Monday, October 11, 2010

What to do when your seminary closes?

Open it again!
(...but with a somewhat different ethos).

I had meant to give mention to the story of bishop Marc Aillet and his seminary when it appeared at the beginning of September but in the light of recent news up here it still seems worth mentioning it. The Eponymous Flower has provided a translation of the original story which was on the French Perepiscopus blog although the link given by the MessainLatino blog doesn`t seem to work any longer. (A German version is still available.)

The seminary in Bayonne closed ten years ago. At the time this was said to be, according to the out-going rector, a chance for the Church to break new ground. ( The usual stuff we can expect to hear again regarding Ushaw.) Last month the bishop opened his new seminary with eleven seminarians, another two in the pre-seminary year (see picture above) and an emphasis on the `hermeneutic of continuity` in the life of the seminary. Bishop Aillet is a great friend of the Extraordinary Form and has performed ordinations for the Institute of the Good Shepherd. The diocesan website has an account of the Mass for the opening of the seminary here.


Et Expecto said...

Let's see if we can make the same thing happen at Ushaw. Several people have already been in touch supporting the idea of a traditional seminary at Ushaw.

It will, no doubt, take a lot of money, but I am sure that this can be found. More important is to generate the will for this to happen. Initial reactions are very encouraging.

Anyone prepared to back the proposal for a traditional seminary at Ushaw, either financially or just by joining the campaign, is asked to leave a comment.

1569 Rising said...

Even three days after the annoncement, I still cannot come to terms with the closure of Ushaw. I know that the authorities are very much aware of the financial situation, not that anyone had any idea as recently as last Grand Week, but the simple, stark reality is that Ushaw belongs to the Catholic people of the whole North of England - built by "the pennies of the poor"' as Douai was sustained by the blood of the martyrs. It must not be allowed to merely close without a backward glance.

One of the difficulties is that it seems a number of priests had a bad experience there, and that is colouring their view, but take it from one Catholic layman who experienced nothing but deep spirituality, and a first rate education - my Ushaw years were the best in my life, and I never regretted a day spent in those "hallowed walls".

Et Expecto deserves our support in his attempts to explore the idea of a traditional seminary at Ushaw.
I am sure that by a judicious use of part of the College buildings eg Chapel, Quad, Library, a self contained seminary could yet emerge.

One problem - I would imagine the idea of a Traditional Seminary would go down like the proverbial lead balloon in certain clerical quarters in England!

Terry Middleton

Tancred said...

Why not do what works and let the Tragic Circle and Tablet readership complain?

Obviously, Traditionalism works. It's what our forefathers did.

Pat said...

Just watched a programme on a seminary in the Ukraine brimming over with young men dedicating their lives to God. They want to build a new seminary but their priority cannot be building - it has to be the men themselves, their food, their books, their education. We have an empty seminary here - could they not be brought to fill it? Whatever happens, Ushaw cannot be allowed to become just a museum, or worse, a ruin.

Giorgio Roversi said...

I would certainly support a campaign for a traditional seminary at Ushaw. I think a traditional order should be involved,such as the Fssp, the Institute of the Good Shepherd (after all they tried to find a location for their seminary in France without success, so why not in England), the Franciscans of the Immaculate and others. I wouldn't rely too much on the diocese, at least not entirely.
Fr Brown, what about setting up a Facebook group to support the proposal of a traditional seminary in Ushaw?

1569 Rising said...

I am led to understand that St Cuthbert's Society (the Ushaw Alumnus body) is to meet at the weekend. I am in no doubt that they will be as shocked as the rest of us, since there has been no intimation from any source that the situation is a dire as it would appear. Certainly, there was no indication at Grand Week this year that a crisis was in the offing, and the lavishly produced 200th Anniversay book, published in 2008, was full of optimistic forecasts as to the role the college would play in the future.

On a related topic - it is disappointing to note that of the 8 Bishops of the Northern Province who make up the trustees of the College, only 2 were educated there. I am suggesting nothing in that statement which would cast doubt on the emotional ties which bind a former student to his Alma Mater.

Giorgio Roversi said...

From Fr Mildew blog: the LATIN MASS SOCIETY has expressed interest in taking over Ushaw College. It would like to see it used as a European Seminary for the training of priests in the Traditionalist organisations like FSSP or the Institute of Christ the King. Great news!!
The question is: how can we help the LMS to achieve the goal? Is anything being set up?

Sadie Vacantist said...

"What to do when your seminary closes?"

Open one that doesn't teach heresy or allow in gays.

ScepticalBeliever said...

Others may find it possible to express in somewhat more charitable terms what Sadie Vacantist is obviously incapable of saying in an acceptable way?

David O'Neill said...

I have already suggested to the LMS that they look at ways of retaining Ushaw & my own blog echoes the feeling that Ushaw belongs to the CATHOLICS (of whatever leaning) of the diocese. It certainly should not be an 'asset' ready to be stripped by the trustees.
Further thought should also be given to razing to the ground the 'Yoof Village' in the diocese & sending young people to Ushaw where, at least, they would be in surroundings steeped in genuine Catholic teaching & not some modernist rubbish.
I agree that we should act in concert & have suggested that a meeting be convened to discuss further action

David O'Neill said...

I will wholeheartedly support a move to retain Ushaw College as a seminary. The trustees seem to have very little hope (& even less FAITH) that the future will return the Church to consciousness. How will they hold up their heads if 20 years after selling Ushaw they are faced with the task of raising funds (from the laity of course) to buy & equip a new seminary?

Leo Darroch said...

The announcement of the closure of Ushaw has shocked many who were unaware of its imminent demise. Quite frankly, this seminary with its 200 years of history in this country, and a previous 200 years in France, should not be allowed to close without a root and branch examination of the reasons for its closure. The people of this diocese, and the northern province, have contributed to priest training fund collections for the past 200 years and deserve to have some explanation as to why this closure is necessary. I am not aware of how other seminaries in this country are financed but Ushaw is OUR seminary and it must be retained. If there are not enough seminarians then WHY are there not enough seminarians. This is the question that has to be addressed, and with painful honesty. The people of this diocese deserve no less. Perhaps the authorities might explain why capable young men are being refused entry? Is it because they express orthodox or traditional leanings at interview? And why are some bishops refusing to send their young men to Ushaw? Why are young men contacting Ushaw and then going to seminaries abroad? A lack of seminarians is not the same as a lack of vocations. There are young men with vocations; quite simply they do not end up at Ushaw. Why? I know why and many people know why. The selection process needs to be critically examined by an outside body, as does the curriculum, and also the quality of formation. A culture has grown up at Ushaw that needs to be put under the microscope by someone of authority from outside. A priest told me recently that they are being told how to manage decline. The closure of Ushaw is the politics of failure and despair. How can we abandon those poor souls in the Ushaw cemetery, some of whom were students who died of Typhus in the early 1800s. We need leaders with confidence in the future. There are many serious matters to be attended to if Ushaw is to be saved and, if I may say so, shallow and flippant comments do not help the situation.

Sadie Vacantist said...


OK then, open one that does teach heresy and allows in gays.

Sadie Vacantist said...

@Leo Darroch

"a root and branch examination of the reasons for its closure"

The Church is collapsing in the North of England, just as the C of E is. Ushaw should have been shut down 10 years ago.

There is no shortage of priests. The ratio of priest to laity hasn't changed in decades. The shortage is in catholics.

ScepticalBeliever said...

Oh dear, I have to say that I tend to agree with Sadie Vacantist! I have only visited Ushaw twice and was each time amazed at the size of the place. Perhaps it is much too large and too expensive to keep in these days (maybe it was always too large?) Surely the work of training priests (I would prefer the word 'educating' but one must not ask for too much) could be done in lesser grandour and at lesser cost as it apparently is in most traditionalist seminaries?