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#420258 08/27/20 07:28 PM
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I had a question on the training/forming of married men for the priesthood in the United States. Given that the seminary is in Pittsburgh, how does this work for married men in other parts of the country? With typical seminary formation being around 8 years, what does the seminarian do with his family? I can't imagine he would be required to leave them behind for 8 years but at the same time, I can't imagine it feasible for the spouse and children to uproot and move and try to find work/childcare/a place to stay/etc?

Also, for married men considering the Diaconate, do they also have to physically go to the seminary for 8 years? Or can they receive their training/formation in house with the priest and online via direct training (classes/instruction/etc)?

I was getting into a conversation defending married men becoming priests to a self proclaimed "traditionalist" who was condemning it and the talk turned into the practical side of seminaries, families uprooting, etc. And since I didn't understand how it works, I couldn't give an answer. Does anyone know how this works? Thanks in advance.

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There isn't a blanket "fits all" answer, inasmuch as each of the Eastern Catholic jurisdictions has its own policies, i.e. a few require residential seminary formation while many do not. Consult with your own eprchial jurisdiction.

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This applies to the Byzantine Catholic Seminary in Pittsburgh. If one already has a bachelors degree seminary is 4 years, 2 years if you already have a masters degree in theology. Yes, a married seminarian and his family are expected to relocate to Pittsburgh. The diaconate program is 4 years long with a 2 week summer residency each year.


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Seminary can be a sacrifice for married Protestant clergy as well.

One of the more difficult patterns was the one used by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) in which Seminarians matriculated to a campus for their first and second years of classes, then were dispersed for one year for their Internship (frequently to other States); then returned to campus to for their senior year. Oh yes, and during the summer between the first and second year students were required to undergo Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE). That often entailed a temporary relocation as CPE sites and supervisors are not in great abundance.

Because of the obvious burden on families "fourth year Internship" has become more common.

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I won't go into any more detail, but there is definitely "friction" between the Pittsburgh seminary and some of the bishops who want to ordain married men . . .

Also, our bishop has made use of the Ukrainian diaconal program instead of our own on at least two occasions with seminarians I've known--the four long weekends a year rather than a two week session at a fixed time make a *huge* difference in who can go . .

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Thank you for the input. It sounds as complicated as I imagined it would be lol.

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Seminary is really an infrastructure and a mechanism - a community of formation if you will. Likewise, canonically, the seminary is also seen as a sui iuris Church, with the rector given the same privilege as the average pastor of a parish. My formation in ministry was the parish community and my parish priest. The only thing I did outside the parish community was getting a theology degree. My bishop was appraised of my progress every couple of months.

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. . . there is definitely "friction" between the Pittsburgh seminary and some of the bishops who want to ordain married men.

So why does a bishop not have the option of sending his candidates to another Eastern Catholic seminary? The Ukrainians have one and the Melkites have another. Both have made provisions for married candidates to attend. It seems to me the difficulty is in candidates who are already married because of the need to find work for the spouse. But if there is a real desire for a given candidate to succeed, there should be innovative solutions that can be found.

BTW, where do the Romanians send their men? Their eparchy is not large enough to have its own seminary.

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Originally Posted by Collin Nunis
Seminary is really an infrastructure and a mechanism - a community of formation if you will. Likewise, canonically, the seminary is also seen as a sui iuris Church, with the rector given the same privilege as the average pastor of a parish. My formation in ministry was the parish community and my parish priest. The only thing I did outside the parish community was getting a theology degree. My bishop was appraised of my progress every couple of months.

Agreed.

But the weakness...almost an Achilles' heel...is that Seminarians immersed in this community which they regard as their parish may develop a very unrealistic expectation that the first parish to which they are assigned following Ordination can be "just like" the Seminary community; or worse, they may attempt to force the parish to become something which they have never been.

Orthodoxy and Byzantine Catholocism function best as a triadic relationship between parishes, monasteries, and the domestic (home) church aka Icon corner, etc. The Seminary is positioned at the center of that triangle. Parishes are not monasteries, nor should be expected to function as one. Conversely, monasteries are not parishes. And in like manner Seminaries are neither. Vive la difference!

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I don’t know about friction, married candidates have and continue to be there. Married candidates and their families can’t live at the seminary due to youth protection issues which is an additional hardship.


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The Melkites no longer have a seminary.


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Christ is in our midst!!

I thought I remember that the Ukrainians had a year at their seminary in DC where they did over their housing to accommodate married seminarians. Or am I wrong?

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I don’t know. Perhaps one of our Ukrainian people know?


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It's been a while as I bumble through this haze of 2020 . . .


Originally Posted by theophan
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. . . there is definitely "friction" between the Pittsburgh seminary and some of the bishops who want to ordain married men.

So why does a bishop not have the option of sending his candidates to another Eastern Catholic seminary?


Actually, my bishop has been sending diaconal candidates to the Ukrainians for some time. If nothing else, it's far more *possible* to attend their multiple long weekends than a two week period at an inflexible time.

I really don't know what's going to happen for priestly formation, but there is most definitely episcopal support for finding a way to do it.

Quote
It seems to me the difficulty is in candidates who are already married because of the need to find work for the spouse. But if there is a real desire for a given candidate to succeed, there should be innovative solutions that can be found.

I suspect that much of the solution is going to be donors stepping in. Much of the problem is a hostility, whether real or perceived, to the practice of ordaining married men and the existence of the married seminarians.

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Christ is in our midst!!

Is it possible that a group of lay people could form a non-profit corporation and raise money to provide stipends for married seminarians?

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