Friday, November 24, 2006

The importance of Seminaries: Three different ways of reading the situation

Three news items caught my attention last month, and I have hesitated about blogging on them, because I don't really want to cast nastertiums on anyone. I was just interested in the way the stories played off against each other.

First was the report of Michael Gilchrist's new book launched by Mike Willesee called "Lost!". According to the report, the author "lashed out at a culture he says creates "lukewarm" Catholics, singling out Queensland as by far the worst Australian state in attracting students for its seminary." Apparently, "Only seven students for the whole of Queensland are currently studying at Brisbane's Holy Spirit Seminary, including one man in his 60s."

Archbishop Bathersby rose to the challenge and replied publicly in a letter to the local Brisbane rag, "The Courier Mail", in which he said: "Once people grasp the excitement of the Jesus, Communion, and Mission emphasis of the Archdiocese, vocations to priesthood and religious life will flow again."

The third item on the list that flowed in the same theme (even if not exactly in the direction of either of these points of view) was Pope Benedict's sermon at the canonisation of the Mexican saint, Bishop Rafael Guízar y Valencia, in which he quoted the saint as saying: "A Bishop can do without the mitre, the crosier and even without the cathedral, but he cannot do without the seminary, since the future of his Diocese depends on it".

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