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Papally-mandated Visitation

By Fr. Wilson (articles ) | Apr 24, 2003

Well, I lived through the last one. It was peculiar. The Holy Father mandated it in the early 1980s -- evidently he thought American seminaries needed it. It was nonsense. The Visitation team consisted of a couple of mediocre bishops and seminary faculty from other seminaries. Their final report included whole sections from the self-laudatory seminary catalogue ("The verdant grounds..." of the seminary where the Rector never even wanted to water the lawn). A wag among us read the final report and said, "Well, evidently, we're living in Clairvaux under St Bernard."

This was Holy Trinity Seminary in Dallas, seed-bed of that horrific scandal.

I have no idea what the point might be of a Visitation conducted by people who are part of the problem elsewhere.

May I also offer a revolutionary suggestion? In the unlikely event that the Bishops of this country get serious, they ought to give up the tiresome turf war over the seminaries ("This is MY seminary"). Get real. Establish twelve serious, regional seminaries in the United States of America. Pour your resources -- no, our peoples resources into them: the best facilities, the finest faculties. Stop fooling around AT LEAST in this most important area (I take for granted that you'll keep fooling around elsewhere. It's your nature).

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