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Well, it's certainly Holistic

By Fr. Wilson (articles ) | Jul 26, 2003

The Archdiocese of Los Angeles certainly has a thorough screeening process in place for seminarians, to judge from its archdiocesan newspaper.

Anyone involved in seminary formation or in screening candidates has a heavy responsibility, especially today. But I must say, reading through this description of the L.A. program, I can't help but be a bit suspicious, on at least two grounds. One would be that 've read too many glowing descriptions of detailed Church programs which upon closer inspection existed more on paper than in reality -- a phenomenon by no means limited to the Church, as anyone in academia, for example, knows.

But my second, and major, concern: if this detailed description really resembles the scrutiny undergone by applicants to the seminary, it can be used to identify and disqualify candidates on ideological grounds. Vocation personnel with a theological agenda and a strong desire to see the Church moved along in a 'progressive' direction would be sorely tempted to weed out candidates who don't quite fit their vision.

Twenty years ago, a Franciscan Father said to me, "Saint Francis himself could not get into novitiate today." I suspect St John Vianney would be in the same boat. I cannot help but be suspicious of our contemporary, childlike trust in the efficacy of complicated programs.

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