Seminarians (parishioners) “traddy cliques”? Be careful.

There was a good comment in another entry (it doesn’t matter which).

A seminarian, who will remain anonymous, made some very good points which many might take to heart.  I have in mind especially some of his fellow seminarians.  But this also might apply to some lay people in parishes. 

My emphases and comments.

 

Comment by Anonymous Seminarian — 15 October 2007 @ 9:23 pm

Personally I have a very deep love for and attachment to the Extraordinary Form. The beauty of the Mass, even a simple Low Mass, is breath-taking and the meaning behind all the words and actions is amazing. As a diocesan seminarian, and (God-willing) future priest, nothing would make me happier than to see a greater overall appreciation for this Mass.

It’s no secret to anyone that in most seminaries it’s taboo to speak openly about your attachment to the Extraordinary Form. Is it because the faculty members are a bunch of raging heretics who would love to snuff out every last bit of Catholicism present in a young seminarian’s heart? Absolutely not.

Unfortunately, at least from my experience, the seminarians who speak openly about their love for the Traditional Latin Mass don’t stop there…it goes deeper. They put on a facade of sorts…they “play” the formation game but secretly distrust it. They avoid going to the community Mass and Divine Office whenever possible. They’re not interested in helping out at community events or fostering a house-hold sense of community period. Rather they are interested solely in developing their “underground traddy cliques” which usually consists of a bunch of guys who do nothing but complain about the terrible situation the Church is in. Is it any wonder to anyone then why talking about the Traditional Mass behind the walls of the seminary has become taboo? More often than not it’s accompanied by an agenda…a prideful agenda that is very contrary to the mind of the Church. As much as I personally absolutely love the Traditional Mass, I too would be concerned with seminarians who demonstrate such tendencies.

In saying this, those of us who love the Traditional Latin Mass have to remember not to make it look as if we have some sort of agenda. … Sure, we can encourage people to attend and help in any way necessary, but we need to be very careful not to isolate ourselves from the rest of the Church. Our Catholic Church is a very big church with many different people in it…as hard as it may be to live with, not everyone moves to the beat of the same drum. Let’s be firm but gentle in defending our Faith, but when it comes to the Extraordinary vs. Ordinary Rite, let’s be even more gentle. Some people just are not there yet…and they may not be for a long time.

If seminary formation has taught me anything thus far it’s this: we all, especially priests and seminarians, must think with the mind of the Church. We must breathe as She breathes and believe what She believes. To do this requires a tremendous amount of humility…something I think we all can stand a little more of.

I think this was a very good set of observations.   His experience of some seminarians, and the faculty who responds to them and who are charged with forming them, present some food for thought.

At the same time, I think seminarians also have the right to seek the necessary tools they will need in their ministry.  That will include what it take to say the older form of Mass.  That doesn’t give seminarians the right simply to blow off the formation program.  However, since they are in that position, under others who have a great deal of power over their lives, those who are in charge of the program need to be all that much more open and sensitive to the more traditional seminarians who are setting up the the plate in numbers that will only be increasing.

However, I think the thing to take away from this is the need to integrate well in the whole life of a parish (or seminary) and thus the rest of the Church.  

Don’t create a ghetto mentality, or any elitism – even if you are absolutely convinced and can argue confidently that the older form of Mass is superior to the newer.   Don’t be snobs.  Don’t be jerks.   Be careful and exercise thoughtful charity.

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41 Responses to Seminarians (parishioners) “traddy cliques”? Be careful.

  1. Malta says:

    Fr. Z,

    There is much wisdom to being resigned, careful, respectful, and quiet. However, there is also an argument that there is at least a small need for a vocal minority. In society, we have citizens and soldiers; the soldiers are in the minority, but provide a needed service. In the Church, too, the vocal, defiant minority, such as SSPX, have had great effect on the Church. There would be no Indult Masses or Summorum Pontificum without their sacrifices and willingness to grind gears against the status quo. For that, I am thankful.

  2. Cosmos says:

    I think it is a fact that we traditionalists are pretty grumpy,pessimistic, and haughty.
    However, I think that this man’s comments switch the cause and effect. It was not because of traditionalist shortcomings that “talking about the Traditional Mass behind the walls of the seminary has become taboo.” Rather, I think that people have become cliquey and pompous as a sort of defense mechanism in response to Seminaries that were openly and actively hostile to traditional opinions. It is similar to the way black students bunched up at my private high school, despite the generally good intentions that most people at the school had towards them. They just felt a little different and hence a little uncomfortable.
    The writer, like me, has a little Joseph of Arimithea in him- a good man that is deeply moved by what he perceives to be true, but too wise or scared or cowardly to come right out with his beliefs. Traditionalism gets its reputation from its more outspoken proponents because of the cautious (and supposedly balanced) approach of men like this. We are certainly called to be shrewd as snakes, but it is a little too easy to always hide in the shaddows and then point fingers when less capable spokespeople step foward in ways we find counter-productive.
    My suggestion, as the author would probably agree, is try to act like Fr. Z: do not be afraid to speak the truth, but do it with charity, and hope, and a little bit of humor.

  3. Steve says:

    I firmly believe that seminarians need to think with the Church and that they should not question the validity of the Novus Ordo, etc. Having been a seminarian, I also know that not all seminary formators are particularly benevolent in their intention with regard to more traditionally minded seminarians. Perhaps the reason why some do not trust their formators is because there are legitimate reasons why certain formators are not trustworthy.

    I think that the seminarian who wrote the letter has many good points and is right to encourage other seminarians to think with the Church. He seems to have a level-headed approach. Some seminaries, however, have formators who would pounce on even this young man for his appreciation of the Tridentine Mass in spite of his level-headedness.

    Some guys in seminary gripe alot, too. It can be problematic if all one ever does is gripe. It can be an indication of a real problem. Those, however, who have been in seminaries less than hospitible to traditional liturgical practices and orthodox teaching can understand that sometimes human beings just need to vent to people of like mind.

    I guess that my main point is that seminarians should be charitable to everyone regardless of their opinions on Church matters. You don’t have to agree with them but you do have to be charitable. Part of this is just plain common sense. At the same time, know that, though not all of the formators are out to get you, not all of them think with the mind of the Church. You don’t have to trust those who have demonstrated that they are not trustworthy. But, by all means, keep your mouth shut! Don’t attempt to deceive those who have been entrusted with your formation, yet don’t think that you have to publish every thought that you have. Find healthy ways to vent your frustration and that might include venting once in a while to someone that you trust. Our Lord has admonished us to be as cunning as serpents but as innocent as doves.

  4. Tom says:

    Unfortunately there is more than a little truth in these remarks. In many European countries (the US is of course different), Catholic traditionalism has more than a few reactionary overtones of the monarchist-aristocratic sort (witness the high number of requiem masses for dead aristocrat or royals). Some may be interested in the TLM but not be monarchist or interested in the restoration of the ancien regime…

  5. Mike says:

    I think that it is dangerous to start making excuses for the SSPX and trying to justify them by claiming that they are the reason for the motu proprio. If God wants the Tridentine Mass to come back, he can do it without the help of those who are disobedient to the Magisterium. I do not believe that anyone is justified in disobeying the Holy Father except for manifest heresy. The moment they dissent from a matter of Church practice its not long before they call into question Church teachings (e.g. Vatican II).

  6. LCB says:

    If some seminarians feel that way, maybe they have not fully discerned their calling. Had they considered FSSP?

  7. Seminarian says:

    I think we are in the midst of that ‘interior reconciliation’ Pope Benedict writes about in his letter accompanying the motu proprio. He may have been referring to the SSPX, but I think even the SSPX is symptomatic of a larger issue, namely treating anyone attached to the older form of Mass as fringe. By bringing the traditional mass back into the heart of the Church the hope is that those attached to it will no longer be treated as fringe. If they’re no longer treated as fringe I think they’ll stop acting as fringe (for the most part). So, hopefully this problem is in the process of correcting itself.

  8. Anon Seminarian says:

    A few cents from another seminarian with a love for the usus antiquor:

    You hit the nail on the head! One does have to watch what one says around most American seminaries. I know that the faculty of my seminary is not at all pleased about the Motu Prorio. It would spell certain doom to openly talk about this on a regular basis. Does that mean the faculty is ‘out to get us’? Certainly not!
    The faculty is there for form us into good, solid, holy priests. Are they a bit short-sighted as regards liturgical formation? Without a question.
    They are striving to equip us to be priests as best as they know how.
    It does not pay to be impulsive or petulant as a seminarian. It is those men who are traditional and impulsive and close-minded that give the ‘rest of us’ a bad name. Their cliquish behavior makes it that much harder for the rest of us.
    Indeed, once several members of the faculty here got to know me well, they were surprised by how open I am to the wider Church. They were shocked that someone who is known to like, nay, love the older missal could be so normal!
    They had been, for too long, exposed to the close-minded and intransigent seminarians you spoke of in your letter. They were too used to men who tried to ‘play’ the formation program to get their way – to push their agenda.
    There is no place for agendas or ideologues in a seminary. A seminary is a place where men are formed into priests – into men of prayer. If you cannot trust the program, you will have problems.
    Even here, where there is much antipathy towards the older missal, there is still an earnest desire on the part of the faculty to see all of us ordained priests; there is an earnest desire to see us become men of prayer and faith. It is not longer 1970. Seminary faculties may be myopic. That does not mean they are wrathful or out to crush the hopes and dreams of seminarians.
    You said it very well in your letter. It is those men who are traditional, have an agenda, and refuse to recognize that there is a place in the Church for all men. There is room for the supervised use of the extra-ordinary use of the Roman Missal. There is also room for supervised activity within the Charismatic renewal movement.
    Excellent letter – too few tradition-minded seminarians every ‘get’ the point you made here!

  9. FC says:

    Perhaps with the advent of the internet and blogs Archbishop Ranjith’s comments will be made clear to seminaries: ROME IS BURNING! TIME IS RUNNING OUT! GET ON BOARD!

  10. seminarian x says:

    LCB,

    I don\’t think that an attachment to the extraordinary form of the liturgy is necessarily indicative of a vocation to the FSSP or any other group dedicate towards that end. Discernment is a difficult thing; very often, one cannot understand WHY God calls you where He does. But, He does nonetheless. I get very frustrated when I hear people make derogatory comments about those joining this or that religious community, or this or that diocese. It\’s not about what they have to offer the seminarian or novice, but what the seminarian or novice has to offer.

  11. BK says:

    Comment by Cosmos: “people have become cliquey and pompous as a sort of defense mechanism in response to Seminaries that were openly and actively hostile to traditional opinions.

    The writer…is deeply moved by what he perceives to be true, but too wise or scared or cowardly to come right out with his beliefs. Traditionalism gets its reputation from its more outspoken proponents because of the cautious (and supposedly balanced) approach of men like this. We are certainly called to be shrewd as snakes, but it is a little too easy to always hide in the shaddows and then point fingers when less capable spokespeople step foward in ways we find counter-productive.”

    Also excellent points…in the post-Summorum Pontificum world, we have to guard against both extremes.

  12. Anonymous Seminarian makes a good point. As hard as it may be for some of us who are more “conservative” or “traditional” we have to admit that some people might not really enjoy or prefer the type of liturgy we do. Maybe they don’t because they are ignorant, or maybe it just has to do with their personality. But we certainly can’t start bashing people over the head with older and more traditional things. The pope made note of this in his accompanying letter to bishops on Summorum Pontificum when he said, “…it is clearly seen that the new Missal will certainly remain the ordinary form of the Roman Rite, not only on account of juridical norms, but also because of the actual situation of the communities of the faithful [my emphasis]. I would almost bet that Pope Benedict would love to use his papal authority to change the Mass to something more traditional, but imagine the pastoral disaster that would be. Isn’t the whole point of the motu proprio to help keep people in the Church and not leave it?

    Prudent catechesis on the tradition will do much more to convert hearts than elitism or isolationism.

  13. Malta says:

    Mike,

    I used to be of like mind. SSPX were \”bad schismatics.\” I have come full-circle. SSPX has it\’s problems as any society does, but they are, at least, upholding tradition, and, may I say, for the whole Church. Summorum Pontificum would not have happened sans SSPX, period.

    I prefer Indult Masses fully in communion with Rome, but I won\’t judge SSPX, not at all. It is possible, just possible, the Lefebvre, like St. Athanasius (who was also \”excommunicated\” by a Pope) might one day be a great Saint.

  14. EVERYONE: This is NOT about the merits of the FSSP, or the SSPX, or whether some seminarian ought to join the FSSP. And on THAT note I must say BUTT OUT.

    This is about an attitude. An attitude all too often present among those who like the traditional ways. An attitude which might even blind people to the point of this discussion.

    I am VERY glad that seminarians are chiming in. I hope the discussion will continue along the right lines.

  15. Paul says:

    1. There are seminaries where Tradition is either looked down upon or hated
    2. There are seminarians who carry an attitude

    Both need to change

  16. Paul: 1. There are seminaries where Tradition is either looked down upon or hated
    2. There are seminarians who carry an attitude

    Both need to change

    Yes. Well said.

  17. Malta says:

    Seminarians garner my utmost respect. They give up family and often homes and family to follow the Lord. The Eucharist can only be consecrated by priestly hands. I am beholden to Priests who were once seminarians every time I consume Our Lord’s body. But often even seminarians and priests lose sight of the great Sacrifice, and the Consecration. The NO is a valid mass, and I have seen and am friends with saintly souls who frequent that mass. I also know a very saintly priest who may only pray the Sacrifice in the NO because our Bishop forbids him to say the vetus ordo. That is a travesty. We are living in one of the worst periods of the Church’s history. Try as you might, you can’t hide from the facts:

    90% of married catholic couples use birth control (arguably a mortal sin); only 30 % receive the Eucharist worthily (ie believe in the true Presence of Christ); thus, 70% of Catholics receive the Eucharist unworthily (and that, too, may be a serious sin). The Eucharist is often passed around, hand-to-hand, as if it is a wafer.

    The Catholic Church is in serious trouble. We need a few warriors out there willing to buoy it from the harsh waters that surround Her.

    So, if a few seminarians are “uppity” perhaps it’s high time for a little action and a little change. Sorry Fr. Z, I disagree with you on this point; although I also agree we must always maintain the three theological virtues: faith, hope, and charity. Without love, we are like clanging cymbals as St. Paul says.

  18. Timothy James says:

    Thats a great point very eloquently made by the seminarian. I couldn’t agree more. I thought I had met angry, negative, downer-type people when I worked in a factory… then I met “traditionalists.”
    The ironic thing is is that this can go both ways. Those attached to the older form of Mass can be falsely labeled as negative Trads with some sort of agenda. But also, anyone who dares to display an affection for the Novus Ordo Mass must be a crazy, liberal, mime-loving, “spirit of Vatican II” Catholic. Both of these are wrong. I believe this quote from Pope Benedict XV is more relevant today than it was in 1914 when he made it:

    “It is, moreover, Our will that Catholics should abstain from certain appellations which have recently been brought into use to distinguish one group of Catholics from another. They are to be avoided not only as ‘profane novelties of words,’ out of harmony with both truth and justice, but also because they give rise to great trouble and confusion among Catholics. Such is the nature of Catholicism that it does not admit of more or less, but must be held as a whole or as a whole rejected: “This is the Catholic faith, which unless a man believe faithfully and firmly; he cannot be saved” (Athanas. Creed). There is no need of adding any qualifying terms to the profession of Catholicism: it is quite enough for each one to proclaim ‘Christian is my name and Catholic my surname,’ only let him endeavour to be in reality what he calls himself.”

  19. Fr. John says:

    “Unfortunately, at least from my experience, the seminarians who speak openly about their love for the Traditional Latin Mass don’t stop there…it goes deeper. They put on a facade of sorts…they “play” the formation game but secretly distrust it.”

    As I read the few paragraphs above I couldn’t help but thing of the book by Michael S. Rose “Good Bye Good Men” while it was a bit exaggerated in places the gist of the book in my experience was dead on. Having spent eight years in the seminary, I have a hard time understanding how a seminarian could NOT “play the formation game” at least to a slight degree. Many of those who had been given the responsibility of forming me were so concerned with psychology and feelings that it could hardly be believed. The amount of navel gazing and head games that went on in my opinion was unhealthy. The seminary was more concerned that I was “balanced” rather than holy, never was I asked about my deepening love of Christ and His Church, or how I conformed my life to His, or my love or understanding of the Mass and other sacraments, rather it was all about my feelings and fears and my ability to be a wounded healer. Please don’t misunderstand me, a priest must be well balanced and have all of their marbles to be an effective priest, but its was necessary for me to reserve my self a bit to survive the pop psychology onslaught. I acknowledge that this situation was not ideal, I would have preferred a open and trusting relationship with those charged with my formation. My interior reservation was only way that I could defend my self from the Care Bear madness. As for the seminarians skipping Mass, the Divine Office, and community activities this is problematic and needs to be addressed, but I can’t help but understand the distrust/reservation that a seminarian might have toward his formators.

  20. moretben says:

    Can we stop beating ourselves up about this? The bad behaviour of Trads has nothing directly to do with traditional Catholicism per se – it’s what happens when people are marginalised and deprived of a voice. Stop the petty persecution and the miasmal vapours of TradWorld will begin to disperse all by themselves. It’s happening already, thanks to that blessed man our Holy Father, gloriously reigning.

    Sursum corda!

  21. moretben says:

    “I thought I had met angry, negative, downer-type people when I worked in a factory… then I met “traditionalists.””

    I’ve worked in factories like that. They were, without exception incredibly badly run. I’ve also worked in places where you never heard a bad word about the management or the company, even in the canteen. That the latter tended to be vastly more successful than the former hardly needs saying.

    People, especially young people, have a weakness for getting off on a grievance when it can be put to use as a romantic, idealistic posture. In a factory this might take the form of militant trades-unionism; in the seminary, of flirting with extreme traditionalist postures (which may or may not have anything to do with Traditional Catholicism per se). Intelligent management will know how to direct these energies positively and constructively, for the good of all – (in the first place by eliminating the causes of legitimate grievance). Deadbeat management, on the way to the liquidators, will simply sneer, manoeuvre and suppress.

  22. Mark says:

    I agree with comments about not having an “attitude”. I personally know several traditionalist Catholics whose attitudes have alienated individuals who would otherwise support TLM. I had the experience of taking a friend to a TLM for the first time since the 1960’s, where he was accosted by an elderly gentleman with the attitude “the so-called Pope is a heretic, the Apostolic See is vacant”, etc. My friend never went to a TLM Mass again – largely-I believe, due to his experience.

  23. Peter says:

    “…They put on a facade of sorts…they “play” the formation game but secretly distrust it. They avoid going to the community Mass and Divine Office whenever possible.” Amen to that – been there, seen it.

    Cosmos wrote: “I think it is a fact that we traditionalists are pretty grumpy, pessimistic, and haughty.” Oh, BIG Amen to that!

  24. Anon Seminarian number three says:

    Well, at our seminary we brought up trying to get the Traditional Mass to the
    formators, and they ignored the question and said it was up to the Bishop of
    the Diocese. Fair enough. I just hope that wasn’t a write off so they wouldn’t
    have to deal with the issue.

    It seems almost two weeks later however, they brought in a guest speaker who
    proceeded to tell us why during adoration we were not allowed to genuflect on both
    knees (Fair enough. It is not required, it doesn’t mean I have to like not being able to though) and how anything from the (I quote) “Tridentine Rite should not be used in
    the Roman Rite.” (ie Novus Ordo). So you can imagine how the rest of that talk
    went. The one shining moment is he condemned the raising/holding of hands
    during the Our Father at Mass.

    We have a few Seminarians who have the “agenda,” but most of us just love
    the Traditional Mass. I am getting the feeling that
    it is becoming, slowly, more acceptable to talk about Summorum Pontificum and
    whatnot, but I am still on edge about doing it at all. Who knows, in 5 years it
    could be a different world.

  25. Brian Jilka says:

    I have been discerning a vocation for some time myself, and I have been praying as to whether, if I am being called, I am being called to be a diocesan priest or to join the FSSP. Our archbishop would of course love to have me remain within the archdiocese. We are blessed to have two FSSP apostolates within our diocese, and while somewhat tempered given our dearth of priests, his response to the Summorum Pontificum was encouraging. The seminary is one thing that I have been wondering about on the diocesan side of the fence, particularly in liturgical formation and how one can develop in the Usus Antiquor in such an environment.

    Thankfully I have a few more years to pray, and hopefully things will be in better shape by then!

  26. Nathan says:

    + JMJ +

    This is difficult. Not that the post or the theme of the comment are at all wrong, those who love the TLM (especially in the seminaries) really need to avoid cliques and be generous of heart.

    Nonetheless, we also have the tendency to come down awfully hard on our own. After decades of trying to behave in a way that imitates Christ, seeking after what we perceive (and confirmed by Summorum Pontificum) as our patrimony, with a great number of the faithful who sought the TLM suffering quite a few injustices at the hands of those who should be guarding that patrimony, it’s really tough to be told, over and over, that we’re the ones with an attitude problem.

    There’s a great Catholic principle of following the “Via Media” in moral decisions. Can we collectively follow that middle way, stressing the importance of not alienating our brothers while at the same time not flagellating ourselves repeatedly for responding to injustice in an all-too-fallen-human-nature way?

    In Christ,

  27. Cosmos says:

    Comment by Anon Seminarian number three “I am getting the feeling that it is becoming, slowly, more acceptable to talk about Summorum Pontificum and whatnot, but I am still on edge about doing it at all. Who knows, in 5 years it could be a different world.”

    I agree with this sentiment. I think that the real force in the seminaries- the future of the priesthood- is the large number of conservative, but not traditionalist, Catholics. These men were inspired by JPII, Mother Teresa, etc. They tend to be extremely faithful to the Magesterium and to the Pope personally. What they come to believe in this dispute is what the Church will ultimately present to the world in the coming decades. Because these men are so loyal and trusting of the Magesterium, silence and inaction from the top favors the unscrupulous and innovators in the seminaries because they can push their agendas with an air of plausibility. They can present their teaching as definitive, or at least as the cutting edge (“This is what Ratzinger, Scola, and Kasper are reading!”). However, as the Teaching Church makes clear that there is no magical “Spirit of VII,” that the old form of the mass was never abbrogated, that what seems like a hermanutic of rupture/revolution/discontinuity is, in fact, just that, etc., the average conservative Catholic will slowly open to tradition, and make it his own. I think this is happening as we speak.

    I think the real battle is for these men’s hearts and minds.

  28. moretben says:

    Serious question. How am I to go about inserting myself into my parish? Believe me there’s nothing I’d like better – but how do I do it? For the past twenty years I’ve been SSPX almost exclusively. When I moved to my present address, 7 years ago, I went to the parish Mass twice registered myself, and introduced myself to the PP. I’ve never been back. The liturgical culture is absolutely unbearable. Having made so many sacrifices to preserve my children from it, it’s inconceivable that I would simply give up now (besides, my faith would not survive it). It’s impossible. Even if I were to pitch up tomorrow, all smiles and charm and biting my tongue, so as to request an Old Rite Mass, how could I possibly be taken for other than a Trad carpetbagger, coming out of the woodwork in the wake of SP, with no real interest in the parish or its people?

    I would love to have a normal parish life. It’s a very, very serious thing to lack one. I can’t see any remedy for it in the short-to-medium term though.

  29. Patronus says:

    “I think that the real force in the seminaries- the future of the priesthood- is the large number of conservative, but not traditionalist, Catholics. These men were inspired by JPII, Mother Teresa, etc. They tend to be extremely faithful to the Magesterium and to the Pope personally. What they come to believe in this dispute is what the Church will ultimately present to the world in the coming decades.”

    This is a very astute observation. That is why we must appeal to the sincerity of these people through love and patience – not hardline agendas.

  30. Individual Substance of Rational Nature says:

    I think that “Fr. John”‘s point above remains absolutely correct. Despite the changes that have gone on in seminaries over the years (for the better, no doubt), the point remains that there is plenty of navel-gazing, talk about feelings and emotions and general pop-psychology that goes on at most seminaries to this day. At the seminary I attended just recently, that was pretty much all the formation I received in the interior life from the house spiritual director, all based on limpid pseudo-Ignatian spirituality. I thank God for the foundation in authentic Catholic spirituality that I received from so many other good priest mentors. In that sense, I do not condone missing Holy Mass and not praying the Divine Office, as they are the sine qua non of developing a proper priestly spirituality.

    Also, the general attitude in some seminaries of petty ladder-climbing and political ambitions remains a serious problem, not to mention the superficiality of such things as peer evaluations. In the perfect seminary, yes, faculty should indeed be fully trusted. But trust is a two-way street and something which develops over time. There are many instances in which seminary faculty, for one reason or another, cannot be trusted. Sad to say, in the seminary I was in, certain faculty members (by no means all) had little benevolence toward the students, and some students had little benevolence toward one another. I was turned in to the faculty by a fellow student for criticizing modern historical critical methods in Scripture scholarship and advocating a return to Patristic interpretation of the Bible. In an environment of distrust such as this, I have no problem in believing that “traddy cliques” and the like do indeed form.

    Sadly, the USCCB’s documents on seminaries have so bureaucratized seminary living that “formation” itself has become a sacred cow, directing the focus away from serving Jesus Christ and His Church through prayer and study, and turning the priesthood into a string of cliches from the “Program for Priestly Formation, 5th Edition.”

  31. moretben says:

    “Agenda” is one of those words like “vibrant” on which there should be some kind of moratorium. Do I have an “agenda”? Of course I do! – to keep the Faith for myself and my children. If I hadn’t been sufficiently “hard-line” about it, the JPII conservatives would have bullied me into the Orthodox Church by now. God bless Pope Benedict, and may his agenda prosper.

  32. Michael says:

    Cosmos,

    Fr. Ripperger wrote an excellent article on the topic of Conservative and Traditional Catholics.

    http://www.latinmassmagazine.com/articles/articles_2001_SP_Ripperger.html

  33. eric says:

    I think if we spent more time working on obtaining purity of heart and docility to the will of God instead of complaining about the state of things we would actually accomplish something for God.

  34. Liz F. says:

    This looks like another thing to add to our list of pray intentions. We pray for the Old Mass, for the FSSP seminarians and also for our diocesan seminarians. Also, we pray for the priests wanting to say the Old Mass, but I never thought of this. It does my heart good to even be discussing seminarians saying the Old Mass! Thanks be to God!

  35. Barb says:

    Taking the topic to the parish, I would love to have the Missal of Pope John XXIII and all the sacraments according to the 1962 books AND a full parish life. The hostility of our bishop and the priests he has placed in my area preclude even obtaining the Traditional Mass at any parish nearby. Those of us who love our sacred liturgies and cannot stomach the parish Masses are driven to either the local SSPX chapel or to an early Mass at the local Carmelite Monastery – thank God for the joyful sisters! We are not wanted in the local parishes unless we keep our heads down and shut up and that has been made publicly and perfectly clear. The outright persecution we experience has a bad effect of making some people grumpy and frustrated.

    It is true we need to be charitable and not judge others even when we are being judged harshly ourselves for no reason other than that we desire to worship God in our traditional liturgies. We join in Rosaries for the end to abortion sponsored by some parishes, sign up for Perpetual Adoration at another parish, and do the best we can. However, being human, many people react badly to oppression and persecution. It’s hard not to resent those in power who belittle what we most ardently love and who lose no attempt to separate us from the Holy Father whom we also love.

    It would be wonderful to have a personal parish for those of us who want all the liturgical books of 1962. Then we can have a normal parish life and participate with other parishes in diocesan-wide events. Right now, it seems a pipe dream. Smoke, anyone?

  36. anonymous seminarian number 4 says:

    anonymous seminarian number three:
    “Well, at our seminary we brought up trying to get the Traditional Mass to the formators, and they ignored the question and said it was up to the Bishop of the Diocese. Fair enough. I just hope that wasn’t a write off so they wouldn’t have to deal with the issue.”

    cosmos:
    I think that the real force in the seminaries- the future of the priesthood- is the large number of conservative, but not traditionalist, Catholics… However, as the Teaching Church makes clear that there is no magical “Spirit of VII,” that the old form of the mass was never abbrogated, that what seems like a hermanutic of rupture/revolution/discontinuity is, in fact, just that, etc., the average conservative Catholic will slowly open to tradition, and make it his own. I think this is happening as we speak.

    At a certain seminary in Maryland we’ve gotten the same response: “We’ll follow Archbishop O’Brien’s lead.” I hope he makes a statement soon as Baltimore is a high-profile archdiocese that has yet to comment on SP.

    Yes, a very large majority of the seminarians here are conservative but, as cosmos astutely observes, few are traditional. Every time I bring up with like-minded fellow seminarians the “Tridentine Mass”, or the value of accurate translations in the NO, or the value of sacred music in the liturgy – even in polite, non-grumpy conversation – I get grilled with the Socratic method. These guys are faithful to the end to the Magisterium but seem easily swayed by the uneasieness concerning the TLM that we all sense in the house. It is very frustrating.

    As for formation, here are a couple of my “formation goals” for this year: “Expand interest in the Pro-Life movement with other social justice issues”, “Temper interests in the ‘Tridentine Mass’ with diverse array of liturgical experiences – don’t allow it to develop scrupulosity – attend a Charismatic, Lifeteen, Newman center, and Spanish Mass in the archdiocese”, “Discern how to best ‘fit in’ to my home presbyterate given interests in the ‘Tridentine Mass'”, “Begin to discern any negative possibilities and best pastoral implementation of a ‘Tridentine Mass’ in a parish.”

    These aren’t bad goals but they give you a sense of the mood here. And granted most of these came from my vocation director than my mentor. Oh… and my stragegy for that last one is to discuss with my mentor select posts from Fr. Z… no kidding… starting with the 5 Rules of Engagement.

  37. Mark Johnson says:

    I think Cosmos hit the nail on the head. While it’s true that no one should be cliquish or snobbish (Fr. Z’s main point, I think), it’s also true that such attitudes are a backlash against a long period of suppression and ridicule of their viewpoint. The existence of such cliques should not, logically, reflect on all traditionalists; the traditionalists who go quietly about their business are not heard from, while the squeaky wheel gets all the attention. Still, we should be aware that the squeaky wheels will tend to be noticed, and take care not to reflect poorly on the “movement”, which might hinder progress, undermining the very thing we want to advance.

  38. Brian says:

    Anonymous Seminarian wrote:

    It seems almost two weeks later however, they brought in a guest speaker who proceeded to tell us why during adoration we were not allowed to genuflect on both knees

    I had to blink a few times, to be certain I’d read you correctly. He said that a double genuflection was *forbidden?* Pardon my ignorance, but I was always trained to believe that a double genuflection was *specifically prescribed* (if not actually mandated) before the exposed Blessed Sacrament (save for physical infirmity, etc.).

    Wow. I’m glad they didn’t catch me genuflecting in the line to receive Holy Communion… :)

    In Christ,
    Brian

  39. Little Gal says:

    “I have in mind especially some of his fellow seminarians. But this also might apply to some lay people in parishes.”

    I agree with the seminarian’s observations and with the above comment. I had such an experience with someone in my Latin class last week. When she heard the name of the parish that I attend (they are known for offering a very reverant NO), she stated that she had attended this parish for a number of years, but had “grown past” it and now attended a parish that offers the extraordinary Mass. She urged me to attend a service at her parish repeatedly to the point where it felt uncomfortable. This was a “I’m right, you’re wrong” encounter. My humble understanding of the Holy Father’s decision on making the extraordinary form of the Mass more available tells me that this is not what he is trying to accomplish.

  40. 7up says:

    This article is very vague. The author accuses Traditionalists of often adhering to a “prideful agenda that is very contrary to the mind of the Church” while 1) never specifying what that agenda is; 2) seeming to adhere to his own traditional-like agenda to bring people to the Extraordinary Rite by being gentle, cf. “when it comes to the Extraordinary vs. Ordinary Rite, let’s be even more gentle. Some people just are not there yet…and they may not be for a long time;” and 3) never specifying what the “mind of the Church” is in relation to anything he discusses. He prefers rather to provide the reader with vague sentiments, such as, “We must breathe as She breathes and believe what She believes.”

    Tradtionalists do “believe what She believes” and thus many of their concerns—to use a popular seminary buzz-word—regarding the present state of the Church. These concerns, according to this article, manifest themselves in “a bunch of guys who do nothing but complain about the terrible situation the Church is in.” I suppose this last portrayal of traditionalists in seminary is an example of the humility consistent with “breathing as the Church breathes and believing what She believes”?!?!?! Regardless, the Church is in a terrible situation. This seminarian seems to mistake complaining for lamenting, which is a common biblical theme and even one of the Beatitudes.

    The author also mentions that traditionalists in seminary “put on a facade of sorts…they “play” the formation game but secretly distrust it.” If he trusts the formation process so much, why does he not disclose his name? He should be “opened” and “transparent,” as the formation program requires. Formation is a man-made system used to train men for a non-man-made ontological change and divine mission. As a man-made system, formation cannot claim perfection nor is it beyond the wiles of the Devil. To engage formation in an absolute way would be silly. Consider the Lord’s words: `This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the precepts of men.'” (Matthew 15:8-9). The true “former” of man is God and not men. However, given the absolute submission formation normally demands and the fact that ordination will never occur if the men in charge of formation are not satisfied with a candidate’s human, spiritual, intellectual, and pastoral integration and development—whatever that means—it can become necessary for a man to “put on a façade of sorts” to reach the state in life to which God has called him. This should not alarm even the most enthusiastic seminary Formator, since there is a distinction between the external and internal forum. A man must present himself in a certain way to survive the system, regardless of what is in his heart and his heart does not belong to any man-made system.

    Finally, in the seminary I attend, there are far more homosexual cliques than traditionalist ones. This year I have witnessed another triumph of the formation system as two practicing homosexual men—two that I know about with certainty as they tried to hit on some of my friends, etc.—received the first degree of Holy Orders, while other solid heterosexual men I know were pressured to leave or stalled in formation thereby postponing and threatening their reception of Holy Orders. There are many effeminate men and homosexuals in this seminary among both the faculty and the student body and they have more cliques than any of the traditional ones I know.

  41. RBrown says:

    Finally, in the seminary I attend, there are far more homosexual cliques than traditionalist ones. This year I have witnessed another triumph of the formation system as two practicing homosexual men—two that I know about with certainty as they tried to hit on some of my friends, etc.—received the first degree of Holy Orders, while other solid heterosexual men I know were pressured to leave or stalled in formation thereby postponing and threatening their reception of Holy Orders. There are many effeminate men and homosexuals in this seminary among both the faculty and the student body and they have more cliques than any of the traditional ones I know.
    Comment by 7up

    Sad but not surprising. One of the long standing problems is that it is not uncommon that the better priests don’t want to work in formation in seminaries and religious houses.