Action Alert!

not easy

By Diogenes (articles ) | Mar 03, 2005

George Weigel on the upcoming apostolic visitation of seminaries.

The purpose of a visitation is to ascertain the truth about the spiritual, moral and intellectual life of the institution being visited. The primary task of the visitators, in interviewing faculty, staff and students, is to establish the truth about this particular situation. That is not going to be easy.

Those who have built careers by skating around issues like improper sexual activity in seminaries and houses of formation are not going to want those careers jeopardized. Those who have seen problems and yet have not had the courage to name them for what they are must be encouraged to tell the truth, even if the truth is painful -- and so must students, who must be confident that they will not be jeopardizing their chances for a positive faculty evaluation if they tell the truth to visitators. Which means that students must be assured that their comments to visitators will be held in the strictest confidentiality.

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  • Posted by: - Mar. 03, 2005 12:44 PM ET USA

    It is precisely because these “pre-concilar manuals” were tossed aside after VCII that the Church finds herself with a dearth of good seminarians and a refusal on the part of many candidates to accept authentic Catholic moral theology. And let’s quit beating around the bush; the foremost problem is the abundance of homosexuals (and the homosexual culture of sin) among the clergy. If the visitation teams don’t come here with that as their starting point, then they might as well stay home.

  • Posted by: - Mar. 03, 2005 12:42 PM ET USA

    Best way to ascertain the truth about the sems is to do an out-fashioned IG visit - where the inspection team shows up out of nowhere and goes immediately to work pulling the place apart to see if everything's up to snuff. I suppose people would squawk about trust if this happened, but "courtesy visits" work only if there's no suspicion things might be rotten: otherwise, it merely allows time for troublemakers to get their act together just long enough for the heat to blow over.

  • Posted by: - Mar. 03, 2005 10:52 AM ET USA

    There is no vocation "crisis." Vocations are out there. Men who hear the call will not respond if the institutions established for their formation are disloyal to the Magisterium. The real crisis is one of leadership within the Church. The bishops must demand seminaries loyal to the Magisterium. If the bishops are not loyal, how can one expect the seminaries to be? The visitations are critically important, but they will fail if the bishops lack the will for reform.

  • Posted by: - Mar. 03, 2005 10:28 AM ET USA

    How soon will the seminarians learn whether the "visitationers" are part of the problem or part of the solution, and which ones will offer themselves as sacrificial lambs?