Skip to comments.Coordinator of U.S. seminary visitations expects report this fall
Posted on 05/30/2006 9:53:30 PM PDT by siunevada
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (CNS) -- Archbishop Edwin F. O'Brien of the U.S. Archdiocese for the Military Services said May 26 that the Vatican's visitations to U.S. seminaries and houses of formation are nearly complete, and he hopes the resulting reports will be released this fall.
"Bottom line, I think this visitation was most successful," Archbishop O'Brien said in a talk to the 2006 Catholic Media Convocation in Nashville. A former head of two seminaries, he was coordinator of the visitations for the Vatican's Congregation for Catholic Education, which oversees seminary formation.
The objectives of the visitations, which were sparked by the sexual abuse crisis that hit the U.S. church in 2002, were to examine the criteria for admission of candidates and various aspects of priestly formation, including the intellectual formation of seminarians in the field of moral theology and the programs of human and spiritual formation aimed at ensuring they can faithfully live chaste, celibate lives.
"The hype to begin with led some to believe this was going to be a crusade ... to weed out immorality," Archbishop O'Brien said. "That's not what it was about."
Instead, he said, the objective of the visitations was to determine if seminarians were being prepared properly to live a chaste and celibate life.
"I think the phobias that went around quickly dissipated" as the visits continued, he said.
He said one institution, which he did not name, had a negative reaction to its visitation, but "by and large there was great welcoming."
The congregation appointed 117 bishops and seminary personnel as visitors. They traveled in small teams to 156 diocesan and religious seminaries and houses of formation.
During the visits, the teams interviewed seminarians, faculty, staff and members of the board of directors, Archbishop O'Brien said. He said there were 10 areas of concentration, including the concept of the priesthood, governance of the seminary, admission policies, academic formation, human formation, pastoral formation and service of the seminary to the newly ordained.
In all there were 56 questions, six of which had to be answered, Archbishop O'Brien said. These had to do with whether psychological testing is employed in admissions procedures; if the interviewee had concerns about the moral life of the seminary; whether there was evidence of homosexuality in the seminary; whether there was adequate formation to enable seminarians to live a life of celibacy and chastity; whether students were being prepared to respond to the moral relativism they will face in the society; and whether the seminary checked regularly for impediments to ordination.
Unlike seminary visitations conducted in the 1980s, this time there were no exit interviews conducted at the end of the weeklong visits to allow seminary staff to learn the impressions of the visitors. "Rome was opposed, and I think for good reason," Archbishop O'Brien said.
Some of the impressions left in the exit interviews during the visitations in the 1980s did not match the final conclusions reached after the education congregation reviewed the results of the visits, he explained, and Vatican officials wanted to avoid repeating that situation.
When the congregation completes its review of the visitation reports, he said, it will issue an overall report listing the strengths and concerns about U.S. seminaries and an individual report for each seminary.
"Each seminary will get its own report. The question is will it be made public?" Archbishop O'Brien said.
"I think each report should be made public to the appropriate constituencies," he added. He said it would be difficult to keep the results confidential.
Every bishop considering sending a seminarian to a seminary is sure to ask about the results of the review, he said, and seminary rectors will likely want to compare the results for their institutions.
He said the overall report won't name specific seminaries or rank them in terms of compliance with the congregation's objectives.
The visitors have said they came away from the visits "deeply impressed by what is going on at the seminaries," Archbishop O'Brien said.
"Are there going to be situations that will have to be addressed? Undoubtedly," he added.
"I hope there will be consequences for all concerned," he said. "I just don't know what means Rome will use to make sure seminaries are in compliance."
Let the speculation begin! How about St. John's in L.A.?
He said one institution, which he did not name, had a negative reaction to its visitation
Let the speculation begin! How about St. John's in L.A.?
I remember at the time St. Mary of the Lake in Mundelein, IL was protesting that the inspectors were asking all sorts of "inappropriate questions"! I'd have to refer to my Michael Rose reference test to see if that happened to be the "Pink Palace" or some other sobriquet...
"I'd have to refer to my Michael Rose reference test to see if that happened to be the "Pink Palace" or some other sobriquet..."
Somewhere else got the "Pink Palace".
Thanks for straightening me out on that one. At least I got the "St. Mary's" part right!
Mundelein is a pretty good seminary at this time. Cardinal George has done a lot to clean it out and I've been impressed by the seminarians and instructors I've met.
"Mundelein is a pretty good seminary at this time. Cardinal George has done a lot to clean it out and I've been impressed by the seminarians and instructors I've met."
That's interesting. Do you happen to know what their specific complaints were regarding the recent inspections? I'm curious to know also what the seminary was like under the direction of Gerry Kicanis? Was that a low point or did it hit bottom after his administration? He's now the Bishop of Tucson and is up to his neck in diocese bankruptcy issues!
EVIDENCE GROWS OF DIRECT DISOBEDIENCE TO VATICAN IN MAJOR AMERICAN SEMINARIES
Pope to Church: Risky Seminarians Must Go
Priests Down, Seminarians Up
U.S. Priests and seminarians survey: more vocations in orthodox dioceses
Vatican Announces Surge in Seminaries during JPII Pontificate
Seminary Reform Needed in Wake of Sex Abuse Study ["the crisis in the Church is ... homosexuality"]
Homosexuals in seminaries? The latest.....
Priests 'In Orgy' at Seminary
Bishop urges gay ban in clergy; presses for overhaul in screening priests
A New Breed of Priest
AUSTRIAN SEMINARY SHUT DOWN FOR PROBE
Seminarians Show Support For Celibacy
556 Reasons for Hope [Seminarians Support Celibacy]
No Shortage of Vocations From Conservative Parishes
Oakland seminary housing sex offender priests
Phoenix bishop to helm Priestly Formation Committee [of USCCB]
Vatican Firms up Plans for U.S. Seminary Visitation in 2005
SIBLING VOCATIONS - Early calls led two sisters to same religious order
On the admission of homosexuals to seminaries
Catholic priests demand the right to marry
New Start For Austrian Seminary
Disciples of Pope John Paul (Faculty of Gregorian University Gripe About Piety of New Seminarians)
New Priests in U.S.: Older, and More >From Abroad (Survey Tracks Trends Since 1998)
U.S. seminarians welcome Pope Benedict XVI
Vatican review of seminaries to raise issue of gay priests
Some Decry Retirement Despite Priest Shortage
The Priesthood Ordination Class of 2005 People would be surprised to know that I
(Catholic) Seminarians Double In 25 Years
Pope's death inspires would-be priests
Changes Add Up for Priesthood
Irish Bishops Apologize to Seminary Whistle-Blower
SIGNAL CALLING - UB quarterback foregoes family and career to train for priesthood in Rome
Pop Culture Heros Help Recruit Priests
Small Bible-belt (Catholic) diocese sees increase in seminarians
Dashing young priests turn heads at Youth Day
Vatican to Start U.S. Seminary Evaluations
Apostolic Seminary Visitation To Begin This Fall
U.S. Bishops to Begin Inspecting Seminaries
Prelate Says Gays Shouldn't Be Ordained
American overseeing Vatican evaluation of US seminaries says gays should not be ordained
Vatican to Check U.S. Seminaries on Gay Presence
POPE APPROVES BARRING GAY SEMINARIANS
Pope bans homosexuals from ordination as priests
Questions Arise Over Seminary Inspections
New Vatican Rule Said to Bar Gays as New Priests
New Vatican Rule Said to Bar Gays as New Priests (ABOUT TIME)
VATICAN: HOMOSEXUALS ARE NOT TO BE ORDAINED AS CATHOLIC PRIESTS
Homosexuals in the seminary; A Global Church in a Globalized World
Gay Men Ponder Impact of (Anti-Gay Clergy)Proposal by Vatican(Barf Alert)
Aquinas Seminary is First for Scrutiny
Vatican Begins Inspections At St. Louis Seminary (Rector: No homosexuality-pedophilia link)
The Sins of the Seminaries
Notre Dame Experts React to Potential Seminary Rules
Seminary Reviews Not Just About Homosexuality, Says Prelate
Jesuit Official Rips Expected Ban on Gays
Jesuit Official Rips Expected Ban on Gays
Jesuit official protesting expected Vatican ban on gay priests
A Catholic Moment of Truth
Gay Catholics Angry Over Seminary Searches
New Rules Affirm Pope Benedict's Stance Against Gays
New Report on Vatican Gay Priests Document Said to be Gay Lobby Rumor Mill
Gay men can be priests if celibate
Gay men can be Catholic priests if celibate-paper
No ban on gays expected in Vatican document; will advise 'prudential judgement'
African Cardinal Views the Vocation Shortage - With Full Seminaries, Ghana Shares Its Wealth
Keep the Ban
Today's seminarians: The Vatican survey
Lincoln diocese boasts highest number of priests to Catholics
Vatican Document on homosexuals in seminaries will be published tomorrow
Married Priests Arent the Answer (a seminarian states his view)
Vatican document restricts gays in priesthood: paper
Barring gays from priesthood not discrimination, say Italian bishops
Roman Women are Converts to Convents
Heads Up!! Zero Hour is 9am on December 29
Why I Thank God I Couldnt Be A Priest
A look inside the Denver seminaries
Ordination Challenges: Out of the Seminary, Into the Fire
Vatican teams checking seminary effectiveness (in all, 229 US seminaries to be reviewed)
Seminaries Are Overflowing in Socialist Vietnam
Seminaries Full in Southern India (despite new anti-conversion law)
Ordination Class of 2006 - New Catholic Priests include twins, converts and some surprises
Twin ordinands, youngest of 13, credit parents for priestly vocations
Eleven new priests for Denver, largest ordination class in 40 years
Religious vocations can come from anyplace
Coordinator of U.S. seminary visitations expects report this fall
A priest in our diocese once confided in me that upon graduating from St. John's Seminary in Camarillo, CA, he actually removed his shoes and left them behind on the seminary grounds.
This better not be a whitewash. I know one of the apostolic visitors, a very solid priest, and he was underimpressed by at least one of the three seminaries he visited. But he's just one guy on a committee. Reports with visitors' notes are of interest to any concerned Catholic. I tend to favor publishing them.