Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Off the Beaten Path: A Few Rotten Apples Spoil the Bunch as Always OR Defending the Basilian Order Generally, NOT Specific priests

Hello Everyone,

There has been a lot going on on the Blogosphere, regarding the bad behaviour of certain Basilians, either caught red-handed, or being part of some nefarious plot to destroy Traditionalist Catholics. Just today, I happened to catch a post that smears Basilians as behaving badly on the Society of Canadian Catholic Bloggers feed. I won't link to that site though. I try to refrain as much as possible here on SUD from exposing readers to Radical Misrepresenting Traditionalist (RMT) websites, ones that could send them spiraling down a path of spiritual evil and possible, gradual separation from Holy Mother Church.

Now, the examples displayed, unfortunately, are ones of poor un-Catholic behaviour. I cannot condone the behaviours of these two priests, but they have been exposed to some degree, or fully. As to the Basilians in question, they are Fr. Thomas Rosica of Salt and Light, and Fr. Timothy Scott of the Basilian Fathers.

Fr Rosica right now is the primary target of RMTs and associated allies' blogs and websites, because he is engrossed in a potential lawsuit with a local Toronto blogger. Should you want to find out more, go do a google search on your own. The crux of the matter is that the blogger has been doing commentary on Tweets, print, and social media statements made by Fr Rosica over the years, of what is looking more like Heterodox views and encouragement of them, contrary to Catholic Church teaching. Go read the blogger if you find them and be the judge of the content yourself. Personally, I do not side with Fr. Rosica as being totally innocent, and it seems as early as his deaconship (pre-priesthood), according to a Windsor Star article, he was expressing such views. However the vitriol and hatred being thrown towards the priest is in my view, highly hypocritical and even sadistic, of the RMT bloggers, who cry fowl at what they claim of the "corrupt clergy" and the "False/Novus Ordo Catholic Church."

As for the other priest, Fr. Timothy Scott, he was caught red handed on his Twitter feed telling Cardinal Raymond Burke to Shut the F*#^ up. Vulgar, Rude, and unacceptable of a man, a Catholic man, especially a Catholic Priest in an order whose motto is to "teach me Goodness, Discipline, and Knowledge." The image of his Twitter comment was caught, so this is undefensable, even after an apology was issued.

[UPDATE 26/02/2015 ... It has been confirmed by a RMT media organization that the Vicar General of the Basilians has confirmed, Fr. Scott is now FIRED from his position.] 

Needless to say, the Basilians are looking, unfortunately, dire as of late.

Still, I must chime in. I am not defending, nor condoning the actions of these two Basilians. Neither I am coming out in support of the RMTs and what they are doing. I also, did NOT experience the Basilians at the university/college level, which is a different kettle of fish. However, I must, as an educated man in the Basilian Tradition via his private, all-boys Catholic high school defend the Basilian tradition and the order, despite their small numbers compared to other older orders left in the Church today.

I was thankfully educated at St. Michael's College School, at ye old Bathurst and St. Clair West near the downtown core of Toronto. St. Mikes is a grade 7-12 private college school, that seeks to educate young men in the Basilian Tradition. Although the school has few Basilian priests still actively involved due to declining vocations in the Church and an overall shift in things over the years, there is still some involvement by the order in my school, and some younger priests do take a portion of time as teachers in the school. My school boasts a number of excellent programs, from the visual arts and the musical/dramatic arts programs (drama is not a full program with courses, but the involvement in the plays alongside other schools is as intense as coursework), an excellent athletics program spanning its popular hockey as well as other sports, and a rigorous academic tradition that has not ceased to this day.

While I loathe some of the damage that has been done to the religious education program in the Gr. 11 world religious course (no more 1/2 year theology anymore ...) and the OAC non-credit course was stripped due to the pulling of grade 13 for political/financial reasons, I must say that you will not receive a better religious education in high school for the Catholic faith outside of St. Michael's. Other programs will emphasize social justice too much or watered down theology, and the Gr. 11 world religion courses in other schools can be extremely secular or anti-Catholic (see the catholic intelligence blog for Ottawa on SCCB), but not St. Michael's courses. Also, in Gr. 10 we study Church history and sacraments, NOT what the other schools teach which is definitely, NOT Church history.

I will admit, that the more I progress in the world, the more I detest it, despite many blessings that have happened in my life. While I am thankful, I now look back fondly on my time at that Basilian tradition school, and wish I could return to that time.

Now, here is where I must defend the Basilian tradition further, as I will provide examples of a couple of Basilians who still show that tradition is lively and vibrant. Although the impact might be less as I will not use their real names, just falsified last initials, these examples show that not ALL the Basilians have abandoned their values, and some still maintain that tradition of the great St. Basil.

Fr. S is probably in his 70's to 80's. He was one of the last generation of his time to be ordained a priest in the minor orders and the Extraordinary form of the Roman Rite. Fr. S lives modestly in an apartment, and must ask permission for further expenses depending on the situation (e.g. cab fare, trips, pilgrimages, etc.). Personal mass supplies are either basic as provided by the order, and anything extra is via donations. Fr. S is also the chaplain of a Knights of Columbus chapter and believe it or not, has the awesome ability to say the Low Mass in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite. This priest relies on the charity of his brother Knights to assist him in his transportation, and does not live the lavish lifestyle that some other Basilian Priests do, forsaking their vow of poverty. I thankfully have known this priest since my time at St. Michael's from 1997-2002, as he took over the archery club after the death of the previous moderator, another great priest by the name of Fr. Matthew Mulcahy (R.I.P., and I will work harder to "keep my anchor straight" Father!).

Fr. R is also likely around the same age as Fr. S. Fr. R has been a Basilian priest for countless years since his youth, and has been a firm contributor to St. Michael's College School. Over the years, Fr. R has taught numerous religious courses, and is choirmaster for the School's choir. This choir is not a professional, road-tripping one currently (maybe in past?), but it still provides beautiful English Chant and hymns for the school's Masses. At one point, the choir was even disbanded by administration at some point in the last couple decades, but because the students valued Fr. R's contribution to the life of the school and love him as a true example of Christ's priesthood (as he is frequently spoken of as a "legend,") they petitioned to have the choir reinstated. During my time, I had the pleasure to receive one of the best religion courses in that school, the non-credit Theology/Philosophy (beginner)/Catechesis course for Grade 13. No credit course philosophy for me, that's too over my head and my science-minded brain! The course covered many topics such as the Fall of Man and Original Sin, the characteristics of God (a,k.a. the 12 I's), Sanctifying vs. Actual Grace; the Mind, Intellect and the will ..... It was a bit of rehash, new material, and insight all into one, and YET despite receiving no credit, we still had to do essays, letters and assignments! And our tests always included parts of the Universal Prayer for All Things Necessary for Salvation!!!!

Further, Fr. R is always a pleasure to see at every Turkey Roll at St. Mike's that occurs every November and will give students a tour of the school, ending in his famous room 9. Although all the photos are now in the school archives, it would be a highlight to go back and see those photos he takes of many students over the last several decades since handheld photography became widespread for the general public (we are talking 1960's and 70's here!!!). Also, I have had the blessing on an occasion to be able to see him, catch up, and seek spiritual counselling on issues pressing me at the time. I still have a long way to go, but regardless, it was great to hear his wisdom, but also to know that even he knows, that there were significant changes to the liturgy in the Novus Ordo that really impacted the faithful, as well as priests in the spiritual realm. He did NOT advocate its removal, but rather expressed a sadness of such changes and the effects they have had on the laity and clergy alike.

My main point, then, is that looking at the examples of Frs. R and S, despite how some modern Basilians may not be keeping to their vows of chastity, obedience, poverty, and the mission to teach people goodness, knowledge, and discipline (as poorly exhibited by their actions,) those ones whom RMT bloggers are smearing, are only 2 or so people of the whole order. There are still good Basilians out there, whose mission and legacy is still surviving and persisting in one way or the other. Further, as the Church is gradually seeing a more conservative uptick in its seminarians and ordained priests, perhaps this might in turn spill over to the Basilians. While I do not foresee their order booming rapidly again in the near future, maybe some new recruits might just start sticking back to the foundations of the Order of St. Basil, and prove that there is still good being done Basilians worldwide.

While one's sins are one's errors, public or not, a few rotten apples spoil the bunch, always. Don't let a couple of bad apples ruin one's impression of the whole batch, being touted by a bunch of "pickle-faced pepper" people whose greatest joys in their spiritual life is hurting others and crying afoul of a Church they struggle to be faithful to, or secretly hate in not meeting their unrealistic standards of religion. It doesn't mean you partake in their struggles, and their sins.

Pax, Julian.

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