Ever since I put up that post about the great Bishop Sullivan visiting the hermitage, my mind has been racing back through the decades. What hell was raised in the whole Church because of the dissent and heresy that Bishop Sullivan was, however, able to quash in his own diocese of Baton Rouge!
I was one of the seminarians who went into the seminary as one of the first “pastorally insensitive reactionaries” against the insane stupidity of those past decades. One had to constantly be on guard, seeing the tunnel vision of the dissenters and heretics come into full view in this or that seminary administrator, faculty member or fellow seminarian.
To be sure, I was no model seminarian, not in the least, especially in my early years in the seminary. I was a adrift in this way and that, having almost no training, but at least knowing there was something better, something more loyal, more true, more respectful of God and neighbor. One of the few encouragements to holiness I had was in the confessional. Confession is so important if one wants an increase in sanctifying grace, to stay in the friendship of our Lord, to be pointed to heaven, to learn how to do His will on this earth. Basically, I was a tabula rasa, an empty slate, except for the fact that I had an immense desire to be loyal to the Bishop of Rome.
As the years in the seminary passed, and as I started to learn about the Church, about doctrine, about morality (who would have known!), I was perceived to be intransigent, rigid, that is, unbending, pastorally insensitive, not mature enough to make my own pastoral decisions against the Supreme Pastor of the Church. What it boiled down to was my not accepting everything that came from the mouth of Father Charles Curran et alii.
As in seminaries pretty much everywhere at the time, profs in the ecclesiastical universities in Rome were also fans of Charles Curran, not to mention the seminary administrators and other faculty. Day in and day out, one had to listen, for instance, at table, or during homilies or conferences, or classes, about how precious the teaching of the Pope was, but that we are mature Christians and able to decide about things for ourselves. I was in anguish — for I’m the kind who always sees the next step — and I dreaded the damage these seminarians would do as priests to those redeemed by Mary’s Son.
This kind of scenario continued for my time as a deacon and as a priest, right up to the time I now have become a hermit, though with diminishing frequency. How great it is to see young seminarians and priests who don’t feel in the least bit attracted to such dissent and heresy, and who, in fact, are every bit as “reactionary” and “intransigent” and “pastorally insensitive” as I ever was.
That gives one hope, hope for seminarians, hope for priests, and especially hope for families: less divorce, less lack of loyalty, for the reason of following the teaching of the Church in all things doctrinal and moral.
But what about the likes of Father Charles Curran? That’s what was especially weighing on me in these days. Prayer for them, that they might accept the teaching of the Church, turning to our Lord, is also the reason for Holy Souls Hermitage. It’s kind of hitting home in these days. Yikes!
And… and… and… lets pray for good vocations to the priesthood!
UPDATE: The editor of the collection of the pastoral letters of Bishop Sullivan let me know that he still has a few copies left (after all these decades!) for any one who might want a copy. Just let me know in an email using holysoulshermitage using gmail dot com, providing your mailing address. To see a picture of a copy, go HERE.