GOODBYE! GOOD MEN: How Catholic Seminaries Turned Away Two Generations of Vocations From the Priesthood by Michael Rose, Aquinas Publishing Ltd., Ohio, 2002. Hardback, 368pp. £21.95 (posted) from Family Publications, 6a King St., Oxford OX2 6DF. Tel: 01865 558336. Fax: 01865 316951. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. America: from Hope of St Monica, Tel: (888) 260-6283 www.hopeofstmonica.com. Australia: from John XXIII Co-Operative, Tel/Fax: (03) 9578 2706 www.j23,com.au .
Ten years ago, just before I left Australia to test my own vocation in a traditional seminary in Europe, a thoroughly orthodox young man regaled me with the wicked yet farcical tale of his unsuccessful attempt to enter the local diocesan seminary. In brief, over a lengthy period of time he was required to undergo more than a dozen interviews and assessments by a variety of feminist nuns, dissident clergy and Freudian psychologists until it became clear that the fobbing off would continue indefinitely until he went away. Around the same time that this candidate was being resolutely deterred from entering, a third year student at the seminary concerned explained to me why he was getting out. Apart from the theological and psychological claptrap he had been fed from day one (most of which was some distance beyond parody), he had observed openly homosexual behaviour and himself been propositioned by a 'gay' student wishing to engage in a bout of mutual masturbation. On duly reporting such perversion to the seminary superiors he was told in no uncertain terms to mind his own business and keep his mouth shut.
These two episodes encapsulate the oppressive control of the great majority of Western seminaries exercised by the Modernist hegemony for more than a generation: orthodox vocations snuffed out at pre-entry stage or, if they slip through the net, eventually squeezed out by the combined pressures of heterodoxy, heresy, psychological intimidation and homosexual harassment. The net effect has been an ecclesiastically contrived priest shortage - the so-called "vocations crisis" - enabling clergy high and low to push their liberal agenda for a Protestantised, lay-run Church. Last February we ran a short essay by Michael Rose revealing just how far this agenda has progressed in various American and Canadian dioceses, where "lay ministry teams" and nuns run an increasing number of parishes and a priest merely fronts up once a month to consecrate hosts for the next four weeks. The same Protestantisation is being eagerly pursued by the bishops of Scotland and England & Wales whose Modernist apparatchiks have long emptied their diocesan seminaries.
In his February article, Rose compared Protestantised priestless dioceses with the flourishing vocations and thriving seminaries in those dioceses headed by strong bishops faithful to the Church and prepared to confront dissent. He thereby amply demonstrated that there is a clear and simple choice in all of this. Just as dissent kills vocations, orthodoxy begets vocations: to wit, any bishop can easily end the self-imposed priest shortage and ensure a fully Catholic future for his diocese if he has the faith and the will: above all else, the will to reform his seminary and vocations office. In his new book, Goodbye! Good Men, Michael Rose sets out to underline this crucial point by revealing just how corrupt and corrupting US seminaries have become: for "vice has penetrated into many of them," as Alice von Hildebrand laments in the Foreword, and "those who do not condone vice are excluded."
IDEOLOGY AS RELIGION
Having interviewed 125 seminarians from 50 dioceses and 22 major seminaries, Rose has deftly sorted their experiences into chapters detailing:
Suffusing and connecting all the horrendous and often patently diabolic incidents related under these various headings is the notion of "ideology," in the most doctrinaire and oppressive sense of the word. Indeed, 'Ideology as Religion' might have been an even more appropriate title for this book.
These obstacles confront the orthodox candidate from the outset, starting with the initial interview with the vocations director and/or one of his team, a feminist priest or nun, whose heterodox or heretical beliefs either disgust the candidate to the point of his withdrawing from the selection process spontaneously, or put him on notice that his rejection is only a matter of time. After a lengthy interview of the secular "Do you like people?" genre, an applicant for a religious order was finally asked his only theology-related question: what he thought about the ordination of women. He answered that he would follow Church teaching on the subject. The vocations director simply replied, "if you don't believe in the ordination of women, then you don't belong in our order." Speaking for so many young men who have encountered this ideological brick wall at the first hurdle, the applicant recalled: "I left depressed. I wanted to live in Gospel poverty; I wanted to forsake wife and children to preach the teachings of Christ; I wanted to feed the poor with bread and eternal Truth. Yet all this vocations director cared about was the acceptance of their redundant political agenda."
Rose considers that in light of the clerical abuse crisis one can understand the taking of sexual matters into account in such evaluations, if only they were not used in an ideologically liberal and Freudian way to screen out the orthodox. However, his own book is testimony to the fact that regardless of the explosion of sexual abuse cases the whole area of psychological evaluation is so fraught with dangers, especially in the hands of ruthless ideologues, that one has to doubt the wisdom of continuing with psychological testing at all, except in clearly manifested cases of mental disorder. Both police and internal ecclesiastical checks are surely more effective and efficient means of detecting deviants than via psychological questionnaires crammed with bizarre questions from which arbitrary and damaging 'conclusions' are drawn. In one case, a diagnosis of "histrionic personality" and "severe sexual dysfunction" was made in respect of a seminarian who opposed homosexuality, on the basis of a couple of personality tests and a twenty-minute interview! Another psychologist reviewed the findings of this report and characterised it as "a violation of ethics" which would be "the kiss of death for anyone who is heterosexual and wants to be a priest." He also re-administered the test and found no evidence whatsoever of any "disorders." This is just one of numerous instances given in the book of how these tests and evaluations are used in grossly immoral and even criminal ways to discredit and smear orthodox men.
Despite the dreadful spiritual and mental cost, however, there are ominous signs that psychology is set to enter further into the mainstream of priestly formation. A recent article in the Catholic Herald [10/5/02] explained that an arch-Modernist Jesuit is at the centre of the push to further cement and institutionalise psychological testing and therapy both before and after entry into seminaries. Three years ago, psychotherapy enthusiast Archbishop Guiseppe Pittau, Rector emeritus of the Gregorian University and Secretary of the Congregation for Catholic Education, produced Guidelines For the Use of Psychology in the Admission and Formation of Candidates for the Priesthood. A pet project based on techniques he had implemented at the Gregorian, the Archbishop appears to have developed and pushed his Guidelines forward on his own initiative. Cardinal Ratzinger is believed to have been seriously unimpressed with the document and so it was re-worked and re-submitted last February, only to be even more sternly attacked by Curial officials and the likes of Cardinal Biffi of Bologna, who questioned its "content, purpose and authorisation." Full of psycho-babble describing vague qualities required by prospective seminarians, for example, it contains nothing concrete like the need for "intellectual aptitude, beliefs, practice, discipline and self-sacrifice." Conveniently disguised as a response to the scourges of homosexuality and paedophilia, the document is really an aggressive blueprint for continuous psychological control and manipulation of seminarians throughout their training: a tool, as the author of the article put it, for desperate, ageing Modernists to stamp out "the startling orthodoxy" they now find in "many young contemporary applicants to seminaries and religious houses."
In the meantime, however, beyond the cloistered confines of the Vatican hothouse and as voluminously documented in Goodbye! Good Men, the psychological abuse goes blithely on, scything down one orthodox vocation after another. Just ask the naïve young applicant who indicated to a diocesan psychologist his desire to bring souls to Christ by teaching orthodox Catholic doctrine and administering the sacraments. He was subsequently rejected by the vocations office because the psychologist assessed him as tending to be "inflexible and to have strict ideas about right and wrong" while suggesting that his approach to the priesthood was not "pastoral." The scheming Guiseppe Pittau would surely concur.
Bizarre and Dangerous
In true totalitarian fashion, having discarded notions of truth and goodness for the higher cause of defending the aims of their Modernist 'class,' liberal ideologues have not the slightest concern about the potentially crushing impact on the applicant of their psycho-religious distortions and lies. This inhumane ends-justifies-the-means mentality is highlighted repeatedly throughout the book. A young candidate "fully trusting in the Archdiocese's good will and the good will of the clinical professional who stood before me," undertook psychological tests involving 375 true-or-false questions such as: "Are you afraid of your penis?", "Do you feel there is a soft spot in the top of your head?" and "When you are asleep in your room at night does your soul leave your body and float around the room?" The subsequent eight-page report on his psychological health, elicited from such imbecilic queries and a few interviews, indicated "in no uncertain terms that I had serious psychological problems - grandiose, narcissistic, trouble distinguishing between reality and fantasy." The young man was further shocked to be told by the doctor that he should enter regular counselling. He insisted on taking the report home with him where he pored over it, deeply anxious that he might be genuinely ill. He then noted the doctor's explanations for the conclusions he had reached, which revealed that he had deliberately taken his statements out of context and "twisted a new meaning" into them. In light of the report the vocations director rejected his application and told him he was "'too rigid' and 'too focused' to be a priest." Determined to pin down his precise problem in the eyes of the director, the applicant was finally told that "'too rigid' meant that I took the Pope too seriously, and 'too focused' referred to my devotion to the Blessed Mother and my practice of St. Louis de Montfort's Marian spirituality."
The horrendous effect of all this on the applicant concerned is indicative of the psycho-spiritual agonies inflicted on countless young men over several decades. He recalled:
He was fortunate. Many others have surely lost their faith at the pre-entry stage.
Enduring similar ongoing psychological warfare by Modernist ideologues within the explosive confines of the seminary itself, however, exacerbates such pressures a hundred fold, not uncommonly leading to complete breakdown or even suicide.
Reflecting on his numerous classmates who understandably wilted in this intolerable environment and sooner or later left the seminary, Fr. Trigilio commented: "I actually saw vocations tortured and killed by those who were supposedly there to promote and foster vocations. [It was] a real persecution and systematic extermination of orthodoxy and manly piety so as to artificially create a climate for married and women clergy." Added a former seminarian: "liberal churchmen will seek to break the orthodox person. They will play with a man's vocation and with his life."
Indeed they will. One seminarian recounted that he was sent to a psychologist in his first year for defending Church teaching on homosexuality in Boston's very liberal St. John seminary. Accused of being a 'rigid homophobe,' he remained in therapy for three years. Eventually kicked out of the seminary, it took him two months of recuperation to get back on his feet again, emotionally and physically. "I was in bad shape," he said. "Very depressed, confused. I just figured that once I got to theology things would be better, that I wouldn't be under such a microscope. But when I got booted out, it just blew me out of the water." He was later accepted into another more orthodox seminary but found he was still traumatized by his experience at St. John's: "I wasn't ready to return to seminary. I was too demoralized. I had a hard time sleeping because I was so tense. I started having flashbacks. It was crazy. "
The sort of anti-intellectual, emotive, humanistic psychological counselling utilised is, of course, at complete odds with both the Church's teaching on the dignity of the human person and fundamental human rights as set out by the United Nations in its 1968 Declaration. The most manipulative and dangerous technique of all is group therapy, in which the seminarian is forced to lay bare his soul before his colleagues, expressing every past sin and grievance from every period of his life, urged on by a facilitator. The potential for psychological damage from these sessions is well documented. Men and women forced to reveal their most intimate biographical details in groups of this nature have not uncommonly taken their own lives as a result of the inner turmoil induced [cf. Psychocide: How to Kill a Culture by Michael Weber, CO, June/July 1998]
That this wicked use of dangerous psychological therapies on innocent and trusting young men is in fact an "anti-intellectual abuse of power," as one ex-seminarian labelled it, does not register with the clerical ideologue for whom black is now white. A man with teaching experience in several US seminaries stated that one vice-rector had confided to him that he thought the young, orthodox seminarians who desired some Eucharistic adoration each week were "dysfunctional." "He said we're going to send them away; we're going to force them to do therapy. He considered it 'anomalous and toxic behavior' for these guys to insist upon Eucharistic adoration. He thinks that the young, conservative guys are all part of an evil conspiracy … that they're out to sabotage the new Church. He believes their problems stem from repressed sexuality - or that they have some other fundamental emotional or psychological problem."
Thus do Modernist ideologues descend to hatred and paranoia by projecting their own 'anomalous and toxic' attitudes and behaviour onto faithful Catholics.
One particular incident, in a seminary with many homosexuals on its staff, sheds light on the underlying homosexual rage that fuels such diabolic behaviour. During a faculty meeting, a female philosophy professor simply quoted St. Thomas Aquinas (who taught that homosexuality was against natural law). "Suddenly one of the faculty priests, whom she knew to be homosexual, leapt up out of his chair, almost climbed atop the table and spit in her face. He told her, 'We are sick and tired around here of hearing about Thomas Aquinas. I don't want to hear his name again.' It took faculty members on either side of him to pull him away and restrain him."
Add to the physical threats the pervasive flirting and touching as well as the bitching and childish behaviour that characterise homosexual cliques, and you have a living hell for heterosexual students. It only takes a handful of homosexuals to severely disrupt the peace and harmony of a seminary, but in Rose's study the numbers of overt homosexuals in the seminaries concerned were estimated to constitute at least 30% and in some cases up to 60% of students and staff. A priest ordained at the age of 56 estimated that 40% of the students at his seminary for late vocations were "practicing homosexuals" (of whom those "frequenting the homosexual bars in Milwaukee" were merely informed by the rector that "prudence was necessary to avoid scandal"!). Rose found even deeper infiltration among the religious orders: "Once homosexuals come into the positions of authority in their orders and in their religious houses of formation it is difficult to attract and maintain even one heterosexual man in the order."
Alongside the homosexual vice and intimidation, 'gay' ideology is forced on heterosexual 'dissidents' whose rehabilitation is pursued KGB-style. A priest reflecting on his seminary days "explained that classes were conducted to orient the seminarians towards accepting homosexuals and their homosexuality as a viable lifestyle. 'Those heterosexuals who objected were singled out for psychiatric evaluation,' he wrote. 'The homosexuals were well organized,' he continued, 'and since they had the support of the seminary authorities, they openly intimidated us heterosexuals. I was told to attend a psychiatric course because I openly resisted their intimidation and their effort to have homosexuality accepted in the seminary'." Confirmed another priest: "... the dynamic paralleled the brain-washing strategies of the Communist re-education camps. Even the connotations of the terms 'rigid,' 'pre-conciliar,' 'anti-community' resonated with Communist terms like 'Capitalist,' 'bourgeois,' and 'anti-democratic'."
In treating all this and so much more about the daily struggle of the orthodox seminarian to stand firm in his faith against the most oppressive tactics of control and intimidation, Rose effectively explains not only why the seminarians are empty, but how and why clerical sexual abuse has burgeoned in our time. Quite simply, while the post-conciliar seminaries are famous for churning out heretics, they have also become magnets for active homosexuals and thus virtual factories for the delivery of sexual predators to the parish door. This is not surprising. Both commonsense and tragic experience point to the symbiotic link between heresy and perversion, the one feeding off the other. Which is not to say that every heretic is himself a homosexual or an abuser or that every homosexual is a sexual predator. However, what is clear is that clerical abuse figures will certainly rise or fall in direct proportion to the number of homosexuals ordained to the priesthood. The facts speak for themselves.
In November 1999, when debate over the threatened repeal of Britain's "Section 28" legislation (which prevented the teaching of homosexual propaganda in schools) was still on the boil, the late Cardinal Thomas Winning actually used the word "perversion" to describe homosexuality and indicated that it was "unsafe" for homosexuals to work with children. It was a rare and refreshing moment of plain-speech by a Catholic prelate on a genuinely controversial issue. Sadly, but true to form, the Cardinal immediately allowed his media spin-doctors to dilute his statement in the wake of a predictable public outcry. To counter this gutless backsliding, and as letters of vehement 'gay' protest poured in to the Scottish press, I wrote the following letter in support of the Cardinal's assessment to Scotland on Sunday. I reproduce it in full here since it not only answers the sort of erroneous objections which the 'gay' lobby and their fellow-travellers routinely trot out whenever the issue of homosexual abuse is raised, but also addresses the clear and present danger in which the Catholic faithful have been placed by the systematic shutting out and replacement of the Good Men with the 'gay' men:
(Incredibly, given the renowned pro-'gay' bias of the secular media, this provocative letter was actually printed in Scotland on Sunday! - followed by a deafening silence. Despite the heated temperature of debate over Section 28 and the regular, ferocious 'gay' rebuttals of every hint of opposition to their agenda, there was not a single letter of response published. It was, of course, unanswerable.)
Now, there is no dialoguing or soft-pedalling with ideologues. They must be met full on, faced down, removed from positions of influence and pushed back into the swamp. And since it is well established that not paedophilia but ephebophilia (libidinous obsession with male adolescents) is the nub of the sex abuse scandals, this means above all addressing the curse of clerical homosexuality. It means fearlessly confronting the powerful "lavender mafia" - the extensive homosexual network that controls much of America's ecclesiastical infrastructure and works in tandem with 'gay' activists and the omnipotent secular media to protect and further their liberal, anti-Catholic agenda [cf. The Homosexual Agenda, Fr. Enrique Rueda, 1982]. Which is precisely what the Vatican and US cardinals did not do at their mini-summit in April, preferring to omit the homosexual question from the Final Communique reportedly on the basis "that many in the US would be offended by attempts to draw a direct link between homosexuality and sex abuse." Indeed, as with Cardinal Winning in 1999, all hell would have broken loose if they had boldly declared the truth. And so what? It is way past time to expose the 'gay' lobby and their media lieutenants to the light and to stand firm and unwavering as they squeal with all their demonic fury.
That the opportunity to make this decisive point was studiously avoided by the same men who have overseen the descent of American seminaries to hotbeds of heresy and perversion and the simultaneous explosion of clerical abuse, is hardly surprising. As the excellent Rod Dreher of National Review Online pointed out: "the need to avoid the 'elephant in the sacristy [the fact that the vast majority of priest sexual abusers are homosexuals],' in Mary Eberstadt's memorable phrase, is perhaps the only point on which the bishops and the media agree."
However you look at it, in other words, the proposed Vatican-led inspection of the US seminaries seems like a non-event waiting to happen. At very best one senses that it might produce an ineffectual reform document - like Ex Corde Ecclesiae, the excellent 1990 Apostolic Constitution issued by the Pope to ensure that theologians teach Catholic doctrine at Catholic colleges and universities, but which prelates like Cardinal Law of Boston (up to his neck in heinous abuse cases) still refuse to vigorously enforce. At worst, one foresees yet another whitewash, after the fashion of the previous Marshall Committee investigation into US seminaries which Rose helpfully recounts. Initiated by John Paul II over twenty years ago as a supposed "Vatican investigation" but effectively undertaken by the US bishops, it was a total sham which smugly confirmed the thoroughly corrupt status quo. "Here indeed was a failure," commented philosopher Ralph McInerney, "and by churchmen, who had to make a determined effort not to acquaint themselves with the facts they were supposedly investigating." The same episcopal churchmen who, as Rose reminds us, had repeatedly turned away pleas for help from persecuted seminarians over many years and who are now organising this next Apostolic Visitation.
Representative of the outlook of these veritable anti-Apostles is Bishop Joseph Adamec of the small Altoona-Johnstown Diocese. Immediately following the cosy April summit in Rome, he twisted teaching in the Catechism to rationalise his acceptance of homosexual seminarians - insisting that celibacy, not "sexual orientation," is the important factor. The liberal psychologist he uses to assess his seminary candidates also chipped in to decry Goodbye! Good Men, in which he is mentioned, insisting that "ultra" right-wing Catholics are trying to scapegoat homosexuals in a McCarthyite way and referring to them as "the Catholic Taliban"! What is that if not the sneering propaganda of a neo-Modernist totalitarian desperate to protect the decadent and rotten fruits of the post-conciliar revolution?
And as a further measure of the almost nil chance of meaningful reform, consider the following report on the June meeting of the US Bishops' in Dallas at which plans were drawn up to tackle the abuse crisis. Penned by a 'gay' activist for homosexual "information" group Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation which was monitoring the meeting, it was posted on the GLAAD website on 15 June:
This near wholesale, chilling rebuff of Bishop Bruskewitz in favour of homosexual vocations reveals the depth and breadth of the episcopal rot, which is by no means limited to Modernist ideologues. Australia's "conservative" Archbishop George Pell, who has publicly denied homosexual activists Communion and consistently upheld Church teaching on homosexuality, is representative of many allegedly half-decent bishops who hold to the view that there is nothing wrong with homosexual priests as long as they refrain from homosexual activity [The Australian, 13/5/2001]. This plays into the hands of the 'gay' lobby every bit as much as the pervasive use of ideological and fraudulent words like "homophobia" and "sexual orientation" - terms that litter episcopal statements everywhere but which have been popularised by the 'gays' to divert attention from the compulsive and addictive perversion of sodomy. Instead of getting carried away with false compassion and the socio-political pressures of the day, prelates like Pell need to start reading the documents of the Church they were consecrated under God to defend, starting with the Instruction on the Choice and Formation of Candidates to the States of Perfection and Holy Orders , which the Holy Father's spokesman Dr. Joaquin Navarro Valls has recently and vigorously re-affirmed. Concluding a list of faults and vices which exclude a candidate from following a vocation, the Instruction states:
At this point it also needs stating that not even traditional seminaries have strictly heeded this directive, as The Seduction of the Society of St. John elsewhere in this edition graphically illustrates. Traditionalists who smugly assume that their seminaries are immune from the Modernist-led disease of homosexual infiltration should think again. With the signal advantage of forming priests under the Old Mass, traditional seminaries provide a certain protection against deviants compared with their Novus Ordo counterparts. But only to the extent that the superiors, spiritual directors and teaching staff are carefully selected and that they, in turn, are careful in the selection and vetting of candidates (certainly not the case in many traditionalist seminaries) and uncompromising and summary in their dealing with perversion once discovered. The clear evidence that the homosexual infiltration commenced well before the Council should also give pause for reflection.
For a long time during Cardinal Hume's decidedly pro-'gay' tenure [see Godfather to the Gays, CO, February 1997], Westminster's Allen Hall seminary was "like a brothel," as past students phrase it. One priest who made it through jokes that during his first week at Allen Hall he received more propositions to go bed than at any other time in his life! Seminarians would sneak out through a back entrance in order to visit a gay bar nearby. Others are said to have solicited 'gay' prostitutes on Kings Road. These particular practices were stopped in the early '90s by a new rector, one of several sent in to Allen Hall over the years to sort out the ongoing homosexual problem. In the 2000/01 academic year nearly 20 students left or were expelled but an ex-seminarian estimated that despite this clean-out between a quarter to a third of the remaining seminarians were 'gay' - and these were encouraged at great length in a lecture series on psychology and sexuality to embrace their homosexuality!
As for the rampant homosexual debauchery in the English College in Rome and the ready acceptance of homosexuals at St. John's seminary in Wonersh, it was all paraded for public consumption on last year's Channel 4 documentary Queer and Catholic, as outlined in the January 2002 Christian Order. And yet, rather than being kicked all the way up the Wonersh driveway and dumped on his dissident backside outside the front gate for disgracing the Church on national TV with his fulsome acceptance of homosexual seminarians in open defiance of Church teaching, the rector of St. John's, Fr. Kevin Haggerty, will probably be kicked upstairs to a bishopric instead! If so, he will surely find himself in sympathetic company, as one of his few orthodox heterosexual seminarians knows well enough! Several years ago, upon answering the front door to the seminary the young man found himself confronted by a camp bishop who gushed: "Oh, you vision of loveliness! You've got the most beautiful blue eyes!" Startled and shaken by the experience, he had no doubt it was a form of sexual harassment. The mincing bishop concerned is also a bona fide heretic, as the head of a Vatican Congregation once pointed out after reading one of his ecumenical statements, and prelates of his ilk have clearly played a major part in compromising their British peers on the issue of homosexuality. Numerous incidents attest to it. Some more public than others.
Last year's CAFODGATE scandal was the most blatant indication for some time of the depth of episcopal complicity in the 'gay' agenda, with two bishops openly supporting the anniversary celebration of a homosexual "partnership" between a radical 'gay' activist (an ex-priest) and the Director of the episcopate's overseas aid agency, while the priest in charge of the Ushaw seminary offered the blasphemous Mass. Meanwhile, behind the scenes, one encounters even more revealing and sinister incidents such as that related to me following publication of the February 1997 Christian Order, which was largely devoted to the manner in which Cardinal Hume and his brother bishops were constantly undermining and compromising Church teaching on homosexuality and kowtowing to the 'gay' lobby. I subsequently received two memorable phone calls. One, understandably enough, from a member of Hume's 'gay' cheer squad incandescent with rage about the expose in general and my article (Cardinal Hume and the Judas Complex) in particular. The other, more disturbingly, from a doctor, an episcopal advisor, who confirmed the CO analysis of episcopal complicity in the homosexual infiltration of the Church in Britain. He had become aware that one of his patients, a seminarian on the verge of ordination, was a predatory homosexual who had molested another of his patients. The doctor informed the bishop concerned and advised him that this man was clearly unsuitable for the priesthood. Instead of ready acceptance of his advice, however, he met implacable resistance and was effectively warned off from making any trouble about the matter. Deeply upset by this threatening response and anxious about the impending ordination, he was at a complete loss what to do. Ultimately, I could only provide a list of relevant curial addresses and suggest that he urgently contact the Vatican. Whether he did or not, I think we can safely presume that the ordination went ahead.
The latest revelations of how Irish bishops ignored complaints of sexual harassment made against the former President of St. Patrick's College in Maynooth, Monsignor Michaeal Ledwith, merely confirm the shocking truth behind the episcopal impasse: that most Western bishops and Religious superiors are too liturgically, doctrinally and/or morally corrupted on a personal level and certainly too compromised and self-interested at the corporate level to even envisage, let alone desire genuine reform of their seminaries and houses of formation.
In 1983 and 1984, six senior seminarians at Maynooth, deeply concerned about then vice-president Ledwith's abuse of junior seminarians, met with and explicitly detailed their concerns to each of nine bishops, to no avail. They were advised to "go back and say your prayers," or reminded that Ledwith was "a distinguished theologian." Even one bishop who did later take up their cause was "frustrated in his efforts to have the matter dealt with by other bishops." The senior dean of the College at the time also conveyed the seminarians' concerns to the bishops after they turned to him for protection. For his trouble he was shipped out of the seminary and, in his own words, "demoted and humiliated," while Ledwith was promoted to President of the College.
Ledwith suddenly resigned in 1994, just after he was accused of sexual abuse of a minor, receiving a £77,000 pay-off to boot, topped off with "a massive gratuity." The bishops involved in the cover-up include every prominent member of the Irish hierarchy. They are still in denial about their complicity and unconscionable handling of the matter and are digging an ever deeper and potentially catastrophic hole for themselves and the Irish Church. Meantime, the picture of wickedness and corruption gradually emerging about Maynooth (a retreat director advocating gay marriages; drunken binges; students carrying condoms or engaging in homosexual activity; etc., etc.) is shaping up as a chapter to rival the worst in Rose's book.
The parish priest in charge of St. Andrew's, Dublin, the largest church in Ireland, who is "bewildered" by the behaviour of the bishops in the Ledwith affair, has stated that "he definitely would not advise any relation of his to attend an Irish seminary." In the present climate, every orthodox seminary candidate in the West should take that advice generally to heart and be extremely wary about their final choice of institution. The spiritual, intellectual, emotional, psychological and physical stakes are high. Certainly, every English and Scottish seminary should be avoided like the plague, regardless of a smattering of orthodox staff and courses on offer in some. For those who decide to chance their arm on a 50/50 proposition believing they will see it through, however, maturity becomes a prime consideration. As a friend and father recently wrote to me: "I would not encourage any son of mine to enter until he was at least 24 or so and mature enough to stand up for himself if necessary." Even then, aside from pervasive feminist and homosexual agendas, the pressure to conform to distorted thinking under a deluge of liberal Protestant theology and scripture scholarship can be overwhelming, and those who resist complete indoctrination have to live a lie by constantly regurgitating the heretical answers that heretical professors want to hear. Hardly ideal preparation for the priesthood. One cleric recounted to Rose that at his seminary many seminarians lost their faith in this environment, and he admitted: "I had to do this [give false answers] for the entire four years, which meant that I didn't come away from there completely unscathed - the system left a scar on everyone." Be warned.
Of course, until we find more uncompromising leaders like Bishop Bruskewitz of Nebraska - prelates willing to fill their seminaries through complete fidelity to Pope and Magisterium [see What Vocations Crisis? and A Self-imposed Shortage, CO, February 2002] - everything, especially the forming of priests in the mould of the holy Cure, remains problematic. And yet while everyone is talking about "zero tolerance" for sexual abusers, Western episcopates will never boast sufficient Bruskewitzes to address the roots of such heinous crimes and all our myriad post-conciliar abuses until a papal "zero tolerance" policy is adopted towards corrupt and faithless prelates who daily break their sacred vows to defend and promote the Faith. Had John Paul chosen to act in this determined vein during the twenty-five tumultuous years of his pontificate, he would by now have transformed the face of the Church (most certainly within the United Kingdom). Instead, desirous of being all things to all men and choosing to appease, praise and even honour the liberals, he has regularly elevated renowned Modernists around the globe, thereby compounding the very scandals and crimes he condemned in April before the party of visiting American cardinals - all princes of his making and many, like Bernard Law of Boston and arch-Modernist Roger Mahony of Los Angeles, culpable on too many counts to mention. Whether the Holy Father saw the shameful irony in this situation is another thing.
Until very recently, John Paul's self-defeating modus-operandi and his significant episcopal contribution to the Western collapse was not a topic raised in polite Catholic company. Blanket media coverage of the abuse saga and the release of Goodbye! Good Men, however, has concentrated orthodox minds and made realists of many neo-Ultramontanes. These hitherto 'Papal Quietists' are finally questioning the preposterous Modernist propaganda, recycled endlessly by the press, that John Paul has stacked the episcopate and the Sacred College with "conservatives"! Thus, when the influential American monthly Catholic World Report adorned the cover of its March 2002 issue on the sex abuse scandals with a striking image of a bishop slumped and dozing on his episcopal throne, I took the opportunity to send the following (published) corrective. It is, too, a corrective I would make to Michael Rose's expertly compiled, sobering and valuable record of contemporary decay: since, as the contents of his book so forcefully signify, we overlook the steadfast refusal to wield sovereign papal power against episcopal mutineers and hirelings at our peril: