sadly disappointed.

Anonymous said...

Fr L is spot on. I know for a fact that most of the applicants at one of our seminaries this year were turned away. One thing they did have in common, so I am told, is fidelity to the Church's teachings. One can only speculate, however, the reasons they were turned down.

Anonymous said...

Don't believe you, which seminary?

Ttony said...

JF: I'd be a bit surprised. I'm not aware that you apply to a seminary in this country; you apply to your diocese.

Anonymous said...

Terminology was a bit skew. You're right , the diocese receives applications, accepts or rejects - not the seminary. Sorry for the confusion. Can't say which diocese.

Anonymous said...

I can't tell if Ttony is kidding or not, but Peter Hume's "don't believe you" is [u][b]UNBELIEVABLE[/b][/u] to me.

I hail from the States, and back in 2002 Michael S. Rose published [u][i][b]Goodbye! Good Men: How Catholic Seminaries Turned Away Two Generations of Vocations From the Priesthood[/b][/i][/u] (available in paperback at http://www.amazon.com/Goodbye-Good-Men-Seminaries-Generations/dp/0967637112. I believe its current hardcover title has been changed to [u][i][b]Goodbye, Good Men: How Liberals Brought Corruption Into the Catholic Church[/b][/i][/u].

Rose conducted interviews with over 125 former and contemporary seminarians, who reported that at seminaries across the USA statues of the Blessed Mother were trashed, and that being found to say the rosary could get you harassed and tagged as "unstable." He also interviewed a number of ordained priests who admitted the only way to make it through ordination was to deliberately conceal (to lie, my friends) their personal devotion to the Blessed Mother as well as their fealty to the sitting Pontiff.

For over 40 years there was a concerted effort to drive out legitimate ordinations of traditional, orthodox Catholics. Devotions, loyalty to the Pope, adherence to the Magesterium, and opposition to married priests, female ordination, and gay marriage all became "good" reasons to find a candidate for Holy Orders to be "unsuitable."

Further, the explosion of the gay subculture spilled into the seminaries, where it quickly grew to dominating proportions, and was openly expressed among and by seminary faculties across the USA (including St. Mary's Seminary here in Baltimore, MD - called the "Pink Palace" by the gay priests and seminarians themselves) led to even more men leaving seminaries in disgust with their own Church's failure to prevent/correct the situation.

So, one is forced to recognize that the resulting "drop" in vocations has been consistently cited to justify married priests and female/gay ordination - and to explain the sex abuse scandal - by many of the very folks who created it. Any connection between the sex scandals and the "old-fashioned" or "oppressive" teachings of the Church on the male, celibate priesthood have been shown repeatedly to simply not hold up under scrutiny at all, although this is not widely reported. However, that lie is still perpetrated by those with an agenda to "open up" the priesthood into a spirit of "inclusiveness."

I'm amazed you guys don't know any of this. Then again, the Bishops of E & W are well known throughout the world as persistent (if not automatic) obstructionists to the agenda of the Pontiff, so I shouldn't be all that surprised if the situation is pretty much the same there as it was here.

Subsequent to reading Rose's book I discovered the Vatican's first investigation of the situation resulted in a whitewash. The investigating bishops took a "good old boy" approach with the rectors by sharing the results of "confidential" seminarian interviews with them. This lead to more harassment and departures.

However, complaints to the Vatican about the whitewash led to a much quieter approach: a single bishop arriving unannounced to a seminary with interviews conducted in absolute secrecy. Requests for interview transcripts by rectors were denied, and seminarians were informed of this going into the interviews, so you can imagine the results were a bit different this time. We have now nearly restored the former reputation of St. Mary's for example, although I hear there are still a few faculty there needing to be "retired."

Perhaps you should take a closer look at your own E & W seminarys - there could be a good book in it for a good Catholic reproter-type with investigative skills.

Perhaps your "don't believe it" should be re-evaluated.