adaltaredei said: I have to disagree with the training doctors with books from the 40s. There is nothing wrong with the way they are trained; there’s a difference between progress in the medical field and theology…
fatherangel responds: Andrew, although there is a difference between the progress which is made in medicine, a science whose foundation is in the observation of physical realities, and theology, whose foundation is Divine Revelation, there is nonetheless a true progress made in both. This is my point.
A priest, first of all, should be trained in a seminary erected canonically and legitimately by the local bishop or the governing board of a religious order. The SSPX, according to the Pope, exercise “no legitimate ministry” in the Church, and so have no permission, no authorization, and therefore no legitimacy with which to train Catholic priests. I would call that “something wrong with the way they are trained.”
Secondly, a Catholic priest must be learned in what concerns the life of the Church yesterday, today, and for the foreseeable future. It is unacceptable, and unsatisfactory in the mind of the Church, for the priest to merely study the books of past theologians and repeat formulas of the past, as if intelligent Catholic scholars have not been researching and presenting new information not possessed by past authors. And I do not understand how you can think “there is nothing wrong” with the way the SSPX priests are trained when they possess no in-depth study of the last Ecumenical Council of the Church.
As Pope Pius XI states, the clergy must minister to the “learned and the unlearned” and for the former, the must be learned also, and you cannot be learned in theology if the texts you read were all written before 1962.
I commend as a spiritual bouquet to you the following words of Pope Pius XI. It is a long quote, but it is worth reading carefully:
“57. But the portrait of the Catholic priest which we intend to exhibit to the world would be unfinished were We to omit another most important feature,—learning. This the Church requires of him; for the Catholic priest is set up as a “Master in Israel”; he has received from Jesus Christ the office and commission of teaching truth: “Teach … all nations.” He must teach the truth that heals and saves; and because of this teaching, like the Apostle of the Gentiles, he has a duty towards “the learned and the unlearned.” But how can he teach unless he himself possess knowledge? “The lips of the priest shall keep knowledge, and they shall seek the law at his mouth,” said the Holy Spirit in the Prophecy of Malachy. Who could ever utter a word in praise of sacerdotal learning more weighty than that which divine Wisdom itself once spoke by the mouth of Osee: “Because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will reject thee that thou shalt not do the office of priesthood to Me.” The priest should have full grasp of the Catholic teaching on faith and morals; he should know how to present it to others; and he should be able to give the reasons for the dogmas, laws and observances of the Church of which he is minister. Profane sciences have indeed made much progress; but in religious questions there is much ignorance still darkening the mind of our contemporaries. This ignorance the priest must dispel. Never was more pointed than today the warning of Tertullian, “Hoc unum gestit interdum (veritas), ne ignorata damnetur,” “This alone truth sometime craves, that it be not condemned unheard.” It is the priest’s task to clear away from men’s minds the mass of prejudices and misunderstandings which hostile adversaries have piled up; the modern mind is eager for the truth, and the priest should be able to point it out with serene frankness; there are souls still hesitating, distressed by doubts, and the priest should inspire courage and trust, and guide them with calm security to the safe port of faith, faith accepted by both head and heart; error makes its onslaughts, arrogant and persistent, and the priest should know how to meet them with a defense vigorous and active, yet solid and unruffled.
58. Therefore, Venerable Brethren, it is necessary that the priest, even among the absorbing tasks of his charge, and ever with a view to it, should continue his theological studies with unremitting zeal. The knowledge acquired at the seminary is indeed a sufficient foundation with which to begin; but it must be grasped more thoroughly, and perfected by an ever-increasing knowledge and understanding of the sacred sciences. Herein is the source of effective preaching and of influence over the souls of others. Yet even more is required. The dignity of the office he holds and the maintenance of a becoming respect and esteem among the people, which helps so much in his pastoral work, demand more than purely ecclesiastical learning. The priest must be graced by no less knowledge and culture than is usual among well-bred and well-educated people of his day. This is to say that he must be healthily modern, as is the Church, which is at home in all times and all places, and adapts itself to all; which blesses and furthers all healthy initiative and has no fear of the progress, even the most daring progress, of science; if only it be true science.
59. Indeed, in all ages the Catholic clergy has distinguished itself in every field of human knowledge; in fact, in certain centuries it so took the lead in the field of learning that the word “cleric” became synonymous with “learned.” The Church preserved and saved the treasures of ancient culture, which without her and her monasteries would have been almost entirely lost; and her most illustrious Doctors show that all human knowledge can help to throw light upon and to defend the Catholic faith. An illustrious example of this We Ourselves have recently called to the world’s attention. For We crowned with the halo of sanctity and the glorious title of Doctor of the Church that great teacher of the incomparable Aquinas: Albert of Cologne, whom his contemporaries had already honored with the titles of Great and of Universal Doctor.
60. Today it could hardly be hoped that the clergy could hold a similar primacy in every branch of knowledge; the range of human science has become so vast that no man can comprehend it all, much less become distinguished in each of its numberless branches. Nevertheless wise encouragement and help should be given to those members of the clergy, who, by taste and special gifts, feel a call to devote themselves to study and research, in this or that branch of science, in this or that art; they do not thereby deny their clerical profession; for all this, undertaken within just limits and under the guidance of the Church, redounds to the good estate of the Church and to the glory of her divine Head, Jesus Christ. And among the rest of the clergy, none should remain content with a standard of learning and culture which sufficed, perhaps, in other times; they must try to attain—or, rather, they must actually attain—a higher standard of general education and of learning. It must be broader and more complete; and it must correspond to the generally higher level and wider scope of modern education as compared with the past.”
God bless and take care! Fr. Angel