Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Reprieve for Ushaw College?

Seminarians in the Ukraine
Seminarians gathering in a corridor because of lack of space.


Greek Catholic seminarians process through the streets of Lviv, Ukraine

Seminarians at Mass in Grodno Seminary in Belarus

Seminarians processing at Rudno Seminary in Ukraine

Seminarians hard at work studying in Brazil

Seminarians in a classroom in Ethiopia

Seminarians in class in Lithuania

Seminarians singing in Romania

Cardross Seminary - Built in 1968, closed in 1980!!
Junior Seminary at Ushaw - derelict since the 1970's

Zenit reports that in the Ukraine there are more men asking to join the seminary than they can possibly cope with - they have neither the places nor the funds to allow these men to test their vocations. In fact, they are turning away up to half the young men who apply.

A stark contrast to our own country where there is now no seminary at all in Scotland and Ushaw College (training men for the Priesthood for 200 years) is about to close. It seems peculiar, to say the least, that there will be no seminary north of Birmingham - one after another they have closed, Drygrange, Cardross, Blairs, Scotus, Upholland, and now Ushaw.

Perhaps in a europe-wide spirit of co-operation and fraternity Ushaw College could be offered to train priests from other countries like the Ukraine where they do not have enough seminary places? After all, that's even better than what we've done in the past by sending missionaries out to foreign lands - we would actually be training indigenous men to return to their own country and build up the Faith - and who knows perhaps a few would stay here and help to re-evangelise our moribund church.

But, I hear you say, "Why can't some of these priests be sent here. We would welcome them with open arms". Not quite! As the former President of Ushaw, Monsignor Terence Patrick Drainey, now gloriously reigning as Bishop of Middlesborough wrote in 2007 about a "new course specifically for foreign priests wishing to serve the Catholic Church in England and Wales":
"Some foreign priests working in Britain tend to be too dogmatic about the church’s moral rightness on just about everything, ... That’s not how we do things here. "
Well, we know how we do things here -

The library at St Joseph's College, Upholland (photo from March 2009)

- I wonder how they do things over there that they can attract so many men to the Priesthood?


Richard Collins said...

I would enjoy 'dogmatic' - it would make a pleasant change.

Anonymous said...

Nothing more graphically portrays the absolute disdain (I could use a stronger word) of the English Catholic establishment for the faith than the picture of the library as recently as March 2009. I presume that the books strewn all over the floor and on the window ledges are not Mills and Boon fiction but learned books on the faith, Church history, theology, the saints et al. What sort of 'ordinary' Catholic mind, never mind that of senior clerics, could allow this to happen and not intervene. It is not merely shameful but scandalous. Even now it is surely not too late to salvage these books. Why not invite priests to come and take what they need. I am sure that the fledgling traditional priestly societies would welscome a visit to this library to retrieve many of these books for their libraries. But no, the authorities would rather let these treasured books on the faith rot on the floor in dirt and dust to be crawled over by spiders and beetles rather than offer them to anyone who could make use of them. There could be no more graphic picture of the sorry state of modern Catholicism than revealed in this picture. Go to it, Reverend Fathers of Liverpool, and give these books a home they deserve.


torchofthefaith said...

Dear Father

These last two stories dovetail somewhat.

As a student at Ushaw in the late 90's I was told that I would have to set up the chalice set for a Methodist group to use for their baps and Ribena.

I refused to comply with this.

On another occasion a fellow student and I were surprised on entering St. Cuthbert's chapel to find a group of Methodists already having a service at the Altar...

Then NEOC - the North East college for Methodist students - actually moved-in to share the seminary with us! It was not unheard of for them to move the Altar in St. Joseph's out of the way for their Sunday services. I know because as a sacristan I had to move the Altar back into place for Holy Mass on Sunday Mornings...

I had a meeting with my vocations director and handed him a whole dossier of problems to give to the Archbishop. That was Christmas 1998and I am still waiting for a reply.

I could write a book about the men I've seen being prevented from joining up at selection weekends; others who made it through that hurdle only to be persecuted to breaking point; and finally men who had their ordinations delayed from 6 months to a year and all because of their orthodoxy - one guy simply because he wore his Roman collar on Sundays and for hospital visits as a Deacon...

On the other hand guys who revelled in foul language, heterodox ideology and radical homosexualist agendas were given a hearty welcome.

I used to try to warn people in my Archdiocese that the seminary needed to be reformed as the vocations 'crisis' would only be fed otherwise. Looking back I don't think they could believe how bad it was. As a convert from Protestantism - in which I had experienced some truly Christian communities - neither could I. It was very distressign to find the True Church only to discover that those responsible for priestly formation were out to wreak havoc for Her.

Father Simon - If you fancy a trip up to Ushaw Moor on a book rescue mission I am game!

In Christ
Alan Houghton

torchofthefaith said...


For international readers:-

Baps are bread buns
Ribena is a blackcurrant fruit drink.

Anonymous said...

I think that is a superb idea, that Ushaw be used to train Priests from countries that have more vocations than space. Of course it will not happen.It would take vision, and these young men would probably be too traditional!

Daniel C said...

Liberals like Drainey & Kelly are part of the reason for the decline of the RC Church in England, but the rot set in long before these agents of evil. Warlock & his cronies and of course, the infamous 'Pastoral Council' that was Vatican II', the greatest gift to Protestants and the triumph of the secular over the sacred. Yes, Upholland decays, and Ushaw will go the same way. Drainey and his ilk would rather that then traditional RC institutions use them!
I was a student at Upholland and then Ushaw in the 1970s and 80s. I was ruthlessly persecuted for being s true RC. I am SO glad I never made it to Ordination, so if you think I am bitter, think again!
I have seen the decay at Upholland first-hand, and the liberal, and let's be honest, stupid RC Bishops of England & Wales, 'thickos' of the first order, have reaped what they did sow! A plague on all their houses, they will rot!

Stephen Douglass said...

Whilst I can empathise with a lot of what has been typed, can we be truly bitter. Our Catholic faith is based on the examples from christ jesus, even he stated that my fathers house has many mansions and he that is not against me is for me. Taken a step back though, there is a lot of truth in what Alan Houghton states and was also a main reason for my leaving. I wouldn't go so far as to say that I was happy to not be ordained I truly believed that god had a use for me for his works it only took a different route. It is a terrible waste of human and material resource but isn't that human nature all over? God bless you all and find peace in jesus