Friday, 8 March 2013

A new order is needed for the seminaries

                                Every seminarian should be taught this

Not a new monastic order but a new order with regard to teaching how to celebrate the Extraordinary Form of Mass.

It is of no use looking to the parish priests to change their ways.
There is no way that the bulk of current parish priests will undertake to learn how to celebrate the old Mass and it would be a fruitless and divisive exercise to compel them to do so.

An attitude of mind is as necessary as an awareness of the actions and tone of the Latin Mass - so, write off the old guard.

But, in the seminaries it is a nonsense that a six or seven year programme designed to equip young men for the priesthood, deliberately omits one half of the Mass content; the EF Mass.

It is clearly a nonsense to have two forms of the Mass but only to teach the Ordinary Form.

Could you imagine a syllabus for the priesthood that omits philosophy or theology?

No, of course not. It would be ludicrous.

To only offer the Ordinary Form of Mass was surely not in Pope Benedict XVI's mind when he issued  Summorum Pontificum.

The Pope Emeritus never issued a statement or made an address without the concept and the consequences being clearly thought through.

While many castigate him for his Regensberg address on Islam it had the effect of lancing the politically correct boil that would not admit a discussion on Islam let alone any form of criticism.

Summorum Pontificum was clearly designed to right the wrong and to set free the Latin Mass that had been enshrined in the realm of forbidden territory for 50 years - so why is it not part of the training programme?

Of course, we all know why, but what to do?

Perhaps we need a lobby group to organise Rosary sessions outside the Diocesan HQs much in the style that the 40 Days for Life people pray outside abortuaries.

A group that will ginger up the Bishops and embarass them into action (they fear adverse media coverage more than they fear old Nick).

Who will undertake this role?  Would the Latin Mass Society get to grips with this initiative?

It might give them a much needed raison d'etre - they must have a function other than arranging Mass schedules and publishing unreadable magazines.


  1. Before that we need a foolproof way of ensuring that only sound moral theology books are used, and that truthful lists are submitted to Rome. One moral Prof told me he just leaves certain books off the list he has to submit to Rome.
    I know one Archbishop who resented that the seminary professors had to submit any list!

  2. These two things need to be done together. Hope in the Pope. Please read Vatican Insider,6,Mar. 2013, Cardinal Rai, The Conclave From A Middle Eastern Perspective .

  3. Apologie. vaticaninsider.lastampa. Click on inquiries and interviews. -for Cardinal Rai Conclave and Middle East

  4. Richard, I like your post today at Blessed Titus: Alice Thomas Ellis .

  5. Without doubt the priesthood should be trained in the Latin rite because without doubt this is a move of the Holy Spirit. This is also demonstrated by the slowly growing number of youth that are joining Juventutem across Europe. No one is forcing them to do it.

    However, what with well known stories of 'bed hopping' in seminaries there is a need for other reforms.

    Beyond this what worries me the most is that the priests I know of in the Nottingham Disocese (particularly Lincolnshire) seem to not have an understanding for the need for pastoral work in the community. They will leave the presbytery if someone is in hospital or needs the last rites, but there seems to be a desperate lack of skills when it comes to going to parishioners houses when there has been a family tragedy. It is almost as if they have only been trained to be Sacrement dispensers. There is nothing wrong with this, but when it becomes the sole aspect of the vocation then this is worrying.

    What we have found at St. Mary's Loyth is that people do not seem to want to talk about spirituality or Catholicism (beyond the basics), however, when you make time to speak to them they soon start opening up and almost seem relieved that some one will go in to more depth. There is a desperate need for priests to open up and give more pastoral and spiritual guidance. It is as if this aspect is never taught in seminaries. Or am I wrong?

    There seems to be a need for root and branch reform of the seminaries.

  6. The local Churches have never applied the letter of Canon law in respect of the ordination of homosexuals. They never needed to because the Western secular states were “anti-homosexual” as reflected in civil law (up until the 1960’s at least) or through social stigma which still existed until the 1980’s. This placed the Church in the luxurious position of ‘turning a blind eye’ to homosexual priests. This luxury no longer exists and Church authorities are now totally confused by the issue. I have zero confidence in the latter going forward.

  7. Dear Sir,

    I think you have hit the nail on the head. I'm a postulant at a Seminary in the U.S.A. and I confess that I'm much dismayed at the apparent lack on interest in giving seminarians a grounding in Latin and the Extraordinary Form. Ironically, among my classmates, and indeed, I believe among the wider seminarian community, there is strong interest in preserving the Extraordinary Form, not only for itself, but because we feel knowledge of it will increase our understanding of, and reverence for, the Ordinary Form. Unfortunately, our formation programme does not only not emphasise this aspect of the Church, but completely ignores it. I for one, would love to see things altered, but as a seminarian, one feels somewhat powerless and not in a position to question his formation superiors. However, keep praying that things will change; there are young men out there who want to preserve the full, complete and orthodox views of the Catholic Church.

  8. The number one priority of the next pope should be to vigorously enforce the existing discipling of not allowing men with same-sex-attraction disorder from being ordained. The 2005 Vatican Instruction states this clearly, and Benedict XVI said the same thing in Light of the World, pages 152-153.

  9. To the anonymous postulant: Please keep the faith and know I and many are praying for you and your brother seminarians. At this time the modernists are in control, with all their novelties and heterodox teaching, but hopefully the day will come when Catholics who love Christ and the traditions of His Holy Church will be the ones in charge of seminaries and the Extraordinary Form of the Mass once again is restored as the Ordinary Form. The Catholic Church has battled against Arianism, Pelangianism, Gnosticism, Protestantism and now we are in the throes of a great battle against Modernism, the synthesis of all heresies St. Pope Pius X warned of. Domine, miserere nobis. +JMJ+

  10. Dear Richard,
    I think there are far greater problems to deal with than whether EF mass or OF is practised. The Catholic Church is struggling to keep morale high with priests, bishops etc being accused of child abuse, homosexuality, bed hopping amongst priests and sexual misconduct. Some changes need to be made - I am not an advocate for priests getting married , but all this behaviour is indicating that they crave some contact with people beyond the love god.

  11. Mary, the change that needs to be made to effect a return to spirituality is the general provision of the EF Mass. Attendance (or celebration) of this Mass goes a long way to strengthening against all sin. It is a false premise to act on the basis that, just because the flesh craves for something, the rules should be bent to allow it. God bless. Richard

  12. First of all, I taught in a seminary in the States; secondly, I have a seminarian son. I have a lot of knowledge about seminarians and seminaries and can tell you that in America, the situation is MUCH worse than in England.

    The strictures in place for young men coming into the seminaries are good in Great Britain. However, in America, too many young men are still being accepted who are homosexuals. I know this. As to pedophiles, I think the horrible chain of self-selection has been finally broken.

    As to the EF, the situation, again is MUCH worse in the States, where the men do not even have to learn Latin in many of the seminaries, as they can choose Spanish as an alternative and most do.

    Also, many seminaries never or rarely have the EF. Most sems who want the EF in the States have to be quiet and be at submarine level concerning their interest.

    Here, the tolerance level is greater, although the situation is far from perfect.

    The VAST majority of sems in the States and here are more conservative than their teachers. Everyone knows this. These men are from the Benedict XVI generation and not the John Paul II or Paul VI generation. Things will change, slowly.

    But here is the real problem in both nations: the replacement rate is way below what is needed. So, the laity who do not encourage the vocations which are in the families, selfishly, as John Bosco stated that one out of every four boys has a vocation, and the men who say no to God are causing a severe shortage.

    I am a TLM person, but never mind discussing the EF or the NO. Many places will not even have Mass or the sacraments regularly within 20 years here and within 5 years in the States, and within 2 years of my home diocese, which in 2015 will have 15 priests for 100,000 Catholics.

  13. PS bad Catholics contracepting have also caused the vocation crisis.