Psychology Destroying Seminaries
From the Wanderer, October 27, 2005
Fr. Eduard Perrone . . . Focuses On The Spiritual Sabotage That Has Devastated Seminaries
DETROIT - As a team of U.S. bishops, including the Most Rev. Fabian Bruskewitz of Lincoln, Neb., headed to Detroit to conduct an investigation of the archdiocese's Sacred Heart Seminary, a Detroit priest sounded off with some practical recommendations of what to look for, and where.
Fr. Eduard Perrone, pastor since 1994 of the renowned Assumption Grotto Church - known far and wide for its beautiful liturgies and outstanding liturgical music - and a priest since 1978, wrote in his parish bulletin October 16 that a major area for exploration is the psychological brainwashing that prospective candidates for the priesthood must endure on the path to Ordination, and the inculcation of a cynical attitude that destroys faith.
The issue of homosexuals in the seminary, he observed, is only a "small, if necessary, focus of this investigation." What the bishops' team must primarily do, he suggested, is examine the teaching of professors who have been "dizzying the brains of seminarians with confusing accounts of some pivotal teachings of the Catholic Church."
"Young men entering the seminary usually do not do so to become rebels against the Magisterium and defamers of Catholic Tradition. Rather, this is a thing inculcated in them over a period of years of 'formation'," he wrote.
"They are tutored in the subtle art of theological ambiguity, of how to conserve a veneer of Catholicism while personally believing and practicing what is contrary to the faith. Especially through the technique of an oppressive psychological conditioning, they are led to espouse aberrant theological views (for example, to regard the Sacred Scripture as mere literature whose inerrancy is to be debunked; or to doubt that our Lord possessed divine knowledge during His life on earth).
"They are permitted to hold (and sometimes openly express) opinions on matters contrary to the defined teaching of the Pope, such as the moral impossibility of women priests (an issue now forever determined by the definition of Pope John Paul II). They may be taught by word or example to disregard liturgical norms.
"Much more insidious than these is the infusion of a cynical mental attitude regarding holy things and defined beliefs, an attitude due to years of 'formation' in classroom teaching and group discussions, by faculty evaluations, and in psychological counseling. Often there is no single thing that is the cause of this kind of malformation. It's rather the cumulative effect of a twisted and persistent conditioning which clouds reason, foments arrogance, stifles the devout life, and, in the end, destroys the faith of the seminarian.
"Behold the result: the unbelieving, rebellious, impious priest who enters the parish to undo the holy apostolic and Catholic faith and root out any vestige of Catholic piety in the faithful.
"If someone were to demand evidence for this dire account of some of our seminaries," he continued, "I would call as my witnesses you, the Catholic laity, who, without knowing how it came about, have seen and heard their 'products' operating in our parishes. Malformed priests have endangered or destroyed the spiritual lives of many Catholics, some of whom have stopped practicing the faith altogether.
"Such priests have led the laity to doubt Catholic doctrines, to denigrate the word of God, to neglect Confession, to make light of sinful matter - even of gravely sinful things. Finally, these priests have attempted to pacify their troubled consciences by assuring themselves and their parishioners that, in the end, all will be saved anyway.
"Sad to tell, there is yet more to this dismal picture. This concerns not the seminary directly but what precedes it. This is the process of interview and evaluation of the candidates. Here they are screened so that those deemed unsuitable are barred from entry into the seminary.
"While one might think it a good and necessary thing, one would be shocked to learn that those refused are not those who were found wanting in orthodox Catholic faith or who [fail to] practice traditional forms of Catholic piety but rather those who give evidence of those very things. The special tool employed for this process of exclusion of candidates is psychological testing with a follow-up evaluation by a psychologist.
"If a candidate is found to be too 'rigid' (a cherished term in their lexicon) because he holds to certain Catholic beliefs and religious practices, he is rejected as one unsuitable for the diocesan priesthood. One may wonder who these expert psychologists are who wield such power in determining priestly vocations. I answer with a single example.
"The archdiocese employed a woman psychologist who, among her other attributes, regarded [as] unacceptable any candidates who agreed with the Church's mandate of clerical celibacy. Without a doubt, her evaluation caused several candidates to be barred from entering our seminary. She has now left her job, but not on account of her views, but because she took off to 'marry' a priest of the archdiocese.
"All these and many more shameful and underhanded dealings with seminarians and seminary candidates have been kept from the devout Catholic faithful who have continued to pray - rightly of course, but naively - for more vocations to the priesthood.
"I believe that we do not have a true vocations problem, but rather a crisis fabricated by those who are depriving the Church of many potentially good priests and unleashing upon the Church some intellectually and morally unfit men to assume the life and work of the priesthood.
"Not all of their efforts have succeeded. There have been some very fine men ordained in recent years. Nor would it be true to say that all our seminary professors have been dissidents. Detroit, in fact, now has many excellent faculty members. But the aforesaid problems in some seminary courses and in the formation department really do exist nonetheless."