It isn’t rocket science.
The theological and moral bizzaro-world into which US seminaries sank Atlantis-like over the decades of the 60s to the 80s is over. They didn’t sink in a day, and they won’t be raised in a day either.
But they are rising.
The reason has been, in part, bishops who made changes, and in larger part students who would no long put up with the weirdness. Men wanted Catholic formation and virile liturgy and they didn’t want to be… how to say it… hit on. Seminarians themselves began to revolt against the faculty and tell their bishops what was going on and changes were implemented. Once the shift in the episcopate Pope John Paul II worked patiently to achieve began to re-leaven the country, reform started gain momentum.
A reader sent a link to the following with the subject line: “Could it be…. Orrrthodoxy?”
From CNS with my cuts [...], emphases and comments.
Catholic seminary enrollment up, but numbers seen as only part of story
By Nancy Frazier O’Brien
Catholic News Service
WASHINGTON (CNS) — In his first months as rector of Theological College in Washington, Father Phillip J. Brown has been confronting a problem that the national diocesan seminary for the U.S. Catholic Church “has not had for a long time” — it is bursting at the seams.
Enrollment is maxed out for the 2011-12 academic year at 90 seminarians. Five of those seminarians are back in their dioceses this year gaining pastoral experience, but a Sulpician seminarian and five priests from other countries also live there, bringing the total number of residents to 91 plus faculty members.
“If I had to start with a problem, that’s the problem I’d like to have,” Father Brown told Catholic News Service. “It’s a very healthy sign, a positive sign for Theological College and for the U.S. priesthood.”
The trend of rising seminary enrollment is being duplicated around the country:
– At the Pontifical College Josephinum in Columbus, Ohio, 40 new seminarians arrived this year, bringing total enrollment to 186, the highest level since the 1970s.
– St. Paul Seminary School of Divinity [SPS... the den-of-horrors I went to in the 80s.] at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minn., welcomed 30 new graduate-level seminarians, making its class of 100 seminarians the largest since 1980. The influx forced 24 seminarians and two priests off campus into leased space at a former convent. [Anecdote: A couple years ago when I was visiting John H at Leaflet Missal (church goods) in St. Paul, he said he was super busy getting the clerical clothing in a sorted for the orders from all the seminarians at SPS. I didn't, at first, grasp what he was saying. Then he told me that the decision had been made that all the major seminarians were to wear clerical dress. I, incredulous, nearly passed-out.]
[...]But Theological College’s Father Brown said a rise in enrollment is only part of the story.
“It’s not just the numbers but the quality and spirit of the men who are coming,” he told CNS.
“I’m tremendously impressed with the quality of the candidates, their zeal,” he added. “We’re seeing a real renewal of the priesthood.”