Friday, July 21, 2017

Protestant MDivs

Regarding yesterday's remark about Protestant MDivs, my regular correspondent replies,
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?
And keep in mind that although Nashotah House may pay lip service to some of these (though little beyond that), the OCSP has made no distinction between Anglican and Reformed or other Protestant seminaries. So just because I had courses in Church History, New Testament, or Dogmatic and Moral Theology in a Lutheran or Reformed seminary, it doesn't mean I've got the basics.

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.