Monday, March 27, 2023


 All of us who have had schools in our parish know that the tragedy at Covenant Presbyterian School could happen anywhere. No matter what precautions you take, if someone is hell bent on carrying out evil deeds against the innocent they will.

Six innocent people are dead, three of them 9 year olds, the others, adults in their 60’s. 

Apart from abortion, gun violence is outranking the other means by which children are dying, but abortion is the number one killer of innocent children, by mothers, fathers and the hitmen they choose to do it. 

The murderer in this sad, tragic case is presenting challenges for the liberal media. Science teaches us, which DNA evidence proves, that the killer, herself killed, is a biological female. Her name is Audrey Hale. 

The liberal press doesn’t know what to do. They’ve said that it is rare for a women to do this kind of mass murder. But I heard one CNN reporter use the pronoun “they” to refer to her. I thought at first that there was more than one shooter. 

When I heard this silly CNN reporter use the pronoun “they” for this woman, I realized that the murderer had a gender mental illness which had not been communicated clearly in the first reports.

In fact, the CNN reporter was trying to be respectful of this woman’s fantasy of claiming to be transgendered and identifying as male. 

They, the liberal media, don’t know how to refer to this woman, a true woman, pretending to be a male. 

Think of the Jeopardy contestant who is a man but claims to be female now. And think how the media insisted that he is a woman and as such, won more money on Jeopardy than any other woman in the history of the show. 

But he’s a man dressed as woman! There’s a real woman out there who has won the most on Jeopardy of any other woman. 

Mental illness which needs serious therapy is the cause of so much gun violence. And yet the media glorifies mental illness when it comes to gender dystopia. Any kind of mental illness needs to be acknowledged as such so that therapy or some kind of intervention can be made to place the mentally ill on the road to recovery before they harm or mutilate themselves or innocent men, women and children. 

Eternal rest grant to those innocent children and adults cruelly murdered by this woman and comfort to those who grieve. 


rcg said...

I am more disturbed by the use of, and support for, a plural pronoun for any single person. All I can think of when I hear this is when the person is asked why she wants to be called ‘they’ is that she responded “we are legion”.

Sophia said...

Sophia here: Amen, Father.

Faith said...

Don't forget to pray for the poor, confused, woman who committed the crime. She was a child of God, too. Hurt people hurt others.

Jerome Merwick said...

My daughter was talking about a friend of hers who thinks she is a male and kept referring to the person as "they". I asked her how many people she was talking about and she repeated the new "male" name of her disturbed friend. I finally said, "That's nonsense. 'They' is a plural pronoun. It's either 'he' or 'she'. You can't be a 'they' unless you're part of a group and referring to the larger group of two or more." My daughter thinks I am intolerant when I explain that we have to have compassion for such people because they are surely suffering, but we cannot twist the way everyone in society talks just to suit their mental illness. She has decided since then not to broach this subject with me.

Jordan Peterson is making more and more sense. It's high time the rest of us stop bending over backwards and doing mental backflips in our language just so mentally ill people can avoid facing their problems.

TJM said...

These people are mentally ill and are supported in their delusions by Father K’s Party and the media, but I repeat myself. Even Pope Francis does not support this lunacy, yet “devout” Catholic Biden does. And that last point is a reminder that the Church’s failure to discipline her members on essential matters is probably why so many have walked away (having subpar worship has also been a contributing factor). The evil, corrupt national media is in over-drive to shift blame from their side

TJM said...


Does your daughter believe the world is flat? Just tell her the Romance language groups have not fallen into this nonsense and she will abandon this nonsense since they are our “betters.”

Anonymous said...

Prayers for the victims. May they have left this world yesterday in God's friendship.

Prayers for the shattered loved ones of the three children, and three adults.

May Audrey Hale, during her final seconds yesterday of life, have implored God for forgiveness.


In 1956 A.D., Pope Venerable Pius XII exhorted nations to surrendered all armaments to the United Nations Organization.

May that wonderful peace plan apply today to firearms.

There are many ways to accomplish mass slayings of people. But the elimination of firearms would at least constitute a good beginning to reduce mass attacks against people.

In line with Pope Venerable Pius XII's peace plan to eliminate wars, may that holy notion apply to the elimination of firearms.

May we hasten the day when all firearms will have been beaten into plowshares, as well as pruning hooks.


Mark Thomas

James E Dangerfield said...

The poor girl was “bat guano crazy.” She may as well have called herself Benjamin Franklin, as her “trans-ness” is just as much a symptom of insanity just as much as believing oneself to be Poor Richard. It’s very likely that whatever gender conflict she had was the result of being sick and not the cause thereof. And, arguendo, it’s really unkind to otherwise benign individuals with gender confusion to too closely conflate with dangerous individuals. Remember to pray for her soul, the souls of her victims and for some sort of insight that will prevent some future massacre. The fact that she thought she was a teenaged boy is beside the point.

Tom Makin said...

Sadly, I believe the media, politicians on the left side of the aisle, Hollywood, academia, and the artist community is stoking these dystopian ideas. I have a cousin whose daughter is "transitioning" to be a male. She is a "she" and the pain she and her family, our family is experiencing because of this, is real. Her parents live in fear of something like what we saw yesterday and the reality is that these people need help. I don't know what the answer is but I do feel that rather than marketing all this as somehow "ok" ignores the real pain that exists and distracts from the needs people like this have as they try and grapple with this mental health problem.

TJM said...

Sad to say, we need to re-open the nut houses. The suffering they are experiencing and the suffering they inflict on others demands it. It is a tragedy

TJM said...

Mark Thomas,

Grow up - people use guns for hunting and to protect themselves when seconds count or the police fail in their duty to protect. The MSM basically blocks self defense stories because they harm their sick agenda. Adolph Hitler disarmed the populace - that worked out well

Paul said...


I think any family caught up in this tragedy should read “Irreversible Damage - the Transgender Craze Seducing our Daughters” by Abigail Shrier. Or at least listen to several YouTube clips of Abigail Shrier being interviewed.

Till recently, I had no idea that while there is a medical literature going back more than a 100 years re the VERY small numbers of little BOYS who have been convinced they are really girls….there is NOTHING in past medical literature that refers to or makes sense of the very recent explosion of numbers of MANY teenage girls and young women claiming that having experienced “rapid-onset gender dysphoria” and insisting they are really boys or men.

Also, till recently, I had no idea that the Tavistock Gender Clinic in the UK has had to close after being sued by over a thousand (a thousand!) families on account of this clinic’s unquestioning “gender affirmative” approach and for the misdiagnosis of thousands of vulnerable minors and putting them on a harmful medical pathway. And also, unlike Good Catholic President Biden, there are now many European politicians, including agnostic, leftist politicians totally opposed to allowing minors to “transition”….

I have heard and read the testimony of former nurses and female psychologists (often feminists and occasionally lesbian etc) who resigned from the Tavistock Gender Clinic because they could see it was so WRONG, especially, to put young females, minors, on a medical pathway to transition, with irreversible health consequences, while ignoring the following -

The social media, social contagion factors.

Gender non conforming adolescents often simply grow up to be gay men or lesbians.

Minors with alleged genuine “gender dysphoria” are also often autistic; and if not autistic, are experiencing depression and or anxiety; to say nothing of those poor children who are also claiming to be cats, wolves or fictional characters (no exaggeration - see “OTHERKIN” Wikipedia etc)….

In thousands of children, dozens of factors were ignored or neglected and thousands of children in the UK were put on puberty blockers, cross sex hormones and eventually had “surgery” aka castration, mutilation etc…

And also, this continued despite data and research starting to indicate that often mental illnesses including serious suicidal ideation etc continued for trans people even after the “best” gender affirming care and various surgeries…

Paul said...


I agree……re the demonic aspect. Google :” Michael Knowles Jeffrey Marsh “ Knowles is a conservative young Catholic Christian on the Daily Wire, who has exposed such people as Marsh. Jeffrey Marsh, a trans/non binary social media celebrity who reaches out to children in the sickest, creepiest way imaginable, is as close to being a “human demon” as it is possible to be.

I honestly believe demonic disorientation is the only explanation of the overnight explosion in the trans, non binary, gender fluid, gender queer phenomenon. And how many people have embraced or accept this insanity - and how many people are intimidated into not saying what they honestly think!

Matt Walsh, also of the Daily Wire, and also Catholic and conservative, made the documentary “What is a woman?”.

What fascinated me was when Knowles and Walsh have stated that if one is critical of the Black Lives Matter movement or Critical Race Theory there is, of course, often strong pushback from lefty “progressives” who support BLM and CRT BUT be critical of the modern trans , gender queer movement and radical LGBTIQ+2++ activists and the EXTREME level of abuse and threats (including threats to family members) is mind blowing - the Daily Wire has to spend a lot of money on security experts to cope with it.

When Walsh made his documentary “What is a Woman?” he was amazed how very many ordinary people (off air, and off the record) stated that they were too fearful to give a definition of Woman that included biological realities or too scared to give a definition of Woman that might exclude trans women…….they feared everything from online abuse or threats to fearing being labeled “transphobic bigots” which could effect their employment in various occupations.

And to think, also, that these extreme activists are mostly not representative of a lot of ordinary LGBT people who just want to live quietly and get on with their lives. It always interests me when prominent homosexual writers, journalists and broadcasters like Douglas Murray, Andrew Doyle and Andrew Sullivan etc say that each year they and their gay friends cringe at coverage of many Pride events as they seem to get more narcissistic, more extreme, and more crude, vulgar and exhibitionist each year - and say things like “For God’s sake! Why can’t they leave the children alone!”

There is so much to this. Are these insane LGBTIQ+2++ activists unaware that their bizarre, extreme, intimidating antics are shown around the world on the www internet from Eastern Europe to Asia to African nations and have almost for certain led to terrible increased violence towards ordinary gay people around the non western world and also, for example, Ugandan MPs in their parliament voting recently for the death penalty for homosexual acts - and other countries increasing jail terms for gay men - and increased instances of police doing nothing, stand there and watch, in third world countries or Eastern European nations when homosexuals are viciously assaulted in broad daylight?

TJM said...


Thanks for this information - it was quite informative. These vulnerable kids see folks like Bruce Jenner and thinks this is normal and appropriate.

Modern day “liberals” are malevolent - they only care for votes and power, by any means necessary. Can you imagine what might have been if Cardinal Cushing had excommunicated Teddy Kennedy for his pro abortion position? The Church back then had real clout. Democrats would have embraced abortion “rights” at their political peril. If illegal aliens voted Republican, the Democrats would finish the border walk tout de suite!

Paul said...


Thanks for the thanks.

Abigail Shrier is a super intelligent, compassionate woman, who apart from serious research into the Trans Craze, listened to many sad, even at times devastated, parents of teenage daughters and young adult daughters who have suddenly declared themselves to be really male - to be really a boy or young man.
Always sad, but revealing, I think, how often the young female has had a diagnosis of autism, often comes from a white middle or upper middle class family, spends ridiculous amounts of time online, and also often attends a private all girls school, where other young females have suddenly declared themselves to be trans, non binary or genderqueer etc - another common factor is that the parents are often liberal progressive, non religious people, who do their best, at first, to be affirming and supportive - until obviously baulking at cross sex hormones, hysterectomies and double mastectomies on the healthy bodies of their young female daughters.

How can a tiny number of insane trans activists (that is not even representative of the vast majority of LGBT people) be allowed to have such influence and get away with intimidating those who disagree with them?

So many people oppose them!

Apart from millions of ordinary Christians, Muslims and Jews to many agnostic, secular people.

From the TERFS - Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminists.

To thousands if not millions of ordinary middle aged gay and lesbian people around the world who say and write:

“Thank God when I was a kid and teenager, my gender non conforming, masculine (or feminine) traits were never medicalised like they are now, and I was left alone to grow up to be what I am - a fairly stable, mostly happy homosexual person.”

A former feminist and lesbian psychologist (who resigned from the Tavistock Gender Clinic before it closed) testified in court that she often heard employees at Tavistock “joke” that when they finish their work in a few decades time there will be no gay people left in Britain - all would have transitioned as children!

William said...


The late Cardinal Cushing was besotted with and by the Kennedy Clan. He was an early and ardent church liberal.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

But, of course, it's NEVER about the easy accessibility of guns.... Let's jabber about ANYTHING else, but not the accessibility of guns. Let's cite studies and books and the people who agree with us. Let's reference JEOPARDY and abortion and pronouns. But let us NEVER bring up the utterly nonsensical and deadly easy accessibility of guns.

Anonymous said...

Cardinal Cushing disliked Mass in Latin. He admitted that he did not understand Latin.

The following is from a 1966 A.D. interview with Edward Kennedy.,%20%20Richard%20Cardinal/JFKOH-RCC-01/JFKOH-RCC-01-TR.pdf

He expressed displeasure at his having been required to offer in Latin Mass for President Kennedy.

Carding Cushing;

"It’s too bad that on that occasion we didn’t have the vernacular in the Mass because
that Mass was televised throughout most of the world. However, people in Europe are
familiar with the Latin, at least of a requiem mass, but I had to follow the rules and

"I remarked at the end of the Mass: 'I hope some day this liturgy of the church
will be, in greater part at least, in the vernacular so people will know what is being said.'”


Mark Thomas

Anonymous said...

William said..."The late Cardinal Cushing was besotted with and by the Kennedy Clan. He was an early and ardent church liberal.

From Edward Kennedy's 1966 A.D. interview with Cardinal Cushing:,%20%20Richard%20Cardinal/JFKOH-RCC-01/JFKOH-RCC-01-TR.pdf

Question about John Kennedy having been elected President:

KENNEDY: "Did his position on some of the issues — for example, on the federal aid to
education, on the questions of birth control...cause the hierarchy of the church to have reservations about his election?"

CUSHING: "Some of the hierarchy of the church, I presume, were not in favor of John F. Kennedy being elected president. They feared that the time had not arrived when a president who was a Catholic could be elected.

"On the question of birth control, a Catholic president would necessarily obey his oath
of office. Every state in the union has legalized in one form or another the authority of
doctors and others to recommend birth control in various forms permitted by their respective


Mark Thomas

TJM said...


His disciple is Father K, another besotted liberal who will suffer the same fate!

Paul said...

TJM and William,

I’d rather not be uncharitable and I’d rather not name sources BUT going back as far as Spellman, to Cushing up to Law and especially Bernadine (sp?) back to the likes of Mahony and Weakland et al there was always quite a quid pro quo for decades between leading Catholic American bishops and Cardinals and leading US politicians be they Protestant, Freemasons or “Catholics” like the Kennedys…..the quid pro quo, the something for something was substantial for vain weak men in purple and red if they did NOT rock the boat in any serious way re issues like abortion etc or as they now call it “women’s reproductive health rights”….

This has happened all over the world for several centuries, for example 100% in Australia the quid pro quo between Catholic bishops and politicians was the politicians saying in the 60s and 70s : don’t condemn (like Paul VI) the full involvement of Australian troops in Vietnam and Australia in foreign policy being the 51st state of the USA don’t condemn that etc AND don’t talk too loud and seriously on women’s “reproductive health and rights” and we will finally pay you BIG $$$ in state/govt aid to Catholic schools…what happened? The bishops got the MILLIONS upon MILLIONS from the state and federal Australian governments for their many schools after the Catholic hierarchy caved in ….

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Easy access to anything that kills, like abortion, guns and automobiles, o wait…

Jerome Merwick said...

I don't think anyone here would disagree that it's too easy to get a gun in America.

However, can anyone explain why it is that the cities with the tightest gun control laws often have the highest levels of gun violence?

We cannot un-invent the gun any more than we can un-invent the atomic bomb. The fact remains that, even if guns are totally outlawed, it would still be impossible to keep them out of the hands of malicious people who would be determined to have them.

Easy accessibility worked when the majority of America's population were reasonably virtuous people.

I get a strong sense that we're not any more.

monkmcg said...

Both Fr K and Jerome opine about easy access to guns. Easy as compared to what? Until the mid 60s one could buy almost any hunting or sporting gun via a Sears catalog and have it sent via the mail. No background checks, no FFL, no waiting period, no (meaningful) age restrictions. Yet crime was far lower then. Perhaps "easy access" is not the problem.

Paul said...

Silly Father K and Mark,

Lefty liberals in America say availability of guns is the problem and point to nations like Denmark and Australia and NZ etc who allegedly have SANE gun laws...

And how after the Port Arthur massacre etc in 1996 gun laws et restrictions et al in Australia, NZ and Scandavanian have reduced numbers of people dying by firearms....

What a load of @@** ! My cousin is a police detective in Sydney, Australia with Interpol connections...strict gun laws in Oz, NZ and Denmark etc only impact law abiding people....
A 22 calibre pistol, unregistered and unlicensed, can be still purchased for circa $1000 to $1500 from the black market from Sydney, Melbourne, Wellington to Copenhagen and be used , like in Chicago, to kill someone over a drug deal gone wrong, or accidentally kill a minor lined up at McDonald's, same in Sydney, Wellington to Copenhagen as in the Australian who killed more than 50 Muslims in NZ who were worshipping in a mosque...

TJM said...

Jerome Merwick,

In past times high schools had gun clubs and there are pictures of students carrying them to and from school on buses and subways. The safest places are concealed carry states. If you eliminated Democratic controlled cities the US crime rate would mirror Europes. The culture in those cities are toxic but our evil, corrupt national media excuses their behavior instead of condemning it.

We are not as virtuous a people as we once were. A simple example is we have bishops and priests who vote for the Party of Moloch. In a better time they would have been excommunicated and forced to make an honest living outside the Church.

rcg said...

Jerome, it is not all that easy. The laws that are in place are adequate if they are applied. For example, yu must attest that you are not suffering from mental illness or being treat for it. Of course a mentally ill person might simply lie about that, but then the government runs a check to confirm your statement. If you lie you may be jailed, fined, and prevented from purchasing a firearm ever. But we are bending over backwards to allow gender fluid people to define how the rest of society uses public toilets so we don’t allow people who identify as plural pronouns to be identified as mentally ill. So the same people, politicians and their supporters, that want to disarm the public refuse to protect it. We’ll serve tea as soon as the white rabbit arrives.

TJM said...


It’s the corrupt culture fostered by the Democrats and Media. This Nashville shooting will soon be memory holed because it does not fit their preferred narrative, like so many of the recent shootings like the Walmart shooting. Wrong perpetrator!

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Fr. ALLAN McDonald - thank you for proving my point in your 5:33 A.M. post.

Gun ownership, we are told, will keep us safe. "Lock and Load, brother!"

Gun ownership in the US is 120.5 per 100 people. (That's 46% of the civilian owned guns in the world.) In Canada, it is 34.7 guns per person. However, the US has 4.12 homicides per 100,000 people while Canada has 0.5. Widespread ownership of guns does not make us safe.

Jerome - Your straw man argument falls falt. No one is suggesting we should or can "uninvent" guns. We can and should enact far stricter regulations on gun ownershp and ammunition manufacture and purchase. These work to reduce both suicides and homicides. See RAND Corporation "What Science Tells Us About the Effects of Gun Policies."

@@**, I mean Paul -
Australia murder/homicide rate for 2020 was 0.87, a 2.91% decline from 2019.
Australia murder/homicide rate for 2019 was 0.89, a 0.57% increase from 2018.
Australia murder/homicide rate for 2018 was 0.89, a 4.9% increase from 2017.
Australia murder/homicide rate for 2017 was 0.85, a 9.57% decline from 2016.

In 1993 Australia suffered 697 homicides. In 2019 the number was 419. (Australian Bureau of Statistics) So much for your over-anxious cousin.

Twelve mass shooting incidents occurred in Australia in the 33-year period between 1981 and 2013, with the death of 97 people from gunshot wounds (average victimisation rate 0.41 per 100,000 population). Over the same time period, 73 mass shooting incidents occurred in the US. A total of 576 people died from gunshot wounds (with an average victimisation rate
of 1.81 per 100,000). {Australian Government, Australian Institute of Criminality}

The shooter in Nashville, under a doctor's care for mental issues, LEGALLY purchased SEVEN guns from FIVE gun stores. But, let's talk about the Tavistok Gender Clinic in London...

Paul said...

Fr K,

Your quoting of ABS (Australian Bureau of Statistics) is impressive. Ever heard of the “Simpson factor” re ABS statistics?

The “Simpson factor” is more significant than “lies, damned lies and statistics”.

I honestly believe myself who has lived half his adult life in Australia in various occupations - and having extended family members in positions of education, the Church and politics and law enforcement in Australia …..I might know a little more than you re the real situation “down under” than yourself….

So what is your answer to all these culture war issues? Guns, trans, race, abortion etc apart from boring predictable, unoriginal, regurgitation of left of centre US Dem political dogmas?
If I was a mental health clinician…….No honestly if I was anyone with an IQ and insight higher than a boiled potato I’d note your passionate, predictable embrace of lefty liberal dogmas as opposed to any passionate commitment of Catholic truths….

No offence, but as TJM has said your hundreds of comments here over approximately 10 years would be understandable coming from a left of centre Dem operative rather than a Roman Catholic priest.


Paul said...

Finally, Fr K,

To paraphrase and echo Gene and John Nolan from past times on this blog.

1. Have you ever completed and grasped ONE book on Catholic theology?

2. Do you think the people who read and contribute to this blog are such total idiots not to grasp that repeatedly when you lose the big overall Big Picture argument you so many times revert to pedantic nitpicking?



James E Dangerfield said...


Father Kavanaugh has dedicated his very LIVE to the service of the people of God in the Diocese of Savannah. Has he done so perfectly? Probably not. But your criticism of his priesthood is most unbecoming not just a layman, but anyone under these circumstances. Stop it.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Paul - if the Australian stats are bogus, prove it. Otherwise, your comments about them are meaningless. Note, please, that I didn't claim to know anything. When I wanted stats about guns and homicide in Australia, I went to an Australian source.

If you can provide a single shred of evidence that I have rejected Catholic doctrine in anything I have posted here, do so.

Just because you don't like the ideas I may present here doesn't mean they are un-Catholic, anti-Catholic, or opposed to Catholic doctrine. The only thing your not liking them means is . . . You don't like them. Citing the perpetually petulant TJM doesn't do your argument any good.

I have completed and grasped many books on Catholic theology. More than you I suspect. I continue to read and grasp books and articles on Catholic doctrine. You seem to have stopped doing so around the late 1500s.

I think many of the people who comment on this blog live in a fantasy world, one that they believe should be fashioned according to their own personal preferences, biases, and predilections.

Jerome Merwick said...

Father Kavanaugh is absolutely right! Father, you deserve better than to be so undervalued by us, the miserable, unwashed.

If I were you, I wouldn't bother with such fools any more...ever again.

Yep. Just drop us.


Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Jerome - I am beginning to think that your self-deprecation, which I thought was just so much jibber-jabber, might be how you really understand yourself in relation to the "washed" in whose presence you are unworthy to be found.

Paul said...


You are right. Parts of what I wrote above concerning Fr K were uncalled for personal insults that I’d like to apologise for.

I know it can’t be excused by circumstances - but the circumstances when I briefly wrote what I did at 10.30 and 10.53 yesterday your time was under the influence of too much bourbon, drank with family members after the sudden death of my wife’s brother….not an excuse but a partial explanation?

Fr K, after university, and before moving to Canada and attending seminary etc I actually worked at the ABS (the Australian Bureau of Statistics) honestly! I’ll try to briefly explain. You could have, for example, also quoted ABS official figures for Australia’s level of unemployment - but every politician, journalist and public servant in Australia knows that figure is a joke - and the real level of unemployment is WAY higher. The ABS excludes people who are unemployed but instead receive one of a half dozen other Centrelink/social security payments that are not titled “unemployment payment” but they are in fact and reality unemployed; also, they exclude from unemployment figures those who have received full employment benefits for YEARS but who might work as little as even 3 to 4 hours a week sometimes in part time casual work over any 4 week period. All insiders know that many ABS figures have to be taken with a LARGE grain of salt.

Also, despite strict gun laws in Australia, every police officer in every city knows that any drug dealer, any gang member….even any nut case member of some far right, QAnon conspiracy inspired militia (one of these recently shot 4 police, killing 2, including a young female officer 2 months into her career) can still easily get access to the most powerful firearms.

Fr K, I am sure you have read widely in Catholic theology (though I note your jibe I probably have not read anything more modern in theology than late 16th century counter reformation era - but that is not true) Fr K, we are almost the same age, we probably read such theology books by Hans Kung et al at roughly the same time in our lives? also, I hate to boast, but if you could name the authors of some key Catholic modern Vatican 2 inspired theological texts you have read, it is possible, due to family connections and during a past career in journalism, I have actually met several and discussed their work over drinks.

To finish, I am honestly glad you contribute to this blog. I think it rare and great the variety of voices that Fr Allan has allowed for many years to be heard here.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Paul - I am not going to list the books I have read in order to assuage your concerns about my knowledge, my "grasp," of Catholic theology. I don't have to verify my understanding of Catholic theology to you.

I was in formation in a highly respected seminary for three and a half years. Before that I studied in a Catholic graduate school, a Catholic college, a Catholic high school, and a Catholic elementary school. I earned a Masters degree from the seminary, a diploma "cum laude" from my college (biology major, theology and philosophy minors) where I was a member of the biology national honor society Beta Beat Beta AND the national honor society in philosophy, Phi Sigma Tau. I graduated with honors from high school, and was a Junior Honor Society member in grade school.

I have been appointed pastor of parishes by three bishops. These I will list: Bishop Raymond Lessard, Bishop Kevin Boland, Bishop Gregory Hartmayer. They have been satisfied that my knowledge and grasp of Catholic theology is sound, that my ability to present and teach that theology is trustworthy, and that my pastoral competence in oversight of an office staff and, in two instances, the functioning of a Catholic school is dependable.

Do you think I am where I am with no "grasp" of Catholic theology?

Have I made errors in carrying out my responsibilities? I have. There are some things that a seminary education doesn't - can't - prepare you for, and a priest learns sometimes hard lessons by the seat of his pants. Have I ever, even once, misrepresented Catholic doctrine in my preaching, teaching, or writing? Have I, predictably embraced "...lefty liberal dogmas as opposed to any passionate commitment of Catholic truths"? No. I have not opposed Catholic truths.

You see the world through a think veil suspicion and mistrust. Government agencies can't be trusted. The Vatican Press office can't be trusted. Experts in science and medicine can't be trusted. The only sources you trust are the ones that agree with you or support your positions.

I don't live in that dark, malevolent world and I am very glad of it.

Jerome Merwick said...

Wow! The predictability factor here is off the charts.

Father Kavanaugh, you asked Paul to back up what he alleged earlier and he made a pretty good show of it. Further, he actually had the humility to publicly apologize to you--all for naught. He then expands on his experiences and his education and, in a friendly spirit of camaraderie, asked to see if your experiences paralleled his in any way. Not surprisingly, you rewarded him with your "I don't have to prove anything to you" spiel, only to be followed by your...I don't want to call it boasting...your list of accomplishments...all to someone (or maybe all of us) to whom you have "nothing to prove". Then you finish off by more of your famous mind/motive-reading, snidely telling Paul how he sees the world and what sources he trusts. And that tone! Oh, that tone!

Yes, Father, when I read your kind words yesterday, " I am beginning to think that your self-deprecation, which I thought was just so much jibber-jabber, might be how you really understand yourself in relation to the "washed" in whose presence you are unworthy to be found." All I could think is that you had just said the quiet part out loud.

I have never, ever seen someone who wears the collar work so hard to express his disdain for his fellow man to the degree I see you doing it. If Jesus is the embodiment of God's mercy and the Church is His vehicle, I can't help but feel like you just ran it off the road.

You will surely have the last word--you always do--so I suppose I should brace myself for more supercilious put-downs. I think I'd feel safer in the front row at a Don Rickles performance than I would in the front pew at one of your Masses.

Jerome Merwick said...

The Pharisee standing, prayed thus with himself: "O God, I give thee thanks that I am not as the rest of men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, as also is this publican."


"I don't live in that dark, malevolent world and I am very glad of it."

Can't we all just FEEL the love?

Paul said...

Fr K,

I’ll apologise again. Once in over a decade, yesterday, I unfairly insulted you, when I’d drank so much bourbon I’m surprised I could put together a coherent sentence.
I am sorry and today regret I, on one day, paraphrased and repeated past insults you have received from TJM, Gene etc.

I’ll write now what I have thought for years and occasionally stated on this blog: You are clearly a man and priest of some learning; you are a person of integrity; I am sure you have been both a compassionate and effective pastor; I am sure you give fine and orthodox homilies. You are the opposite of the sort of priest of which it is said “he has read nothing but the sports page in his 30 plus years since seminary”.

We do profoundly disagree on many political, social and cultural issues….but that is OK.

For example, I honestly, deeply cannot understand how any Christian or any sane adult and parent could ever vote for any politician who supports abortion to a degree that is tantamount to infanticide; or not be angry at any politician or government education employee who thinks it OK, for example, to have a sex education and/or personal formation program in schools that has been put together by a radical Gender Studies “scholar” who has beliefs about marriage, relationships and sexual morality that probably not more than 1 or 2% of parents could ever agree with ….

Paul said...

…..Also, it can be difficult communicating online. Fr K, I was not really at all saying or insinuating half of what you claim. I think you are being a bit too sensitive and overreacting a little.

Attempting to communicate online is so very different to communicating face to face…

By the way, you are not bad at insults yourself! So I am some poor paranoid soul living in “some dark malevolent world” !
I don’t think that is really fair and accurate. And those that truly knows me, know that that claim is unfair and inaccurate.
Finally, the truth is also that I make serious efforts at times to read the work of authors and journalists who hold views I disagree with.

Jerome Merwick said...


Thanks for showing some class and restraint. We could all learn from you, myself included.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Paul - Regarding voting, I cannot see how any sane person, whether he/she is Christian or not, could vote for a zero-sum transactionalist who is a serial adulterer, who brags about his multiple affairs with women, who professes to be a Christian while acting in ways that are directly opposed to the Christian faith, who lies without any sense of shame or, apparently, purpose, etc.

Jerome - You toss disdain a-plenty 'round these parts. You are the grimy pot remarking on the ashy kettle.

Jerome Merwick said...

Indeed, guilty as charged, which is why I accused myself.

Jerome Merwick said...

"I cannot see how any sane person, whether he/she is Christian or not, could vote for a zero-sum transactionalist who is a serial adulterer, who brags about his multiple affairs with women, who professes to be a Christian while acting in ways that are directly opposed to the Christian faith, who lies without any sense of shame or, apparently, purpose, etc."

I came to the same conclusion in the 90's. That's why I refused to vote for Bill Clinton a second time.

Paul said...

Fr K,

I must have unintentionally touched some raw nerve with you, or maybe my timing or lack of knowledge where you are at, at the moment, were factors?

But literally hundreds of times over years, others, and not just TJM (but John Nolan, Gene etc) have seriously questioned your integrity, your historical, liturgical and theological knowledge ...even questioned your sanity and sobriety! Yet you get so triggered by 2 or 3 insulting sentences I type out - when others in the past have used much stronger words and terms in disputing your integrity and theological knowledge.

Paul said...

Fr K,

How can you seriously dismiss and regard as irrelevant what has been exposed as a result of the Tavistock Gender Clinic being sued by over a THOUSAND families and being forced to close.

What does it say about your Good Catholic President Biden, Pelosi and Kamala Harris that they support thousands of American children, often troubled, confused children, with various psychiatric co-morbidities apart from “gender dysphoria”….children with no real life experience, too young to purchase cigarettes, too young to legally get a tattoo, too young to consent to any sexual activity - being allowed powerful drugs (often the same drugs given to serious adult sex offenders) and surgical mutilation etc in attempt to change their sex/gender - while increasing numbers of politicians, even agnostic, leftist politicians in many western nations are now totally opposed to allowing children, teenagers to “transition” ?!

What are the odds that your media sources have informed you re the numbers of young women in the USA who are now infertile and now have to live with other serious, irreversible health consequences of “gender affirming care” and have now engaged lawyers to sue various counsellors, psychologists and medical “professionals” ?

Paul said...

I have a friend who is an investigative journalist, hence the following: (and such cases, if not quite as sad nor severe, can be multiplied by a thousand or more…in the USA and Western Europe)

Nathan Verhelst died in Belgium In September, 2013, at the age of 44.

Nathan was born Nancy; she suffered greatly as a child and teenager (details of such suffering I will not provide)….

After years of rejection, neglect and abuse, as a young woman she somehow settled on the idea that her life may be better if she was a man.

In 2009, she began taking hormone therapy.
Shortly after this, she had a double mastectomy and then a set of surgeries to try to construct a penis.

At the end of this process, “Nathan” as he now was reacted to the results:

“I was ready to celebrate my new birth. But when I looked in the mirror I was disgusted with myself. So much scarring! And my new breasts did not match my expectations and my new penis had symptoms of rejection…”

She confided to several close friends her regrets and how deeply unhappy she (or he?) was with her new body.

The life Nathan had hoped for had not come about - increased depression followed…
So in 2013, at the age of 44, only a year after the last of 3 sex-change surgical procedures, Nancy/Nathan Verhelst was euthanised by the state. In Belgium, euthanasia is legal and the relevant medical authorities agreed Nancy/Nathan could be euthanised by lethal injection due to “unbearable psychological suffering”. Shortly before her death, several friends held a small party for Nancy/Nathan ….they danced, drank champagne with the toast “to life” …3 days later, Nancy alone made the journey to University Hospital, Brussels and was killed by lethal injection.

Her mother gave an interview to local media:

“When I saw Nancy for the first time, my dream was shattered. She was so ugly. I had a phantom birth. Her death does not bother me. I feel no sorrow, no doubt or remorse. We never had a bond”.

If Western society actually survives for, say, another 2 or 3 centuries (which I doubt will occur) how will future generations look back on such a sad, tragic true story….and not be amazed…
“So the Belgian health service way back then (in apparently a spirit of kindness and not a spirit of malice or cruelty) tried to turn a woman into a man, failed and then killed her.”

TJM said...


You are dealing with a Democrat operative masquerading as a Catholic priest. In a decent Church he would be flushed down the drain. This will also trigger him:

Speaking of Mentally Deranged LGBTQ Democrat Murderers ...
Colorado Springs Killler identifies as non-binary
Ulvalde killler identifies as Trans
Denver killler identifies as Trans
Aberdeen killler identifies as Trans
Nashville killler identifies as Trans
Orlando Pulse Nightclub identifies as homosexual

Noticeably absent are MAGA and White Supremacist types! Media (and Father K) is devastated!

The problem is not guns, but that the insane are allowed to walk the streets and the Left glorifies them.

TJM said...


You are dealing with a Democrat operative masquerading as a Catholic priest. In a decent Church he would be flushed down the drain. This will also trigger him:

Speaking of Mentally Deranged LGBTQ Democrat Murderers ...
Colorado Springs Killler identifies as non-binary
Ulvalde killler identifies as Trans
Denver killler identifies as Trans
Aberdeen killler identifies as Trans
Nashville killler identifies as Trans
Orlando Pulse Nightclub identifies as homosexual

Noticeably absent are MAGA and White Supremacist types! Media (and Father K) is devastated!

The problem is not guns, but that the insane are allowed to walk the streets and the Left glorifies them.

Paul said...


My knowledge and impressions of Fr K is only based on his comments here. Based on that I think it a bit extreme to say he “should be flushed down the drain.”. I can profoundly disagree with him on political and social issues but as I stated above I have no reason to doubt his integrity or doubt his abilities to give fine, orthodox sermons or be a compassionate and effective pastor…..I’ll confess a probable fault that my wife pointed out….she thinks at least occasionally, when infuriated by a defence of US Dem political figures I intensely despise, I can unfairly project on to Fr K certain traits, certain character flaws etc of certain other politically left of centre “progressive” priests I’ve had past real life dealings with…..when it is quite likely Fr K is nothing like those men at all…probably possessing zero of their particular traits and flaws…

Anyway, regarding mass shootings, not just in the USA but around the world- the cousin I’ve referred to who is a high ranking detective with knowledge of Interpol stats etc has told me that some studies indicate :

Less than 3% of perpetrators have ever been diagnosed or treated for a serious mental illness - like schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or schizoaffective psychosis….

Being a member of a “sexual minority” is rarely a key factor…

The by far most common trait of perpetrators of mass shootings is simply a history of serious domestic violence - a history of physically assaulting female partners, especially in front of children and step children who are often traumatised by witnessing such assaults on their mother - that is the most common trait.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Paul - Yes, I am aware that various folks here have said various things about me, questioning my theological/historical/liturgical knowledge from time to time. Simply because they have questioned, however, does not mean that my knowledge is lacking.

You may recall that I was accused of denying Catholic doctrine when I said that a Catholic could accept Darwinian evolution. That's nonsense of course. The questioner was wrong and I was right.

You may recall that I was accused of denying Catholic doctrine when I said that the changes in the liturgy since Vatican Two are, whether you like them or not, legitimate. Many, many times a questioner pointed out Pius V's encyclical "Quo Primum" as "proof" that ANY change since 1570 was illegitimate. The questioner was wrong and I was right.

More recently I have been warned that my eternal soul in peril because I have voted for a candidate who holds a pro-abortion position and Catholic doctrine forbids doing so. There is not doctrine to that effect. The questioner was wrong and I was right.

As for TJM... I shall be charitable and refrain from making any comment. You mention Gene who, as you may or may not recall, referred to President Obama as the Head N----R In Chief. When I challenged him his defense was that that was what his friends called him, too. John Nolan is a wealth of information and I learned from him. However, he was wrong when suggested I was drunk when I posted here. He also had little use for analogies whch, as we know, always limp along.

As for Tavistock, I am not dismissing it. Your mention here was the first i ever heard of it.

When you ask, "What does it say about your Good Catholic President Biden..." please note that I would not call him a good Catholic. (I realize you are being sacrastic.) When I choose a candidate for office I'm not particularly concerned about his/her religion. When I choose a candidate for office, I cannot disqualify any candidate based solely on his/her stand on abortion. Some here think that is the ONLY issue that is determinative. That's their prerogative.

James E Dangerfield said...


I suggest that abortion is extremely important and can be the deciding factor, all things being equal. However, the rule of law and acknowledgment of actual facts are absolute prerequisites for holding public office. So, as between Biden and Trump, there’s only one candidate even qualified.

Trump lies. About everything. All the time. Every day.

I cannot understand how this fundamental issue of character can be overlooked. After learning that physics violence is not an answer, most children learn that one cannot make up his or her own reality. In this way, it’s clear that Trump is “developmentally challenged.”

Anyone ever heard of a “threshold” question?

Thomas Garrett said...

Mr. Dangerfield,

While I am sure that Donald Trump has lied, to claim that only one candidate is even qualified and to say that such candidate is Joe Biden, certainly begs for a few observations. The first observation is the irony of the assertion that Donald Trump lies "about everything, all the time, every day."

Uh, the mess our nation is in is a testament to the "competence" or, if you prefer, "qualifications" of the Son of Delaware. He is caught lying on a daily basis. His State of the Union message was especially insulting to American voters as he spent most of the speech denying every bad policy he espouses and claiming one success after another while our economy and social fabric continue to crumble before our eyes.

Donald Trump had a refreshing facility with telling us truths that the uniparty political establishment didn't want to hear. He understood and made no attempt to hide that NATO had to start paying their end of the bill for their security.

Trump understood how important cheap and plentiful energy was to our economy and he helped us achieve energy independence, only to have it undone by our "more qualified" new old president. China and Russia didn't dare bare their teeth and threaten aggression while he held the White House, because they believed what he said the consequences would be. He told us the truth, that he would keep us out of the "stupid wars" that were costing us so dearly. The current "more qualified" president almost seems hell-bent on provoking more conflict.

Yes, Trump lied. Biden continues to lie, and some of his lies are so ridiculous that it's hard not to laugh, were it not so pathetic that this man is our Chief Executive. Obama lied. The Bush's lied. Clinton lied. Reagan lied. Carter lied. Ford lied. Nixon lied. Johnson lied. Kennedy lied. Eisenhower lied. far back do I need to go?

Our country is a mess. We are all responsible for this mess to some degree. Scapegoating Trump doesn't achieve anything positive, but it does continue to inflame the deep divisions that are only getting worse.

Paul said...

Fr K,

Re Trump committing adultery - the majority of US presidents over the past 100 plus years have been the same or worse. Such presidents and major political leaders like Harry Truman are exceptions.

Also, I have read historians give hundreds of details and examples how Nixon was far from being the only president to be ruthlessly unscrupulous (LBJ was probably worse) and take serious risks with and at times cross lines re the US Constitution…

Re Gene - who in the past commented here often. I agree he could occasionally come out with outrageous statements on racial issues. But I really appreciated his learning, his strong personal commitment to and defence of core Christian/Catholic truths and his sense of humour. I can remember him trying to nail you down re a 100% declaration pertaining to important Gospel events like the Resurrection being a 100% real historical event……unless your seminary in the 80s was radically different to mine don’t you recall any lecturers at seminary (sometimes subtly, occasionally openly) disputing as REAL historical events everything from the Virgin Birth, to New Testament miracles etc …to even the Resurrection?

Like you I learned a lot from John Nolan. However, I thought at the time it was unfair of him to accuse you of posting here while inebriated - how could he or anyone else know for certain that was the case? Also, how many people over ten years have at least occasionally probably commented here after a glass of wine too many, or after a few beers etc? Quite a few I’d say…

I agree the changes to Catholic liturgy since 1965 are valid. However, if you were to ask me about my marriage and all I could say of it was that it was valid - what might you conclude about my marriage?
Re the NO Mass of Paul VI, the problem I see is that the way it has been celebrated millions of times by thousands of priests over 50 plus years (while almost always valid) over time diminishes and drains away many lay Catholics belief in transubstantiation, traditional Catholic belief in the real presence and diminishes faith, belief in each Mass being a making real….a re presentation (not representation) of Christ’s sacrifice at Calvary

Paul said...

Fr K,

Don’t you think it significant that for centuries very clever young seminarians could study “philosophy” and never read one line of Descartes, Kant or Hegel and from circa 1800 to 1950 very bright seminarians might be taught almost nothing re the modern critical Germanic school of biblical criticism, nothing re the work of the Tubingen School of Divinity BUT in a historical time frame in Catholic seminaries the Church around the world (in our era in the second part of last century) the Catholic Church went from one extreme to the other with embracing a critical approach to scripture, and having many seminary lecturers have Kant and Hegel almost replace Augustine and Aquinas…..and in our life time have thousands of young men, like me, drop out of seminary (or worse get ordained) having had their minds even souls washed with the core notion/belief that the Christian religion itself, even Christ Himself, were the mere later products of certain “communities of faith” which produced the Gospels - thus, of course, Jesus almost certainly never actually spoke a lot of the words the Gospel claim he spoke….and so on…

I don’t know about you and some others, but it took me YEARS to recover from that…

Paul said...

…..not the historical Jesus, but the Christ of our faith being a later product of certain later “faith communities”……and at least some Catholic seminary lecturers being influenced by the dogmatic claims of certain Jesus Seminar “scholars” dividing into 3 categories the words our Lord spoke as recorded in the 4 Gospels - 1. It is quite possible Jesus said that 2. It is unlikely Jesus ever said that…3. Jesus almost certainly never said that…..

As though the views of a handful of 19th century, German Lutheran scripture scholars, strongly influenced by Hegel etc were never possibly mistaken nor incomplete and were going to hold capital T TRUE for ever ?!

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Paul - There were no lectures at my seminary that cast doubt on the historical reality of the Resurrection. I don't recall the context of my sparring with Gene. I suspect it was over the process of interpreting and understanding Scripture.

I don't agree that the Mass of Paul VI, "...drains away many lay Catholics belief in transubstantiation, traditional Catholic belief in the real presence and diminishes faith,.."

I don't think specualtion about "What might have been if..." is very useful. In terms of the historical/critical method of understanding Scripture, I think it has helped us deepen our understanding of the practical meaning of the Scriptures for our lives.

Paul said...

Fr K,

Thanks for your reply.

I am not being at all sarcastic or insulting here, nor am I disputing your honesty nor your memory - but, honestly, Father!
If there was NEVER even ONE lecture (in lectures on theology, Church history or scripture at your seminary by various lecturers) at your seminary that disputed and or raised serious doubts about events described in the 4 gospels being REAL physical, historical events……especially during that era of approximately late 70s to mid 80s !!! Well your Catholic seminary must have been an almost unique oasis of orthodoxy, especially during those times….(by the way, why are Fr Allan’s memories of his time in the seminary so very different to yours - it was roughly the same era?)

Note, regarding the Resurrection, I’m not talking about some modernist, disingenuous, ambiguous drivel re “a resurrection experience” (which some claimed somehow meant still believing in the Resurrection….) ……but a real event that could have been caught by photo or a film crew; had they existed in those times….(I recall ex pastor Gene repeatedly questioning you on this!)

We had a priest lecturer sacked outright on account of his views and teaching on the Resurrection, after almost two years of complaints though…..Also:

We had a renowned Jesuit for scripture studies who’d repeatedly state things like “of course that never actually happened” for example - when we were studying Matthew ch 27, the death of Jesus …then verse 51 : “Then the curtain hanging in the Temple was torn in two from top to bottom”… repeat, this Jesuit would teach us that this and other Gospel events “never actually happened”….

The historical/critical method in sane moderation - yes.
An insane level of “historicism” which occurred in many Catholic seminaries in late 70s to mid 80s - no.

So, you never had any crazy lectures re the big distinction between the historical Jesus, the probably fascinating and inspirational first century of the common era rabbi - and the Christ of faith, Christ Himself, and the Christian religion too being the later products of certain “communities of faith” ?

You astound me.

Oh well…..

Thanks again for your reply, and I wish you a happy and holy Easter.

Paul said...

Post Script:

Fr K,

Please note I was not suggesting your understanding and beliefs re the Resurrection were or are “modernist, disingenuous or ambiguous, ‘resurrection experiences’ nonsense” …This describes the views on the Resurrection of the theologian at our seminary who was sacked - but only after damaging the faith and formation of dozens even scores of young men…

The strongest overall memory I have is that at least several Catholic priest lecturers at our seminary seemingly got a perverse pleasure at times shocking young orthodox seminarians, from devout families, by repeatedly saying things like:

Well, most popes in history were pretty standard, occasionally ruthless, European politicians more than they were religious or spiritual leaders..…however, at times, the popes in the 10th and 15th centuries were honestly best described as “Chicago Gangster” types - with stealing Church money to enrich their whole extended families, having strings of teenage mistresses, and having political and ecclesiastical opponents at least occasionally knocked off….etc..

Devout young seminarians would walk out…

Or “Please don’t report me to the Archbishop…but Martin Luther really had a better, deeper more scriptural understanding of the Eucharist than did St Thomas Aquinas “

This sort of stuff was endless during my 3 years….and to repeat, devout young seminarians could at times, in protest and disgust , walk out of lectures, tutorials; or many eventually (like me) walk out on the seminary all together.

Finally! To finish here: I’ll make a confession here Fr K. .. - as a result of some earlier academic success at a secular university, I was probably at least to a degree intellectually arrogant and also ambitious to achieve high marks (distinctions and high distinctions etc) so after about 2 months realising what I was being taught and who was teaching it - whether it was philosophy, theology, scripture or church history - I deliberately hid my basically traditional beliefs re theology and my conservative views on any moral, political or cultural issue and deliberately - to achieve high marks - regurgitated in my own words the mostly lefty, liberal, often modernist and occasionally heretical @@##……
Oh well, I was young - and I left… many…..but it was SO clear my real beliefs and my real views were not at all welcome, not even really acceptable.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Paul - There were no lectures at my seminary disputing the historical reality of the Resurrection.

Fr. ALLAN McDonald attended St. Mary's Seminary, Baltimore. I went to Mount St. Mary's Seminary, Emmitsburg. They are 56 miles apart. His seminary was overseen by the Sulpicians, ours was a diocesan institution. Our faculty was made up of diocesan priests, one O.M.I., one Dominican, two Crozier Fathers, an order I'd never heard of till I got there, one Sister of Mercy, the great Ann Miriam Gallagher, one Irish Jesuit who was in administration, not teching, and one or two lay folks. I don't think Mt. St. Mary's was the outlier.

I don't know that a TV crew could have captured the Resurrection, or, if it could, what it would have captured. That event was beyond the mere material world, though it included elements of the mere material world. Would this TV crew has captured the breaking of the chains of sin? The opening of the gates of heaven? The " of angels, who said he was alive."?

As I have said here repeatedly, our seminary was theologically as middle-of-the-road as it gets. Msgr. Satterfield, a peritus to Cardinal Shehan of Baltimore at Vatican Two, wrote the texts we used for several classes. We'd start on, say, soteriology, and travel with him at breakneck speed from the Scriptural age to the patristic age to the middle ages, to contemporary theologians. Although he carried his 500 page (8.5"x14" pages) book with him, he lectured entirely from memory. In the final exam for his Sacrments class, the last question, for which we had 10 minutes to write, was, "Describe the history of the Sacrament of Penance from the year ZERO to the year 1215, to but not including the Fourth Lateral Council. Be sure to include the opinions of... (a list of 10 authors).

Fr. Joe Fitchner, OSC (Crozier) was the most amazing space cadet I ever knew. You had to learn how to listen to his way of lecturing and figure out how to take notes. It wasn't easy and it drove some classmates nuts. Dr. Grisez, moral theology teacher, was deadly boring as a lecturer, but his text, again one that he wrote, was excellent. ("The Way of the Lord Jesus" is the title. In the first of three volumes you can read the section, " Is the method of deriving specific moral norms adequate for conclusive criticism of every judgment of conscience?" or, one of my favorites, "Does the theory of evolution present a serious difficulty for the doctrine of original sin?" (The answer is "No.")

The best teacher I had in 22 years of school was Fr. Bill Fay, Scripture, a priest of the Diocese of Pittsburgh. The worst yeacher I had in 22 years of school was . . . a priest who died about 40 years ago.

Blessed Triduum

Paul said...

Thank you, very much, Fr K,

That was quite interesting. I appreciate you taking the trouble to give such a detailed and interesting reply.

I’d say you and and your classmates (in the late 70s to mid 80s) at that seminary were both lucky and blessed compared to thousands of other seminarians around the world at that time.


PS - My wife (who very rarely is interested in Catholic social media, blogs etc….but has heard my stories) who is 10 times more succinct than I can ever be, has read the above and has suggested I ask:

How would a seminarian there have been regarded if he:

Preferred to receive Holy Communion on the tongue rather than the hand.
Regularly prayed before the Blessed Sacrament.
Clearly and vocally supported official Church teaching on artificial birth control, homosexuality and women priests.
Often prayed the rosary.
Openly had a strong devotion to Our Lady.
Requested a return of Benediction……AND even
Worked to re-elect Ronald Reagan during vacation!

Would such a seminarian have been fully accepted and his views, beliefs and devotions respected at Mount St Marys?
After hearing my and others stories and memories, my wife believes in almost all seminaries in that era such a seminarian, at minimum, would be sent off for a psychiatric evaluation.

Jerome Merwick said...


I have no degree in theology, so my credibility on this subject is limited at best, but I have been friends with a lot of priests over the years. Based on what I've learned from listening to them, I would likely agree that Father Kavanaugh went to the better seminary--not to insult Father McDonald. If anything, Fr. McDonald is to be commended for his resistance to some of the questionable things they tried to instill in him during his seminary studies.

Paul said...

Jerome and Fr K,

I will not name the Canadian seminary I attended - though my uncle, a traditional priest, made himself unpopular by such jokes as:

X seminary is now a place where they expell a young man if he once kisses a girl in town but will ordain a young man who has kissed a dozen men on the hill...

(Actually, 3 seminarians were expelled for being actively homosexual in their last year - close to ordination...sadly 2 had died of AIDS by 1990.)

I am usually careful with names but the German born Canadian Gregory Baum RIP the massively influential Vatican 2 theologian left the priesthood in 1978 to marry a woman but was very honest about his sexual relationships with men as well...the extent of how radical he was theologically and in lifestyle can be glimpsed on his Wikipedia page....he actually fully and openly embraced the versions of Marx and Freud as taught by the Frankfurt School.

Honestly, lesser known priests, who were almost as radical as Gregory Baum taught at ..... seminary in the 80s.

I choose to leave seminary - I was never kicked out.
One of the last straws for me was seminary staff calling my uncle (and traditional priests like him who still stressed The Mass as a sacrifice) as
"Slaughter House priests".

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Paul - I really think your experience was the outlier. While I was in seminary I knew people in seminary at Notre Dame, Pontifical College Josephinum, Boynton Beach, and Theological College at CUA. Their experience was similar to mine.

As for your questions:
Preferred to receive Holy Communion on the tongue rather than the hand.
Both were practiced in the seminary - no one seemed to notice.
Regularly prayed before the Blessed Sacrament.
We had mandatory adoration once a week and optional once a week. There was almost always
someone in the chapel praying. No big.
Clearly and vocally supported official Church teaching on artificial birth control, homosexuality and women priests.
It happened all the time. We had GREAT and TUMULTUOUS discussions of most anything
doctrinal in the halls, at meals, between classes, etc.
Often prayed the rosary.
Happened all the time. The practice of requiring everyone to join in the public recitation
of the rosary ended before I got there. The story is that, due to rain, the usual practice
of having everyone walk around the sports field in front of the seminary while reciting the
rosary was moved to the large front porch of the seminary building. It was cheek-by-jowl
as the sems jostled along, trying to keep from tripping over one another. When someone let
out a long, "Mooooooo" in protest, the practice was ended. I imagine this practice has
been revived.
Openly had a strong devotion to Our Lady.
Not a problem.
Requested a return of Benediction……AND even
Had it twice a week - no return needed.
Worked to re-elect Ronald Reagan during vacation!
They were stripped naked and forced to run through the poison ivy in the woods, of course.

The guys who were sent packing during my time at Mt. Saint Mary's were found unsuitable for a variety of reasons. Some could not handle the academics, even though the Mount was known to be an "easy" theologate. Some had addiction problems. In the case of one guy from, I think, Wichita, he had a BAD trip one night as a result of his use of LSD, though he had not been a user for many years. Some of the older candidates, set in their ways, were unwilling to accept correction of most any kind. Some guys were clearly nutso. A very few were found to be in relationships "inconsistent with expectations." One of our classmates, an absolutely brilliant pianist/organist, was bulimic.

One classmate had made a reputation earlier in his life for attending many NY Mets games dressed as the Lone Ranger. I AM NOT MAKING THIS UP. When he showed up in church history class one day wearing a cassock - this was not allowed - and carrying is pet sock monkey, there was some concern. When he explained that the sock monkey had bandaids on his wrists because the monkey had attempted suicide the night before, I ran as fast as I could to the faculty lounge and, without knocking (an offense, of course), told the teacher of the class that Tom _______ was having a mental breakdown and that he had to come immediately to the classroom to deal with it. We did not see our classmate again. NOTE: He was not expelled because he wore a cassock or was a "traditionalist." He was simply mentally unstable.


Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...


The only "traditionalist" I know of who was sent down from The Mount was a member of the faculty, Fr. Gommar Depauw. From Wikipedia: "Towards the end of the Second Vatican Council DePauw came into conflict with Cardinal Lawrence Shehan, Archbishop of Baltimore, over the interpretation of the council's teachings, particularly about liturgical matters. In January 1965 DePauw incorporated an organization called the Catholic Traditionalist Movement in New York State, purportedly with the support of Cardinal Francis Spellman, Archbishop of New York. Shehan demanded that DePauw break with the organization. In summer 1965 Shehan removed DePauw from teaching duties at Mount Saint Mary's Seminary and transferred him to a parish in a Baltimore suburb. Shortly thereafter DePauw left for Rome."
NOTE: He was not removed for being a "traditionalist." He was removed for being obstinately disobedient to his ecclesiastical superior.
I just don't buy the tales, "Goodbye Good Men" notwithstanding, that the more traditional students were targeted for evaluation or dismissal.

Paul said...

Fr K,

Very interesting.

Mental illness and emotional instability and immaturity etc and the hundreds of ways it or they can manifest itself in seminarians or priests (or anyone!) are very interesting….

It is known by many in our diocese that the most intellectually gifted priest by far in this diocese was regarded at seminary as obviously brilliant but perhaps a little “eccentric” or “odd”; he was ordained, obtained doctorates, wrote books, articles etc but in early middle age his mental health suddenly and rapidly deteriorated and he experienced a full blown bipolar manic psychotic episode……he was treated, remained a priest, but often required almost permanent mood stabilisers and occasionally antipsychotic meds; other priests and almost all lay people were and are compassionate and understanding even when this Fr X can occasionally be non compliant with his lithium and seroquel and drink whiskey and then throw a punch and knock down another priest or prominent layman….

Paul said...

Regarding Michael Rose and his book “Good Bye, Good Men” it was not just about the extent of traditional seminarians being targeted for unnecessary psych evaluations and dismissal (though MANY sane, respected, and very knowledgeable people wrote articles agreeing with and supporting Rose’s claims in MANY though definitely not all seminaries)….

But more importantly, it was the problem of a gay subculture within seminaries with both significant numbers of staff and students….

The claims made by Michael Rose were also made by the very respected Fr Donald Cuzzens, to the respected former Benedictine monk and psychotherapist, Richard Sipe, to the devastating articles of men like Joseph Sciambra….
To everyone from Ratzinger/Benedict to my then future wife, a psychologist, who back then, and still occasionally now, says “how could anyone NOT notice the 50 Shades of Gay ??!! at a particular residence, or group of men interacting….

I am here not even referring to the claims made by Michael Voris, Taylor Marshall and George Niemeyer BUT honestly if what these 3 say and write is only half true, EVEN just a quarter true, homosexually active Catholic priests is still a problem……reliable sources have informed me the Monsignor Grindr scandal is VERY sadly just the reported tip of a big iceberg….

Again, Fr K, I intend no offence at all, but I VERY sincerely believe it was your seminary, rather than mine, that was the true outlier….especially, for that period c. 1975 to 1985….
Also, read works, book’s, articles etc by Harvard School of Divinity scholar and former priest Paul Collins re all the above.

Paul said...

Fr K,

I and many others could give a dozen opposite examples -

Benediction once in 3 years…literally!
Holy Communion on the tongue 100% out.
Rosary, any traditional Marian devotions and/or clear support of JP2’s teaching re sexual morality were seriously regarded as “problematic” by many and unfairly regarded as indicating an immature, rigid personality….

But, overall, big picture, we were taught by most that THE Council meant we were in an ecclesiastical version of Year Zero with a LOT of traditional Catholic beliefs and practices now being regarded as theologically outdated, legalistic and Jansenistic nonsense, and or arising in a past era that was by 1980 enlightenment standards “theologically bankrupt”….

It was made clear married priests, even women priests were inevitable….

Middle aged and older Catholic priests, in private and especially after a few drinks, admitting they’d been telling Catholic individuals in second marriages, and even same sex relationships, in fact in any relationship /arrangement….it was definitely OK for them to receive Holy Communion.

To a parish BBQ with VERY many people attending….and when it was pointed out that Sunday that at least half present had not attended Mass, seminary Fr @%# tipsily and casually blessed “consecrated” some bread rolls and some cheap cask wine…saying “this will do”…

Phew! This dialogue has triggered a 100 memories.

Paul said...

I think, actually I know, these was a real world basis for such nicknames as Notre Flame, the Theological Closet … the Pink Palace etc… repeat it was not just one book by Michael Rose - but serious study and research by respected priests, former priests and laymen such as Tom Doyle, Richard Sipe, Donald Cuzzens and Joseph Sciambra - I am talking, writing here of serious investigation, serious research - not merely salacious, sensational allegations made by a Malachi Martin, Taylor Marshall or Michael Voris etc…..though it was and is scary how in 2018, several past claims, allegations made by Voris and Martin turned out to be true!

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Paul - There have been books based on "serious study and research" about any number of topics. These include "Inside Job: Unmasking the 9/11 Conspiracies" by "veteran journalist" Jim Marrs, "The Moon Landing Hoax" by Steven Thomas, "The Great Zapruder Film Hoax," James Fetzer, editor, "Never Again - The Government Conspiracy in the FK Assassination" by Harold Weisberg, and, more recently, "COVID-19, The Greatest Hoax in History" by Vernon Coleman.

Many people are gullible enough to believe that the government engineered 9/11, that the moon landing was on a Hollywood soundstage, that JFK was killed by the CIA or JBJ, or someone else, and that COVID was never anything worse than a bad cold.

They are gullible for 2 reasons. First, because they want someone to blame for something. Second, because they want to believe that there is some way to control what they cannot control.

If "The Jews" are your scapegoat du jour, get ahold of the "very well researched" "The Suppressed History of American Banking" by Xaviant Haze and discover how the Rothschild banking family began the war of 1812, initiated the Civil War, and was behind Lincoln's assassination.

Or, you could just by Alex Jones' "The Great Reset" and find out everything there is to know about "...the global elite's international conspiracy to enslave humanity and all life on the planet."

Paul said...

Fr K !!!

Seriously, how can you possibly conflate such nonsense texts with a serious, honest text like the 2000 “The Changing Face of the Catholic Priesthood” by Fr Donald Cozzens ?! Or put the above in the same category as ANYTHING ever written by a Richard Sipe or Tom Doyle?
Cozzens, Sipe and Doyle and others are completely sane, incredibly well educated, highly respected men, who have held VERY important positions in the Church, and undertaken very important duties and tasks for the Church over decades!

In the secular world, in any secular academy, anyone who put the historical works by, say, an AJP Taylor or Alan Bullock in the same category with the author of “The Protocol of the Elders of Zion” would be laughed at..

William said...

Father K, I've always tried to give you the benefit of doubt when your detractors here pile on. Your admonition that no credence can be given to those who see that the emperor is in fact naked does rather now give me pause. Certainly, I don't believe everything I read but do have great confidence in the truth of what I see (and I've seen a lot). As Groucho says: "Who you going to believe, me or your own eyes?"

Paul said...

Fr K,

I know from significant friendships with Catholic priests and former priests over 4 decades that there has been and still are VERY many fine diocesan priests, whose orientation straight, gay or bi is their own business and irrelevant, as they are chaste, holy men, who do great work, serving God and His people.
The situation with most diocesan priests around the whole world is often almost light years away from, for example, the Jesuits in the USA, Canada, the UK, and Germany etc, or the situation with, for example, the Paulist Order in the USA which is beyond farce, and actually worse than the Jesuits…..and both orders should be suppressed, as has happened in Church history eg the Jesuits in the late 18th century….

It sometimes helps to remember how long this has been a problem during different eras in the Church…
Surely at seminary you must have covered the life and works of St Peter Damian in the 11th century; his 1050 Liber Gomorrhianus etc (by the way, Pope B16 called him the most important churchman of his era) St Peter Damian’s Liber Gomorrhianus was a scathing indictment of the prevalence of sodomy among some (not all) but enough 11th century priests and monasteries that threatened the integrity of the priesthood etc….what St Peter Damian wrote almost a 1,000 years ago could and should have been read out loud at all USCCB meetings over the past 20 years - pertaining to the damage sexually active, especially homosexually active priests cause to the integrity of the priesthood, the damnation waiting bishops who do nothing about this problem, to the harm done to vulnerable victims…..and amazingly St Peter D was calling for a zero tolerance policy in 1050 ! Almost a thousand years ago!

And, to repeat, a book like Fr Donald Cozzens’ 2000 “The Changing Face of the Catholic Priesthood” is so important to read. If anyone apart from you and me and William is still reading this exchange - I can highly recommend anyone reading this book or anything by Richard Sipe and Tom Doyle…..or at least an article or review of Fr Cozzens’ “The Changing Face of the Catholic Priesthood” - such men are respected, have held important positions in the church and have doctorates in everything from psychology or Canon Law…..and I am ASTOUNDED you can conflate their work with insane conspiracy theory nonsense texts that you list….

What William wrote above reminds of what has 100% been the case with many Catholic bishops and priests from approximately 1970 to the present - it is honestly like they think there are NO LIMITS to the extent ordinary lay Catholics can be treated like complete idiots.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Paul, the Jesuits were suppressed mainly for political reasons, not because they were awful folks.

"The anti-clerical, anti-Christian philosophers of the continental Enlightenment hated and feared the Jesuits, who were among their most able intellectual opponents. Ministers of the crown in Portugal, Spain, France, and elsewhere saw political gain in bringing down such an important institution and being able to confiscate its schools and other properties. This coalition was able to convince, hoodwink, or intimidate the monarchs of Portugal, Spain, Naples, France, and finally Austria into pressuring the papacy to rid the church of the Jesuit pestilence." (Jesuit Suppression and Restoration 1773-1814, Creighton University)

As for your choice to believe THIS book based on "serious study and research" but not THAT book based on "serious study and research", well, that's your choice.

Paul said...

Fr K,

Please name one book, one text, one academic paper, one journal article that has successfully disputed claims made by such priests and scholars as Fr Donald Cozzens, Richard Sipe or Tom Doyle.

Also, regarding the Jesuits in the late 18th century, like almost all significant events in Church history and secular history there was more than just one factor (the political) involved; in a half a dozen or more different nations back then (or now) there are at least several factors involved, and different factors at play in different nations, different cultures etc…


- again, I wish you a happy and holy Easter.

Paul said...

If I didn’t believe that Jesus walked out of the tomb on a certain, actual Sunday circa 2,000 years ago and was a real, physical, historical event … real an event (but a BILLION times more important event) as any of us walking out of a supermarket yesterday…….both could have been caught on film…

And didn’t believe Jesus after his Resurrection met and spoke with Mary Magdalene, doubting Thomas and Peter in the same real, physical sense that I met and talked with Bill my neighbour and my step son Gerard yesterday to watch a old, classic football game on TV….

If I believed that most, if not all, miraculous events recorded in the New Testament were not real, actual historical events - but mostly constructed stories, narratives created in the imaginations of people 40 to 60 years after Jesus died; just certain spiritual, theological reflections put in story form and in writing by members of later “faith communities” and Jesus probably never said most of what M, M, L and J record He said….I would never bother to again set foot in a church, and never bother to pray or read the Bible again - and MOST importantly NEVER try to fool myself or others I was still a Christian.

Paul said...

Also, quite easy to make jokes now how any seminarian in the 80s who being politically and socially conservative supported Ronald Reagan , Maggie Thatcher or even John Howard in the 90s was treated by lefty, liberal older priests - such seminarians could be mocked, ridiculed and at times even be socially “persona non grata” by lefty, liberal older priests who regarded a conservative young man at seminary or a conservative lay Catholic with the same disdain you regard Trump and those who vote for him in our era - there were older lefty, liberal prominent and influential Catholic priests, late last century, in seminaries and dioceses who could react to an election victory by Ronald Reagan, Maggie Thatcher or John Howard like it was a death in their family.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Paul - I believe that the Resurrection of Jesus, "...was a real, physical, historical event."

Whether TV cameras could have captured it, I (and you) have no idea. For reasons I have already stated, I would think not.

More to the point, whether Resurrection could have become "Film At Eleven!" doesn't matter. That it HAPPENED is the thing, the only thing, that matters.

Jesus, after his Resurrection, didn't speak to Mary Magdalene, " the same real, physical sense that [you] met and talked with Bill [your] neighbour..." He was in His glorified, Resurrected body. You are not.

Lastly, make no mistake. There is little comparison to be made between Ronald Reagan and Trump. Reagan was a man of integrity, of compassion, and with a sense of his place as a part of history. Trump has little or no integrity, has yet to show compassion, and, as a zero-sum transactionslist, has no sense of history whatsoever, let alone his place in in. I do not disdain all Trump voters. I disagree with them. I do disdain those who vote for him becauase they like and want to emulate his vulgarity, his adulterous behavior, his ostentations, his lying, and get away with it as he does.

Paul said...

Fr K,

Are there any other “real physical, historical events” over the last 3,000 years that TV cameras (if they had existed then) could not have captured?

I think I and all others alive on earth now are aware we’ve all never had a glorified, resurrected body. That was not my point.

In John ch 20, does it in any way indicate that Mary Magdalene had some sort of vague vision of something or other OR was it as John ch 20 records:

Jesus said to her, “Mary!”

She turned towards him and said in Hebrew “Rabboni” (This means “Teacher”).

“Do not hold on to me” Jesus told her…..etc

That sure seems and sounds to me like Jesus spoke to Mary Magdalene after his Resurrection.

Also, in John ch 20, what point was being made when Jesus spoke to Thomas? Part of which was “…Put your finger here, and look at my hands; then stretch out your hand and put it in my side….” and so on….

And the appearance of Jesus in John ch 21 - a glorified, resurrected body yes - but a fairly normal conversation, advice on fishing , and preparing and eating fish and bread and so on…..

Why provide such details? Do these and other details recorded in the 4 Gospels after Jesus’ Resurrection imply the apostles, Mary M and others just had some vague, mystical visions….just some various inner resurrection experiences and so on….?

Or do the Gospels or are the Gospels stating a clear objective reality - the same real events that today can be captured on film?

Or the Walk to Emmaus in Luke - did the 2 followers of Jesus immediately fall to their feet at the appearance or vision of a glorified, resurrected body? Is that what Luke’s Gospel shows ?

(Writing the above reminds me that unlike someone like dear old ex pastor Gene who studied theology and scripture for more than 12 years; I clocked up only 3 years studying theology almost 40 years ago; and my undergraduate major at university was history…..but I hope I have made my point…..either everything from the Virgin Birth, to New Testament miracles, to Jesus truly rising from the dead etc ALL actually REALLY occurred or they didn’t ……I know the above looks and seems clumsy but at least I was once able to write essays and pass exams (with distinction) on such topics……oh well, AND most times I am fully aware it will not be how many books on the New Testament by N T Wright et al I’ve read and understood that will get me to heaven.)

Paul said...

Sorry, should have been: did the 2 followers of Jesus “fall to their knees” at what appeared to them a glorified, resurrected body?
OR on the Road to Emmaus did the risen Jesus walk beside them, discussing recent events and scriptures etc….and then later sat down for a meal ?

Paul said...

To hopefully finally, maybe, wind up this thread - I reread a good article in a journal of Catholic Church history by a Harvard scholar in religious studies that claimed the often almost madness and definitely the confusion and chaos in many seminaries around the world started fairly soon after THE Council, peaked in the late 1970s, lasting till about 1985….by and after 1985, the worst was over and there was mostly a return to some sort of sanity and normalcy……though problems remained…

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Paul, you ask, "Are there any other “real physical, historical events” over the last 3,000 years that TV cameras (if they had existed then) could not have captured?"

Since not a single one of these involved the glorified, resurrected Jesus, it is likely they could have been captured on film or video.

You say, "That sure seems and sounds to me like Jesus spoke to Mary Magdalene after his Resurrection." Yes, He did. But what makes you certain that film could capture this as if some merely human were speaking?

What you term "chaos" in seminaries did not begin after the Council. The new ways of thinking about Scripture and Revelation had been evolving over a good 100 years, if not more, before the Council, among them the approach John XXIII would take to the separated brothers and sisters and to non-Christian religions.

Paul said...

So if the staff and students of an average Catholic seminary in the USA, Canada or the UK in 1955 were suddenly transported and dumped as flies on the wall of an average Catholic seminary in the USA in 1975, would such 1955 staff and students think they were in a Catholic seminary 20 years in the future? Or could they probably think they had arrived on another planet?

What words, what adjectives etc do you think best to describe ALL the changes, the extent of such changes, from the Mass and liturgy, to the contents of lectures, to the rules - from dress to “special friendships” ….to other aspects of formation, etc from a standard seminary in 1955 to 1975?

New ways of thinking had been bubbling away, especially since about the time of Pius IX’s Syllabus of Errors in the mid 19th century, but, my God! Sudden, extreme, bizarre changes occurred almost overnight (in historical terms) in the Church and often especially seminaries, from the late 60s to mid 80s ! - a veritable revolution!

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Paul - The rate of change in most every aspect of our lives, theology, medicine, construction, finance, communications, travel, etc., has increased almost exponentially in the last 100 to 150 years. While it hasn't been "overnight," it has been more rapid that we might be comfortable with. Some authors, like the late great Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks, say that the rapidity of change is actually harmful to us as we are not physiologically or psychologically wired for the speed.

The staff of a hospital surgical suite from 1955 were dumped into an operating room in 1975....?