Liguori: All Those Who Assist Unworthy Men in Obtaining Priestly Vocation Guilty of Mortal Sin June 8, 2016Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, catachesis, disaster, episcopate, error, General Catholic, priests, Revolution, Saints, sanctity, scandals, the struggle for the Church, Tradition, true leadership, Virtue.
Occasional reader JB sent a link out yesterday to a LifeSiteNews post on a talk given by the president of Family Life International of New Zealand at the Roman Life Forum. The talk contained several very sad stories all too common in the Church today, including loved ones falling into the culture of death and the tangled, sinful lives of those given over to various perversions (the latter of which I will not cover, except to say it is yet a further bit of anecdotal evidence of the kind of cruel abuse so common in lesbian relationships).
The story on which I would like to focus, however, which begins at ~1:40 in the video below, regards an Anglican man with strong same-sex attraction tendencies who was admitted to the priesthood of Holy Mother Church. In fact, he went through seminary in the Diocese of Rome, about which he revealed some all too common tales:
The priest befriended Bayer and her husband Terry — both workers in the life-and-family movement — and felt comfortable opening up to them about the extent of the misery that plagued his life. He eventually began telling them of his experiences from his time in the seminary in Rome.
At one point, the priest related to them his memories of Friday night parties with other seminarians at exotic locations in Rome that ended in homosexual orgies. [This is not infrequent at all, in many dioceses around the world. Ever been sort of scandalized by your diocesan vocations director?]
“And it broke my heart. I used to think that we worship under the dome of Rome, that we come here [in Rome] to our home. But then to learn that in the seminary here…the devastation, the filth, and the stuff that went on is appalling,” Bayer related.
She said that the fact that this man made it into the seminary, despite his manifest problems, reveals the extent of the corruption at that time within Catholic seminaries. [It is only slightly better today, and worse in some places]
“How did he get in? How was he accepted, if there wasn’t already a cohort there ready and willing and available to help in that situation?” she said.
I would say, even more than “ready and willing…..to help,” he was brought in by that perverse cohort specifically because he was just like them! In other words, morally compromised, absent from the state of Grace, and easy to manipulate.
Which brings me to the point of this post. Saint Alphonsus has some very strong things to say about all those who help an unworthy man, without a true vocation, obtain a vocation to the priesthood or religious life:
In my Moral Theology I have given on this point a long dissertation to establish that those cannot be excused from mortal sin who without having been sufficiently tried by a holy life receive a Holy Order; since they raise themselves to this sublime state without a divine vocation; for one cannot regard those as having been called by God who have not yet succeeded in overcoming a bad habit, especially the habit of offending against chastity. And whenever among those one might be found who is disposed by repentance to receive the Sacrament of Penance, he would nevertheless not be in a condition to receive Holy Orders, for in his case there must be more holiness of life manifested during a long trial. [A most important point. St. Alphonsus is saying that a one time “repentance” from long acts of unchastity/perversion is not sufficient grounds to admit a man to Holy Orders. He must be proved by a long trial of adherence to virtue and rejection of vice. That is why Pope Benedict stated that men with a profound SSA inclination were unsuitable for the priesthood, as they hold a disordered attachment that will, in almost all cases, always be present and a source of deadly temptation.] Otherwise the candidate would not be exempt from mortal sin on account of the grave presumption that he wished to intrude into the holy ministry without a true vocation. Hence St. Anselm says: “Those who thus thrust themselves into Holy Orders and have in view only their own interests are robbers who arrogate to themselves the Grace of God; instead of benediction they would receive God’s malediction.” [Paging Dr. Luther, Dr. Martin Luther]
As Bishop Abelly remarks, they would expose themselves to the great danger of being lost forever: “Whoever deliberately and without troubling himself whether or not he had a vocation would thrust himself into the priesthood, would without doubt plainly expose himself to eternal perdition.” [This is not a mere sin to be confessed. In order to properly show contrition, the priest with the false vocation, like the man above, would have to seek laicization and leave the priesthood. Of course, the indelible mark would remain, as would the need to perform penance for the rest of their life for committing so grievous an offense against God] Soto holds the same opinion when he asserts, in speaking of the Sacrament of Holy Orders, that positive sanctity in the candidate is of divine precept: “Assuredly,” he says, “this sanctity is not essential to the Sacrament, though it is altogether necessary by a divine precept………Now, the sanctity that should characterize the candidates to Holy Orders does not consist in the general disposition required for the reception of the other Sacraments, and sufficient in order that the Sacrament may not be impeded. For, in the Sacrament of Holy Orders, one receives not only Grace, but one is raised to a much more sublime state. Hence in the candidates there must be great purity of life and perfect virtue.” …….
……..If any one receive Holy Orders without having led the requisite good life, not only would he himself commit a mortal sin, but also the bishop who confers them upon him without having been morally certain, by sufficient proofs, of the good conduct of the candidate. [What a total contrast from the sentence, to the reality in the Church today. One thing is certain, there isn’t much in-depth peering into the past personal lives of men who present themselves as candidates for the priesthood, and there remain huge cadres of men of perverse inclination who seek out their own kind and do all they can to see them become priests. All of these bear an awful responsibility towards God.] The confessor also would be guilty of mortal sin, because he gives absolution to one who, addicted to a bad habit, wished to be ordained without having given evidence during a considerable time of a positively good life. Finally, parents also sin grievously because, though knowing the wicked conduct of their own son, they yet try to induce him to take Holy Orders in order that afterwards he may become the support of the family……
A great deal of blame to go around. That’s because ordaining a man to Holy Orders is such vitally serious business. It transforms a soul, leaves an indelible mark, and allows a man to stand in persona Christi, in the place of Christ. But when a man does so as a fraud, unworthily, the sacrilege that results is unimaginable.
I was gratified at the providence that resulted in my reading that bit of Liguori after seeing the video above. This ordaining of unworthy men, going back a century or so, has been at the root of the crisis in the Church, and the crisis shall not abate until the priesthood is cleansed and transformed. Unfortunately, so many actors still fight against the restoration of the priesthood, from the feminist female religious who dominate diocesan and seminary education programs to the deeply embedded sodomite cliques. Many bishops are willing to turn a blind eye either because they share the inclination – sexual or political – or because they feel an urgent need for more priests.
And so the offense against God will only continue to mount. How long He will continue to stay His arm, I do not know.