Priestly Formation: Back to the Future?

Comment:

Clearly, the ongoing flood of scandals involving seminarians and priests calls into question the type of formation taking place (or not taking place) in contemporary seminaries.  The above “A Day in the Life of a Seminarian” offers a glimpse into the training of priests in a “traditional” Catholic seminary.  But note –  prior to Vatican II, the word “traditional” was not used to describe – as now  – a specific group of Catholics.  ALL Catholics were taught to hold fast to both Tradition and Sacred Scripture, which bear equal weight within the Church.

We are reliably informed, as if it’s not obvious, that these days the sort of disciplined seminary life shown in the above video is not the norm in diocesan seminaries.  They seem to be run more like a hostel for young single men, who may come and go as they please, eat out with friends (male and female) and generally live as an independent, single man. 

Surely then, one key ingredient in the ending of the current scandal-ridden priesthood is a return to the sort of disciplined, spiritual, rigorously academic and thoroughly Catholic formation which the students in the above video are enjoying. 

Critics will argue that such a restrictive regime won’t attract modern young men – what do you think?  

Priest’s Open Letter To UK Bishops…

Father David Marsden SCJ has kindly granted permission for us to publish his powerful Open Letter to the Bishops of the UK on the subject of seminary formation…
Father was forced to resign from St. Patrick’s College, Maynooth  and, two years on, he has now been fired from St. Mary’s College, Oscott (Birmingham, England).  Read on to find out why…

Dear Bishops,

Like countless faithful Catholics around the world, I am sure many of you have been shocked and sickened by the recent scandals committed by the former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick. Further suffering is being inflicted by the silence of other cardinals and bishops who knew about his behavior and said nothing — and indeed continue to say nothing. In light of the explosive report by Archbishop Viganò, it becomes even more apparent that the homosexual cabal operating in the Catholic Church exists at the very highest level and even incriminates Pope Francis himself.

I hope and pray that the action of the Holy Spirit is now beginning to purify the hierarchy by exposing the evil committed by homosexual clergy around the world. I feel it is my duty to now inform you and faithful Catholics that the homosexual collective within the hierarchy which enabled McCarrick to function in an unobstructed manner is still alive and well today in the Catholic Church in England and Wales.

Towards the end of May 2018, I was dismissed from my post as formation tutor at St. Mary’s College, Oscott by the rector, Canon David Oakley. The reason for this was that I recommended that an openly gay seminarian discontinue the program of formation. Clearly, as an openly gay man, there was no hope of him being ordained. David Oakely informed me that his bishop was “adamant” that his student was staying in formation and that this was not how he and a number of bishops interpreted the Church’s teaching on homosexuality.

In light of the McCarrick scandal and the Viganò report, it has become very clear that cardinals, bishops and senior clergy from around the world are still openly dissenting against the Church’s teaching that prohibits the entrance into seminary formation of men with a homosexual orientation. This is the root cause of the most pressing scandal of our times. In fact, it is destroying the priesthood from within.

Apparently, the policy in Oscott appears to be if a candidate is not “acting out” his homosexual tendencies at the moment or behaving in an inappropriately “camp” way, then he is free to follow the formation program and move towards holy orders. The rector will not dismiss a candidate from the seminary who admits to being “gay” out of fear that his bishop will not agree with his decision. The problem, therefore, quietly continues.

This approach is clearly ignoring the Church’s teaching on this vital issue, yet for some strange reason, bishops are still not being made accountable for disregarding this important instruction. Whilst the teaching is clear, the practice in so many dioceses is deeply compromised. Can I make a huge plea that something be done about this widespread abuse?

I can also state that two of the spiritual directors in the seminary are very compromised on the issue of homosexuality — one individual admitting to me his own gender identity is very confused and the other openly stated that homosexual priests are a good idea as they are better able to minister effectively to homosexual Catholics! Neither would adhere to Church’s teaching and acknowledge that a key part of their role as spiritual contained the “duty to dissuade (a homosexual person) in conscience from proceeding towards ordination.”

I am writing to you all with a petition to act and take the necessary steps to reform the three remaining seminaries in England. The orthodox and heterosexual seminarians deserve a seminary free from a gay subculture and free from academic and formation staff who are homosexual themselves.

For the sake of brevity, I will summarise my findings from the year I spent working in the seminary:

1. The problem begins at St. Luke’s Institute in Manchester where a number of seminarians are asked to undergo a psychological assessment as part of the selection policy. The director of the institute, Fr. Gerard Fieldhouse-Byrne, has some very strange views on homosexuality himself and seems happy to admit homosexual men into the formation program. This is a problem that the bishop of Salford needs to address.

2. Canon David Oakley is prepared to admit homosexual men into his seminary and will not dismiss them unless their public conduct becomes unsavory. He is a compromised and cowardly man who is not prepared to make a stand and disagree with the bishops on the issue of homosexuality.

3. A number of bishops from England and Wales are happy to admit seminarians who are openly gay into the formation program and proceed towards ordination. The bishop of Menevia is one such example.

4. One of the spiritual directors at Oscott Seminary has admitted to being sexually attracted to young men. It is highly inappropriate that such an individual hold such a post. The rector is aware of this fact but seems unable to confront this individual. He even noted that the friends who accompany this individual for holidays each year are also homosexual. Another of the spiritual directors in the seminary thinks that homosexual priests are a great idea as they can minister to the gay Catholic community.

5. The archbishop of Birmingham and the archbishop of Westminster have both been informed of these issues and seem to prefer to ignore them. Why do we continue to have such passive and feeble-hearted clerics in such high places of leadership in the Church? Why are they afraid to speak out on topics such as homosexuality in the clergy and the toxic gender ideology sweeping through our schools?

These are not only facts but shocking allegations against the present life of the seminary in Birmingham. Action needs to be taken to address the homosexual culture in the Church’s hierarchy. Scandals like those of Theodore McCarrick and Cardinal Keith O’Brien are just waiting to happen. The normal, heterosexual students in Oscott demand that the homosexual clique in the seminary be dismissed and that the homosexual or bisexual staff members be dismissed also.

I was fired from the college for striving to uphold the Church’s teaching on homosexuality which is a grave injustice to me personally. It is extraordinary to think that I was asked by the rector to make a public oath of fidelity to the Magisterium of the Church at the beginning of the academic year. It is my fidelity to that oath that has cost me my job and deprived the seminarians of the only qualified formator in the seminary.

In the summer of 2016, I was forced to resign from St. Patrick’s College, Maynooth because they were ordaining openly homosexual men to the priesthood, and two years later I have been fired from St. Mary’s College, Oscott for stating that homosexual men are not to be admitted to seminary formation and priesthood.

We are surely living through dark times for the Catholic Church. Are there any good bishops left who are brave enough to begin the wholesale reform of the priesthood that is so badly needed?

With every blessing in Christ,

Father David Marsden, S.C.J.
Former Formation Tutor

Comment:

Catholic Truth warmly commends Father Marsden for his excellent letter to the Bishops.  We pray that some, at least, actively respond to it.

What do you think… will any Bishops (even one) – pay heed?  

Pope Francis Doesn’t DO Catholicism

Christopher Ferrara, Fatima Center, writes:

As the homosexual priest scandal once again erupts around the world (including the revelation that fully half of the cardinals and bishops of the Netherlands are implicated in the cover-up of sexual abuse), the ex-President of the Italian Senate, Marcello Pera, was interviewed by La Fede Quotidiana concerning Pope Francis’ continuing silence in the face of Archbishop Viganò’s historic indictment of the Pope’s own role in the cover-up of homosexual corruption at the highest levels of the Church.

“It seems to me that the Pope does not intend to give a response, or perhaps thinks that others will respond, a dilatory tactic that, instead of promoting serenity and clarity contributes to general disconcert and confusion,” said Pera. “[I]t seems to be the same thing that happened with the Dubia of the cardinals,” Pera continued.

Respecting the attempts to demonize Viganò, Pera observes that he has “the sensation that the Pope trusts in that wing of the press that is always and everywhere favorable. He knew that he would be defended a priori by certain important journalists” who would be willing to shoot the messenger by way of character assassination. But, Pera rightly observes, “I am not interested in the motives that have driven Viganò but only in whether his allegations are true or not.”

Pera is also a renowned philosopher whose work focuses on the problems of cultural relativism, the post-modern denial of objective reality and “deconstructionism,” which reduces all truth claims to mere interpretations rather than statements of objective fact. Hence Pera knows whereof he speaks when he says that in his view Francis is symptomatic of the crisis of a “tragic and alarming diminution of the Christian conscience in Europe. Bergoglio substitutes for catholicity a secular humanism. From this step a schism can arise.”

Asked whether he knows the “Pope Emeritus” well, Pera replied that he does but that “I have not spoken to him in a long time.” As to whether he thinks Benedict is worried about the state of the Church under this pontificate, Pera answered simply: “I imagine so.”

Last July, Pera voiced even stronger criticism of the current occupant of the Chair of Peter. Concerning Francis’ insistence on “welcoming” unlimited numbers of Muslim immigrants into Italy, most of them military age males not helpless “refugees,” Pera told Il Mattino: “I do not understand this Pope. What he says is beyond all rational comprehension. Why does he insist on total acceptance? The Pope does it because he detests the West, aspires to destroy it and does everything to achieve this end…”
What Francis preaches, says Pera, “is not the Gospel but only politics. Francis is little or not at all interested in Christianity as a doctrine, on the theological aspect. […] His statements seem based on Scripture, in reality they are strongly secularist.” It is hard to dispute that opinion given the many indications that we have a Pope who doesn’t “do” Catholicism. As for example his recent refusal to give an Apostolic Benediction to a crowd of young people in Palermo because their number included “other Christians and religious traditions and even some agnostics.” Instead, the Vicar of Christ, refusing to mention Christ, invoked a generic “Lord God” for the intention of “blessing the seeds of disquiet in their souls” because “they want to make a better world” as “searchers for goodness and happiness” and travelers on “the road to dialogue and encounter with the other.”

A Vicar of Christ who studiously refrains from mentioning the light of Christ to those in need of it for their salvation, lest anyone in the audience be offended. What sort of Pope is this? One the likes of which the Church has never seen before, not even in the midst of the ecclesial tumult of the past 50 years.   Source

Comments invited…  

Pope Francis: is it spiritual blindness or sheer idiocy that prevents him from seeing the need to ACT… NOW?! 

Comment invited…    

Edinburgh Social Services Accuse SSPX of being Sect – Parents fighting to prevent children being taken into care… 

Saints Margaret & Leonard, SSPX chapel, Edinburgh...

The following email from an Edinburgh reader arrived in my inbox this morning, and after due consultation, I have been granted permission to publish it: the names of the parents have been withheld. 

Email from Edward (not his real name)

Can I ask you all to pray for [names withheld] who attend the SSPX chapel in Edinburgh? They have a meeting tomorrow with the Social Services who are trying to take their children into care. Apparently when one of the children walked into a tree and grazed herself someone reported them to the Social Services who accused [the child’s father] of causing the cut.

They are now bringing the SSPX into the case claiming that [the parents] belong to a sect which is not recognised by the Catholic Church and “which holds many contentious points of view, including anti-Semitism and holocaust denial, among many other things.” The Social Work Manager claims that the children are “being exposed to controversial views preached at the church.”

[The father] has often complained to St. Mary’s school in Leith about certain things being taught in the school which were contrary to Catholic teaching and is obviously regarded as a troublemaker. I suspect that it is the school who have contacted the Social Services.

Please pray that all will go well for them tomorrow. Ends

In a subsequent email, “Edward” disclosed the fact that the Archbishop has shown himself to have “no problem with the SSPX” and so those involved in trying to help the parents are confident that he will agree to help the family by explaining that the Society is not a sect, and that anyone regularly attending the chapel will affirm that the allegations of anti-Semitism, holocaust-denial and the like in preaching at the chapel, are totally without foundation.  

Note: the dual purpose of this thread…

1)    to seek prayers for this family, for all the spiritual sustenance necessary to withstand this intrusive attack on their family life, with the attendant anxiety and worry.  

2)   to highlight the dangers for parents of pupils in the Catholic education system, if they seek to question any materials or content which they consider is contrary to Catholic  teaching. No “dialogue”, no “parental involvement” allowed here…

On the contrary, “Liberal tyranny” is alive and well and working hard here in Scotland, for all the world to see.  From the sinister Government Named Person Scheme, a spy in every home, for every child, before and after birth, until the child’s 18th birthday, to the equally sinister persecution by pseudo-experts of parents who dare to insist on an authentic Catholic education for the children they have chosen to send to a Catholic school.  At least, in this case, it seems that the Archbishop is seeking to be fair and there has been  a move to put the family in touch with a Canon Lawyer, so we must give all credit to the archdiocese on this occasion. Let’s pray that they are minded to help this family to achieve justice. 

Finally…

Pray for this family – and share your thoughts on the sheer audacity of that person or persons who think nothing of lying, blatantly, in order to undermine parental rights, Catholic family life, and the reputation of the priestly Society of Saint Pius X.   

Cardinal Farrell MUST Be Sacked From Youth Synod Immediately…

American Cardinal McCarrick’s resignation, house-arrest and forthcoming canonical trial following allegations of child sexual abuse has hit the headlines the world over. Click here to read one of the many reports…

Not quite so well known, however is the fact that McCarrick’s long time friend, who shared a home with him for six years, Cardinal Kevin Farrell, is the person in charge of the Youth Synod.  Guilt by association, of course, is unjust.  However, watch his performance in this short video report and then read the comments from YouTube, some of which are copied below, for ease of reference. 

Then ask yourself – would YOU want this man in any kind of position where he can influence  any child of yours, with his upside down view of the role of young people in the Church?  He doesn’t see them as requiring the teaching and guidance of the Church – he thinks these uncatechised young people should be running the Church! We’ve a bishop here in Scotland who thinks the same – if you recall, not so long ago, we discussed this same ambition of the Bishop of Paisley (John Keenan) to hand his diocese over to his uncatechised youth.  Seems to be catching on – can’t wait for the polling on that one in a year or two…

Watch the clip below, where he reacts to the “news” (not likely news to him) of Cardinal McCarrick’s credibly alleged sordid behaviour, the consequences of which are now coming home to roost. Then check if your own thoughts chime with the YouTube commentators below.  

Comments from those who watched the video on YouTube… to read all comments click here

Will Farrell denounce the actions of McCarrick? Where is that?

Not buying it at all. This Cardinal Farrell was the guy who invited weirdo homosexualist priest Father James Martin to speak at the World Meeting of Families in Ireland. Why would they want to turn the World Meeting of Families into a big gay pride parade? This guy is behind having this stuff at the Ireland meeting and should never have been made a Cardinal. This clown also said that priests have nothing to offer when it comes to preparing people for marriage. He is a disgrace to the church.

Haul this guy into court and have him testify under oath

Cardinal, as you can see from the comments below, no one believes one word you say about this. You’re only adding to the shame the Church must shoulder because of the acts of the mitered dirt bag McCarrick. We in the pews are sick of pious lies of the kind we hear in this interview.

Translation: “I lived with a pedo for many years and never noticed anything odd!” If true, this just tells us that Farrell is a very naive and unintelligent man. And that’s probably the best scenario we can hope for. His choice of words also make him suspect. A person with a properly formed conscience in this case would use words like “disgusting,” “repugnant,” and “despicable.” Instead he’s just talking about himself and how “overwhelmed” he is. Not convincing.

I don’t believe him at all

I don’t believe this. Sorry. Total liar. They know very well what’s going on. Sickening… totally sickening.

He seems to care only about himself, not for any victims. This is so disheartening as a Catholic.

Play at slower speed to hear that I am recording this accurately. 0:53 And I was involved 0:58 heavily involved in Washington, 1:00 ahh in the whole … from 2000 on 1:06 in the sex abuse 1:09 ammm 1:12 so I really 1:16 don’t have any knowledge or ‘anything’ to add about 1:20 more than that

If this “interview “ was supposed to help Cardinal Farrell it totally backfired. “I, I, I, I, I, I…” Any sense of shame, indignation and compassion for the terrible damage done to others? I don’t think so. He’s just thinking about how to get out of this.

“…heavily involved”… “in the sex abuse…”… hmmm. Anyone else think that’s a “strange” remark? Notice he did not say sex abuse SCANDAL!?!

Utter rubbish. Every priest in the Archdiocese had heard about this.

What was the question? Is he saying he’s only “shocked” to hear Cardinal McCarrick preyed on minors? Or is he shocked by all the accusations, including that Cardinal McCarrick was an active homosexual? Because Cardinal Farrell lived with Cardinal McCarrick for several years, during a time when “everyone know” (including several journalists) about McCarrick’s behavior. Of course, the obvious answer is that of course Cardinal Farrell knew and that he should be taken down by all this too.

No sense of being indignant by the accusations against McCarrick. No sense of shame, or caring for the victims. This man is typical of why the sex scandal went on for so long.

he looks like he’s hiding something. His gaze looks more like “I dare you to find something on me” rather than one of contrition. A normal human would say something like “I WISH I had heard something so I could have stopped the abuse” or “I was shocked…McCarrick played us all for fools”, but his comments are entirely defensive and self-centered. If Cardinal Farrell won’t stick up for us lay people and our kids, which bishop will?