The value and disappearance of
I have often wondered about the reasons for the
closure, elimination, of minor (junior) seminaries. To what extent was
this an inevitable consequence of inherent weaknesses in the underlying
principles, and/or operation, of minor seminaries in the middle of the
20th century? It is instructive to examine the roots and evolution of
minor seminaries: their formation, their operation and, latterly, their
A response from Jim Connolly
Further to the first article in the new OBSERVATIONS
section, is it not significant that in the USA the two or three senior
seminaries that are full and thriving belong to the priestly societies (in
union with the Catholic Church) who espouse both the pre-Vatican 2 Latin
Mass and seminary training ,where the seminarians wear the black cassock and
clerical collar from the start of their training through to ordination (six
to seven years)?
A further response from
I agree with you completely.
For some time, I (and others) have been concerned about the shift in
orientation of recent seminarians and, hence, the newer generation of
priests and hierarchy. In particular, I worry about their ability to
provide the spiritual and pastoral support required by the faithful in
our increasingly challenging world. Fortunately, the Holy Spirit
continues to work in mysterious, unexpected and challenging ways?s
recently manifested in the person of Pope Francis.
My extensive experience in mentoring university students has led me to believe that most of my Masters students (in Public Health) are motivated by deeply held values that are in complete harmony with values traditionally underlying our religious societies, especially our missionary organizations (e.g., social justice; individual empowerment; community responsibility; physical, mental, social and spiritual health; environmental stewardship). A large proportion of our students (at the University of Toronto) want to work overseas; many want to work in Africa. Students have suggested that this international and altruistic orientation is understandable: young people have been brought up to be concerned about global issues?font color="#FF0000">?hink globally; act locally? Furthermore, many students are guided by strong faith-based principles associated with the South Asian background of many of our students, or their Christian/Catholic upbringing.
However, in the secular culture that dominates current public space in general, and universities in particular, it is difficult to address issues related to values, especially if these are perceived to be related to religious or spiritual beliefs. We need to find ways to support young people as they explore the four eternal questions: Who am I? Where did I come from? Where am I going? How do I get there?
Experience has shown that our youth and young adults continue to ask these questions as they prioritize their life-goals?ven when we, older adults, no longer act as if these questions are relevant in our lives. Finally, we need to provide the encouragement and resources required by young people in addressing their ?ocational?questions.
I look forward to your thoughts.
A useful link from
responds to Michael Goodstadt
The impact and value of
our junior seminary experiences
I've often wondered about the impact and value of
our junior seminary experiences.
A response from John Larkin
In response to Michael's posting about the effect of
our seminarian experience on who we are now I would like to add my own
I decided to leave the seminary and will not forget the exchange of letters when I told my parents..."Who made you do this? What bad people are you associating with? etc.
On reflection I was a dreamer; my parents should have been the regulators, but blinded by "the Irish honor of having my boy a priest" produced what I am today.
After fumbling through the change, I made one great decision. I became a Police Officer and boy did I grow up fast.
So my advice is do not let your children enter religious life until they are mature.
Peter McMurray's experience
Nimmo (Scott) brought Michael Goodstadt and John
Larkin's comments to my attention a couple of days ago. Unfortunately I
was in the process of digging a suitable grave in dry rocky clay on a
steep hillside for my wingman of sixteen years - a determined West
Highland White terrier - so I cogitated before answering.
Helping John Lyden with his cricket practise. Fr.
Monaghan's attempts to teach us cricket. In fact I just went with the
flow as I was destined to be a priest and belonged to Mother Church
rather than my birth family; obedience was the be all and end all. I
sustained much deeper hurt than I imagined from my own method of
"I think that you fall in the third category".
Quite a few had joined the extreme forces - in fact I
have a jazz pianist to thank for my not doing so as he told me he
thought that that was just a cop out, which in my case it was. I was
just looking for someone to tell me what to do. I have the greatest
admiration for those that, like Commander Bill Nimmo-Scott RN OBE, made
a great go of it. Others like Mick Mearns had travelled the globe making
my perambulations a simple jaunt.
In my darkest moments of deep blue despond I found
considerable relief in Buddhism and Zen meditation. My preference is to
be considered a Humanist and feel that any belief system based on fear
is wrong. In fact I bought A.C. Grayling's "The God Argument" today and
plan some thought along these lines. As the Irish humorist, Dave Allan,
would say "May your God be with You".