Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Advice for Priests & from a Priest

from Orthfully Catholic some pretty good humoured advice, the type of thing seminarians ought to be saying:

At Mass today Father gave a whole new meaning to in persona Christi. He said more priests should be thrown out of their parishes by their parishioners as Our Lord was thrown out of the Synagogue in today's Gospel simply by preaching the Truth.He said priests are not preaching the truth from the pulpit anymore and Catholicism is becoming too comfortable. He used today's patron, St Alphonsus Liguori as an example, he preached the moral truth, God's Moral Law, something priests aren't doing any more. So come on Fathers, preach the truth and get thrown out of your churches for Jesus!

In their combox, this makes my blood boil.
Fr Martin said...

"Advice for Seminarians"!!!Until you are ordained then please do not assume to offer advice to priests. The advice I will offer you is if you wish to be ordained then I suggest that you refrain from such patronising comments. You are lucky that I do not know which Seminary that you attend, as if I did I would be expressing my concerns to your Rector.

I think this is the same "Fr Martin" who has been visiting my blog and the same "Martin", "a priest in good standing" who has been causing howls of outrage on Holy Smoke. Which could be why he objects so strongly to their advice, which I have italicised.

This is an outrageous piece of clerical bullying and arrogance! If it is a Vicar General of a diocese as Damian suggests, the Bishop must replace him and get him some help, and quickly!
Thank God for our mild and prudent Vicars General in the diocese A&B.


Rachel said...

What a sad and pathetic comment from that priest. It's really difficult to take a priest seriously when he doesn't have the humility to take some advice and be receptive to someone who may be a brother priest someday.
The lack of gentleness, and threat to ruin his chances at the priesthood if he knew what seminary he was in is beyond arrogant.

This comes on the heels of talking to a priest this last week (on my birthday):-( who said that he cannot talk to parishioners about things like modesty, and contraception in homilies without putting it in the form of a joke or people wont be receptive to it. He can't just tell them straight out.
Sigh...he's a new priest though and I'm still glad we have him!
I'll recommend them to Our Lady's care and throw in a couple of prayers to St. John Vianney as well.

Kate said...

It is as you say, outrageous bullying
-though, please God, untypical.'Fr. Martin' clearly needs our prayers and some help.I hope he gets both.

Auricularius said...

Advice for Fr Martin

1. Reveal yourself. We'd really like to know who you are. If you're shy, ask Mgr McQuinn, the Leeds VG for advice. His spellchecker is a bit faulty, but he's a good man and I'm sure he'd be only too delighted to help.

2. Recognise that the world has moved on since 1970 and that it ill becomes an older man to maintain the fashions of his youth. Tight jeans do not fit easily round a middle aged paunch, neither does kum-by-ya liturgy does in the papacy of Benedict XVI.

3. Attend the Merton Conference next year. These days its the best way to attract the Nuncio's attention and put yourself in contention for that all important pointy hat. If the dates are inconvenient, I'm sure the Fathers of the London Oratory (or indeed the seminarians at Orthfully Catholic) will be only to glad to help.

4. Start a blog. Your interventions in various comboxes in recent days have revealed a great talent for entertainment, and a daily post from "Fr Martin" would add greatly to the gaiety of nations. You could call it "Awfully Catholic", "Almost the Last Post" or "Musings from the Titanic Deckchair Company".

I do hope you can see your way to adopting these suggestions. I think it would make you a happier man in the long run and would enable you to get in touch with your "inner traditionalist". Remember, it is there in all of us and only needs a bit of encouragement reveal itself in all its fiddleback and lace glory!

Anonymous said...

"Fr. Martin's" censure was particularly unjust, since the blog was quite clear that the seminarians were not offering their own advice, but merely reporting what had been said to them by an older priest.

Either "Fr. Martin" rushed into condemnation without reading their post properly (which doubles the injustice), or he is incapable of properly comprehending simple English.

alban said...

Hmmm. Fr. Martin's words are rather harsh, though I can understand that perhaps he feels the seminarians are being high-handed, judgemental and "More Catholic than the pope' in their comments. In truth, there are some seminarians who appear to feel that they will save the Church from the perceived faults and failings of today's clergy; in this, there is a lack of humility and brotherliness which, one prays, will be corrected over time. It is my own belief that the majority of those preparing for the presbyerate are good, decent and well-meaning people; like the members of today's clergy.

To his credit, within a couple of days, Orthfully Catholic posted an apology to Fr. Martin for any offence caused. In my reading, the advice to priests was obviously 'tongue-in-cheek', but with a certain grain of truth. Fr. Martin reacted too strongly, and one would hope he will be gracious enough to record his acceptance of the apology in Orthfully Catholic's combox.

We are all called to bring the Gospel to those around and to the world at large. Infighting hampers this mission, and reminds me of the spiritual narcissism mentioned in I Cor.10: "I am for Paul. I am for Apollos. I am for Cephas". It was scandalous then, and remains so today. Whatever we say to those with whom we disagree should be done in charity and with a gentle spirit. "All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God." (Romans 3:23). May our hearts be filled with the unsurpassable peace of Christ

Anonymous said...

Isn't it always the case that the soft cuddly lefties are really the most bullying intolerant autocrats?

The liberal bishops who are the most independent from Rome and even stridently vocal in opposition to the pope, are the most intolerant of any perceived insubordination within their own diocese.

Their blinded by their own sin, so they can’t even see their own hypocrisy.

Also, the late great Fr. John Hardon said that in his experience every one of these liberal dissenters are not living chaste lives. The sexual deviance always precedes the doctrinal deviance. You’ll never find a chaste lefty prelate.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad that he's not my Parish Priest.

Imagine going to Confession


PeterHWright said...

Could I second the excellent suggestion by Auricularius to "frmartin" : start your own blog. Auricularius is right. It would add enormously to the gaiety of the nation.

Anonymous said...

I was angry with frmartin when he commented on South Ashford Priest; I laughed at him when he commented on Saint Mary Magdalen. With this week's postings on Holy Smoke and Orthfully Catholic, however, I am becoming concerned about this individual's mental health.

He is leaving increasingly transparent clues to his identity. I am sure anyone with a working knowledge of the Leeds curia will be able to identify frmartin by now. This man needs help.

Anonymous said...

To quote Father Jack



Fr Ray Blake said...

I think it is called being idealisticand young.

alban said...

Fr Ray: Absolutely! One of the tragedies of growing older is that we (i.e. me) so often lose our zeal and sense of idealism.

I have experienced real joy working with the young (at both secondary school & tertiary level) for many years, and they help to keep me 'alive'. I don't intend to be harsh with young seminarians mentioned (I taught in seminary for a spell) but I believe that charity and grace are invaluable attributes to be fostered at any stage in life. One can see that, when Christ chastised, He did so with charity and grace.

As a priest you are privileged to see people who are broken, vulnerable and in need of healing; you know the importance of what I speak, so I do apologise if I come across as somewhat preachy.

Lastly, I wish to register my complete disagreement with the comment made by 'George' that "You'll never find a chaste lefty prelate". This is a shameful statement, is unworthy of a Christian, and assumes knowledge of people's souls.

On the side of the angels said...

I'm very guilty of goading "Fr Martin"; so it's off to the confessional for a few hours for me.
But 'Fr Martin' hasn't been the most refined of hyper-loyal acolytes; we have no idea what stresses or tension he's been undergoing trying to accommodate pressures from people we'll never know of. He needs our prayers.

Anonymous said...

Fr. Alban, I didn't invent that idea. It's from the late great Catholic theologian, Fr. John A. Hardon - spiritual advisor to both JPII and Mother Theresa. And his statement was even more absolute and sweeping than mine.

But really, why the outrage over suggesting sexual activity among professed celibates?

These men (far-left dissenters) have no shame about their public dissent to the Faith and disobedience to the Pope.

But we should think that sexual activity would be where they draw the line?

What's the worse sin?

Clearly, deliberately altering or failing to following the rubrics of Holy Mass and failing to offer the most high God proper worship is a much more serious sin than watching a porno film in your rectory. Yet, people don't jump around yelling about crime and scandal when the sacred liturgy is debased? But that you want us to believe that for some reason celibacy would remain sacrosanct is laughable.

The sexual activity barrier in fact falls very quickly once one of God’s priests heads down the road of disobedience to liturgical rubrics or to the faith and moral doctrines of the Church.

Again, I didn’t invent this idea. And I too was amazed when I first read it. But it really does make sense when you think about it.

gemoftheocean said...

George, just out of curiosity, what's the exact quote from Fr Hardon?

It's sometimes interesting to note that while many homosexuals engage in practices a practicing Catholic would not approve of, it's not infrequent that they also have a moral conscience in some things sexual.

I happen to know one homosexual man who is an artistic director at a large theatre. This man is not Catholic, but I was pleased to hear him say that even though he gets many requests to have the musical "Grease" performed, he simply will not do it (even though it would bring in great profit) because the "message" to high schoolers is that "to be popular, you must put out." He thinks that is a bad value. And I applaud his courage in this issue.

It's not that as a general rule he'd avoid plays/musicals with bad characters - but he didn't like the idea of the "bad value" "winning" in the end.

By no means would he be on the same page with Catholic values 100% - but at least in this respect, he's got it right.

I'm not defending homosexual practices by any means - but I am saying that just because they slip and fall in sin, doesn't mean that they have no ethics and would miss the mark in everything.

So, the statement seems quite wide sweeping.

Anonymous said...

Gem of the Ocean,

I think you're reading too much into the remark.

Not every (in fact probably the great majority) of unchaste souls are not abject immoral reprobates.

Judas did some good in his life too, I suppose.

You need not be an abject reprobate to merit Hell. One mortal sin and no real effort to repent is all it takes.

The point of my remark was that our Holy Faith is one, whole and complete. And if you doubt one aspect of the Faith, it makes those little pesky areas of our own personal moral lives a lot easier to overlook. It's an axiom of the spiritual life according to the likes of Fr. Hardon.

gemoftheocean said...


I'd agree that each slip into sin (especially mortal sin) can lead one further and further astray. But what was the exact quote?

George said...

'George' - lest there be considerable confusion at some point in time would you mind altering your blog name 'George' to something a little different (even by adding a prefix or something) as I have been using this (my) name for the last two years and have left hundreds of comments across the Catholic blogosphere. I would consider it an act of Christian Charity if you would do this. I'm sure you would not want your comments mixed up with mine either.
God Bless. Thanks Fr Ray for publishing this note.

Anonymous said...


I've read and listened to so much Fr. Hardon stuff that it I cannot remember or find the exact quote.

While searching for it online, I reread some of his articles. I thought it interesting, and sort of related, in his article on priestly celibacy how he notes that not one protestant sect retained any form of consecrated celibacy after the Reformation. actually he phrased it to say that consecrated celibacy was one of the first things to go among the reformers. (possibly some obscure sects maintained some form of celibacy)

Anyway, it's interesting how sexual morality has some part to play in almost all heresies. For instance mainline protestant theories on justification make the need to strive for individual purity, in mind, body, and soul, almost pointless.

Anonymous said...


Ok. I'll try and remember.

George said...

Thanks for that - 'George the Greater' you shall be.

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