xt747d2q5g3m https://exploreuk.uky.edu/dips/xt747d2q5g3m/data/mets.xml Culleton, John, Rev. 1893  books b92-41-26782927 English The Author, : Louisville, Ky. : Contact the Special Collections Research Center for information regarding rights and use of this collection. Catholic Church Doctrines. Culleton, John, Rev., 1858- Catholic Church and spiritualism Biography. Church and social problems Catholic Church Biography. Confession Catholic Priest Biography. Ten years a priest, an open confession  / by Rev. John Culleton. text Ten years a priest, an open confession  / by Rev. John Culleton. 1893 2002 true xt747d2q5g3m section xt747d2q5g3m 










       Copyrighted 1893,
By John Culleton, Louisville, Ky.



IHAVE always found biography interesting even when
    commonplace, and I trust this little book, whatever else
be thought of it, will not be considered commonplace.
  It might never have been written, were it not for the un-
fortunate Roman Catholic habit of pursuing with slander,
regardless of facts and their own former good opinion, every
man who changes his mind about the infallible claims of the
Roman Church and has the courage to act as his reason dic-
tates. No man ever went out of a church more quietly than
I did, or with less reason to fear or expect the poisoned darts
of calumny. But I could not escape them, and was com-
pelled in self-defense to load my sling with a little pebble of
truth and try the effect of a face blow on the cantankerous
old Philistine that claims the earth.
  To those who know me well it is unnecessary to say that
this book is a plain and simple narrative of facts, without a
single intentional inaccuracy; and the intelligent reader who
knows me not will discover as he reads ample internal
evidence of its truthfulness. To Catholic scoffers I have
only to say that I challenge them to the test, though fully
satisfied that they will never come to the scratch. If the
notoriety given to some persons in these pages hurts their
feelings, let them remember that lies hurt as well as truth,
and that I have a few feelings myself.
  My late friends among the priests of the Louisville diocese
will especially enjoy the perusal of this book and appreciate,
as others cannot, its strict adherence to truth, though not


4                      PREFACE.

one of them should ever have the manliness to say so; in
which case the poor fellows are hardly to be blamed, for
manliness under such circumstances would be the unpardon-
able sin, for which even the Pope himself would have no
  "What fools these mortals be," to be sure, and how potent
the conjuring that can make millions abjure their reason in
imaginary obedience to the God who gave it, thus multiply-
ing many millionfold the miracle of St. Denis, who-grave
Catholic historians tell us-walked around with his head in
his hands, to the greater glory of God!
                                     JOHN CULLETON.
 AUGUST 1, 1893.



                     CHAPTER I.


 I was born in Louisville, Ky., on Sunday, August 1, 1858.
   My parents, William Culleton and Catharine Murphy, were
natives of Ireland and pious Catholics. My father died in
1861, leaving as an inheritance more precious than worldly
goods the memory of a fine character. In 1864 my mother
married again, and in 1866 the family settled in Bowling
Green, Ky. There I spent my youth, receiving the best edu-
cation the schools of that place afforded; attending first the
parochial school and afterward the private school conducted
by J. A. Timmons, A. M., who was justly considered the
best teacher in the town. Excepting a session lost through
sickness, a few months in 1873 spent at the Louisville Bryant
and Stratton Business College and a few spent at the Nash-
ville Bryant and Stratton College in 1876, I constantly at-
tended his school, studying, besides the usual common school
branches, Latin, Greek, French, and bookkeeping. Professor
Timfnons was and is a man of great modesty and simplicity,
but a very capable teacher; and to his thorough training I
attribute much of my after success at college. Judgment on
my character as a boy I confidently leave to those, whether
Catholics or Protestants, who knew me during my school-
days in Bowling Green. If any serious moral delinquency
was ever laid to my charge I'never heard of it.



  As a boy I was older than my years. Brought up in a
hotel, my associates at home were nearly all men, and I
early acquired a fondness for the society and conversation of
those older than myself, and fell into their ways of thinking
and speaking to such an extent that at twelve I was called
"the old man." Girls of my own age and their conversation
I cordially detested, looking upon them from my ancient
standpoint as silly and frivolous. I thus lost many of the
pleasures of boyhood, and my life was less healthy and nat-
ural than it might have been under other circumstances.
Among our boarders were some who had seen a great deal
of the world, some well-educated and possessed of books,
some fond of talking religion and politics. From the age of
eight, when I was already a constant reader of the daily
papers, my surroundings greatly stimulated a natural thirst
for knowledge and led to the acquirement of literary tastes
very advanced for one of my years. Thus I was never a
first-class ball-player, top-spinner or gambler in marbles,
and never learned how to throw a stone; but I became quite
skillful at cards and checkers, a profound discourser of pol-
itics, a student of works of religious controversy, and well
up in Byron, Dickens, Shakespeare, and the Bible, at a time
when the average boyish mind is more naturally-and per-
haps more rationally-employed in the contemplation of
hookey or a malignant stonebruise, or devising ways and
means to prevent an apple surplus.
  My mother and stepfather being practical Catholics, our
house was well supplied with Catholic books and papers. I
read them all and hankered for more, but I could never pre-
vent myself from reading also such Protestant books as from
time to time fell in my way. The result was that while I
became an unusually well-instructed Catholic I also learned
that there was a great deal to be said on the other side, and
I contracted an inclination, which became habitual and irre-



sistible, to look at both sides of every question and to sus-
pect all extremely one-sided statements unless they were
supported by the amplest proofs. I was very fond of his-
tory, and discovered early that the reader of religious his-
tory must find out the truth for himself by carefully dis-
counting partisan statements, and that the historians who
could most safely be trusted were those whose religious
opinions were most indefinite or at least most liberal. While
regular in the performance of what I considered my reli-
gious duties, I noted the distinction which the Catholic
Church makes in theory, but discredits in practice, between
essential Christian doctrines and practices and the multitud-
inous devotions that the piety or superstition of eighteen
centuries has superadded to the simple religion of Jesus, and
I practiced only such of them as seemed to me reasonable.
Thus as a boy I never wore a "miraculous" medal, and as a
priest I refused to venerate or offer for veneration to the
people a supposed relic of the true cross-that is, a piece of
the actual wood on which Christ was crucified-which was,
and I suppose is yet, preserved in a reliquary and presented
for public veneration every Friday in the Bowling Green
  My morals were of the strictest kind enjoined by the
Catholic Church, and, surrounded by opportunities and
temptations to go wrong, I escaped most of the follies and
vices of youth. Profanity, drunkenness and impurity, the
three forms of sin that most often assailed my eyes and ears,
simply disgusted me, and did muchl to turn my thoughts
toward a religious life. So, at the age of eighteen I was un-
usuall well educated and well-read, deeply interested in
religion, and about as blameless in morals as a young man
can be who is not altogether too good for this world.





                     CHAPTER IL


I N my nineteenth year a feeling which had manifested itself
   several years before was intensified by a Redemptorist
"mission"-equivalent to the Protestant "revival"-given at
St. Joseph's Church, and I turned my thoughts towards the
priesthood. With a letter of recommendation from Rev. L.
Bax, then pastor of Bowling Green, I entered St. Joseph's
College, at Bardstown, Ky., in January, 1877, to prepare my-
self for the ministry.
  The usual college course, including the philosophy year,
was six years, but I was already so far advanced that I
finished it in two years and a half. I went there with very
exaggerated notions of the amount of wisdom contained in a
college, and of some other things, which time and observa-
tion corrected. For example, so exalted was my idea of the
priestly character and so widely separated was it in my mind
from mundane things, that it was with a perceptible shock I
first learned at college that digestion and its consequences
were imposed by nature on priests as on other men. Such a
state of mind may well seem to the reader impossible, but
experience has prepared me to believe in almost any state of
ignorance or innocence,-which are often synonymous terms.
(Years after, Father de Vries told me that he had known
young men in Europe who had gone through the whole theo-
logical course, including long treatises on marriage and the
sixth commandment-Protestant seventh-and were ordained
priests, without having obtained the least conception of the




married state.) My idea of the church at that time was the
theoretical one of a perfect society whose ministers dwelt in
the very shadow of Divinity, and it was a stunning surprise
to discover that two of the six priests then conducting the
college were drunkards, and that clerical life was very un-
ideally full of selfish ambitions and petty intrigues. And it
was not till some years later that I began to have something
like a clear comprehension of how thoroughly in the Holy
Roman Church the practical human element, which the peo-
ple see only darkly through a stained-glass haze, crowds into
a very narrow corner the theoretical divine element which con-
stitutes the church in the popular imagination. Rev. William
J. Dunn, for a year president of the college during my time
as a student, who had spent a good while in Rome as a rep-
resentative of Bishop McCloskey, used t tell his class in
Christian doctrine that the "dirty, lazy, pot-bellied priests
and monks who swarmed in Rome" were enough to disgust
one with the Church.
  As many of the students were preparing for the priest-
hood, the general moral tone of the college was good, but
the very discipline which prevented serious misconduct of
the kind that attracts attention, and which was substantially
the same that prevails in Catholic colleges generally, had a,
tendency to develop abnormally the smaller and meaner
traits of character and to put a premium on sneaking, slyness
and hypocrisy. The year I entered, four of the ecclesiastical
students had charge of the others as prefects of discipline,
and at least two of the four were thoroughbred sneaks and
informers; and after observation taught me that they pos-
sessed one of the main secrets of advancement in the Roman
  Having entered the college in the middle of the scholastic
year, the college rules shut me out from the competition for
premiums that year, but at the public examination at the




close of the year I was declared by my teachers the best in
my classes and received a special mention in the catalogue

   On my return to school the following September, my too
lofty religious notions received another setback, when I got
an insight for the first time into one of the most marked
peculiarities of the bishop of the diocese, one of whose
priests I was preparing to become. In 1875 he had sum-
marily transferred several of his priests against their will
from their old parishes to others. Among the number was
my old pastor, Rev. Joseph de Vries, who united with the
others in an appeal to Rome against the bishop's action.
Fathers de Vries and Chambige had been sent to plead the
cause of the priefts at Rome. In the fall of 1877 Father
deVries after a two years' absence returned to Kentucky,
and the removed priests were quietly restored to their old
places. Shortly before his return, a retreat for the priests
of the diocese was held at the college, and I was told on my
return to school that during the retreat the bishop had
announced to the assembled priests that Rome had decided
in his favor and that his future action toward the appealing
priests was left entirely to his discretion. The following
communication and comment, copied from the Western
Watchman of St. Louis by the Louisville Catholic Advocate,
which has never been contradicted, may throw some light
on that curious thing, episcopal veracity.

                [From the Western Watchman.]
                   REV. JOSEPH DE VRIES.
 We this week take great pleasure in laying before our readers a letter
 we have just received from Father de Vries, one of the immortal five
 who fought the battle of their brethren in Rome and won. To them the
entire body of the clergy of the United States owe an eternal debt of




gratitude. They have impoverished themselves, we are sorry to say, to
enrich us. Will the clergy do nothing to remunerate them We mean
next week to open a subscription in this paper for the purpose of reim-
bursing these noble clergymen. This will be the most emphatic expres-
sion Rome can receive of our gratitude, and will show the world that
we are always men, although we were not always free. We hope soon to
be able to announce that the 15,000 spent in bringing over canon law to
this country will not fall on the shoulders of five.
  We do this of our own motion, and beg pardon of Father de Vries if
we make the publication of his letter an occasion of fulfilling this tardy
act of justice. Here is the letter:
                             BOWLING GREEN, Ky., Dec. 4, 1878.
  31f1 Dcar Father Phelan: I have repeatedly been the recipient of most
interesting copies of the manly Western Watchman. I presume I owe
my sincerest thanks for this favor to your kindness. I would long ago
have ordered the Watchman sent to my address, but I was compelled to
economize to bring up arrears after my essay at rectifying episcopal
blunders at the Court of Rome. It was a costly undertaking, and
unfortunately I had never saved up money. It is true that, after my
own little means were exhausted, my companions in misery supplied
what was strictly necessary to carry on our suit. But when I returned
I found my home in a bad plight: everything seemed to be worn out and
broken up.
  I am gradually bringing things again into shape, and I may soon be
able to indulge again in the luxury of subscribing to a few deserving
publications. At any rate put my name on your list for the Watchman,
and I will after awhile forward the cash.
  I had hardly expected that Rome would have acted so soon in our
behalf. Card. Franchi told me several times that he would do some-
thing to relieve us; and Mgr. Agnozzi, the Secretary, told me again and
again that the priests of America were in a state of rebellion. I showed
to him that it could not be otherwise; that as yet it had not broken out
openly; but that they might look for that at any moment; and that the
blame must rest with themselves, because seeing the outrages to which
devoted priests were subjected, they failed to supply a remedy. "iAh"'
said he, "there are so many difficulties in the way, and' the bishops say
that the time has not come yet for a change." I replied, "Monsignor,
the difficulties are daily increasing by delay, and the opinion of thou-
sands of priests ought to have as much weight as that of a few interested
bishops; moreover we priests are entitled to rights which you are not at
liberty to disregard."




  The ball is in motion; we must not fail to give it fresh speed when it
comes our way.
  I have often desired to visit St. Louis, and if I can at all make it I
propose at an early day to invade your sanctum, and do myself the honor
of forming your personal acquaintance.
  I am, my dear Father Phelan, with the highest regard,
                         Yours truly in Domino,
                                              JOS. DE, VRIES.
  Father de Vries is disposed to underestimate the boon contained in the
Rcscript. He will find that it is everything that he could expect or
desire. He has fallen into the too general error of supposing that
bishops selecting the Judices Causarum in syaod choose them in fact.
They elect them by a fiction of canon law, but the votes that declare
their election are cast by the clergy. Father de Vries is of opinion that
Rome will now be overwhelmed with appeals mole than ever before. We
predict that we won't hear of the arbitrary and forcible removal of a
Missionary Rector in the next ten years. Why should they How can
they The first bishop that falls upon the rack of that Rescript will
never be heard of again except in partibus infidelium.
  The editor of the Watchman wvas too sanguine; -la fiction
of canon law" in the hands of unscrupulous bishops becomes
a very ugly fact. Knowing Father de Vries as I did, I have
never since had any doubt that the bishop was compelled to
restore the removed priests and had no choice but to obey.
Before taking his case to Rome Father de Vries had tried to
see the bishop, but was refused an audience. He then went
to Cincinnati, but could get no satisfaction from the arch-
bishop,-the same who afterwards failed disastrously as an
ecclesiastical banker. My own subsequent experience and
conversation with other priests only served to confirm the
impression I then received of the grace and suavity with
which a bishop can-evade the truth.
  At the end of my second year at St. Joseph's, which was
the concluding year of my classical course, I took a premium
in every class and first premium in all but one, and was sixth
in the list of twenty-six senior students mentioned in the




catalogue for good conduct (1877-8). I never tried for a
good-conduct premium at college, as former experience had
shown me that such prizes almost always went to do-noth-
ings and sleepy-heads, who by escaping attention escaped
criticism also; and the world often awards its prizes for good
conduct after the same fashion. At the annual commence-
ment I read an essay that was actually original and re-
ceived the doubtful compliment of praise from the bishop.
In that year three of the clerical professors out of six were
men who looked too kindly on the flowing bowl.

  When I returned to the college in the fall a new adminis-
tration was in charge. About a year and a half before there
appeared at St. Joseph's a bumptious young man, lately or-
dained, who had studied at Louvain and returned to America
speaking bad French, worse English, and a quality of Latin
calculated to cause a riot in the Roman settlement in Hades.
He was full of energy and ambition, admirably endowed with
self-assurance, obsequious to his superiors, malicious toward
his equals, and bullying to his inferiors. Equally prepared
and ready to teach everything from astronomy to hiero-
glyphics, not being more ignorant of one subject than of
another, he made a profound impression on the bishop, who
is said to pride himself on his consummate knowledge of
character. In the judgment of priests associated with him-
some of them, I know, men of character and ability-he did
not scruple to ingratiate himself with the ruler of the dio-
cese by "ways that are dark and tricks that are vain," which
advanced him over men in every way his superiors to the
presidency of the college. His management in three years
brought the attendance from a hundred students up to about
twenty-five. A vacancy occurring in the rectorship of the
town church during his first essay at college-wrecking, his
zeal and foresight prompted him to undertake that charge




also, and when he had to give way to another as president of
the college he gracefully clung to his rectorship, from which
the Papal rescript issued as a result of the de Vries case at
Rome made his removal difficult. With no claim but a sub-
lime presumption beautifully burnished in brass, and without
having undergone any of the missionary labors of other
priests, he had outwitted the bishop and secured safe pos-
session of one of the largest parishes in the diocese. Some
years later, in spite of his former failure, he was again made
president of the college, and this time in only two years he
smashed it finally, bringing things to such a pass by his con-
tinued violations of an agreement in force between St.
Joseph's College and another Catholic college in Kentucky
that the bishop was forced very unwillingly to close St.
Joseph's College for a period of twenty years. But this man
still maintains his ascendancy over the bishop and is pushed
to the front as the bishop's representative whenever there
is an opportunity, and is made orator of the day on great oc-
casions, although it is a very open secret that he cannot
write a foolscap page of grammatical English and his ora-
torical flights are generally without beginning, middle or
end. A story is told about him among the priests which will
throw more light on his true literary and oratorical rank
than anything I could say. He had been selected to make
the St. Patrick's Day oration at the Cathedral and had been
duly heralded in the daily papers as the coming wonder of
the diocese. Something unusually fine was expected by
those who did not know him. The day came, and when the
air-and-ear splitting rape of the English language was over
his manuscript panegyric was sent to the Courier-Journal
for publication. The story goes that Henry Watterson, after
trying to read a page or two of it, broke off with, "What in
the h- does the damned fool mean" and St. Patrick's repu-
tation escaped the publication of that panegyric. Whether




the great editor used it or not, the expression about covered
the case.
  Begging the reader's pardon for this long digression on a
barren topic, I return to the college. The philosophy class,
of which I was a member, fell into the hands of the presi-
dent, and it is safe to say that such philosophy was never
taught before nor is likely to be again. But we had a text-
book to which we turned after the professor's regular exhi-
bitions, and the class, being studious, made progress. The
president-professor displayed great talent as a spy and petty
tyrant, and in a little while earned the hearty dislike of all
the students who were not built after his own style. At the
end of the year, notwithstanding a successful rebellion of
one which I had fought against some obnoxious features of
his teaching, I was awarded first premium in seven out of ten
classes and carried off the gold medal for "general excel-
lence in philosophy," the highest honor of the college.
Which goes to show the gentle reader that not malice but a
regard for truth guided the pen when I drew our professor's
picture a while ago and gave honest expression to the unan-
imous private opinion of his associates in the priesthood.
They owe me a vote of thanks, but I will hardly get it till
we all meet where hypocrisy and servility are out of style.
  During that year, my last as a student at St. Joseph's Col-
lege, I was one of the four prefects of discipline, which was
the highest testimonial the faculty could give to my good
conduct and character (1878-9). Only two out of the five
reverend professors that year were likely at times to walk in
irregular curves.




                       CHAPTER III.

                       THE SEMINARY.

TOWARDS the end of vacation I received the following
     letter from the president of the college:
                        ST. JOSEPH'S COLLEGE,
                              BARDSTOWN, Ky., August 25, 1879.
       My Dear Friend-The Right Rev. Bishop has for many years
been very anxious to give his students an opportunity of making a two
years course of philosophy so as to prepare them well for theology and
afford them all the opportunities in his power of a thorough and com-
plete education. This desire of his could not be realized up to the pres-
ent day owing to the great want of priests. Finding it practicable now,
he most gladly avails himself of it and grants what he has not been able
to grant to his former students, although he longed to do so, a two years
course of philosophy. Now my dear friend all the others are obliged to
return and complete their course and for you the Right Rev. Bishop re-
quested me to write you and say that he would wish you to come back
also, but since you did so well last year he grants you the permission to
go to the theological Seminary in Louisville, however he says he would
much prefer you to return to St. Joseph's and take a second years phil-
osophy with your course. Hoping that you are well and enjoying your-
self and asking you to remember me kindly to your father I remain
                Your affectionate professor and President
                                             C. J. O'CONNELL.

The letter is given exactly as it was written, and is a fair
specimen of the gentleman's epistolary style. Having had a
year of his training in philosophy, I-went to the seminary.
  When I got there I introduced myself to the president,
Very Rev. George McCloskey, the bishop's brother, and




asked him what was the charge for a year's board and tui-
tion. To my great surprise, although he had been president
for at least two or three years, he could not tell. About two
weeks later, after seeing the bishop, he told me I would
have to pay 200 a year. This was-the reverse, I think, of
what is usual in such cases-considerably more than ecclesi-
astical students had to pay at the college. Luckily, I have
a sample receipt from each institution, which I here copy.
The first is from the college, the second from the seminary:
                                            SEPT. .3, 18-8.
  Received of Jno. Culleton eighty-five dollars, for board, tuition and
physician's fee for five months.       W. P. HOGARTY,
  35o.00.                                     Procurator.
                     PRESTON PARK SEMINARY,
                              LOUISVILLE, KIY., Oct. 6, 1879.
  Received from John Culleton the sum of one hundred dollars in half-
yearly payment of board and tuition at Preston Park Seminary from
Sept. 1, 1879, to February 1, 1880.  GEORGE MCCLOSKEY,
                                                Presiden t.
Before I left the seminary I discovered that another stu-
dent who was paying his way, but studying for another dio-
cese, was paying only 160 a year. The reason for this dis-
crimination by the bishop against his own students in favor
of outsiders has never been explained.
  Every year, as is usual at such institutions, there was a
"spiritual retreat" for the students. As the retreat is one of
the most powerful means by which the Roman Church influ-
ences its clergy and its religious brotherhoods and sister-
hoods-its place among the people being taken by the "mis-
sion"-the following description of the retreat given by the
Jesuit Father Lambert at the seminary from March 3d to
March 10th, 1882, which I find in an old note-book, may be
of interest




                    ORDER OF EXERCISES.
  Six o'clock, rise; 6:30, meditation; 7:00, mass, free time; 7:45, break-
fast, free time; 8:30, spiritual reading, free time; 9:30, meditation; 10:30,
free time, visit to the Blessed Sacrament, beads; 11:50, examen of con-
science; 12:00, dinner, relaxation; 2:00, visit to the Blessed Sacrament,
free time; 3:00, conference, free time; 4:45, meditation; 5:45, free time;
13:30, supper, relaxation; 7:30, examen of conscience; 7:40, points of med-
itation, visit to the Blessed Sacrament, retire.
  First day: Patron-Sacred Heart of Jesus. Reading-Kempis, book
I., chapters 20 and 25; book II., chapter 1. Do you make your daily
meditation entirely and fervently Do you recite your vocal prayers
attentively and devoutly
  Second day: Patron--Immaculate Heart of Mary. Reading-Kempis,
b. I., c. 21, 22; b. III., c. 20. Do you examine your conscience daily,
earnestly, and with sincere sorrow Do you frequent the sacrament of
penance with sincerity, humility, and fruit
  Third day: Patron-St. Joseph. Kempis, b. I., c. 23, 24. Do you re-
ceive holy communion frequently, with proper dispositions, and with
fruit Do you renew your intention during the day, raising your heart
to God
Fourth day: Patron-Our Guardian Angel. Kempis, b. I., c. 9; b. III.,
c. 10. How do you take your meals Do you avoid all avidity and self-
gratification. paying attention to the reading Do you keep recreation
in a becoming manner
Fifth day: Patron-St. Aloysius. Kempis, b. III, c. 13, 54, 56. Do
you assist at mass regularly and devoutly Do you make your spiritual
reading with attention Do you apply it to yourself 
Sixth day: Patron-Our Patron Saint. Kempis, b. II., c. 11, 12, 8; b.
III., c. 49, 59. Do you act towards your superiors with confidence and
sincerity Towards your equals with charity and cheerfulness To
wards people in the world with reserve and edification

  The whole time is to be passed in absolute silence, except
that set aside for "relaxation," and in some retreats there is
no relaxation. During the free time you do what you please
in silence. At "meditation" the points for consideration are
given out by the priest conducting the retreat, which is fol-
lowed by silent reflection on them until the time is up. The
"conference' is a sermon on "the end of man," "death,"




"judgment," "hell," "heaven. " The rest needs no explana-
  A week's retreat strictly carried out-and sometimes they
last a month-is a tremendous strain on the mind. I shall
never forget the effect of my first retreat at the seminary. I
went through all the exercises with the utmost exactness,
and was on the verge of lunacy by the time it was over.
That one experience, followed by cooler participation in sev-
eral other retreats and study of their after effects on myself
and others, thoroughly. convinced me that "spiritual re-
treats" do more harm than good. Many make a farce of the
retreat-after they become priests, and their antics in the
low comedy line during this time of solemn self-examination
would highly edify their parishioners if they could see them.
Others-as I generally did-go through it coolly as a matter
of routine, taking in the variety performance and much food
for reflection at the same time. But those who enter fully
into the spirit of the retreat come out of it in a state border-
ing on frenzy, which leaves a lasting and very harmful im-
press on weak minds. To the careless priest, given to drunk-
enness, impurity or other serious sins, the retreat is a
delusive haven of refuge a short distance ahead, arrived at
which he will "make a good confession" and turn over a new
leaf. My experience may have been limited, but I never saw
a single priest permanently reformed by a retreat. Drop in
on such a one three weeks after the retreat and you will find
him busily engaged running up a new record of the old kind,
to be wiped out at "the next retreat," which he has learned
to look upon as spiritual settling day with God. For the ha-
bitual sinner, therefore, the annual retreat is a curse instead
of a blessing; and to the habitually virtuous it can add noth-
ing but fanaticism or scrupulosity.
  During my first retreat at the seminary I made and, to better
remember them, set down in writing the following resolutions:




  1. To perform all my duties with exactness.
  2. To avoid controversies, disputes, and contentions; not to give my
opinion unless asked, no