I have just discovered this video:

More videos of this amazing seminary can be found here.

It certainly brings back memories of a very particular vision of Roman Catholicism with the old liturgy. The buildings are in better condition than when I was there (1990-1992) and the new chapel was then a wine-making workshop. The eighteenth-century chapel, hardly larger than my own, is still there and used for private masses. The video seems to be a special day when a choir was invited to sing, and the seminarians turned out in their best finery. We didn’t wear blue when I was there and we weren’t called Monsieur le Chanoine. The superiors and priests on the teaching staff have got older as we all have. It creates strange feelings!

I used to feel quite bitter about how things turned out for me. I just realise that I should never have gone there. I made the mistake, not they. They did their job and continue to do so. Roman Catholicism is something very strange to an Anglican, even one who “went over” in the best of faith. It  is closer to our tradition and sensitivity than Orthodoxy, but is difficult, in its “restored” post-Tridentine version, to assimilate. There is always the authoritarian political model in the background, however much Amaretto and champagne we drank on the high days! We see some images of the Roman rite in its baroque glory. My own tastes have changed back to Anglican aesthetics and medieval liturgical rites, which more or less accounts for why I opted for Sarum.

For me it was all a very long time ago and emotions fade. I am as alienated emotionally as intellectually. Gricigliano made a big impression on me. I was not “their type” and my spirituality lay elsewhere. Readers can interpret this as they wish. I found my vocation in the Anglican Catholic Church, but the scars are still sensitive. It seemed like a dream that came and went in my life.

Pray for those good men, as they seem to be producing priests with culture and aesthetic sensitivity. They have stayed the course and are still there, enjoying the favours of Rome and the Archdiocese of Florence. They seem to have plenty of money, and above all plenty of panache.

It looks impressive, but I lived the daily reality – the good and the bad. I also remember the names of many those from the early days who are no longer with the Institute, sloughed off as they were no longer needed. The subject is best left in silence and prayer.

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3 Responses to Gricigliano

  1. The Rad Trad says:

    By “authoritarian political model” do you mean the Institute’s relations with the [remaining] nobility and sympathy for right wing European politics or do you mean the way the Institute and its seminary are way?

  2. Christopher Lewis says:

    I, too, was with the Institute for a time. I have since left – on my own volition – and am discerning my vocation further.

    I entirely understand what you mean by this: “It looks impressive, but I lived the daily reality – the good and the bad.” Images are seductive, but do not always speak true for the individual.

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