After our respective choices for liturgical celebrations, a group of us—four Catholics—met at a bakery for some coffee, coco, and munchies masquerading as a viable breakfast. We dilated upon many topics: the Lenten fast, East-West relations, the Fraternity of St. Pius X, if scholastic theology has a future, the literarily livid rants of John Senior, and the like. At one point I even let loose some discomfortingly direct thoughts on the pope and some of his recent statements that would have shivers down the spines of many a pious church-lady.
At one point two young men who had been sitting in the adjoining booth approached us and asked if we were Catholics They introduced themselves as seminaries from other southwestern dioceses and struck up ten minutes of conversation. After establishing that they had finished philosophy and were in "pre-theology" (like pre-math or pre-reading????) we inquired as to their curriculum. "We are reading about the Fathers," one said.
"Better than reading about the Fathers, read the Fathers and let their practical wisdom permeate you," I replied.
"Well, we do read some of the Fathers, too," he retorted.
"Do you study Latin and Greek and that sort of stuff?" my contiguous diner asked.
"We might take Latin next year, but right now we've gotta think about pastoral languages like Spanish. We need to be pastoral."
My friend pressed him. "Learn about all the traditions of the Church. Learn the old Latin Mass, learn about the Byzantine rite and the Greek Fathers and Augustine!"
"Yeah, it's great! Isn't there just so much stuff in the Church! It's just like amazing!"
"Learn Latin and Greek," I continued. "They're the gateway to the Church's wisdom and heaven's native tongues!"
"Why not just learn Hebrew while they're at it," my friend snorted. "If you want to go back to the beginning, why not!"
"Hebrew hasn't been heaven's native tongue for a while."
"Stop it!" the seminarian rebuked me, as though I had spoken some sort of a slur, which, evidently, I had.
After few more minutes of mild cheer and banter they had left. Bitter sorrow for them overcame us. These poor fellows are being taught nothing of the Church's traditions or great thinkers. They are getting Sparknotes theology, no liturgy, political correctness, and "pastoral" interests. The world detests the Church and will detest her more in the years to come. When these youths receive the laying of hands from their bishops they will be ill-equipped to combat either earthly assaults or internal strife. As dull as scholastic theology and the '62 low Mass may be they do impart something firm to students for the priesthood. These poor lads will be like sheep among wolves, and they won't be wise as serpents. Pray for them.