Doesn't Play Well With Others

Though most lay Catholics are unaware of it, the discipline of secular psychology has been a powerful force in almost every seminary and religious community in the Western Church since the early 1970's. During the naive enthusiasm of the years just after the Second Vatican Council, secular psychology was imported, usually uncritically, into the life the Church in her seminaries and religious communities, and we are still tallying the cost in vocations lost or destroyed and communities cut loose from their foundations.

I think of that today because the Church keeps the feast of St. Jerome, Priest and Doctor of the Church, who -- among the many accomplishments of his long life -- rendered the Holy Scriptures from Hebrew and Greek into Latin. He was also famously (or, depending upon your point of view, infamously) cantankerous, and I suspect that in most seminaries today, such a man would be sent away because he doesn't play well with others.

I am not suggesting that we should make a point of ordaining men who have grave psychological illnesses, but the sort of direct and honest toughness which makes a man an outstanding soldier or corporate executive is badly needed in the priesthood today. The problem is that even now, men with such qualities are subjected in our seminaries to constant criticism and ceaseless efforts at re-education. Being "nice" is too often prized above being honest and taking initiative, and a man who will not submit to this sort of "sensitivity training" will quickly be shown to the door of the seminary. And then we wonder why so few priests will stand in the breach against the toxic waste dump of our degenerate culture.

St. Jerome, pray for us!

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