Crisis: Would YOU Encourage A Young Person to be a Priest or Religious?

“Come, Follow Me.”

“GOOD MASTER, what good shall I do that I may have life everlasting?”  It was the eager question of one whom fortune had blessed with the Richyoungmanwealth of this world, but who realised that life eternal was a far more precious treasure.  He had come to the Divine Teacher, seeking what he must yet do to make secure the great prize for which he was striving.  He was young and wealthy, a ruler in the land, one whose life had been without stain or blemish.

“The Commandments? – All these I have kept from my youth,” he had said; “Good Master, what is yet wanting to me?”

Jesus looked on him with love, for such a soul was dear to His Sacred Heart. “ If thou wilt be perfect,” comes the answer, “go sell what thou hast and give to the poor, and come, follow Me.”

There was a painful pause: nature and grace were struggling for the mastery; the invitation had been given, the road to perfection pointed out. There was only one sacrifice needed to make him a true disciple, but it was a big one, too great for him who lately seemed so generous.  He hesitates, wavers, and then sadly turns away, with the words “Come, follow Me,” ringing in his ears, for love of his “great possessions” had wrapped itself round his heart – a Vocation had been offered and refused. “What a cloud of misgivings,” says Father Faber, “must hang over the memory of him whom Jesus invited to follow Him.  Is he looking now in heaven upon that Face from whose mild beauty he so sadly turned away on earth?”

Nearly two thousand years have passed since then, but unceasingly that same Voice has been whispering in the ears of many a lad and maiden, “One thing is yet wanting to you – come, follow Me.”  Some have heard that voice with joy and gladness of heart, and have risen up at the Master’s call; others have stop their ears, or turned away in fear from the side of Him Who beckoned to them, while not a few have stood and listened, wondering what it meant, asking themselves could such an invitation be for them, till Jesus of Nazareth passed by and they were left behind for ever.

To these, chiefly, is this simple explanation of a Vocation offered, in the hope that they may recognize the workings of grace within their souls, or be moved to beg that they may one day be sharers in this crowning gift of God’s eternal love.   Click here to read more from the writings of Fr Doyle SJ  on vocations…

Comment:

I’ve found myself in a number of conversations in recent years, where I’ve been asked whether or not, despite the crisis in the Church, I would encourage young people to try their vocations to the priesthood and religious life.  I’m always torn between saying that I would encourage them – although afraid that I may, thus, find myself an instrument of setting them on a road where they may  lose the Faith – or saying that I would discourage them  – and perhaps, therefore, be the cause of blocking God’s work in a soul. Quite a dilemma.

Some people think there’s no dilemma –  just suggest that they enter traditional seminaries and Orders. Then others again point out the possible danger of a certain extremism in those quarters.  So, what’s the answer. Would YOU encourage a boy who is thinking of the priesthood, to go ahead – and if so, details please! Or a young person who might feel called to the Religious Life; what would you suggest is the safest route for them to try their vocation, if you think they ought to do so.

Read Father Doyle’s short work and then share your thoughts on this important subject.  

53 responses

  1. It is a difficult question indeed, but not one that most of us will thankfully be confronted with. The normal course for people who feel they have a vocation is to discuss the matter privately with a priest.

    If I was ever put in the position of having to advise someone in this regard, I would almost certainly try first to convince them to seek out a Traditional seminary or religious Order, depending on the vocation. There are more of these around today than in previous decades, although it may require a move to another country. If that wasn’t an option then I would advise, if it was a priestly vocation, that the young man avail himself of a seminary that has recently restored Thomistic theology and philosophy as its method of forming priests. I would then point out certain dangers he should watch out for and advise on a very strong devotion to Our Lady.

    As modern religious Orders go, I would probably advise against them altogether. I can’t think of one, save perhaps the Carmelite nuns, who have retained anything akin to Catholic religious spirituality, and even they are not the same as they once were. The rest are more or less dying out as a result of their adoption of liberalism.

    • Athanasius,

      Please do you know of any of the English seminaries that have restored Thomistic theology and philosophy? I cannot see Allen Hall doing it, as the Cardinal Nichols is a Modernist bird-brain. A Priest-friend of mine has said that the seminarians at Oscott are ‘utterly orthodox’. My response to that would be, ‘orthodox to what? Vatican II or Catholic Tradition’. He is an Opus Dei Priest, and he’s genuinely the best none SSPX Priest I’ve met, but Opus Dei does have a pro-Vatican II reputation, even if it does put a conservative spin on it.

      What would you recommend for a young man from the U.K, but who could not go abroad to study, say with the SSPX, the FSSP and the ICKSP, due to linguistic or financial difficulties? I don’t know about the SSPX, but students have to pay for their own training for the latter two. In the UK I would not send a young man to a Diocesan seminary. I would send them to a religious order, viz. the Benedictines at Farnborough (1962 Mass and Divine Office, and completely orthodox), Dominicans, Oratorians, Norbertines and Conventual Franciscans. All of the Dominican and Norbertines are taught to say Mass in their respective rites, as well as the TLM, and the Oratorians and Conventuals are taught how to say the TLM. I’ve read articles by young Dominicans, viz. Fr. Leon Pereira and Fr. Lawrence Lew, and they were completely without error. Then there are the Transalpine Redemptorists.

      I personally am discerning a vocation to be a Clerical Oblate for the ICKSP. I was attracted to them due to their Marian devotion (they are consecrated to the Immaculate Conception), obedience to the Magisterium, reputation for liturgical excellence and their spirituality of St. Francis de Sales. Please pray for me in this regard.

      • Hi Catholic Convert,

        I’m surprised a young man has to pay for his own seminary education. Is this the case for the SSPX? I’m sure financial issues would be no barrier.

        I think something like Opus Dei, FSSP or ICK would definitely be preferable over the Diocesan circuses, but I couldn’t in all conscience recommend anything other than SSPX. All the other groups are part of the problem.

      • CC,

        First off, please be assured of my prayers in the matter of discerning your vocation. May it please God to grace you with such a noble calling and the generosity to answer it.

        As regards your question, I have to confess that you seem to know a lot more than I do about the seminaries and religious house in the UK. I’m sorry to say that I can add nothing to what you already know, except perhaps that I suspect the SSPX may not be as financially demanding of less well off students as the FSSP and ICKSP.

        Concerning this latter institution (ICKSP), I have heard it said that it is a little on the elitist side, by which I mean it tends to have the grandest churches, vestments and liturgical services, but makes little impact on the lives of the ordinary Catholic faithful at parish level. The FSSP is much more prevalent at parish level.

        This having been said, the SSPX is no less obedient to the Magisterium than these others. In fact, probably more so given its ability to distinguish between true and false obedience in the present crisis afflicting the Church. It is also consecrated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, which is more the Marian devotion given by heaven in these times to combat the heresy of Modernism. Not that I would wish to separate one Marian devotion from another; they are all very powerful aides to sanctity and salvation.

        It should also be pointed out that the SSPX is the only institution of the three which is generally persecuted by the Modernists in the Church. This is surely a positive sign of divine predilection.

        Well, I’ve given you a couple of things to weigh in these few paragraphs though ultimately the decision will be yours. I’m sure your prayers to the Blessed Mother will help you in the end to make the right choice, should the divine call be confirmed in you.

        • Athanasius,

          Many thanks for your kind words of support. God bless you. I agree that the ICKSP has that reputation of elitism, but I think, as I’m sure you do, that the more the TLM spreads the better, as well as traditional doctrine and devotions. I know for a fact that the ICKSP clergy are excellent in this regard. In France and Belgium, the Priests of the FSSP and ICKSP are critical of the modern Church, or so I’ve heard.

          With regards to the SSPX, I have thought about becoming a Brother, but if I have to go abroad for any length of time, it might be detrimental as I’m very close with my parents, as I’m an only child. I also have to think of my parents in terms of my vocation. They are not Catholic, with my father being quite hostile. I’ve spoken to an SSPX Priest at Preston about being a Brother, and he was interested, but said I should wait as I’ve only just been Baptised. I was conditionally Baptised on September 19th 2014 after my Novus Ordo fiasco from Easter, which I suppose you remember. I’m getting confirmed next year. My spiritual life would prosper if I lived according to a horarium. I don’t have the Priestly calling, but I do have the calling to the religious life.

          I’ll just keep praying. God bless you.

          • CC,

            Yes, pray and leave the rest to God. The SSPX priest you spoke with gave you very good advice. Vocations are never rushed, it takes time to absolutely certain of God’s will. I’m certain it will work out very well for you in the end. God bless you.

          • Cc,

            Fantastic post and it shows how much Our Lord has changed your life. You can be certain you are doing everything right and will be rewarded for your generosity. I will pray for you.

  2. I’m a parent of 6 young people and they are all faithful to the Faith. Yes, they wonder about a vocation, but I could never, in all truth, point them to a Novus Ordo outfit. I have suggested a similar path as Athanasius points out but, they don’t want to go abroad. I’m afraid that they will lose their Faith if they get involved a Novus Ordo outfit.

        • Athanasius,

          I take your point, but isn’t the effect the same? If boys are not going into the diocesan seminaries, how are we to change things in the diocese? Hardly any bishops are allowing the FSSP or Institute of Christ the King to operate in their diocese.

          • Nicky,

            The question is really academic as all the evidence shows that young men are simply no longer attracted to modern seminaries; that’s why they’re closing down all over the place. I agree with an earlier comment made here (can’t remember who made it) that the Traditional seminaries, growing and expanding very quickly, will eventually replace the modern ones, dying out very quickly, so that only traditionally formed priests will be left. It’s kind of like the body’s immune system fighting off a life-threatening disease until health is fully restored.

          • Nicky,

            I should have added that many liberal bishops remain undisturbed about the catastrophic drop in vocations and the closure of so many seminaries. That’s because they have returned to the early Christian usage of deacons, which they hope will eventually usher in a married clergy by the back door.

  3. A very interesting thread. I agree with everything said so far. I have three boys and I would be delighted if any or all of them showed signs of a vocation, but I could never recommend a modern seminary. Certainly a Traditional seminary would be the only kind I would encourage.

    In fact, I have to say that I would do everything I could to discourage anyone from applying to a modern seminary. It would mean being exposed to the New Mass and all the other strange things that go on in modern parishes.

    I also have a daughter and if she expressed interest in the religious life then, once again, I would encourage a Traditional Order. Most modern religious orders have a Ruth Davidson lookalike as the mother superior and spend most of their time pretending they are NOT religious. No thanks!

    • Petrus,

      “Most modern religious orders have a Ruth Davidson lookalike as the mother superior”

      That is so true – LOL!

      Your willingness to give all of your children back to God in vocations is really beautiful.

      It reminded me, sadly, of one family I knew years ago where the only two sons became priests and both of them left the priesthood to marry, during this crisis in the Church. I’d thought when they first became priests that it was a bit sad that their family name would end now since both boys had become priests but I felt much sadder when I learned that they’d both left the priesthood.

  4. Olaf & Petrus,

    I am not a parent myself, but I do understand exactly what you mean. Your fears, alas, are only too well founded. We can only pray that Our Lord will end this terrible crisis sooner rather than later and restore all things in Himself.

    Olaf,

    It’s good that your youngsters think about vocations, as well instructed Catholic children often do. I don’t know their ages right now but believe me when I say that if and when any of them is called by Our Lord to the priesthood or religious life no obstacle will stand in their way, including traveling abroad.

  5. Athanasius, remember in the dark ages for us Catholics in this part of the world when priests had to go / come from abroad to minister to their flocks? Well perhaps the times are upon us again and, yes, you are right, the youngsters should be prepared to do the same. I would never,ever, suggest to my young people to enter a N.O. seminary or noviciate.

  6. Olaf,

    Let us hope that if and when the time comes that any of your youngsters are called to the priesthood or religious life, this present crisis in the Church will have ended. It seems to have reached fever pitch now!

  7. I would encourage them to go to the SSPX Seminary, where they will be trained in the true, unchangeable Catholic Faith to become true Priests, Priests that will live and die for the Catholic Faith and for souls. That is what is needed today. The one goal of the SSPX is the salvation of souls. God called the SSPX to play a major part in the restoration of the Church.

    • Damsel of the Faith,

      I would also recommend an SSPX seminary although I know there are some extremist views on some things, like women, for example, but nothing’s perfect in this world so I suppose it would be easier to combat that sort of thing rather than risk a would-be priest being infested with heresies.

      I loved the article by Fr William Doyle. It was beautiful and I remember Leo recommending him before.

      • Margaret Mary,

        I remembered Leo recommending Fr Doyle’s books as well and no wonder. That is a beautiful article on vocations.

  8. Most certainly. But in an order in which they will have a future and which will still be around in twenty five years time, such as one of the Traditional orders. Now far be from me to say which!

  9. I would recommend a lot of prayer for the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and develop if not already in place, frequent adoration in front of the Blessed Sacrament and then leave the rest to God!!!!!!

    • Domchas,

      If only the Modernists had taken that line, the Church would be in great shape now and we would undoubtedly have avoided the likes of this scandalous tragedy…

      The above link was emailed to me by a reader in England. It reminded me of similar photos of St Peter’s Cardross. The Church in Scotland is in a very sorry state indeed. Tragic, with bells on.

      Who on earth could recommend any young man thinking of trying his vocation, to approach any Scottish Diocese?

  10. Those pictures of the once famous and beautiful St Peter’s seminary are really heart-breaking.

    I’ve never known any young man who tried his vocation in a traditional seminary, but I’ve personally met more than one young man who spoke very ill of the diocesan seminaries, and that includes some who left and some who went on to be ordained. They say they were ordained in spite of their seminary experience, not as a result of it.

    So, I definitely wouldn’t encourage anyone to enter a diocesan seminary and I don’t know anything about the traditional seminaries so I don’t know what I’d say to a young man thinking of a vocation. I have met quite a lot of religious sisters over the years since Vatican II and I don’t think they want vocations. I definitely couldn’t ever in conscience, recommend a young girl to enter any of them. This is all very sad, but it would be wrong to encourage a young person to go into a way of life that might take them away from the Church’s teachings.

  11. Editor

    Thank you for posting this link to Father William Doyle’s very comprehensive treatise on vocations. This must be a copy of the pamphlet first published in August 1913 which within eight years, had run to at least ten editions (100,000 copies).

    I would think it is pretty much essential reading for any young person trying to discern a vocation to the priesthood or religious life today. I’m not a bit surprised that the Society appreciates its value. It just exudes a robust, supernatural and wise Catholic spirit, so unlike the mushy, humanistic, naturalistic, social worker image and concept of the priesthood and religious life that the Modernist destroyers have tried to foist on good men and women for decades.

    Compare Father Doyle’s work with the following:

    http://eponymousflower.blogspot.ie/2014/11/francis-cardinal-hummes-and-amazon.html

    Quote from above link:

    “Hummes was Archbishop of Sao Paolo from 1998-2006 and it was he who himself suggested the name of Francis to him – according to a statement by the Pope. The new pope wanted him at any rate on the central loggia at his side when he was first shown to the world. Cardinal Hummes is counted among the inner circle of the Pope makers of this pontificate.”

    “Hummes is known, however, not only as pope whisperer, but also because of his heterodox views. Last July 27, the Cardinal spoke in the Brazilian newspaper Zero Hora in favor of “gay marriage”, women priests and the abolition of priestly celibacy. Likewise, he himself resisted the proposal of Benedict XVI., to make the Curé of Ars as a model of the priest. A “preconciliar priest image”, which Hummes flatly rejects.”

    Read Father Doyle’s words and see the Catholic spirit of Saint Jean Vianney, whose path to the priesthood was far from smooth. Read them and see the Catholic spirit of put forward by Saint Alphonsus Liguori:

    “the good morals and the salvation of the people depend on good pastors. If there is a good priest in charge of the parish, you will soon see devotion flourishing, people frequenting the Sacraments, and honouring the practice of mental prayer. Hence the proverb: like pastor, like parish. According to this word of Ecclesiasticus (10:2) ‘Those who dwell in the state, take after their ruler’.“ (Homo. Apost., 7:16)

    Or Saint Pius X:

    “To restore all things in Christ by the apostolate of good works, we need divine grace, and the apostle will only receive it if he is united to Christ. Not until we have formed Christ within ourselves will we find it easy to give Him to families and to societies. And therefore all those who take part in the apostolate must develop a solid piety.” – Encyclical to the Bishops of Italy, June 11, 1905.

    Or Saint Teresa of Avila:

    “A holy, perfect and virtuous man actually does far more good to souls than a great many others who are merely better educated or more talented.”

    I have to add that in addition to reading the linked pamphlet, any young man discerning a vocation to the priesthood could hardly do better than read Professor Alfred O’Rahilly’s biography of Father Doyle, an undoubted spiritual classic. It would be very difficult to find a more inspirational example of priestly abandonment to God and the care of souls, whether in course of giving no less than 152 retreats and missions or during almost two years spent in the horrors of the trenches. In fact it would make an ideal Christmas present for any priest. And no, I’m not on commission!

    Finally, I hope the following words of Father Doyle might be of help to someone:

    “I sometimes think that we lose very much by not having more devotion to the Holy Ghost, After all, He is the Dispenser of the very things we need to make us saints. Invoke him frequently, and don’t forget that Fr. Faber sums up devotion to the Holy Ghost as ‘a constant docility to His inspirations’. The inspiration He will send to you most often, if I mistake not, will be His desire for the absolute sacrifice of your will to His, so that in time there should not be even interior rebellion against what He wishes. This Promised Land may still be afar, but God will help you wonderfully if you set out bravely to reach it.”

    “By entering religion and taking my vows I have given myself over absolutely to God and His service. He, therefore, has a right to be served in the way He wishes. If then He asks me to enter on a hard, mortified life and spend myself working for Him, how can I resist His will and desire? ‘Oh my God, make me a saint, and I consent to suffer all You ask for the rest of my life.’ What is God asking from me now? Shall I go back on that offering?”

    “Well the ‘plunge’ is over, and though I know you must feel a little lonely after the pain of parting, I am certain you are not sorry you were so brave. That happiness and contentment will grow more and more as the days go on, and you come to realize better the meaning and the grandeur of religious life, a life which is ‘all for Jesus’ and His interests, without a thought of self. Then the happiness of knowing that the same roof shelters both you and our Blessed Lord, that He is really one of the Community, and that a few steps will bring you to His feet for consolation and help when the cross is heavy and the clouds are black. Yes, my child, Jesus has been loving and good to you; so good that you cannot sound the depths of His tenderness and never can repay Him unless by giving Him the love of all your heart and striving to refuse Him nothing. If you take these two words as the motto of your life: ‘love and generosity’, they will carry you far on the path of perfection.”

    As regards following God’s call to the priesthood I think the only option at present is the SSPX or the religious orders affiliated to the Society. Compromise or persecution is virtually the guaranteed norm just about everywhere else. If a good, orthodox, faithful Priest is curtailed in any way from preaching the Faith believed “always, everywhere and by everyone” before the Council, or is persecuted or curtailed in his priestly ministry on account of offering the Mass of All Time exclusively, then we really do have a problem. Just think about that. If that doesn’t constitute a crisis, and state of necessity, what exactly does?

  12. i would usually find the ruination of any beautiful building to be heart-breaking, but having heard so many stories of what has gone on in many seminaries in the past 50 years, these pictures seem to me to be a most striking physical illustration of the spiritual ruination of souls that have entered them, as they thought, with a call from God. The picture of the red vampire/devil with its message is particularly suggestive..

    I agree with all that has been said above. I would never encourage a young man or woman who feels that call to enter any seminary other than a traditional one – SSPX orl one that trains priests to offer exclusively the traditional rites of Mass, Divine Office and sacraments..

  13. Again I find members of the SSPX on the outside looking in and failing to see the Holy Spirit at work. The Catholic Faith suffered greatly in the recent past from appalling seminaries run in many cases by feminists. The students were told not to worship bread, they brought in Communion in the Hand, and nothing specifically Catholic was taught. Catholic Truth has covered most of these abuses. Today the picture is changing. Only those young men who come from families who love the Church want to be priests. In my own Diocese which was once the most Protestant in England I know 5 young men in the seminary who are faithful Catholics. And thank God the teaching there has changed and Latin is again being taught. The battle is being won in the way the Holy Spirit works, slowly and with the still small voice of calm.

    • John Kearney,

      What do you mean by the SSPX on the outside looking in?

      I don’t k now what diocese you are in but it sounds like you are in one of the dioceses with the orthodox bishops, like Bishop Davies or Egan. If so, they are a bit exceptional, and they are not popular with the rest of the bishops in England. I read somewhere that a bishop went to sit beside one of them at a meeting and then said “oh it’s you” and moved away. So it looks like they are thought to be on the outside as well.

      As for “calm” – the SSPX priests go about their work quietly so I don’t think you are being fair to them at all. Many of us who can’t get to SSPX chapels, still realise that they are the only seriously traditional group in the Church. They are really the only ones that the Vatican worries about!

    • John Kearney,

      What you describe, as Michaela has pointed out, is the exception rather than the rule. And I must correct you on something else, which is that the SSPX is not outside the Church. Sounds like you need to inform yourself a little better in these very serious matters.

      • Athanasius,

        I couldn’t agree more, although John has been contributing here for a good number of years so he really cannot claim to be uninformed. I fear he is part of the problem, rather than the solution. Anyone contributing to this blog for so long and still making comments like the one above is really an enemy of Tradition.

  14. Petrus,

    I would say less an enemy of Tradition than a classic example of how even so many of the well intentioned have become laxed by 40 odd years of conciliar liberalism. For John Kearney, the Holy Spirit will sort it all out in His own way without any need for human interaction. But that’s not the way God works; He expects us to do our duty and resist dangers to the Faith. It’s all well and good for these people to sit back pontificating about the SSPX, quite ignorantly as it happens, while doing absolutely nothing to challenge the woeful irreverence and increasing apostasy they see all around them every day at parish level. Who was it that said “Evil abounds because good men do nothing”? How true!

  15. Here we go again. I was not attacking SSPX priests. What I was saying that you are out of the mainstream Church you do not meet the seminarians, you are unaware how making things are changing in the seminaries, and you are making assumptions. I and others are engaging in bringing about these changes. Far from being part of the problem we are involved in solving the problem.

    • Rubbish , John and I think deep down you know that’s rubbish. I don’t doubt your sincerity but I do doubt your sanity!

    • John,

      I’m afraid YOU are the one making assumptions. I’ve met quite a few seminarians, usually cloak and dagger style in a café in some Glasgow back street, because they were terrified of being associated with any organisation not wallowing in glory in the “mainstream” archdiocese of Glasgow, not on coffee morning terms with the Sisters of the Gospel of Life and their ilk. I put those meetings in the past tense because, obviously, we no longer have any seminaries in Scotland and I really wouldn’t expect any student to travel from Rome to a back street café in Glasgow merely to update me on the latest fashion in priestly formation. Any major change will make headline news, no doubt about it.

      I do know, however, that there continues to be unrest within the Scottish seminarian population, that’s all I’ll say although, believe me, I’d love to spill more beans on that particular topic. Maybe things are looking up in your neck of the woods but by your own admission, that is exceptional. Do you, for example, in your diocese continue to have lay people distributing Holy Communion during the novus ordo Mass? Are the priests continuing to give Communion in the hand? Are the seminarians taught that these practices are acceptable if not desirable?

      If so,what possible changes in the seminary training could make up for these scandals?

  16. Novus ordoism is self-liquidating. Ageing, theologically illiterate congregations, and closing Churches do not leave room for doubt. Perhaps the saddest, most evil fruit of the Invasion of the Modernists is the catastrophic plummet in the number of priests. The fact that half of France’s clergy are 75 or over is hardly at odds with the situation throughout the Western world.

    Athanasius has made a very important point about the widespread closure of seminaries, and the fact is that this is far from an accident or coincidence. It goes to show that so many of the issues that we discuss here are inextricably linked.

    The vocations crisis cannot be separated from the liturgical devastation of the New Mass, where the sacramental priesthood has been confused with some Protestant thesis of priest as presider, a sort of representative of the priesthood of the faithful.

    Institutio Generalis Missalis Romani, which came into force November 30 1969 along with the new missal, is, true to conciliar form, dangerously ambiguous, and “contains numerous passages that insinuate that the celebrant is a mere president of the assembly, and that his principal function in the Mass consists in representing the faithful gathered there.” ( A. V. Xavier de Silveira, La Nouvelle Messe de Paul VI, P.31)

    Far from affirming the ministerial as well as the hierarchical character of the ordained priesthood, which place it above the mere representation of the presence of Christ that might be in the people, Article 4 of the 1970 Institutio contains dangerous link between the “offering of the Sacrifice” and the “presiding over the assembly of the holy people”, while Article 5 states that “the celebration of the Eucharist is the action of the whole Church.” The point is that the new Protestantised Mass with its undermining of the whole understanding of the priest as a man set apart is hardly likely to foster vocations.

    Modernists are often heard holding forth on what they claim to be the evils of “clericalism”. That the conciliar, Modernist revolution had as one of its decisive objectives the smashing of the distinction between the sacramental, ordained priesthood and the laity is beyond doubt. The exact motives, and the degree of any malevolence, of the powers behind this attack on the priesthood might never be proven beyond all doubt, unless someone happens to forgetfully leave a briefcase with an incriminating communication on some meeting table. Could happen of course!

    Catholics faithful to Tradition do actually have objective evidence as to the actual attack on the priesthood handed to them, publicly. The following quotations are taken from Atila Sinke Guimares’ very informative work, Animus Delendi. A couple of familiar names very obligingly spell the whole programme out. Those in charge of countless seminaries across the world have just implemented the tactics necessary to implement the Modernist strategy.

    “It is therefore, extremely important for lay people to assume the ministries hitherto reserved for priests…This is to move toward a Church as people of God. Finally, this is what I was always looking for: a Church made up of its faithful and not of a Clergy and its clientele.” – Father Yves Congar OP, Jean Puyo interroge le Pere Congar, p. 235

    “If all believers are obliged, through Christ, to offer sacrifices…this means that through the one High Priest and single mediator Christ, all believers have a priestly duty to perform (in an entirely new way!) And so it is that with the dissolution of a special priestly class and thanks to the priesthood of the one, new and eternal High Priest (Christ), by a strange but – despite everything- quite normal inversion, the universal priesthood of all the faithful is born.” Hans Kung, A Igreja, vol. 2, p. 165,

    And if in anyone is in doubt about the Council’s part in what has happened, read the following words of Father, later Archbishop, Bonaventura Kloppenburg OFM, a Vatican II peritus and member for fifteen years, of the International Theological Commission.

    “The theology of the laity seems to have created a crisis of the theology of the priest. Abundantly instructed by Vatican II on the laity, we now know that true equality prevails among all the baptised with regard to the dignity and action common to all the faithful in building the Body of Christ (LG 32c); that all participate in the mission of the whole Christian people in the Church and in the world (LG 31a); that everyone should play an active role in the life and action of the Church (AA 10a); that the laity are now ‘brothers’ of the pastors (LG 32c, 37c);
    “…that all those who have been baptised participate in the priestly, prophetic and royal office of Christ (LG 31A; AA 2b; 10a); that the Supreme and Eternal Priest wants to continue His testimony and service also through the laity (LG 34a) by granting them a part of His priestly office (LG 34b); that the Great Prophet exercises His prophetic mission not only through the Hierarchy, but also through the laity (LG 34a) by granting them a part of His priestly office (LG 35a)…and that the laity also play an active part in the Eucharistic act, where they themselves should make t heir offering, ‘rather than only through the hands of the priest’ (SC 48).

    “This plenteous conciliar doctrine on the nature of the laity and their place and action in the Church has caused many persons to question the meaning and reason for being (or continuing) of priests in the Church, Further, in precisely what points are they different from those who make up the common priesthood?” – Bonaventura Kloppenburg, A eclesiologia do Vaticano II, pp 203-204

    The explosive revelations regarding American seminaries in Michael Rose’s book, Goodbye Good Men lifts the lid on the satanic programme to which many faithful sons of the Church were subjected. Opening the book at random and reading for fifteen minutes would make bring home the grim truths. Here’s an example, taken from page 130, which avoids many of the sordid sexual obsessions of the Modernists.

    “Father John Triglio of the Harrisburg diocese made the same comparison” (to the brainwashing strategies of the Communist re-education camps): ‘The one book that helped me persevere through my twelve years of seminary,’ he said, ‘ was Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s Gulag Archipelago. His imprisonment and constant surveillance was in many ways identical to seminary life, in which cultural revolutionaries sough to ‘rehabilitate’ the orthodox into becoming full-fledged party members of the new dissidence. As in the former USSR if you opposed the ‘party line’, which in the case of the seminary was their particular brand of heterodoxy, then you were labelled as mentally unfit and kept under close scrutiny ‘for your own safety’. The mind games, spying, and hidden agenda, as well as the vast bureaucracy of the KGB, were cloned into seminaries across America. Fellow seminarians spy on one another; blackmail, intimidation, slander, threats, and even violence are employed to protect the status quo. Quote the pope and you are an archconservative, John Birch, KKK, Neo-Nazi; quote Gore Vidal and you are an intellectual Renaissance man.’”

    The books give numerous examples of the absolute evil of the post Vatican II “de-clericalization” programme. The “gatekeeper phenomenon” under which good sound vocations were screened out by liberal nuns and non-Catholic psychologists, asking all sorts of questions on matters from candidate’s views on the ordination of women to sexual matters, is spelt out in all its squalid evil. The fact that the vocations crisis has been actively brought about by Modernists is beyond reasonable debate.

  17. I think there is broad agreement here that question is not so much whether or not to encourage the vocations that God will continue to send, but rather in which direction to encourage those vocations, or to put it another way, where to avoid. Athanasius has already made this point.

    And whether they like it or not, many of those who are antagonistic to the priestly Society founded by Archbishop Lefebvre owe him a great debt. Are the priests and laity who offer and attend the true Mass, and yet see fit to exercise private judgement in hurling false accusations of “schism” really so naïve as to think that they would continue undisturbed on their way, if the Society disappeared?

    Without any doubt Archbishop Lefebvre was absolutely correct, and prescient, in identifying the crisis of the priesthood as being at the centre of the appalling crisis that has engulfed the Church.

    From a diametrically opposed position, the enemies of Christ and His Church in the modern world, both inside and outside the walls, appear to be fully aware of the most effective route of attack. Think of the Permanent Instruction of the Alta Vendita, the testimony of Bella Dodd. Those inclined, for whatever reason, to be cynical about the idea of such attacks from without, can always read Michael Rose’s book entitled Goodbye Good Men (mentioned above), detailing the attacks from within, shining a torch on the programme pursued in some US seminaries since the Council, a programme that must surely have been of diabolical inspiration and typical of what happened on a vast scale.

    I think in these times we would all do well to consider the immense Christian fortitude and tireless apostolic work of Archbishop Lefebvre. At an age when most people have retired, he abandoned his life to Divine Providence, for the defence of Tradition, and the formation of holy Catholic priests.

    Late in his life, in his Spiritual Journey, the Archbishop revealed to the priests and seminarians of the Society his vision of the future the “Dream of Dakar”,that had inspired his actions:

    “…The dream was to transmit, before the progressive degradation of the priestly ideal, in all of its doctrinal purity and in all of its missionary charity, the Catholic Priesthood of Our Lord Jesus Christ, just as He conferred it on His Apostles, just as the Roman Church always transmitted it until the middle of the twentieth century.

    “How should I carry out that which appeared then to me as the sole solution to revive the Church and Christianity? It was still a dream, but there appeared to me already the need, not only to confer the authentic priesthood, to teach not only sana doctrina approved by the Church, but also to transmit the profound and unchanging spirit of the Catholic priesthood and of the Christian spirit essentially bound to the great prayer of Our Lord which his Sacrifice on the Cross expresses eternally.” – Spiritual Journey, iii

    The Society was placed under the patronage of Saint Pius X precisely because of that holy Pope’s concern for the integrity of the priesthood and the sanctity that flows from it (see p.436 of Bishop Tissier de Mallerais’s biography of the Archbishop).

    The great Pope expressed his understanding and appreciation of the irreplaceable role of the ordained priesthood in his 1903 Encyclical E Supremi:

    “Hence although all are included in the exhortation “to advance towards the perfect man, in the measure of the age of the fullness of Christ” (Ephes. iv., 3), it is addressed before all others to those who exercise the sacerdotal ministry; thus these are called another Christ, not merely by the communication of power but by reason of the imitation of His works, and they should therefore bear stamped upon themselves the image of Christ.

    “This being so, Venerable Brethren, of what nature and magnitude is the care that must be taken by you in forming the clergy to holiness! All other tasks must yield to this one. Wherefore the chief part of your diligence will be directed to governing and ordering your seminaries aright so that they may flourish equally in the soundness of their teaching and in the spotlessness of their morals. Regard your seminary as the delight of your hearts, and neglect on its behalf none of those provisions which the Council of Trent has with admirable forethought prescribed.”

    Any Bishop seriously concerned about ending the unprecedented crisis in the Church would be well advised to have a framed copy of those words facing their desk.

    I think everyone here knows what took place twenty six years ago, on June 30 1988, at Econe. On the same day that Archbishop Lefebvre, in his own words, “handed on what I have received”, in order to continue the work of traditional priestly formation, an 18 page document was published in Rome which, whatever the intent behind it and the justifications given, could not but help to undermine the sacred Catholic priesthood. The document allowed bishops to develop programs whereby deacons or appointed lay people would lead Sunday prayer services.

    http://www.sspxasia.com/Documents/Archbishop-Lefebvre/Archbishop_Lefebvre_and_the_Vatican/Part_II/1988-06-30.htm

    Yes, twenty six years ago, while Archbishop Lefebvre was trying to provide pastors and the means of salvation for Catholic souls, Rome was providing for the absence of priests. Does anyone seriously contend that the Modernist Invasion of the seminaries was not part of a plan to cause that absence? Can anyone seriously contend that the Modernist vocation killers have all been routed and purged from the seminaries?

  18. I accept your comments Editor. I have no knowledge of what is happening in Scotland and perhaps I erred in making my experience of England applicable to Scotland. But at St John`s Seminary, Guildford and even more exciting Allen Hall in London we have seminarians who are bringing back devotion to the Blessed Sacrament and to Mary. And they do not have to hide their faith anymore. At one time a young man would be asked “How will you get on working with women priests” by a feminist in he recruitment panel. This has gone. In answer to the many questions you ask the answer is no, people still receive in the hand, and people still stand. In many cases the reason for standing is that they cannot kneel on a stone floor, especially older women. The plan is to have a kneeler placed for Communion. Many young people are now kneeling and receiving on the tongue but they are still a minority but a growing one. It has been found that when a kneeler is provided 75 per cent of the parish eventually kneel. We have in our parish now a young priest newly ordained who studied in Rome and has been ordered by the Bishop as he said from the altar to lead a group which will study the readings for Advent. He is very orthodox I witnessed him leading a group once after Mass and it was so refreshing to be led by a priest. Normally it is a lay person who knows little or nothing. As you know there was a diabolical attack on the Blessed Sacrament in the recent past and when a small group of people tried to get adoration going there was little support and it was eventually snuffed. The good news is that we now have Adoration I the parish on Monday and Tuesday mornings with the Divine Office. to my utter astonishment we also have a Tridentine Mass every 3 months. But mark this these changes came about before Bishop Egan took control. Bishop Egan is doing wonderful things but he will not change the diocese overnight as he admits himself. The Diocesan magazine The Portsmouth People is still controlled by the unfaithful catholics, I refuse to call them modernists and give them credentials, which is why I am now writing a blog again Portsmouth Roman Catholic and commenting on their blabber. As I say the changes are slow but when you compare things to what they were 20 years ago it is unbelievable. Keep England in your prayers. God Bless.

    • John,

      That is good news, that there is some improvement in the seminaries in England, and of course there are some good – traditional leaning – priests coming through even up here in not so sunny Scotland who, when the time comes for us to have solid episcopal leadership, will be happily co-operative in the restoration of the Faith. I could name a few who fall into that category but I doubt very much if they would thank me for exposing them to the possibility of a move to a remote Scottish island somewhere to the north of Shetland 😀

  19. John

    Well done for debunking “Roman Catholic”. It drives me mad when I hear the Church described thus – especially from Catholics!

    • Therese,

      That’s me. I emailed John to explain to him personally, in the hope that he will amend the name of his blog.

      I got so fed up correcting that error that I decided simply to link the excellent EWTN article to it every time it’s posted on this blog. One of the Scots priests thanked me for publishing that article in our newsletter some time ago, and told me that he’d given up trying to correct it, since Catholics are so ignorant on the subject and think it’s a sign of loyalty to Rome and the Pope.

      That priest was a hospital chaplain, part of a team, a while back, and had asked the Presbyterian Minister who produced the bulletin, if he would mind not describing him on the list as the RC chaplain but just as the Catholic chaplain. The minister ignored his request and continued to use the Protestant name for the Church. I’ve found the same determination in company when I’ve explained to Protestants why we are Catholics and not RCs, and they just listen, smile, and continue to use the term. So they understand the significance perfectly well, even if Catholics don’t. It’s everywhere, too, right across the internet: “RC Diocese of X, Y, Z”. Unbelievable.

      Anyway, we’re not having it on here, that’s for sure! Any time I see that irritating error we will correct it in the simplest way possible, via the link to the EWTN article.

      Thanks for noticing!

  20. Leo, your comment:

    “And whether they like it or not, many of those who are antagonistic to the priestly Society founded by Archbishop Lefebvre owe him a great debt. Are the priests and laity who offer and attend the true Mass, and yet see fit to exercise private judgement in hurling false accusations of “schism” really so naïve as to think that they would continue undisturbed on their way, if the Society disappeared?”

    Brilliant, especially from one who was brought up in the conciliar Church. If the FSSP, the Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer etc., think otherwise then they are in cloud cuckoo land. They trade on the apostolate of the SSPX because, if the latter were to disappear, so would these Ecclesia Dei communities. Their hypocrisy beggars belief. The hierarchy, on the whole, do not want them. I know for a fact that the Bishop of Aberdeen doesn’t and, if the SSPX disappeared tomorrow, so would the sons of the Most Holy Redeemer. Rats deserting ships springs to mind.

    • Olaf,

      “I know for a fact that the Bishop of Aberdeen doesn’t [want the Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer in his diocese]…

      I’ve heard the very same thing from people in the know in that diocese. How foolish they were to “reconcile” with Modernism.

  21. Such encourage may be seen as a form of radicalisation. Also, I imagine most parents nowadays would prefer their gay children to grow up and marry and have children.

    • Constantine the Great,

      Are you suggesting that “most parents” have gay children? I think the statistics show that only around 1% of the population are homosexual.

        • Well, if MM knows what you mean, I sure don’t. You said “most parents would prefer their “gay” children to marry and have children.”

          Unless you want us to think that the majority of children are “gay”, then spell it out, cos that’s what it clearly means to anyone with a basic command of English.

          In any case, CTG, the question isn’t about whether “most parents” would encourage vocations, the question is whether YOU or I would encourage vocations, given the state of crisis in the Church. Your opinion welcome…

    • I imagine most parents nowadays would prefer their gay children to grow up and marry and have children.

      I think there may be a slight difficulty with that desire!

  22. I think that Constantine is implying that only homosexuals would be interested in the religious life, but hope that my assumption is wrong, in which case, humble apologies. I can make no other sense from the statement however, and would ask CTG to clarify.

    Confitebor Domino, they can “marry” and adopt other people’s children now so, sadly, no difficulty.

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