318. The contemporary situation requires greater attention to formation programs in seminaries, since young people are victims of the negative influence of postmodern culture, especially the mass media, bringing with it the fragmentation of the personality, inability to take on irrevocable commitments, absence of human maturity, weakening of spiritual identity, and so forth, which impede the process of forming authentic disciples and missionaries.
While I wouldn’t dispute this diagnosis, I think it is often overstated. Young people still look to parents and mentors for guidance. Perhaps it is the older generation that has abandoned its faith in a new generation. Rather than blame the mass media, we can look to sources closer to home: substance abuse, political corruption, and a Church which often seems to favor a safe message over a stirring one.
Hence, before entry into the seminary, those responsible for conducting formation must make a very careful selection, taking into account the psychological balance of a sound personality, a genuine motivation of love for Christ and for the Church, and an intellectual capacity adequate to the requirements of ministry today.(Cf. C.I.C. can. 241, 1; Congregation for Catholic Education, Instruction on the criteria for the Discernment of Vocations with Regard to Persons of Homosexual Tendencies in View of their Admission to the Seminary and to Sacred Order)
I’d still insist that people in their forties, possibly thirties, are best suited for discernment into a life of ministry and its formation. Exceptions can be made, perhaps one in a hundred. Most of those are probably more drawn to the lifestyle rather than the life of service.
For deeper examination, an English translation of the 2007 document from the Aparecida Conference.