OT 19: Pastoral Training

Optatam Totius 19 begins the sixth chapter which deals with “The Promotion Of Strictly Pastoral Training.

That pastoral concern which ought to permeate thoroughly the entire training of the students also demands that they be diligently instructed in those matters which are particularly linked to the sacred ministry,

    • especially in catechesis and preaching,
    • in liturgical worship and the administration of the sacraments,
    • in works of charity,
    • in assisting the erring and the unbelieving,
    • and in the other pastoral functions. 

In large American parishes, these matters are handled by specialists, mostly lay people, mostly women. Note the absence of administration in this section and its near absence in any other place in Optatam Totius. Forgotten, an area of satisfaction, or something else?

Spiritual direction is happily mentioned in some detail:

They are to be carefully instructed in the art of directing souls, whereby they will be able to bring all the sons of the Church first of all to a fully conscious and apostolic Christian life and to the fulfillment of the duties of their state of life. Let them learn to help, with equal solicitude, religious men and women that they may persevere in the grace of their vocations and may make progress according to the spirit of their various Institutes.

And more attention to dialogue:

In general, those capabilities are to be developed in the students which especially contribute to dialogue with (people), such as the ability to listen to others and to open their hearts and minds in the spirit of charity to the various circumstances and needs of (people).

Interesting that the practice of listening is associated with opening people’s hearts and minds, not preaching or other vocal persuasion. How much confidence would it take to be a silent catalyst for conversion to Christ?


About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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