Friday, September 16, 2005

The Visitors Have Some Questions

Behold: The Instrumentum Laboris for the Apostolic Visitation of Seminaries and Houses of Priestly Formation in the United States of America has been posted for the world to see.

As ILs go, it's pretty slim -- Synodal ones are known to run 40 pages or more -- but every seminarian in the country's been furnished with one.

Among other things, the document stipulates that a visitation is to take "a minimum of four days... The [Visitors] must speak in private interviews with all faculty, all students and, where applicable, the members of the Board of Governors. Furthermore, each priest who has graduated from the institution in the last three years is to be invited to a private interview with one of the Visitors." (Emphases are in original.)

For a seminary like Philadelphia's, or Mundelein, or Dunwoodie, interviewing three years' worth of alumni could take weeks on its own. As everything's pretty much set in stone in terms of scheduling, it doesn't seem as if a Visitation Team can extend its stay past the time already allotted, which would seem to be an almost necessary element if they find some kind of smoke.

And the Questions to which the Team must respond are included. As for the report each bishop or superior will receive once it's all been processed in Rome, "Points of judgment cannot be impugned," while points of fact can be contested.

There are 10 categories of questions, with a comment section for the Visitors to relate "Other Concerns" about the program being visited. There are about 50 questions in all, but the following are the ones which are marked "This question must be answered."

All questions are the original text:

  • Is psychological testing employed in the admissions process? If so, give full details.
  • Do the seminarians or faculty members have concerns about the moral life of those living in the institution?
  • Is ther evidence of homosexuality in the seminary?
  • In the judgment of the Visitors, does the seminaery provide adequate formation that will enable the seminarians to live celibate chastity?
  • Are the seminarians capable of dialoguing, on the intellectual level, with contemporary society? Do their studies help them respond to contemporary subjectivism and, in particular to moral relativism?
  • In particular, does the seminary check for the presence of impediments or irregularities for Holy Orders especially in the case of late vocations? (A "full and detailed answer" is stipulated.)
So read up, everyone....



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