HOW SEMINARIES HAVE CONTRIBUTED TO CHURCH CRISIS.

As seminary professors, we have looked upon the last several months of revelations about clergy sex abuse, cover-ups, and institutional infighting with the same disgust and sadness as our sisters and brothers—but we are not surprised. Though we honor and support the many good people who work and study in seminaries, we know that seminaries have played a significant role in the church’s current crisis. It is essential to understand how priests and thus, ultimately, bishops are formed, especially the way they are enculturated into clericalism from their first days in seminary. It is the air they breathe there.

Clericalism in seminary formation is explicitly singled out as a problem in the Synod on Youth’s final document, approved in late October 2018, and it affects everyone in the church—it is a systemic and widespread problem. While not new in church history, of course, it is a particularly pressing concern during this time of scandal. Pope Francis has repeatedly targeted clericalism as the great enemy of ordained ministry today. You can easily see the career-climbers he warns about in seminaries. If you want to learn how to work your way into the clerical caste, watch these men. They are learning Italian, wearing cufflinks and cassocks, and don’t at all mind being called “Father,” even though they are still in studies. Along with our colleagues in other formation programs, we have easily singled out seminarians with scarlet fever: while there may be few vocations to the priesthood, there are plenty of ambitious young men aiming for a bishop’s miter.

Clericalism can be thought of as a type of exceptionalism. Seminarians soon learn that the rules and standards, such as mastery of course material, do not really apply to them. As lay faculty members we have both been told, “You don’t vote on our advancement or ordination,” which falls just short of saying “so you don’t matter.” We have had discussions with seminarians who struggle with drinking or drugs and sexual activity that they commit or observe around them. Some are sexually harassed in the seminary, a problem that the case of ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick has brought to much needed attention. There are few consequences for any of this.

Seminarians know that, given the shortage of priests in the United States, it won’t be long after they’re ordained that they’ll be pastors with a parish of their own. We often heard conversations in the lunchroom that indicated as much: “When I’m pastor, I’m going to put my place on the map.” We heard very little talk of service or shared leadership, collegial relations with parish councils, or facilitating the talents of parishioners. The parish, it was clear, belonged to the pastor and not the people. Once, Cardinal Francis George explained to a group of seminarians in Chicago that Pope Benedict XVI stressed that the role of the priest and bishop was governance, not leadership. This was not unusual. Seminarians are fed a consistent message: their role is to rule over the laity and the religious as a result of their ontological change at ordination, not as a result of their virtue, knowledge, or model behavior. They are being trained to be autocratic bosses, not servant leaders.

One suggested reform, then, is to make an explicit effort to keep seminarians as the lay people they are. The goal of a seminarian’s path is ordination, but until ordination to the diaconate, that seminarian is a lay man. Why are they wearing cassocks and a Roman collar before then? When we asked that question of seminarians and priests on faculty, we were repeatedly told, “So they will get used to it.” Nonsense. This practice amounts to training in clerical condescension and strutting more often than not. It reinforces the hierarchy of vocations that still plagues the church—indicated by the way we say that a former priest is “reduced” to the lay state.

We believe a further step should be taken as well: seminaries should not be strictly and exclusively under the control of the bishop.

But an even more important reform in seminary education and, in turn, parish life, would be to mix men and women in classes. If that sounds radical, it is precisely what the Synod on Youth’s final document proposes: the joint formation of laity, consecrated religious, and priests.

Separating men and women can lead to hypermasculinity and a focus on the “otherness” of priests. This was especially fostered during John Paul II’s papacy, with its near-cult of the priesthood. It also contributes to a related problem nearly as long-standing as the structured church itself: institutional misogyny. We have witnessed seminarians going on and on about how they must keep custody of their eyes so as not to be tempted by women seeking to steal their celibacy. It is the modern version of the ancient Madonna-whore complex. It only takes a few minutes of observing these men in social situations to realize many have no idea how to interact professionally with women.

Mixing men and women, especially in classes, is good ecclesiology and good economics. Many seminaries have already realized that the law of supply and demand dictates that more attention needs to be paid to ministry programs for lay people. Professors cost money, so why not have one course section with one teacher teaching a mixed group of men and women? Given the number of adults who pursue advanced degrees and certificates, it makes no sense to reserve classes just for those who might end up ordained priests. A New Testament class is a New Testament class.

Having women and men sit side by side in formation programs also offers significant intellectual and spiritual benefits. Surely a woman’s voice in a classroom discussion of Scripture will expose a seminarian to ideas and perspectives not his own. And won’t that woman be interpreting, explaining, and applying Scripture in RCIA and other formation programs in her parish? Even in more specialized situations—say, a practicum in preaching and penance—wouldn’t it be helpful for seminarians to hear the perspectives of women as they consider what makes for an enriching homily, or as they prepare to encounter parishioners in the confessional and in sacramental preparation, especially for marriage?

A closed caste teaching a closed caste does nothing but further divide the church. Good priestly formation means men must learn to interact with lay men and women in healthy, professional, and respectful ways. This formation can start in classroom learning as fellow students. Seminary training should also deliberately include supervised apostolic experiences under a lay person’s authority. There must also be sisters along with married and single people teaching their specialties (and paid a living wage with medical benefits so that they can support a family).

This leads to another suggested reform: the professional opinions of religious sisters and lay professors, professionals, and supervisors must be taken into real account when voting on whether a seminarian will proceed in formation and eventually to ordination. Their input must be deliberative and not merely consultative—that is, it must really count. Moreover, a seminary’s board of trustees must have lay members who, again, have deliberative and not simply consultative votes that the bishop is free to ignore. It must be clear to the bishop that even if canon law says he can do what he wants, that may be a bad idea if all or most of the board and formation team vote against a candidate. The Synod on Youth’s final document recommends that women be on seminary formation teams. It does not specify whether or not they should be voting members, though the synod called for greater decision-making authority for women at all levels of the church.

We believe a further step should be taken as well: seminaries should not be strictly and exclusively under the control of the bishop. There needs to be a deliberative board consisting of members of the laity and religious that can regularly and independently audit the seminaries to ensure compliance with standards. Audits, assessments, and accreditations must be reported in a public forum so that people know whether the bishop or seminary is doing intellectual, spiritual, pastoral, and human formation properly. If the bishop fails to do as he should, his right to govern the seminaries needs to be taken away from him and given to a prudent person. If this sounds extreme, it is a paraphrase of canon 30 of the Fourth Lateran Council (1215):

It is very serious and absurd that prelates [bishops] of churches, when they can promote suitable men to ecclesiastical benefices, are not afraid to choose unworthy men who lack both learning and honesty of behavior and who follow the urgings of the flesh rather than the judgment of reason. Nobody of sound mind is ignorant of how much damage to churches arises from this…. Therefore he who has been found guilty after a first and second correction is to be suspended from conferring ecclesiastical benefices by the provincial council, and a prudent and honest person is to be appointed at the same council to make up for the suspended person’s failure.

The laity in every diocese should have a formal role in ending the practice of moving unfit men from seminary to seminary until they find one that will testify they are worthy of ordination. The synod’s final document warns specifically against wandering seminarians (seminaristi vaganti). There is a policy requiring a two-year period after a seminarian is formally dismissed before he can enter another program, but because seminaries rarely formally dismiss men, technically the rule is rarely violated. The failure to formally dismiss students allows bishops to move them immediately to other seminaries. In the eleventh century, St. Peter Damian declared that no priest is better than a bad priest, but today just the opposite sentiment seems to hold sway.

A final suggestion involves John Paul II’s 1992 apostolic exhortation on seminary formation, Pastores dabo vobis, which presents high standards in terms of admissions, behavior, and academics. Consider, however, that the current edition of the American bishops’ Program for Priestly Formation still states only that the admissions process “ought” to give sufficient attention to the emotional health of the applicants, that candidates “should” give evidence of having interiorized their seminary formation as evidenced by their ability to work with women and men, that seminarians “should not” be excused from pursuing accredited degrees, and that seminarians “should not” be advanced if they lack positive qualities for formation. Since bishops can and do offer dispensations from anything that is not mandatory, we maintain that those “oughts” and “shoulds” need to be turned to “musts”—and then firmly patrolled.

Make no mistake: seminaries made sense when they were created at the Council of Trent in the sixteenth century, but they are less than a quarter as old as the church itself. Their programs must not be set in stone, as unyielding as the fortresses where they are currently housed. Seminaries still have a role to play; they should not be abolished. But they should no longer be factories for clericalism, elitism, and misogyny, as they too often still are. It is long past time for fundamental reform.

C. Colt Anderson, is professor of Christian Spirituality at Fordham University. He taught at Chicago’s Mundelein Seminary (1999–2008) and Washington Theological Union, where he also served as the Vice President of Academic Affairs (2008–2012). He was a member of two seminary visitations in 2005. Christopher M. Bellitto, is professor of History at Kean University, and taught at New York’s St. Joseph’s Seminary/Dunwoodie and its lay Institute of Religious Studies (1995–2001). He was part of a contentious layoff of faculty at Dunwoodie

106 thoughts on “HOW SEMINARIES HAVE CONTRIBUTED TO CHURCH CRISIS.

  1. The ceremonies from Maynooth were absolutely dreadful. They seemed to think that it was enough to have a beautiful college chapel (and it is beautiful), but it just wasn’t enough. The quality of the singing was atrocious and the aesthetics of the choir garb was drab. There were only a few seminarians, which is fair enough, but the lay unisex members which augmented the dwindling seminary choir had a ‘uniform’ of black suit, black jacket and baby blue tie for the men and the cheapest looking old fashioned multicolored scarf for the women. It looked like the John Player Tops of the Town in 1980. It was a disgusting ensemble and not suited to a church choir. The Church has had the benefit of some of the most famous composers in the world who wrote music especially for it and for its major feasts, instead we were treated to dreadful sounding pieces by John O’ Keefe and a few others. Perhaps if we were used to hearing them – and maybe we will be over the years to come – they would have sounded better, but on the night it felt like having to listen to songs one doesn’t want to listen to during the Eurovision while waiting for the Irish Entry.
    The sermon by the president was preached quite well, and he came across as a nice man and it was well delivered and was the only saving grace of the whole ceremony. For decades seminarians would guide people to communion at such events, and again – due to falling numbers – this stewarding was carried out by stewards who were definitely seen and acted like bouncers pointing and directing and calling and stopping. It was a mess and took from the solemnity of the occasion. Maynooth is well and truly dead of the Easter Vigil is anything to go by. Sex scandals have not killed Maynooth, apathy has. Nobody seemed to think that a ceremony needs planning and once again I refer people to mass in Sligo on St Patrick’s Day with chief celebrant, Niall Ahern. Maynooth the other night seemed to think that once it had the bells and whistles of the beautiful college chapel it was ok, it wasn’t. It actually looked like a bad student attempt. It’s on the RTE player if anyone is interested.

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    1. It was busier than Pat’s Oratory I suspect?

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      1. Business is not central. The presence of the Lord is.

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    2. Yesterday and today’s blogs are both eye-opening and depressing.
      All this faux concern about victims and the laity and the poor, yet hundreds massacred at Easter because they dared celebrate Christ’s resurrection and not one reference to it here – just inane, self-absorbed drivel and base sexual leching. Pitiful.

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    3. Do you think that God is bothered about what they are wearing sweet cheeks? Get a life.

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    4. At 12:16 a.m.
      The musings of a sterile dilettante before she retired for the night.

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    5. Fr Surlis, the Rector, has a fine singing voice and has aged well. He’s troubled by the fact that he will be the one in place when it closes for good. Fr Mullaney hopes to sail on in the Pontifical University though the demand for theology courses is falling year on year. Maynooth will be kept going by the bishops even without the seminary as it is very lucrative.
      A few years ago I made Freedom of Information requests which revealed that Maynooth University pays €6.5m annually in rent to the bishops, there is another €1m from the B&B business and even Trocaire pays €100k rent to occupy a floor in Long Corridor.

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  2. How does following the Nazarene square with the practice of clericalism. Answer is that it doesn’t . Clericalism is the complete antithesis of Christianity . Is it any wonder that the RC church is in meltdown when it is Christ based in name only. All this garbage about bishops, cardinals and even the pope wearing the finest attire rather than concentrating on the true message of Christ is an insult to Jesus himselfp

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  3. What is he quoting the so-called ‘YouthSynod’ for?! Sure everybody knows that was a stitch up. Francis wrote the conclusions and all sorts of stuff was put in which he wanted even thoughithadn’tevenbeen discussedat the synod. It was a fix.

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    1. 12:07 a.m.
      You have your facts wrong. Are you a right-wing American?
      The fact is that synods under Francis are real synods. Unlike what he inherited, when reports were written before delegates even arrived.

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      1. @12.45
        It’s actually the exact opposite.
        Are you a globalist cuck from the eu colony of the R.O. I?
        BTW “unlike what” should actually read “unlike that which.”
        But you do seem slow as to what’s what.

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  4. We can search all we like for answers to explain all kinds of problems within the Church. The real problem is the inability to own responsibility for wrongs, hurts and abuses of the past. Unless we actually express truthfully that as an institution we got it very, very wrong in treating certain groups of people – unmarried mothers, gay people, children and vulnerable young adults and older, separated people, cohabiting couples…The Church in its unbridled power and authority set the norms of morality with the support and acquiesence of government and society. The agencies of the state, political, medical and law made decisions about people and deemed them unsuitable or an embarrassment that they were locked behind all kinds of gates and doors. The religious were not properly qualified or supervised in carrying out their work which we now know was a grave error. We placed 100’s of children, teenage mothers and vulnerable women into subhuman conditions, out of sight, yet there were whispered conversations about what went on inside these places. Of course the relugious should have provided safety, care and nourishment at every level and acted un a sourut if Chrust like caring. That didn’t happen and it was common knowledge. It is a horrendous stain on our collective memory that church and state worked so negligently, one with absolute power, the other glad that the problems were shifted off to these workhouses and supposed places of refuge. Out of sight, out of mind! Even today, we see that some people are feeling shame for their towns where these institutions existed and are resisting calls for information to be given. Re: seminaries. Somehow I feel I received a reasonably good seminary training in late 70’s, with the emphasis being on personal responsibility. I did not have any sense of clericalism, though I saw much evidence of it as a priest. I resisted it instinctively and still do. I try to do all things by asking what would Christ do ….Any “isms” haven’t been good for society once unchallenged and unquestioned..

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    1. I would be interested in another aspect of seminary in the seventies. I have read that after Vatican 2 the idea was spread that priestly celibacy would soon be abolished. This was in an article about abuse in Holland, but it implied that the idea of celibacy soon ending was more general. The article explicitly stated that because this idea was so general, and openly talked of, many men entered priesthood with no intention of remaining celibate because everyone thought the requirements would soon be lifted. I would be interested to hear whether at your seminary the idea was current that celibacy would soon no longer be required and if this influenced the candidates accepted and their behaviour? Thanks.

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      1. Good luck, with obligatory celibacy!

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      2. @9.16am
        There is some truth in what you say – but the retention of obligatory celibacy when viewed from that angle is just accountable for the vast number of priests who left the priesthood. Even for those who stayed there have been affairs. But make no mistake: the circumstances you refer to are not explanations for child abuse. Indeed when you consider many of the worst abusers you would be considering many people formed pre-Vatican II.

        In some ways I think Vat II was an attempt to integrate the world into church life as a solution to the dominant nature of Vat I. While an admirable try, it was not the correct solution.

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    2. 7:55am
      Good post.
      The State, and in particular, catholic medical professionals, sympathetic to protecting the reputation of the church and its hierarchy, also colluded with the Rcc institution to abuse citizens.

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  5. Pat. Same old, same old. Have you nothing new to report? No new exclusives? Is you army of correspondents drying up? The only stuff worth reading these days comes from Glasgow, good to see you are branching out I suppose. Why not act like what we all expect from a Priest and publish your Easter homily? Be good for your readers to see the holy side of you now and again. God bless.

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    1. Lancaster Farm 22nd Apr 2019 — 9:04 am

      I hope that you aren’t wanna be Priest, Deacon Nick
      from Lancaster Diocese? I remember your Bishop banning you and your wife from running the “Protect the Pope” website as you caused lots of upset and annoyance for him. Naughty boy.

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      1. What is wrong with +Michael Campbell +Pat? What has he done to annoy you? Why did you meet him? Are you friends now?

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      2. He visited Larne every year where he is from. He never did anything to me. I jusy found him pious and sneaky.

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      3. Campbell is not a nice man. He is from Larne and I first encountered him 35 years ago.

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    2. 8.48: Oh Please, don’t encourage Pat to print his easter homily! Can’t you predict the same old script….smug cliched jargon is what we get.

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    3. My Easter homily was based on the Easter reflection I published – about the daily “deaths” and “resurrections” we experience in our lives.

      There is no “holy” side to me. But there is a spiritual side.

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      1. 9.53: You are my homily Pat! I too talked about the darknesses and deaths of everyday and the darkest moment of Jesus’s life – on the cross crying out “My God, my God, why have you deserted me!”. The cry of darkness for many a person. But we know The Father didn’t leave Jesus on the cross. He raised him to new life. We too can experience resurrection when we are lifted up by kindness, empathy, mercy, when others accompany us in our struggles, when words of hope are expressed, when we are moved to awe, wonder and mystery at the beauty of creation, when we cease us g language that tears us down, that diminishes our humanity and God given dignity. Can we have a sharing of resurrection moments today on your blog? The usual fare provided is very negative, boring and more of the same old, same old….It’s RESURRECTION time not crucufuxion!!

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      2. I’m afraid when it comes to the Church we are very much in crucifixion mode with all kinds of victims on the cross with Christ.

        Many clerics (not all) have taken the place of the crucifying Romans and Jews.

        Of course there will be resurrection – but that will definitely require the total dismantling of the clerical ediface and a turning away from canon law and towards the Gospels for a model of church.

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      3. Fair enough Pat thanks.l for replying. Happy Eatster.

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      4. No probs 🐣 Good wishes for what lies ahead.

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  6. This looks like a fun seminary, Bp Pat, I quite like the one in the middle with armband.
    https://uploads.weconnect.com/3aef3a2c56dac3378111cd1447f729b9b64d0e15/tt377mnr7dkxk81mjfj4l18xzql.jpg

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    1. The one on the back row with the floppy black hair and grey t shirt is so hot. Wow.

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      1. I imagine he is .. well, let’s just say…O.O.T.

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    2. 9:29

      I’m a survivor of church abuse.
      My life ruined as a consequence.
      Lift me up with words of resurrection.

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      1. 9.52: I’m a survivor of abuse also. I try not to carry the hurt of the past. I have to let go of my past. I found the strength to do this through therapy, counselling and prayer, yes, prayer. For many years I kept saying I am a survivor and it almost crippled me, tied me to a past, defined my life too much but I do not forget. However, I am healed of the hurt, not the memory. That I can now live my life reasonably happy, fulfilled and strong is a moment of the grace of RESURRECTION for me. I have to grasp that new life tightly each morning and promise to give it to myself. Too many others used my abuse experience for their own agenda. That placed another layer of loss, grief and anger on me. So, I learned to “mind myself”. I wish you well.

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  7. From my experience as lay woman, the clergy do not regard us as human beings. They want a slave cast. The number of times I have heard.. “I want you to do this” “I want you to do that” “I have loads of hard work for you”. No please, no thank you. They honestly think running round after them empowers us.

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    1. Powerful women run most RC Churches sweetie. House Keepers, Florists, Cleaners and Sacristans. Many would be saying Mass if they got half a chance!

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    2. 9:13

      That’s an example of institutional narcissistic contagion inculcated in seminary.
      Many clerics are empathetically impaired, self centered and self obsessed with their priesthood,
      power and authority. Arrogance is bred into seminarians by the ‘gods’, their lecturers, most being clerics.

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    3. Join the Anglicans. No point in staying and being a miseryguts. St Paul reminds us that the Lord loves a cheerful giver. Better to be a happy Anglican than a dissident Catholic giving out about this and that in a church where membership is voluntary.

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      1. 2.43 Sure all church membership is voluntary Hi. The church does not own God or Jesus orBVMary or anyone else either. Little Daleks We will assimilatehi

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    4. 2:38pm
      Are you a Priest?

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      1. 3.52: Yes, I am a cleric…..Thank God I get through each day. One of the best bits of advice or words spoken to me by my therapist were: MIND YOURSELF, meant in the best meaning of these words. You have to be very circumspect about whom you choose to share your truth with. I dislike when others use my abuse experience to further hostility against the Church and you also realise people have a limited tolerance in “listening”.. I have good reason to be angry with the way the Church responded to my abuse which was perpetrated by a trusted lay worker. I have discovered strength through therapy and prayer. I still visit my therapist and it is my lifeline. I am ever vigilant re: all workers in the parish I presently work in. Like grief of any kind we each find our own journey through it but it can be a lifetime’s task and a very painful one.

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      2. 11:08pm
        Begorra fly, tis true we’re all volunteers in Dads army butt are some less
        voluntary den uddders as bin conscripted and collared feeiin shackled.
        God’s Family needin no protectin.
        The mission is to assimilate knot disintergrate.
        Bye fly hi.

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    5. 9.13: Some women who have or are involved in parish groups have been and are very bitchy, territorial and quite formidable. I have no difficulty with women in significant roles in the Church and parishes beyond making cups of tea and floral arrangements. I try to practice what I believe and preach but I have experienced many situations where some women worked very divisively and bossily. Imagine the aggressive personality of former president McAleese! She smiled at every cleric, attended every parish fete and party, kissed many a bishop’s ring while president and now she’s gone all macho. A horrible role model for women. Many of the women I’ve encountered in ministry and parishes have been incredibly life enriching and have made amazing contributions to their parish communities.

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      1. @8.48
        With some they can’t get on to the altar quick enough, fussily arranging altar cloths, smoothing them down for ages, carrying over the Bible to the altar and opening it, and rearranging it about 10 times etc etc etc all on Good Friday. It was like a circus, not a solemn day. It was like how many people can you involve on an altar! Could they not just join the amateur dramatics and get people looking at them that way? And that was only a very small part of the whole ludicrous circus. Totally unnecessary involvement of a huge cast.

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  8. Hi Pat. I bumped into Bishop Campbell at his Cathedral a couple of years ago and told him I followed your blog. Before he got the chance to say anything, his Secretary Priest Fr Billing ushered me out of the way and said “the Bishop is a busy man you know”. Fr B is built like a sumo wrestler, so I said no more! Bishop Campbell is now retired and living in Hammersmith as part of the OSA community I believe. The Diocese is recovering from his stint. His trouble was that he left the running of the Diocese to Fr Billing who was a Parish dodger. Nice man but not experienced. He was Bishop’s Chaplain, Private Secretary, Director of Communications, MC, Secretary to Trustees then Trustee, Webmaster (nobody else allowed near it), etc etc. Lots of power but didn’t have the experience needed.

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    1. Campbell, and all bishops, sould be open to dialogue and challenge. I was very proud to see Bill Mulvihill of Armagh challenge tgat creep Cupich in a Dublin hotel. We need much more of this.

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      1. Cupich would not have been happy at that! How is Bill? Ok we hope?

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    2. At least 5 of these jobs belong to lay people. Why on earth was one man allowed to take on all this and have so much power and authority? He lived with the Bishop too in Bishop’s House, Morecambe. This property was bought after the previous Bishop O’Donoghue sold the former Bishop’s House and gave the money to the poor – well, not quite. Most of the money was spent renovating apartments for him at the Cathedral and these are now used for storage. These men aren’t held accountable to anyone.

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      1. That was a total gimmick by POD.

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      2. @10.50
        That is a tad unjust. When POD was sent to Lancaster is was millions in debt. He sold the house to pay a good chunk of it. As part of the restructuring some unneeded employees were left go.

        POD did indeed move into Cathedral house. He had a meeting room, an office/living room and a kitchen. He had one bedroom and any guests would have to be accommodated in the adjoining cathedral house – and he had an open door, especially for those of us from Cork. POD led a simple life there, very humble. In his time bishop’s accommodation was adequate and admirable. It is the type of life many people on this blog say bishops/priests should have.

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    3. 6:49pm
      Thanks for your openness and honesty. You answered a couple of questions I was going to ask. Can I ask what was the nature of your abuse experience. If you’d prefer not to say, that’s fine! I totally agree regarding being careful in sharing your truth and ‘mind yourself’ is one of many sayings used by therapists. I’m NOT interested in being hostile towards the church for hostility sake. I’m interested in JUSTICE for ALL. The Church has to change in terms of structures, training of priests, leadership roles, application of canon law, views on priesthood, etc. Many survivors of Church abuse, which is NOT only confined to child sexual abuse, cannot afford therapists , are alienated from their faith community, and due to spiritual/soul abuse, God is viewed very negatively. Can you recognize why individuals, parents, teenagers, etc, are vigilant re priests. That also applies to workers in some secular organizations. Some people have been so deeply wounded, had their sense of self and their lives so shattered, they opted for suicide to end their pain. Is that part of the mission of the Church, to destroy lives for the good of the reputation of the Church, and then walk away silently. What’s the Churches social justice/ moral teaching on such matters? Or, are those teachings, like other Church teachings , apparently redundant when applied to the Church, clergy and hierarchy?
      I wish you well in terms of your recovery. And I also wish you well in your ministry. Remain anchored in the Lord.

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    4. Talking of the Lancaster diocese any news or developments on the convicted sex offender and former Administrator of Lancaster Cathedral, Canon Stephen Shield? He remains listed in the diocesan directory under c/o of Bishops House- always an ominous sign that one!!
      Any news would be appreciated- he was a contemporary of Rev Thomas Wood of Liverpool in Rome. His sex abuse story I have posted in this blog article. It aptly encapsulates Rev. Thomas Doyle’s points on clericalism and the systemic issues that give rise to a non Christian culture that not just permeates but grips seminaries.

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  9. Mornin fly hi.
    Beggora fly, faith or fantasy, tis true, or mayb a bit of both hi.
    We could do with more of th faith and less of d’ odder sorts fly.
    Jesus had His fare share of odders back in th day.
    Th mess cann only be mopped up and sorted by the Three Amigos
    on th job workin through us. Jesus is home butt not alone.
    Give Him a bell.
    Bye fly hi.

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  10. Mornin all tis hard work this Easter stuff hi. Where do seminarians come from hi. Is it from faith or fantasy island I’m sure ‘‘twas a bit like that in Jesus day. They saw Jesus and followed him but. Look at the 12 some shower. They saw the Lord and followed him. I’m sure there are good people and vocations out there. Can anything good come out of the mess we find ourselves in. In the Garden of Juicy stories and personality assassination The tomb is empty but where is Jesus but

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    1. Go back to sleep fly on the wall and let your hangover run its course. Same old clap trap.

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      1. Begorra fly,
        Is Roger a bit of a dodger. Rogg lay back and be cool.
        Tis too will pass!
        Over and outt.

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      2. Roger roger pants on fire. Slow down relax get back on th trax hi

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  11. Not Timmy’s Wife 22nd Apr 2019 — 11:58 am

    The following from the article describes seminarian Timmy Bartlett back in the day:

    “You can easily see the career-climbers he warns about in seminaries. If you want to learn how to work your way into the clerical caste, watch these men. They are learning Italian, wearing cufflinks and cassocks, and don’t at all mind being called “Father,” even though they are still in studies. Along with our colleagues in other formation programs, we have easily singled out seminarians with scarlet fever: while there may be few vocations to the priesthood, there are plenty of ambitious young men aiming for a bishop’s miter”.

    Timmy never quite mastered Italian or any other language but, certainly, a bad dose of “Scarlet Fever” which he still suffers from today 😆

    Nowadays, Timmy’s an ambitious (not so young) man aiming for a mitre. I wonder will he get it? Or will it continue to elude his grasp? 😉🤔🤣

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    1. Tim is a dead cert for Dublin. It’ll be a shoo in. Or definitely Clonfert – no contest. Galway – now there’s another absolutely certain possibility since auld Kelly is already not long off the knacker’s yard. There is also the strong possibility of Dromore (he will be near home). Bishop Bartlett of Killaloe also has a nice ring to it. The possibilities are truly endless. A dead cert. I’m orf to the bookies to put a wager on.

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      1. Too many Dioceses and Dromore may become part of Armagh however time will tell.
        Papal Nuncio has again be told to slim down the number of dioceses in Ireland.

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      2. You are being deliberately provicative by the reference to the bookies.

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      3. Not Hugh Connolly. 22nd Apr 2019 — 5:01 pm

        Dromore is mine. Get your hands off it and do something else with those hands.

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  12. Is Billings B.D. (Hons), S.T.L. gone to higher studies? To aquire desirable qualifications for elevation to the order of bishop?

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    1. Yes, he’s away to Ottawa to study Canon law. Parishdodger.com

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    2. Billings started out as an SMA sem in Maynooth. He didn’t have the requisite A levels needed to do a Maynooth University degree but instead did the joke sem course in St Patrick’s College. Lancaster took him in. His theological studies are puzzling given his poor academic background.

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      1. The best Priests I know didn’t do well academically, your point?

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    3. Billings it seems has went to Canada however he is not even listed on the Clergy list for the Diocese of Lancaster now.

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      1. Fr Billing was ordained 18 years ago from Maynooth, so probably traumatised and can’t live alone. Prefers company. Love him or loath him, he many have only served in a Parish for a few months, but he did the job of at least 3 people under 2 Bishops and saved Lancaster Diocese a fortune. He is still around and visited institute of Christ the sovereign KingParish in Preston recently (frilly frock brigade).

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    4. @4:09pm – the well known “bookies” debacle may have put paid to all dreams of a mitre.

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      1. What was the bookies debacle and who was involved?

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  13. The Derwin incidnet with Stephen Wilson is horrific.

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  14. Did you go out to watch the bands in Larne, Pat?
    #ulsterisbritish
    #nosurrender
    #loyallarne

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    1. 37000 out of 300 million +

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      1. Why are some priests allowed to be parish dodgers for decades? I thought serving in a parish was the whole point of the diocesan priesthood. Yet you have the likes of Fr Prior, Fr Billings and Fr Bartlett who have been priests for decades and were never appointed to parishes. The ‘clericalism’ jibe is overdone but it certainly applies to parish dodgers who want all the perks and none of the responsibilities.

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      2. 1.32: How many did you baptize into your oratory? Zilch …… says it all….

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  15. 10.51: Pat, there you go again. You haven’t any capacity in your heart through your own blindness to acknowledge the many, many initiatives, activities, projects, programme of renewals and parish pastoral councils which are bringing new life to parish communities. Holy Week and Easter celebrations in our parish were unusually full and there was a real sense of a living community of Christ. If I was to wait for the institutionalised church to renew itself fully, I would be waiting a lifetime. I do what is possible in the parish where I work. I do not look for excuses to do nothing. Because the Church is in the present crisis it should not stifle my initiatives to help people and our Parish to experience RESURRECTION. Your cynicism, damning of every priest, your constant carping at the Church has achieved nothing except more cynicism. In fact you inflict a crucifixion on many, many clerics by your arrogance and self righteousness. This you dud all thriugh Holy Week which I found iffensive. I suspect your hayshed was aglow with grace and blessing despite your vengeful and vindictive heart!!

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  16. It sounds like they’re just like Maynooth, churning out oversexed whore bags; they may be educated and polite, but they’re still whores, Bp Pat, as well you know.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. @1:56pm – guys like Pry-er, Bartlett and Billings are “too good” for work in parishes. You can’t waste men of their abilities and intellect on the great unwashed!! Didn’t you know that? 😉

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    1. Some priests are better suited to a different kind of service than frontline parish work. I’m thinking mainly of some gifted lecturers and researchers in Maynooth (both NUI and the seminary).

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  18. 1 38: You seem familiar wuth whores! Pat, in his searching for sexual intimacy met many a whore! Does that make him one too? Just askin’…

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    1. I dont like the term “whore”. People who work in the sex industry are human beings too and having met many women and men who do that work, I came across some very good people.

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      1. Purely in a professional capacity lol

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      2. 😁 In 1978 I ministered for 6 months ti the girls at the Regina Coeli hostel in Dublin.

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      3. 2.24: Pat, there are some horrible words, “adjectives” used on this blog which are derogatory, demeaning and offensive; words which strip others of their dignity. If you dislike such horrible insulting adjectives, then don’t print the comments. You all too frequently pretend you are indignant at such foul, abusive words, when, consciously or unconsciously, you encourage their usage. Try to be consistent.

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      4. I take your point

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      5. Mullingar Martin 24th Apr 2019 — 1:02 pm

        Thank you Pat for this thoughtful and compassionate comment.
        I too, as in your comment below, was familiar with the Regina Coeli situation as with other sems, we lodged there in the 60’s while working the summer holidays across the road in the Morning Star hostel for men.
        The work, for those not knowing, was everything from scrubbing floors, making beds,cooking/serving meals for homeless men, many of whom were dependent from alcoholism, physical and mental infirmity, family disputes etc.

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  19. Stephen Wilson is a top and bottom.

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    1. The Trolley Doll must be gone from Maynooth. No sign of him on the TV.

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    2. Pat does that mean he is like Michael Byrne, he can give and recieve.

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      1. Yes. Like Delaneys donkey 😄

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    3. 2. 52: Pervert. Pervert. Pervert. Promoter of pornography. You are sick.

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  20. There were very few seminarians in Maynooth the other night. None of them looked familiar. Are all the ones that were mentioned on here gone? Is that why there is no more stories from Maynooth?

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    1. Bp Pat’s tales of Maynooth are greatly missed. Hopefully, there will be some strange goings-on soon with the new Mo’s.

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    2. The seminarians are safe given that the predator Brendan Marshall is gone.

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      1. They’ve been quiet for a while now, Bp Pat. You must have put the wind up them. But they’ll soon be at it again. Remember, KOB admitted he was still at it in his seventies.

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    3. All gone now. The German Department is in mourning. The college is an empty husk now and the Easter ceremonies were its death rattle. It was good while it lasted but the men often named here pushed the envelope a bit too much and then nobody wanted to join that tainted place.

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  21. I was a student in the seventies and seminarian in the eighties. There was certainly a feeling that Humanae Vitae was a dead duck and that things were changing rapidly regarding marriage, celibacy and sexual ethics in general. It’s highly contentious how much this connects with the abuse crisis, but I was reminded recently in a conversation that gay rights in those days were more related to “boy love” than many would now care to admit. There were various “rights” groups in the US, and in the UK the then National Council for Civil Liberties took up the cause of paedo-rights. Some of the grooming tactics of men like McCarrick recall those times. Though I do not subscribe to the gay plague theory of highly suspect characters such as Burke, I am a bit weary of gay saints and martyrs. Oscar Wilde for example would have got a relatively far harsher sentence today given his taste for rent boys under the age of consent. Just saying, like. This was actually meant as a reply to an earlier point this morning regarding changes in the Dutch when there still was one. Just a couple more things while I’m waiting for a flight: was Bellarmine Deacon Nick all along? And where is Daniel from you know where ( clue: it’s on the Isis not too far from Elsie’s caravan). Happy Low Week, as we used to say in the good old days.

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    1. God be with the days when the bishops of E&W met in Low Week.

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  22. Deacon Nick is from Lancaster Diocese I am sure, not sure about Daniel. What you on about 6.16. Who is Elsie?

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    1. Elsie Westminster also known as, occasionally, as Cardinal Vincent Nichols.

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  23. The ‘abuse crisis’ was ongoing generations before humane vitae.

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    1. It peaked in the 70s and 80s.

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      1. You are delusional. Worldwide it hasn’t abated.

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      2. @2:19am- Who knows if it peaked in the 70s and 80s, only the Vatican, and they not telling!

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  24. 7.26: Buckley, macho man bishop! You sure know how to shame yourself wuth the imagery of your semi porno commentary. You lower yourself very easily! Of course it comes with practice!!

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