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Planned Priesthood: moms are not welcome -- II

By Diogenes ( articles ) | Dec 05, 2003

Jason Berry relates one woman's glimpse of priests in the making at the Diocese of San Diego's St. Francis Seminary [Lead Us Not Into Temptation, p. 246]:

Mary Jones's first inkling that something was amiss came in autumn, 1980. She left a check for her son Bob at the seminary, and looked in the piano room. "Cushions were on the floor. Guys were in togas, with wine goblets, not all wearing underwear ... I started crying. A priest came over and said gently, "This is not a time when parents are welcome." ...

Why did she let Bob continue in the seminary? "I wanted to preserve our relationship at all costs. It's like those cults. Once you lose communication, you lose it all. When Bob told me he thought he was gay I went to his spiritual director, and I practically tore his apartment up." Crying, she said: "It's not that he's gay -- it's whether he became gay because of the seminary. I was the best mother I could be! I educated him in Catholic schools."

Poor woman. Without graduate training in spirituality she can't hope to understand all that's involved in formation-for-ministry these days. Her son's 1980 seminary classmates, of course, are by now pastors, vicars, monsignori -- and soon will be seminary rectors and bishops themselves.

Remember the massive, root-and-branch, scorched-earth clean-up of West Coast seminaries that took place after the sex abuse scandals broke? Neither do I.

I do recall Bishop Wilton Gregory's interview (4-29-2002) with Newsweek reporter David France, just before the U.S. cardinals met with the Pope at the Vatican to discuss the crisis:

Q: Will homosexuality and homosexual priests be discussed there this week?

[Gregory's voice rose and he slapped the table.] I would not be surprised. However, I think that the focus should be on, and this is what I've continually said: The focus must be on the safety of children! That's A-number one!

By our bishops' reckoning, if you think the St. Francis Seminary Model isn't part of the solution, then you are part of the problem. Is it any wonder why they need to lock out the obstreperous laity?

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