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Another Seminarian Speaks Up

Yesterday’s letter from a seminarian about the trials and hopes of training to be a priest in 2017 received a very positive response. Among those we heard from was another U.S. seminarian — from a completely different diocese — who emailed us to share his own thoughts. He graciously gave me permission to share them with you under the same condition of anonymity.

I am writing in response to the recently published letter from a seminarian. I myself am also a seminarian studying in the U.S.

Firstly, thank you for publishing my brother seminarian’s letter. As I was reading it, I thought to myself how I wish I had been the one to write it. Actually moments ago, one of my classmates came to my room to ask if I had authored the letter.

Secondly, I referred to this anonymous seminarian as my “brother” not only because there is a sense of fraternity among us even if we meet a seminarian from the other side of the world, but even more so because I identify very much with the words of that letter.

Personally speaking, I have wanted to be a priest from a very young age and have grown up going to Catholic school (which as I progressed is school, the schools became more and more secular) and have been active in parish life from a very young age. Looking at the current climate, and looking back on my up bringing and the environment in which my vocation was nurtured, I can say that I have been very blessed to have had the influence of many good priests and religious. But I can also say that looking at a “then and now” picture, the current expectations of seminarians and priests are drastically different to how I had been formed since my childhood and my understanding of the role of the priest.

Thirdly, I thought about writing to OnePeterFive recently with all the rhetoric about “rigidity” and “rigid young Catholics.” It reminds me of a chapter from Nietzsche’s “Beyond Good and Evil” and something came up which I thought would be a good article for your site. In Chapter 31 of his work, Nietzsche criticizes young people because they want ayes/no, black/answer because we (I intentionally say ‘we’) do not understand the nuances of life. One could interpret what Nietzsche says by with the simple phrase that “young people are rigid.” I highly suggest reading that 31st chapter of Nietzsche’s work because it characterizes the current overwhelming attitude of the Church’s hierarchy. Who knew that our pastors were Nietzschians? Most likely they themselves have no idea. Nietzsche himself writes that after years of experience the young man begins to doubt his enthusiasm and retreats from his youthful passion. I have seen this myself, young priests’ fire being sniffed out by the pessimism of a previous generation. Of course there is no doubt that youthful passion can be unhealthy, but when it goes to the extent that young man just accepts the status quo and never then seeks to fight for the Kingdom, then he falls into what my brother seminarian mentioned as the pursuit of worldliness; creating for himself a little kingdom of comfort where no one bothers him and he challenges no one to live up to the Gospel.

Anyway, I could go on for days without end. From another seminarian who cannot wait to be your priest, thank you for sharing the letter, and for your work in spreading the Truth.

When I started OnePeterFive, it was my intention to give a platform to the most needed but least heard voices in the Church. I sought out the compelling stories — of conversion, of devotion, of experience — in the hopes of bringing them to life. I would hear from people, “Oh, I’m not a writer.” “So?” I’d respond. “I’ll edit you. What you have to say can only be said by you.”

As we’ve increasingly shifted our coverage toward the Church crisis, we’ve had less time to spend on the stories about real faith, really lived. That’s a pity. We can’t restore Catholic culture and rebuild Catholic tradition if we don’t know what that looks like. We need to hear from people like our seminarians. They are the future. They give us hope.

I encourage other seminarians, but also priests and laymen to send us their stories. If you’re a part of the Church, and you’re striving to live your faith in challenging times, I’m willing to bet you have something to offer that others would benefit from. We can’t publish everything, but it strikes me as very important that we remind ourselves that we’re all in this together.

Our shared experiences, challenges, and triumphs are an important part of that.

64 thoughts on “Another Seminarian Speaks Up”

  1. Thank you, seminarian, for following God’s call in a world opposed in nearly every way to it, and thank you for writing. And thank you, Steve, for posting these two letters. It is, indeed, important and in many ways refreshing to hear from these men who will one day be administering the sacraments to us.

    Who would have thought we’d live in times like this, where we need to openly debate the options available to us, now, when our pope seems to be doing everything he can to destroy the faith. When our bishops care more about their comfort than they do for God, and when the red of a cardinal’s garb seems to represent not the blood of the martyrs and willingness to die for the faith, but the fires of hell to which they seem doomed. Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us.

  2. How odd, this echo of Nietzsche; or is it? The Jesuit Loyola School of Theology here in the Philippines is a theologate that serves all of Asia. Bishop Pablo David, considered here to be a “rising star” in the local Church, and widely believed here to be the likely successor to Cardinal Tagle in the archdiocese of Manila (which is an automatic Cardinal’s hat), gave this homily at the theologate last August. He proposes a paradigm of “spiritual evolution”, taken explicitly and unapologetically straight out of Nietzsche, as the paradigm for education at the theologate:

    • Reading and studying Nietzsche can be very helpfull as an exercise in digging deep on the subject of the proper diagnosis of the cultural and spiritual crisis of the West (i.e. the “death of God”). Nietzsche can also be a great exercise in learning the art of interpretation, as a preparation for disciplines like scriptural exegesis, how strange that might sound at first. Moreover, Nietzsche is of incomparable value in learning about the psychological as well as the aristocratic aspects of morality and moral judgement.

      To be clear, Nietzsche ultimately disappoints when it comes to the therapy instead of the diagnosis. Nevertheless, he has greatness. In the process of becoming aware of the importance of such basic ideas as ‘hierarchy’ and ‘tradition’ I’m much indebted to Nietzsche.

      • To be sure, all genuine philosophy can be very helpful in widening and deepening our thinking, and may lead us to believe that we have understood better ourselves and our culture. But when it comes to a helpful philosophy that gives both “diagnosis” and “therapy”, as you put it, and that at the same time remains faithful to the spiritual sense of our tradition, I find the Jewish reading (as opposed to the reading that stems from Catholic philosophers at Louvaine) of the French-Jewish philosopher Emmanuel Levinas most helpful.

    • I would imagine this bishop considers St. Theresa of Avila, St John of the Cross and other mystics, just disillusioned medievals with rich imagination. These are wolves not pastors, run away from them!

      • True enough. He’s a bishop with a worldly agenda. I know more than I can speak. Publicly, he once gave an exegetical lecture on Martha and Mary, and despite the plain sense of the text (“Mary has chosen the better part”), he ended up “proving” that Martha was “vindicated” over Mary. But I know that Benedict XVI–who is surely the better theologian and exegete–has maintained that Mother Church has always treasured both her Marthas and her Marys, and does not see fit to make such interpretations.

        • Justifying activism. It’s an aspect of sloth. We we’re always told that sloth means laziness. Which it does. But that’s one extreme of it, i.e. not doing anything. The other one is doing too much and not doing what is required of you, i.e. a priest doesn’t say his Breviary cause he tilled the garden all day. I think this is how they justify all of this in their heads. ‘Look at how much I’ve done! The Lord is surely pleased with this.’ No, actually He’s not! You didn’t do what your were supposed to do. Teach, govern, sanctify! Be a shepherd to the faithful and to your priests!
          And about Martha and Mary, I read or heard somewhere, can’t remember in what context, that the two must in the end come together. There is no Mary without Martha, nor Martha without Mary. There is no saint who hasn’t learned by sitting at the feet of our Divine Teacher, nor is there a saint who hasn’t done any activity, i.e. even the greatest mystics and contemplatives left us at least some writings, founded an order and so on. It’s the two sides of the same coin. Pray as everything depended on God, do as everything depended on you. (St. Augustine)

          • True. The wolf is a destroyer, creating dichotomies where there should be none, turning the individual soul away from what is whole and beautiful, and on the large, dividing and scattering the flock. You are a good priest, Fr.PD. I long for the day when the pastors of the Church are true shepherds.

          • It’s coming! Keep your eyes peeled! The revolutionary spirit of the 60s is not within the new generation of priests nor in those that prepare for it. But time needs to pass, so that this spirit dies along with that generation. We are taking back the Church, piece by piece.
            By the way, the spirit of the 60s is now in the people at the top. That’s why we see such destruction being wrought on our Mother, the Church. It’s just their final battle cry in a war they’ve already lost.

  3. “Who knew that our pastors were Nietzschians?”

    Glad to see that the “young’uns” are waking up to the crisis. Nietzschians, Hegelians, Kantians, Lutherans – almost anything but Thomists it seems is tolerated in the vacuous worldly mess that is much of the decadent Church on earth today.

    Two short Scripture quotes that sum up everything you need to keep the Faith in an environment where you are being “love-bombed” with relativism:

    “We must obey God rather than men.” Acts 5,29

    “He who becomes a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.” James 4,4

    • That last Scripture citation hits it squarely on the head.

      Let me see: loved by the secular world, approved by the LGBT media, embraced by the Freemasons, hailed by everyone except orthodox Christians.. I could go on and one but you get my drift.

  4. Thanks Steve. Good to hear about seminarians. Must be a real struggle for them to maintain their faith. The Nietzschian observation seems exactly right. What a clever way for Bishops to rationalize away courage with prudence. And what an awful example for seminarians who didn’t go to the seminary to become religious bureaucrats. Let us pray for seminarians and for courageous Bishops.

  5. All the Good Seminarians should realize that the moment they become a priest they will be under relentless attack from the evil one. Know your enemy, the priests that convince themselves that they are like everyone else, make themselves especially vulnerable to demonic attack. Beware of your parishioners, many of them would love nothing better than to undermine your faith, with the goal of replacing your faith with liberality. Especially watch out for women, age 60-80, often they are the most likely to have the most insidious agendas generated in the post Vatican II Church. Those who reflect the attitudes of Eve, rather than Mary.

    • Hey wait a minute!! ‘Especially watch our for women, age 60 -80’………don’t lump us all together in one basket! Some of us are fighting just as hard for traditional Catholicism as those much younger!! Discernment is the key for these up and coming new Priests along with a healthy prayer life. Praying the Rosary will keep their eyes open for liberal agendas of others, as was promised by Our Lady herself in her ’15 promises’. This from personal experience and I can guarantee it for anyone including seminarians and Parish Priests. We’re not all ‘Nuns on the Bus’ you know!!

      • Hi st – I know that, many of the most holy women I know are within that age range. I was only pointing out that some women that age currently were swayed to the most radical of the post Vatican II errors. Especially the hopes that there would be a female priesthood. Many of these women are bitter and have risen to influential positions in many of the parishes they still hope to guide into these errors. Some of these women are very subtle in their approach to these issues, and those are the most dangerous. The connection to Eve is actually quite apt, they might not be whispering into the ears of the priests, but they are relentless in attempts to establish a false sense of sympathy for their cause in priests both young and old. I hope you noticed how I addressed you with the first two words of my response. Trust me, the most holy persons I know are women, between the age of 60 – 80, including my wife. But as if there is always seemingly a counterbalance to the holiness of one particular grouping of the faithful, some of the most unfaithful women also fit that general profile. Some of the seeds sown post Vatican II fell on soil that nurtured error, while some of those same seeds, withered and died because they were not nurtured by those who rejected the roots they attempted to establish in their soil. That is why I know the true Church is intact, and will always be.

        • Yes, I agree with you. I also know these women from my own Parish and you are correct. I was just razzing you to point out: ‘we aren’t ALL ‘spirit of Vat ll’ women! But yes, you are correct there are lots of ‘nuns on the bus’ types running around that are in this age group, unfortunately. But….the Dear Lord always provides a ‘counterbalance’ to any error, right you are;) God Bless

          Oh and p.s……….I don’t consider myself ‘holy’ by any means…….that I do believe is a life long goal to work at, (“I work out my salvation in fear and trembling”) at least for me, and pray God when it’s time to call me home, I’m at least ‘holy enough’ to adore Him for eternity.

          • Hi st – You might be farther along the path to holiness than you know. I am hoping that the times will make the saints, because the trials that lay ahead of us, should not be underestimated. nor the Graces that flow to those seeking holiness during these times. Striving for holiness might be the best way to prepare for the coming days. I am pretty sure that a time will come when the Grace to be holy will not flow so readily. As in the days of Noah.

          • to st and fn
            I am another of the over 80 crowd who knows there wasn’t a document entitled, “the Spirit of II” and who cringes each week at having to receive our Lord from the hands of the woman. There are many of us “old” ladies in the pews praying for a “real” renewal! We pray for Priests and Seminarians everyday. May our prayers be answered soon! :}

          • HI mianades – God Bless You, when I talk to people in SSPX and tell them they should have stayed in the Church because I know many holy people who stayed and kept the Church Holy because they stayed, even though they knew errors were occurring, they stayed not because of some shallow sense of forward momentum, but, because they trusted the Holy Spirit would correct those errors, I am talking about people like you. I have known many, thank you for making that list a little bit longer.

    • Yes, please don’t lump us all together! I belong to CUF (Catholic’s United for the Faith) and most of us are over 60yrs. old! The radical 60’s were turbulent to say the least but many of us came back to our Traditional Catholic roots for various reasons and I thank God every day for bringing me back home and being one of the future small remnant!

      • Hi Sunisyde – Your are obviously the good soil. We should never forget that among the withered dying plants, who prefer the darkness, there are healthy vibrant ones, who love the Light. Thank You Holy Spirit.

  6. It is with a heavy heart that I plead with these seminarians to try to transfer over to a traditional order. It may set them back years, but it would be worth the sacrifice to know with certainty that they will be ordained by a traditional bishop, one who intends to do what the Church does, which is a requirement for valid ordination. This is the reason Abp. Lefebvre did what he did – for the good of the Church – to validly ordain priests! If the faithful seminarians are consecrated to Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart, she will lead them on the right path.

    • No, he shouldn’t transfer to a traditional order. He’ll be needed in the parishes when the baby boomer generation finally dies off. The baby boomer Catholics won’t give-up on their failed “reforms,” no matter what the statistics show. But age catches up with everyone, and eventually that whole generation will be gone. Say what you will about the millennials, but those of us who actually care about the faith and the church are not interested in parroting the culture.

      • Whether they transfer to a traditional order or not, I think they need to follow where our Lord leads. I do think they should all learn to say the Mass of all Ages. As far as “Baby Boomers” go, I am in that age group and you paint with a very broad brush if you think we all love the culture we had to live through.

        • Steve, I’m certainly painting with a broad brush — that’s inevitable when trying to describe general characteristics of a generation.

        • I’d go a step further: We Catholics should all be at least minimally conversant with Latin, the official language of the Church for hundreds of years, as a way to connect us with previous generations.It takes a little time, but all of us can learn to say and understand in Latin the Rosary and large parts of the Mass. Can the stupid television, invest in a self-teaching program on the computer, and spend some quality time with our history. One day you may be privileged to pray the Mass without a missal in a words that Thomas Aquinas or St Jerome would understand.

          • I couldn’t agree more. I wish Latin was required in schools like it used to be. There re a few really good home study courses. Actually, I plan on taking one myself.

          • I took 3 years in high school, then switched to Spanish in college & learned to speak it fluently. Later, I returned to Latin at a nearby university (summer courses & late afternoon extension courses in the fall & winter), and finally to a series of tapes (long time ago!) that taught me all the prayers & significant parts of the Mass in proper Church-pronunciation Latin. In fact, even though my wife & I were married in a NO Mass, it was said in Latin, & we both took our vows in Latin. Now, 35+ years later, I still recite the Rosary and remember those parts of the Mass in the language of St Jerome. I am certain that there are nowadays resources on the Internet far superior to what I found decades ago on tape. Good luck with it.

          • I pray most of the Rosary in Latin. Still working on learning the Credo and Oratio Fatimae in Latin though

          • Odd you should mention this, Tom. The only part of the Rosary I know ONLY in Latin is the Oratio Fatimae! I always say it in Latin, even when I say the rest in English. I just never learned it in English.

          • In fact, there are lots of different versions of the prayer, all translations to Latin from Portuguese. The one I learned many years ago (can’t remember now where!) is this: “Mi Iesu, indulge peccata nostra, conserva nos ab igne inferni, duc omnes ad caeli gloriam, praecipue tua misericordia egentes.” Another I found online in several places is: “Domine Iesu, dimitte nobis debita nostra, salva nos ab igne inferiori, perduc in caelum omnes animas, praesertim eas, quae misericordiae tuae maxime indigent.” Since there’s no “official” version, but many that are grammatically correct and mirror the thoughts of the original Portuguese, I’d find one I’m comfortable with and memorize it. (The version I use has the virtue of being shorter and thus easier to memorize!)

        • About learning to say the Mass of All Ages, yes I agree. I truly believe Priests should be encouraged to learn it themselves whenever they can, privately, and if takes a long time, then they should be patient with themselves and the result would be worth it. Surely that could only deepen the Priest’s understanding of the sacrificial nature of the Mass, and of the depth of his priesthood In Persona Christi. I believe with both rites in his formation, he will bring a deeper understanding to his offering the NO than if he just knows the NO. As laity, attending both helped me with the NO.

          • Absolutely, I totally agree. It would be a fantastic situation if more Priests would l are the Latin Mass. It would have to deeper the appreciation for the Mass by the Priest and the laity as well.

      • This point is worth examining. By doing the math, I believe we could have as much as 20 more years of Bergoglianism before his entire generation dies off in the desert like their faithless Hebrew forefathers.

        • In line with your thought, Bishop Athanasius Schneider said perhaps a year ago that it would take another forty years to work through the current crisis – given that flawless historical lens he works through. A similar insight from Pope Benedict who thought it was imperative for the entire Vatican II generation and those who have a biased interest to be off the stage for a revisioning critique to be brought to bear upon this mass disorientation.
          One sincerely wonders if any catechized individual will be in existence at that point in history. Yes, I know we have Our Lord’s assurance, but it does seem the remnant will be small indeed.

          • As I try to grow in the faith and pass that faith on to my kids, I have to challenge them {and me, too!} to live for Jesus, not live for faithless and cowardly Catholic prelates. We cannot allow what is true to be undermined by that which is false.

            For some reason, God has selected us and apportioned for us the grace to carry in our Lord on at this time.

    • The new ordination rite is a valid ordination. There is little evidence, none of it solid, to suggest that it does not.

      Archbishop Lefebvre consecrated bishops to ensure the survival of the SSPX. Not because he believed other ordinations were invalid.

      • Then why does the SSPX conditionally re-ordain priests that come to the order? Intention of the bishop is a very real concern. The “it’s valid” stance is getting tiresome and does nothing to help people out of the novus ordo religion.

        • I’ve never heard that they do. Can anyone confirm that the SSPX conditionally ordains Catholic priests entering the order?

          Valid doesn’t excuse other problems. Question: do you believe Pope Francis (or Pope Benedict if you fall into that camp) is the true pope? And have the popes since Pius XII been true popes?

          • As I understand it, they don’t do it with every priest who is accepted.

            The SSPX’s page on this question – written by Fr Peter Scott, who is well known to be on the “starchy” end of the Society, makes clear that Archbp. Lefebvre accepted the validity of the 1968 rite: “The matter and the form of the Latin rite of priestly ordination introduced by Pope Paul VI in 1968 are not subject to positive doubt. They are, in effect, practically identical to those defined by Pope Pius XII in 1947 in Sacramentum Ordinis.” The difficulty, he goes on to add, lies in some of the vernacular translations of the rite, as well as cases where there is doubt about the intentions of the ordaining bishop.


          • are you saying that they ask the Priest coming into the order, the name of the Bishop who ordained them and depending on their answer, they make a judgement about that Bishop’s intention “to do what the Church does” ??? It would be good to understand this issue better for the SSPX. Other people have mentioned the problem with ordination to me.

          • Jorge Mario Bergoglio was ordained and consecrated a bishop according the the new rite. Joseph Ratzinger was consecrated in the new rite. According to your argument we should doubt their orders. Since the pope is, by definition, bishop of Rome, shouldn’t we doubt their papacy if we doubt their orders. Such a belief would make someone a sedevacantist, would it not? At least of an agnostic character.

          • Listen, Jafin, I’m not sure what your point is, but yes, anything “new” could be doubtful. I don’t really have the time to do your homework for you but it seems like you spend a good amount of time on the internet, so why don’t you do your own research? Perhaps you’re in the mood to ban someone and are looking to pin me as a sedevacantist, but I will restate that no, I am not. Last time I checked the only prerequisite to be elected pope is to be a Catholic male. God bless you, I know you mean well.

          • I’m not trying to pin you as a sedevacantist. I’m trying to tell you that your position lends itself to sedevacantism. The only thing needed to be elected pope is to be a Catholic Male, true. But the office of the papacy is the office of the Bishop of Rome. So the person elected must be a bishop or they are not pope. Sure, a layman could be elected to the papacy, but then he’d need to be ordained and consecrated. If the consecrations are invalid then there are VERY few bishops left in the world. And no pope. If they are doubtful then we’d better get the several thousand bishops of the world together, spread them between the eastern churches and traditional orders and few remaining pre-Vatican II bishops and get them all consecrated. It’s a tough position to hold. You’re saying that there’s a good chance that the vast majority of the bishops are not in fact bishops. That’s tenuous at best.

            I’ve done plenty of homework myself. I’m aware of the changes in the rites, I’ve now read the article from the SSPX that states there may be need to conditionally ordain some priests. They seem to have a good argument and basis. What I’m saying is you need to be careful with your assertions or you’re going to find logical inconsistencies.

  7. May God continue to guide this seminarian, and all others like him. Now, more than ever, we need ‘rigid’ priests who teach orthodoxy and denounce heresy.

  8. Thank you for sharing these letters from the seminarians. We are praying for you and are so very thankful to you for your generosity!

  9. These seminarians and priests are up against the “elitists” in holy mother church. I’ve talked with a priest on a few occasion’s who’s very dissatisfied w/his Archbishop who’s constantly pulling in the reins on him. This Archbishop also calls this priest, “too Marion.” The priest tells me his hands are tied as he’d like to do and introduce more Traditional thing’s in the church. He’s frustrated and he said he has also thought of quitting the Priesthood.!! Please pray for our priests for they take the ‘vow of obedience’ and that’s a hard line to follow when many of them have a big problem with the current Vatican!

  10. It is good that the seminarians are finding strength to support each other through your website.
    How difficult it must be for these young men who give up the world to pursue God and truth only to be chastised in the Church by their superiors.
    To them we say: may the Holy Spirit guide and strengthen you and may God in his goodness bring orthodoxy and stability back to the Church, soon.
    In the meantime, we, out here in the world, are praying for you; you are not alone.
    Thanks Steve for giving these young men hope.

  11. The international banking usury monetary system needs to be destroyed by divine intervention. This is the beast system that has been used since 1913 to destroy the last of the catholic monarchs and plunge russia into communism. Russia has pulled itself out of communism, but the beast system still exists to continue the enslavement of the west. The same beast financial system is what provides power to wall street, hollywood, corporations, any antichrist initiative. It needs to be destroyed. Once destroyed, the Catholic Church can begin its true restoration. “In Portugal, the dogma of the faith shall be preserved”.

  12. Hmmm, clean out the Rat’s Nests that defile God’s Church on earth !!! We need real MEN to lead this church. Is there a list or website that refers to the names of these people that are in charge of “Priestly Formation’?

  13. I have a calling to the priesthood but such stories scare the life out of me. I’m from South Africa so i doubt it’s like this here but you never know.

    I pray that the seminaries in my diocese are places where I can openly and unashamedly be catholic without being labelled “rigid”


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