Sunday, June 02, 2013

Trads have vocations: comment and answer

M. Jordan Lichens writes:
As a young man who is discerning a vocation, I have to say Traditionalists have vocations not just due to old languages, pretty liturgy or some such (otherwise the Byzantines would be bursting, but I don't see that). I truly think their success is that their call to being a priest or religious is actually one that challenges and demands something of their seminarians.

All too often, most religious groups are barely more than a few eccentric men who decided to become roommates. They don't wear a habit or clerics, do the minimum amount of praying, and often only get involved in left-wing politics within their community. The Dominicans do well with vocations, despite being
Novus Ordo, but they actually challenge their men.

Also, at the risk of being a sexist, there is a real lack of masculinity in some orders. This is a complete turn-off for a young man. As one Irish comedian put it when we went to mass, "There was this 80 year old woman of a man up there." I don't know of a single man that wants to take vows of celibacy, poverty and obedience just so they can live like Laverne and Shirley.
Great comment. All of the American churches are hurting; our numbers are steady compared to the mainline because they're kept artificially high thanks to Mexican ringers. Our white numbers are freefalling like the mainline’s, because 50 years ago we thought it would be neat to imitate the mainline. Thanks, Vatican II.

Right, trads have vocations, and simply numbers, because they offer a real alternative and challenge to mainstream culture. Why go along with that culture AND give up sex and having kids? Before the council, our culture was self-perpetuating (put down now as ‘the Catholic ghetto’; it was a true ‘Christian community’, a huge, accommodating but not assimilated, minority that in the ’50s reached the height of its power); a certain number of our many kids tried vocations. (The quiet, studious, churchy boys and girls Sister liked in class were encouraged to try the seminary or convent.) Now that’s gone (thanks again, council, for that ‘renewal’) AND there’s no incentive to try it. So vocations crater.

The mainline goes along with secular culture and still loses most of its people; modern society thinks it’s quaint; passé. The mainline concludes from this that it’s not yet liberal enough! Guess the old Catholic liberals think the same way.

The few eccentric men or women who do lefty politics are what the ‘renewal’ turned the old religious orders into. See above. If Modernism’s true, if Jesus was just a wise teacher and the goal of Christianity is social justice, be a politically correct do-gooder AND enjoy your sex life as a young person rather than living like Laverne and Shirley. So those orders are dying off.

The Byzantines are suffering a triple whammy so no vocations there either: always being a tiny minority in America, the same malaise from the council as the rest of the church (even though their rite was spared a modernization program), and, just like the Orthodox, attrition as the newer generations are less ethnic.

The Orthodox lose people like crazy for the first and third reasons, and prove that, while celibacy’s just a rule I’m not willing to die for, married priests aren’t a cure for the vocations crunch. They don’t get them anymore either, relying on convert-boomlet clergy including ex-ministers from other churches. ACROD (1930s Byzantine Catholics pushed out for no good reason) just imported a Greek-American priest to be their new metropolitan; why isn’t Christ the Savior Seminary full of Slavic boys?

Ditto on the homosexuality/effeminacy problem in the priesthood. Hmm. Political correctness is a Christian heresy trying to be just and charitable. (By the way, I’m old enough to have grown up when homosexuality wasn’t cool in secular culture; it was conservative Christians who taught me, as opposed to the playground, that picking on homosexuals is wrong.) If the Modernists run things, turning Christianity into political correctness with Jesus talk glued on, then the only men the priesthood will attract are those who buy into that and are not interested in actual sex (with women; homosex isn’t really sex). It’s long been a trope in our Protestant hosts’ culture that our priests are perverted or lecherous, because of suspicion about celibacy, but at least 19th-century WASPs thought they were into women. Now? No wonder Roissy thinks priests are either loser betas and omegas who’ve given up on getting girls or are gay. (By the way, the mainline or at least the Episcopal ministry is turning into middle-aged women and gay men.)

(My line on the big underage gay sex scandal: lonely gay priests, told by changing mainstream society that what they want is good, act on it with teenage boys, which the church says is a sin, and mainstream society blames the church! They'll always slam our priests.)


  1. Interesting and astute analysis.

    I disagree that the Council is to blame for everything. It came at a bad time, but the floodgates were ready to burst anyway. Look at everything else that was happening back then!

    Plus, American Catholics have been afflicted by affluenza. We were better off spiritually when we were poor, despised immigrants.

    You gotta move down South, though. It will brighten your outlook considerably. :)

    1. Thanks. I'd thought of a lot of that: that someone would point out what I know, that the old American Catholic culture wasn't perfect and that the larger culture going bad in the Sixties is as much to blame for the church's internal problems as the council. I still say the church had the clout to ride out the Sixties with far less damage than what happened, had the council never been called or had it been cut short by John XXIII's death. (The Southern Baptist Convention, which didn't try to liberalize in the Sixties, doesn't seem to be hurting too much, spiritually, in its numbers, and in its clout with outsiders.) I hear you but won't romanticize poverty either. (Lots of spiritual and social evils.) The Catholic South's great if SS. Cyril & Methodius, Cary, is anything to go by.

  2. "(My line on the big underage gay sex scandal: lonely gay priests, told by changing mainstream society that what they want is good, act on it with teenage boys, which the church says is a sin, and mainstream society blames the church! They'll always slam our priests.)"

    The data on reported or known sexual abuse of minor boys by the recent John Jay College of Criminal Justice on behalf of the USCCB goes back to 1950 when mainstream society said that what they wanted (men and women with a same sex attraction) was not good. Has to be more complex than what you stated, the complexities including active, vicious sexual predators in addition to confused men with same sex attractions for (mostly) pubescent males. Fr. Fitzgerald of the Servants of the Holy Paraclete (they have/had a treatment center for priests in the Jemez Mountains of New Mexico) who developed ,in obedience to the bishops, the first treatment program for these types of abuser clerics, had no use for these types of priests. He called them vipers. Pretty strong language from a priest who had a love for priests suffering from alcoholism, career/vocational burn-out, etc., and started the Servants of . . . to help them overcome their problems.

    BTW, there was an active, vicious sexual predator priest undergoing treatment at the Servants of the Paraclete. I won't mention his name, but he used his position while under "treatment" to target and abuse boys in a nearby parishes as a supply priest. He costs the Archdiocese of Santa Fe a bundle of loot in lawsuits.

    The late Fr. John Hardon, S.J. wrote a book about Fr. Fitzgerald's life and work. It's a real shame the Servants of the Paraclete took a "big hit" over the abuse scandals of 2000 when they were just trying to treat these abusing priests in obedience to the bishops of the Church.


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