Note to priest abusers: You cannot hide!

A reader sent this from Boston Daily:

Learning to become a Catholic priest, unsurprisingly, takes a long time—you have 2,000 years of history to cover, not to mention philosophy, theology, and a foreign language to learn before you can be ordained. [Although it takes about five minutes to learn to say Mass… with the Ordinary Form, that is.] The first few years of coursework are introductory, but by the end, seminary students are getting deep into the practical aspects of being a priest, including counseling and the sacraments. The ultimate goal: Educating someone to be a philosopher, theologian, teacher, counselor, and businessman.[They could use workshops in cooking and sewing, too.]

This past spring, while reporting “Resurrection,” my story about the Archdiocese of Boston’s recovery from the 2002 sex abuse scandal, I had the chance to attend a few classes for aspiring priests at St. John’s Seminary in Brighton. It was pretty interesting for a lay person. The first-year course on “Metaphysics” felt like college-level philosophy—with the very funny Father Joseph Scorzello using baseball analogies to explain philosophical definitions—while the final year course of the “Sacraments of Healing” taught soon-to-be priests, including the story’s subject, Eric Cadin, how to deliver [?] the sacrament of Anointing of the Sick.

The most interesting and entertaining class I attended, though, was the one that covered acculturation, [inculturation?] which is how the Church interacts with and adapts to a local culture. […]

But while adaptation to a local culture is a good thing, it can sometimes go too far. Monsignor Moroney, who’s now the rector of St. John’s, talked to his students about the history behind Church’s involvement in the quinceanera—the celebration of a girl’s 15th birthday in many Latin American cultures—as well as the unity candle, which is often lit by the bride and groom (and/or their families) at Catholic weddings. “The unity candle,” Monsignor Moroney said, “was largely invented by Hallmark 25 years ago. Wedding photographers love the moment.” [Good for him!]


The best part of class, though, were the YouTube videos of rogue Catholic priests. These priests, in saying Mass in their various churches, had gone well beyond what was acceptable in variation to the Church. For Catholics used to a highly ritualized Mass—like, say, seminary students—these are bizarre adaptations that are clearly beyond the bounds of the Church. Highlight No. 1 was Father Michael Pfleger, who made some unsanctioned adaptations to a Holy Thursday Mass:


There follow some videos, including by contrast one of a three-year old (which I posted here some time ago) doing a better job than some of those clowns out there.

To priests who want to abuse the faithful by making it up as you go: mobile phones record video.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. mike cliffson says:

    query counseling

  2. Kenneth Hall says:

    If Michael Pfleger cannot be defrocked, there is none who can.

  3. lucaslaroche says:

    I think Fr. Z and Msgr. Moroney would be kindred spirits. I was once present when someone asked Msgr. Moroney about wearing the stole over the chasuble, and that provoked a 10 minute rant on how ‘overstoles’ are “Never, ever, whatsoever acceptable”

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