Tuesday, August 23, 2005

The Visitation Will Not Be in May

I reported the other day that ideologically-based rumors that That Fabe (he's the one in Lincoln -- where the altar rail doubles as an electric fence) would be overseeing the Apostolic Visitation of US seminaries were absolutely bunk.

And guess what -- they're absolutely bunk.

CNS got the jump yesterday and wrote a story on the impending Roman invasion by Americans. And the true chairman is... Ed O'Brien, the archbishop for the military services, one-time rector of the NAC and Dunwoodie, John O'Connor protege and runner-up in the Making of the Pharaoh, 2003.

Here's how the cookie crumbles:
Sparked by the sexual abuse crisis that hit the U.S. church in 2002, the visitations will pay special attention to areas such as the quality of the seminarians' human and spiritual formation for living chastely and of their intellectual formation for faithfulness to church teachings, especially in the area of moral theology.

The Vatican Congregation for Catholic Education, which oversees seminary formation around the world, has appointed 117 bishops and seminary personnel as visitors. They are to visit each college- or theology-level institution, working in teams of three for smaller programs or four for the larger ones.

The education congregation developed the visitation program in collaboration with the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life. About one-third of U.S. seminarians in graduate studies are preparing to be priests in religious orders.

In selecting the visitors the congregation consulted with the Conference of Major Superiors of Men and the Committee on Priestly Formation of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Archbishop O'Brien is to appoint resource people, including deacons, religious and lay people, to assist in the visitation process and participate in visits to the larger institutions.

The visitation teams are to review documentation of an institution beforehand and may interview students, faculty, staff and recent alumni during the on-site visit.
No one expects the Spanish Inquisition -- but it is what they may well get.... Remember that a bishop who holds the rank of Army captain is heading this up. It beats That Fabe by miles....
The announcement said the visitation objectives designated by the education congregation are:

-- "To examine the criteria for admission of candidates and the programs of human formation and spiritual formation aimed at ensuring that they can faithfully live chastely for the kingdom."

-- "To examine other aspects of priestly formation in the United States. Particular attention will be reserved for the intellectual formation of seminarians, to examine fidelity to the magisterium, especially in the field of moral theology, in the light of 'Veritatis Splendor,'" Pope John Paul II's 1993 encyclical on Catholic moral teaching.

The visitation teams are to file their reports directly to the education congregation, which will give confidential evaluations to the appropriate bishops and religious superiors. When all the reports are completed, the Vatican will be in a position to make an overall evaluation of seminary formation in the United States.
We had one of these visitations in 1989. It was a pretty ho-hum affair.... We probably won't be seeing a repeat of that kind of complacency -- and pictures of John Paul covering every inch of wall space will not be enough to ward off the investigative bent of the visitors... Given the fervor, it might just make them even more suspicious.

-30-

4 Comments:

Blogger Papabile said...

Uhhh..... Rocco:

it's a much higher rank than an o-3 Captain. I believe he is a Brigadier General, though I could be mistaken and he could be just a full Colonel. Chief of Chaplains is a two-star position, and he's right below the Chief.

23/8/05 09:49  
Blogger Papabile said...

Also, not: O'Brien live with the "Don't ask, don't tell" policy. In fact, the regulations actually apply to his position in certain ways.

It will be interesting.

23/8/05 09:52  
Blogger John Hearn said...

"No one expects the Spanish Inquisition -- but it is what they may well get.... "

Rock, it's cruel to get my hopes up like that!

23/8/05 16:57  
Blogger patrick said...

This is interesting because I believe O'Brien was involved in the creation of the Courage organization. If the marching orders from Rome are to detect and remove all homosexually-oriented seminarians from the seminary, then he will carry that out. But, if that is not Rome's marching order, then my guess is that his thinking is likely to be pretty close to the Courage line: no per-se bar on homosexually-oriented candidates and seminarians, but total opposition to anything that could be remotely considered "gay-friendly" including the pastoral models of gay and lesbian ministries that one finds in some dioceses.

25/8/05 16:40  

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