CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 9 December 2017

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How many equals a veritable training community?

PARIS (SE): Archbishop Jorge Carlos Patrón Wong, the man who carries the responsibility for seminaries in the Vatican at the Congregation for the Clergy, told the bishops of France on November 5 that his office believes seminaries with tiny numbers of students should be closed or merged with others.
 
In presenting key points from the recently promulgated guidelines for the formation of future priests, Ratio Fundamentalis Institutionis Sacerdotalis (The Gift of Priestly Vocation), he called it the one point that especially stands out among the new recommendations.
 
The new guidelines encourage bishops to consider that there is a need to set a minimum number of students for a seminary to function as a veritable training community.
 
But the question of just how many seminarians equals a veritable training community remains a moot point. Archbishop Patrón did not give a specific number during his presentation or to the press later that day.
 
But La Croix reported that two days later on November 4, the auxiliary from Paris, Bishop Jérôme Beau, announced that 17 to 20 is being suggested as a minimum.
 
Bishop Beau also confirmed that a year of spiritual foundation prior to entering a seminary, which is currently the practice in many parts of the world, is now compulsory.
 
The 17 to 20 requirement is a tall order for places like Hong Kong and Macau, as well as religious congregations in many parts of the world, as it is not always possible in places where the Catholic Church only represents a tiny proportion of the population and simply sending them overseas is not always an adequate substitute.

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