The first topic listed in the Instrumentum is the concept of the priesthood. The first question listed is:
Is the doctrine on the priesthood presented by the seminary solidly based on the Church’s Magisterium? Do the faculty and seminarians accept this teaching? In particular, are the most significant documents on the priesthood known to the faculty members and seminarians? Is there a specific course on the priesthood?
This is a million-dollar question.
My experience in the seminary was that the Church’s teaching about the priesthood was not openly challenged, but begrudgingly accepted, among some of the faculty. I can’t recall any statements openly in defiance of this teaching. Nor could I say that the Church’s teaching was really neglected. The rector of our seminary gave a weekly rector’s conference that almost always was drawn directly from John Paul II’s Pastores Dabo Vobis. Yet I would still say that the seminary’s approach to this element of formation needed serious attention, for several reasons.
In my next post, I will look at some key things the Program for Priestly Formation has to say about the concept of the priesthood. Then I’ll be able to examine the formation I received against this standard in a more specific way.