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Santina Carter wrote:

Hi, guys —

Does a priest study the whole Bible in seminary?


  { Does a priest study the whole Bible in seminary? }

John replied:

Dear Santina,

Thank you for your question. You hit on one of my pet peeves.

Unfortunately, priests don't study the whole Bible in seminary. In fact, they come no where near studying enough Scripture. They do study several years of theology and philosophy. The theology classes will have some Scripture, as will the courses on the Church Fathers. They are lucky if, over their four or five years in seminary, they get about five courses on Scripture. To make matters worse, those courses are usually not about what the text actually means, rather they are courses based on the Historical Critical Method of exegesis. In other words, they waste too much time trying to figure out who wrote a certain book or reconstructing history from the text.

It's a very sad state of affairs. The Historical Critical Method is a useful tool, but studying the method, does not replace studying the Bible. Unfortunately, most priests, for all intents and purposes, are biblically illiterate. This, of course, explains the doctrinally insipid and uninspiring slop they serve every Sundays from the pulpit.

To put it more bluntly, the average Catholic priest in America today would look for Zephania[h] on the spice rack before he realized it wasn't an ingredient for tomato sauce, but the ninth of twelve minor prophets, who probably wrote in the seventh century B.C.

As I said, you've hit one my pet peeves!

We all need to pray that our seminaries start putting more emphasis on the written Word of God. They could easily reduce the philosophy load in half.

Heck, if the philosophy is supposed to help them understand the theology.

It's sure not working, because if they understand the theology, they ain't showing it from the pulpit!


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