The Benefit of Seminary
Schools have always been viewed as a factory that makes men out of boys (Cowen 19). Seminaries, just like any other institutions that offer vocational and professional training, have a mandate of offering quality educational processes. In the case of a seminary, the object of training involved is to educate the seminarians in such a way they are adequately prepared to exercise properly the ministry to which they devote themselves (Suarez 56). Therefore, the outcome is that every student develops in a particular and specific way, so as to become capable the function to which they have been called.
To mold good products out of a “factory,” the environment should be conducive (Cowen 19). The environment refers to the social, education and emotional contexts of an institution (Cowen 19). Seminaries play a big role in ensuring that the school environment is appropriate. They offer opportunities for students to reflect on their vocation. They do not force people into becoming “professionals;” instead, they allow students to think about their calling, and make decisions on whether to remain or quit from the seminary (Suarez 57). This result in priests who have a passion for their work and cannot be easily be swayed by worldly encounters.
The main purpose of training priests is to achieve the unity between the divine nature and human nature (Suarez 68). If priests are to be men of God, they need to have the harmony of life such that the interior and exterior aspects not only avoid hindering or interfering with one another, but actually complement one another, and in turn nourish their devotion. The seminary ensures that they acquire harmony by giving seminarians study breaks where they go to the community to engage in community activities (Suarez 85). This allows them understand the human nature and relate it to the theology learnt in the seminary
Intellectual development is an important aspect that each institution seeks to fulfil (Kimble 145). Priests are instruments of salvation, and one of the main duties is to give a doctrine and provide minds of the faithful with adequate and suitable material relating to their faith. Since it is impossible to give what is not in possession, they have to acquire the knowledge. Seminaries provide opportunities for intellectual development because the subjects that are taught during the seminary years are concerned mainly with ecclesiastical sciences (Kimble 150). Therefore, when seminarians come out as priests, they are devoid of an inferiority complex that might come out when giving doctrine to other professionals.
The training of students for priesthood should take into consideration that that they are not only training seminarians, who are seen as a strange species in the outside world, but also perfectly normal people (Suarez 83). Seminaries understand the fact that they are training secular priests, and prepare them for their contact with the outside world after ordination by allowing seminarians to live among people with familiar problems. Therefore, the years spent living with others enables them to cultivate a number of virtues that help them get to know others and solve problems that might interfere with daily life.
The environment in a school determines how students come out upon graduation. Seminaries have no exception. They have several benefits that ensure that priests come out when they are well formed and ready to fulfil their mission.
Cowen, N. Swedish Lessons: How School with More Freedom Can Deliver Better Education. Trowbridge, Wiltshire: Cromwell Press, 2008. Print.
Kimble, Joanne. The Idea of Biblical Theology as a Science and as a Theological Discipline. New York: Biblical Studies Ministries International Inc, 2009. Print.
Suarez, Federico. About Being A Priest. Navarre: The University of Navarre, 2011. Print.