I was asked this question today by someone looking over the David F Pierre Jr. books, which present a more accurate history of the recent flood of accused priests. By the way, I’ve received way more requests for the books than I have books! However, our kind benefactor said that if there is need of more, more will be purchased. Patience is a virtue! And I will… I will, please God, get to your emails! This will take a while to sort out!
Now, in answer to the question, I said that the reason why seminarians want to become priests even if they go to prison falsely accused right after their ordinations is because it is precisely for this that they signed up. As the Master, so the disciple. If Jesus was falsely accused… I mean… excuse my well chosen words here (which are most appropriate)… Where in the hell would they think that they have some sort of entitlement not to suffer in the same way our Lord suffered? Are they so special? No? Then they should even welcome being falsely accused. They should rejoice that they can suffer for the sake of Jesus. And they do. But I’ll get to that, please God, as the series on the Beatitudes continues on the blog here.
Just to make a bit of an analogy with the Tyburn martyrs over in England. The seminarians studying at the English College in Rome back in the day when England was killing priests as fast as they could hang, draw, and quarter them…. those seminarians knew that they would be slaughtered in just such a way about as soon as they returned to England after their ordinations. And, indeed, they went straight to their deaths. That’s what they signed up for in signing up for the seminary. They knew it. Everyone knew it. That’s why the English College in Rome is called The Venerable English College. It was the seminary of martyrs. Wow! Sign me up! Oh wait! I’m already a priest! Guess I’m carried away here…
Now, just to say… If this desire of the true disciple to be like our Master, Jesus, is not the attitude of today’s seminarians, they had better think again, or leave the seminary. If they are scared, perhaps a bit of spiritual direction is in order. We want fearless priests who are not afraid to preach, in season, out of season, all the truth, in all charity, whatever the cost.
Jesus, grant us good and holy vocations to the priesthood!