Problems in the seminary at Maynooth, Ireland

I received a note from a Irish priest friend about articles in the Irish Daily Mail concerning problems at the seminary in Maynooth.  I had planned to write about it, but others have done some of the heavy lifting already.

This is depressing stuff.   And it sounds exactly like what the seminary I was in the USA over 20 years ago.

Honestly, I thought this sort of thing was finally over.

Here is Fr. Mildew on the topic with my emphases and comments.

The Article by Mark Dooley is entitled Sin within the Church is born in Seminaries and my friend in Ireland who sent me the article tells me there is a follow up this week which he is sending me.

Mark has visited and lectured in Seminaries and reports that Irish Seminaries are hotbeds of serious moral decay which is devastating the Church in this country. Their culture is one which rejects piety and holiness in favour of religious laxity and moral confusion. This is resulting in priests who barely believe in the doctrine they were ordained to promote. Mark speaks then of courageous young men who have told him about what is going on, and even have to conceal their true piety at the risk of being thrown out of the seminary. [I’m having a flashback.] One seminarian complained to Mark he was not allowed to knell during Mass. He has learnt that some professors have told him there is no such thing as transubtstantiation [Exactly what my waterloo was at my seminary… a prof, priest, who explicitly denied transsubtantiation.] and that he should not look to Rome as "they dont know anything". Often the Rosary is frowned upon. Seminarians have been taught that the Mass is just a memorial of a past event and is only a "gathering of the Community" to remember the event.  [The same doctrine denying priest told us that when an "ordained minister says the words of institution over bread and wine, no real change takes place.  It becomes a symbol of the unity of the community gathered there in that moment."  How many things are wrong with that?]  Meanwhile in the Seminaries he claims, excessive drinking and dubious sexual practices are overlooked. [Yes… this is like a nasty flashback.] He claims that the seminaries are still refusing to accept that there is anything wrong with their training methods and refusing in effect to teach that the priest should be formed in the image of Christ . Later on the current erroneous teaching leads in part at least to the abuse scandals of today.

My own comment is that I have found small examples of this in the past in the training of priests over here….but many years ago. Students who were told to leave because of their piety and even homsexuality cases.  A recent case concerns a priest who was ordained 20 years ago who was teaching that one could not accept that the words used by Our Lord in the Gospel were ever uttered, and that what mattered at Mass was the Community. He has now been "retired".

Anyone reading this ever think about giving financial support to Maynooth?  You might want to ask some questions.

With a biretta tip to the parish priest of St. Mary Magdalen in Brighton and Fr. Mildew, comes this additional point….. about the seminary in Maynooth, Ireland.

Father Mildew has an interesting post about about a kerfuffle at Maynooth, an article appeared in the Irish Daily Mail by a former member of staff, Dr Dooley, suggesting that the college turns out collared social-workers and orthodox, faithful, pious students are persecuted. Fr Mildew then says…

….an open letter to himself [Dr Dooley] was posted on the notice board inviting students to sign up. The letter stated that Mr Dooleys article was misinformed and insulting to the majority of the community. When only two students signed up, the student who produced the letter went round to each student and invited them to sign but in the morning only very few had signed. But the President then addressed the student body and accused those who had written to Dooley of lacking elementary Christianity and should examine their consciences, as such communications were a sign of their not being suited to the priesthood.

It is sad that this is not just an Irish problem, obviously in wouldn’t happen in an English seminary today but one continually hears from other parts of the world about students having to feign a lack of devotion to be acceptable to "old Church" authorities. I remember being advised to "keep that reactionary Ratzinger’s books hidden" and not to quote him in essays.  [This needs to be unmasked where ever it takes place.]

In a way this reflects on a discussion on an earlier post, which is really about the nature of theology.

The past, I suspect the President of Maynooth might be included here, treat theology as something to "de-bunk" or to analyse, whereas Tradition sees it as something to increase our sense of wonder and awe, to deepen our faith rather than undermine it. Theology feeds piety and prayer, something is wrong when it undermines it.

 

I think you get the idea.

Our seminaries are getting better.  They really are.  But there are some relics of the really awful still out there.  They are still out there… but they are fewer and fewer and fewer.

 

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51 Responses to Problems in the seminary at Maynooth, Ireland

  1. chantgirl says:

    I have heard that during the 70s-80s, that seminaries often turned away or dismissed men who were heterosexual, traditional, guy-next-door types. I’m not sure if this is true, or to what extent, but my suspicions get a boost when I read a story like this. I have to admit that I feel angry whenever I hear people discussing the priest shortage, because I have a feeling that we have partly brought this on ourselves by turning away good men and keeping those that fit the “boys’ club” of the 70s-80s.

  2. chantgirl says:

    On another note, why be a priest if you don’t even believe in transubstantiation? The whole vocation would be a farce if the Eucharist is nothing more than a symbol. Why not go be a Protestant? My husband explained to me that a priest teacher he had in high school went through the Bible and tried to explain away anything miraculous, and I was left wondering “what’s left?”. If miracles aren’t possible, what is the point of believing anything? God please have mercy on those priests who sow doubts and destroy the faith of others.

  3. becket1 says:

    Seems like Rome needs to make a trip to this place. To do some spring cleaning. A Vatican investigation is in order.

  4. shadowlands says:

    “Often the Rosary is frowned upon.”

    Indeed it is, but mainly by demons who also tremble when they hear it being prayed, according to Father Thwaites!!

  5. Sixupman says:

    About three years ago, here in England, I was at the monthly Sunday TLM, present on the altar was, as I found out, a final year seminarian. He preached, from the pulpit, the Sermon which was straight Tradition! He also touched upon the the status of the laity, particularly in relation to the Ordained Priesthood. I was completely taken-aback and mused how the h*ll did he get past the seminary mafia. I later congratulated the Parish Priest, who is a very good man having to walk a tightrope between his beliefs and the requirements of his lay council. The latter somewhat condescending to the TLMers.

    Transubstantiation: Many things make us Catholics, but surely that is the bed-rock, The Mystery of (Our) Faith. If a ‘priest’ has no belief in that which he is confecting upon the altar, what exactly are we getting. Further, if he believes it is mumbo jumbo, it would go a long way to explaining clerical abuse of all types. In that if the enormity of what has supposed to take place at Consecration and Priest’ Communion, is not so, then the whole affair meaningless and ‘abuse’, in relative terms, not sinful. It has long been mystifying, to me, how an abusive priest can actually Celebrate Mass when in a clear State of Mortal Sin. I used to read Graham Greene and his consideration of conflicts of the priesthood. But even although his ‘whisky priests’ were in Sin, they still recognised their parlous state and retained their belief in their unique status. They were just weak – Sin of a different calibre.

    Perhaps all the hierachies should required to swear an oath regarding Transubstantiation. Likely, however, they would lie as do UK parliamentarians when swearing an oath to the Queen.

  6. Melania says:

    Fr. Z: It’s greatly to your credit and the grace of God that you managed to follow your vocation despite your awful seminary experiences. This is absolutely disgraceful.

  7. Sorbonnetoga says:

    A few small clarifications: Mark Dooley is not a former seminary professor at Maynooth. Rather he is currently a philosophy lecturer at NUI Maynooth, the neighbouring secular university. He would routinely have seminarians in his philosophy classes, though. The President of Maynooth (Msgr Hugh Connolly) was Vice-President before that and has been a member of the Maynooth establishment for years. He’s a great man for questioning rather than necessarily asserting or debunking Church teaching. Thus while he would “of course frown upon” IVF or the like, he would think it a mistake to imagine that hetersexual marriage is always an ideal situation to bring a child into … (Yes, I heard him say exactly that in a Q&A after a lecture by a Catholic bioethicist). In short, a great man for nuance.

    He is also utterly uncompromising in maintaining his authority/power. He is not a man to be crossed. Incidentally he “welcomed” the forthcoming visitation but how the Visitors will take to the use of the “quasi-internal forum” and other such oddities remains to be seen. In the meantime, many of the seminarians are good and sensible fellows who have made friends with orthodox priests outside Maynooth, which is where much of their really useful formation takes place!

  8. Mariana says:

    I am profoudly grateful I had no idea of any of this while still a Lutheran! And perfectly Lutheran some of does sound, too!
    Surely Apostolic Visits are needed, left, right and centre!

  9. puma19 says:

    When I read this I felt a sense of deja vu. But now that it is 2010 I felt a deep shudder go down my spiritual spine as I recollected back to seminary days many years ago. I would not want to share too much of those times except to say that it would be best to forget much of the goings on then and what occurred. But I have to say that a far more rigorous examination of a very large number of students in those years would have been greatly welcomed as some went on to be ordained as priests and later were found to be rampantly abuse men who later were removed and even sent to jail for predatory attacks on children over many years. So many were at the time in the seminary living double lives and displayed a piety that was obviously deceitful. I remember at least 4-5 who were ruthlessly, yes, dogmatic and aggressive and who later preyed on children and who have now been thrown out by their dioceses. what it tells us about then, was that the overwatching priestly professors knew very little of what happened within the confines of the seminary over those years. Some students were just great actors and were never found out. But many were seen and noticed by their peers for what they were but of course no one envisaged what would happend later after ordination. Their moral turpitude was never found out and so they were ordained. Psychological scrutiny would probably have let them through even then.
    As for theological turpitude I never witnessed that. The daily rosary, meditiations etc were never questioned and I never heard anyone question transubstantion or the resurrection or key elements of the faith. Should any seminarian question the very tenets of the faith now, then they ought be removed quam celerrime without any doubt whatsoever. The Anglicans have loads of internal doubters and sceptics which makes it a very untheological band of brethren at any time. Their faith compass has been off centre since 1535 or thereabouts and whilst they live extra-ecclesia then that situation will continue (just look at the surge in female ordination and a femal episcopacy so contary to the mind of Christ and the Gospel).
    I say these things to reinforce that the Church needs to purge itself of the malaise that infects its very life and essence. we must not go back to medieval times where many popes and bishops lived lives of moral inconsistency and scandal.
    Seminaries that fail to show and teach the truth of the catholic faith ought be thoroughly examined. The report here in WDTPRS is very damaging and is truly frightening to all who believe in the Catholic faith and a true renewal in the priestly life and call to holiness.
    Indeed, we need more men in the vein of the Cure of Ars, more men of holiness and prayer or we will see a priesthood subject to ridicule and derision.

  10. markomalley says:

    Father Zuhlsdorf,

    Did you notice that Hell’s Bible is now whining that seminaries are starting to screen out some homosexual candidates? http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/31/nyregion/31gay.html?src=me

    Go figure.

  11. Penguins Fan says:

    I think that a better term for The New York Slimes would be The Screed from Hell. The Screed is not a newspaper. It is a house organ for the hard Left and should be always treated as such.

    The Screed from Hell will not let up. Not long ago, The Screed from Hell went after the golf club in Augusta, Georgia – where The Masters is held – for over two months straight badmouthing them for not admitting women to their private club. The president of the club told the Screed, in so many words, that they could go straight to hell.

    If my son wanted to be a priest and entered a seminary where these shenaningans were going on…..I would strongly consider to get in my truck with my ax handle, go there and then go Buford Pusser on the place.

  12. Jack Hughes says:

    Sixupman

    Believe me the seminary/vocations director mafia still exist in England, I went for an interview with the vocations director 2 weeks ago, he said nice things to me and said he’d be in touch, I haven’t heard from him since, meanwhile I’ve contacted several good Religous Orders in the States (Fathers of Mercy in the South, the Norbertines in California) and the response has been WOW we think you’d fit in here, lets try and arange a visit for you later this year.

  13. Janine says:

    Father. How horrible that you (or anyone) had to endure such things!! How awful. This is terribly depressing. How could these seminaries have men like this that arent teaching the doctrines of the church, or that are accepting things that they should not be? Thanks be to God for the reverent and pious priests that through God’s grace were ordained. Couldn’t they have visitations of these places? This breaks my heart that this has ever happened to our dear priests, or is happening. Even more now will I pray for priests and still more am I grateful to God for those who have endured. May God bless them and help the ones who are in need.

  14. Leonius says:

    The Bishop responsible should be punished not just individual priests and seminarians, only when Bishops are made to answer for the failings of their “staff” will we see any improvement in dens of iniquity like this.

    It would be better not to have a Bishop than one who assists, even if just by omission the anti-Christs who drain the faithful of their life and drag them down to hell.

    And as Jack says this is still the case in England as well which is why I am moving to the US, I am not willing to put my children at risk by raising them in this anti-Catholic environment where people say “peace be with you” with a devils grin on their face and then persecute you for holding true to the Catholic Faith.

  15. robtbrown says:

    Did you notice that Hell’s Bible is now whining that seminaries are starting to screen out some homosexual candidates? http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/31/nyregion/31gay.html?src=me

    Go figure.
    Comment by markomalley

    It’s not hard to understand. The NY Times Gay Mafia (Richard Berke, Ben Brantley, Frank Bruni, Stuart Elliot, Patrick Healy, Adam Nagourney, Horacio Silva, Stefano Tonchi, Eric Wilson) is no secret. Perhaps the rag should be known and the Old Gay Lady.

    On the other hand, foreign correspondents Dexter Filkins and John F Burns are excellent.

  16. TNCath says:

    Irish parishes have been a terrible mess for quite some time now, both liturgically and morally. This posting underscores one of the many reasons why. Having spent quite a bit of time in Ireland over the years, the state of the parishes and seminaries are still shockingly bad. However, my interactions and experiences with the Irish seminarians in Rome seem to be much more positive. Perhaps the tide is turning, albeit painfully slowly?

  17. markomalley says:

    Penguins Fan,

    I think that a better term for The New York Slimes would be The Screed from Hell. The Screed is not a newspaper. It is a house organ for the hard Left and should be always treated as such.

    Point taken!

  18. RichR says:

    And people wonder why traditional orders are thriving.

    If a bishop throws out the wacky professors, increases the moral code, institutes more rigorous disciplinary measures, demands orthodox instruction and spirituality, and screens the potentially bad candidates at seminary, AND MAKES SURE THAT HIS FLOCK KNOWS HE IS TIGHTENING UP THE REGS AT SEM, then he will see a rise in vocations.

  19. Thomas G. says:

    Honestly, Father Z, like others here, I don’t see how you did it – how you persevered in such an atmosphere to be ordained.

    In the early 1980’s I was on a track to enter the Jesuits circa Boston, MA, but was estranged almost immediately. You must have had (and have) a rock-like faith. Deo gratias.

  20. pberginjr says:

    Jack,
    One of my friends is in the CPM (Fathers of Mercy) and absolutely loves it. Good Luck and many prayers.

  21. pberginjr says:

    Here’s something from Rocco, http://whispersintheloggia.blogspot.com/2010/05/visitation-to-ireland.html, the visitation is one its way!

  22. jaklyn says:

    Where are the Irish Bishops in all this? Pope Benedict needs to instigate a clear out: he was far too kind to them on their reccent visit to Rome

  23. Maltese says:

    Seminarians have been taught that the Mass is just a memorial of a past event and is only a “gathering of the Community” to remember the event.

    Well, I hate to say, but this is the lex credendi inspired by the New Mass, which deliberately deemphasises the Sacrificial aspect of Mass and emphasises the communal aspect. Holy Mass becomes more the last supper, and less the Sacrifice (to the point where it is no longer recognized.) For 1,970 years the Mass was understood, primarily, as the Sacrifice, then our orientation changed during those groovy 60’s and 70’s, with tragic consequences.

    The altar has become a communal table and no longer is contiguous with the Tabernacle (remember, the contiguous altar-tabernacles were wreckovated out of our churches by the likes of Weakland,) the eucharist is passed-around, hand-to-hand; the people are wont to shake hands, stare at each other, and hug during the “kiss of peace,” but when it comes to the consecration, they are disinterested (preferring each other over Christ;) the mass itself has become an ad populum ego-fest of priest “performing” for his captive audience, while Christ is left forgotten in back of him. It’s all very sad…

    http://hospitallers.blogspot.com/2008/09/holy-sacrifice.html

  24. williamhussey says:

    Is Maynooth seminary taking the American Friends of Maynooth for a ride? How can decent Americans be expected to support and finance a situation like this?

    http://www.armagharchdiocese.org/cardinal/homilies/44-2001/275-13-may-mass-for-seminarians-and-friends-of-maynooth

  25. williamhussey: American Friends of Maynooth? There is such a group? They have been giving money to support…that?

  26. williamhussey says:

    Yes there is Fr Z. They donate lots of money every year to the seminary. They think they are helping to educate orthodox priests but we see what is really happening. You can see in the link above that 2001 was the 9th annual visit of the American friends to the seminary. Here are some of the names:

    welcome all of you to the celebration of the Eucharist on this, the Fifth Sunday of Easter. I extend an especially warm welcome to the Friends of Maynooth, who are making their ninth annual visit. Some have been here often before. About 20 are visiting Ireland and Maynooth for the first time. You are all most welcome.

    I thank you on behalf of the Catholic Church in Ireland for your faithful friendship and generous support of Maynooth and of its work of educating priests and lay leaders, to serve the Church, at home and abroad. That work depends on all of you. You are all being remembered and prayed for in this Mass. May I be allowed to mention just a few who are here present:

    John and Eileen Elliott
    Doctors Joseph and Martha Murphy
    Dr Barbara Gannon
    Dr Bernadette Casey Smith and Owen Smith
    John Biagini
    Arthur and Carole Stuchbury
    Joan Heaney
    Gerry Zoller
    Frank and Sue Crowley
    Dave and Jackie Mahoney
    Ciara Carucci
    Dr Bill and Rose McKenna
    Mary Reilly Hunt
    Wendell Young
    This is the ninth annual visit of the American Friends of Maynooth.

    I believe that Archbishop Dolan of New York is just back from a visit to the seminary with this year’s delegation of American Friend of Maynooth.

  27. Henry Edwards says:

    From this morning’s VIS news:

    “Following the Holy Father’s Letter to the Catholics of Ireland, the apostolic visitation of certain Irish dioceses, seminaries and religious congregations will begin in autumn of this year.”

    . . . . .

    “In its desire to accompany the process of renewal of houses of formation for the future priests of the Church in Ireland, the Congregation for Catholic Education will co-ordinate the visitation of the Irish seminaries, including the Pontifical Irish College in Rome. While special attention will be given to the matters that occasioned the apostolic visitation, in the case of the seminaries it will cover all aspects of priestly formation. Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York, U.S.A., has been named apostolic visitor.

  28. Henry Edwards says:

    “I believe that Archbishop Dolan of New York is just back from a visit to the seminary with this year’s delegation of American Friend of Maynooth.”

    What’s that old phrase … “friends helping friends”?

  29. williamhussey says:

    Let’s hope not. This is serious. If he does not do a serious job and clerar out the problem cases both on the staff and among the seminarians the whole things will back fire. If that happens everybody will blame our Holy Father. That does not lokk like a smart way to go about things.

  30. pewpew says:

    Thank God that our diocese’s seminary here in Holland is so good that modernists often complain about the orthodoxy of the young priests!

  31. Fr_Sotelo says:

    Penguins Fans wrote: *If my son wanted to be a priest and entered a seminary where these shenaningans were going on…..I would strongly consider to get in my truck with my ax handle, go there and then go Buford Pusser on the place.*

    This is hilarious. Honestly, though, one of the reasons why we often did not tell our parents about the seminary problems was because 1) we did not want to scandalize them and 2) we were afraid that some of our parents would get an ax, go down to the seminary faculty lounge, and leave it looking like a scene from “The Shining” a la Jack Nicholson.

    One orthodox seminarian from a rural diocese, from a hunting family, once joked that if his parents ever found out how he was treated at the seminary, he was going to run home and hide all the firearms LOL. That guy today is a good priest.

    I was also ordained in 1991. I can’t speak for Fr. Z, but I can say that what made life in the modern seminary survivable (besides the help of the Blessed Sacrament and Our Lady) was that there were always other students who were Catholic, and were fun to be with.

    Even after the most heretical talk, I could walk out of class and practically split a gut as one of the more orthodox students made that professor an object of laughter as he was lampooned mercilessly. Some of the best comedy I heard was the orthodox students lampooning their hippie seminary professors.

  32. Reading these articles reminded me of the book, “Goodbye Good Men” which describes the process by which good, orthodox, and fairly traditional men are either weeded or thrown out during their seminary years because they are being too rigid. Those who are left in the seminaries are usually those that could tow the party line and keep their heads down.

  33. shane says:

    Maynooth is living on borrowed time and will go the way of the other five seminaries that have closed since the 60s. Its numbers are already unsustainable, its faculty will be hard to replace, and numbers will sink more because of the scandals. When it closes they can go train in Rome, like their Scots counterparts. The sooner the better.

  34. edwardo3 says:

    Fr_Sotelo:

    My experience was much like yours. I would add that another reason seminarians don’t tell their families and friends about what is going on in seminaries is that they simply won’t be believed. I have told family and friends some, but not all and certainly not the worst, of what was going on in the seminary I was in and it wasn’t until the scandals broke, years later, that I found out that they just couldn’t believe that what I had told them was actually going on in a seminary.

    Those of us who were more traditionally minded, when we were left alone, were generally a happy group of guys; usually laughing and mercilessly mocking the idiocy surrounding us, unless of course we were sneaking off to a EF Mass somewhere. We even joked about our final act of defiance when the time came for us to be thrown out.

    Penguins Fan:

    If your son goes to seminary, just give him a Louisville Slugger as a going away present. I had one parked next to my bed the whole time I was in.

  35. This is news indeed. To think I have been trying to get our Provincial to switch our students (when we have some) to Maynooth from All Hallows (nick-named ‘All Shallows’) because it is seen to be less orthodox than Maynooth! One of All Hallows’ lecturers even told one of our students the course he was following was insufficient for ordination and that he’d have to make up the difference. What are we to do? My Provincial commented that it hadn’t done me much harm to which I replied ‘that was because I avoided the books they told me to read and read the ones they didn’t’ (such as our beloved Ratzinger). I am glad the visitation is coming but sceptical about it too. There was a visitation when I was a student in All Hallows and I don’t think the visitators either got or were really searching for the truth. I have it on good authority that a seminarian there recently (within the last few months) found himself at a practice session for a blessing of a same-sex couple! I wonder have they gone that far at Maynooth? They didn’t do that in my time (early Nineties) but they did question Church teaching. Indeed the attitude has infected some (most?) clergy (how many I don’t know) that nothing good comes from Rome. It is said that was even the attitude of (recently retired) Bishop Willie Walsh.

    Recently a friar returned from a conference to tell us that another house of another order had replaced the altar with a table and they sit around it for weekday Mass. The speakers, from the Benedictines in Glenstal, also spoke as if women’s ordination was inevitable. No wonder, their new abbot (who didn’t want to be a priest until he was elected) openly dodged a question on transubstantiation. They are looked up to because they are so ‘learned’ but people, especially some clergy, little think that even the learned can be heretics.

    I disagree with TNCath though – I live and work here and while there are problems the ordinary lay Catholic and most clergy are orthodox and live good lives but there is confusion and a fear of taking a public stand for the Church.

  36. Magpie says:

    @ Br. Tom Forde OFM Cap:

    Bishop Willie Walsh is reputed to have said he threw anything coming from Rome in the bin!

    In Maynooth, the seminarians have their daily Mass in a dreadful ‘worship space’ and they must stand for the consecration. I have been told this by a seminarian there.

  37. shane says:

    Magpie, I know from ‘insiders’ that you are correct about having to stand for the consecration. Many seminarians have disciplined for kneeling, and at least one has been expelled.

  38. Fr Jackson says:

    Surely such a state of affairs justified the apparent “disobedience” involved in the founding of SSPX seminaries in those bad old days?

  39. williamhussey says:

    In Maynooth, the seminarians have their daily Mass in a dreadful ‘worship space’ and they must stand for the consecration. I have been told this by a seminarian there.

    Is this it? Surely not?

    [IMG]http://www.rha.ie/images/maynooth_wall.jpg[/IMG]

  40. williamhussey says:
  41. Jack Hughes says:

    @ Fr Jackson

    I would be tempted to say that I did Father, but when one looks at what the FSSP has managed to achieve despite being hounded by liberals for the past 22 years I’m afraid to say that I think Mgr. Lefebvre took the wrong course of action.

  42. poohbear says:

    Thank God for all of our holy priests. We will never fully know what you suffered (and some are still suffering) so that you could lead us closer to God. Thank you!

  43. kittenchan says:

    If a priest does not believe in the Real Presence and/or transubstatiation, how does he have the proper intent to confect the Blessed Sacrament? Wouldn’t all his Masses be invalid, and all the communicants receive only bread/wine?

  44. Magpie says:

    williamhussey:

    Yes, that’s it, that’s the ‘worship space’ for daily Mass. To think that down the hall is this (reserved for special occasions):

    http://maggieblanck.com/Mayopages/ImagesM08/Nov164.jpg

  45. Jack Hughes says:

    You know that something is wrong when such a beautiful Chapel is reserved for special occasions and the oh so plain chapel is what they must put up with daily Mass

  46. Time to close this one down and start another faithful seminary.

  47. LaudemGloriae says:

    I am very sorry to hear this troubling report. Unfortunately it is confirmed by the friends I know currently in seminary. What rang most true was the comment that theology and tradition are now theories to be debunked. I have encountered this problem in my graduate work … any paper which asserts a traditional position or merely defends the *possibility* of historicity of traditionally held Catholic legends (or heaven forbid sourcing the “wrong” books) is clearly disdained. I’ve really questioned if I can continue in my program, it’s been that much of an eye-opener and something of a loss of innocence.

  48. irishgirl says:

    St. Patrick, St. Oliver Plunkett, and all the other Irish Saints [especially the martyrs who suffered horribly for the Faith] are probably looking down from heaven and shaking their heads in disbelief…how could this happen?

    Penguins Fan-‘doing a Buford Pusser’! Oooo, that’s a good one!

    Jack Hughes-I hope you can enter the seminary here in the States! The communities you mentioned are excellent, solid ones!

  49. Rob Cartusciello says:

    I was in religious life through the 90’s, and the story rings painfully, painfully true. There is a great and terrible rot in religious formation that must be excised.

    My theology professor at the Notre Dame summer institute denied the sinless nature of Christ. We used to call the class “Truth of Hersey”, because you never knew what would come next.

    During my candidate’s interview with the novice master, his biggest question was: Did I have any issues dealing with gay people? I should paid more attention to the questions. He left religious life three months into my novitiate.

    I have not told my family even one-fifth of what went on during my formation. They would not understand how bad things were. Even today, my wife cannot grasp the depths of the corruption I witnessed.

    I would have great concerns if my son wanted to enter seminary or religious life. I would tell him that he could give me a call and I would be there to pick him up at the seminary gates – day or night – no questions asked, and no shame, either.

    I would meet with all the formation staff and test their mettle. I would also explain to them that I have a shotgun, a shovel and access to 300 acres of farmland.

  50. Jack Hughes says:

    @ LaudemGloriae – WHAT!!!!!

    @ Rob Cartusciell- a sober reminder that whilst there are wonderful religious communities such as the Benedictines of Mary, the soapy Dominican sisters of Summit NJ and the Dominican Sisters of Nashiville they are comparitavely small to the number of wacky communities that still seem to be in existence, we have a generation of work to do.

    @Irish Girl – so do I !!!, I HOPE (the operative word) to be spending about 2-3 weeks in the States spending time with communities Which stand out to me (the CPM and Norbetines included)in late July – mid August before I go back to England in order proceed in dicernment and formal application. I’m through with my diocese, sure there are wonderful clergy there but I’m not going to conceal my piety and toe the party line just to jump through the hoops to ordination if there are perfectly good Religious communities in the States that are more than willing to snap me up, currently the biggest headache I forsee is sorting out the immigration paperwork.

  51. Rob Cartusciello says:

    I would advise any person considering religious life to ask whether they could think of the members of their community as family. Family doesn’t have to be perfect, but there are certain accepted standards of community, practice and decency that healthy families live by.

    Candidates are pledging their futures to these communities, and at a bare minimum giving them years of their lives that they cannot get back. These communities should promise some standard of treatment in return. They will get the vocations they deserve.

    I would also say that you should trust your instincts. If something is bothering you, listen to that voice – even if you do not understand it. It may take years to comprehend intellectually what your gut was telling you.

    My Novice Master weirded me out the first time I met him, and I should have trusted my gut reaction – which was to get as far away from him as I possibly could. He was a train wreck in every sense of the word.

    = =

    On a completely unrelated note, I recall that certain Jesuit scholastics at Berkley were enamored with the “third way” – a self-serving lifestyle that was neither celibacy nor marriage. It was akin to the fiction of an “open marriage”, where a vowed religious could engage in transient (presumably sexual) friendships.

    Yes, it was that bad.