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...what makes a tapeworm...

By Fr. Wilson (articles ) | Aug 07, 2003

Yes, Diogenes, you're quite right. Bull's-eye. But of course, it's important to remember that some of the tapeworms are quite innocent. They don't even realize that they were trained to be tapeworms.

A few months ago I had a call from a gentleman who had been dismissed (by Rockville Centre Bishop William Murphy) from the seminary at Huntington. He then sued the seminary, arguing breach of contract: he had paid good money for a Catholic course of studies, and hadn't gotten it. I was deeply skeptical about a court ever judging such a matter, but conversation with Mr Quinn and later his attorney gave me pause.

Quinn described what his Moral Theology classes had been like; for me, it was deja vu. He had some of the same professors, and all of the same Moral Theology: the consequentialist/proportionalist approach to Moral Theology. Precisely what I had experienced in the same place twenty years earlier. I had had problems with it, couldn't reconcile it with my understanding of Catholicism...

...Neither could the Pope. Ten years after I was studying this stuff he devoted a quarter of "Veritatis Splendor" to trashing the whole theory. Pffffft.

Ten years after I studied this stuff, the Pope trashed it, devoting a quarter of an encyclical to it. Twenty-six years after, Mr Quinn encountered it in a seminary course, just as I had. As though the Holy Father had said nothing at all. And this is the seminary used by my diocese (the recently retired Bishop of which, Thomas V. Daily, has always been regarded as ardently loyal to the Pope and orthodox). A young man, presenting himself in good faith to my diocese for formation and discernment for Priesthood... would get this stuff in class.

Young priests learned these things, and in good faith regard themselves as enlightened when they teach it (the professor REFUSED Mr Quinn's offer to purchase copies of the Encyclical for each class member so they could at least discuss it). Admittedly, few here learn these things, because we have astoundingly few seminarians (a 1.6 million member Diocese of Brooklyn has 17 major seminarians studying in our five-year program. We can lose the services of 25 priests in a year, and ordain two). Up and down the eastern seaboard of the USA there are men serving as priests who should be working here in Brooklyn, but who avoided our formation program because of the seminary, by applying elsewhere.

Most of today's tapeworms can't even dimly recall the days when the Vatican Council was in session; they get their impresson of that event from... well, in some cases, the lousy formation programs offered by ardently papalist, orthodox bishops

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Show 6 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: - Aug. 10, 2003 3:12 PM ET USA

    Could someone explain to me what is going on? I am new to the term tapeworms and I am unsure what the debate is here. It sounds to me like there is a debate on what and how theology is being taught at the seminary. Would someone, anyone, please e-mail me with a explanation? I would greatly appreciate any info that you guys could provide. My e-mail is brucealeg@ngent.com Thanks for your help, Bruce

  • Posted by: John J Plick - Aug. 10, 2003 12:50 PM ET USA

    Dear verax, Somewhat impressed with your sympathy (for Father, but what comes to my mind is the "St. Valentine"s Day Massacre" in Chicago. From the recent Pop Rock song "The Night Chicago Died" there is a line that goes "And I heard someone who said...'Bout a hundred cops are dead..." A day of reckoning came for the city of Chicago. Eventually, they had to choose between the gangster Al Capone and the rule of Law. That day is coming for our Church, who now ignores Her own Canon Laws.

  • Posted by: - Aug. 09, 2003 3:31 AM ET USA

    Dr. Plick: Do you realize that priests who stick their necks out as far as Father has, usually get their heads chopped off by the clerical "cosa nuostra"? This priest has guts, a real rarity ! Brains, too, another rarity !

  • Posted by: John J Plick - Aug. 08, 2003 8:15 PM ET USA

    The explanation in my humble opinion, Father, I think I know by God's grace. I believe I just gave it. It is the cure that we are still waiting for. Whatever you members of the clergy care to do or not do, that is your decision. Many laymen are at the mercy of your "mistakes,." things that you are very loathe to admit. Should Catholic clergyman continue to remain stubborn and unrepentatnt, embracing passivity as a form of virtue, the end will be for both of us very hard.

  • Posted by: - Aug. 07, 2003 11:08 PM ET USA

    It's interesting, Dr Plick, to see how often EXPLAINING a penomenon in this forum is taken as EXCUSING it. I'm not interested in nurturing tapewoms; I'm thoroughly dedicated to reminding all and sundry of just why they can creep in and take root.

  • Posted by: John J Plick - Aug. 07, 2003 9:16 PM ET USA

    Dear Father, With all due respect I think your response to Diogenes deserves an autopsy. First of all, sustaining tapeworms is not mercy, it is indifference. It is an invitation to apostasy. Excommunication was never meant to destroy, but to rehabilitate. 10 years you say, 10 years!? How long does it take to discern serious error? And after he (John Paul II) was ignored, what happened? Who was excommunicated?? What priests were thrown out of the priesthood and which Bishops were deposed. Answer

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