English College in Rome: Supporting “Gay Culture” Is No Barrier to Ordination…

English College in Rome: Supporting “Gay Culture” Is No Barrier to Ordination…

Our England Correspondent writes…

In our January 2019 (Issue #109) edition [available to download from our archives on the Newsletter page of our website),  and on this blog here, we published an email exchange between the Editor and an un-named seminarian at the Venerable English College in Rome (VEC) on the subject of the seminarian’s public support for “the gay culture” on social media outlets.  

Editor wrote to him expressing concern for the screen shots [and other material] she’d received from a concerned English reader, showing him, for example, ‘liking’ a “gay” club in Bristol on Facebook. The club’s blasphemous name is ‘OMG’ – a common abbreviation for Oh My God – with the ‘g’ showing horns and a halo above…demonic. The seminarian also advertised the fact that he was on a [gay] “Pride” committee, while on Twitter he appears to support “gay marriage”.

Initially, he replied to say that he now accepted the Church’s teaching on homosexuality. At around the same time, a veritable tsunami of homosexual scandals involving homosexually active seminarians, priests and bishops hit the headlines [click here] and even Pope Francis was quoted as saying, behind closed doors to the Italian Bishops gathered for their plenary assembly, that it was necessary to “put the brakes” on “welcoming too many homosexuals” into seminaries. 

Editor, therefore, wrote to the English seminarian again, quoting the Vatican Instruction ‘Concerning the Criteria for the Discernment of Vocations with regard to Persons with Homosexual Tendencies in view of their Admission to the Seminary and to Holy Orders’. She highlighted the following key part of that document: The Church cannot admit to the seminary or to holy orders, those who practise homosexuality, present deep-seated homosexual tendencies or support the so-called “gay culture. [Emphasis added]

Editor now asked the seminarian to reconsider his position, promising to maintain anonymity at that time – hoping that he would realise that proceeding to ordination was the wrong thing to do. When he failed to reply to that request, she wrote to the authorities in the VEC: Monsignor Philip Whitmore, Archdiocese of Westminster, seminary rector; Fr John Flynn, Diocese of Salford, vice-rector; Fr John Metcalfe, Diocese of Hallam, Pastoral Director; Fr James McAuley, Diocese of Portsmouth, Academic Tutor; Fr Anthony Doe, Archdiocese of Westminster, Spiritual Director. This, in order to make sure that they were aware of the line of communication with the seminarian, and to remind them of the Church’s criteria for the discernment of vocations with regards to varying levels of homosexual tendency. No replies were received from any of those concerned. The seminarian – Alexander Balzanella – was later ordained deacon, and is now proceeding towards ordination to the priesthood…

From the website of the Archdiocese of Westminster – 30/08/2019

Bishop Alan Hopes of East Anglia ordained Alexander Balzanella to the diaconate on Sunday 14th July at the Church of Our Lady of Snows Chapel in Villa Palazolla, just outside Rome. Alex is a Westminster seminarian studying at the Venerable English College (VEC) in Rome…(Rome ordination for Deacon Alex, published on the website of the Diocese of Westminster).  

Of course, homosexual priests, or those who support “the gay culture” are no longer making headline news anywhere, apparently welcomed as such by hierarchy and laity alike. However, we believe that, in the interests of transparency, for the sake of those few remaining Catholics who seek to avoid such influences over themselves and their children, we are now duty-bound to reveal the identity of the seminarian-now-deacon whom we reported back in 2019 for his public support of the “gay culture”. For senior churchmen, keeping the rules these days seems restricted to keeping the “Covid-19” rules – not the Church’s rules on admission to seminaries and certainly not the rules put in place by God – the Ten Commandments, the moral law.

Contrary, therefore, to what our enemies will claim, identifying this new deacon will not be to his detriment at all. If anything, we can look forward to writing a few lines of introduction to the new Bishop, if not Cardinal, Balzanella. Reflect…   Taken from Catholic Truth newsletter, July 2020, Issue No. 118, p.12

Comment from Editor…

As linked in the introduction above, we previously discussed this scandal in November, 2018 here

At that time, I asked bloggers to refrain from speculating as to the identity of the then seminarian, now deacon.  In this conversation, I would ask that the House rule prohibiting personal remarks be honoured, and that we all stick to the key issue which is the flouting, by bishops and senior seminary staff, of the Church’s directive on admission to seminaries: they are expected to  refuse admission to anyone who supports the so-called “gay culture. (Vatican). 

Alexander Balzanella supported the “gay culture” during his seminary training at the Venerable English College in Rome.  If his superiors did not know about this, which is unlikely, it was drawn to their attention through the Catholic Truth correspondence.  Yet, in defiance of the Church’s prohibition on admitting to seminary and to Holy Orders those known to support the “gay culture”, he was ordained to the diaconate in the Diocese of Westminster. 

Manifestly, the hierarchy in Westminster (and the senior seminary staff) do not think it matters whether they ordain deacons and priests who support the “gay culture” (“Pride” events, nightclubs, “gay marriage”, whatever). 

Given the above email exchanges in the Case of Alexander Balzanella Vs the Church’s Criteria for the Discernment of Vocations with regard to Persons with Homosexual Tendencies…  it seems clear that no lessons at all have been learned from previous scandals in seminaries, such as those documented in the book Goodbye, Good Men by Michael S. Rose, or following the defrocking of the American Cardinal [now Mr] McCarrick in the USA. 

Instead, the homosexualisation of the priesthood continues apace. But, does it really matter?  Is it wrong to highlight the issue?  Would you want to know if your priest/deacon had a history of supporting the “gay culture”? Last but by no means least, would you want to know if your bishop ignored the Church’s criteria for seminary admission and ordination?  


Comments (85)

  • RCAVictor

    I lay this scandal at the feet of Cardinal Vincent Nichols, aka “the hierarchy in Westminster,” whose support for homosexuals goes back to the Soho Masses, if not before. And why not ordain homosexuals to the priesthood, when Pope Francis surrounds himself with them?

    The days of the “smoke of Satan” having penetrated the Church are long over – that implied that there were at least still some walls up, though with cracks in them. The walls are now down completely, and the smoke is so thick that there is no Catholic air to breathe in the hierarchy, and not much in the lower clergy either.

    Either we asphyxiate via Satanic smoke in the clergy, or we asphyxiate via Satanic masks for a fake pandemic. A hell of a choice, literally.

    July 6, 2020 at 11:06 pm
    • Lily

      RCA Victor,

      Cardinal Nichols has always been supportive of the LGBT+ lobby, as you say. So, it’s no surprise really that he is allowing homosexuals to be ordained.

      Satan is getting frantic now – it’s no holds barred which is what we are witnessing in all sorts of ways but especially in the homosexualisation of the Church.

      July 7, 2020 at 9:33 am
      • RCAVictor


        An interesting detail about the homosexualization of the Church: homosexuality is a disorder of self-love (narcissism). Which indicates that among the clergy, love for Our Lord and His Mystical Body has been widely replaced with self-love.

        (LOL – my browser’s spell-check didn’t recognize “homosexualization” and suggested “hospitalization.” Hmmmm….)

        July 7, 2020 at 3:20 pm
      • Athanasius


        Absloutely correct. Another aspect of it is seen in the removal of the tabernacle from its central place of adoration in the Sanctuary, replaced by the Bishop’s sedilia to make him the centre of attention.

        It can even be seen in the new Mass where the priest faces the people over a table with his back to God, thereby making himself the focal point.

        July 7, 2020 at 4:33 pm
      • Chris

        How can anyone, never mind a priest presiding at Mass, have ‘his back to God’? God is everywhere; he isn’t confined to a tabernacle.

        The only way of turning one’s back on God is by ceasing to love him through others.

        Editor: nobody said that Our Lord is “confined” to a tabernacle – but he IS present there, in a real sense, different from every other kind of “presence” See article below, which may help you to understand this central dogma of Catholicism (I’m assuming that you are not a Catholic.)

        July 7, 2020 at 6:42 pm
      • RCAVictor


        Here’s a short answer: Our Lord is present in the Most Blessed of All Sacraments, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity. Nowhere else is He present in that form, and nowhere else can you receive Him in that form, which is what He bequeathed to us when He instituted that Sacrament at the Last Supper.

        As for “loving Him through others,” I’m afraid you have that backwards. We love others through Him. Who comes first, God or man?

        July 7, 2020 at 7:55 pm
      • Athanasius


        First of all, the priest doesn’t “preside” at Mass, he is in the person of Christ the High Priest offering Christ the Victim to the Father. Presiders are Protestant ministers presiding over a meal.

        As regards the tabernacle, the Real Presence of Our Lord is in the tabernacle at all times. But that wasn’t the point I was making. The point I was making is that priest and people should face the high altar whereupon the priest in persona Christi at the head of the people offfers Christ the Victim to the Father. If the priest turns from the high altar to face the people over a table, then sacrifice to God is diminished and the Protestant idea of a meal between men is increased. I’m sure you’ll see the logic if you think about it.

        July 7, 2020 at 10:32 pm
      • Maria

        That then is an insult to other Christians. We had enough of that in the past.

        March 20, 2021 at 5:51 pm
      • editor


        What ARE you saying?

        Protestants are proud of their beliefs about communion services being a “meal” which they think is what pleases God. They think they’ve interpreted Scripture rightly on that, and we’ve got it wrong.

        It’s hardly insulting someone to identify what they believe, surely.

        March 20, 2021 at 6:09 pm
      • Lily

        RCA Victor,

        “Hospitalization” – looks like you’ve got a very savvy spell-checker, there, LOL!

        July 9, 2020 at 11:46 am
      • Lily

        My post above at 11.46 am. is meant to be a reply to RCA Victor on 7th July at 3.20pm – I didn’t realise it would come way down here! I should have answered sooner!

        July 9, 2020 at 11:48 am
    • Michaela

      RCA Victor,

      “A hell of a choice, literally”

      That really did make me LOL!

      July 9, 2020 at 10:13 am
  • Fidelis

    That’s an absolute disgrace to ignore the very clear criteria for admission to seminary and ordination. I’m afraid it can only mean one thing, IMHO, and it is that we will see more, maybe an explosion of scandals same as Cardinal Keith Patrick O’Brien of unhappy memory.

    Yes, of course, any Catholic with a brain would want to know if the priest or deacon was visiting gay nightclubs or joining in Pride marches etc.

    It’s got nothing to do with any “phobia”, BTW, but a priest who is engaged in this kind of depravity cannot possibly preach the Catholic faith soundly. How can he say, for example, that marriage is only between one man and one woman? Very few, if any, could honestly say that.

    To allow young men who are attracted to other men, to enter and live in a seminary full of men is like allowing an alcoholic to live in a brewery. It’s ridiculous.

    July 7, 2020 at 12:26 am
  • ed of Ct. USA.

    Need to Expunge Homosexual Deviants from the Clergy and this College and its bishops etc. leadership etc.. A URGENT need to start with is with the Vatican and Martin of Amer. mgz. and Gallen Group Homosexual apostates and promoters [Pope Francis] promotes and advances. Included in this cabal are Cocopalmeiro, Roisica , Bonney, DeKessel, Tobin of NJ, Dolan of NY, Cupich, Radcliffe – Gomez, McElroy Soto and McGrath of Cal.- McCarrick, Grassi, Zunchetta and Depaglia, a short list. Many more in Jesuits, Lcwr, amazon Synod, crew etc.

    July 7, 2020 at 2:56 am
    • Lily

      Ed of CT. USA,

      You’ve got McCarrick in your list but he’s already been removed. He was laicized a good while ago.

      I don’t know the rest of the names you give, so I presume they’re all American. At least you know who they are. We don’t know who the homosexual priests are in Scotland, except for an obvious one like Fr Morton who pushes gay rights in schools and joins the Pride march, but there will be plenty more.

      July 7, 2020 at 9:30 am
    • RCAVictor


      I think you’d need a separate blog to list all the names that need to be cleared out! Just refer to the entire hierarchy and say “All of the above,” and then list the handful of exceptions!

      July 7, 2020 at 3:23 pm
    • Athanasius

      ED of CT USA

      That will only happen when a holy Pope is elected and is able to choose a few known holy prelates to assist him in fully exposing this network of filth in the Church. Make no mistake, though, Our Lord will clear these filth mongers out in good time by His own means. They will not prevail!

      July 7, 2020 at 4:24 pm
  • Josephine

    You bet I’d want to know if any priest in my parish had been known to support gay clubs or take part in Pride marches, never mind support gay marriage. Even if he says that’s all in the past, I don’t care. No right thinking person supports LGBTQ rights.

    Above all, I don’t want a priest who, during an important phase of his life, studying for the priesthood, was “into” the gay scene. I definitely don’t.

    This young man should not have been ordained a deacon and I hope his superiors waken up, better late than never, before he is due to be ordained a priest.

    As for naming him – this will be a badge of honour! “Out & Proud” is the motto! He obviously thought so or he wouldn’t have been “liking” the gay club in Bristol on Facebook etc.

    This is what is so scandalous – there’s no issue any more about homosexuals being ordained. Naming him is not the same as shaming him, because there isn’t any shame!

    I agree that those of us who do care about this, ought to know the identities of anyone who has openly supported the LGBTQ scene. Otherwise, we could be misled, ever so subtly perhaps, in homilies, or even in private conversations. Once somebody likes a priest, then he often can do no wrong. If he says he is gay, then, for some, maybe a lot of his congregation that will be all it takes to convince them that the Church is wrong on this.

    July 7, 2020 at 10:53 am
  • Helen

    Yes, I would want to know if my PP had sodomite leanings. No, I don’t think men with same sex attractions should be admitted to the priesthood. Now I think that a chaste such man could become a good priest, but it’s too risky. Also, what sort of role model would such an effeminate man be to a boy?

    July 7, 2020 at 1:23 pm
    • Nicky


      So would I want to know if my priest was inclined toward the gay lifestyle. I’d want to look elsewhere for Mass and the sacraments.

      It’s very blatant to ordain that young mane to the diaconate when he is so clearly approving of the gay scene, when it is prohibited by the Church. If that was a marriage conducted against the Church’s rules, I’m sure there would be a case for an annulment, so maybe there is something of that kind to nullify these ordinations, who knows.

      One thing that is puzzling me is why do so many homosexuals want to be ordained to the Catholic priesthood? It’s a mystery to me. It’s like people who think the USA and the UK are racist, yet they take risks with their lives to enter both countries. It doesn’t make sense. They obviously think the Church is very wrong about ordination and that’s a big thing, a huge part of the Church, so why don’t they think that if the Church is so wrong about this, what else is it wrong about, and steer clear?

      July 9, 2020 at 1:57 pm
      • RCAVictor


        I think homosexuals want to be ordained because the Catholic priesthood has the reputation of being a private homosexual club to a great extent (to what extent is unknown, but that is their reputation).

        So…join the club, get lots of perks…

        (Pardon my cynicism)

        July 9, 2020 at 3:59 pm
      • Josephine

        RCA Victor,

        I think it’s also because it would be an easy life for someone who is not really committed and quite happy to just live the outward show, do the minimum required (there are people in every walk of life who do that) and the new Mass isn’t exactly taxing, is it. The priest is centre stage and can make jokes and entertain – from what I see on TV of gay comics, they are ready made extroverts for the new Mass.

        Pardon MY cynicism, LOL!

        July 9, 2020 at 4:03 pm
  • westminsterfly

    The blame also rests with the interviewing panel for prospective candidates for the priesthood. Specific questions should be asked regarding this issue of sexuality. What went wrong at this deacon’s initial interview? Was he asked anything about his sexuality? Was he asked if he supported ‘gay’ culture? Did the panel even care?

    July 7, 2020 at 2:36 pm
    • Michaela

      Westminster Fly,

      I recently heard about a young man who is thinking of the priesthood. He has decided that, if he goes for interview he will refuse to answer any questions about sexuality at all. I’m not sure that will go well for him.

      July 9, 2020 at 10:11 am
      • westminsterfly

        He almost certainly won’t be asked anything as blatant as ‘have you ever had same-sex attraction tendencies’. Dioceses seem to operate a ‘DADT’ – ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy. Or either they will just ask a vaguely worded question like: ‘how do you think you will cope with the demands of celibacy’?

        July 9, 2020 at 10:58 am
  • Athanasius

    Any Pope, prelate or priest who in any way defends, promotes or indulges in homosexual activity is going to Hell unless by a miracle of grace he repents and makes restitution. They may attempt, with Lucifer’s help, to pervert the truth as well as morality, but Our Lord sees their corruption and will judge them accordingly. These are the people who St. Paul refers to as those who use liberty as a cloak for malice.

    July 7, 2020 at 4:29 pm
  • westminsterfly

    Among the problems I think, is that lay men and women – often of a dissident hue – sit on these panels who interview prospective candidates for the priesthood. I remember years ago someone I knew (who has since been ordained a priest) was interviewed and was asked his views on women priests. He felt the way the question was phrased and the response he got indicated that they were trying to weed out any orthodox candidates who supported the Church’s teaching on the fact that women cannot be ordained as Catholic priests. Unsuitable candidates should be nipped in the bud when they first present themselves. But the fact is the novus ordo church is so unappealing and has so few candidates presenting themselves, I think they’re taking anyone out of desperation.

    July 7, 2020 at 6:07 pm
    • editor


      You make a crucial point about the interviewing techniques for seminary entry.

      I’ll never forget the examples given in the book Goodbye, Good Men, by Michael S Rose. He really did open the proverbial can of worms. According to his research, it would be easier to find a statue of your favourite saint in a synagogue than a non-homosexual seminarian / later priest or bishop in either the USA or UK.

      July 7, 2020 at 8:42 pm
    • Athanasius


      You’re right, as is Editor. It seems that since Vatican II lay people are involved in interviewing potential candidate entries to seminary. There’s a huge part of the problem right there!

      July 7, 2020 at 10:18 pm
      • editor

        Athanasius / WF,

        I have been told by various “in-the-know” flies on various walls, that we ought to prepare for a big shock (to put it mildly) in this area… we may have become a tad too complacent in Scotland about our hierarchy since the scandal of Cardinal Keith O’Brien, RIP. It may be, the rumour mill has it, that the worst, so to speak, is yet to come.

        July 7, 2020 at 10:22 pm
      • Athanasius


        Could it get any worse? Rhetorical question that I already know the answer to!

        July 9, 2020 at 1:23 pm
      • westminsterfly

        Also, I understand that psychiatric assessments are now used at some stage in the procedure, but modern psychiatry doesn’t recognise same-sex attraction as being intrinsically disordered (unlike the Catechism of the Catholic Church) so a psychiatrist’s report certainly wouldn’t go against them in that respect.

        July 8, 2020 at 12:25 pm
    • RCAVictor

      WF, Athanasius, Editor,

      There was another sinister twist to the seminary screening process in our local Archdiocese that has, I think (and hope) been corrected a while ago: the psychologist who was doing the psychological evaluations for prospective candidates was a Freemason!

      July 8, 2020 at 12:06 am
      • editor

        RCA Victor,

        Just be thankful that if your bishop is a Freemason, the story hasn’t yet reached the local news media!

        July 8, 2020 at 12:23 am
      • Athanasius


        I have just read your comment moments after reading Vernon Coleman’s assessment of psychiatry and psychology as basically pseudo-science. I’ve always thought that these people are con artists. Indeed I remember hearing bishop Fulton Sheen refer to psychiatry as Confession without absolution, in other words useless. Quite handy, though, in a society whose puppet masters want to excuse and/or introduce all manner of evil acts in the name of psychiatry, either to improve mental health or prevent it. No supernaturally evill acts as far as these quacks are concerned.

        July 8, 2020 at 3:20 am
      • editor

        Athanasius / RCA Victor,

        Here’s a very interesting article – psychologists claiming that psychiatry is useless. Looks like Bishop Fulton Sheen was right!

        It’s certainly wrong to use these methods in interviewing seminarians. It’s laughable that a candidate can be accepted once they pass the psychiatric assessment while failing the “dogma test”, so to speak.

        July 8, 2020 at 9:57 am
  • Miles Immaculatae

    Psychological therapy has the potential to be harmful when practiced by poorly trained or incompetent people, and the efficacy of such therapies is hyped. They are also very expensive. But I would be cautious about dismissing psychiatry outright, because various psychiatric treatments developed in the 20th century have given people a chance to escape the misery of incurable depression and schizophrenia, notably because of the discovery of ECT, and antidepressant and antipsychotic drugs. But talking therapies on the other hand are often non-scientific nonsense and a waste of time.

    Another point about psychological tests for seminarians: A candidate with paedophilic or ephebophilic proclivities could simply lie to the person administering the tests, and they surely would lie, would they not? So what’s the point of these tests? They seem to depend entirely on the honesty of the candidate.

    July 8, 2020 at 8:36 pm
    • Athanasius

      Miles Immaculatae

      I hate to disagree but I would shut psychiatry down tomorrow if I had the authority, It’s about as helpful to people as the reading of palms and crystal balls. The entire business is fraudulent and completely without any proper scientific foundation. Psychiatrists do a lot more harm than good.

      July 8, 2020 at 9:54 pm
      • Michaela


        I agree – I think psychiatric counselling can do much more harm than good, even apart from seminaries.

        I remember the well known novelist whose husband went into counselling in an effort to fix their marriage. He ended up leaving his wife and partnering with the counsellor.

        This is not too surprising. The counsellor has to be sympathetic to the client and if the client is moaning about his wife and the counsellor is sympathetic, then the temptation could arise.

        In the case of seminaries it is obvious that psychiatric assessments have been used to weed out orthodox seminarians who believe that homosexual activity is sinful. Their “career” ends right there. It’s a disgrace, and the bishops obviously know about this and approve. No wonder all of Scotland’s seminaries have closed.

        July 9, 2020 at 10:08 am
      • Athanasius


        That’s the really demonic thing about psychiatrists in seminaries, if they are to be tolerated at all then surely it would be for the purpose of weeding out those with a homosexual inclination, not the other way around? When it’s upside down you know Lucifer is running the show!

        July 9, 2020 at 1:26 pm
      • RCAVictor


        Here’s a personal example of the level of credibility of psychiatrists: many moons ago, when I was married, my wife insisted that we go to see a marriage counselor, who also happened to be a Protestant minister. The issue of poor nutrition came up (my wife was not cooperating with me, trying to get our boys to eat their veggies).

        Said the counselor: “Oh, don’t worry, children always get the nutrition they need!”

        It’s a good thing I wasn’t in the middle of having a sip of water, because at that moment it would have come shooting out my nose…or mouth…or both…

        July 9, 2020 at 8:47 pm
      • Athanasius


        I wonder why I’m not surprised by that? Pity you weren’t taking a big sip of water while facing directly onto the face of the counselor!

        July 9, 2020 at 9:31 pm
    • Nicky

      Miles Immaculatae,

      To say that “talking therapies are non-scientific nonsense and a waste of time” is questionable, to say the least, IMHO.

      One of the things I have always said about this new practice of going to counsellors, is that we used to be able to clear our heads and talk through problems with close family and friends. We didn’t have to pay a total stranger for the privilege!

      I don’t know what ECT is (electric shock treatment?) but I know that it’s a very bad idea to go on antidepressants. They can be addictive and they can cause serious depression. I have a friend who was on them for years and warns everyone against them now.

      July 9, 2020 at 1:53 pm
      • Miles Immaculatae


        I am on venlafaxine which is in the SNRI class of antidepressants. I was mentally unwell before I went on venlafaxine, but now I am on it I am okay. They are efficacious to an extent that cannot be attributed to placebo effect. Whenever I stopped taking antidepressants in the past, soon after I became unwell. I have been on Venlafaxine for four years now, without adverse effects.

        July 9, 2020 at 11:13 pm
      • Nicky

        Miles Immaculatae,

        I don’t know the name of my friend’s antidepressant, I just know he always says he wishes he’d not gone on them in the first place, he feels as if he can’t do without them, but if they’re helping you, that’s great.

        I do still think that talking to close family and friends would help someone with depression – to me, that’s just common sense, but I’ve been lucky not to have to deal with depression, DG. Are you saying you would prefer the antidepressants to talking to a good friend, say?

        July 10, 2020 at 12:37 am
      • Athanasius

        Miles Immaculatae

        The point is, have the psychiatrists been able to determine medically why you get depressed? If it’s not a state of soul (and I’m sure in your case it isn’t) then there is some kind of chemical imbalance going on that they clearly have no way of discovering, which is why they just stick you on pills. Any GP could do that.

        July 10, 2020 at 2:30 am
      • Miles Immaculatae


        In my case it’s most likely a hereditary biological defect. It runs on both sides of the family, and my siblings are similarly affected. It’s not possible to to know exactly what the biological mechanism of it is. It’s thought to be a chemical imbalance, but this is difficult to prove. The drug I am on is believed to increase the amount of noradrenaline, dopamine, and serotonin in the brain.

        July 10, 2020 at 12:49 pm
      • Athanasius

        Miles Immaculatae

        I was speaking to a woman just the other day who has the same hereditary illness on both sides of her family. Like you, she takes medication for symptoms but has never been given any hope of a cure. This emphasises my point about psychiatry, which treats symptoms with drugs but has no clue about the brain and how to isolate medical problems that affect it. In fine, they treat you medically for a psychological problem they ultimately cannot fix.

        July 10, 2020 at 2:18 pm
  • Elizabeth

    I think we have to be careful before we dismiss all psychiatry out of hand. ECT had a dubious reputation for a long time but for some carefully selected patients it can work wonders. I well remember a woman in a mental health unit who was so depressed she could barely function. ECT transformed her. She turned back into the live communicative person she had been before her illness as if her brain had been reset in some way. Also, consider the area of post natal depression and psychosis. Without swift medical intervention some mothers might well have harmed themselves and their babies. No doubt there are some charlatans about but I am sure that there are also many skilled and compassionate people too In the field of psychiatry.

    July 9, 2020 at 5:37 pm
    • Athanasius


      With respect, the cases you have cited are medical cases, not psychiatric ones. There is no benefit in the phoney pseudo science of psychiatry.

      July 9, 2020 at 5:42 pm
      • editor


        Our posts went up simultaneously, so poor Elizabeth will be in the process of phoning her therapist, even as we speak/write 😀

        July 9, 2020 at 5:45 pm
      • Athanasius


        I’ll be phoning mine if this lockdown goes on much longer, that’s for sure!

        July 9, 2020 at 9:29 pm
      • Elizabeth

        How do you define psychiatry then?

        July 9, 2020 at 9:26 pm
      • Athanasius


        I would define psychiatry largely as guesswork with only a few diagnostic certainties, such as the stages of decline in a person with dementia or the behavioural signs of depression, etc.

        Despite so many advances in medical science, relatively little is known about the brain. All the psychiatrists know for sure is that certain drugs (often with dangerous side effects) can alter certain manifestations of behaviour, though not always for the best. Anti-depressents, for example, carry a warning that for the first 14 days of use they may have a contrary effect to that desired, even making people who take them feel suicidal. Imagine given those to an unsupervised depressed person?

        I have never personally heard of anyone being cured of mental illness by psychiatry. Furthermore, psychiatry in general excludes any and all supernatural problems associated with the human soul, which is itself proof that it understands nothing about the real causes of many behaviours.

        I say all of this as one who has two close relatives who are psychiatric nurses and a close friend who is a professor of psychiatry.

        July 10, 2020 at 2:26 am
      • RCAVictor


        There have been repeated (and suppressed) stories about serial killers who have gone berserk after being on anti-depressants and then, after no longer taking them, engage in a killing spree.

        Naturally, since those stories are harmful to Big Pharma, they are hard to find.

        July 10, 2020 at 3:18 pm
      • Miles Immaculatae


        I think there is some confusion on this thread about the meaning of the word ‘psychiatry’.

        Psychiatry is a medical subspecialty. ECT is only administered by psychiatrists, who are always medical physicians. Antipsychotic drugs are only ever prescribed by psychiatrists. Psychiatry is a medical science.

        What do precisely mean to criticise when you criticise psychiatry? Are you critical of the medical treatment of mental illness? Or do you mean rather to criticise psychological therapies? Examples of psychological therapies are psychodynamic therapy, and cognitive behavioural therapy, and historically, psychoanalysis. These are not per se within the domain of psychiatry, although psychiatrists may refer patients to practitioners of these therapies, and may even practice these therapies themselves. But generally, these therapies are practiced and developed by two types of professionals: clinical psychologists, and counselling psychologists. There are also others trained in counseling and psychotherapy who are themselves neither psychiatrists nor graduate psychologists. There are many psychiatrists, perhaps most, who have never been trained in psychological therapies.

        There is disagreement on this thread about the safety and efficacy of both psychological therapies for mental disorder (e.g. “tell me about your mother”) and medical therapies for mental disorder (antidepressant, antipsychotic, Electroconvulsive therapy etc. ). My belief is that both medical and psychological therapies are suitable for Catholics as long as they are founded on legitimate science.

        I am sceptical that all ‘talking therapies’ are fully scientific I’m their methods, and there are many charlatans. I have met them, and wouldn’t trust them again. Psychiatrists on the other hand are highly regulated in this country. They are all members of professional bodies like the BMA. I trust the psychiatrists who have treated me in the past.

        I suspect seminary candidates are not assessed by psychiatrists. They are probably assessed by psychologists or counsellors.

        July 9, 2020 at 11:42 pm
      • Miles Immaculatae

        Ed and Elizabeth,

        I posted this before I had read your two comments below. I didn’t mea to repeat information that you had already discussed.

        July 9, 2020 at 11:50 pm
      • Athanasius

        Miles Immaculatae

        Please see my response to Elizabeth’s comment of 9.26pm, whenever it reappears from the cyber blackhole it has just fallen into courtesy of WordPress.

        July 10, 2020 at 2:31 am
    • editor


      That’s very interesting – thank you for that thought-provoking information.

      Do you agree, though, that the kind of psychiatric assessments that have been used in seminaries cannot be justified?

      July 9, 2020 at 5:43 pm
      • Elizabeth

        Editor, I don’t know enough about the assessments to comment but I imagine it is perhaps psychological rather than psychiatric examinations? I think they can be a lot more dubious and of limited value.
        I can understand that the people in charge of selecting men for the seminary need to be sure they are only admitting balanced individuals without personality defects. But surely in a properly supervised place with sound spiritual direction any problems should become evident? Trouble Is, I doubt the atmosphere and curriculum etc these days are particularly sound and holy in modern seminaries.

        July 9, 2020 at 9:22 pm
      • editor


        I’ve just had a very quick look at my copy of Goodbye, Good Men and I think you are right – it’s psychological counselling, not psychiatric. It’s done untold damage in seminaries, and destroyed possibly good vocations, while giving a pass to the homosexuals and others who are deviant in matters of the Faith and Morals.

        And yes, psychiatry is a branch of medicine, but some of us lay people tend to use the terms psychiatry and psychology interchangeably and often confuse them. Unlike you, Elizabeth, with, not merely your medical/nursing knowledge but, more importantly, your innate good manners, you were able to alert us to that difference. There are others who lack that basic ability to correct with courtesy and charity.

        I say that because I’ve found one of these troll pests in the moderation file this evening, posing as a new blogger, insulting one of the bloggers here by saying – rudely – that psychiatry IS medicine…. He’s got about as much chance of making it onto this blog as I have making it into outer space in my wildest dreams.

        Since the last invasion of troll like behaviour, I’ve been operating the rule that (a) nobody gets released from moderation now until I’m certain he or she is a serious blogger and (b) nobody will ever be allowed to post here who presents in a smart alex manner, rude and the rest.

        I had no idea there were so many people in cyberspace who are obviously lonely, sad, desperate people living empty lives. I wish them well – but they are not welcome here. Clowns are best suited to circuses.

        Again, Elizabeth, thank you for clarifying that for us – it’s psychological screening in seminaries, not psychiatric.

        July 9, 2020 at 10:22 pm
    • Miles Immaculatae


      I too am aware that ECT in recent years is highly efficacious and safe. And various psychiatric drugs are also effective and safe and I have taken some of these. Medical therapies such as these are put through rigorous scientific testing.

      July 9, 2020 at 11:56 pm
      • Athanasius

        Miles Immaculatae

        One of the possible long term effects of ECT is memory loss. That’s not what I would call “safe”.

        July 10, 2020 at 2:34 am
  • MyLady’s Servant

    Hell must be a very big place.

    After all God knows exactly what is going to happen in the past/present/future of all timelines so he would have made sure there was room for all.

    July 9, 2020 at 6:49 pm
    • editor

      Eh? Theology Hellology for Dummies?

      July 9, 2020 at 7:52 pm
      • MyLady’s Servant

        Apologies, I was doing a quick reply before dinner and missed out the last bit which was ‘… for all who support the gay culture in the church.’

        July 9, 2020 at 10:20 pm
      • editor

        Your “Hellology” is still lacking Catholicity. If you read the May newsletter, page 11, you will find solid Catholic teaching on the question of our final destination, free will, God’s omnipotence etc etc ETC

        Check out the Newsletter page on our website, download Issue No. 117, May 2020 from our archive section.

        Hope you enjoyed your dinner…

        July 9, 2020 at 10:30 pm
      • Patrick Healy

        Dear Editor,
        I loved RCAVvictor’s reference on the first item above, on not being able to breath and Satan “smoking” in the Vatican.
        I wonder if the pope is wearing one of Nicola Sturgeaon’ s bank robber masks today to keep him from breathing that smoke?

        On the subject of queer priests over at Lifesightnews.com is an article about one Fr.Seamus Madigan.
        He happens to be the head army chaplain in Ireland. He is apologising for not being able to attend the (regretfully) postponed queer and deviants March in Dublin.
        Mind you with the departure of that openly homosexual Taoiseach Vardaker who was replaced by Michael Martin, Ireland is in no better place.
        The said Martin is from the Cork tribe, is an ex Primary and Secondary school head teacher, who voted for queer marriage and infanticide.
        Btw in Ireland when a teacher for instance enters politics they still draw their teachers stipend.
        Where did you go wrong Editor?

        July 10, 2020 at 10:16 am
      • editor


        I went wrong by not applying for a post in Ireland 😀

        July 10, 2020 at 3:11 pm
      • RCAVictor


        I think our current Pope’s problem is precisely that he has inhaled way too much of that smoke. Or, to put it another way, he has drunk the entire pitcher of liberation theology Kool-Aid.

        Which reminds me of an old and famous Bill Clinton lie:

        July 12, 2020 at 3:22 am
  • Charles Mc Cusker

    Answer to the various concerns raised in this discussion is very simple: CLOSE ALL SEMINARIES!!!!!!!
    In the 21st century it is surely not beyond the wit of the church to form priests outside the closed infantile institution of the seminary.
    With a little thought and effort formation for priests could be carried out within society.
    Perhaps even Mdm Editor could devise a formation plan which could be effective outside a formal institution such as a seminary.
    They are outmoded, outdated and have not been fit for purpose for a very long time

    July 10, 2020 at 1:15 pm
    • Athanasius

      Charles McCusker

      Seminaries are the correct places to form priests, have been for many, many centuries with great success. That they have been infiltrated in our time by the enemies of the Church, however, is quite evident and must be addressed with urgency. I would caution against throwing the baby out with the bath water, though. It’s not seminary formation that’s bad, it’s those who have infiltrated the system. If we were to eradicate the seminaries on the basis of your thinking then some might then argue that the Church is not required as a formal instituion either.

      July 10, 2020 at 2:13 pm
      • Charles Mc Cusker

        Formation is not dependant on a Seminary, otherwise everyone would be expected to spend time in such an institution!!!!!

        July 10, 2020 at 5:30 pm
      • Miles Immaculatae


        Actually, it was once common for lay people to spend time in monestaries for the contribution to their own spiritual formation.

        July 10, 2020 at 8:13 pm
      • Athanasius

        Charles McCusker

        Future priests are not “everybody”, they are individuals especially called by God renounce the world after the example of Our Lord. It is fitting, then, that they be formed in holiness in an environment well away from the influence, distractions and temptations of the world. Seems like common sense to me.

        July 10, 2020 at 9:16 pm
    • editor


      Your faith in my ability to come up with a formation for priests plan is touching but, given that none of them will as much as send me a Christmas card, I think we’ll shelve that for now 😀


      Correct – we’d be better not chucking the baby out with the bath water. Seminaries need to be re-established, and I’m confident that Charles’s suggestion was totally tongue-in-cheek; he will know this as well, no question about it.

      July 10, 2020 at 3:12 pm
    • Miles Immaculatae


      What you suggest — formation in the community — was in fact the way it was done in the past. In the middle ages, a candidate priest would become the apprentice of a priest. This led to all sorts of problems and abuses. There was a lack of uniformity of standards in the intellectual formation of clergy, and this deficit was thought to have contributed to the Protestant Reformation. Consequently, the reforms following the Council of Trent made seminary formation the normal way of becoming a priest. Seminary is a way of ensuring uniformity of standards. The problem is not with the concept of the seminary itself, but rather that the ‘uniform standard’ is modernism.

      July 10, 2020 at 8:09 pm
    • westminsterfly

      Why are you so down on seminaries? Did you ever get asked to leave one?

      July 11, 2020 at 4:36 pm
  • westminsterfly

    How did this thread turn into one about the merits or otherwise of psychiatry / psychology? Back to the deacon concerned. This website:- https://rcdow.org.uk/vocations/news/rome-ordination-for-deacon-alex states that “Alex is looking forward to a month-long parish placement in Rickmansworth in September”. Any CT bloggers from Rickmansworth about? How do they feel about having Alex as a deacon?

    July 11, 2020 at 3:59 pm
    • editor


      “How did this thread turn into one about…” is my perennial mantra.

      I think I fell into the psychiatry trap, as well. I need to be much more vigilant. Too soft hearted, that’s my problem…

      So, thank you for those on-topic links – I’ll check them out shortly.

      July 11, 2020 at 5:09 pm
    • editor


      I’ve now read that report from the Westminster diocese, and highlighted this description of a deacon’s life…

      “[On]… three aspects that are relevant to transitional deacons as they prepare for priesthood.

      First is preaching the Gospel faithfully by preaching Jesus Christ and not themselves.

      Second, words are not enough because our lives should also speak of the Gospel message.

      Third, the people are the Church’s greatest treasures and deacons are called to serve them and to help them grow in holiness.

      So, combined, those three attributes of any deacon’s life should rule out, once and for all, “liking” ‘gay’ clubs on Facebook, participating in “Pride” Committees, and supporting – in any way – “gay marriage”.

      It would certainly be interesting to learn how the new deacon finds life in Rickmansworth. Calling Rickmansworth… any news?

      July 11, 2020 at 8:42 pm
  • westminsterfly

    It appears there are three Catholic churches in Rickmansworth: Our Lady Help of Christians, St Bede’s and St John the Evangelist. I don’t know if they have a priest each, or if they are ‘clustered’ i.e. lumped into one kind of mega-parish that has to share a priest, due to shortage of vocations. However, since that article was written, due to the coronavirus situation, plans for his month-long placement may have been shelved.

    July 12, 2020 at 11:51 am
    • editor


      That’s very interesting – but so is this; our report on the new deacon is being discussed on another blog… (the excommunicated Irish Bishop Pat Buckley blog)

      I’ve just submitted a comment which will hopefully be published following moderation…

      July 12, 2020 at 12:45 pm
      • Athanasius


        I have just added my own comment at this site, awaiting clearnace from the moderator!

        Here it is just in case:

        Here’s St. Paul’s response to those “who use their liberty as a cloak for malice”:

        “Wherefore, God gave them up to the desires of their heart, unto uncleanness: to dishonour their own bodies among themselves. Who changed the truth of God into a lie and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.

        For this cause, God delivered them up to shameful affections. For their women have changed the natural use into that use which is against nature. And, in like manner, the men also, leaving the natural use of the women, have burned in their lusts, one towards another: men with men, working that which is filthy and receiving in themselves the recompense which was due to their error.” Romans 1: 24-27.

        And a wee word about the origin of “Pride”. Those who march boldly under its banner should know that Pride is the mother and root of all sin, the first and principal sin that caused the fall of Lucifer. They are destined for eternal damnation who enter the Church, the “Spotless Bride of Christ”, flying Lucifer’s banner!

        July 12, 2020 at 1:14 pm
      • westminsterfly

        Interesting to note that a commentor on Buckley’s blog thinks that Alex is being ordained by Cdl Nichols on Sept 19th, but the diocesan website says that: “Alex is looking forward to a month-long parish placement in Rickmansworth in September. He will return to Rome in October to continue his studies for two more years”. Either the commentor on Buckley’s blog was wrong, or some great haste is going on to get Alex ordained before someone steps in to stop it going ahead.

        July 12, 2020 at 7:19 pm

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