English College in Rome: Supporting “Gay Culture” Is No Barrier to Ordination…

Our England Correspondent writes…

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 [click here] 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.

Contrary, therefore, to what our enemies will claim, identifying this new deacon will not be to his detriment at all. If anything, we can look forward to writing a few lines of introduction to the new Bishop, if not Cardinal, Balzanella. Reflect…   Taken from Catholic Truth newsletter, July 2020, Issue No. 118, p.12

Comment from Editor…

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?