Browse By

Heresy College


True story: one day when I was at Boston College, I left a classroom with my head spinning. A classmate joined me in the washroom and said something along the lines of “You know, I just cannot believe all the heresy the profs teach and how many of the students just repeat it.”

I was floored and delighted because finally someone else had said it. Someone had seen it, and someone was talking to me about it. I was not alone!

I replied something like, “I know. And what really blows my mind is how so many people here just completely and openly ignore Saint Paul about sexuality. I mean, I understand that Catholics have a hard time staying chaste, but we are Catholic THEOLOGY students!”

And my classmate looked incredibly shifty, and too late I remembered she had a boyfriend back home, and she began to murmur something about “committed relationships” and my heart sank to my toes.

As far as I know, my priest-professors were all sexually chaste men, and I know nothing to their discredit in that regard–except that one by his teaching encouraged unchastity in others. However, many of the unmarried students were quite open about their sex lives, which I discovered when interviewed for a student house owned by a pious sodality and rented to BC theology students for a generously low rent.

The battle to stay chaste is a very difficult one, and I imagine the vast majority of us lose a lot of battles, if only minor skirmishes with fantasy or whatever. I understand how easily longing for love and physical connection, plus plain old lust, clouds the intellect. However, just throwing down one’s arms and allowing oneself to be taken prisoner by sex and then rejoicing in the pleasures of the prison camp is not okay. Quite beyond the damage to oneself, it demoralizes one’s former battle buddies. And to start writing propaganda for the camp commander is simply atrocious behaviour–especially in a theologian.

My hypothesis about 21st century heresy in the United States of America is that it is somehow rooted in sexual unchastity – either in oneself or in people one loves. I may go farther and suggest that it may have something to do with all kinds of physical license: too much eating, too much booze, too much sleep, too much watching of sports on television.

Anyway, here is my memoir of life at BC in Catholic World Report.


42 thoughts on “Heresy College”

  1. Kithri says:

    You are spot on about needing to check the funding for a study and the affiliations of the researchers. Lots of awful, skewed, and frequently quite shoddy “research” out there.

    However, my grandparents (mostly born just prior to or after the turn of the 20th century) probably ate food with a far lesser pesticide burden. Don’t know that for a fact, though. Don’t have time right now to check into what farming practices were like then (studying for a board examination). Maybe after that. Very interested in this topic.

  2. Brian McFadden says:

    our priest mentions it. often.

  3. Cannonkat says:

    On the laity level, what y’all say is true. But that’s always been a danger – sloth, gluttony, & lust is ubiquitous. But THE Great Apostasy, the very serious modernism of which St Pius X called the “heresy of all heresies” got rolling at Tubingen University circa the post Napoleonic era (@ 1820) and it began, unsurprisingly, with the question, “Did God really say?” That is to say, THE Great Apostasy spread from said University through their so-called “Scripture scholars” adopting the so-called “Higher or “Scientific” Criticism,” the Wellhausen Hypothesis that prophecy and miracles were not “scientific” and that therefore they didn’t really happen – that all the prophecies in God’s Word were written after the fact. It was so devilishly adopted and made so plausible that it quickly overtook the European academy, crossed the Channel and ran smack dab into Messrs Keble, Pusey & Newman. They knew the diabolic nature of it straight-way and its global implications and that once adopted, as St Pius X said 80 years later, ALL heresy would come rushing behind it, amalgamated with it, and would infect, as it was already infecting Cambridge and Oxford like a disease, so that once it reached plurality in any academy, the mock tone of disrespect to God would permanently inhabit said academy. And this is exactly what happened. They next watched it sail the Atlantic and infect and conquer Harvard, Yale and Princeton. Even though Pusey, Hebrew Scholar that he was, in his landmark study of Daniel revealed this MODERNISM to be a God-mocking and serpentine pack of lies, nonetheless scholars, through the weakness of the flesh, could not do as the saintly Pusey had done and instead became minions of the heresy. It conquered first all the oldest and most venerable Protestant churches, first those of Zurich, then Geneva, and soon the Lutheran and Anglican church seminaries all came tumbling down to the satanic cancer, for they reasoned, hadn’t the mighty Welhausen espoused it, hadn’t the “great Schleiermacher,” Braun, FD Maurice, Bishop Gore, and “anybody who was anybody?” “Professing themselves as wise, they became fools,” said St Paul. All of the western world and all its academies, it appeared, except for isolated heroes fighting a rear-guard battle, like Dr Gresham Machen at Princeton, B.B. Warfield & Hodge, and the mighty Karl Barth, all isolated individual scholars fought it. The Popes saw it coming to the “itching” Catholic professors. They condemned it. St Pius X blessed the Pontifical Biblical Institute to fight it, with the sad irony that it has by now become one of the worst places of modernism on earth! – infecting unsuspecting priests and nuns. Soon you had Anglicans like “Rev” John A. Robinson in 1961 announced to the world, to the applause of the giddy world media, that “God is dead.” THAT is The Great Apostasy, and it slithers and slides on and on until by now the homosexuality activists became its beneficiaries. Greater and greater infection. “I will send a Great Delusion upon the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.” Modernism. Both as a philosophical and theological poisonous doctrine, a lie, a whole set of a thousand lies about God’s Word, all put in place, ruining the training of Catholic priests, causing them to doubt, to quit, to bale out. Only certain scholars, like Barth as an example, could defeat it. The priests had to take an oath against it, but now only a very few seminaries are safe, places run by some isolated orthodox Orders and supported by a few rare Bishops like Lefebvre, Burke & Chaput backing a few places that are established singularly for the purpose of fighting this Great Apostasy without, like the PBI, becoming themselves its victim. It was well over 150 years ago, preaching at St Mary the Virgin, in the spiritual heat of the Oxford movement so well chronicled by the Dean of St Paul’s, RW Church, that Newman preached the truth no more nor less about what the Holy Scriptures predicted in Thessalonians, St Paul’s first writing – that out of this “great Falling Away (Apostasy)” will Antichrist come, almost as if he would be one like Judas who might have fought for God had not he fallen with it and agreed with everything that modernism says. And then the End. Times up, with man!

  4. Martha says:

    Let’s just say that the ones in my area use every loophole they can, and I’ve been told there are plenty. Getting certified is the hard part (just don’t use pesticides, etc for a few years), then once certification is done, do whatever until your next review.

    I’m sure there are reputable people out there, but my guess is they’re the minority. If you can find a local organic source in which the growers really believe in what they’re doing, go for it, but don’t assume the organic label is a foolproof assurance.

    I think, when it comes to money, people often let moral business practices slide.

  5. Martha says:

    That’s obviously not what Barbara is getting at. Ever watched Chopped? I’m thinking along those lines. I still watch and enjoy it (and it’s a game, of course), but if you’re really going to be that picky about food, it’s clearly disordered.

    ‘The cilantro is lost on me here, and the lamb is not as juicy as it should be. Such a crime, cooking those black truffles…this is completely inedible…’


  6. Kithri says:

    Do most organic farmers lie, then? Just asking, for my own welfare.

  7. Kithri says:

    Jude, I don’t have the time to give the reply that I would like. The short answer is: It’s controversial. We know that certain chemicals used in pesticides now show up in the blood of newborn babies. Some researchers think that there are links between pesticides and several different disease entities, including cancer, neurological disease, and premature birth. Other scientists don’t refute that we have more pesticides in our bodies these days, but don’t find any links to disease unless there is massive exposure. As far as GMO food is concerned, I don’t think anyone really knows the effects that will have on us or on our environment long term.

    I would not be willing to state that the only safe food is non-GMO or organic. I would be willing to state that organic or non-GMO food is probably safer than the alternative, depending on the food. (Apples, for example. They are heavily treated with pesticides.)

    I will also state that I probably shouldn’t have said “non-poisoned” above, it was too strong and too colloquial. I think I was responding emotionally to the idea that eating organic food is somehow selfish. (I had to think about that, actually. Is it selfish to take care of our bodies? Well, only if done in excess, was my conclusion.)

    Google Scholar will give you hundreds of research articles on the topic, many of them available for free (otherwise, unless you have institutional access, expect to pay around $30 per article). Here’s just one example: Mostafalou, S., & Abdollahi, M. (2013). Pesticides and human chronic diseases: evidences, mechanisms, and perspectives. Toxicology and applied pharmacology, 268(2), 157-177.

  8. Brother André Marie, M.I.C.M. says:

    Thanks for the post. According to Saint Thomas and other REAL theologians (in contrast to your BC profs), sexual sins lead to spiritual blindness. Put that together with pervert “theologians” and what do you get?

    What we see.

  9. MSApis says:

    Care for your souls more than your bodies. Yes! A label that says ‘organic’ means bupkis. Yes! But – being knowledgeable about the food you eat is being obsessive. No!

    A very good book related to this topic is “The Church and farming” by Fr Denis Fahey, written in 1953. He was no fool.

  10. MSApis says:

    You sound a bit like “Let them eat bread!” The reason there were no fat people in Stalin’s gulags isn’t because the diet was largely bread (which could be disputed anyway, because according to certain accounts it was largely a thin gruel), but because there was so little to eat, full stop. That, plus the amount of excruciating physical labour in the most dreadful of circumstances. The people
    were not only not fat, they were emaciated to the point of expiring – and huge numbers did expire.

  11. Guest says:

    No it’s not nonsense. I decided to try Paleo and it actually works. I don’t believe in evolution but I do believe that carbs and sugar are cheap sources of energy that keeps your body from burning fat stores. If you see the food pyramid at the bottom it’s mostly carbs. I’ve done reading on this and the entire claim that high-fat foods = evil is wrong. Since most people live sedentary lives they will become fat on this approved diet.

  12. Guest says:

    You don’t believe that all these Malthusians will try to make GMOs sterilize people? I don’t know what to say. The evidence is there that GMOs are harmful and we also know many people in high places who want drastic reduction in human population. I don’t eat only non-GMO but reason tells me it’s good to avoid it when possible. I’ve read people who believe genetically modifying food is bad are “hippies” or “anti-science”. That’s a retarded way of arguing your case, but unfortunately it works.

  13. Barbara says:

    Yeah. I’d sure like to read Ann Barnhardt on gluttony. We’d get a kick in the pants.

  14. Barbara says:

    Way doggies! I guess I struck a nerve with the food thing. Kinda shows how attached we are to food, and comfort in general.

    I’m in total agreement that our modern diet which is grain heavy is killing us. Add sugar and cheap canola oil and you make them sick, then you kill them. I personally eat mostly meat, with very, very little else because that’s what I know I thrive on – however, meat is increasingly costly so there is a need to truly economize in other areas to make up for it. Do we use the best shampoo, the body wash we love, the ‘gentle on the hands’ dish soap? There are lots of areas to look at when we think about ‘gluttony’ and ‘comfort.’

    That said, think of the Saints who spoke about food. From St. Benedict who lived on bread, nice dry crusts, thrown over a wall by a pal. Or The Cure of Ars who ate mouldy potatoes and drank water with a splash of milk in it. They are one side of the story. Next comes that old sweetie St. Francis de Sales. He is so mild and generous that he advises eating what is put in front of you! O the good old days when one had servants and cooks to think about all this stuff! But St. Francis does say that you can eat foods that agree with you – and gives permission to eliminate all ” windy foods.”

    One man’s gluttony is another man’s fast, I guess.

  15. Barbara says:

    Yeah, that’s right, you just keep on thinking that.

  16. Barbara says:

    It’s one thing to work towards a safe food supply, but research shows that the regular food sold in grocery stores is JUST FINE. Read that beef will kill you? Study paid for by the soy council. Read that butter will kill you? Paid for by the margarine council. Read that pasta is the way to go and that meat is poison, see above, the soy, grain, corn industry councils.
    My motto? Eat what your great-grandparents ate. Have the same amount of ‘stuff’ as they had, and spend your time doing what they did. You’ll be healthy, wealthy and won’t need a workout at the gym – ever.

  17. Barbara says:

    Yeah, thou shalt not covet thy neighbours goods.

  18. Hilary White says:

    It’s the saddest part, I think, how trite and childish everything, even heresy, has become.

  19. Jude says:

    Wait a minute. As a family nurse practitioner, you actually, seriously think that the non-organic or GMO food supply is poisoned? As in POISON. And you have real scientific evidence to back this up? You are willing to state here that the only safe food is non-GMO or organic? Be clear.

  20. Guest says:

    Nonsense. Calories determine fatness which is why there were no fat people in Stalin’s gulags where the diet was largely bread. Keto is just excuses for fat people who don’t want to face the mortal sin of gluttony.

  21. Martha says:

    Oh, it’s sickening. If you ever browse through travel or decorating magazines, you see just how shallow and selfish our culture has become. I think it makes sense on some level though- people have lost religion, and therefore have a sense of loss they can’t put their finger on. Trying to perfect earthly things is a panacea of sorts.

  22. Martha says:

    I see what you’re saying, but agree with Barbara. Take care where you can, that’s just common sense, but don’t obsess. She’s referring to the people who freak out about it, and refuse to eat something if it’s GMO, non certified, whatever. Being in the farming industry, I can assure you that most of the time, a label that says ‘organic’ means bupkis.

    Care for your souls more than your bodies is the main point. Being an organic-only hippy purist is being a glutton.

  23. Martha says:

    Funny, because I don’t watch much, but I do watch Chopped with my kids sometimes. My husband, a very manly farmer type who eats the gristle as well as the steak, can’t stand it, and will leave the room if we’re watching. He’ll mutter something about ‘pansies,’ and I think what you said sums it up, Barbara. Something wrong there. Gluttony is definitely one of the forgotten sins.

  24. dymphna says:

    So knowing how to cut up a chicken is gluttony? Frank Duff was a good man but I’ll bet he was no fun at parties. What’s plain food anyway? Cold gruel or moldy bread and water?

  25. St. Benedict's Thistle says:

    It is one of my all-time favorite films. Every time I watch it I get some new insight.

  26. Chris Whittle says:

    Don’t bother spending $45,000 a year in tuition to send your kid to Boston College. The institution is all about sports and big money.

  27. michael ortiz says:

    Yes, gluttony can lead to lust; but Aquinas says gluttony rarely reaches to mortal sin, most varieties are venial. As well, food lovingly prepared, however humble, can be delicious as well as adequate. As well, fine food and drink are excellent ways to turn the duty of eating into dining, into a celebration of a feast, into a hint of the unending feast of truth that is heaven. Finally, I recommend, if you have not seen it, Babette’s Feast, a film about just this point I am trying to make.

  28. antigon says:

    GKC agrees: ‘The next great heresy is going to be simply an attack on morality; and especially on sexual morality. And it is coming, not from a few Socialists surviving from the Fabian Society, but from the living exultant energy of the rich resolved to enjoy themselves at last, with neither Popery nor Puritanism nor Socialism to hold them back. …. The roots of the new heresy, God knows, are as deep as nature itself, whose flower is the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eye and the pride of life. I say that the man who cannot see this cannot see the signs of the times; cannot see even the sky-signs in the street that are the new sort of signs in heaven. The madness of tomorrow is not in Moscow but Manhattan.’

  29. Guest says:

    I’m sorry, but do you want to let people who want to eliminate 90% of the world’s population have the power to genetically modify your food? To call this gluttony is just like Bergoglio yammering on about the sin of gossip to keep people from exposing his heresies. Also fat people are blamed for being gluttons when it is carbs and sugars that makes your body store fat. The food pyramid is all wrong, and the official people are giving us the wrong advice on what is healthy eating. By changing what they eat people can take care of their bodies. Or are we not supposed to not care about our bodies at all? Then why does St Thomas call it gluttony when your eating damages your health? The standard diet is designed to do just that, which is why animals are fed lots of grains.

  30. Jack Lee says:

    Morality is mostly gone. It’s going to take a massive economic crash and piles of dead bodies before people realize that morality is a cornerstone of a strong stable society.

  31. @FMShyanguya says:

    Penny Catechism Q. 348. Which are the enemies we must fight against all the days of our life?
    A. The enemies which we must fight against all the days of our life are the devil, the world, and the flesh.

  32. Aloysius Gonzaga says:

    …add to “United States” almost any country in the liberal west, Canada, etc. Just go and see how hard it is to find Catholics, at any level, who prefer God over COMFORT. There might be some in a Carthusian monastery somewhere. Very hard to find even among our clergy. It is part of a larger problem, namely, the total loss of any practice of ASCETICISM at all levels of the Church today (that would make for a very useful op-ed, right?).

  33. Ab illo bene dicáris says:

    BC was a feeder school for my college’s theology department. I know what a hive of villainy that place is through its fruits so to speak.

  34. Kithri says:

    Would have to respectfully disagree about non-GMO and some organic foods. As a family nurse practitioner, I think that eating non-poisoned food is cheap medicine and a good thing to do to stay healthy, as long as one isn’t spending money one doesn’t have. And eating right or “dieting” for some people can help prevent diabetes and heart disease. I don’t think following one’s health care practitioner’s prescription, in this case, to be sinful.

  35. Jude says:

    Hey, I’m so happy to see someone else say they noticed this about the food channel. One chef said that after he did some work on there he realized that what they were doing was probably hurting Americans, in that it was convincing them that if they weren’t going all out for every meal (only the best ingredients, only the best equipment, etc…) then they weren’t doing enough. The inability to rise to that level was leading people to give up and order take out while they watched “the real cooks” on television. The dignity of just putting food on the table for one’s family was being lost.
    We have been without television for a few years now. Recently I was at a doctor’s office where they had HGTV on. I don’t know that it had struck me before how it was sort of doing the same thing as the food channel. It was pushing the idea that you have to have the perfect house, the perfect room color, the perfect furniture in order to be happy.

  36. PompousMaximus says:

    ‘The three most common forms of desire have their origin in the passion of self-love. These three forms are gluttony, self-esteem and avarice. All other impassioned thoughts follow in their wake, though they do not all follow each of them.’

    ‘The thought of unchastity follows that of gluttony; of pride, that of self-esteem. The others all follow the three most common forms.’

    St. Thalassios the Libyan

  37. Lynne says:

    Solange Hertz (RIP) wrote a very interesting book called “Revisiting Sin” and goes into great detail about gluttony. I’m overweight so I am interested in learning about this sin. No priest ever mentions it and many people tend to gloss over it. She goes into great detail as to why it’s a sin, along the lines of what Barbara wrote.

  38. Steven Cornett says:




  39. GW says:

    I forgot where I read it. Someone pointed out that the great heresies of the past may well have been posed by sincere but wrong individuals. They employed arguments to support their point of view. Today, our heretics are motivated by, “I want to fornicate and the Church needs to change her rules to make it OK.”

  40. Two2trees says:

    Your hypothesis is indeed very seductive (wrong word in the context, perhaps, but it means what I intend nonetheless. )

    I think that the “right” to be fulfilled & happy, in so many different ways, is a huge part of the puzzle. And perhaps somewhere behind that lurks Luther: “what I think must be correct.”

    So maybe it goes:
    Whatever I think;
    Whatever I want;
    Whatever I feel.

  41. Barbara says:

    So right about the other lusts we see indulged all around us. I used to watch TV, and sort of prided myself that I only watched the Cooking Channel. (!!!) How bad can that be, I lied to myself?

    If now I occasionally catch a glimpse of one of those shows I see the disgusting gluttony. St. Thomas (of happy memory) divides gluttony into several parts: delicacy is one. Not to point fingers but the whole non GMO movement, the ‘organic’ movement, the ‘diet’ movement are all directly sinful when filtered through the ‘delicacy’ part of St. Thomas. And yeah, I get the ‘intent’ thing, but wilful stupidity is still part of this whole mess. Frank Duff (of Legion of Mary fame) in his tract called “Can We Be Saints,” says we should eat enough plain food to be able to work and pray – that’s it.

    So yes, lusts of all kinds dull the mind, especially gluttony. There is a reason that fasting is such a feature of a holy life.

  42. Guest says:

    Sin indeed clouds the intellect.

Comments are closed.