USCCB: Patristics in the formation of seminarians

The USCCB issued a program for formation for US seminaries. Inter alia the conference has codified that Patristics (study of the theology of the Fathers of the Church) is to be included. Here are the relevant paragraphs:

201. Patristic studies constitute an essential part of theological studies. Theology should draw from the works of the Fathers of the Church that have lasting value within the living tradition of the Church. The core should include Patrology (an overview of the life and writings of the Fathers of the Church) and Patristics (an overview of the theological thought of the Fathers of the Church).[130]

[130] See Congregation for Catholic Education, Instruction on the Study of the Fathers of the Church in the Formation of Priests (1989).

210. In historical studies, the core should include courses on the history universal and the history of the Catholic Church in the United States that way which reflects her multicultural origins and ecumenical context. Among the study of patristics and the lives of the saints are of special importance.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Boko says:

    I guess this is good, but I’ll believe it when I see it. Also, I know this is a selective snippet, but, for those of you keeping score at home:


    Is it a form of tourette’s, this compulsion to work the word “multicultural[ism]” into everything?

  2. Boko says:

    Wow, how did that turn into a hyperlink. I wrote m-1, j-0.

  3. Boko: I guess you are of the “every silver lining has a cloud” school of thought. I too have a healthy scepticism about these documents, which in the past have been honored more in the breach than the observance. Still, there is truly a shift taking place in the seminaries in the USA. I have every reason to believe that these paragraphs will be headed provided that bishops can find men who can teach Patristics at seminary level. After all, nemo dat quod non habet.

  4. animadversor says:

    And maybe we’ll see Canon 249 implemented.

  5. Joseph Villecco says:

    I don’t think everyone should get to excited. As with everything from the USCCB, there is the obligatory implementation of interperative labguage.

    “Theology should draw from the works of the Fathers of the Church that have lasting value within the living tradition of the Church.”

    Don’t be shocked if certain figures run with “that have lasting value within the living tradition of the Church” for all it’s worth, providing and interesting interpretation of just what is of “lasting value.”

  6. animadversor: nostris in somnis

  7. Joseph: What this reminds me of is the decision in some schools to focus on Maya Angelou to the exclusion of Shakespeare, Keats and Eliot.

  8. animadversor says:

    Somniemus et somnia in facta mutemus.

  9. One of the primary reasons why I left the Roman Catholic Church in favor of the Russian Catholic and Melkite Catholic Churches was that it was easier to find hens’ teeth than it was to find a Latin Catholic priest with any understanding of Tradition or Church Authority, let alone a knowledge of Patristics. While I am hopeful that the American Bishops are beginning to get the idea that these three areas of study might actually be of importance, I am reminded of the maxim written by the good Father Z: Nemo dat quod non habet, or ya can’t give what ya don’t have.

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