SEMINARY FORMATION: ADDRESSING CLERICALISM AND SEXUALITY
During the past two decades, Church leaders throughout the world have grown increasingly concerned about the causes and context of clergy sexual abuse of minors. For many centuries, the Church issued no universal documents requiring seminaries to adapt formation programs in response to religious and cultural changes. The connection between sexual abuse and clericalism has surfaced only recently. A review of seminary practices indicates that administrators and faculty have made progress in amending some areas of formation, especially human formation, introduced in Pastores Dabo Vobis in 1992 by St Pope John Paul II. Even so, seminary leaders consider necessary many more improvements. The situation requires giving more attention to the development of affective maturity in seminarians in all areas of formation, especially by evaluating and correcting behaviours in pastoral settings that exhibit an attitude of clericalism. The Vatican’s 2016 Ratio Fundamentalis Institutionis Sacerdotalis affirms these directions.
C. Colt Anderson and Christopher M. Bellitto, “Scarlet Fever: To Combat Clericalism, Reform Seminaries,” Commonweal Magazine, April 12, 2019.
Gerard J. McGlone and Len Sperry, The Inner Life of Priests, Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2012.
John Jay College of Criminal Justice, The Causes and Context of Sexual Abuse of Minors by Catholic Priests in the United States, 1950-2010, (March, 2011).
John Jay College of Criminal Justice, The Nature and Scope of Sexual Abuse of Minors by Catholic Priests and Deacons in the United States, 1950-2002, (February 2004).
John W. O’Malley, What Happened at Vatican II, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2008, and Trent: What Happened at the Council, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2013.
Maryanne Confoy, Religious Life and Priesthood: Perfectae Caritatis, Optatam Totius, Presbyterorum Ordinis, Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press, 2008.
Richard Gaillardetz and Chad Pecknold, Panelists at “Catholic U Considers Role of Clericalism, Sexuality in Abuse Crisis: Healing the Breach of Trust,” The Catholic University of America, March 26, 2019, expanded on many possibilities for change, https://communications.catholic.edu/news/2019/03/healing-the-breach.html. See also on Twitter: @DennisSadowski.
The Gift of the Priestly Vocation: Ratio Fundamentalis Institutionis Sacerdotaliswas published by the Congregation for the Clergy, most recently in 2016.
USCCB, “Five Principles” to Guide the Response of Bishops (1992).
USCCB, Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People (2002).