The Very Model Of A Modern Seminarian

This comes from a seminarian reader.

Fr. Z:

Lot of things in the news, thought I’d send something light. I’m a seminarian and longtime reader of your blog. I also like operettas. So, while I was waiting for something the other day, I wrote a parody of the Modern Major-General’s Song from The Pirates of Penzance but about a seminarian. I don’t have the time to set this to music, so I thought I’d send you the text.


The Seminarian’s Song

To the Tune of the Major-General’s Song from The Pirates of Penzance
I am the very model of Catholic seminarian
I’ve information pastoral, canonical, and Marian,
I know the Popes of Avignon and Councils Ecumenical
From Nicaea to Vatican plus gatherings heretical.
I’m very well acquainted too with matters homiletical,
I’ll write a pretty sermon that is eloquent yet practical,
About soteriology I’m teeming with a lot o’ news…
Such as salvation history’s relation to the modern Jews.
I’m very open minded, I have Sunday lunch with Protestants,
I teach them our Church History and sing it in Gregorian Chants,
In short in matters pastoral, canonical, and Marian,
I am the very model of a Catholic seminarian.
I know my ancient languages, some Latin, Greek, and Hebrew too;
I’m smart as a Dominican, I write for The Thomist review,
I quote Thomas Aquinas and I know the Summa all by heart,
I know the arguments for God from Anselm to Rene Descartes;
I am an expert without doubt in all matters liturgical,
I’ll see the rubrics carried out in fashion demiurgical!
I can intone polyphony from every epoch, school and rank…
And sing all of the arias composed by Mister Cesare Franck.
Then I can run a bingo or a bake sale in the Parish Hall,
And sell spaghetti supper tickets at the local shopping mall:
In short, in matters pastoral, canonical, and Marian,
I am the very model of a Catholic seminarian.
In fact, when I know what is meant by “Molinist” and “Arian,”
When I can rise above the title of Popish sectarian,
When such affairs as wakes and confirmations I’m more wary at,
And when each sort of imperfection, sin, and fault I can combat;
When I have learnt the progress of von Balthasar’s theology,
Converted every member of the Church of Scientology—
In short, when I’ve a smattering of basic Catholicity—
They’ll say that I’m a cleric full of goodness and simplicity.
And though my Bishop is impressed by my enormous panurgy,
The man is rather wary at my love for Latin Liturgy,
But still in matters pastoral, canonical, and Marian,
I am the very model a Catholic seminarian.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Lighter fare, Parody Songs and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. AlexE says:

    that amused my seminiarain humor greatly. Great job, brother!

  2. Maltese says:

    Very nice, dude!

    Keep-up the faith, especially in this day-and-age! With your great traditional heart, perhaps we’ll be lucky enough to have you as a Bishop someday!

  3. KAS says:

    I want to see a utube of a seminarian managing to actually SING this!

    Would be fabulous if someone could pull it off.

  4. snowowl1234 says:

    I love it!

  5. dimsum says:

    I loved it too!!!

    Perhaps Fr. Z. could ask “Zuhlio” to sing it :)

  6. Daniel_Nekic says:

    This is very well done!
    I must say though, I only know of this song by listening to Tom Lehrer’s rendition of the same Gilbert & Sullivan song called ‘Elements’, which is all the elements of the periodic table set to the same tune. Very funny, and available of YouTube.

  7. Sedgwick says:

    This seminarian ought to be quite valuable to his parish’s variety show, whenever he is ordained and assigned. And while he’s instituting a parish variety show, I hope he doesn’t forget to institute a traditional Mass.

  8. Sedgwick says:

    Here you go, Daniel Nekic:

    (I love Tom Lehrer as well…)

  9. Sedgwick says:

    Speaking of Tom Lehrer, I think he predicted the “Spirit of Vatican II” even before the rest of us realized what was happening:

  10. lmgilbert says:

    You’re more than a model sir you’re the very epitome
    Of the sort of splendid seminarian that I would like to be
    And if I could put it music that was metrical
    Avoiding the four song sandwich and themes that are heretical
    I’d say you’re the sort of chap who now in the Church militant
    Could hold a candle high and with its blazing filament
    Show the door to Satan and gain back the ancient ways
    With persistent prayer and penance and laughter in your lays
    For much in matters pastoral, canonical, and Marian,
    You are the very model of a Catholic seminarian.

  11. Carolyn says:

    Wow, I LOVED that! :)

  12. Agnes of Prague says:


  13. K. Marie says:

    Awesometastic is really the only word I can think of to describe that.

  14. kat says:

    That was GREAT! I sang the whole thing, having once performed in that wonderful Gilbert and Sullivan opera. Thanks!!!

  15. ghp95134 says:


  16. ghp95134 says:

    Hopefully our Gilbert Scholar can put a twist to “Three Little Nuns in Heresy” for us?

    Three little nuns in heresy
    New-agey as a hippy well can be
    Polyester pantsuits make us free
    Three little nuns in heresy

    Everything is all about power
    No man’s safe, for we make all cower
    Walk the labyrinth three times an hour
    Three little nuns in heresy

    Three little nuns who, all very wary
    Come from a ladies’ seminary
    Detoured from its genius tutelary
    Three little maids from school
    Three little maids from school

    One little nun runs a Reiki school
    Two little nuns in pantsuits, “cool”
    Three little nuns all making fool
    Three little nuns in heresy
    Three little nuns in heresy

    From three little nuns excommunicate one away
    Two little nuns remain, and they
    Won’t have to wait very long, they say
    Three little nuns in heresy
    Three little nuns in heresy

    Three little nuns who, all very wary
    Come from a ladies’ seminary
    Detoured from its genius tutelary
    Three little nuns in heresy
    Three little nuns in heresy

  17. We may have created a monster.

    Wait until The WDTPRS Parodohymnist gets hold of this.

  18. Yes, Father, I think you have created a monster . . . But since the flood gate is open, here is the song written by your’s truly in honor of the director of the Gregorian Chant schola at UVa. You can guess the proper tune. And, of course, her name was Susan . . .

    O’ Susanna, won’t you chant for me?
    For Kumbaja is tired, and of guitars I’d be free!

    I came to join your schola
    to hear what I would hear.
    Now I’ll learn all the Propers
    you sing throughout the year.
    I’d buy myself a Liber
    and learn the four-line staff;
    then goodbye to the Gather hymnal
    and all that other chaff!

    O’ Susanna …

    I had a dream the other night,
    when need of sleep was dire;
    I thought I heard Susanna dear
    intoning for the choir.
    The Gradual was in her hand,
    a neume was on her tongue;
    it was the sweetest Kyrie
    that ever had been sung.

    O’ Susanna . . .

    We’re coming to your parish
    to sing Marty Haugen down,
    and if you don’t have kneelers,
    we’ll knell right on the ground.
    We’ll sing motets in Latin,
    and we will sing them well,
    and if some old nuns grumble,
    they just can go to . . . well . . .

    O’ Susanna . . .

  19. Francis says:

    Wonderful.excellent. thanks. this has made my day.

  20. Sacristymaiden says:

    That was GREAT!
    Fr. Thompson, that was hilarious! It made my day!

  21. Revixit says:

    What great lyrics, on the page and in the combox, and links to Tom Lehrer, too. Be still, my heart.

    Father Z, the day would be absolutely perfect if you could link to The WDTPRS Parodohymnist’s lyrics about Summorum Pontificum, set to the music of “La donna e mobile.” I’ve lost my file with the lyrics but remember how funny they were.

  22. marajoy says:

    (with all due respect to the composer… “Franck” doesn’t exactly rhyme with “rank…”)

  23. ben_g says:

    I would love to hear someone actually sing this.

    If anyone out there is a Doctor Who fan, this is from one of the audio stories. The singer is Colin Baker, who played the sixth Doctor back in the 80s. I’m not sure who put the video clips together.

  24. Tim Ferguson says:

    You might just be the model of a modern seminarian,
    Yet cautiously be wary of the Rector, who’s an Arian,
    The spiritual director, who’s a fan of Fr. Matthew Fox,
    And certainly the liturgist, who’s very far from orthodox!
    Impressive as your knowledge is of Popes who reigned from Avignon,
    More poignant are the virtues, of which you must be a paragon,
    Below the radar, prudently, your love for Latin keep in checks
    And while you quote Von Balthasar, toss in a little Schillebeeckx
    Stay faithful to the Pope and don’t forget to pray your Rosary,
    Attend Mass daily, and pray all the black words in your breviary,
    In short, be prudent, persevere, and take your punches like a man
    And make it to the priesthood, my dear model seminarian!

  25. Yes! I knew it was merely a matter of time before this brought out Tim Ferguson. Thanks for making my day all around.

  26. Doubtful Thomas says:

    And those St. Louis Jesuits thought they were clever.

  27. New Sister says:

    Pure glee – thanks “guys”!! Such a delightful bunch you make! :-)

  28. wanda says:

    Hats off to all the talented folks here. Mad props, you guys!

  29. Elly says:

    Wow I love it! I always loved The Elements song too!

  30. adeoamata says:

    This is terrific! The Colonel’s patter song (If you want a receipt…) from Patience is another one dying for a parody.

  31. laurazim says:

    GENIUS!!! I’m such a musical nerd, I loved all of the parodies here!! Bravo! Can somebody get to work making a Catholic Parody CD please? Methinks there’d be a line waiting to purchase….

  32. Rachel says:

    Those were great, especially Tim Ferguson’s!

  33. irishgirl says:

    These are all soooo funny! I love Gilbert and Sullivan, anyway! That song is such a tongue-twister!

    Very creative you guys!

    I echo laurazim…there’s got to be a Catholic Parody CD made!

  34. ghp95134 says:

    adeoamata: The Colonel’s patter song (If you want a receipt…) from Patience is another one dying for a parody.

    Entitled “The Heavy Dragoon.” Lyrics at

    Parodiemeistern — it has great potential!
    Sample from the ending of verse 1:

    Take of these elements all that is fusible,
    Melt ’em all down in a pipkin or crucible,
    Set ’em to simmer and take off the scum,
    And a Heavy Dragoon [Traditional Catholic] is the residuum!
    Bugler, sound “Officers’ Call”!

  35. Blissmeister86 says:

    This is hillarious, and completely true of a lot of Catholic seminarians of the JPII/B16 generation!

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