Seminary training -2
NEEDLESS to say, endless discussion rages around the whole subject of seminaries. And so it should. The future of the Church depends on them.
There are those who suggest that seminaries as we know them should cease to exist that they have fulfilled their purpose. Now, the State provides education for everyone.
Universities, they argue, can provide the higher education which clergy need . . . the life of a seminary is out of date . generally set in the quiet countryside, seminary spirituality is quite out of date and out of touch with the realities of the priesthood today.
There are others who say that seminaries are more important than ever, amid all the distractions of today. University theology is not Catholic theology. Universities cannot produce Catholic priests.
Experiments are going on throughout the Catholic world. Really, it's too early yet for judgment. All the British seminaries are developing links with local universities. But they
are not abandoning their identities as seminaries.
For example, Ushaw has become a Hall of Residence of Durham University. Several Ushaw students are already reading theology at Durham. Yet they remain seminarists of Ushaw, living in the seminary with all the advantages of its liturgical and community life.
In the South, it is proposed to move the seminary at Ware into London so that the students will be able to study at Heythrop College. The Jesuit College of Hcythrop has now moved to Cavendish Square, London, and is recognised by London University as part of its faculty of theology.
The students, while being taught in a Catholic faculty of theology, will read for degrees or diplomas of London University. They, too, will have all the advantages of seminary life and formation.
Other seminaries have university extension lectures. Some exchange lecturers with the local university, and the experience has been welcomed on both sides. Seminaries not only have much to learn from universities they have much to give.