24 November 2015
About Those Rigid Seminarians...
I found this link at Pewsitter, so I thank them for that. It is the story of one vocation that was plucked from a modernist-run seminary. An important insight into what one must believe is not an isolated case. Excerpts below of the full article at Torch of the Faith:
When I had been at Ushaw seminary for a few weeks, a student from several years higher up the house came to give me some well-meant advice. The conversation went something like this:-
''I've noticed that you go to Morning and Evening Prayer every single day.''
''Er... Yes. What about it?''
''I wouldn't do that if I were you.''
''Really! Why not?''
''Well, you see, the staff are going to notice that type of thing and they'll say that you're too rigid. That'll come back on you later on. It has already happened to other lads before you came here. It would perhaps be best if you have a sleep-in some days and skip going to chapel once or twice.''
I was as dumbfounded then as I was when another well-intentioned man came to warn me not to have my orthodox books or devotional material on open show on the bookcase in my room. I was astounded. If you could get labelled as ''rigid'' for just saying your daily prayers, or reading orthodox material, then what hope was there for your vocation, or even your faith, during 6 years in that atmosphere? You've got to remember, too, that I had worked in a high-street bank for 9 years before this. I'd had my own car, savings and everything. After about two days in the place, I phoned my Dad and said that it felt like I'd gone in a time-machine from 90's England to Hitler's Germany or something.
I had a good friend, a mature and highly educated young man, who got labelled as being ''scrupulous,'' for checking the palms of his hands for crumbs from the large, crumbly and powdered triangles of bread which were used for the Holy Eucharist; no receiving on the tongue in that regime.
Another good friend was labelled ''homophobic'' for quoting from the teaching about homosexuality in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, during a class discussion.
In Goodbye Good Men, Michael Rose exposes the fact that seminarians who began to stand up against the evils around them soon found themselves being labelled as 'rigid,' 'pre-conciliar,' or 'anticommunity'. Quoting from the famous Fr. John Trigilio, author of Catholicism for Dummies and co-host of EWTN's Web of Faith, Rose compares the kind of constant surveillance and persecution, which faithful Catholics received in Modernistic seminaries, to the type of psychological warfare employed by the KGB in Soviet Russia. In light of that, Fr. Trigilio explained: ''The one book that helped me persevere through my 12 years of seminary, was Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's Gulag Archipelago. Funnily enough, together with Michael Rose's book, this is one of the titles which has most helped me in the years of trying to recover after the spiritual-gulag of Ushaw.
All of this, together with his frequent negative comments about orthodox Catholics, formed the backdrop to my hearing of Pope Francis' words, to a conference of priestly formators at the weekend, about seminarians.
He said: ''When a youngster is too rigid, too fundamentalist, I don't feel confident (about him). Behind it there is something that he himself does not understand. Keep your eyes open!''
Francis framed this rhetoric with suggestions of neurosis, psychological instability and the concept of rigid priests ''biting'' people.
From my own experience, I have to say that there are plenty of unbalanced characters who have been ushered through toward ordination, even though - or likely because - they were irreverent and effeminate dissenters from the Magisterium. At the same time, plenty of good men were put through the wringer, or even prevented from getting into the seminary system to begin with, just because they were faithful and orthodox Catholics. I've said here before, that I've seen lads turned away at selection for believing that the Church is hierarchical, for supporting Humanae Vitae, or for being forthrightly pro-life.
Having suffered so much in the spiritual-gulag that was Ushaw college in the 1990's, and having witnessed the ''rigid'' label being abused to destroy and hinder good and orthodox vocations from England, America, Germany, Holland and Ireland; I must say that Pope Francis' comments to seminary formators at the weekend have put me back a long, long way.
I imagine that now they will be used by Modernists in seminaries everywhere to do just that - in the sense of putting them back in their formation - to plenty more orthodox young men who are presently in the system.