I think that the formation period for former clergy with M.Divs is now at least two years, involving distance learning and some week-long residential sessions, although apparently one can be ordained before completing the program, as in the case of Fr Erdman. A long way from being a full-time seminarian living in community, but also a long way from the dozen or so webinars which constituted preparation for the first intake of OCSP clergy And unlike the protocol under Msgr Steenson, a group or the realistic possibility of a placement with an existing group seems to be required.But let's keep this in the context of yesterday's post: "policies" as the word applies to life in general aren't the same thing in the OCSP. Under current policies in the wider Church, Bros Bengry and Beahen wouldn't be admitted to a diocesan seminary. Period. But they seem to be the subject of several exceptions in the OCSP.
Let's go a little beyond this, though. Earlier this year, a visitor suggested that since the courses required for an MDiv in a Catholic seminary and a Protestant seminary are pretty much the same, what's the diff? It was slow to dawn on me, but I think there's a big diff now that I reflect on it.
- Are you telling me that the course in Christian history is the same insofar as it discusses Luther and Calvin?
- Are you telling me that a Protestant gets the same introduction to Aquinas?
- How do Protestants dodge the extensive passages in the New Testament that form, in the Catholic view, the nature of the sacraments, the institution of the sacraments, and their number?
- How about major issues in moral theology like the distinction between mortal and venial sin?
I don't see how even two years of distance learning will fix this, especially considering that some men in the recent intake aren't especially bright. There's a reason their careers stalled as Protestants. The only good part of this is how small the groups are that Houston uses to justify bringing these misfits in.