Causing a Believer to Stumble

May 1994By Michael Albert Dubrueil

The Rev. Michael Albert Dubruiel is Assistant Profes­sor of Homiletics at St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary in Boynton Beach, Florida. The story below is true.

Frank showed up at the seminary wearing a T-shirt, jeans, and sandals. The first time I saw this fellow seminarian of mine, I asked him why he wasn't dressed in the seminary's required black pants and white shirt. He told me that what he had on was all he owned.

Frank was 33, and had worked for most of his life in construction. He had owned a decent plot of land, on which he had lived in a trailer that also was his. Frank lived a normal bachelor's life, as he described it, until the day he had an experience that changed his life. The Gospel came alive for him. Sud­denly he understood the urgency of the call of Jesus in a way he never had before.

Then, unlike the rich young man in the New Testament, he answered the invitation of Jesus and sold everything and gave the money to his widowed mother and various brothers and sisters, who he felt needed the money more than he. Now he was enter­ing the seminary with only one set of clothes, and his deep desire to follow Christ.

From the start he was on a collision course. His strong belief in the Gospel, a belief he had acted on, threatened some who met him. Seminaries attract all kinds of men, and Frank couldn't believe the lack of belief he encountered in some of them. They would question him as to how he could give up everything for the Gospel — didn't he know that these stories weren't to be taken that seriously?

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I attended a seminary known for its orthodoxy, yet, I'm sorry to say, I heard some of these same things in Scripture classes. To the best of my knowledge, no one's faith was destroyed, but it's disconcerting nevertheless. It was a constant source of tension between professional academics and the seminarians who craved authentic teaching. I'm pleased to say that the majority of the men who were in the seminary with me did not embrace the modern approaches to Scripture scholarship, but the fact that we were exposed to it at all is inexcusable. Posted by: Fr_Richard
December 08, 2006 09:57 AM EST
authentic teachings? ha! what a joke! try to insist on authentic teachings with the archdiocese of ny and you get called a fanatic and they ignore your pleas...even when you approach them with physical proof. from the cardinal$ office down to catechetics and catholic schools...all they're interested in for the most part is $$$ and fostering relativism between the one true faith and alien/pagan faiths...oooohhh you can't offend anyone so therefore you have to include all religions and faiths and elevate them to the same level as the truth. try to insist on respect for the blessed sacrament and you get mocked and scolded by the ones who are entrusted with the confection of said sacrament. my faith is solid as steel and i will not falter, but i can really understand how frank lost his. woe onto those who destroy the faith. Posted by: gespin3549
December 08, 2006 12:11 PM EST
What a sad, sad, sad story! Too bad Frank didn't attend an SSPX seminary. There he would have found authentic, orthodox Catholic teachings and priestly formation. Posted by: Mary
February 21, 2013 04:10 PM EST
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