Is the Crisis in Formation?

The World needs heroes, and so does the Church. But how have heroes been treated in the seminary since the 'spirit' of the Second Vatican Council took hold of the Church and throttled Her? It's well known that during the 70s and 80s seminarians had their book recommendations changed from 'The Imitation of Christ' to pap churned out by modern theologians and out and out heretics. Liberation theology, Marxist interpretations of the Gospel and other heresies took hold of the Church during this period and it was an age in which even the Church allowed the 'let it all hang out' mantra into Her life.

I've been on the internet Catholic scene long enough to hear from men who were once in the seminary but who, for one reason or another, left. I heard a totally awful story about seminarian life on a priest's blog about a seminarian making a 'camp' gesture to another seminarian while they were all sitting around getting hammered and the seminarian taking exception to it and beating him near to death.

Another friend of mine, from the US, said seminarian life in the 1970s was utterly shameful. Though he himself admits he is homosexual, he maintained both orthodoxy and chastity throughout his time there. He suspects he was kicked out for being faithful to the Magisterium and for promoting Gregorian Chant, rather than for his sexuality, since the rector who kicked him out was shagging men left, right and centre and bringing young men back to the seminary for sex.

Orthodoxy seems to have made a sharp exit with sound teaching and belief, as well as a basic understanding of prayer and formation for men in the seminary from the 70s onwards. Hopefully, this has, in this country, at least, been remedied, but I don't know enough about it. I would guess much depends on the rector and the standard that is set by example and love of those responsible for the training of priests.

It seems that from the 1970s seminaries became places where men are almost encouraged to 'get it out of their system'. I like a good drink myself from time to time, but I would consider that hard core drinking is something that you kind of do before thinking of giving your life to God as a priest or perhaps I'm just naive. I expect things are not so bad as I am painting them, and perhaps never were, its just I hear stories from those who were in the seminaries and who never 'made it' through. Faith and morals seem to have collapsed in the 1970s.

We have to recall that this was a time when the Sacrament of Penance was deemed to be, by many, a tradition belonging to a bygone age. It was a time when devotion to Our Lady and to the Blessed Sacrament collapsed in an assault on some of the most basic beliefs fundamental to the formation of Christian life and prayer. It was an age in which liturgical dancing became fashionable and when all fixed ideas of the Catholic life were openly challenged by all in positions of authority and influence in the Church. The good were dismissed and evil was allowed to prosper.

I must confess that I do wonder whether Bishops are Cardinals in Europe who remain more silent on the issue of 'same-sex marriage', who have come out of the post-Vatican II/'spirit of Vatican II' seminaries keep silent because they are aware of their past deeds which could be brought to light. I know its wrong to think that, we should think the best of Shepherds of the Church, but the lacklustre campaigns by the European Church, notwithstanding France, to defend marriage and the Church, plus the kamikaze mission of Cardinal Keith O'Brien does make me wonder. How many more Cardinal Keith O'Briens do we have in the Catholic Church in Europe? For some reason, I really doubt Cardinal Keith O'Brien is the only time bomb that will be detonated. Perhaps other will be long as they don't speak out.

I've got a lot of gripes with the SSPX, I think they are rather arrogant in their dealing with the Bride of Christ, but I do just get the feeling that their seminaries, full to overflowing so I hear, would not tolerate the kind of liberalism and 'go easy on yourself' laxity that has blighted the post-Vatican II Church.

We need St Ignatius types - soldiers for Christ - not the insanity and chaos of seminaries revelling in vice. Meanwhile, a new generation of priests and the next generation of Bishops will, we pray, emerge from the muck of the 'spirit of Vatican II' Church to restore the Church, to enable men who seek God to be able to serve Him in Holy Orders unhindered by the outrages, heresies and blasphemies poured out against the just men of times gone by. These men will lead souls to Christ and declare that only Jesus Christ can bring us peace and happiness welling up to Eternal Life. If Tina Beattie types are responsible for the formation and training of men in the seminaries, hopefully it will be Tina Beattie types who are asked to leave, not sound-believing and holy men who want to be heroes for Christ and His Church.


Genty said…
Any crisis in formation is entirely due to the men at the top - the very men who were formed in the olden days. It is they who threw aside the spiritual heritage of the Catholic Church.
I must add that the crisis seems, as far as we know, to be confined to the Church in the western developed nations.
Developed, that is, in relativism and degeneracy and in denial of Christ.
Wake Up England said…
Three cardinals have made their report on the "Vatiliaks" scandal.

When the conclave begins HOW are the cardinals to know whether the person they are voting for to be the next Pope is named in this report? Surely common sense dictates that the Cardinals must know what the report says before they can decide who is suitable to be Pope (and who is NOT suitable). I hear that the report is to be kept a secret until after the new Pope is elected. This could be a disaster if they were to elect a cardinal who has been UP TO NO GOOD.
Lynda said…
And in South America. Wasn't the spearhead of organised infiltration of seminaries by communists mostly during the twenties and thirties? And wasn't homosexual sins an explicit means by which they destroyed the priesthood in many parts, e.g. by accepting men with homosexual inclinations and corrupting them systematically twenty or thirty years later?
Vincent said…
You say shepherds, I suspect it may be more useful to refer to them as sheepdogs, guarding the flock from error and deep falls. Sadly they don't seem to have kept such good watch for themselves. The Shepherd is still authentically infallible, as we know. But we need a shepherd who will keep on bringing in new and trustworthy sheepdogs just as Benedict did.
Sadie Vacantist said…
“I heard a totally awful story about seminarian life on a priest's blog about a seminarian making a 'camp' gesture to another seminarian while they were all sitting around getting hammered and the seminarian taking exception to it and beating him near to death”

Bones, this happened last year at the Beda college and has been hushed up by the authorities there. This did not happen in the 1970's!
The Bones said…
Yes, I should have made that clear, thank you.
Amfortas said…
It's just too easy to put in down to Vatican 2 or, rather, The Sprit Thereof. Much of the rot has much deeper roots.

I was in seminary in Chelsea only about thirteen years ago and left because of a crisis of faith. Yes, a certain kind of orthodoxy was seen as suspect by some of the formation staff but thankfully things have moved on a bit. One of the current priests at Allen Hall is regularly seen in choir at the oratory.

The culture was not overwhelmingly homosexual but it did cause some people to become quite dysfunctional by infantilising them. There are many older men in seminary now but the system doesn't know how to treat people as grown ups; or it didn't in those days. This is built into the system and was reinforced by Blessed JP 2's Pastores Dabo Vobis.

I don't know how to solve the current crisis in the priesthood. I'm not even sure there is a crisis. But I do know that blaming Vatican 2 or some other 'thing' is simplistic and unsatisfactory. More imagination is required...and the influence of the Holy Spirit.
Wake Up England said…
There were a lot of openly Gay students at Wonersh Seminary (Surrey, UK) in the 1970s when Bishop Murphy-O'Conner was in charge of the diocese. It appeared to be quite accepted (Camp Noel Coward reviews with drag; trips to the Gay pub in Guildford and a great deal more). I saw it all first hand. Once one allows a false principle to go unchecked, it is very very difficult to arrest its progress. If Wonersh was typical it's no wonder the Church in such a mess now. I'm afraid we're reaping what was sown.
Wake Up England said…
In Reply to Amfortas:

You tell us that Allen Hall Seminary (Chelsea LOndon) wasn't "Overwhelmingly" homosexual which seems strongly to suggest that homosexuality was in evidence (only not overwhelmingly). This is very worrying. How much was homosexuality in evidence? Please tell us as it's important to have a layman's insight of what has been going on in our seminaries (to which we all contribute). I am thrilled to hear that one of the Allen Hall staff goes regularly to the Oratory. Thank God for the Oratorians. Throughout the ups and downs of the last 50 years they have kept their nerve and shown us all what the Second Vatican Council is supposed to be like. I hope the new Pope puts Orotorians in positions of power and influence in the church. Pity they don't run Allen Hall Seminary.
Andrew said…
It is now being reported this morning that Nick Freeman, the solicitor nicknamed 'Mr Loophole' by the tabloid press, has made an official complaint to the Chief Constable of Lothian and Borders Police after having been 'felt compelled to make a formal complaint to trigger a full criminal investigation' in the matter of the allegations made against Cardinal O'Brien*.

It should be noted, according to his entry on the online encyclopedia wikipedia**, that Mr Freeman has previously been arrested 'for suspicion of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice by encouraging a client to lie under oath.' So far no charges have been brought against him, and he is currently not subject to police bail.

It would be interesting to know if Mr Freeman is acting under instructions in raising this complaint. If not, his involvement would seem incongruent to say the least.


annely said…
Laurence or anyone.Can anyone here ask On The Side Of The Angels if he would be willing to share some insight as he too was a seminarian ?
Amfortas said…
Wake Up Engliand, my reference was to 'homosexual culture' rather than to the number of homosexuals. If by homosexuality you mean sexual activity then I can say there was none that I am aware of. As for the proportion of seminarians who were homosexual then I would not say it was a majority by any stretch of the imagination. But this is just guesswork. You really mustn't look for scandal where it doesn't exist, unless you believe the very presence of homosexuals is scandalous.
Wake Up England said…
Amfortas: You said homosexuality was not an "Overwhelming" feature of Allen Hall seminary where you were a student. I am certainly not "looking for scandal where it doesn't exist"; I merely asked you for clarification on what you wrote. Perhaps your use of the word "Overwhelming" gave readers the wrong impression?
My personal view about homoseuxual men in our seminaries is absolutely and completely irrelevant: I take my cue from our erstwhile Pope who has been crystal clear on the subject. My view is his view, plain and simple Private judjments on this topic are damaging.
Amfortas said…
The position taken by the now Pope Emeritus, that homosexuality and the priesthood are incompatible, was not the position being applied at the time I refer to. I will say no more. There is too much heat and noise around this issue at the moment. And not a little prurience.
Wake Up England said…
Amfortas: So, really, in your own way, you're joining-in the cover up aren't you. The Man in the Pew is shocked by all this. Really shocked. Of course Catholics take an interest in what went on in our seminaries then (and indeed what goes on now). After all we pay to keep them going. Attributing "Prurience" to those of us who would like answers and solutions is really an unhelpful accusation. Whose side are you on? That of Benedict 16th,or the past Rectors of Allen Hall et al and their dubious policies?
Physiocrat said…
I would be as worried if there were bishops who were members of an organisation of which membership was incompatible with being a bishop in the Catholic church.

Time will tell.
Wake Up England said…
Physiocrat: Do you mean the Masons; or Stonewall?
Andrew said…

Was this the sort of thing you had in mind?:

'Rowan Williams named the Rev Jonathan Baker as the next Bishop of Ebbsfleet despite knowing he was an active and senior mason' and having 'previously said that Freemasonry was “incompatible” with Christianity' when 'had refused to promote Masons to senior posts.'
Physiocrat said…
I couldn't possibly comment.
annely said…
Read A Traditional Catholic in Iowa:Catholics,Homosexuals,and the Priesthood...that is BlogSpot. It is clearly on the mark.
Jonathan said…
It seems you agree with Paul VI: "In fact, the difficulties and problems which make the observance of chastity very painful or quite impossible for some, spring, not infrequently, from a type of priestly formation which, given the great changes of these last years, is no longer completely adequate for the formation of a personality worthy of a "man of God.""

Sacerdotalis caelibatus, paragraph 60