Catholic Dictionary




A school established for the academic and spiritual training of candidates for the priesthood. The Council of Trent, July 15, 1563, ordered the establishment of a seminary in every doicese. Seminaries that are not houses of study for the regular clergy are of different kinds, depending on the authority that establishes them and has jurisdiction over them. Thus seminaries may be diocesan, regional, interdiocesan, provincial, and pontifical. The decree of the Second Vatican Council, Optatam Totius, issued in 1965, treats at length about the curriculum and administration of seminarians. In 1979 Pope John Paul II issued the Apostolic Constitution Sapientia Christiana on ecclesiastical universities and faculties. The document immediately affects all institutions of higher education, including seminaries, which have been canonically erected or approved by the Holy See with the right to confer acamedic degrees by the authority of the same See. Indirectly it affects all Catholic seminaries. Among other detailed provisions, the constitution requires that, "All teachers, before they are given a permanent post . . . must receive a declaration of nihil obstat [formal approval] from the Holy See" (Part One, III, 27).