New, stricter Priestly Formation Program issued for U.S. Catholic seminaries
By Jerry Filteau
Catholic News Service
WASHINGTON (CNS) – A new Program of Priestly Formation has been issued for use in all U.S. Catholic seminaries.
It places more emphasis on the human formation of seminarians, and especially on formation for celibacy, than did the fourth edition of the program, which had been in effect since 1992.
The 98-page revised version of the program (opens PDF file), the fifth edition, has been posted on the Web site of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, www.usccb.org.
The Program of Priestly Formation has governed seminary formation in the United States since the bishops issued the first edition in 1971.
The new version, reflecting the bishops' recent response to the scandal of clergy sexual abuse of minors, says explicitly for the first time that no seminary applicant is to be accepted if he has been involved in sexual abuse of minors.
It also incorporates stricter norms, adopted by the bishops in 1999, on evaluating an application for seminary admission from someone who previously left or was dismissed from a seminary or a formation program for religious life.
The bishops adopted the fifth edition of the program by a nearly unanimous vote, 231-3, at their June 2005 meeting in Chicago.
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