Many Catholic commentators have spoken often these days about ongoing formation and the problem with the graduation model. Lamentably, clergy can be star exhibits on how to treat a sacrament as a graduation event. The Aparecida bishops seem to be swimming against that current:
326. The complementarity between the formation begun in the seminary and the formation process which embraces the various stages of the priest’s life should be noted. It must be made clear that formation ends only with death. Permanent formation is a duty, in the first instance, for young priests. They should have frequent and systematic meetings which, while they continue the sound and serious formation they have received in the seminary, will gradually lead young priests to grasp and incarnate the unique wealth of God’s gift which is the priesthood and to express their capabilities and ministerial attitude, also through an ever more convinced and responsible insertion in the presbyterate, and therefore in communion and co – responsibility with all their brethren.(Pastores Dabo Vobis 76) To that end, well articulated and constantly evaluated diocesan plans are needed.
A nice principle in theory:
327. Houses and centers of formation of religious life are also privileged spaces of discipleship and formation of missionary men and women, according to the charism proper to each religious institute.
But how does it work out in practice?
For deeper examination, an English translation of the 2007 document from the Aparecida Conference.