Michael Voris versus Sacred Heart Major Seminary

An unfair presentation of the controversy is found over at Patheos blog: A CORRECTION to Michael Voris’ Slanderous Post re. Sacred Heart Seminary. In a video, Voris accuses the seminary of admitting gay men to the seminary. He also suggests that Catholics might want to withhold donations from the seminary. In the Patheos blog post, Kathy Schiffer accuses Voris of slander and of making a scurrilous attack on the seminary.

Now I’m not a fan or supporter of Michael Voris. But I’ve read the book Goodbye Good Men, by Michael Rose, and I believe that the Church, worldwide, has a very serious problem with homosexuals in the priesthood. See my post: The Myth of the Chaste Gay Catholic Priest. In spite of this problem, many seminaries continue to admit and ordain men with a homosexual orientation.

The Vatican’s Congregation for Catholic Education, in a document approved by Pope Benedict XVI, enjoins seminaries not to admit “to the seminary or to holy orders those who practise homosexuality, present deep-seated homosexual tendencies or support the so-called ‘gay culture’.” [Criteria for the Discernment of Vocations, n. 2] For the Church teaches that homosexual acts are intrinsically evil and always gravely immoral, and that the homosexual orientation is intrinsically disordered. Why is the orientation not sinful? Sin is a knowingly chosen immoral act; an orientation or tendency is not an act. Why then is the orientation intrinsically disordered? The orientation is ordered toward intrinsically evil and gravely immoral sexual acts.

The problem in many seminaries is that liberalism predominates over conservatism. And many liberal Catholics would like to loosen or discard the Church’s entire set of teachings on sexual ethics. (A Catholic can be a faithful liberal, or an unfaithful conservative. But certain problems are found in each group.) Liberal Catholics also tend to seek a way to accommodate and at least partially accept whatever issue sinful secular society is currently promoting. So it is that many seminaries happily admit men with deep-seated homosexual tendencies, men who have sinned gravely by practicing homosexuality, and men who support the “gay culture”.

So Michael Voris’ comments occur in the context of this extensive and serious problem in Catholic seminaries, well-documented in “Goodbye, Good Men”.

I found Kathy Schiffer’s post at Patheos to be rather self-contradictory. She quotes Voris’ version of events. Then she “corrects” Voris by quoting from the administration of the Seminary. But this latter quote, while using different wording, seems to be saying much the same thing.

“Sacred Heart adheres absolutely to the Church’s teaching regarding those who experience SSA. Unfortunately, Voris did not check the story with the formator whose alleged comments he quoted. The formator did not use the term “gay,” but rather “same-sex attracted.” He asked men to wear bathrobes to the shower for the sake of decorum and charity. As an example of potential uncharity he said, “What if unknowingly one of your brothers suffered from SSA? Your lack of modesty would be uncharitable considering your neighbor’s needs.” The men understood this completely.”

So Voris was essentially correct, apart from a difference in language. There would be no need for a request or announcement to all the seminarians on this matter if the seminary adhered to the instruction of the Holy See not to admit men with deep-seated homosexual tendencies. Now the language used by the administration and “the formator” (priest in charge of spiritual formation for the seminarians) avoids the words “homosexual” and “gay”. This phrasing side-steps the criticism that the seminary admits homosexuals, portraying gay seminaries as merely experiencing SSA.

The seminary’s statement goes on to say: “…the claim that there is a significant or even nominal presence of homosexuality at Sacred Heart Major Seminary is patently false.” But that statement is contradicted by the above quote from the seminary. The phrases “those who experience SSA” and “same-sex attracted” and the stated reason for the request (regarding bathrobes) constitute a clear admission that there is more than a mere nominal presence of homosexuality at the seminary. The seminary insists that it follows the above discussed guidelines from the Congregation for Catholic Education. But its own statements on the subject give me serious doubts that this is true.

I don’t know what the exact situation is there. But I know that the Church worldwide has a serious problem in its seminaries. Somehow gay men are still being admitted to the seminary, and are still being ordained. A separate but closely related problem is that many seminaries teach doctrinal errors and unsound theological opinions to the seminarians.

Pope Saint John Paul II: “In particular, note should be taken of the lack of harmony between the traditional response of the Church and certain theological positions, encountered even in Seminaries and in Faculties of Theology, with regard to questions of the greatest importance for the Church and for the life of faith of Christians, as well as for the life of society itself.” [Veritatis Splendor 4]

Many Catholic seminaries, colleges, universities, and other educational programs, and many Catholic priests and theologians, are spreading doctrinal errors among the faithful, along with the claim that these errors are Church teaching. I’ve written about this problem many times before. The problem has been going on for many years, for more than a generation. It has reached the point where a Catholic who sincerely seeks to know the truths of the Catholic Faith cannot rely on any Catholic institution for a reliable presentation of Catholic doctrine and sound theological opinion.

As for Voris’ comments: Catholic seminaries are not above reproach or criticism.

Ronald L. Conte Jr.
Roman Catholic theologian and translator of the Catholic Public Domain Version of the Bible.

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