Skip to comments.Aquinas Seminary is First for Scrutiny
Posted on 09/27/2005 5:33:32 AM PDT by marshmallow
The 25 candidates studying to become priests at Aquinas Institute of Theology were described as "anxious" but not worried Monday as a Vatican team began evaluating how they are prepared intellectually, spiritually and sexually for priesthood.
"Whenever you are under the spotlight, it's difficult," the seminary's president, the Rev. Charles Bouchard, said at a press conference Monday. The students themselves were off limits to reporters, so it was Bouchard who was left to describe their mood.
The seminary on the campus of St. Louis University is in the spotlight because it's the first of 229 seminaries nationwide to be evaluated over the next nine months. The evaluations are in response to a sexual abuse scandal among clergy that began coming to light three years ago and revealed crimes and incidents that were covered up for decades.
The five-member team visiting Aquinas includes a seminary professor, campus chaplain, parish pastor and director of religious studies. It is led by Bishop Michael Burbidge of Philadelphia.
For four days, the team will meet with priesthood candidates, recently ordained graduates, faculty and staff. The team is armed with a questionnaire prepared by the Vatican.
Part of the unease stems from one of the document's dozens of questions: "Is there evidence of homosexuality in the seminary?"
(Excerpt) Read more at stltoday.com ...
"Some Catholics believe....??" That would be the official policy of the Church, long since flouted. Sounds as if this guy thinks it's the visitors who need to be knocked into line and not vice versa.
Looks like the inspection team is going to be kept busy by Case #1.
Part of the unease stems from one of the document's dozens of questions: "Is
there evidence of homosexuality in the seminary?"
Leaders of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, feel the
probe is a simplistic and misguided effort that shifts blame for the abuse
crisis to others. The support group feels the problem lies mainly with the
church's response to the abuse allegations.
"Seminarians, gay or straight, didn't repeatedly shun victims, transfer
predators, or deceive prosecutors ... ," said SNAP's outreach director, Barbara
Doris. "The responsibility for (the widespread sexual abuse) lies with the
bishops themselves. It's shameful that they continue to blame others for their
Bouchard said that that impression was understandable but seminaries had made
several changes over the past 25 years that needed to be evaluated. Those
changes include a rigorous psychological evaluation, year-long internship at a
parish in another city for outside evaluation and regular assessments during
"We're in a good position to demonstrate that our procedures are effective in
preventing this abuse in the future," he said.
Some critics of the church also say the investigations are an attempt to link
the clergy sexual abuse scandal with homosexuality.
Bouchard said that what Aquinas tried to determine about its applicants was
whether they have the capability to live a celibate life.
Whereas some Catholics believe that homosexuality should disqualify men from
priesthood, Bouchard said, "We hope to provide evidence that that shouldn't be
When the Vatican receives a report on each seminary at the end of spring, it
will issue a written evaluation to the bishop or major superior responsible for
Does anyone really know what the extent of the problem is? Are we talking 5% or 75%?
I'm not particularly liking what I think this Bouchard chap is saying.
Bishop Burbridge was the former rector of St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Philadelphia. Since SCBS rejects homosexual candidates, I think the outcome of these investigations is pretty well foreordained.
This from the President of the seminary?
NO wonder they were the first to come under scrutiny.
Whereas some Catholics believe that homosexuality should disqualify men from priesthood, Bouchard said, "We hope to provide evidence that that shouldn't be the case."
It seems that BXVI has decided it's time for the Church to quit pussyfooting around the elephant in the living room -- the oh so politically incorrect but obvious link between the abuse scandal and homosexual priests. The secondary problem is those seminary presidents who insist on making up their own rules -- always in favor of laxity, heterodoxy, and the Spirit of the Age. Hopefully BXVI has made up his mind to get rid of them too, because the abuse scandal started right there.
I can't believe this seminary president is so oblivious to the handwriting on the wall that he would say something like this for public attribution. But maybe that's a good thing - easier to locate and remove.
The idea that sexuality is unrelated to the intellect or the spirit is puzzling and discouraging.
Are they suggesting that adult men's sexual activity with teenage boys is unrelated to homosexuality? Yo, guys, earth to Planet Zongo!
Thanks for posting this!
It will be interesting to follow these.
"Unease"? This scrutiny should be welcomed. It sounds like our seminaries are in need of a good housecleaning.
After all, he seems to be admitting he knows that his seminary has a significant sample population of gays...
>> The idea that sexuality is unrelated to the intellect or the spirit is puzzling and discouraging. <<
I read that the exact opposite way... that the scrutiny is observing sexuality because it recognizes it is inextricably linked to spirituality and intellect.
>> "Unease"? This scrutiny should be welcomed. It sounds like our seminaries are in need of a good housecleaning. <<
Come on, now... Are you suggesting that the JESUITS haven't been doing the best job possible at preventing heresy and pedophilia? (/sarcasm)
Does this schismatic seminary of the excommunicated hand out doctorates in disobedience? Appoint revolutionaries as rectors? Use the services of excommunicated bishops to ordain other eccentric ecclesiastical oddballs who wouldn't be able to find the actual Roman Catholic Church with the actual Pope St. Pius X as their guide? He should only be with us today to nuke the group that dares misappropriate his name.
Why should the Vatican be any more concerned with SSPX seminaries than with Unitarian seminaries (if any) or Episcopalian seminaries or Islamic seminaries (if any)? None of these are Catholic and none intend to be Catholic on the evidence to date, regardless of their respective ancestries.
Through the intercession of St. Dymphna may Our Lord shower you with graces!
Ten to one says this Bouchard fellow is a poofter.
Only Catholic seminaries.
May God bless you too.
Et cum spiritu tuo.
Housecleaning time! Sweep them dust bunnies out into the light!
There's a reason it's known as the St. Louis Post-Disgrace. Joseph Pulizer must be turning in his grave.
That's part of the problem with the reporting. The Aquinas Institute of Theology is not a seminary. It's actually a graduate institute. Kenrick-Glennon is our seminary.
Interesting that you choose St. Dymphna. I had a distant and very elderly cousin, Sister Dymphna, who was a nun of the order of Notre Dame de Namur. She and several of her fellow nuns were allowed to visit with our family for several days when I was a child. It was, no doubt, a blessing that she did not live to see the festivities of recent decades and particularly those within her order.
Oh, right. Seminarians are supposed to prepare sexually for the priesthood. Right.
So, you think that "it's time for the Church to quit pussyfooting around the elephant in the living room?" I wonder if B16 has been following the longest-running grand jury probe in Philadelphia, the "city of brotherly love?"
Following the nation's longest-running grand jury probe into the Newchurch Sex & Embezzlement Scandal, the Philadelphia Grand Jury on September 22 issued a scathing report, charging that Newchurch cardinals/archbishops Anthony Bevilacqua and John Krol covered up hundreds of sex crimes perpetrated by at least 63 of their presbyters. "To protect themselves from negative publicity or expensive lawsuits -- while keeping abusive priests [meaning Newchurch presbyters] active -- the cardinals and their aides hid the priests' crimes from parishioners, police, and the general public," the report stated. The grand jury found that Newchurch leaders had engaged in a "deliberate and all-encompassing strategy to avoid revealing their knowledge of crimes."
Does the Vatican now have to retreat and regroup in its plans to issue a "revised" document on homosexuality in the seminaries this October?
This comes in the wake of comments upon the report by the grand jury of Philadelphia that it found evidence of rampant crimes against children by Newchurch presbyters and a systematic cover-up by Cardinals Krol and Bevilacqua and that Newchurch archdiocese officials howled that they were BEING PERSECUTED [!] just as in the days of rampant Know-Nothingism in the 1840s, a time of strong anti-Catholic sentiment.
There is nothing new under the sun. We have seen all this before. Nnow-Nothings are a fact of national history, but curiously, their significance in terms of how their activities affected the faith of Catholics is not a subject of much concern in history classes in our enlightened, modern Newchurch schools, nor even in the secular, atheistic public schools.
If you really really, truly truly hope that B16 is going to put it all straight, I am so very sorry for your imminent disappointment. Don't get me wrong: I wish it were true, but I have to observe the fact of history, the fact of who the erstwhile Ratzinger mentored with, and what he has been saying and doing for the past 50 years -- and it is not what you would hope it could have been.
What has he done in regards to this pederasty scandal? He, just as his predecessor JPII, had personal involvement in shielding his bishops from the criminal law and bears a moral responsibility for allowing these crimes to be committed by his bishops and presbyters without a word of strong, public censure and punishment.
B16 has been personally charged in a case now being heard in a U.S. Federal District Court in Houston court as a named accomplice concerning sex crimes by a Newchurch cleric against three boys. The pope has not claimed innocence, but has instead tried to squirm out of his responsibility by claiming "immunity," just as his subordinate, William Levada, tried to do -- Levada whom he appointed to head the Sex Crimes Congregation of Newvatican, in spite of the fact that Levada himself has been implicated in sex-crime cover-ups. In fact, the court has more of the "goods" on B16 than it did on JPII. A cover-up document signed by Ratzinger himself in 2001 has been introduced as evidence in court.
I hope you don't get too personally invested in expectations outside the realm of reasonable expectations. Of course, miracles can happen, but if B16 does pull of any reconstruction of the seminaries at this point, it has to be admitted that this is not what his history and track record would support. To think it is is like living in a fantasy dreamland. Such a surprising (and welcome!) result would rather be miraculous, not consistent with the past.
And if you think that being indicted in Texas is proof of guilt, I wonder what you think of Ronnie Earle's indictment of Delay (or if you've even read it.)
If that's indicative of your general level of competence, I don't think I'll judge BXVI on your say-so, either.
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Aquinas Seminary is First for Scrutiny
Well, well, somehow you're getting yourself all worked up into a frizzy. Indictment? Where did I say anything about an indictment? As for immunity, perhaps you are unaware that the Pope in fact has diplomatic immunity as the head of a sovereign state, Vatican city-state. Furthermore, this is not something new, but is quite well founded on tradition. B16 doesn't have to answer to the charges in Texas, or in Philadelphia, or in a hundred other places in the world where the priests of Newchurch are currently being charged with embezzlement, murder, rape, and other such high crimes and misdimeanors. Will the Pope address these things individually? Probably not. But take a look at the good popes of the past. How many of them, when faced with such crises said nothing to reprimand and punish the Chruch's criminals individually, or worse, promoted the perpetrators to higher offices where they could continue their contemptible malfeasance?
Regarding Delay and Earle, I am not talking about politics here. If you want to discuss politics you'll have to find someone else to pester.
As for my "general level of competence," I wonder what office it is of which you presume I am in possession?
I was only sending you a friendly message to offer you a gentle warning that might help you to avoid being too disappointed when (and if) nothing comes of promised improvements. I have known more than one person who has left the Church in disgust when corruption overwhelmed them. I was hoping that your apparent optimism might not become the flash point of your abandonment of all hope. I was trying to do you a favor. I had no ill intention. But sometimes when someone is close to drowning they refuse a lifeline. I'm sorry.
If as you claim the Pope was "personally charged" as a "named accomplice" in a U.S. Federal District Court, that can only be an indictment, as charges are not brought by information in federal court unless the defendant waives indictment, and it does not appear that BXVI has waived anything. Nor is one "charged" or named as an accomplice in a civil case. Those are criminal terms of art (except for quasi-criminal statutory actions such as SEC fraud cases, which don't concern us here). So either you are very confused about the facts, or you are ignorant of the law. (And if you don't think this is "political", you are also quite naive.)
In either case, you seem to me to be far too eager to trash BXVI, both by your tone and by the general tenor of your posts in the religion forum.
If you are simply sending a "friendly message" or a "gentle warning" or presuming to throw a lifeline, you are going to have to moderate your tone. Because your post sounds like you are simply seizing another opportunity to trash the Pope and the Vatican.
And you can't tell me anything about disappointment, you'd be telling Noah about the Flood. I used to be an Episcopalian.
Tremendous post. And the quote above is brilliant as it is heartbreaking.
The Catholic church has the advantage of a strong leadership (that IMHO is how the ECUSA really got into trouble - no-one had the actual authority to take a firm stand.) I think as Catholics we have to steer a careful course -- opposition to revisionists can so easily veer into a paranoia that the entire church leadership is 'part of the conspiracy'. Then you fall out of the Barque of Peter on the opposite side, but you still fall out.
I'm not likely to fall prey to that particular idea, because I've seen what a real heretic looks like.
Normally, the Italian police are inclined to protect the Pope. They have great sympathy for him as a figurehead of paternal benevolence, even if they are not Catholic. But this is not always the case. They were not effective at keeping Napoleon out in the early 1800's, when the Pope was absconded to France by force. Nor later that century when Pius IX was forced into exile. But those were Italian popes. Now we have a German, and one might pause to wonder how loyal the non-Catholic, non-German Italian policemen might be for this foreigner?
. . . although the Pope has been in Rome for many years, and has apparently endeared himself to the locals. In person, he is an unassuming and disarmingly modest man.
Do you think there is some sort of threat to the Pope's life, and if so, why? Don't recall you mentioning that earlier.