2 January 2023


Apparently, the Diocese (Catholic) of Dublin has just a single seminarian in training. 

Well, that's not our business. And the terrible collapse of Irish Catholicism undoubtedly has multiple factors. But things are not exactly booming in this country. In 1996/1997 our numbers peaked at around 110 annual ordinations; the projected number for 2023 is 18.

Within the Church, there can be little doubt that the onslaught upon Catholicism worldwide by the promoters of Bergoglianism has a lot to do with it. As young people view the ecclesiastical landscape, who can blame them if they discern massive heterodoxy and liturgical heteropraxy. There are disincentives in Anglicanism, and they are not small; but who, some clergy wonder, can guarantee that disincentives will not multiply in the Catholic Church ... indeed, including disincentives already at work in the C of E, such as the purported ordination of women to major orders.

If anybody doubted these problems, Traditionis Custodes should dispel those doubts. The cruel malevolence of that text says it all. Its vicious hostility, targetted particularly on the young, says it all. The incessant attacks by the pontiff himself on 'rigidity' say it all. 

Another sub-factor here, in the Anglosphere, is the decline in the numbers of Anglican priests seeking to continue their priestly ministry in the Catholic Church. Ever since the 1990s, there has been a visible policy of keeping Anglican clergy out. "You need to be accompanied by a Group. You need to submit to a lengthy 'formation'. You need to dislike the 'old' Mass."

There have been so many fellow-Anglican priests, and some bishops, who have explained that they would 'join' us when a certain point was reached. 

Yes; one can identify imperfections in this attitude. I do  identify ...

But the niggling, nasty negativity in the treatment of experienced and very orthodox Catholic Anglican clergy is undoubtedly responsible for the loss to the Church of many potential clergy. If, in some places, Catholic bishops lament the paucity of clergy, they need to ask themselves whether the guilty men may not be their own predecessors in their Sees.

The ideal moment for gathering in large numbers of well-trained and experienced Anglican clergy passed some time ago. But it is not too late to ...

S Thomas of Canterbury, Patron of the Diocesan Clergy, pray for us all.



coradcorloquitur said...

We understand the Modernist reticence about converting Anglican clergy (usually of high moral and intellectual caliber): 1.they are on the whole more intelligent, more mannerly, and better formed academically than they are; 2.the fact that they are ready to leave the great establishment testifies to their independence of character and sanity, a big "No, No" with the Modernist Kumbaya crowd; 3. the would-be converts are typically orthodox, a pariah the Modernists detest more than they do the promoters of Palestrina or Gregorian Chant; 4.and perhaps most offensive of all to them, the converts generally enjoy the grace of good taste in liturgy, music, and church appointments---all of it a grave offense to the purveyors of ugliness and tackiness. No, they do not want you---BUT the true Church of Christ and its remnant most assuredly do want you. Now go find them and help us in the arduous yet joyous struggle.

coradcorloquitur said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
PM said...

The prejudices, doctrinal aberrations and liturgical philistinism of the 'progressive' wing since the Council undoubtedly have greatly magnified the problem and added a nasty edge to it. The self-styled progressives do not want people coming into the Church who profess their adherence to all that the Church believes and teaches, which is precisely what they are trying to demolish. But the disdain has a longer history. Fr Bouyer, a former Lutheran pastor, recounted in his memoirs an older French Oratorian saying to him in the late 1940s: 'I can tell you are a convert. You're interested in Scripture and liturgy. Real [sic] Catholics don't care much about either.'

As an aside, one of the surprises for an Anglophone reader of the Bouyer memoirs is how slapdash the French Oratorians were about the liturgy: liturgical care one associates with the Oratories in the English-speaking world seems to have been absent. One of the pleasures is his damning account of Bugnini's knavery and especially of the origins of Eucharistic Prayer II, which are sometimes misunderstood. Bouyer and Botte did not, as is sometimes asserted, compose it themselves in a Trastevere trattoria; they were handed a draft too dreadful for words at 5pm with a 9am deadline for comments, and had to finish off their desperate salvage job over breakfast. What we got was the best they could do in the insanely short time available.

Prayerful said...

Ireland now has one seminary, Maynooth, a place with such issues (homo-heresy in one word) that the previous Ordinary for Dublin, Diarmuid Martin, ceased sending (his) seminarian(s) there. The current Ordinary, +Farrell, with a similar enough Christian name of Dermot, although a nephew of former college Pres, Mr (formerly Fr)
Michéal Ledwith (whose abusive rule was protected by Ireland's bishops against priest whistleblowers and seminarian victims until the last possible moment), still doesn't (as best I'm aware) send (a) candidate(s) to that terrible place. Perhaps it goes back to the origins of Maynooth, founded by the British Government in the late eighteenth century as a means to co-opt the Church to its rule. At least PF will be happy that Irish bishops are almost to a man utterly timid, tepid characters and not minded to defy the advance of socialism. Essentially, the abortion legalising Buggin's Turn government has sponsored a tidal wave of dubious black propaganda against the Church. Its supposed leaders, these bishops just hide away in case.

dunstan said...

A few years ago, and certainly BC (Before Covid), Msgr Newton told a meeting of the Kent Ordinariate Deanery that Anglican clergy wishing to enter the Church through the Ordinariate were no longer expected by Rome to have groups of the faithful accompanying them. This of course is clean contrary to the late Emeritus's vison in Anglicanorum Coetibus (the clue is there in the name).
As someone who was part of the 'first wave' of Ordinariate ordinations, I have long been of the opinion that the policy of the CBCEW has been to integrate Ordinariate clergy into the Diocesan system, an aim which has largely, though with a few notable exceptions, been achieved. One of the latter, the Torquay Mission who bought a redundant Methodist church and are thus able to operate outside the Plymouth Diocese, illustrates very well the point I am making. Unable to close down the Ordinariate church - the Bishop had of course no jurisdiction - he invited the ICKSP into a neighbouring parish where they remain to this day, Traditionis Custodes notwithstanding.

Gregory said...

The Dec. '22 issue of Catholic Family News includes an excerpt from Pius XI's Ad Catholici Sacerdotii in which seminary leaders and bishops are sternly warned against ordaining (or even allowing to continue in their studies) unsuitable candidates. The Pope includes a quote from Aquinas: "Should it ever become impossible to maintain the present number, it is better to have a few good priests than a multitude of bad ones." I wonder where on this spectrum of good and bad priests Greene's Whiskey Priest would best fit, and would he be preferable to some of those we do have?

Anita Moore said...

The traditional Latin Mass congregations (FSSP, SSPX, ICK, etc.) are booming, relative to the dioceses. The FSSP currently has 150 seminarians, the SSPX has 187 seminarians, the Institute of Christ the King has 80 seminarians. I doubt if my own diocese has had 80 seminarians over the last 15 years.

Mick Jagger Gathers No Mosque said...

Decree On the Ministry and Life of Priests, Presbyterorum Ordinis
Author: Second Vatican Council




The Ministry of Priests

Priests' Functions

4. The People of God are joined together primarily by the word of the living God.(1) And rightfully they expect this from their priests.(2) Since no one can be saved who does not first believe,(3) priests, as co-workers with their bishops, have the primary duty of proclaiming the Gospel of God to all.(4) In this way they fulfill the command of the Lord: "Going therefore into the whole world preach the Gospel to every creature" (Mk 16:15),(5) and they establish and build up the People of God. Through the saving word the spark of faith is lit in the hearts of unbelievers, and fed in the hearts of the faithful. This is the way that the congregation of faithful is started and grows, just as the Apostle describes: "Faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ" (Rom 10:17).

To all men, therefore, priests are debtors that the truth of the Gospel(6) which they have may be given to others. And so, whether by entering into profitable dialogue they bring people to the worship of God,(7) whether by openly preaching they proclaim the mystery of Christ, or whether in the light of Christ they treat contemporary problems, they are relying not on their own wisdom for it is the word of Christ they teach, and it is to conversion and holiness that they exhort all men.(8) But priestly preaching is often very difficult in the circumstances of the modern world. In order that it might more effectively move men's minds, the word of God ought not to be explained in a general and abstract way, but rather by applying the lasting truth of the Gospel to the particular circumstances of life...


Those with eyes to see understand the N.O. is an instrument for turning catholics into protestants and some of us alive (Not me, I'm too old ;thanks be to God) will see an "experiment" in which women wil be ordained - first to the diaconate then to limited Holy Orders for the peripheries etc

Mick Jagger Gathers No Mosque said...

The Saint Vincent DePaul Seminary in the spiritually dead diocese of Palm Beach County, Florida.

Mission Statement

St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary shares in the mission of Jesus Christ “to bring the good news to the poor” (Luke 4:18) in the training of future leaders.

The seminary’s primary mission is to foster the human, spiritual, intellectual, and pastoral formation of candidates for the Roman Catholic priesthood so that as ordained ministers they share the joy of the Gospel with all.

Acknowledging the cultural makeup of Catholics in the United States, the seminary distinguishes itself in offering a comprehensive bilingual formation program, preparing future priests for ministry in both English and Spanish while cultivating a rich and diverse multicultural community.

The secondary mission of St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary is to provide graduate theological education for permanent deacon candidates, clergy, religious, and laity as well as to offer ongoing clergy formation programs so that the evangelizing mission of the Church may continue and broaden its reach.

SVDP, producing protestantised preachers since...well, for quite a while now..


The Saint Thomas Aquinas Seminary in Virginia:

An Instrument Used by God for the Salvation of Souls

Catholic priests serve primarily as mediators between God and man.

The two offices—the offices of saying Mass and forgiving sins—are the most exalted among the many powers and privileges God grants His priests. The faithful, therefore, for these and many other reasons, owe the greatest respect and devotion to God’s chosen ministers.

Offering the Mass, and thus renewing Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross, constitutes the priest’s chief dignity. While engaged in the sacred liturgy, the priest assumes the role of the Son of God, lovingly offering himself to the Father on behalf of all mankind. When the priest says the words of consecration, he reenacts Christ’s sacrifice on Calvary, himself separating the Lord’s precious blood from His holy body. The priest then literally takes hold of God and raises Him up high so that the people can adore their Savior.

The priest, in addition to being the specific instrument God uses to manifest Himself daily to the Church, also distributes divine grace when he gives Communion to the faithful. The people thus receive God directly from the hands of the priest.

The priest’s dignity, however, is not limited to the Mass alone; he also shares another divine prerogative when he pardons sin through the sacrament of Penance. Christ, when He told His apostles that whose sins they forgive are forgiven and whose sins they retain are retained, clearly willed that the normal means of returning to God’s good grace should be through priestly absolution. Thus, the ordinary way a soul passes from the death of sin to the life of grace is through the Catholic priesthood. Only souls in the state of grace can enter paradise; therefore, God has entrusted the very keys of Heaven to his priests.


A seminary will be catholic in proportion to their acceptance or rejection of vatican two

Carol said...

I am particularly interested in the reference to the collapse of Irish Catholicism, as I have experience of living in Dublin in the 1940s 50s when the Diocese was ruled by the admirable Archbishop John Charles McQuaid CSSp. Almost everyone now denounces him as a control freak or bogeyman of the Irish Church – the epitome of “rigidity”, as Pope Francis would say.

But I owe it to his memory to say that I can testify to his qualities of leadership which contributed to making Ireland the Catholic country it was before Vatican II. It was through his personal intervention and vigilance that the Faith was taught at Maynooth and in all educational establishments for young people and children, convents were full and the large majority of the population attended Sunday Mass. To say that there was never any shortage of priests under his watch is an understatement.

The collapse of Catholicism had nothing to do with Archbishop McQuaid who did not tolerate heterodoxy or heteropraxis. Mgr Patrick Cremin, Professor of Moral Theology and Canon Law at St. Patrick’s College, Maynooth, gave a series of interviews to the Irish Independent in November 1978, criticising the National Conference of Irish Bishops for their negligence in allowing doctrinal and moral standards in that institution to decline.

The main points he made were:

First, the Bishops' Conference "have not taken the necessary steps to protect our Catholic Faith and Teaching, by ensuring that, in Ireland, professional theologians and pseudo-theologians (and priests influenced by them) were not permitted to propagate with impunity doctrinal and moral teaching that was misleading or unsound."

Second, Scholastic and catechetical instruction traditionally given to seminarians has been abandoned, with the result that "our people receive little solid instruction and rarely hear of the commandments of God, or of sin and repentance, or purgatory and hell, or of some of the great Christian truths and devotional practices, such as the sacrifice of the Mass or the value of devotion to Our Lady, especially in the Rosary."

Third, the old discipline of community living was replaced by a deliberate “policy of drift and of anarchy or absence of rule.” In the Maynooth seminary, he said that “things were just allowed to happen and happen, to the detriment of the seminary itself and therefore of the Irish Church, of which this national seminary had been the nerve-centre for more than a century and a half.”

It is noteworthy that Archbishop McQuaid was personally opposed to these liberal policies, but his efforts to maintain standards were overruled by the body of Bishops to which Mgr Cremin referred.

Surely that speaks volumes for the disintegration of the Catholic priesthood in Ireland and the consequent loss of faith among the flock. I would add that had the Archbishop been supported by his fellow Bishops in his policy of applying the "old discipline", the situation at Maynooth would no doubt have been saved and Ireland would have still been a Catholic country.

But has anyone a good word to say for Archbishop McQuaid?

B flat said...

As a very callow youth, I said something unfavourable to "++John Charles." A very devout and self sacrificing Legionary of Mary corrected me mildly by saying that it was the penny dinners organised by the Archbishop, which saved so many children and adults the ills accompanying malnutrition.
I acknowledge my sin with shame, and repeat this testimony of his true charity and care for his flock.

Shaun Davies said...

I would like to know just how many Catholic priests in Ireland have joined the ministry of the Church Of Ireland ? I believe that the number is quite high - the Dean of Christchurch (Dublin) is one, but there are others. From what I understand the large number of lay Catholics now attending Church Of Ireland services is also high. In fact, from being a small and dying denomination the Church Of Ireland seems, certainly in the Republic of Ireland, to be having a new lease of life. I believe that it is much more, modern,evengelical and anti-liturgical in Northern Ireland. These are some observations "from a distance" and I am ready to be corrected.

Prayerful said...

Abp McQuaid, whose Holy Ghost Fathers / Spiritans face a recent rehash of settled cases, for reasons unclear, took care to ensure that the London Irish Centre, est. 1955, provided efficient, pragmatic and effective social service care to young Irish emigrants, which included unmarried young mothers, alongside spiritual sustenance. The writer of an article most recent but one copy of History Ireland (I cannot find my copy right now) suggests this hate figure for a certain type of older official rebel Catholic and their disciples, deserves re-assessment. A biography written by an Irish Indo journo Cooney (former Labour leader Dick Spring one time had to put him in his place) put Noel Browne's nasty little private fiction right at the end of it. Recently it was given away for free with that horrible daily. Professional historians rightly panned his nasty and amateur work, but Cooney's black propaganda is unfortunately far better known. +McQuaid was most of all efficient. Few modern Irish bishops can be so described.

Unknown said...

I wonder if we do really have an actual priest shortage or a hardworking priests shortage. My guess is that proportionally since its zenith in the early 1960s, the priest-layperson ratio is now much better for priests. What was say 2-3 priests per parish of 5000 souls, is now 1 priest for maybe 100-200 souls in each of three parishes.

INDIGO said...

Shortage of Catholics not priests.

Carol said...

B Flat is spot on about Archbishop McQuaid's love and concern for the poor. His charity especially towards children and homeless men was legendary at a time of severe economic hardship for many in Dublin of the 1940s and 50s. For example, I remember his policy of providing free sandwiches and boots (with lugs at the back) for the schoolchildren of our local area to help prevent malnutrition, and to ensure that they would not go barefoot to school. He provided material care for the homeless and left them a large legacy in his will.

PM said...

Since reading this post, I have come across the following appreciation of Benedict XVI by Sebastian Morello, well worth reading in its own right:


As a lay convert led into full communion with the Church by the influence of Benedict XVI's writings, he reports

'Pope Benedict became for me a great guide and light, as he did for so many. It soon became apparent that I had entered a Church that had been engaged in a masochistic exercise of self-repudiation for decades. I found myself surrounded by Catholics who were thoroughly embarrassed by the very religion I’d embraced. They didn’t much like me either, because of my singular defect of actually believing in their religion.'

The reaction is not confined to former Anglican clergy!