1. Because of the extreme pressures present in formation to conform and go along, it’s going to be impossible to get anything like a scientific study of Rose’s conclusions. The anecdotal approach is probably the best one can hope for.
2. The seminary where I taught had a preoccupation with the “product at the end of the pipeline.” When I asked at a faculty meeting (my second one in my tenure) whether we might allow the young men to be called individuals instead of products, I got a blank stare from the formation director. The conformation fix was in, and the students demonstrated it in a thousand little ways. A new seminary administration (including the unceremonious firing of the previous formation director) did away with this pipeline expectation in favor of formation interviews that were not ambushes designed to intimidate. We learned a lot more about these guys and what they needed to be effective priests after that.
3. Near the end of my time there, a new auxiliary bishop (a priest from the Archdiocese of Chicago) visited the seminary to lunch with the faculty and ask us questions about the students (his real purpose was to tell us he knew as much as we did and he demonstrated that elusive fact by telling us 17 times in one ten minute oration that he had taught at Harvard for a year). He was concerned with the overwhelmingly conservative stance of the incoming seminarians (uncomprehending orthodoxy he called it), and he wanted to know what we were going to do about it (this man also, in a deanery meeting I attended as a parish pastor some months before asked all of us whether we bought the National Catholic Reporter for our parishioners, and seemed extremely disappointed when we said no). Since I was adjunct faculty (and therefore expendable), I pointed out that we had five years of the program to deal with the rough edges and I thought the young men were, for the most part, very dedicated to the pursuit of their vocations and very much loved the church. This man came to visit my parish not too long after this meeting, picked a fight with me about drinking water before Mass, and totally alienated my folks. He now has his own diocese down south.
4.I think Michael Rose has used older incidents to maximum effect, and the blanket indictment of the seminary system is, perhaps, too harsh for this time; however, the Zero-Tolerance Bishop of Belleville, Wilton Gregory, has first-hand information about my seminary in a previous time-many of his arrested molesters graduated from my seminary in the ‘80’s. None of this made it into Rose’s book.
5. Moral of the Story-I don’t think there was any nation-wide conspiracy to exclude orthodox seminarians; I think the Left and its fellow travelers react in lock-step because that’s the way they are (they’re not democratic, they’re fascists); the force necessary to enforce ideology is the force that’s used, and victim groups (i.e., gays and dissidents) get special treatment. Michael’s book isn’t complete, and sometimes, probably not fair, but it opens a door to a scene that is incredibly troubling and some problems that need to be visited now, in the midst of our travails. I know and understand your and Michael’s (your husband) views on gays in the priesthood. I still maintain that when you get a bunch of these boys together, it’s not seminary, it’s summer camp. And, since I was told by my own archbishop (who was NCCB president at the time) shortly before he ordained me, that I was lucky I came in as convert clergy because, with my theology I’d never have made it through the seminary the regular way, I think Rose probably also has a point on the theology end of his argument.
In case you missed it back in March, here's my husband's take on the book.