Friday, December 2, 2016

WHEREIN FATHER MCDONALD, FORMER VOCATION DIRECTOR, AGREES MOSTLY WITH POPE FRANCIS ON THE QUALITIES NEEDED FOR PRIESTLY CANDIDATES


Pope Francis said the following recently about those rigid kinds of people,which His Holiness would like to marginalize and send to the obscurity of the peripheries:

Before I comment on what the Holy Father said, let me make it abundantly clear that my sucess as a vocation director does not hinge on those I recruited or screened who eventually were ordained, but on those I kept out of our diocesan priesthood. In other words, it isn't who we got, but who we didn't get that I will take credit (and the Holy Spirit).

Let me also say that the liberal/progressiveness of the 1960's and 70's and still affecting some bishops and religious orders today is that they are willing to take men who are "broken" supposedly on the basis of the "wounded healer" mentality prominent in that period and the belief that the seminary is a therapeutic community to fix what is wrong with a person. We see the fatal logic of this in what bishops did to try to fix priests who abused teenage boys and the very minuscule number of priests who abused small children. The mentality was to fix them through therapy and get them back into ministry no matter how many times they became repeat offenders. In other words, these priests were like FORDS! FIX OR REPAIR DAILY. WHAT A DISASTER ALL OF THIS HAS BEEN FOR THE CHURCH AND BLAME THE PROGRESSIVES/LIBERALS FOR IT!

My seminary of the 1970's had major problems with many of the seminarians there. The problems were not rigidity but licentiousness, overly flexible with the moral law and especially enamored with the new morality that Pope Francis has recovered from this period and now promotes. It is a "new" morality that allows the person to decide from himself what is moral or not given their particular situation! What crap!

But here is what Pope Francis diagnoses as the main problem with rigid seminarians who become little monsters (my comments in red, texts copied from Praytell):


(His Holiness, Pope) Francis has said that the training of priests must be a
work of art, not a police action…We must form their hearts. Otherwise we are creating little monsters. And then these little monsters mold the people of God. This really gives me goose bumps. (I agree, seminarians should be mature but they must receive their primary formation as humans in the home. The seminary can't do it! We have to really take a long hard look at the home, family formation!!!)
He told clergy that they must think twice when a young man
is too confident, rigid and fundamentalist. (I would say that these are masculine qualities, not feminine and that the Holy Father may be making gross generalization here. We want to form men in the seminary to be men not women! But with that said, I would be more concerned with protestant fundamentalism that is very "me oriented, such as the new morality Pope Francis' embraces, rather than a Catholic fundamentalism that follows the magisterium of the Church in an historic way. Confidence and commitment to belief, rather than the pejorative term rigid, are to be admired not denigrated!)
They should beware when admitting candidates to the seminary:
There are mentally ill boys who seek strong structures that can protect them,” (yes, there are individuals who have serious pathologies and mental illnesses and a good vocation director with the help of professionals, as well as the seminary, should be able to screen them out and not try to repair them and the liberals are wont to do!)
such as
the police, the army and the clergy. (This generalized comment is unbecoming a pope! Pope Francis constantly does this and in doing so insults so many people. I can write this as a half Italian born in Naples and thus inoculated from the accusation of being prejudiced against Italians or xenophobic: Pope Francis is what we more sophisticated Italians call a "vulgar Italian!" Vulgar Italians speak a certain way and often in a crude way and make these gross generalizations! Pope Francis should apologize to the fine men in  the seminary, the priesthood, the police and the army and not promote vulgar stereotypes. He's the pope for God's sake!)
At World Youth Day 2016 in Krakow, speaking to Polish Jesuits, Francis complained,
Some priestly formation programs run the risk of educating in the light of overly clear and distinct ideas, and therefore to act within limits and criteria that are rigidly defined a priori, and that set aside concrete situations. (This is liberal/progressive new morality of the1960's which has been an absolute disaster for the Church! It is situation ethics and has no place in being enunciated by the Vicar of Christ! One begins with the truth in dealing with the messiness of life but one does not set aside revealed moral law to accommodate immorality!)
To counteract this, the Pope exhorted his Jesuit confreres to work with priests and seminarians, specifically to teach them discernment and the art of accompanying people:
I repeat, you must teach this above all to priests, helping them in the light of the exercises in the dynamic of pastoral discernment, which respects the law but knows how to go beyond. (I don't understand this, how can a seminarian understand it--this is inductive reasoning (feminine) rather than deductive reasoning (masculine).)
We need to truly understand this: in life not all is black on white or white on black.The shades of grey prevail in life. We must them teach to discern in this gray area. (No kidding but it is in the gray area that the devil delights, seduces and corrupts the Church and God's explicit morality!)
In a recent conversation with Jesuits, Francis said this:
I note the absence of discernment in the formation of priests. We run the risk of getting used to seeing things in “black or white” when it comes to what is legal. We are rather closed, in general, to discernment. One thing is clear: today, in a certain number of seminaries, a rigidity that is far from a discernment of situations has been introduced. And that is dangerous, because it can lead us to a conception of morality that has a casuistic sense. (This is 1970's ideology and long ago should have been discredited as we move to the future. But the Holy Father is in arrested development when it comes to the decade His Holiness truly desires and longs for!)
 Fr. Richard Gula, SS, (Society of Saint Sulpice or Sulpician and I was trained in their seminary in Baltimore) on fitness for ministry. In Just Ministry: Professional Ethics for Pastoral Ministers, Gula writes this:
[W]e are not fit for ministry if we cannot relate – that is, if we show no signs of having sustained friendships, are careless about boundaries, are arrogant or quarrelsome, or if our style of relating is to control, intimidate, exploit, manipulate, demean, or shame. Nor should anyone be a candidate for ministry who is ideologically or emotionally rigid, aloof, passive, defensive, argumentative, authoritarian, selfish, dismissive, or resistant to learning.
Rather, we ought to manifest a fundamental openness to people and ideas, be hospitable and affable, nondefensive, flexible, capable of collaborating, compassionate, desiring justice, and able to move beyond our own interests in order to be ready to serve others. From my years of experience in seminary formation, I have concluded that seminarians come to the seminary with their relational habits well in place. The seminary cannot do much to get seminarians to acquire the habits needed to have life-giving, satisfying, supportive relationships. Consequently, the diocese should not accept candidates who have not already manifested a history of healthy relationships. (pp. 13-14) (I agree with what the good Sulpician says and that vocation directors need to investigate the faith formation and human formation of the home, the domestic Church, to discern if a candidate for the priesthood has the qualities necessary to be a good priest!)


26 comments:

Dialogue said...

I think we can all agree that young men with psychological disorders should be excluded from the seminary. I think most of us also agree that priests should avoid hurting people's feelings. But the clergy must preach the truth about faith and morals, even if this hurts people's feelings in "concrete situations". Pope Francis wants a proclamation of the Kingdom without a call to repentance, which makes him popular with enemies of the Church, but which is also pastoral ineffective.

northernhermit said...

“There are mentally ill boys who seek strong structures that can protect them,” such as the police, the army and the clergy. “

I suspect what the Pope I referring to is people that join an organization so that they might hide behind that organization or its uniforms. The Pope isn't expressing anything new here, the phenomenon has been known for decades in many organizations.

northernhermit said...

I should also add that the rigidity the Pope mentions might be people a hiding behind an ideology, or political position, and the groups that so often form around ideologies. Its Democrats versus Republicans, liberal versus conservatives, religious versus the nones. Those individuals often choose sides so that the group might protect them and argue fir them.. The same people are often unable to take those ideas (ideals) and mold them to suit a particular situation. Those situations are often varied, and at first glance go against the political ideals. Good reasoning, and a person with those abilities, would be able to take the logic of a position and apply it to any circumstance. They would be able to explain the logic of the saints to the flawed logic of the sinners.

John Nolan said...

Was the young Bergoglio who sought the strong structure of the Church (and the Society of Jesus, no less) mentally ill?

I am sick and tired of his broadsides against those Catholics who are striving to live according to the teachings of the Church and wish to worship in the traditional manner.

Starting in the 1970s and continuing for three decades, candidates for the priesthood who were deemed too orthodox ('rigid' in Bergoglian phraseology) were routinely rejected. This goes a long way to explain why so many clergy today are mediocre and liturgically illiterate.

In the last ten years this trend has been much less marked, although candidates for Holy Orders, including the permanent diaconate, are subject to 'psychometric testing.' In WW2 this was used in the RN on officer candidates - as a result many able young men were turned away, and by 1945 the USN arguably had a qualitative as well as a quantitative advantage.

Strip away the faux-humility, affability and talk of 'mercy' and it seems that in Pope Francis we have a distincly unappealing character. Argentinians have been described as Italians who speak Spanish and think they're English. Whether they're all 'vulgar Italians' or whether Bergoglio is an exception, I know not and care less.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Allan, I recall your saying that seminary rectors mentioned to you that their houses of formation should not be thought of as institutions for psychological remediation. We can't send men with serious psychological problems to seminary and expect them to bring about some kind of cure.

I don't agree that excessive confidence, rigidity, and fundamentalism are "masculine" qualities. These are found in men and women and are problematic in both. Imagine the woman who, as a result of excessive confidence, remains in a physically abusive relationship believing that she can "change" the man she married.

The "me" orientation has been growing for a couple of generations now. People do not find their identity in their communities, but I their own wants. And they find gratification not in serving others, but in accumulating material things and the approval of others. I think a very good motto for a contemporary seminary would be "It's Not About Me." (John Nolan might supply the Latin translation.)

As northernhermit notes, people do use power wielding organizations to provide them with opportunities to hold sway over others. Pope Francis isn't saying this is true of all police officers, military members, or clerics - he has nothing to apologize for here.

The rigidity that comes from the desire for an authoritarian superstructure (police, military, clergy) is not an expression of orthodoxy. Rather, it is an expression of a form of grandiosity - an unrealistic sense of superiority. It's probably an expression of a narcissistic personality disorder. And that kind of disorder can become very destructive if a person is turned loose on a congregation.

Anonymous said...

"I am sick and tired of his broadsides against those Catholics who are striving to live according to the teachings of the Church and wish to worship in the traditional manner."

I worship in the Traditional manner with the Novus Ordo, which is every bit as Traditional as the Extraordinary form.

I am sick and tired of traditionalists' broadsides against Vatican Two, the Novus Ordo, polyphony, female altar servers, candles with less than 51% beeswax, gothic cut chasubles, Bugnini, the revised lectionary, ecumenism, the Church's Social Justice Doctrine, the abbreviated annulment process, etc., etc., etc.

John Nolan said...

Fr Kavanaugh

'Non nobis Domine, non nobis, sed nomini tuo da gloriam', the motto of the Knights Templar, echoes your sentiments fairly accurately.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Another option: "Non sibi,sed allis," the motto on the Great Seal of the State of Georgia. Not for themselves, but for others.

Fr MJK said...

Make that allis!

TJM said...

Father Kavanaugh, you just described the typical liberal and yourself. No one is more rigid, inflexible, lacking in humility, mercy, and narcissistic as the modern day "liberal."

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Aliis

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

The Holy Father is not a psychologist or sociologist and his musings on both are irrelevant to Catholics. His opinion, and it is precisely that, an opinion which he is free to have but imprudent to babel about as Supreme Pontiff, is that being rigid is completely wrong as well as being a doctor of the law and respecting law and order. And in fact he believes that being both are a form of mental disturbance hiding other more serious pathologist. Where did he get all this? And how can he be so judgmental about an area where he has no training or expertise?

A man who has a tendency to want to commit adultery on his wife because he has a high sex drive and could easily do so becomes rigid in avoiding occasions of sin--is that wrong for him if it keeps him out of adultery and saves his marriage? While he might like doing it and there is a thrill of conquering, he wants the Church to back him and he might be very rigid in condeming adultery himself although he has a tendency to it.

the pope needs to stop undermining people who are rigid because if they are flexible they will end up in hell with their lives destroyed.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

The Holy Father's musing are no more irrelevant than your own, Good Father. Are you a psychologist or a sociologist?

You often speak of the pastoral application of norms of the pastoral understanding of doctrine, so how you suddenly turn into a defender of rigidity in these matters is a bit puzzling.

If the "high sex drive" husband resorts to damaging behavior as an expression of his rigidity in avoiding occasions of sin, then, yes, most certainly is wrong. If his avoidance of the occasion of sin leads him to treat others with a lack of respect, with a lack of justice, then, yes, his rigidity is a serious problem, not am acceptable tactic for remaining pure.

The rigid can just as easily sin in ways that lead to condemnation as those who are flexible.

Dialogue said...

Father Kavanaugh,

Surely you can see that Father McDonald is merely offering an exception, and not defending all instances of rigidity. He, like just about every priest on the planet, is flexible in providing pastoral care to sinners in various situations.

TJM said...

Fr. Kanavaugh, quite engaging in projection. You're a parody at this point

Anonymous said...

Is Fr. McDonald a psychologist or sociologist?

John Nolan said...

Flecte quod est rigidum,
Fove quod est frigidum,
Rege quod est devium.

In the 'Golden Sequence' for Pentecost Sunday we ask the Holy Ghost to bend what is rigid, warm what is frigid and straighten what is bent. Rigidity here implies a hardness of heart which cannot be a virtue. Firmness, steadfastness, courage in standing up for the truth; these are not examples of rigidity and are virtuous.

Where Pope Francis egregiously overstepped the mark was when, in a staged 'conversation' with his crony Antonio Spadaro (who was in effect playing the role of ventriloquist's dummy), he suggested that young people who were attached to the pre-1965 Ordo were somehow 'rigid', 'insecure' and 'defensive'. This was both ignorant and gratuitously insulting. My first reaction on reading it was 'what a nasty piece of work.'

In another of his throwaway remarks he disparaged the older Mass to a group of young people and admitted that as an altar boy he fooled around in the sanctuary in order to distract the priest. I served the same Mass at the age of eight and it would never have occurred to me to behave in this manner. But then, I probably met his definition of 'rigid'.

Anonymous said...

Or, maybe, John, you had an inordinate attachment to being approved by your elders or to following rules or to being invisible.

Francis, you see, is a Jesuit. And flowing that tradition, he seeks to be freed by grace from such attachments so as to live joyfully as a redeemed child of God and as an instrument in the Lord's hands rather than an instrument in the thrall of his own self-perception.

Dialogue said...

Anonymous,

Neither John Nolan nor anyone else here has suggested that "an inordinate attachment to being approved by your elders or to following rules or to being invisible" is virtuous or part of the Apostolic Tradition.

Anonymous said...

No, but it can lead to rigidity of the variety of which the Holy Father speaks.

John Nolan said...

I think Anon 6:37 is being more than a tad ironic. Before the J's went off the rails they were renowned for their military-style discipline and unquestioning obedience to their superiors, and to the pope.

This makes it all the more odd that Francis has such a jaundiced view of the police and the military. Of course, he is from Argentina, where the police are corrupt agents of the state and the army - well, look what happened in 1982 when it had to fight a proper army rather than kick the crap out of civilians.

Valdemar said...

Your comment on the importance of the domestic Church and the cornerstone foundation of formation in the family is RIGHT ON.

Every time I read something that blurts out of Schönborn's mouth I am reminded of his trauma growing up in a broken home. He has commented on it himself and how it influences his view on divorce and remarriage!

ANY candidate for the priesthood that comes from a broken home MUST be screened very, very strictly.

And yes, I, too am exhausted with the effeminacy and Freemasonry that describes the life philosophy of the current Pope.

I see this as a necessity. We need a good fight in the Church. The existing schism that has already occurred in the hearts of Catholics all over the world needs to be exposed. As an ex-Lutheran myself, I see Lutheranism everywhere in the Church, so much so that I would have to describe the CULTURE of Catholicism today to be Lutheran and as a I study and listen to the Pope indeed it appears Lutheranism describes his own personal faith and philosophy of life.

Valdemar said...

Your comment on the importance of the domestic Church and the cornerstone foundation of formation in the family is RIGHT ON.

Every time I read something that blurts out of Schönborn's mouth I am reminded of his trauma growing up in a broken home. He has commented on it himself and how it influences his view on divorce and remarriage!

ANY candidate for the priesthood that comes from a broken home MUST be screened very, very strictly.

And yes, I, too am exhausted with the effeminacy and Freemasonry that describes the life philosophy of the current Pope.

I see this as a necessity. We need a good fight in the Church. The existing schism that has already occurred in the hearts of Catholics all over the world needs to be exposed. As an ex-Lutheran myself, I see Lutheranism everywhere in the Church, so much so that I would have to describe the CULTURE of Catholicism today to be Lutheran and as a I study and listen to the Pope indeed it appears Lutheranism describes his own personal faith and philosophy of life. That and Freemasonry.

Anonymous said...

"effeminacy and Freemasonry"

Explain with examples, please...?

Adam Michael said...

"Francis, you see, is a Jesuit. And flowing that tradition, he seeks to be freed by grace from such attachments so as to live joyfully as a redeemed child of God and as an instrument in the Lord's hands rather than an instrument in the thrall of his own self-perception."

This sounds overly pious and may be hiding an insecurity that refuses to face life as a reality that must be lived and not hidden in pious words.

Jusadbellum said...

I second this insight from Fr. K "The "me" orientation has been growing for a couple of generations now. People do not find their identity in their communities, but I their own wants. And they find gratification not in serving others, but in accumulating material things and the approval of others. I think a very good motto for a contemporary seminary would be "It's Not About Me."

I think we can't stress this enough. Altruism is the heart of friendship and friendship is essential for mental and spiritual health.

The problem with the Pope's broadsides are just that: they're broad generalizations without nuance. If you want to point out an obvious truth - that SOME men do join organizations to hide rather than to serve - then say it. But don't brand EVERYONE who joins the military, police and seminary as rigid crazies.

Making distinctions would save both 'sides' from countless and needless heartburn.