Difficulty of Attending Traditional Seminaries


#1

I was wondering how hard it would be to attend a seminary of say FSSP and ICKSP and not have any experience with the E.F.?


#2

Not very difficult at all I would imagine. If you have a vocation there, you have a vocation. Nothing can stop what God wants - and if He wants you there, the matter of never having attended an EF is not going to stop Him. Simple way to fix it, really… within your first 24 hours in seminary you will have been to an EF Mass. Remember, you aren’t expected to be a priest the minute you walk into a seminary. Your unfamiliarity may even be a good thing - you are a blank slate and can be easily worked with. Of course it will take time getting used to the EF in person, but that is not an obstacle to the vocation. In the meantime, read up on the EF, watch videos online and try as hard as possible to attend one.

By the way, I speak from some experience. In January I am discerning with a traditionalist religious community who only say the Latin Mass - and I have only ever been to one EF! And they know this too, of course. Fortunately in the coming weeks I will be able to attend at least 2 or 3 Latin Masses and I also ordered a DVD of a Low Mass being done and explained/commentated on.

Hope that helps and may God bless you and lead you to where ever He wants you to go!


#3

Well you would have to be joining either the FSSP or the ICKSP (and for this one you will need to know French as that is the language they teach in at their seminary in Italy).

I would think that both of these societies would require that you have some experience with the EF to join them.


#4

Loving a liturgy on paper is very different from actually wanting to regularly go to it. Loving to go to a liturgy regularly is very different from having a vocation to be a priest and to celebrate that liturgy exclusively.


#5

[quote="ByzCath, post:3, topic:263422"]

I would think that both of these societies would require that you have some experience with the EF to join them.

[/quote]

Now that I think about it, perhaps this is the case. Since the FSSP and ICKSP are not religious and they are for priestly formation (i.e. focusing on forming priests to offer Mass) perhaps they do require some experience with the EF. My case is a bit different I guess, because it is to a religious life I am called and I may never offer Mass in the EF as a lay brother.

Either way, best for the OP to speak to them.

[quote="m134e5, post:4, topic:263422"]
Loving a liturgy on paper is very different from actually wanting to regularly go to it.

[/quote]

The FSSP and ICKSP wouldn't see it that way. It's not one of those things which you can say "well on paper this is a good thing but in real life...". This is the Latin Mass. It does work. It is good. And for the priests of the FSSP and ICKSP they would want everybody in the world to attend it, and for every priest to celebrate it. Since it is the legitimate expression of the Roman Rite, everybody who is Catholic should want to go to it. Hopefully my point makes sense there.

Loving to go to a liturgy regularly is very different from having a vocation to be a priest and to celebrate that liturgy exclusively.

I think the OP knows this, it is probably the most basic first principle of discerning a vocation but still it is good advice. However, God calls those whom He pleases no matter their situation. He doesn't demand the impossible, but he makes all things possible. If the OP is called, he is called.


#6

I have emailed both groups and a few others, as I await their response I'd like to thank all the posters for the advice. Another thing, I love the MASS, both forms, but with a "pseudo-preference" (not sure of the right word to use there) for the EF. I want to celebrate it, I want to act as Christ, just not sure how I'm going to go about it.


#7

You also have to remember that when you join either a religious community or a secular priestly society, at the end of the day, you do not decide if you have a vocation. The superior makes that decision in the name of Christ.

You can have all of the experience in the world with the EF. You can have all of the French necessary to attend seminary. You can pass the seminary courses with flying colors. Once you decide that you want to see this through to its logical conclusion, which would be ordination, the matter then leaves your hands. The superior will decide if Christ is calling you to the priesthood. He can say no at the 11th hour.

I’m not trying to discourage you, just the opposite. I’m encouraging you to take the leap in faith, if you believe that Christ is calling you. If he is, you will find out as you go along, even if you have never set foot at an EF mass.

Praying for you.

Fraternally,

Br. JR, OSF :slight_smile:


#8

[quote="treeloop, post:6, topic:263422"]
I have emailed both groups and a few others, as I await their response I'd like to thank all the posters for the advice. Another thing, I love the MASS, both forms, but with a "pseudo-preference" (not sure of the right word to use there) for the EF. I want to celebrate it, I want to act as Christ, just not sure how I'm going to go about it.

[/quote]

Godspeed! I pray that you may say Yes to God no matter where He calls you to serve Him.

[quote="JReducation, post:7, topic:263422"]
You also have to remember that when you join either a religious community or a secular priestly society, at the end of the day, you do not decide if you have a vocation. The superior makes that decision in the name of Christ.

[/quote]

Good point.


#9

Wait a minute. Now I’m confused. You’re going to be a religious brother or a lay brother. Either way, don’t you have to go through seminary formation, including liturgy? I had to go through eight years, four of philosophy and four of theology. The only way to get out of the four years of theology was to go for two years of theology and then go for a technical or professional degree. You still have four years of college and at least two of theology + another discipline. Liturgy, Scripture, Systematic Theology, Moral Theology, Canon Law, Church History, Homiletics, Catechesis, Christology, Ecclesiology, Sacraments, Social Teachings of the Church, Patristics, Latin and Greek were part of the core curriculum, which is two-years.

The FSSP and ICKSP wouldn’t see it that way. It’s not one of those things which you can say “well on paper this is a good thing but in real life…”. This is the Latin Mass. It does work. It is good. And for the priests of the FSSP and ICKSP they would want everybody in the world to attend it, and for every priest to celebrate it. Since it is the legitimate expression of the Roman Rite, everybody who is Catholic should want to go to it. Hopefully my point makes sense there.

We have to be careful here. This is part of the compromise that all of the Ecclesia Dei communities have to agree on in order to be regularized. They must agree that they will not promote the EF as the only form of the mass for the entire Latin Church, but that they will preserve the Tridentine Tradition and protect it, because it is part of our history and liturgical patrimony. They must accept that the Tridentine will always remain the Extraordinary Form and not the Ordinary Form, until such time as the Pontiff decides otherwise, if ever.

Nor are they allowed to teach that every Catholic should want to attend it or that it is the legitimate expression of the Roman Rite. They are allowed to teach that it is one of the legitimate expressions of the Roman Rite. They make it their special ministry to make it available to as many people as possible and to those who want it. They cannot intend to convert the entire Latin Church to the Tridentine Form for a number of reasons. The first, is that the form is one expression of the Latin Rite, not the only expression. There is the Ordinary Form and there are other rites and forms within the Latin Rite. To say that this is the one and only form that Catholics should want is offensive to the other forms and rites.

Such a position would not be tolerated by the Vatican, because it pits the OF and the EF, but it also shows an ignorance for the forms that are proper to religious orders: Benedictines, Franciscans, and Augustinians. It reflects a dismissive attitude for the other rites within the Latin Rite: Ambrosian, Mozarabic, Carmelite, Dominican and Carthusian.

Part of the rules for these institutes, including communities like the FSsR is that they accept that the EF is one of several forms, not the only form and that they not market it that way or ever say anything that may give the impression that the OF is less desireable.

I think the OP knows this, it is probably the most basic first principle of discerning a vocation but still it is good advice. However, God calls those whom He pleases no matter their situation. He doesn’t demand the impossible, but he makes all things possible. If the OP is called, he is called.

This is very true. At the end of the day, Christ will speak through the major superior. He will express his will.

Fraternally,

Br. JR, OSF :slight_smile:


#10

[quote="JReducation, post:9, topic:263422"]
Wait a minute. Now I'm confused. You're going to be a religious brother or a lay brother. Either way, don't you have to go through seminary formation, including liturgy? I had to go through eight years, four of philosophy and four of theology. The only way to get out of the four years of theology was to go for two years of theology and then go for a technical or professional degree. You still have four years of college and at least two of theology + another discipline. Liturgy, Scripture, Systematic Theology, Moral Theology, Canon Law, Church History, Homiletics, Catechesis, Christology, Ecclesiology, Sacraments, Social Teachings of the Church, Patristics, Latin and Greek were part of the core curriculum, which is two-years.

[/quote]

Sorry, I made my point badly, but to clear it up will take more typing so I will leave it for now to avoid possibly more confusion.

I agree with the rest of your post - my post wasn't trying to say anything to the contrary I don't think, but perhaps it was confusing in which case thank you for clearing it up. I type economically and succinctly (and often, brashly) so thank you for taking the time to make what I was saying more clear in all cases.


#11

[quote="NewsTheMan, post:10, topic:263422"]
Sorry, I made my point badly, but to clear it up will take more typing so I will leave it for now to avoid possibly more confusion.

I agree with the rest of your post - my post wasn't trying to say anything to the contrary I don't think, but perhaps it was confusing in which case thank you for clearing it up. I type economically and succinctly (and often, brashly) so thank you for taking the time to make what I was saying more clear in all cases.

[/quote]

I wasn't trying to put you on the spot, I was trying to sort things out in my head. When I come to the vocation sub-forum, I'm often confused by the way that people use words. I have noticed that bishops don't know the difference between a lay brother, coadjutor brother, and a religious brother. They throw the terms around interchangeably.

In communities like my own, everyone is a religious brother and some of the brothers are ALSO priests. Therefore, we have no distinct formation programs. Everyone has to go through the same formation program. This is also true of the Cistercians. Everyone is a monk and SOME monks are ALSO priests. Their formation program is exactly the same. There are no separation.

The Jesuits have lay brothers, but they require them to go through the same formation program. The Dominicans have coadjutor brothers,and they do not go through the same formation program. They are distinct vocations. There are Dominican priests and Dominican coadjutor brothers, both are friars.

The Trappists have choir monks, who are ordained or not and all go through the same 8-year formation. Then have lay brothers who are not ordained and got through a shorter formation program. They have to kinds of brothers: lay brothers who are not choir monks and brothers who are choir monks.

Then you have lay brothers such as the Christian Brothers or the Missionaries of Charity. Those brothers don't go through the 4 & 4 system, but they must all have at least 6-years of religious formation and advanced university education

When you said about not having to learn to celebrate the mass because you were never going to celebrate it, it confused me. I thought that the FSsR, being monks, followed the Benedictine model, where all are monks and all have the same formation. Therefore, everyone learns how to celebrate mass, even if you're never going to do it, because it's a necessary part of one's formation in liturgical and sacramental theology.

For example, right now, we're offering a course for any brother who wants to learn the EF, even if they never celebrate it. In our community you can't celebrate the EF in public unless there is a good reason to do so and the superior grants the permission. The superior cannot force anyone to celebrate it. He can only allow it.

Fraternally,

Br. JR, OSF :)


#12

I know you weren't putting me on the spot :p

My general point for the OP was that in my own case the vocation is different and perhaps, in that respect, things matter differently. For me, my vocation first and foremost is not about the Priesthood (though of course my superior may decide for me that I am called to be a Priest in the community). But for the OP he is called to the Priesthood and thus perhaps familiarity with the EF and with the intricacies of the Mass is a need in a different way than it would be for someone called to the religious life. I may be wrong, or communicating the point in a bad way :o

As for the distinctions between lay brother, coadjutor brother etc, yes, I myself struggle with the different vocations in that regard in the different orders - I know them, but if I were asked to describe their differences and such I get muddled. The concept is in my head, but cannot be explained probably because I still haven't got it quite right. I must take a backseat then, and let someone with more knowledge and experience take over.


#13

Starting with your last paragraph first, all of the terms are confusing. It’s like, when is a woman a sister and when is she a nun or all women religious are sisters, but few women religious are nuns. This always boggles people’s minds.

On your first point, I don’t think that one would necessarily need to understand the intricacies of the EF to enter one of the Ecclesia Dei institutes or communities. Most men didn’t really understand them back in the 1950s and before.

I do think that if you’re going to enter a community or a society that is called to preserve this tradition and to make it known to the world, you had better feel comfortable with the tradition and with this kind of ministry. The only way to know if you’re comfortable with this tradition is exposure to it. A one time visit to an FSSP parish is not exposure, that’s just an encounter.

The person also has to observe that this is life does not offer the variety that you would find if you joined a community like the Fathers of Mercy who are itinerant preachers who are constantly on the go from one retreat here to a parish mission there or the Franciscans of the Renewal who are on the street all day meeting different people or Maryknoll who are in one country building schools and then in another building a parish church. The Ecclesia Dei institutes have less variety in their daily life. In a certain sense, life is much more predictable.

The personality who is stimulated by constant change in activity may find this very hard while the personality who finds spiritual comfort in stability and consistency will find this to be heaven on earth. I guess that’s the kind of exposure that one really needs, to be around these guys and observe their daily life, not just the form of the mass.

Fraternally,

Br. JR, OSF :slight_smile:


#14

For the Institute of Christ the King, it is probably preferable if you've gone to a few latin masses, so you know what the traditional liturgy and spirituality is like. But, of course, if there isn't one in your area, there's nothing you can do. i would go on youtube, and watch some, just to get a sense. In any case, if you do apply to the Insitutte, you would be accepted as a candidate. You spend a year or more at one of the apostolates where you live in community, learn to serve mass, learn more about their Salesian spirituality and ideally pick up basic french and latin.

God willing, if you make it to your first year in the seminary, everything is in latin. But, don't worry, you and the other American first years do not speak French that well. After several months of immersion, you finally understand a lot of what the teacher is saying. The first year is spirituality anyways, and the current priest who is in charge of the first years is an American priest, so he speaks English. Don't worry about the language barrier, you are young...you'll absorb it quickly.

The FSSP doesn't have this language thing, nor a candidacy thing. They're more like a traditional diocesan seminary. They don't have a central unifying spirituality, they just form you to be a holy priest and to offer the latin mass. The Institute is more than just the 'latin mass', they have a strong Salesian spirituality, live in community, and are very traditional minded in terms of liturgy.


#15

Andrew,

Yes it is possible. We examine all sorts of documents before making a
decision as well as a face-to-face interview.

God bless.

Cordially,
Mr. Robert Overkamp
Assistant to the Vocations Director
F.S.S.P. Vocations Office

This is what I got back after emailing the FSSP saying it was possible to attend their seminary without any experience with the EF. Still waiting on ICRSS, thank you for your prayers and advice!


#16

[quote="treeloop, post:15, topic:263422"]
This is what I got back after emailing the FSSP saying it was possible to attend their seminary without any experience with the EF. Still waiting on ICRSS, thank you for your prayers and advice!

[/quote]

Yay! All praise, honor, glory and thanks be to God. See, you should've just emailed them straight away to calm your fears:D

God will always have His way!


#17

[quote="johndoe1992, post:14, topic:263422"]

God willing, if you make it to your first year in the seminary, everything is in latin. But, don't worry, you and the other American first years do not speak French that well.

[/quote]

I meant, everything is in French :o


#18

[quote="Friar_David_O.Carm, post:3, topic:263422"]
Well you would have to be joining either the FSSP or the ICKSP (and for this one you will need to know French as that is the language they teach in at their seminary in Italy).

I would think that both of these societies would require that you have some experience with the EF to join them.

[/quote]

Actually, a Priesthood candidate may be sent to the FSSP Seminary in Nebraska if one's Bishop agrees.


#19

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