Friday, May 13, 2016

The “Francis effect” is growing among Roman Catholic seminarians

Assuming that “The Francis Effect” is adequately described in my blog post from this morning, don’t just think about what it’s doing among the Kaspers and the Schönborns and the Müllers of the Roman Catholic hierarchy. Consider too the effect it’s having on the next generation of Roman Catholic clerics.

Sulpician Fr. Phillip J. Brown, rector of the Theological College, the national diocesan seminary of the Catholic University of America in Washington, said the Francis effect is alive and well, and growing, at least among seminarians. It's been a sudden development… The numbers [of Seminarians] have remained steady, but the attitudes of newer arrivals has begun to transform the place, he said. That transformation will be felt soon at a parish near you.

That is, near you Roman Catholic Converts who believe you’ve found “the One True Church”.

The newer seminarians have a more Francis-like, some would say Vatican II, view that the church should engage the culture and not see itself as a community set apart. Previously, seminarians were keenly aware that they were different from their peers in the wider culture of the millennial generation. They are now more likely to see themselves as very much like their peers in the wider world, with the goal of transforming the culture with the message of the Gospel….

Seminarians are more inclined to move from what Brown called a Calvinistic, rule-based view of moral theology, to a more nuanced understanding of the role of church teaching in people's lives. They are less likely to view psychological counseling with suspicion. The Francis message on the environment is also catching on, he said.

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