An interesting question has come up of recent date. Can someone who attends an undesirable seminary be PLU? How much does thorough indoctrination poison the man?
A resounding "yes" comes for the first question. There have been many men who have survived under dire situations, who have survived with their PLU-ness intact. They have had to do things that are downright humorous from the post-ordination perspective. We always joked that the men at one seminary in DC during my college days would be better off returning from an evening out smelling of Channel no. 5 than of incense. One can almost imagine the bottle of perfume in the glove box used to cover over the scent of Gloria PR#3!
Then there is my friend who attended Sacred Heart School of Technology (yes -- a confirmandus addressed it that way -- how apropos!). He survived with his faith intact, if not somewhat solidified as a defensive mechanism.
But what of those, who knowing that their seminary had a liberal reputation chose it anyway? It would seem that those men would be likened to those who know that Jesus Christ intended to found a Church, and that the Catholic Church is that Church, and still remain outside her. I mean, really, can one ever be PLU when one leaves the bosom of Holy Mother Overbrook to go to a place where flip-flops suffice for Mass? Can one who chooses a place dubbed the Pink Palace over the Pontifical Josephinum (which has suceeded, it seems, in removing itself from the bad list) ever really be one with us?
We are talking about degrees of communion with brother Priests. It becomes truly difficult to have a meaningful relationship with a brother Priest with whom you share nothing in common theologically. How can we spend our day off with a man who doesn't want to exercise his Priesthood on that day? How can we have meaningful conversations with a man who doesn't see any problem with Charles Curran?
It is one thing when a man is sent by his Bishop to an undesirable place, it is another thing all together when he chooses it. Those who choose the easy place where they never have to answer for missing Morning Prayer because they stayed up late the night before "studying"; who get to wear jeans and a golf shirt to class and never, ever wear a cassock. In essence, they have chosen to live like regular college students during their years of "formation." There could be hope for those who simply don't know any better. In fact we know that all things are possible for Christ. Yet, we won't be holding our breath for new members of the diocesan schola.