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!)