Sunday, June 12, 2016

Scandal at Maynooth Seminary

Last week I spoke to an Irish bishop about the latest scandal to hit St. Patrick's seminary in Maynooth. While he himself did not want to go on the record, he did acknowledge that the Irish bishops were aware of some of the concerns about the seminary but were unable to act because the complaints made by seminarians were always anonymous. Is he serious? Does he really expect anything other than an anonymous complaint?

To understand the fear of speaking out openly and why seminarians chose to suffer in silence we first need to visit the Gulag.

There is a story told by that great Russian writer and Nobel laureate, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, in his book "The Gulag Archipelago," about a gathering which was held in 1938 in honor of Stalin. At this gathering there were many speeches. Stalin was not even in the room, but every time his name was mentioned in a speech, the people rose to their feet with thunderous applause. At the end of the evening, there was a call for one more cheer in honor of Stalin. Solzhenitsyn writes, "For three minutes, four minutes, five minutes, the stormy applause, rising to an ovation, continued."

Who would be the first to stop clapping? Nobody dared — there were guards from the NKVD all around the room keeping an eye out for those who might not be "real" supporters. Thus the applause continued. Solzhenitsyn goes on to say, "It was becoming insufferably silly, even to those who really adored Stalin." The applause went on, continuing for six, seven, eight minutes. "They were done for! Their goose was cooked! They couldn't stop now till they collapsed with heart attacks."

The author mentions the director of a local paper factory who was an independent and strong-minded man. While aware of the falsity and impossibility of the situation, he kept on applauding. Eventually, after 11 minutes, this man stopped applauding and sat down. Where did the seemingly universal enthusiasm go? Everyone sat down. "They had been saved"! The factory director was arrested and interrogated.

Solzhenitsyn concludes his account with these few sentences: "They easily pasted 10 years on him on the pretext of something quite different. But after he had signed Form 206, the final document of the interrogation, his interrogator reminded him: 'Don’t ever be the first to stop applauding.'"  (more...)

1 comment:

  1. Political correctness yet again. Modernism in all its guises had taken a foothold on all our seminaries. All that's necessary is for good men to stand by & say nothing. They will be judged!