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Seminaries

The seminaries that prepare men for the priesthood are a very important element of the abuse crisis in the United States and worldwide. Applicants have been poorly screened at some institutions, and seminarians were not infrequently victimized by staff and faculty. This generational abuse created groups of seminarians who, after ordination, would share victims and techniques. When a seminary accepted applicants from several dioceses, these abuse networks could become remarkably widespread.

The culture at some seminaries seems to have facilitated abusive behavior, and seminaries also fostered a silence about abuse, even among seminarians who were not involved in molestation. Seminary rectors sometimes became bishops, and many bishops have been named "visitors" in the current seminary visitations mandated by the Vatican.

BishopAccountability.org has begun to post the information necessary for assessing the complex role of seminaries in the current crisis. This page will be updated frequently.

- Religiosorum Institutio (Instruction on the Careful Selection and Training of Candidates for the States of Perfection and Sacred Orders), issued by the Sacred Congregation for Religious (February 2, 1961)

- Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith The Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons (1986)

- Pope John Paul II, Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Pastores dabo vobis (1992)

- National Conference of Catholic Bishops, “Program of Priestly Formation” (1993)
- Geoffrey B. Stearns, Kathleen Baggarley-Mar, Keith Mar, Eugene Merlin, Rev. Dismas Bonner, O.F.M., and Ray Higgins, Report to Father Joseph P. Chinnici, O.F.M. | Provincial Master | Province of St. Barbara | Independent Board of Inquiry Regarding St. Anthony Seminary (Santa Barbara, Calif., November 1993)
- 11 Friars Molested Seminary Students, Church Inquiry Says, by Seth Mydans, New York Times (12/1/93) [about St. Anthony's Seminary, a Franciscan junior seminary in the Los Angeles archdioicese]
- Silence Hid Evil Secret: Revelations That Priests Abused Dozens of Boys at St. Anthony's Seminary Tear at the Fabric of the Church, by Victor Inzunza and Morgan Green, Santa Barbara News-Press (12/5/93)

- NCCB Committee on Marriage and Family, Always Our Children: A Pastoral Message to Parents of Homosexual Children and Suggestions for Pastoral Ministers (September 10, 1997)

- Hub Seminary Linked to Problem Priests, by Eric Convey, Boston Herald (3/3/02) [about St. John's Seminary of the Boston archdiocese]
- Abuse Alleged at Wellesley Seminary, by Matt Carroll, Boston Globe (8/10/02) [about a Stigmatine Fathers' junior seminary in the Boston archdiocese]
- Many of Seminary's Grads Can't Fathom Abuse [about St. John Vianney Seminary in Goochland VA], by Steven G. Vegh (9/1/02)
- Seminary Visitation, by Bishop Donald W. Wuerl (9/30/02)

- Massachusetts Attorney General Thomas F. Reilly, Accused Priests Who Graduated from the Archdiocese of Boston's St. John's Seminary (Appendix 2 of the Reilly Report, July 23, 2003)
- 23 Chicago-Area Priests, Open Letter to the Hierarchy Regarding the Pastoral Care of Gay and Lesbian Persons (12/19/03)
- Cardinal Francis George, Response to the Open Letter (December 19, 2003)

National Review Board, The Presence in the Priesthood of Persons Who Have Sexually Abused Minors (from A Report on the Crisis in the Catholic Church in the United States, February 27, 2004)

- No Ban on Gays Expected in Vatican Document; Will Advise 'Prudential Judgment', by John L. Allen Jr. (10/7/05)
- Trail of Abuse Leads to Seminary: St. John's in Camarillo Fielded a Disproportionate Number of Alleged Molesters, Records Show, in Some Cases up to a Third of the Graduating Class, by Paul Pringle (11/17/05)
- Instrumentum Laboris for the Apostolic Visitation of U.S. seminaries (2005)
- Ferns Inquiry, Seminary Admission and Formation (from the Ferns Report, October 2005)
- At St Peter’s, by Colm Tóibín, London Review of Books (12/1/05)

- Letter Summarizing the Results of the Apostolic Visitation of American Seminaries, by Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski and Archbishop Jean-Louis Bruguès, O.P., Prefect and Secretary of Congregation for Catholic Education (for Seminaries and Educational Institutions),(12/15/08)

- Letter to Seminarians at the End of the Year of the Priest, by Pope Benedict XVI (10/18/10)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

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