Monday, May 16, 2016

POINT/COUNTERPOINT: STUCK IN THE '70's OR GROOVY 20TEENS?

1970'S SEMINARY FORMATION THAT NEARLY DESTROYED THE PRIESTHOOD AND SEMINARIANS STUDYING FOR IT, NOT TO MENTION THE CATHOLIC CHURCH:

I thought I would throw up when I read Sulpician Father Phillip Brown's praise of the Sulpician 1970's version of what the perfect priestly candidate is and priestly formation program accomplishes. It describes exactly the Sulpicians mentality I received at TC's mother campus, St. Mary Seminary in Roland Park (Baltimore).

Don't get me wrong. I agree with the pastoral emphasis that Fr. Brown exalts. I do not agree that this emphasis replaces either apologetics, tradition or the sacerdotal elements of the priest, that the two are mutually exclusive! IT IS NOT EITHER/OR BUT BOTH/AND!

The 1970's model that Fr. Brown exalts in large part, if not completely, led to the massive defections of good seminarians. The priests it formed often got seduced by the world they tried to smell like and entered a sort of double immoral life. This period of disintegration and loss of priestly identity exacerbated the license immature priests and seminarians took with minors and other vulnerable individuals. It is not a coincidence that the peak of the priestly abuse scandal, the victimization of minors, took place in 1974!

FATHER BROWN WE HAVE TO GO FORWARD WITH SOUND TRADITION AND A STRONG PRIESTLY IDENITY THAT IS HUMAN AND PASTORAL NOT BACKWARDS TO THE DISASTEROUS 1970'S WHICH DESTROYED THE SULPICIAN MODEL OF SEMINARY TRAINING AND THE SEMINARIANS AND PRIESTS WHO BOUGHT INTO THE NEW MODEL HOOK, LINE AND SINKER!

My 1976 entering class at St. Mary's consisted of almost 60 men. By 1979 there were only 23 of us who stuck it out. Some 36 later, today, there are only about 10 of us still in active ministry! So much for the class of 1980! GOD SAVE US FROM THAT 1970'S SULPICIAN MODEL OF PRIESTHOOD, SEMINARY FORMATION AND MODEL OF CATHOLICISM!

I copy the following from Deacon Greg Kendra's blog. The counterpoint is excellent:


One rector offers his view that the “Francis Effect” is being felt on the seminary level: 
Sulpician Fr. Phillip J. Brown, rector of the Theological College, the national diocesan seminary of the Catholic University of America in Washington, said the Francis effect is alive and well, and growing, at least among seminarians. It’s been a sudden development.
Last fall, asked by reporters about the impact of Francis on the seminary, which educates and forms 84 men sponsored by dioceses across the U.S., the rector said it was too early to gauge. That’s not true anymore, he told NCR in a recent interview.
A message the seminary always taught, he said, is catching on. “You are not a priest to be a policeman. You are to be a pastor. That’s the message of Francis,” he said.
He’s seeing a shift in attitudes among seminarians particularly in the areas of:
View of church tradition. “They are more open to diversity,” he said, noting that there is less of an embrace of apologetics — the view that church teaching should be preached to a secular culture that often ignores it — and more of an embrace of the view, echoing Francis, “to get in with people and see where they are … The guys coming in now are more curious, ready to apply the teaching to people’s real lives.”
There’s less focus on the sacerdotal nature of priesthood — the view that priests are men set aside with particular sacramental powers — and more on how a priest can work among people, what Francis has described as being a shepherd who smells like the sheep.
There is less of an emphasis on signs and symbols indicating traditionalism. They can seem like small things: the wearing of cassocks, Communion only on the tongue and not in the hand, to name two. But in recent years these symbols became what Brown described “as markers of orthodoxy” with an indication that those who didn’t follow such practices were suspect.

UPDATE: The following was posted on my Facebook page in response. It comes from a priest —Fr. Kyle Doustou, from Portland, Maine, who posted it on his Facebook page.
This gives a dissenting view:
“This article, written from an interview given by the out-going Rector of my former seminary, is very hurtful. The men who were formed in and ordained from Theological College over the past 10 years are some of the best and most pastoral men and priests that I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. Inventing a false dichotomy between a love for the Church’s traditions and a love for the people of God is a manipulative, ideological tool used to push forth one’s personal agenda.
I have known Father Brown for many years, and have a great deal of respect and admiration for him personally, but this public interview he gave with an openly dissenting ‘Catholic’ publication warrants an alumnus response.
As one of the many cassock-wearing, Communion-on-the-tongue-receiving, Latin-loving, Extraordinary-Form-Mass-saying young priests that have passed through the halls of Theological College, allow me to say plainly to anyone who would agree with the tone and sentiment of this article that you have deliberately and painfully pigeon-holed men who love the Church and cast us to be pompous little monsters simply because we have a different theological/liturgical outlook than you. You condescend towards us as if we were not thinking, opining, and sincere men. You gossip about us, ensuring that we are ‘put in our places’ and ‘taught a thing or two’ by your confreres. You confuse our strong convictions with arrogance and accuse us of being staunch when we are trying more than anything else to be faithful, helpful, and loving.
But let’s be quite honest…you don’t really know us because you never took the time to get to know us. You saw us when we were in the seminary chapel or over breakfast…but that’s about it. Have you seen us at 2:00 AM in the hospital? Have you seen us working late into the night on a funeral homily? Have you seen us giving up our one day off a week to visit with a lonely elderly parishioner? Have you seen us on our knees at night before the tabernacle weeping because we just buried a child earlier that day? Have you seen us celebrate four Masses on a weekend, hear hours of confessions, and still show up to Sunday evening Youth Ministry? Have you seen us wear the same pair of socks two days in a row because we simply ran out of time to do laundry? Have you seen us muster a smile even when we’re exhausted, or miss Christmas with our families because we’re assigned 300 miles away, or forget to eat dinner because there’s another meeting to go to? The answer is no. What you see are the cassocks and birettas and fiddleback chasubles and accuse us of being “out of touch.” Well the reality is, you are guilty of the very thing you accuse us of. You ignore our humanity, our struggle, our sincerity, and you fixate on external things to make your judgments.
As difficult as it is at times, I love being a priest with my whole heart. Not because it offers me an exalted status or any privileges, but because it offers me, and the people I serve, the means by which to attain salvation. I love the people I serve to death, and I would do anything within my means to help them. If you look at my cassock and presume otherwise, I can only feel sorry for you.
Myself and the other men who were indirectly insulted in this interview are the ones on the battlefield. As parish priests, we work hard, sacrifice hard, and try daily to live solely for God in Jesus Christ. Instead of insinuating that Theological College had to somehow put up with a decade or more of rigid, overly-conservative, and ideological seminarians, why not offer us a word of encouragement and perhaps even a prayer or two?”

10 comments:

Dialogue said...

Jesus was a man, a by the book, ass-kicking, meat eating, in your face, "yeah, I'm talkin' to you", man. He cleaned house at the Temple, stood up to the stoners, ate demons for breakfast and didn't flinch before Pilate. He took a hell of a beating and then shoved death down Satan's throat. Like Jesus, priests should be men.

TJM said...

Left-wing loonism at its finest! Priests like Father Brown are incapable of introspection. They can never admit their ideas failed. Thank God the biological solution is taking care of this disease in the Church. Like the National Anti-Catholic Reporter, Father Brown is fighting the last war. The doubleknit dinosaur parade is moving on!

Jusadbellum said...

Right on the money. Those who flatter themselves by the terms "open minded, non-judgmental, liberal" are among the most close minded, judgmental, illiberal people on the planet.

Those who claim to be against racism - pointing their judgmental fingers at conservatives (political or cultural) are among the MOST racist people on the planet insofar as they look almost exclusively at skin color and NOT 'content of character' before deciding whether an opinion uttered or action done is worthy of judgment or not.

Thus we have the phenomenon of Milo Yiannopoulos - a flamboyantly gay British youth who is a rising star on Breitbart who routinely skewers liberals in open debate by saying all the un-PC stuff we think but wouldn't dare utter aloud. He gets away with it because he's an openly gay white man (who claims to only get aroused by large black men). See, him being Gay short-circuits "liberal" PC police because they can't get past his one moral choice that makes him a proud member of the 'victim class' that allows him to have free (consequentless) speech. Thus he's free to say all manner of outrageous or controversial things freely.

Only in a world where the reigning liberal PC culture runs amok could a man's opinions be off limits due to his superficial looks (and claims of sexual license). If he turns out to be straight it will be the most incredible case of trolling in world history.

This is all PERSONAL to me. I've spent my entire life under the shadow of SMUG liberals who claim to "love the poor" and "love minorities" and be "intellectually and morally superior" and yet....and yet.... their religious orders or dioceses are cratering, dying out. Their "ministries" fail to not only arrest cultural rot and decline, they actively encourage it! Despite DECADES of work "with the poor" they have little to show for it in terms of actually lifting people out of poverty and almost no record of making converts (which is sort of the whole point of humanitarian relief.... we care for the body as prerequisite for leading the soul to know and love Jesus).

I know them - I read their literature, I read their heroes and theorists. I watch their media and listen to their pop stars and icons.... I see them in action. But they seem to know next to NOTHING about my side of the culture. I've listened to far more hours of their shock jocks like Howard Stern than they have of Beck, Limbaugh, or Hannity.

It frosts me to no end to hear smug liberals go on about how superficial Conservatives or traditionalists are - as though they're NOT exponentially more superficial. It bugs me beyond telling to hear them lecture us on being "open to diversity" when it's precisely a diverse view point that wigs them out. They drone on and on about the glories of "dialogue" until someone actually disagrees with their monologue.

The amazing thing is how few have read Marx ( I have) and have next to none have read Hayek. They don't have a CLUE as to their own tribe's philosophical underpinning and none whatsoever with respect to classics like Adam Smith or Hayek or even Ayn Rand (which made plenty of philosophical errors to be sure since she was an atheist, but also made some penetratingly insightful points about socialism and how it corrupts society and the individual).

A reasonably well read Traditional Catholic with an ounce of intellectual curiosity and pound of integrity is enough to absolutely mop the floor with these so-called "liberal thinkers".

Henry said...

Reaction to this same article from Fr. David Carter, pastor of the Basilica of Sts. Peter & Paul in Chattanooga:

https://www.facebook.com/david.carter.54943/posts/1108577835865677

"I feel this all the time. When I go to priest meetings this is the division that is rampant in the priesthood. Now there is obviously a flip side- I know there are a good number of hardworking priests who have very different understandings of what being a priest means and even what being Catholic means. I would even go so far as to say we have material heresy in many quarters (material as opposed to formal, an important distinction!). Much of it is owing to the mal-formation of the previous generation and the huge sowing of the seeds of confusion on the basics of the Catholic faith. It culminated in that very crazy time that is still threatening to rip the fabric of society. They really were taught error as truth and doubt as virtue. The question is - how do we move forward? I think they are wrong, they think I am wrong. Do we just run each other into the ground till there is nothing left? Do we just 'wait it out' till the old guys die? Do we try to find common ground or just agree to disagree? I know it means 'love one another' but my very understanding of that is exactly what is thought wrong by them!!! . . . ."

Incidentally, as you travel north from Macon on I-75, the Basilica of Sts. Peter & Paul is likely the first church you come to where it's really done right.

TJM said...

jusadbellum,

Bravo! As a priest friend used to remind me: There is no one more illiberal than a liberal.

Carol H. said...

Fr. Brown's words made my blood run cold, then Fr. Doustou's response warmed my heart! I pray that the Holy Spirit pour out His gifts upon the whole Church, but especially upon priests! We need Knowledge, Understanding, Wisdom, and Fortitude to combat the evil that is trying to pick the Church apart.

Come Holy Spirit...

rcg said...

You smell like a sheep because you drag their stupid fleeced asses back from the precipace and toss it back over the fence into the right pen. Sometimes you smell like a wolf because you're wearing his pelt. The main point is that neither sheep nor wolf thinks you are one of them.

John Nolan said...

A liberal is someone who will fight to the death for your right to agree with him.

TJM said...

John Nolan, good one! Touche!

Anonymous said...

Henry said... Incidentally, as you travel north from Macon on I-75, the Basilica of Sts. Peter & Paul is likely the first church you come to where it's really done right.

The above is not correct.

Saint Francis de Sales parish of the Archdiocese of Atlanta, staffed by priests of the FSSP, is between Macon and Chattanooga, and "it's really done right" there.

Saint Michael the Archangel chapel (SSPX affiliated) also has the old Roman Mass.

Epiphany Ruthenian, St. John's Melkite, St. Joseph's Maronite, Mother of God Ukrainian, and Saint Alphonsa Syro Malabar are all located in the Atlanta area between Macon and Chattanooga, and it's really done right in each of those places, albeit done differently from the Roman Rite.

DJR