U.S. Seminaries: Condition Stabilized

April 2009

Perhaps you saw the headline earlier this year: "Vatican reports most U.S. seminaries are generally healthy." If you missed it, you're not the only one. The results of the long-awaited "apostolic visitation of U.S. seminaries" were released by the Vatican way back on December 15, 2008 -- but news of the report didn't begin filtering out in the American press until mid-January when the U.S. bishops posted a response to the report by Boston's Sean Cardinal O'Malley. Given the scant attention paid to the report in the media, it is likely that this tidbit passed many by. Even those reports that attempted to sum up the 20-page document on the moral and intellectual life of U.S. seminaries seemed to gloss over the most noteworthy aspects of the findings, instead opting for a sanitized "all is well" synopsis. It is instructive to note that the U.S. bishops themselves seemed none too keen on drawing attention to the Vatican report. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) didn't even bother to send out a press release; the report itself, though available, is buried deep in the USCCB website.

So, what did the report actually say, and why aren't the U.S. bishops promoting it?

A little bit of background first. In his book Goodbye, Good Men, published a full seven years ago, NOR Associate Editor Michael S. Rose concretely and vividly described how certain vocations directors and seminaries screen out or persecute manly orthodox men while homosexuals and dissenters are welcomed and proceed to ordination. The book was researched and written in the years immediately preceding the outbreak of the clerical sex-abuse scandals of 2002. Rose was one step ahead of a situation that caught most of the Catholic world by surprise. Given the history of out-in-the-open and flagrant homosexuality at certain seminaries discussed by Rose, Goodbye, Good Men went a long way in explaining how we could have had so many moral degenerates in the priesthood in recent decades. Not only did the book make The New York Times bestseller list, it was reportedly widely read in and around Rome. While it is difficult to trace the influence of any particular book, Goodbye, Good Men did, without a doubt, introduce into the mainstream the terms "lavender mafia" and "pink palace."

A few short months after the book's release, Pope John Paul II held a Vatican summit with all the U.S. cardinals. One result of that surprise emergency meeting was a call for another Vatican investigation of U.S. seminaries: "A new and serious Apostolic Visitation of seminaries and other institutes of formation must be made without delay, with particular emphasis on the need for fidelity to the Church's teaching, especially in the area of morality, and the need for a deeper study of the criteria of suitability of candidates to the priesthood." (A previous systematic on-site investigation of seminaries ordered by the Pope in 1981 was generally regarded as a whitewash, having been delegated to certain unreliable U.S. bishops with the expectation that they would effectively investigate themselves.)


You have two options:

  1. Online subscription: Subscribe now to New Oxford Review for access to all web content at newoxfordreview.org AND the monthly print edition for as low as $38 per year.
  2. Single article purchase: Purchase this article for $1.95, for viewing and printing for 48 hours.

If you're already a subscriber log-in here.



New Oxford Notes: April 2009

Read our posting policy Add a comment
The web address for the report is
http://www.usccb.org/cclv/final_report.pdf
Posted by: Gabriel Austin
April 07, 2009 03:12 PM EDT
After fighting the culture wars since '96 at my University, and seeing first hand the rotten fruits of our seminaries that have been infested with apostates, clergy and laity alike, as they publicly propagate heresy in the name of Catholicism in the University proper, and in my diocese as a whole, due to a very problematic bishop who not only couldn't care less, but also encourages their actions, I have one simple observation.

What the heck are the worth of documents and speeches from Rome if they have no teeth? We're kidding ourselves if we believe that just the words of the report referred to in this article are going to correct things when those who are supposed to be the 'correctors' are the very ones those causing the problems in the first place to particularly include bishops who evince nothing of being Catholic by freely allowing dissent from Church teaching with impunity?

This is allowing the fox to guard the hen house!

Does Rome really care? Does Rome understand that that it must take the bull by the horns with papal legates having unquestioned authority to exorcise the US Church from the demons that have possessed it? You have to wonder given the recent news about the Vatican paper that, on at least two occasions now, has sung the praises of an antichrist in the White House.

Anyone who remotely gives an apology for the likes of an Obama, a man who shamelessly promotes the entirety of a culture-of-eternal-death to the extreme of not only seeing nothing wrong with infanticide within, but also outside of the womb, given his non support of Born Alive Infant Protect Acts, cannot be considered Catholic PERIOD!

So I believe that Catholics should have grave concerns about the needed policing of our seminaries to root out the heterodox rot that has consumed them when the Vatican newspaper has no problem shilling for the most diabolic individual to ever sit in the White House, per the considerable evidence to date.
Posted by: stlouisix
May 14, 2009 11:01 AM EDT
Add a comment