Pray Brethren

Pray Brethren

Friday, September 30, 2011

The Forgotten Vice in Seminary Formation

Fr. James Mason offers his reflections on life in the seminary as he prepared for the priesthood, and he tells us that the key vice never addressed in seminary is precisely effeminacy. Drawing on Aquinas, and the Fathers of the Church, Fr. Mason points out the fact that effeminacy in men, and thus in the priesthood, has long been condemned as disordered – and since it is such a major issue in our seminaries, it is an issue which can neither be tolerated nor overlooked any longer.

Effeminacy has not always been a problem in our priests, but as Christianity in Western culture has become more and more dominated by women and seen as a “religion for women”, more and more effeminate men have entered into Christian ministry, be it Catholic or Protestant. Furthermore, Fr. Mason tells us that this problem is only multiplied when these effeminate men are elevated to the episcopacy, saying that, “there are many bishops, faculty and priests who suffer under this vice and are therefore unwilling or unable to recognize it or address it.”

While offering no comprehensive solution to the problem nor addressing the many homosexual predators that have infiltrated the priesthood, Fr. Mason tells us that bishops must play an active role in the formation of their priests:

Bishops need to take an active role in knowing and forming their priestly candidates. It is, perhaps, not only his most important decision but also the decision he will be held most accountable for. My own bishop is one of the few if not only bishops in our country who has every seminarian live at least a summer in his residence. He knows the men he will ordain.
The more bishops understand that they together form an apostolic fraternity under the Pope and that their own priests follow the same model under them, then they can truly purge their ranks of any Judas’ among them and offer the sacrifice of Christ as men, lifting up the Body of Christ and drawing all men into the Body of Christ (John 12:32).

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