PewSitter linked this WaTimes story on Denver’s Redemptoris Mater Seminary. While I realize there’s a desire among some for more rigor in seminaries (especially perhaps from those who will not return to one or ever attend one) does the strict monastic approach really prepare men for life as a parish priest?
In monastic life, there is a great freedom involved in the lifelong sacrifice for the good of the community. But I question it for clergy-in-training. It seems obvious that in parish life, there will not be the reinforcement of superiors, the two-by-two rule, or what is hung in one’s bedroom. I think a strict life protects the seminarian from mischief and worse, my question is: does it protect the priest from mischief and worse? In other words, does it retard the development of adult maturity we hope all of our priests possess?
My questions go beyond the obvious quick judgments of pre-conciliar/post-conciliar, good/bad kind of thing. The international nature of RMS is certainly appealing, and potentially enriching for the students. Certainly, I applaud no television. I wish the whole seminary system could get an honest look, though. It would seem more than a choice between pick-a-decade. I hope RMS isn’t touting seminary style from the 50’s, because lots of those guys left the priesthood, and a fraction of them had their own problems with predation, maturity, and the like.