CMI Legacy of Contextual Priestly Formation


  • Louis Malieckal Dharmaram Vidya Kshetram


Louis Malieckal CMI looks at the legacy of contextual priestly formation in the light of the vision of St Chavara. He compares the vision of Vatican II on priestly formation with that of St Chavara, with the help of the Pre-Vatican form of formation on the one hand, and that prevailed before the time of the saint in Kerala on the other. The pre-Vatican II style of training and education of priests was divided into two types – the apprenticeship model and the bank deposit model. Priestly training in Kerala before 19th century took place in local centres under priest-teachers, who was given the title Malpan. Many such parish level systems of priestly formation slowly disappeared. Vatican II opting for contextualized theological training, directed local Churches to work out separate programmes of priestly theological education and formation of the students suited to the contexts of their country. More recent official directives on priestly education followed suit and treated priestly formation in the circumstances of the present day. However, going through the religious and priestly education of Chavara, one finds there trends leading towards reform and modernity. This would later, lead to a charism of contextual priestly formation which the community inherited from its founding Fathers including Chavara.