Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Hope for Seminaries

and therefore also the Church:

Don wondered aloud about professors who explained Church teachings to their classes, then said, “But this is what I believe.” Don had seen this kind of thing done in the past, but he admitted that he hadn’t seen it happen recently. Without hesitation, Father Brackin said that this kind of teaching style was unacceptable. He read, “We create a learning environment based on mutual trust and respect for our theological expertise and the significance of students’ individual histories and diverse religious sensibilities.”

This had been a challenging concept for some of the faculty, Father Brackin acknowledged. He talked about the expectations many people had had in the 1960s and 1970s about the post-Vatican II unfolding of the Church. There had been a vision of what the Church would be like forty years after the council, he said, but the Church today didn’t resemble that vision. And since there had been a strong sense that the Holy Spirit had been driving change then, there was a temptation to reject any retrenchment. Sometimes students would take positions that looked like retrenchment, but the faculty must be willing to accept the possibility that a student’s life experiences and long years of living with his faith had cultivated wisdom and that wisdom had informed these opinions.

— Jonathan Englert, The Collar: A Year of Striving and Faith Inside a Catholic Seminary, 2006, 194–195

See also The Collar.


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