Are There Any Educated Priests Around?

Are There Any Educated Priests Around?

This week’s Tablet (terrible rag) is running an article entitled: Women in the Church: how far can we go? by Fr Peter Day.

He begins (understandably) by quoting the eminently quotable Pope Francis:

“We must therefore investigate further the role of women in the Church. We have to work harder to develop a profound theology of the woman. The feminine genius is needed wherever we make important decisions. The challenge today is this: to think about the specific place of women also in those places where the authority of the church is exercised for various areas of the church.” (Pope Francis, August 2013)

The rest of the article amounts to a thinly veiled plea for women’s ordination. To read the entire piece, click on the picture.

But, while bloggers are welcome to discuss the reasons for Catholic teaching on that subject, the point of this thread is really to explore the quality of the education – or lack of it – of priests today.

For, apart from repeating the daft feminist propaganda about patriarchy blah blah, Fr Day – absolutely astonishingly – quotes the verse from Galatians trotted out by ignorant “feminists” to make their case:

“There can be neither Jew nor Greek, there can neither be slave or freeman, there can be neither male nor female – for you are all one in Christ.” (Galatians 3:28-29)

Listen, any priest who does not know that the above verse from Galatians means that God’s grace is available to everyone, absolutely everyone, and has nothing to do with women’s perceived right to be priests, needs help. Fast.

24 responses

  1. I assume this thread is about the religious / theological / philosophical training of priests and indeed it is timely. I’m appalled at the general ignorance of the younger generation of priests and it’s saying something when the man in the pew is better formed than his parish priest!

    However, I’ve noticed also that the same generation are not schooled very well either. Once upon a time a certain standard of education was required before candidates were accepted into seminaries, but now it seems any old Joe Blogs is accepted. The Cure D’Ars was rejected several times because he couldn’t grasp Latin and I’m not suggesting that was a good thing but, a certain standard is necessary for the priest to remain a figure commanding respect in the community.

    I’ve known many older priests who were outstanding both in general education and in priestly formation however, generally speaking (and in my experience) this is now rarely the case. With the ditching of Thomistic theology and philosophy went objective truth and in came relativism which is strangling the Church today.

    • Olaf,

      “… I’ve noticed that the (older) generation are not schooled very well either…”

      The reason for that is, no doubt, that they have been relentlessly programmed during “in-service” courses, meetings, the Council of Priests etc. for the past 50 years. It’s been drilled into them that everything prior to Vatican II was bad and everything since – every word written by every heretic you care to name – is good and they’d better believe it (literally).

      That’s been the tactics of the Modernists with both priests and teachers. And it is very difficult to resist.

      When I moved into the Catholic teaching sector from the non-denominational sector, I was sent on an in-service course, addressed by someone I would later discover was (is? not sure if he’s still around) a raging “liberal”. He’d written books on the Sacraments and was the Darling of the Diocese, in demand to give talks here, there and everywhere.

      He spent the morning strutting up and down telling the priests and teachers present that everything was awful before Vatican II and that now things were great. Except, the young people were not attending Mass – they were “un-churched” (the buzz word at the time.)

      Anyway, after mocking and ridiculing the Church all morning, he announced that we were all to get into our little groups and spend the afternoon discussing ideas for attracting the young back to the same old bad Church that he’d spent hours denouncing.

      When my turn came to tell my colleagues what gems of ideas I had to share with them, I confessed that I really couldn’t, in conscience, encourage any young person to return to such a corrupt institution. Vacant looks all round. Especially from those teachers and priests who had enthusiastically made notes throughout the talk given by the “expert”. Gradually, as I made my point, lights flickered in those unthinking eyes and a few murmurs of “that’s right enough….never thought of it like that…” slipped out.

      So, Olaf – that’s what’s happened to the clergy as well. They have unthinkingly allowed themselves to believe every piece of nonsense set before them by the so-called “experts” – and given that the Pope himself has mocked his own Thomist training, we really have to cut them a little bit of slack. Normality, surely, cannot be far off now – can things GET any worse?

      Priests have lacked leadership – and they continue to lack leadership under our Modernist Pope and apostate bishops.

      Fr Day is just one more piece of evidence of that: incredible that he should quote Galatians as it is misused by ignorant feminists, and shocking that he doesn’t know what all of us ordinary folk know, that the teaching on male-only priesthood is part of the divinely revealed deposit of Faith. It is not possible for any pontiff to introduce women priests. Even St Paul, the apostle to the gentiles who were used to priestesses, doesn’t mention it.

  2. That article is a very strange one. It is obviously a thinly veiled demand, not plea, for ‘wimmin’ Priests, but he obviously falls flat on his face at the first hurdle. There is not one chapter where ‘wimmin’ are ordained to any sacred ministry in the Bible. Every example of where Priests are mentioned, the text discusses men and the relationship they have with God, the fact that the Apostles who were ordained were all men and the fact that the first Bishop of Rome was a man. Just read this fantastic article, and it puts the liberal argument into a cocked hat. http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/view.cfm?recnum=4750

    That article does discuss various conversations that Christ had, and we can say that Christ saw women as His equals, as far as one’s relationship with God goes, and that all people can be in receipt of His Grace and Salvation. Even a chimp could see that.

  3. Ughh, the Catechism of the Catholic Church. I can’t make head nor tail of most of it, so verbose and convoluted. And I thought I was reasonably clever as well. Oh well, whatever. The Baltimore Catechism however, I learn loads from that. My mother loves it. It a shame today’s churchmen – so obsessed with ‘simplicity’ – despise this these simple old-school catechetical methods that worked (I mean I was only born in 89, but you hear).

    • Miles,

      I too detest the new Catechism, particularly the parts concerning the non-Catholic religions, namely Islam- esp. the part that says we worship the same God. I couldn’t believe what I was reading. I’m a devoted user of the Catechism of the Council of Trent. If it’s clarity and truth your after, then that’s your book. Although, i’ve never read the Baltimore Catechism, I’ve heard good things.

      Are you a cradle Catholic?

  4. I never once heard our seminary profs suggest that Latin was bad or that anything before Vatican II was wrong and as for women priests, it was never really discussed except in the negative. It’s interesting that fr day quoted pope Francis who quotes pope JPII ” feminine genius” and completely misrepresents the meaning. The reference from Galatians seems misplaced as – Galatia was a region and the letter was dealing with the problems of how we are saved as well as equality in Christ but you cant then jump to women priests from that . It’s kinda like quoting Romans 3 ” all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God ” and then say Mary must have been a sinner as the scriptures say ALL
    Most people can’t really give a proper argument for not having women priests .. Clearly there ere women at the last supper – men don’t serve food and from the acts we see that women were indeed leaders I the early Church but no .. A women cannot be a priest EVER – because she is a woman . If we are to believe that the priest is indeed in persona Christi His person cannot be changed to morph as or were into something He is clearly not. It is in His masculinity that Jesus saves His bride ( the most common image in the bible of bridegroom and bride) who is the Church and in that way includes the equality of women for a a woman cannot consecrate or consummate the sacrament ” it is consummated” a reference to the Passover once the fourth cup is consumed ( the vinegar ) only a Rabbi man can offer the Passover Jesus completes the Passover it’s a guy thing to have a woman in that role WOULD make the sacrifice of the cross spiritual lesbianism of some kind – a woman cannot lay down her life for her bride as the priest follows Christ who lays down his life as Christ did – also the meaning of celibacy is bound up in this theology

    The idea of a women priest is an absurdity both in the understanding of PERSON and in the biblical understating of Passover into Eucharist

    • Scottish Priest,

      Not that I expect you to divulge anything here, but I would dearly love to know when and where you were at seminary. Having listened, first hand, to the former seminary rector, Fr Willie McFadden, at one of the talks run by a dissenting group, I would be astonished if the students in his time escaped his opinions about the pre-Vatican II Church.

      And if there WERE women present at the Last Supper, the fact that there is no mention of them, is one more piece of evidence against the ordination of women, since the Holy Spirit assisted the evangelists in the writing of the Gospels, so that what was required to be written, and nothing more or less, took place. If there were any theological significance to the presence of women at the Last Supper, there would have been mention of them in the Gospels. I know you agree with that – I’m only just saying 🙂

      • I thought that Mary Magdalene was at the Last Supper? Or was that just artistic license on Da Vinci’s part?

  5. I always use the In Persona Christi argument. Christ was a man, there it must logically be a man who stands in His person at the altar. Having it any other way is like having a man stood in the person of the Virgin Mary.

  6. Given Cardinal O’Brien’s obvious link with seminary training and the education of priests, I think this thread is as good as any right now, for posting the article in today’s Scotland on Sunday, on Archbishop Cushley’s comments to the effect that the file on Cardinal O’Brien is now closed: the journalist rang me yesterday for a quote in response to the news that no further action is to be taken against the Cardinal. Given that he’s retired and – I believe – spent penitential time in a monastery, I said there wasn’t really anything else that could be done; however, I would expect Archbishop Leo Cushley to follow up the claims made by the accusers and to investigate the extent of homosexuality within the priesthood within the Church. Read the article here.

  7. Has anyone read this week’s article by Monsignor Basil Loftus in the Catholic Times? It is the most outrageous attack on the Traditional Latin Mass I have ever read.

    Monsignor Loftus begins by praising Pius Parsch, who urges the Church to look right back to apostolic times in order to rediscover a “Kingdom Liturgy.” According to Mgr Loftus, “the Church’s liturgy embraced the secular pomp of medieval times”. He goes on to criticise “Rubrical pedants and priestly monopoly.” To think a Catholic priest would be so sneering and nasty about the Church’s liturgy! Disgusting.

    Ignorantly, Monsignor goes on the claim that “Vatican II’s liturgical reforms were a first attempt to steer it (the liturgy) back.” This is quite staggering. The Second Vatican Council did not do any such thing. It certainly didn’t order a New Rite of Mass. Neither did it order the abolition of Latin in the liturgy. In fact, it did the opposite. However, Loftus goes on to say that “vernacular language ousted imperial Latin.”

    This is a recurrent theme for Monsignor Loftus. He constantly attacks the sacred language. One wonders why he remains Catholic. Indeed, he uses many of the arguments used by Protestants at the time of the Reformation.

    Bizarrely, he claims that the “laity recovered the exercise of the priestly office they were endowed with at Baptism” thanks to the changes brought in AFTER the Second Vatican Council. Monsignor, the laity have DESERTED the Church since these changes were brought in. Go into any Novus Ordo Mass and look around you. 1. It’s likely to be half empty. 2. Those who are there are likely to be over 70. 3. They will either be manhandling the Blessed Sacrament or chatting about Coronation Street. What planet is this priest living on?

    How arrogant to think that he can criticise the Mass of All Time. How arrogant to suggest that he knows better than numerous popes, saints and Vatican officials.

    I think we can safely conclude that Monsignor Basil Loftus does not have the Catholic Faith. He is a Protestant who is leading the flock astray.

    Things are now becoming quite critical for Basil. He is either under some Satanic influence or he is losing his marbles. Either way, the Bishop of Aberdeen must act. How he can allow a priest resident in his Diocese to use a so-called Catholic newspaper to spout his Protestant tripe is beyond me. The Bishop must act. Basil has to go.

    • Your 5th paragraph is so true Petrus. At my Church (sadly Novus Ordo) it’s mostly the blue rinse brigade (not to be disparaging). And the conversations I’ve heard- ‘you know Carmel, I’ve got to go to the hospital Tuesday, I’ve got these knees you see’. Whereas at every Latin Mass I’ve seen, there is reverence and devotion, and most of the congregation are young, glamorous and sleek, like our dear Ed. The TLM/ SSPX has shown it still has the power to create abundant vocations, congregations and families and it is the future.

    • Petrus,

      I read today’s helping of Mgr Loftus and I would say, reading your post, that you are way too charitable about him. “Protestant”? I think the man’s an apostate. If he believes in God, I believe in the Tooth Fairy.

      I’m glad you pointed out his ignorance regarding the non-existent link between Vatican II and the creation of the new Mass. There’s nothing in the documents of Vatican II that mandates anything that goes on in the average novus ordo parish today. The POST Vatican II instructions have, every one of them, tried to rein in the excesses of laity handling the Blessed Sacrament, etc. It is the rebellious spirit abroad in the Church as a result of bad priests like Mgr Loftus which have led to the liturgical chaos around us. I said “bad” and I mean “bad” just as I mean it when I say that Rev. Paul Flowers was a very bad banker.

      Over time, he has attacked the Traditional Mass from every angle; nasty swipes about “linen and lace” … “frippery”…. “bells and smells” and such like, and in today’s rant he tries a different approach. Now, he wants altar girls introduced to the TLM , and no kneeling in order to bring the sad old trads into line with the modernists.

      Shockingly, in taking a pot shot at the different liturgical calendars in use thanks to the refusal of the Traditional Mass to just go away and die somewhere, as per the Bugnini Plan, he takes a sideswipe at the continuing “cult of non-existent saints such as Philomena, who has been banned from every liturgical calendar in the world, only to become a cult figure for the opponents of liturgical reform.” What a nasty, nasty, nasty man. Very.

      As for Latin – SUCH ignorance! Latin remains the official language of the Church – a fact which appears to have escaped his notice. I remember the puzzlement of some modern Catholics at the time, as to why the funeral of Pope John Paul II was conducted in Latin. There’s an excuse for lay people not having this knowledge, but does this self-proclaimed liturgical expert really not know that Latin remains the official language of the Church? Having read today’s tripe in his column, I am now asking the question to which I genuinely do not know the answer, so no offence intended: is he “merely” (lamentably and culpably) ignorant, or is he an out and out liar? I won’t share my suspicions since I don’t want to introduce anything into this comment that may be mistaken for a lack of charity…

      There’s tons more I could quote from today’s disgraceful article but I am busy with other things right now and need to be brief. However, one more observation: Mgr Loftus (odd that for all his attacks on the trappings of Catholic office, and his adulation for Pope Francis’s “simplicity and humility” he clings on to his own title for dear life) – anyway, as I was saying, insultingly, not least to Pope Benedict, Mgr Loftus insists in today’s column that “the Ecclesia Dei Commission was initially established in 1988 to care for the schismatic (sic) Lefebvrists (sic) yet, astonishingly, it then had its own powers extended in 2007 to allow it to monitor the observance and application of the Summorum Pontificum document (Ed: Motu Proprio – a very important “document” directly revealing the Pontiff’s decision re. the traditional Mass, from his own hand). To this end it has been given powers which run counter to the liturgical primacy of bishops in their dioceses (Ed: no bishop has “primacy” over the Pope – ever, in any area of the life of the Church – the ignorance / falsehoods is just unbelievable)…

      I’m glad I launched this thread yesterday because, had I not done so, I’d have been launching one today entitled something to the effect that it is well beyond time for disciplinary action against this very bad priest, whose evil writings are leading people astray. To think that Fr Despard, has been suspended for no good reason, the only criticisms I’ve heard against him being that he annoyed certain parishioners by asking for folk to get to Mass on time, and to dress modestly, yet this modernist-heretic-apostate (take your pick) is allowed unfettered access to the Catholic media through his disgraceful columns and letters.

      Give me half an hour with Mgr Loftus in an empty room. Just half an hour. One of us will leave with a triumphalist air, singing “Faith of our Fathers – we will be true to thee till death”…

      Over and over and over and over and over AGAIN !

  8. Mgr Loftus is very ignorant and it does beg questions about the quality of seminary education but not just in modern times because he’s retired. So he must have been trained, before Vatican 2.

    I found a report about a file on the sex abuse scandals being handed to police, so I’m not sure which thread to post it on but since it’s about clergy this might be the place, because, again, if the priests had been properly educated and formed they wouldn’t have been abusing children.
    http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2013/nov/23/scotland-catholics-sex-abuse-allegations-bishops?INTCMP=ILCNETTXT3487

    It looks like we need to brace ourselves for most scandals to come.

  9. It is more important for priests to be more wise than educated. The Stylites of the early Church for example excelled in wisdom. They lived their whole lives upon pillars, and as a result their beards became very long. Their disciples often came to them for advice, and the disciples would climb up Stylites’ beards which were thrown down in order for people to climb up to them. A very learned priest told me this.

  10. When thinking about the subject of this thread, it struck me that the Invasion of the Modernists has been marked by truly universal devastation. Nowhere in the world, outside of Econe, appears to have been protected from the Modernist assault on the seminaries. The faith of previous generations, culture, social, political, or economic climate have made no difference. The mustard gas has spread everywhere.

    What is really startling is the speed at which the fire spread. Remember the Oath Against Modernism was binned in 1968. Probably no country has fallen further, faster, than Ireland. And no one can say there were no warnings.

    The attached article from the extremely informative Lux Occulta website contains the views Monsignor Patrick Francis Cremin, Professor of Moral Theology and Canon Law at St. Patricks Seminary Maynooth, given in 1978.

    http://lxoa.wordpress.com/2011/09/14/leading-maynooth-theologian-decries-disintegration-of-the-irish-church/

    I doubt it would be possible to find a more reliable witness. No doubt the calamity warned of by Monsignor Cremin mirrored the Modernists’ plan of attack everywhere else.

    Every word of the article is worth reading. Here’s a sample:

    “The faithful, who are disposed to think right are bewildered because of the absence of confirmation of their religious views”.

    “There has been what rather incredibly appears to be a permitted policy of drift and of anarchy or absence of rule”.

    “Seminarians are not receiving the full essential formation for which they came to Maynooth College, even though they are not only willing but anxious to receive it.”

    “Is it perhaps, that the Bishops who did perceive the early ailments and the progressive sickness of our seminary, and those who had the will and the courage to remedy them, were just not able to prevail against those, maybe only one or two, who gave a bad lead and were supported by others?”

    That last sentence really sums everything up. What more confirmation does anyone require of diabolical disorientation?

    Everyone should read the linked article at the end of called, “Anonymous Seminarians Criticise Maynooth”, which shows the heretical fruits of Modernist infiltration. I’m sure it reflects the virtually universal situation.

    The late Hamish Fraser had actually shone the torch on the Modernists in a detailed article in Approaches magazine six years before that.

    http://lxoa.wordpress.com/2012/07/14/the-scandal-of-maynooth-1973/

    My eye was caught by the following:

    “Clerics who knowingly teach or defend, either publicly or privately, a doctrine that has been condemned by the Holy See or a General Council, even though not as heretical, are to be suspended from preaching, hearing of confession, and any office of teaching.”- Canon 2317, 1917 Code.

    I wonder how implementation has gone there?

    Here’s a few words from Hamish Fraser himself, in 1973 remember:

    “The Bishops’ failure to deal with unorthodoxy in the Pontifical University of Maynooth is nothing short of a national scandal. The situation became so serious that a year or so ago a group of senior professors found themselves bound in conscience to draw up a document protesting to the Hierarchy about the state of affairs within the University. Copies were sent every Bishop in the country.” (pp 31-32)

    Every Catholic family in the country has been paying the price ever since for the dereliction of episcopal duty.

    The Modernist Crisis in the Church is truly one long saga of “Déjà vu, all over again”. Did someone mention New Springtime?

    • Leo,

      I look forward to reading that Lux Occulta article in its entirety. Thank you for posting it in another comment crammed with (distressing and shocking) factual data.

  11. The warnings of Hamish Fraser and Monsignor Cremin have obviously been treated with contempt since the seventies.

    It is widely known in Ireland, that about three years ago, five seminarians were “constructively dismissed” from Maynooth for wanting to kneel during Mass. There have been plenty more enforced departures.

    Certain professors actually denied the dogma of Transubstantiation. Seminarians have been taught that the Mass is a mere “memorial” of an historical event, and a simple “gathering” of the “community” (we’ve discussed the theology of Bugnini’s fabrication at length on this blog). Those who objected have either been sidelined or shown the door.

    Devotions such as the Rosary were frowned upon. I have spoken to two former seminarians, now in their mid-thirties, who left for fear of losing their faith. One told me of how, along with another seminarian, he used to have to “sneak” into the chapel in order to ring the bells for the Angelus.

    The other told me of a retreat, given by a foreign visiting priest. At lunch one day in the refectory, this priest actually said the prayers of consecration over the salad that was served.

    Diabolical is the only word.

    • Leo

      “Diabolical” IS the only word to describe what you have reported here.

      And they continue to get away with their distortion of the Faith, these seminary rectors and professors, the result being that there are priests now ordained who think that what they were taught is normal and true. Tragic.

  12. I realise that too much, or exclusive, talk of the Modernist poison can be very depressing. It’s much more edifying to of the great work of priestly formation carried out by true pastors of souls, such as Pope Saint Pius X, or Archbishop Lefebvre.

    The first six years of the Pope Saint Pius X’s pontificate were spent chiefly in work which concerned the priesthood and sacerdotal institutions. “Quality control” was made a priority and seminaries not up to scratch were suppressed. Bishops were exhorted to further proper selection and training by all means in their power.

    “In order that Christ may be formed in the faithful”, the sainted Pope wrote in his first encyclical, “He must first be formed in the priest.”
    “Such an example, will have far more power to move hearts and to gain them than words or dissertations, however sublime.”

    “The priest is the representative of Christ on earth,” he told students of the French College in Rome; “he must think the thoughts of Christ and speak His words. He must be tender as Christ was tender, pure and holy like his Lord; he must shine like a star in the world.”

    “A holy priest makes holy people,” he said on another occasion; “a priest who is not holy is not only useless but harmful to the world.”

    This magnificent pastor’s Exhortation to the Clergy, published on August 4 1908 set before the clergy of the world the model of the perfect parish priest. It fervently called on the clergy to be “the salt of the earth and light of the world.”

    Here’s the link.

    http://www.papalencyclicals.net/Pius10/p10haer.htm

    • Leo,

      I wish you would post these superb extracts from Pius X, on the new “child abusing” thread. They go right to the heart of the priesthood.

      I followed the link to source and note the introduction:

      This Exhortation, which the Holy Father addressed to the catholic clergy on the occasion of the Golden jubilee of his priesthood, was written entirety in his own hand in the space of some weeks. It is a document which truly comes from the heart of the Pontiff. In it he presents his ideal of the priesthood, and reveals the serious anxieties which he experienced at a time when the modernist crisis was still a source of perturbation to the clergy;[1] the Exhortation rounds off the numerous earlier instructions of the Holy Father. Saint Pius X was fond of recommending this Exhortation to the members of the episcopate: “This document, in which we opened our heart to all sacred ministers, make it your business to recall it and explain it for the benefit of the clerics for whom you are responsible. Besides, realize thoroughly and hold fast to this truth: when you have a body of clergy who conform to the ideal outlined in that Exhortation, you will certainly find your pastoral care greatly lightened, and the fruits of your apostolate will be much more abundant.”. END.

      What, Leo, would we not give for a pontiff of the calibre and quality of Pope Saint Pius X today?

  13. It’s certainly not my place to be giving spiritual instruction to priests but I can’t help wondering if priests today ever hear such words as the following, from Archbishop Lefebvre, a future saint, who did such immense work of preservation in the Church.

    Speaking as a very ordinary and unqualified layman, they strike me as a superb expression of the essence of the sacred, ordained priesthood. How great would be the benefit to the Church and souls if they were heard throughout the Catholic world instead of all the crowd pleasing or defeatist talk about lay ministries and permanent deacons.

    “This marvellous plan designed by the Eternal Wisdom of God could not have been realized without the priesthood…The influence of priestly grace is the influence of the Cross. The priest is thus at the heart of the renewal merited by Our Lord. His influence is decisive on souls and on society. A priest enlightened by his faith and filled with the virtues and the Gifts of the Holy Ghost can convert numerous souls to Jesus Christ, raise vocations, and transform pagan society into Christian society.” – Reflections on the Priesthood, in Le Courrier de Rome, no. 11 January 1981.

    “The Church is truly priestly. Our Lord is essentially a priest, and the priesthood is there essentially to realize and continue the work of Calvary, carrying it on by the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. It cannot but be the most essential aspect of our holy religion and of the life of the Church.” – Ordination retreat, Montalenghe 1989

    “There is no apostolate without contemplation. Contemplation is not necessarily for the cloister. It is the Christian life: a life of Faith and the realities of our Faith. The great reality to contemplate is the Holy Mass. This is what must characterise the members of the Society: contemplating Our Lord on the Cross and seeing there the summit of God’s love, a love even unto supreme sacrifice. That is what Our Lord is! This is what the Church contemplates primarily…
    “And by this we will be missionaries: by the desire to pour out the blood of Our Lord on souls. This is the Mysterium fidei to contemplate and to work for, the priestly mission par excellence. And the faithful gather around us because of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and for nothing else. One cannot be attached to the cross of Our Lord without being a missionary…” – Spiritual Conference at Econe, December 3, 1982

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