Tuesday, June 17, 2003

Well Thought Out Critique of What's Wrong with Seminary Formation

By Father Rob Johansen, read it at Crisis Magazine What's Wrong with our Seminaries?

I once read somewhere that the Historical Critical method is useful for translators--so that they know the true meaning of the "word" they are translating from one setting in history to another but useless in translating the translation into a different culture. Here is Father Rob's take on the method:

Apart from the tedium and consequent disinterest in Scripture that such total reliance on the historical-critical method engenders, the other problem with it is that it’s virtually useless for training priests to preach meaningfully from the Scriptures. The historical-critical method is certainly helpful for understanding the background and context of a Scripture passage, but it’s powerless to answer the questions in the minds of the average Catholic in the pew: How does this scripture relate to my life as a Catholic, and how does it nourish my faith? The historical-critical approach is even more inimical to penetrating the mysteries of the Faith themselves. To do that, one needs the Fathers and the spiritual senses, and that’s precisely what our seminarians aren’t getting. While this deficiency may not be the sole cause of the poor preaching many Catholics experience today, it certainly doesn’t help.