At the blog of The Chairman of the LMS there is great news.
For a while I lamented that the Congregation for Catholic Education’s 1990 Instruction on the Study of the Fathers of the Church in the Formation of Priests was not widely available in English.
This is an important document. It requires that seminaries provide training in Patristic theology.
That is not really being done in seminaries. Of course they should also be teaching St. Thomas Aquinas (can. 252§3) and making sure that the seminarians are very well trained in Latin (can. 249). They should also be training the men in the Extraordinary Form (UE 21).
Strong formation in the Fathers will be of enormous importance for future priests. Patristic theology and methodology are powerful antidotes to modernism and junk theology.
Here is the Chairman:
The value of tradition: Inspectis dierum nostrorum
I mentioned yesterday the document Inspectis dierum nostrorum, which up to now has been available in English only as a scanned image in a dark corner of the website of the US Bishops’ Conference. It has now been retyped so it is much more legible and also searchable. I always wonder whether any particular thought goes into the non-availability of particular documents on the Vatican website; we owe to EWTN’s library and various others a huge number of items which, I suspect, some people in Rome would rather had disappeared down the memory hole. Inspectis dierum is now available on the LMS website here (as a Word file) and in pdf format here.
Inspectis dierum contains a very interesting attack on the notion one constantly meets in modern Catholic theological studies, that theology should be done by juxtaposing the Bible with modern concerns and problems. The Bible itself is then subjected to the kind of (often very shoddy) ‘scientific’ analysis which seems designed not only to rid us of all reverence for the sacred text, but to relativise its contents to such a degree that we will end up saying: so, this is what some editor thought, unless it inspires some thoughts of my own, why should I care?
The traditional approach is to say that the interpretation and application of the Bible to pastoral issues by the Fathers and Doctors of the Church is normative for us. We are not presented with the Biblical text in an aching vacuum, but in the context of centuries of commentary which, while it can go in different directions and leave many things open, is on many controversial topics actually pretty unanimous. This tradition is a source of theology alongside the sacred texts themselves.
If the Church began in 1962 with the opening of the Second Vatican Council, then the traditional view of theology has to be eradicated. Inspectis dierum, which is supposed to set the tone for the study of the Fathers in seminaries, is having none of that. [...]