Smarter Sems? Deus Placet
Of the 96 questions, just these two address the intellectual potential of future priests:
"Do the seminarians show an aptitude for and dedication to intellectual work?"
And "Are the seminarians capable of dialoguing, on the intellectual level, with contemporary society?"
This minimal attention to intellectual capacity is noteworthy in view of the opinions of faculty teams from 20 Catholic seminaries who met yearly from 1995 to 2001. They were searching for new ways to educate today's Catholic seminarians, who are typically older than their predecessors, less grounded in church teachings and much more diverse in ethnicity and in the religious journeys that have led them to the seminary.
Because solid statistics are not available - interesting in itself - these faculty teams could only pool their opinions on how qualified current seminarians were intellectually. Those estimates were reported in a book published this year, "Educating Leaders for Ministry" by Victor J. Klimoski, Kevin J. O'Neil and Katarina M. Schuth (Liturgical Press).
Only 10 percent of seminarians, it was estimated, were highly qualified for their educational work. Somewhat more than 50 percent were adequately qualified. One-third to 40 percent suffered from poor educational backgrounds, learning disabilities, lack of facility in English or unfamiliarity with American culture (among the growing number of seminarians from overseas) or atrophied study skills (among some older seminarians). Those deficiencies, it was reported, created "special challenges for faculty."
Don't worry -- they've created special challenges for intelligent laypeople, too.