14 December 2016

Seminary training (1)

I have had a quick look through the new Vatican document. I may have missed things; or I may be offering unbalanced accounts. Those who have read the text carefully are invited (with references to specific paragraphs) to correct me.

Three points.
(1) it seems to me that very little of this document goes back behind and beyond the Second Vatican Council. Thus the document Veterum Sapientia of Pope S John XXIII has left few marks. For example; its very sensible and moderate requirement that Seminary Professors be sacked if they are not fluent in Latin does not appear in the recent document (unless it's in a footnote?).

But ... the good news ... Para 183 says "As well as Biblical Hebrew and Greek, seminarians should be introduced to the the study of Latin from the start of the course of formation." But  ... I have some dubia (which I will not submit to the Sovereign Pontiff himself):
(a) What does "introduced to ... from" mean? Does it imply the same practical end result as the canonical term calleant?
(b) How does the phrase "As well as Biblical Hebrew and Greek" fit syntactically into the sentence as a whole? Does it just mean "As well as the Hebrew and Greek we've mentioned in Para 166 ..."
(c) Para 166 says that seminarians should be "given the opportunity to learn some elements of Biblical Hebrew and Greek". I feel uneasy about the three words opportunity and some and elements.

Various additions are made to syllabuses, including Ecology. I spent most of my working life in Education, where I learned to have a deep and respectful admiration for the genius of those who make or advocate  additions to syllabuses. Where my admiration sometimes fell short was when it came to the question of how space was to be found for such additions without increasing the lengths of days and of years (although there has been a recent media story to the effect than in a few hundred million years the day will indeed have twenty five hours).

To be continued.


Sixupman said...

Lack of precision of language creates a situation for flexibility and subsequent mayhem?

Joshua said...

A fine priest of my acquaintance, now the Bishop of Lismore, New South Wales, had been in the Anglican ministry prior to his reception into full communion with the Holy See in 1965.

He mentioned that in his first year at Kelham, then the seminary of the Society of the Sacred Mission (this would have been in the 1950's, I think), it was compulsory to master sufficient Greek to read the New Testament in the original - those who didn't manage it had to leave.

Compare that to an Roman Rite seminarian destined for the Ordinary Form (based upon what I know of Australian conditions, which I suspect isn't too far from the norm), who might do a semester or two of Latin - certainly not enough to read with understanding even the Latin of the Missal - and, optionally, a bit of Greek and/or Hebrew. There is no actual expectation of achieving any mastery of any of the sacred languages, whatever silly Canon Law might say. No one would have the slightest idea of reading the Fathers, the positive doctors, or the approved authors in the original!