Some days ago I posted something sent to me by a seminarian at the Pontifical College Josephinum in the USA about statements made by faculty about the Holy Father’s Motu Proprio. If what this seminarian reported was true, the statements were somewhat alarming. They were a bit out of step with the Holy Father’s explicit provisions in Summorum Pontificum.
Soon some of the comments posted under that entry became a little strange. I therefore shut down the com box.
Since then I have received e-mails on the matter.
Here is one with my emphases and comments.
Dear Father Z,
I found it very good of you to post the matter of the Rector at the Josephinum severely distorting and dismissing the Summorum Pontificum, [If he did. I wasn’t there. I received a report of what was said but nothing else. In justice, this has to be clarified.] but very disconcerting that you closed off the comments. [You can start your own blog and set your own policies.]
Has someone complained? [I make my own decisions about this. Remember: I had made it clear that this was a report from a person and he was writing from his memory of what was said.]
I have young friends at the PCJ and I know that the negative attitude toward both the Summorum Pontificum [Indirectly, it would seem. Believe me, I know that even indirect reports, from seminarians especially talking to priests, can be quite accurate.] and any sign of love for the traditional Mass or traditional practices are as forbidden at PCJ as socialist talk at a John Birch Society picnic. [I can well imagine that this might be true. However, knowing that this sort of attitude would be profoundly imprudent by anyone desiring to keep his position in a pontifical seminary, it is still hard to imagine such an attitude being expressed openly… especially in the age of the blogosphere… and in the age of these WDTPRS parsings of reactions to the MP. It is all puzzling.]
It is indeed strange that the Pope’s own seminary in the United States forbids even genuflection before the Tabernacle [Really? This is hard to believe.] and plans no formation in the Extraordinary Roman rite.
When PCJ hosted the conference on the traditional Mass, where Dom Alcuin Reid spoke, the seminarians were kept away from the traditional Mass, [Really? How?] which was celebrated almost secretly in a side chapel with few attending.
What gives? This needs to be known, especially by His Holiness.
His Holiness is probably busy. But there are others who will indeed know about this now. Some of them read this blog.
Here is another e-mail.
This email is in response to the post on your blog about the Motu Proprio and the Josephinum Rector. I am a seminarian and ask that due to possible scandal for our Rector that you please remove that post. The posts from seminarians current and past show a "persecution" that is not present. [Okay… this presents a very different picture, doesn’t it.] The only seminarians who feel they are being persecuted by the faculty for being "traditional" are those who tote an attitude that they are better than others because they like the extraordinary form, [If true, this is very bad.] and because they say things like they are now able to go to a real mass, which is heresy seeing as that statement implies that the masses said at the Josephinum were not valid, which is not true, and that Christ is not present at these masses, also not true. [If this is an accurate picture, then I would point these seminarians to my Rules of Engagement and implore them not to "strut". Moreover, if any of them are in fact saying things like "Christ is not present at the newer Mass", I would very happily kick their backside. Were I rector I would carefully consider whether they ought to be in seminary at all if that were their true position. I would be very disappointed in such a seminarian.] I assure you that this is not a formator like other seminarians alluded to in the post re:Josephinum Rector. I ask again that you please remove the post [No. I think not. And I hope those involved read this and calmly reflect on their positions.] and realize that there are seminarians who feel they are persecuted for being traditionalists when there are other factors going into expulsions and reprimands. I like the old mass and think it is beautiful, but have not been kicked out because of it.
God Bless Your priesthood.
Everyone should relax.
It is entirely believable that there are still seminary faculty members who would treat more traditionally minded seminarians badly and unfairly. I certainly was.
It is entirely believable that there are still seminarians with traditional inclinations who are imprudent, narrow, and sometimes jerks about their preferences. I was never narrow as a seminarian, but I was at times imprudent in speaking my mind and, while I don’t think I was a jerk, I didn’t suffer fools gladly (which might amount to the same thing in other people’s eyes).
I also know that there can be many other issues considered when evaluating seminarians.
And for those seminarians reading this:
If in your enthusiasm you are talking about the Motu Proprio in an imprudent way, or exalting the older form of Mass over the newer form, please know that now is not the time to be talking this way. Shut up about it for the time being. Let me remind you that many of us have already forgotten more about liturgy than you might ever know. This includes those in charge of your formation. So be quiet and learn.
Secondly, get on your knees and pray with thanksgiving to God for this great gift of the Motu Proprio and that you did not have to endure the horrors many of us battle hardened veterans of the dark years had to experience in seminary. Compared to what we had in the 80’s an 90’s, you are in Shangri La.
To any seminary faculty:
We all want to give you the benefit of the doubt. We are grateful for your good contributions. If you are not on board with the Holy Father’s vision as expressed in the Motu Proprio, I pray for your change in heart and mind. Also, cut these young guys some slack: they are men of the their times and the times have changed. The Motu Proprio is here to stay. The older form of Mass is going to grow in frequency. These young men are going to learn it. Work with them and not against them. Train them, don’t block them.
Folks, I will NOT open the com box this time. People can send me e-mail. I will read it and parse it as it seems good to me.