The constant preaching about so-called social justice in parishes is one of the key reasons why thinking Catholics become more open to recognising the crisis in the Church. Eventually, it dawns on them that they just can’t be responsible for every perceived injustice under the sun.
The Scottish Government electoral registration forms are dropping on doormats this week. Mine arrived today. Young people aged 14 may now register to vote although they can’t actually vote until they are 16. Imagine 16 year olds helping to decide who gets to run the country. Any Party which promises to reduce the price of designer trainers, will be home and dry. Foreign citizens living in Scotland can also now register to vote, and all of this with an eye to the 2021 Holyrood election – and all to distract voters from the SNP’s dismal record on governance: click here for more on that.
The illusion of “social justice” preached by priests and politicians does appeal to the inexperienced and uneducated young. They are brainwashed, in schools and churches, with the idea that the UK is full of social injustice. Long-term, of course, this can only be corrected by a restoration of sound teaching in seminaries and teacher training colleges but what can be done in the short-term … for those young people who are notreading this blog? 😀 And if you disagree with the distinction between social justice and justice, let us know. We’re all ears 😀
In our January 2019 (Issue #109) edition [available to download from our archives on the Newsletter page of our website), and on this blog here, we published an email exchange between the Editor and an un-named seminarian at the Venerable English College in Rome (VEC) on the subject of the seminarian’s public support for “the gay culture” on social media outlets.
Editor wrote to him expressing concern for the screen shots [and other material] she’d received from a concerned English reader, showing him, for example, ‘liking’ a “gay” club in Bristol on Facebook. The club’s blasphemous name is ‘OMG’ – a common abbreviation for Oh My God – with the ‘g’ showing horns and a halo above…demonic. The seminarian also advertised the fact that he was on a [gay] “Pride” committee, while on Twitter he appears to support “gay marriage”.
Initially, he replied to say that he now accepted the Church’s teaching on homosexuality. At around the same time, a veritable tsunami of homosexual scandals involving homosexually active seminarians, priests and bishops hit the headlines [clickhere] and even Pope Francis was quoted as saying, behind closed doors to the Italian Bishops gathered for their plenary assembly, that it was necessary to “put the brakes” on “welcoming too many homosexuals” into seminaries.
Editor, therefore, wrote to the English seminarian again, quoting the Vatican Instruction ‘Concerning the Criteria for the Discernment of Vocations with regard to Persons with Homosexual Tendencies in view of their Admission to the Seminary and to Holy Orders’. She highlighted the following key part of that document: The Church cannot admit to the seminary or to holy orders, those who practise homosexuality, present deep-seated homosexual tendencies or support the so-called “gay culture”. [Emphasis added]
Editor now asked the seminarian to reconsider his position, promising to maintain anonymity at that time – hoping that he would realise that proceeding to ordination was the wrong thing to do. When he failed to reply to that request, she wrote to the authorities in the VEC: Monsignor Philip Whitmore, Archdiocese of Westminster, seminary rector; Fr John Flynn, Diocese of Salford, vice-rector; Fr John Metcalfe, Diocese of Hallam, Pastoral Director; Fr James McAuley, Diocese of Portsmouth, Academic Tutor; Fr Anthony Doe, Archdiocese of Westminster, Spiritual Director. This, in order to make sure that they were aware of the line of communication with the seminarian, and to remind them of the Church’s criteria for the discernment of vocations with regards to varying levels of homosexual tendency. No replies were received from any of those concerned. The seminarian – Alexander Balzanella – was later ordained deacon, and is now proceeding towards ordination to the priesthood…
From the website of the Archdiocese of Westminster – 30/08/2019
Bishop Alan Hopes of East Anglia ordained Alexander Balzanella to the diaconate on Sunday 14th July at the Church of Our Lady of Snows Chapel in Villa Palazolla, just outside Rome. Alex is a Westminster seminarian studying at the Venerable English College (VEC) in Rome…(Rome ordination for Deacon Alex, published on the website of the Diocese of Westminster).
Of course, homosexual priests, or those who support “the gay culture” are no longer making headline news anywhere, apparently welcomed as such by hierarchy and laity alike. However, we believe that, in the interests of transparency, for the sake of those few remaining Catholics who seek to avoid such influences over themselves and their children, we are now duty-bound to reveal the identity of the seminarian-now-deacon whom we reported back in 2019 for his public support of the “gay culture”. For senior churchmen, keeping the rules these days seems restricted to keeping the “Covid-19” rules – not the Church’s rules on admission to seminaries and certainly not the rules put in place by God – the Ten Commandments, the moral law.
As linked in the introduction above, we previously discussed this scandal in November, 2018 here
At that time, I asked bloggers to refrain from speculating as to the identity of the then seminarian, now deacon. In this conversation, I would ask that the House rule prohibiting personal remarks be honoured, and that we all stick to the key issue which is the flouting, by bishops and senior seminary staff, of the Church’s directive on admission to seminaries: they are expected to refuse admission to anyone who supports the so-called “gay culture”. (Vatican).
Alexander Balzanella supported the “gay culture” during his seminary training at the Venerable English College in Rome. If his superiors did not know about this, which is unlikely, it was drawn to their attention through the Catholic Truth correspondence. Yet, in defiance of the Church’s prohibition on admitting to seminary and to Holy Orders those known to support the “gay culture”, he was ordained to the diaconate in the Diocese of Westminster.
Manifestly, the hierarchy in Westminster (and the senior seminary staff) do not think it matters whether they ordain deacons and priests who support the “gay culture” (“Pride” events, nightclubs, “gay marriage”, whatever).
Given the above email exchanges in the Case of Alexander Balzanella Vs the Church’s Criteria for the Discernment of Vocations with regard to Persons with Homosexual Tendencies… it seems clear that no lessons at all have been learned from previous scandals in seminaries, such as those documented in the book Goodbye, Good Men by Michael S. Rose, or following the defrocking of the American Cardinal [now Mr] McCarrick in the USA.
Instead, the homosexualisation of the priesthood continues apace. But, does it really matter? Is it wrong to highlight the issue? Would you want to know if your priest/deacon had a history of supporting the “gay culture”? Last but by no means least, would you want to know if your bishop ignored the Church’s criteria for seminary admission and ordination?
A Lent challenge: Do I really believe? (From March 2020 edition of Flourish)
I believe in miracles … do you? That’s the powerful question asked by Archbishop Tartaglia this month as Lent begins in earnest. In a powerful interview with Flourish, Glasgow’s Archbishop calls for a new effort at fostering devotion to the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist and a renewed sense of the sacred. Editor: Why’s that, then? Why the need for “a new effort… devotion… Real Presence… sense of the sacred…”? Whatever happened to the “old” devotion and sense of the sacred? Could it be that the “success” of the ecumenical and inter-faith focus of the Church has led to practical indifferentism among the faithful who now believe that one religion / denomination is as good as another, that we’re all going to Heaven, no need to be “dogmatic” about anything? Jesus loves us and we don’t need “organised religion” any more. Just a thought.
The Archbishop spoke after a recent survey in the US showed only 30 per cent of Catholics fully accepted the doctrine of transubstantiation, namely the bread and wine offered at Mass truly become the body and blood of Christ at the moment of consecration. Editor: Which means that 70% do NOT believe in transubstantiation… How did that happen, then?
Archbishop Tartaglia speaks frankly in the interview about the liturgical and catechetical mistakes which followed Vatican II and acknowledges that “the Church has gone through testing times in the post-conciliar period, much of it self-inflicted. There has been bad catechesis and bad theology around the Eucharist, with the result that many people cannot articulate the Church’s faith in the Eucharist even in simple terms.” Editor: well, Glory Hallelujah! That is some admission. Every word a jewel. At long last, Archbishop. Still, a wee apology after the spirit of the age would be good. It’s called “taking responsibility”. And then let’s see some action! Sacking the entire staff at the Scottish Catholic Education Service plus reinstating Thomism in seminaries would be a start: producing theologically literate priests and teachers can only help…
He adds starkly: “Many supportive elements of our practice, like fasting and genuflection and kneeling, and devotional prayers and practices, have been neglected. None of this has helped to nourish the faith of the People of God in the Most Holy Eucharist.” Editor: “genuflection and kneeling” don’t come naturally to those who think of Our Lord as merely their “brother” and who – as the Archbishop now acknowledges – lack belief in His Real Presence. Who, after all, ordered the tabernacles to be placed out of sight (and thus out of mind, as the saying goes), along with the removal of altar rails and kneelers, because it is that person who bears massive responsibility before God for causing and maintaining the apostasy which Pope John Paul II once described as “silent”, but which is now screaming from the rooftops.
But the Archbishop is clear that the answer is not a return to the past or a rejection of the liturgical changes of Vatican II. Editor: WRONG! How on earth does the Archbishop think we got to the stage where the vast majority of Catholics, by his own admission, do not believe in a central dogma of the Faith – the Real Presence – if not as a result of “the liturgical changes of Vatican II”? This has to be a rhetorical question because the answer is so painfully obvious.
He says: “The Novus Ordo, the ‘new’ Mass, is not a defective form of the Mass. Its structure is based soundly on the great liturgical tradition. Its theology is orthodox. Like any other form of the Mass, when celebrated well, it more fully achieves God’s purpose. When celebrated poorly, it obscures God’s purpose.” Editor: So the poor faithful are to be left at the mercy of the priest, hoping he does not “obscure God’s purpose”… What?! The new Mass is definitely defective. Its structure is totally contradictory to “the great liturgical tradition”: for example, never before in the entire history of the Church has the priest faced the congregation at Mass throughout. This is but one, highly distracting, innovation, one departure from Catholic Tradition which totally “obscures God’s purpose” in the Mass and turns it into an entertainment platform, and in some cases, a circus. So seriously did certain Cardinals regard this novel Mass, recognising that it was truly defective, that they wrote to Pope Paul VI, arguing that “…the Novus Ordo represents, both as a whole and in its details, a striking departure from the Catholic theology of the Mass as it was formulated in Session XXII of the Council of Trent. The “canons” of the rite definitively fixed at that time provided an insurmountable barrier to any heresy directed against the integrity of the Mystery.” To read the entire letter/critique, click here
And he reminds readers that the teaching of the Church has been clear and unchanging in recent decades: “There has been good and faithful catechesis and teaching on the Eucharist during the post-Vatican II era, starting from Pope St Paul VI. His successors Pope St John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI taught firmly and beautifully on the Mass and on the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Most Holy Eucharist. Editor: So, how come the majority of Catholics have lost the Faith – a fact which the Archbishop acknowledges?
“Pope Francis summed up the Church’s teaching simply and powerfully last year on the feast of Corpus Christi: ‘Whenever we approach the altar to receive the Eucharist, we must truly renew our ‘amen’ to the Body of Christ… It is Jesus, it is Jesus who saved me, it is Jesus who comes to give me the strength to live. It is Jesus alive.’” Editor: is that it? Hardly an explanation, let alone a ringing endorsement, of transubstantiation – but merely a vague pious statement to which any Protestant could subscribe. Protestants who believe that they receive Christ “spiritually” in their bread and wine, could pray those words.
And he ended his interview with a cry of hope … “There is no pastoral plan that can fix this situation without insisting upon a renewed and profound faithfulness to Christ and to his Gospel. The answer will depend on much more faithful preaching and teaching at all levels which will lay out for the faithful the truth, beauty and wonder of the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist so that they may receive him in Holy Communion with faith and devotion for the salvation of their souls. Editor: can’t argue with that – but how is this “more faithful preaching and teaching at all levels…” to be achieved? There’s plenty of piously “hopeful” rhetoric coming from the Archbishop in this interview, but precious little in the way of concrete planning to put right the indiscipline, errors, liturgical and catechetical abuses of the past 50 plus years. And the check list below, really doesn’t offer any of that pious “hope”. Apparently this “more faithful preaching and teaching at all levels” will be achieved as follows:
• It will be expressed in more obedient and authentic liturgy. Editor: that can only mean the traditional Latin Mass, offered in every parish in the archdiocese – a solution rejected by the Archbishop.
• It will be accompanied by a much greater response to Vatican II’s universal call to holiness from all sectors of the Church. Editor: if “Vatican II’s universal call to holiness” is different from the perennial call to holiness of the Church since apostolic times, let’s hear it. It is, in fact, this heresy – that the Church only really began at Vatican II, with the arrival of the Holy Ghost at the Council – that has led to the current decline.
• It will demand a true conversion to the moral and social teaching of the Church. Editor: true. Which will require priests and bishops to openly preach true morals, deny pro-abortion politicians Holy Communion and refuse to permit scandalous funerals, such as the very public funerals of partnered homosexuals which have taken place in Glasgow in recent years. And in terms of the social teaching of the Church – that means priests and bishops preaching that, at the heart of Catholic Social Teaching is the belief that Christ must be at the head of every nation under Heaven. The Church is not an arm of the Social Work Department. She cannot support immoral national laws, in the name of Catholic Social Teaching.
• It will be based on a much more frequent and respectful practice around Mass, the Sacraments and an increased sensitivity to the sphere of the sacred. Editor: that brings us full circle back to the need to restore that which has been lost – the traditional Latin Mass, and, in the meantime, an end to the various liturgical abuses now normalised – such as Communion in the hand, drinking from the Chalice and lay people playing at being priests. We want rid of Extraordinay Ministers of Holy Communion: when do we want it? NOW!
• It will be supported by much more prayer, devotion and penance.
Editor: once the traditional liturgy has been restored, “all these other things will be given to you”, to (kinda) quote the Gospel.
Its source and outcome will be a greater faith, hope and charity. It may well take a miracle of grace and conversion to restore our Eucharistic faith … but thankfully, I believe in miracles.” Editor: yes, it will take a miracle, which is why we, at Catholic Truth, never lose sight of the need for the Pope and all the Bishops of the world to unite in consecrating Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, as Our Lady requested. Until then, as we can see from the above interview (notwithstanding his honest admission of the dire state of the Church on his watch) Archbishop Tartaglia is still in denial as to the only way to put matters right, which is the restoration of all things in Christ; in other words, he must give us back what modernist churchmen have taken from us in the past half-century – our Catholic heritage. The spiritual blindness which we are witnessing in the post-Vatican II churchmen from the top down, continues to display itself in interviews such as this, where the Archbishop just cannot see that it is only when the Traditional Faith in its theological and liturgical purity is restored, that his “miracle” will be achieved. Source – March 2020 edition of Flourish – official publication of the Archdiocese of Glasgow.
It’s nearly always when I read something in the Scottish Catholic Observer that I feel there is just no hope for the Church in Scotland – at least for the foreseeable future…
In an article intended to make us all feel warm and fuzzy about seminarians at the Scots College, we come across this…
Don’t worry if you see a seminarian using his phone in church. He isn’t scrolling through Twitter: he is probably just praying his Divine Office, a mobile phone app being more portable than a chunky breviary (although, admittedly, if the church is really nice, he may post a photo of it to Instagram later).
He knows more jokes from the BBC’s Limmy’s Show than from Morecambe and Wise. He gets his philosophy and theology books from Amazon, not the library. Chinos and Doc Martens are out, skinny jeans and New Balance trainers are in.
OK, I don’t speak for everyone on that last point—diversity of style is as important as diversity of background! Read entire article here…
WOW! Are YOU impressed with this ” new breed of seminarian”? Well, it had to come. We’ve had the new Mass, the new Rosary, the new Catechism, the new Morality, the new just-about-everything-else, by now, so why not a “new breed of seminarian”?
Just when I’ve been receiving expressions of concern from various people who have witnessed lay people using their phones in church – and that, possibly, for prayers – we’re reading that the “new breed of seminarian” is likely to be doing the same. Gimme strength!
Nobody should be using technology in church for anything – I’ve had horrified comments from those who have witnessed the shenanigans at Sacred Heart Bridgeton. A beautiful church destroyed by this nonsense modernisation – not to mention the (what shall we call it.. O, I know, the “housekeeper”) scandal we reported some time back…
Now, we don’t want to be “negative” do we – that’s one of the few sins around today, so don’t let me mislead you into thinking that there’s no alternative “breed” of seminarian. Take a look at the short video clip below, following a day in the life of a seminarian cast in the “traditional” mould. Which “breed” of seminarian is likely to make the best priest, in your considered opinion?
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?
Part of the Catholic Truth series, Thinking Through Catholic Truth – The Big Questions…Answered, the above video is the second of our Catholic Conversation videos. Editor answers questions on the current scandals…
How come Ben Shapiro, a young Jew, could see right away that Francis was not fit to hold the papal office, when most modern Catholics are still of the opinion that he’s the best thing in the Church since [the original] St Francis [of Assisi]? Sarcasm aside, can anyone answer that? Please and thank you…
Letter of Philip Egan, Bishop of Portsmouth (pictured below)
to His Holiness Pope Francis
22nd August 2018
Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary
His Holiness, Pope Francis Apostolic Palace Vatican City
Most Holy Father,
I am writing in the light of the terrible scandals of the abuse of minors by clergy revealed by the Pennsylvania Grand Jury report. To these can be added the scandals in Chile, Australia, Ireland and now here in England too, in light of the Independent Investigation into Child Sexual Abuse. Clerical sex abuse seems to be a world-wide phenomenon in the Church. As a Catholic and a Bishop, these revelations fill me with deep sorrow and shame. I pray for the healing of the poor victims. I pray for the forgiveness of the perpetrators. I pray too for myself, and for all our clergy and people, that by our penance we will grow in holiness.
I wanted to make a constructive suggestion. Would it be possible to call an Extraordinary Synod on the Life and Ministry of Clergy? The Synod might begin with a ‘congress,’ attended by the bishops but formed of laity and others expert in the clergy abuse scandals and in the safeguarding of children and the vulnerable. The fruits of this could then be taken forward into a Synod of Bishops proper. I suggest the Synod be devoted to the identity of being a priest/bishop, to devising guidance on life-style and supports for celibacy, to proposing a rule of life for priests/bishops and to establishing appropriate forms of priestly/episcopal accountability and supervision. Canon Law could then be revised in the light of the outcomes and each Diocese be required to apply it bydeveloping its own Directory for Clergy.
As a Bishop, I seem to have few tools to facilitate the day to day management of clergy. For example, when I was a seminary formator, we spent several years devising a balanced system of annual assessments and scrutiny, based on Pastores Dabo Vobis, to help an individual student take responsibility for his formation. By contrast, once ordained, priests/bishops have few formal ongoing assessments or ministerial supervision. It ought to be possible to devise mechanisms to help bishops in their responsibilities towards clergy and to help clergy realise they are not ‘lone operatives’ but ministers accountable to the direction and leadership of the diocese – nihil sine episcopo.
Most Holy Father, please be assured of my prayers for you in your daunting ministry. I look forward to meeting you soon for the Ad Limina.
Bishop Egan’s initiative is to be warmly welcomed. At last a prelate showing the need for practical steps to end this scandal of clerical sexual abuse of young people. Will the Pope take up his suggestion though? And what sorts of “mechanism” and “rule of life” would YOU like to see adopted for priests? How might priests react to the introduction of measures of accountability and supervision, having become used to the kind of laxity we have seen in the seminaries (none left in Scotland, as a result) and in their priestly lifestyle. They seem to be a law unto themselves at the moment. How might they react to restrictions being imposed on them now? Is it too late? Or, as the saying goes, is it never too late?
“The pedophile scandal in the Catholic Church is not a pedophile scandal. The vast majority of victims are post-pubescent teens and young men. The real problem in the Church that everyone sees and few will say out loud: gay priests.” (Matt Walsh, Twitter)
I’m taking some heat on Twitter today because I said that the real problem in the Catholic Church isn’t pedophilia but gay priests. As the statistics clearly show, the vast majority of predators in the clergy were homosexual and the vast majority were not pedophiles. The same study that reported those figures did try to absolve gay priests by claiming that their homosexuality had nothing to do with anything. But this is an assumption — I think a plainly absurd and unprovable assumption — that is not born out by their own statistics.
And the problem goes beyond sex abuse of minors. As Rod Dreher has been reporting, and liberal publications agree, homosexuality runs rampant in the modern priesthood. Sexual activity between priests, and between priests and seminarians, is not uncommon. I think it is rather difficult to separate these facts from the fact that teen boys were so often sexually victimized. Is it just a coincidence that gay priests exist in such large numbers, protected by gay cabals within the Church, and at the same time there happen to be a bunch of priests molesting pubescent boys? Are these two realities entirely separate from one another?
Take the case of the scummy Cardinal McCarrick. He has been accused of preying upon young boys. But most of the stories that have come out about him revolve around his sexual exploits with seminarians. Grown men, in other words. Yet we are told that the fact of his homosexuality is irrelevant. How could it be? If he were not a homosexual, he would not have molested boys. Who could dispute this? I’m not claiming that all homosexuals molest boys. I am claiming that only homosexuals molest boys. A non-homosexual, by definition, is not attracted to males.
I will be told that sex abuse is about “power” not sex, but of course this is ridiculous. It is about both. If all you seek is power over someone, there are other ways to achieve that aim without sexually assaulting them. If you choose sex as your means, then it would follow that you are sexually attracted to your victim.
80% of the victims in the Church have been males. Is it difficult to see how thousands of boys may have been spared this experience if there had not been so many homosexuals in the priesthood? Or are we going to pretend that even a heterosexual may attempt to get his thrills by molesting a 15 year old boy? If so, I have no idea what the words heterosexual and homosexual mean anymore.
I have been accused of focusing on this issue because it implicates gays while ignoring abuse perpetrated by heterosexuals. That couldn’t be further from the truth. I have written extensively about the epidemic of (mostly heterosexual) abuse in the public school system. There is very little public interest in this problem, and I have not been able to generate much through my own efforts, but not for lack of trying. As I have observed, it is probably not a great idea to have women in their 20’s teaching teenaged boys, just as it is not ideal to have men in their 20’s teaching teenaged girls. We may not always have much of a choice, but the problems inherent in such an arrangement are apparent.
In a similar way, it is not a good idea to have homosexual men living together in rectories and seminaries, and working closely with teen boys. This is not a homophobic theory I am positing. It is an observation I am making based on 50 years worth of data. It is nothing but moral cowardice to refuse to face the facts. Source – The Daily Wire
Given the above facts, the criteria already set out by the Vatican document Careful Selection And Training Of Candidates For The States Of Perfection And Sacred Orders (S. C. Rel., 2 Feb., 1961) which contains the following warning, is worth noting: Advancement to religious vows and ordination should be barred to those who are afflicted with evil tendencies to homosexuality or pederasty, since for them the common life and the priestly ministry would constitute serious dangers.
This prohibition on ordaining homosexuals is repeated in 2005 here so, there can be no possible justification for seminaries to continue accepting and ordaining homosexual men,: “… the Church, while profoundly respecting the persons in question, cannot admit to the seminary or to holy orders those who practise homosexuality, present deep-seated homosexual tendencies or support the so-called “gay culture”. Source
Or, must we ignore the facts, and opt for political correctness to “move with the [ever-changing] – and ever-more sexually permissive – times”?