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Michigan's oldest seminary — and the only seminary in the United States founded to serve Polish nationals — is closing after 137 years. Church Militant's Kristine Christlieb reveals information about the closing that seminary trustees will not.
Officials at Ss. Cyril and Methodius Seminary in Orchard Lake, Michigan, say declining enrollment and changing demographics are why they're closing the school at the end of the 2021–22 academic year.
They fail to mention, however, the wave of recent scandals that have swept over the campus.
Based on Church Militant's reporting in March on the seminary and its controversial chancellor Mirosław Król, the closure comes as no surprise.
In late 2020 and early 2021, Król was named in at least two lawsuits filed within 90 days of each other.
The seminary has a long history of deviant teaching and sex abuse.
An anonymous seminarian: "It was late, but I was a seminarian and I had been summoned by the priest, so I came to see him. He noted that I must be lonely and told me I was handsome. He then asked to kiss me."
Young Polish seminarians speaking little English arrived in the United States and were preyed upon.
Fr. Ryszard Biernat, diocese of Buffalo: "I knew no English when I came. None."
Wieslaw Walawender, former seminarian: "None of us had any money for anything. I mean, I came to the United States with, like, $93.50."
Given the faculty's treatment of seminarians, enrollment inevitably would be affected.
Fr. Biernat: "My understanding is there's a high number of predators in the seminaries because of the prey being so vulnerable. You don't have [a] voice, and you can be dismissed for no reason whatsoever."
Sources tell Church Militant one of the chief reasons Król was installed as chancellor was his skill as a fundraiser and his ties to the powerful Polish cardinal Stanisław Dziwisz, who is embroiled in his own scandals.
A recent visit shows the seminary's physical plant in disrepair and decay.
Yet sources tell Church Militant Król spent lavishly on entertaining and on the salaries of his favorites.
The spotlight on sex abuse scandals in the Catholic Church has shifted its focus from boys to now include abuse of vulnerable seminarians. But this later abuse has always been there, going on behind the scenes at places like Ss. Cyril and Methodius.
Archbishop Allen Vigneron and Aux. Bp. Robert Fisher of the archdiocese of Detroit serve on the Seminary's Board of Trustees.