Francis effect growing among seminarians, says Theological College rector

Francis effect growing among seminarians, says Theological College rector

Sulpician Fr. Phillip J. Brown, rector of the Theological College at Catholic University of America, meets with Pope Francis in 2013.

[In the descriptions from Michael Rose’s 2002 book Goodbye, Good Men: How Liberals Brought Corruption into the Catholic Church/How Catholic Seminaries Turned Away Two Generations of Vocations From the Priesthood, will Theological College at Catholic U. again become known as the “Theological Closet”? The current rector was previously the academic dean at St. Mary’s Seminary (“The Pink Palace”) in Baltimore]

Peter Feuerherd | May. 12, 2016 | National un-Catholic Reporter

The Pope Francis effect?

Some express hope, others dread, still more argue that day-to-day church life is business-as-usual, with little change.

But Sulpician Fr. Phillip J. Brown, rector of the Theological College, the national diocesan seminary of the Catholic University of America in Washington, said the Francis effect is alive and well, and growing, at least among seminarians. It’s been a sudden development.

Last fall, asked by reporters about the impact of Francis on the seminary, which educates and forms 84 men sponsored by dioceses across the U.S., the rector said it was too early to gauge. That’s not true anymore, he told NCR in a recent interview.

A message the seminary always taught, he said, is catching on. “You are not a priest to be a policeman. You are to be a pastor. That’s the message of Francis,” he said.

The numbers have remained steady, but the attitudes of newer arrivals has begun to transform the place, he said. That transformation will be felt soon at a parish near you.

The subject of change in the attitudes of seminarians is “a delicate situation for me as a seminary rector,” acknowledged Brown, who will be moving on to a similar position at St. Mary’s Seminary in Baltimore later this year.

“Our basic approach to formation would have always been congenial to Pope Francis,” he said, noting in particular the requirement that seminarians engage in direct service to the poor, an opportunity readily available in the nation’s capital. He’s aware of complaints from some U.S. Catholics that sometimes the newly-ordained come into parishes intent on forcing changes of a more traditional view in liturgy and the role of clergy.

That view is “contrary to how we form seminarians,” he said. “We would always say to go in for a year or so and see where the parish is at. Then gain people’s confidence if you want to make changes.”

He’s seeing a shift in attitudes among seminarians particularly in the areas of:

View of church tradition. “They are more open to diversity,” he said, noting that there is less of an embrace of apologetics — the view that church teaching should be preached to a secular culture that often ignores it — and more of an embrace of the view, echoing Francis, “to get in with people and see where they are … The guys coming in now are more curious, ready to apply the teaching to people’s real lives.”

There’s less focus on the sacerdotal nature of priesthood — the view that priests are men set aside with particular sacramental powers — and more on how a priest can work among people, what Francis has described as being a shepherd who smells like the sheep.

There is less of an emphasis on signs and symbols indicating traditionalism. They can seem like small things: the wearing of cassocks, Communion only on the tongue and not in the hand, to name two. But in recent years these symbols became what Brown described “as markers of orthodoxy” with an indication that those who didn’t follow such practices were suspect.

“I don’t see that now,” he said.

The newer seminarians have a more Francis-like, some would say Vatican II, view that the church should engage the culture and not see itself as a community set apart. Previously, seminarians were keenly aware that they were different from their peers in the wider culture of the millennial generation. They are now more likely to see themselves as very much like their peers in the wider world, with the goal of transforming the culture with the message of the Gospel.

More impressions from the seminary rector, who has been at the Theological College for the past five years:

Seminarians are more inclined to move from what Brown called a Calvinistic, rule-based view of moral theology, to a more nuanced understanding of the role of church teaching in people’s lives. They are less likely to view psychological counseling with suspicion. The Francis message on the environment is also catching on, he said.

Those who see this change as good news can take heart, said Brown. The impact of Francis’ teachings is not only affecting new seminarians beginning studies early in his pontificate. It is also seeping into the culture of the entire system.

Parishioners, he said, should be seeing its impact in the ministry of newly-ordained priests within a few short years.

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8 comments on “Francis effect growing among seminarians, says Theological College rector

  1. So long straight men.

    • [A return to this?]

      American seminaries: “hell-holes of error and heresy”… [redacted]

      Dwindling U.S. seminaries and seminarians

      From 1966 to 1999, the total number of U.S. seminarians dropped from 39,638 to 4,826 (2000 Catholic Almanac). In 1966, there were approximately 600 seminaries and religious houses of formation in the U.S. that educated future priests. In 1967, 32 seminaries closed. By 1970, 74 more seminaries closed their doors. By 1996, only 192 seminaries remained (408 seminaries/houses of formation had closed since 1966).

      As Ralph McInerny laments:

      “… the behavior in many seminaries has turned them into Augean stables. It is not enough to turn hitherto sheltered offenders over to the public prosecutor. The bishops have to get to the root of the problem. And the root of the problem is that many of our seminaries have been producing clueless clerics. And now we have bishops resigning. This didn’t just happen.” (“It just didn’t happen,” by Ralph McInerny, Crisis Magazine)

      Disobedience to the Popes [before Francis] by pro-homosexual American bishops

      The current clerical sex abuse scandal is overwhelmingly an issue of homosexual predation. According to a February 1961 Vatican document:

      “Advancement to religious vows and ordination should be barred to those who are afflicted with evil tendencies to homosexuality or pederasty, since for them the common life and the priestly ministry would constitute serious dangers.”

      Had the American bishops been obedient and followed the prudent guidelines from this 1961 Vatican document, many of the instances of homosexual predation could have been prevented.

      The lay group Roman Catholic Faithful recently asked the U.S. Papal Nuncio, Archbishop Gabriel Montalvo, for a copy of this above document. The Papal Nuncio refused.

      The homosexual network within the American hierarchy was documented years ago by Fr. Enrique Rueda in his book The Homosexual Network: Private Lives and Public Policy. Within this book, Fr. Rueda exposed the growing network of support groups, counseling referrals, newsletters, and organizations of homosexuals and pro-homosexuals in the Catholic churches of America. He reported that in the late 1970’s a key staffer at the Office of Public Affairs and Information at the U.S. Catholic Conference/National Conference of Catholic Bishops was a leader of the Washington DC homosexual movement, as well as president of Dignity/USA (the radical pro-homosexual clerical group).

      The originator of the NCCB, the late Cardinal Joseph Bernardin of Chicago, was himself accused of homosexuality.

      Good Catholic priests such as Fr. Charles Fiore and Msgr. Eugene Clark have provided a desperately needed service to the faithful by giving clear Catholic teaching on this subject, filling the void created by the bishops’ lack of moral leadership. In a WorldNetDaily article, “… [Fr.] Fiore said that the ranks of priests and seminarians should be “zero percent” homosexuals, and he urged careful formation and guidance of seminarians by seminary personnel faithful to Church teaching. Finally, it is the ultimate responsibility of Catholic bishops to certify the moral rectitude of those they ordain to the priesthood, Fiore stated.” (‘Gay’ culture in Catholic Church grows, Toby Westerman, March 24, 2002)

      Msgr. Eugene Clark, rector of St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York, clearly stated in an April, 2002 sermon: “Unfortunately, . . . homosexual students were allowed to pass through seminaries. Grave mistake. Not because homosexuals in any way tend to criminality, but because it is a disorder and, as a disorder, should prevent a person from being ordained a priest.”

      The prohibition against allowing homosexuals to work around boys is common sense. The Boy Scouts do not even allow this: “The Scouting organization simply refuses to allow what the Catholic Church has allowed – to let known homosexuals occupy positions of authority and trust, positions too easily and too often used to prey on vulnerable young people.” (‘Pedophile priests’ and Boy Scouts, David Kupelian, May 8, 2002)

      The hell-holes of sin and heresy

      In Michael Rose’s book, Goodbye! Good Men, various American seminaries have such a bad reputation that they have earned nicknames, such as “Notre Flame” (for Notre Dame Seminary in New Orleans); “The Theological Closet” (for Theological College at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.); and “The Pink Palace” (for St. Mary’s Seminary in Baltimore).

      The following seminaries are only some that require a cleansing; this list is by no means exhaustive.

      St. Mary’s Seminary in Baltimore, Maryland (nickname: “The Pink Palace”)

      According to former seminarians and recently ordained priests, the “gay subculture” is so prominent and accepted at St. Mary’s Seminary in Baltimore that students have long nicknamed it “The Pink Palace.” Father Andrew Walter, ordained for the Diocese of Bridgeport, Connecticut in 2000, spent several semesters at the Baltimore school as a seminarian for the Diocese of Patterson, New Jersey. The problem was so bad when he was there, he explained, that “some of the students and faculty used to get dressed up in leather to go to ‘the block,’ Baltimore’s equivalent to 42nd Street in Manhattan.” Seminarians, sometimes accompanied by faculty members, would do this regularly, Walter explained. “They would meet in the foyer, and then head for the gay bars.”

      A March 24, 2002 interview of Fr. Walter by the New York Post reported:

      The Rev. Andrew Walter was tossed out of Baltimore’s St. Mary’s Seminary five years ago after a psychological evaluation at a church-approved treatment center concluded he was “homophobic” and had a “histrionic personality disorder.” … Walter claims his traditional views led to lower grades and other forms of harassment, although he was supposed to be in a “celibate” environment. “I know for a fact guys were protected,” Walter said. “Activities and agendas on the part of homosexual guys were protected.” (“Critics see ‘gay bullying’ at seminaries,” New York Post, March 24, 2002)

      An April 5, 2002 article by NewsMax states:

      According to Father Andrew Walker, the situation at the Baltimore seminary was so bad that the vice rector delivered a lecture “in front of at least 150 people when he stated, ‘Yes, we accept openly gay seminarians; that’s our policy.’” (“Homosexual Culture Undercuts Priesthood,”, April 5, 2002)

      EWTN personality Fr. John Trigilio stated: “The few times I was there, some of the seminarians would literally dress like gays from the Village. They would even go so far as to wear pink silk; it was like going to see La Cage Aux Folles.” Fr. John Despard states: “In my days at St. Mary’s, down the hall there would be two guys together in the shower and everybody knew it” (Michael S. Rose, Goodbye! Good Men, p. 93).

      The prelate responsible for St. Mary’s Seminary is Cardinal Keeler. He was head of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops (NCCB) from 1992 – 1995.

      St. John’s Seminary, Camarillo, California

      From a May 20, 2002 Newsweek article:

      “… The 64-year-old institution, nestled in the hills of Camarillo, Calif., may be one of the country’s gayest facilities for higher education. Depending on whom you ask, gay and bisexual men make up anywhere from 30 percent to 70 percent of the student body at the college and graduate levels. ‘I don’t want people to think that in a negative way,’ says a 28-year-old gay alumnus.”

      … “I think we do a good job recruiting solid candidates, and welcome the opportunity to do better,” says the Rt. Rev. Helmut Hefner, the school’s rector. He accepts that his gay enrollment may be as high as 50 percent, but that hasn’t caused any discomfort to heterosexuals, much less an epidemic of straight flight, he says. (“Gays and the seminary,” Newsweek, May 20, 2002)

      A May 19, 2002 article from the Ventura County Star reports:

      “At St. John’s Seminary and Seminary College in Camarillo, leaders said that as long as priests and seminarians commit to celibacy, sexual orientation is not a primary concern. They are taken aback at the suggestion of screening out gay students. ‘Good heavens no, that is not the solution,’ said the Rev. Kenneth Rudnick, president and rector of the seminary college. “That’s not part of the problem. There is no problem. As long as one is celibate, that is all the church requires.” (“Local clergy disagree about gay priests, Ventura County Star, May 19, 2002)

      Hello-o-o!!! “Advancement to religious vows and ordination should be barred to those who are afflicted with evil tendencies to homosexuality or pederasty, since for them the common life and the priestly ministry would constitute serious dangers.” (Sacred Congregation for Religious, February 1961)

      The Ventura County Star also reports:

      “Some former St. John’s students have talked about promiscuity at the campus in the 1980s. An affidavit that was part of a molestation lawsuit against an Orange County priest contended students and a priest had made homosexual advances and also included second-hand allegations of sexual abuse.” (“Local clergy disagree about gay priests, Ventura County Star, May 19, 2002)

      St. Anthony’s Seminary, Santa Barbara, California

      Allegations surfaced in 1993 that 34 boys at St. Anthony’s Seminary had been molested by 11 monks over a 23-year period ending in 1987, when the seminary closed for financial reasons. At the time, the provincial minister of the order publicly called the findings a “terrible truth” and “horrific.”

      St. Patrick’s Seminary, Menlo Park, California

      In a May 20, 2002 interview with Newsweek magazine, St. Patrick’s Seminary rector Fr. Coleman stated:

      “’Shouldn’t you consider a homosexual as equally fit? I would think yes,’ says the Rev. Gerald Coleman, the rector there.” (“Gays and the seminary,” Newsweek, May 20, 2002)

      During the campaign over Proposition 22, which defined marriage in California, Bishop Tod Brown (Diocese of Orange, CA) sent a memo on February 15, 2000 to the priests of the diocese of Orange: “Attached are two articles, ‘Moral Theology’ and ‘Is Proposition 22 Discriminatory?’, by Father Gerald D. Coleman, SS, regarding the marriage initiative, you will find them helpful to you.”

      The article by seminary rector Fr. Coleman included these horrendous statements:

      “Some homosexual persons have shown that it is possible to enter into long-term, committed and loving relationships, named by certain segments of our society as domestic partnership. I see no reason why civil law could not in some fashion recognize these faithful and loving unions with clear and specified benefits. These unions would then be recognized by society as sustaining an important status deserving our respect and protection. I believe that this possibility could be pursued without equating such unions with marriage, and without in any way demeaning our needed respect and protection for the institution of marriage.”

      Fr. Coleman doesn’t know what he is taking about. The Vatican’s Pontifical Council for the Family stated on July 26, 2000:

      “With regard to the recent legislative attempts to make the family and de facto unions equivalent, including homosexual unions (it is good to keep in mind that their juridical recognition is the first step toward their equivalency), members of parliament should be reminded about their grave responsibility to oppose them, for ‘lawmakers, and in particular Catholic members of parliaments, should not favor this type of legislation with their vote because it is contrary to the common good and the truth about man and thus truly unjust’. These legal initiatives present all the characteristics of non-conformity to the natural law which makes them incompatible with the dignity of the law…. the family based on marriage is a fundamental and precious good for the whole society whose most solid fabric is built on the values that are developed in family relations and guaranteed by stable marriage. The good generated by marriage is basic for the Church which recognizes the family as the ‘domestic Church’. All this is endangered by abandoning the institution of marriage, which is implicit in de facto unions.”

      Fr. Coleman still remains rector of St. Patrick’s, in charge of “forming” tomorrow’s future priests.

      In 2000, a police sting operation caught the academic dean of St. Patrick’s Seminary, Fr. Carl A. Schipper, soliciting online for sex. Fr. Schipper was arrested on March 2, 2000. According to an article by San Francisco Faith:

      “The 57 year-old priest fell under police suspicion in September while an investigation into the reported molestation of another 13-year-old boy yielded Schipper’s America Online screen name, which was written on the boy’s hand. Schipper is not a suspect in that case. San Jose police are examining the computers’ memory caches at Schipper’s home and his office at St. Patrick’s seminary. Police are also looking into America Online archives to see if there were other juveniles involved. When asked if the solicitations were occurring from St. Patrick’s seminary itself, Sergeant Hewitt of the San Jose Police department told this writer there was ample reason to obtain a search warrant for Schipper’s offices at St. Patrick’s.”

      Responsibility for St. Patrick’s Seminary lies with Archbishop John Quinn of San Francisco (who was head of the National Conference of Catholic bishops from 1977-1980), and Archbishop William J. Levada who succeeded Archbishop Quinn to head the San Francisco Archdiocese on December 27, 1995.

      St. John’s Seminary, Boston, Massachusetts

      In a May 15, 2002 article in the Boston Globe, it was reported that Cardinal Law provided a written assurance to Belmont Abbey College that the Rev. George C. Berthold had an unblemished record, despite Berthold’s November 1995 dismissal from Boston’s St. John’s Seminary. Just two months after he became dean of St. John’s undergraduate college, Berthold was accused of making improper advances toward a freshman seminarian, including kissing him on the lips.

      Another article by the Boston Globe on March 3, 2002 made the connection between St. John’s Seminary, and the clerical sex abuse crisis within the Boston Archdiocese:

      “The sexual-abuse scandal tearing at the local Roman Catholic Church has played out in courtrooms and psychiatrists’ offices and even the chancery on Lake Street in Brighton. But ground zero could well be St. John’s Seminary, a complex of tan brick and stone buildings down the street next to Boston College.

      “A Herald analysis of cases of priests facing serious pedophile allegations in the state, including those who settled out of court or have been suspended by the church pending resolution of accusations, shows that a disproportionate percentage attended St. John’s in the late 1950s and 1960s.

      “This is the general pattern with these scandals across the board. They’re usually guys now in their late 60s and 70s who received their priestly formation and were ordained in the ’60s and ’70s,” said the Rev. Richard John Neuhaus, a Catholic priest who publishes
      “First Things,” a monthly journal popular with religious conservatives.” (Hub seminary linked to problem priests,” by Eric Convey March 3, 2002)

      In a “letter to the editor” addressed to Catholic World Report (November 2000), former St. John’s seminarian Paul Sinsigalli reports that he was kicked out for his traditional Catholic beliefs, and for opposing the openly-gay culture at St. John’s Seminary:

      “I read Michael Rose’s article on vocations with great interest. You see, until I had heard about this phenomenon I thought there was something wrong with me. I was studying at St. John’s Seminary in Boston and was told that I did not have the qualities required to be a priest. They said that I lacked leadership, intellectual ability, and emotional maturity, among other things. When I asked them to explain where these traits were exhibited they merely repeated the oft heard mantra: “It’s the consensus of the faculty,” and then would not defend or cite examples of said behavior. They had decided that I did not fit into their mold of what a priest should be.

      “What were my crimes, you may ask? I stood up for what the Church teaches every time there was a question about it. I stood against the homosexual atmosphere which pervaded the college at that time and had the temerity to suggest that homosexuality is a disorder. I also did not engage in their pro-masturbation conversations which were commonplace in the halls and the dinner table. I was the target of a homosexual classmate who is known to have a violent history and required a restraining order to be taken out against him by another student. This student tried to have me kicked out by telling faculty and other students that I was out to get homosexuals and hated them. He made things up—which were believed, while nobody believed me.”

      St. Mary’s of the Lake, Mundelein, Illinois

      In 1996, Fr. Wayne Wurst stated on a Chicago radio station that at St. Mary’s of the Lake in Mundelein, Illinois “there were madams, pimps, and prostitutes all in a major seminary system that, from the outside, if you were to walk through, would look very holy.” Joseph Kellenyi, a seminarian from 1998-1999 says things have not changed at St. Mary’s. He relates that one hall in the seminary dorm is nicknamed the ‘Catwalk,’ since it housed the more fashionable gays and their accompanying feline personalities. When a seminarian would “come out” and admit of a homosexual orientation, he would be wined and dined (literally) by the seminary faculty in hopes of involving him more deeply. The heterosexual seminarians are forced to trade class notes, tapes and share spiritual readings together just to keep their heads above the rampant perversions surrounding them.

      St. Francis Seminary (Southern California)

      In his best-selling book Lead Us Not Into Temptation: Catholic Priests and the Sexual Abuse of Children (1992), journalist Jason Berry found that a third of the students at St. Francis Seminary in southern California were gay. One priest, Fr. Stephen Dunn, propositioned one student a dozen times over two years, while another, Fr. Nicholas Reveles, was having sex with at least four seminarians at the same time. When one student refused their advances, they had him committed to a hospital on a trumped-up charge of alcoholism.

      Altoona-Johnstown diocesan seminary (Pennsylvania)

      Although some Catholic dioceses screen out would-be priests because of gay sexual orientations, the eight-county Altoona-Johnstown Diocese in Pennsylvania does not, said Bishop Joseph Adamec. The diocese is currently reviewing about a half dozen allegations of homosexual abuse of minors.

      Michael Rose writes that David J. Brown, a clinical psychologist under contract with the Altoona-Johnstown diocese to screen candidates for the priesthood, has “gone out of his way to make the case that homosexuality is ‘perfectly normal’ and that ‘homosexuality is natural, not unnatural.’” David Brown has made the outrageous statement that Sodom was destroyed for “inhospitability,” not homosexuality. It seems Mr. Brown needs a refresher course in Scripture. The men of Sodom refused Lot’s daughters, but sought the men, saying, “Where are the men that came in to thee at night? Bring them out thither that we may know them” (Gen. 19:5). Lot replied to them, “I beseech you, my brethren, do not commit this evil” (Gen. 19:7). For this sin, the men of Sodom were blinded by the angels (Gen 19:11), and Sodom was later destroyed by fire and brimstone (Gen. 19:24-25). The New Testament recalls the destruction of Sodom (2 Peter 2:6; Jude 1:7).

      St. Gregory Seminary, Ohio (closed in 1980)

      Archbishop Pilarczyk, succeeded Bernardin as bishop of Cincinnati, Ohio.

      In 1991, a former seminarian named Gregory Flannery wrote an article exposing the “other life” of the psychologist who screened candidates for the priesthood in Cincinnati. Flannery explains that this man was worshipful master of the nearby Masonic lodge–even though Catholicism forbids Masonic membership–and a practitioner of past-life regression, something incompatible with church teaching.

      In 1993, Flannery wrote an article outing a Roman Catholic priest, Fr. Michael Paraniuk, who had been secretly marrying gay and lesbian couples in Cincinnati. In 1994, Cincinnati Archbishop Daniel Pilarczyk wrote a private letter to a physician, complaining that Flannery had “written a series of articles denigrating the Catholic Church.”

      Flannery writes, “In 18 months as a college seminarian for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, I saw too much debauchery and vice to be shocked by the revelations of clerical sexual abuse now rocking the Catholic Church.”

      St. Gregory Seminary eventually closed, in no small part due to the negligence and incompetence of Archbishop Pilarczyk.

      Archbishop Pilarczyk was head of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops (NCCB) from 1989 – 1992.

      St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary, Hannibal, Missouri

      According to a November 14, 2004 article in St. Louis Today:

      For nearly 50 years, St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary in Hannibal, Mo., served as the first stop on the path to the priesthood for many young Catholics. But for much of that history, the men who ran the boarding high school also staked out a sinister path, one that helped lead to the sexual abuse scandal that has rocked the Roman Catholic Church.

      The sexual abuse allegations of one former student led to the resignation two years ago of a popular and powerful bishop, Anthony J. O’Connell of Palm Beach, Fla., and the removal of two other priests.

      Now, several victims are speaking out – some for the first time – providing more detail about the evil that befell them and the lengths to which the Jefferson City Diocese has gone to keep it secret.

      Their experiences reveal that the abuse was more widespread than has been reported, that at least one other faculty member who was never publicly identified also abused students and that the abuse occurred more recently than the diocese has publicly disclosed.

      While the Vatican and the nation’s bishops have called for candor and honesty in facing the sexual abuse scandal, the diocese still refuses to acknowledge the scope of the problem, victims say.

      They are calling for a full accounting of how the diocese handled the cases of priests accused of sexual abuse, not only at St. Thomas but also throughout the diocese.

  2. The Vatican II/Novus Ordo religion is dying, especially in the West.
    I say if Bergoglio and his like minded modernist and relativist comrades want to hasten its demise I’m all for it.
    As long as they leave trads and the traditional orders alone to continue to practice the Catholic faith and to slowly re-evangelize the world I don’t care what these people do.

    • Frankly, St Francis, that’s some of the best advice that could possibly be given.

      Bl Pius IX’s immortal words to a bishop on what to do if confronted by an heretical pontiff, “Ignore him!” ring as true today as they did when the bishop first asked what was then, largely, a merely theoretical question.

  3. [Fr. Z et al. against Fr. B and his assertions (I didn’t realize that the Theological College/Closet rector is going out rather than coming out)]

    I am pretty tired of this B as in B, S as in S.

    Posted on 14 May 2016 by Fr. John Zuhlsdorf @

    A few inflammatory points by way of introduction.

    First, there are those who say that many of the problems in the Church today can be traced back to the influence of a kind of “jansenism” impressed during formation in seminaries way back in the day. The main culprits were, as it is said, especially Sulpicians, who ran many large seminaries, and those whom they trained. Quite a few Irish clerics were, long ago, trained in extremely rigid French Sulpician seminaries, since they had no chances in Ireland. A dark rigidity was thus imported to these USA through these conduits. And since the English-speaking Irish made the claim to be “natives” (even though they, too, were immigrants), they shut the other ethnic groups out of the American hierarchy, coming to dominate chanceries and mother-houses and schools. When the leash was finally loosed, through the growing effects of modernism and then Vatican II, the formerly rigid snapped and ricocheted into being liberal progressives… except that they remained rigid when it came to oppressing anyone that didn’t agree with their progressivism. The worst of the worst of what people call clericalist: liberals.

    Next, I am sure that you have noticed how smug and humorless liberals are. That’s because they perceive themselves as morally superior to us mere mortals.

    Thirdly, it is sometimes hard to remember – it is for me – when reading liberal crowing about their latest Pyrrhic victory, that younger committed Catholics, certainly seminarians, younger priests and goodly number of bishops, don’t give a tinker’s dam about anything the Fishwrap (aka National Sodomitic Reporter) says. They don’t share the narrow vision of a still widespread – but rapidly weakening – discontinuity and rupture. Young people have nothing invested in that agenda. The few that do are exceptions to the rule. The seminarians I know, if they see the Fishwrap at all, just shake their heads, marveling. Perhaps they smile a little. The indifference this new generation of priests has concerning the liberal catholic agenda will inevitably have a huge knock-on effect in the parishes they will lead and the classrooms they will teach in. That terrifies the aging catholic Left.

    Lastly, self-absorbed Promethean Neopelagian aging-hippie liberals still interpret everything within the Church through the lens they formed during the anti-authoritarian civil-rights and anti-war protest movements. When we try to uphold hierarchy and authority or rubrics or the older form of Mass or obedience to the Magisterium or decorum in liturgy and sacred music (or in the clerical life) an involuntary subconscious switch clicks in their heads. They take your faithful Catholic position of continuity to be an attack themselves and on Vatican II, on … niceness… on bunnies … on the poor… on the Democrat Party…. Vatican II cannot, in their minds, be separated from the protest movements they have idolized until they are actually paradigmatic, iconic, even mythic. The myth is now itself dying, and they don’t like it one little bit. (It it interesting to see how new protest movements are springing up, fueled and paid for by older liberal ideologues among young people who have been reduced to slavery and vacuity by liberal educational institutions.)

    Now, to it.

    I saw at the Fishwrap (aka National Schismatic Reporter – insert head shake and wry smile here) an interview with out-going Sulpician Fr. Phillip J. Brown, now the former rector of Theological College, the national diocesan seminary of the Catholic University of America in Washington DC: “Francis effect growing among seminarians, says Theological College rector”.

    * * *

    Okay… I’ll bet the seminarians there really appreciated that parting shot.

    Look. I’ve not been a seminarian for a long time, but I am still suffering from the post-traumatic stress disorder of those times. I still remember that the aging-liberals were once relevant, and, as a result, they can still get under my skin. Younger, committed Catholics don’t have those memories.

    They are now going to taste something of the bitter cup we were forced to quaff.

    That said, I have contact with seminarians all over these USA and abroad. I have a different sense of The Francis Effect™ among seminarians.

    However, if you want a more direct and pointed response to the assertions above, I saw on Facebook (yes… I know) a direct and pointed response by a priest who was at that seminary during that rector’s tenure.

    This article, written from an interview given by the out-going Rector of my former seminary, is very hurtful. The men who were formed in and ordained from Theological College over the past 10 years are some of the best and most pastoral men and priests that I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. Inventing a false dichotomy between a love for the Church’s traditions and a love for the people of God is a manipulative, ideological tool used to push forth one’s personal agenda.

    I have known Father Brown for many years, and have a great deal of respect and admiration for him personally, but this public interview he gave with an openly dissenting “Catholic” publication warrants an alumnus response.

    As one of the many cassock-wearing, Communion-on-the-tongue-receiving, Latin-loving, Extraordinary-Form-Mass-saying young priests that have passed through the halls of Theological College, allow me to say plainly to anyone who would agree with the tone and sentiment of this article that you have deliberately and painfully pigeon-holed men who love the Church and cast us to be pompous little monsters simply because we have a different theological/liturgical outlook than you. You condescend towards us as if we were not thinking, opining, and sincere men. You gossip about us, ensuring that we are “put in our places” and “taught a thing or two” by your confreres. You confuse our strong convictions with arrogance and accuse us of being staunch when we are trying more than anything else to be faithful, helpful, and loving.

    But let’s be quite honest…you don’t really know us because you never took the time to get to know us. You saw us when we were in the seminary chapel or over breakfast…but that’s about it. Have you seen us at 2:00 AM in the hospital? Have you seen us working late into the night on a funeral homily? Have you seen us giving up our one day off a week to visit with a lonely elderly parishioner? Have you seen us on our knees at night before the tabernacle weeping because we just buried a child earlier that day? Have you seen us celebrate four Masses on a weekend, hear hours of confessions, and still show up to Sunday evening Youth Ministry? Have you seen us wear the same pair of socks two days in a row because we simply ran out of time to do laundry? Have you seen us muster a smile even when we’re exhausted, or miss Christmas with our families because we’re assigned 300 miles away, or forget to eat dinner because there’s another meeting to go to? The answer is no. What you see are the cassocks and birettas and fiddleback chasubles and accuse us of being “out of touch.” Well the reality is, you are guilty of the very thing you accuse us of. You ignore our humanity, our struggle, our sincerity, and you fixate on external things to make your judgments.

    As difficult as it is at times, I love being a priest with my whole heart. Not because it offers me an exalted status or any privileges, but because it offers me, and the people I serve, the means by which to attain salvation. I love the people I serve to death, and I would do anything within my means to help them. If you look at my cassock and presume otherwise, I can only feel sorry for you.


    Thus, this young priest’s reaction to that interview. I suspect that the seminarians remaining at Theological College have much the same view.

    There is great division now, and it is growing, especially along generational lines.

    I have only anecdotal evidence so far, but we all know that the plural of anecdote is “data”. My understanding is that numbers of applicants for seminary are down. Also, seminarians who have been in for a few years, who thus began to discern their possible vocation in the time of Pope Benedict, are respectful about what Pope Francis is doing and saying, but they are not as ensorcelled as some liberals might hope.

    I am pretty tired of this B as in B, S as in S. I have been tired of it for decades. Yes, the Biological Solution is working on these aging hippies, but… sheesh!

    Every young priest who has toyed with the idea of wearing a cassock, but has been intimidated by the nattering nabobs of negativism (or blustering Boomers of bellicosity?), should resolve to wear his cassock in public one day a week – or every day! Or maybe band together. Steal a liberal hippy Boomer technique and stage a sit-in, a “cassock-in”, somewhere really public and visible, like outside the office of some seminary rector.

    • God bless that young priest, Fr. Kyle Doustou in Maine (not far from me – anybody know him?)

      A good rant from Fr. Z., but also a little self-inspection is required. He writes:

      “Lastly, self-absorbed Promethean Neopelagian aging-hippie liberals … They take your faithful Catholic position of continuity to be an attack themselves and on Vatican II, on … niceness… on bunnies … on the poor… on the Democrat Party…. Vatican II cannot, in their minds, be separated from the protest movements they have idolized until they are actually paradigmatic, iconic, even mythic. The myth is now itself dying, and they don’t like it one little bit.”

      First, I take exception to his use of “self-absorbed Promethean Neopelagian” as this is an honorable title given to us traddies from the pope himself. Second, while the ageing liberals hang onto V-II, so do the neo-conservative types who imagine it to be redeemable. That’s one for Fr. Z. to get past, because once the remaining V-II revolutionaries reach the drain, realize that the council is swirling in the bowl, ready to follow them down. Folks like Fr. Z who continue to impart the mythical chimerical orthodox interpretations of V-II are unfortunately extending the time it will take to finally flush this plague away.

  4. There is actually a direct connection between pre-Vatican II neo-Jansenism (however misnamed this type of rigidity might be) and the crazy forms of progressive modernism that followed the council in the 1960s and 1970s. What is important about this is that progressive modernists who went in for extreme postures of Liberation theology and Social Justice ideology retained the obsessive guilt complex, they just shifted guilt and scrupulosity to other issues (social sin, Social Justice, etc.). A prime example of this – the Berrigan brothers. If you have never experienced Irish-American neo-Jansenism before it is a real phenomenon. There are a wide variety of heretical effects of this among liberal progressive modernists. Joe Biden’s heretical fideism on abortion is a good example. The heretical notion is that the Catholic teaching on abortion is an obscure, non-rational article of faith which is unreasonable to impose on non-Catholics due to the mythology of Separation of Church and State. This idea that Catholic teachings are unreasonable and, therefore, merely private matters of subjective faith occurs quite often among uneducated Vatican II progressive modernists, hence, its popularity among the Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi types. Progressive modernism remains Manichean even after its proponents claim to have liberated themselves from Jansenism.

    The Catholic moral teaching on abortion is a rational and intelligible deduction of the philosophy of natural law, a reasoned conclusion in philosophical ethics, therefore, not merely an issue of faith or revealed truth somehow banned from public discussion by a secularist interpretation of the U.S. Constitution. Notre Dame’s Laetare Medal controversy is one that comes out of the neo-Jansenist-Progressive Modernist nexus that fogs the liberal brain of Joe Biden. The gnostic myth of progressive modernism recurs again and again in which modernists claim they are the carriers of progress, Enlightenment, and liberation, away from the Dark Ages before Vatican II. This is what needs to be challenged and refuted. Every Catholic was not a Jansenist before Vatican II.

    Joe Biden and the Laetare Medal Muddle

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