Sunday, September 18, 2005

Apostolic Visit Questions: 6 out of 56 "must be answered"

From the Instrumentum Laboris for the Apostolic Visitation of the Seminaries and Houses of Priestly Formation in the United States of America:

"The following questions are provided as a guide for the Visitors. In drawing up their Report for the Holy See, they should follow the eleven headings indicated below. A particular question need not be addressed if the Visitors deem it to be inapplicable, although some questions -- as indicated in the text -- must always be answered. Furthermore the questions are not to be considered exhaustive. The Visitors are to use their judgement when carrying out the individual Visitations."

Out of the approximately 56 questions in the document, only 6 "must be answered." Here they are:

  • Is psychological testing employed in the admissions process? If so, give full details.
  • Do the seminarians or faculty members have concerns about the moral life of those living in the institution?
  • Is there evidence of homosexuality in the seminary?
  • In the judgment of the Visitors, does the seminary provide adequate formation that will enable the seminarians to live celibate chastity?
  • Are the seminarians capable of dialoguing, on the intellectual level, with contemporary society? Do their studies help them respond to contemporary subjectivism and, in particular, to moral relativism?
  • In particular, does the seminary check for the presence of impediments or irregularities for Holy Orders (cf. CIC can. 1040-1049; CCEO can. 762-768), especially in the case of late vocations? [Kelly note: the answer to this question must be "full and detailed."]

There is little doubt in my mind that these are important questions, and certainly should be answered as unambiguously as possible.

What is vaguely troubling to me, as I've indicated before, are the questions that "need not be addressed" if the "Visitors" deem them "inapplicable."

Questions regarding faculty members dissenting from the authoritive teaching of the Church, seminarians participating in daily Mass, frequent opportunities for Adoration, frequent reception of the Sacrament of Reconciliation, devotion to Our Lady...all of these and more are left to the discretion of the Visitors.

It could be, of course, and I hope it is, a reasonable directive. As in:

"Well, it's obvious to me that there's no dissent going on here, so we'll just skip this one."

It could be.

Here's the document in .pdf format. Thanks to Amy for the link.