Does anyone find it strange that

Today’s priests earn a Master in Divinity (MDiv) degree from their seminary prior to ordination. It consists of anywhere from 85-120 semester hours and covers a wide variety of topics. In my Archdiocese, the seminarians earn 111 semester hours:

A. Biblical Studies and Homiletics (24)
Intro to Biblical Studies, Psalms and Wisdom (3)
Pentateuch and Histories (3)
Homiletics I (3)
Pauline Literature (3)
Synoptic Gospels and Acts (3)
Prophets (3)
Johannine Literature (3)
Homiletics II (3)

B. Systematic Theology (24)
Fundamental Theology (2)
Doctrine of God, One and Three (3)
Christology and Soteriology (3)
Anthropology, Creation, Grace and Eschatology (3)
Ecclesiology and Mariology (3)
Ecum. and Interreligious Dialogue (2)
Sacraments of Initiation (3)
Sacraments of Healing and Vocation (2)
Nature & Mission of the Priesthood (1)
Theology of the Priesthood (2)

C. Church History (12)
Foundations of the Catholic Tradition 33-763 (3)
Medieval & Early Modern 800-1700 (3)
Age of Revolution 1712-1848 (2)
Modern Church History (2)
American Church History (2)

D. Liturgy and Music (10)
Principles of Sacred Liturgy (2)
Liturgical Chant I (1)
Liturgical Chant II (1)
Liturgical Chant III (1)
Liturgical Leadership (1)
Rites Practicum (2)
Mass Practicum (2)

E. Moral Theology (12)
Fundamental Moral Theology (3)
Medical Ethics and Suffering (3)
Sexuality and Vocation (3)
Social Justice (2)
Reconciliation Practicum (1)

F. Spiritual Theology (4)
Spiritual Theology (3)
Spiritual Direction (1)

G. Pastoral Theology and Canon Law (25)
Missiology, Evang. and Culture (3)
Theological Reflection on Catechesis and Family (1)
Pastoral Care and Counseling (2)
Theological Reflection II (1)
Theological Reflection III (2)
Canon Law I (2)
Canon Law II (2)
Parish Admin. and Leadership (3)
Clinical Pastoral Education (3)
Pastoral Internship (6)

I find it interesting that you have been 22 years in the faith, and do not realize nor understand the tremendous education that priests receive in Seminary.

What are you really upset about? There’s something that has set you on this course…
you are reacting to something that was said to you. What is it?

Fair point. Most of my confusion probably has to do with not being to just accept certain things at face value (i.e. Original Sin, the idea of God being ALL GOOD and ALL KNOWING, the fact that prayer even works(?), basically everything tbh)I think what we are taught is simplified and I’d like to take a more theological or academic approach towards this. I noticed an earlier posted listed a bunch of courses. Now is there a standard textbook or something people can recommend me to read?

Yes, there are many standard texts based on which class/ topic you want to learn about. You can stop by the bookstore of any seminary and see what they are reading and buy them for yourself.

A good book to start with is This Is Our Faith by Michael Pennock. Good information and easy to read.


My friend, this is sort of like asking, is there a standard text book on receiving a PhD in Nuclear Physics or becoming a brain surgeon for the layman? :slight_smile:

Maybe you should read John Paull II’s Encyclical on Faith and Reaon. You won’t come to believe all this on reason alone. It is a Grace from God.

i really liked ‘mere christianity’. and the ccc is very informative and instructive. when you read the bible, it all comes together. God creates man, man rejects God, God spends thousands of years trying to woo him back unsuccessfully, and finally sends his son, hoping that if they can actually see and touch Him, then they will love Him. and that has worked pretty well for some, and not so much for others.

It may help if you could list your questions here so others can recommend research material for you, if not answer your questions themselves.

Doubt is apart of Faith, God wants you to ask questions and talk of his mysteries.
What we can’t expect is for any person let alone a busy Priest, to stand their and answer 50 straight questions so that every answer lives up to your satisfaction.

What if it were reversed & the Priest asked you questions about life,
How many questions could any of us answer to his satisfaction?

If the priest doesn’t know the answer when you ask it, then maybe the question
was put in your head to make him think and not just for you to get a satisfactory answer.

I had a friend who was talking of leaving her faith for similar reasons, I asked her if the
priest and religious she asked had answered more questions than our Politicians have done, she said yes they have, I then asked her if she was going to stop voting and stop supporting the country, she said “no of course not that would be stupid” I just looked at her and smiled, she understood, she still sits in the pews every week but now she looks at a question like it is a treasure hunt, for that is what they are in our faith, answers are treasures you need to go in search of, but don’t expect one person to hand you all these wonders on a silver platter, get your hands dirty, go on these long adventures in search of these things, you will find many other great rewards along the way and many other faithful loving Catholics as well.

I have had a question that has yet to be answered conclusively.
so I will take my own advice and ask all of you here.
“Is my Spirit one and the same with my Soul
or are they separate from each other”?

Enjoy the treasure hunt my LOVELY fellow Catholics

and Mary Christ Mass to you all.


I don’t have to admit that. I don’t think it’s true at all. There are lots of theological issues that are discussed and debated constantly by all sorts of theologians through the ages. If you have a specific issue you want to think critically about, I can almost guarentee you that someone, and probably many someones, have already had a shot at it. There are thousands and thousands of documents explaining the reasoning of various theologians throughtout the centeries easily available online.

No, I don’t find it strange…I find it human. Ask my doctor to explain my heart, my pancreas, my brain, my struggles with energy, motivation, focus, moods, creativity. Most doctors can treat, prescribe, provide some patient education. They often cannot explain the prescriptions, nutrition, well being. They are often frustrated that their patients neglect the simple steps: eat well, exercise, don’t smoke, overeat, overdrink, mess with drugs, etc…But to learn more I must go to the class, the specialist, the educator, the book and learn more to answer my questions, restore my health and begin to thrive.

Same with soul doctors. Our priests teach us the simple ways to heal the soul and hopefully thrive. Many of us ignore, neglect, challenge the ways we are taught. Some priests are specialists, educators, pharmacists in a way. But the common truth, power, and answer is in the mass that they serve, participating over and over in the Sacrifice of Christ.

There’s nothing wrong with wanting to know more about why the Church teaches what it does. I returned to the Catholic Church after being away for some time (long story). Though I was never part of, nor had any interest in joining, any other Christian denomination a HUGE part of my journey back was reading apologetic books by authors like Scott Hahn, Karl Keating, and Dave Armstrong. Good apologists have a way of digging down to the “roots” and explaining the Church’s teachings from a perspective that makes sense. The more I read, the deeper I wanted to go.

At a certain point, I was able to accept that there was an all-knowing and all-loving God, Christ was God incarnate, He established a church, and that the Catholic Church was the church established by Christ. I didn’t understand the reason for every doctrine (some where challenging), but knowing that the Church was established by Christ to teach and guide us so that we may come to know Truth, I was able, through “faith,” to accept as truth doctrines I did not fully understand.

That being said, I continued to read, study, and learn; eventually, I was able to see the strength of the logic in the Church’s position on some very tough doctrines. There are still certain things that challenge my faith (and I continue to learn), but I believe what the Church teaches because the Church isn’t the one that decides what is true or untrue–She just delivers the message.

Also, you may already be aware of this, but the bottom of each page in the CCC lists sources cited (the Bible, the Code of Canon Law, official Church documents on doctrine, various councils, writings of numerous saints and theologians, etc.). Some of these sources may be helpful.

Hope this helps. Peace to you.

So many things posted - i suppose you may have overlooked my question in post # 20.

I am really curious why you say that you are “forced to reject them” (whatever it might be).


I find it strange that priests today are required to have all of this and yet the first pope was a (presumably) uneducated fisherman…:smiley:


All of the above is good, and yet none of it means anything if the person, the priest or deacon, cannot distill all of this into something usable for their flocks - the average Catholic in the pew.

Jesus spoke in stories - parables - that helped people along. They didn’t necessarily answer the questions directly, but they gave folks something to think about - something that could bring them closer to the truth. He didn’t just dismiss a question with “well that’s a mystery”.
Now granted, our priests are not God incarnate, as Christ was, and certainly there ARE things that they simply cannot answer. But I do understand the OP’s frustration. I have felt it many times as well.


He spoke in parables because, ‘this peoples eyes and ears are closed, and if they understood, they would turn, and be healed’.

Agreed. And you have to remember the context of the times. Few people could read, even if they had scrolls to read.
The OP is a classic example of our times.
Everybody has questions and they demand PROOF.
That’s why the priests need all these courses.
Peace, and Merry Christmas.

‘but when the Son of Man returns, will He find faith on earth’?

Yes - I know why Jesus used parables…that was not the point of my post.
The point was that, While Jesus had ALL the understanding (He is God after all) he was able to put things in a way that the average person could understand - If their eyes and ears (and heart) were open.

Likewise - a seminarian can have all the “book learning” in the world, but if he can’t translate that in a way that is helpful to the flock…you just end up with people like the OP…frustrated.

Don’t get me wrong, the book learning is great - - but there are other things that are equally important.


i honestly don’t believe the o/p’s problem has anything to do with pastoral care. again, it’s having a heart of faith. nothing wrong with asking questions, but as you can read in the gospels, the answers aren’t always what our itching ears want to hear.


Hi James,

I don’t understand why you suggest the first Pope was “uneducated”? After all, he and the other 11 spent three years living with Jesus. I bet they learned a lot during that time and got the chance to put it into action in the years that followed Jesus’ death, Resurrection and Ascension.

Anyway, you ask about the link between book learning and practical/ministerial approach. The post of the courses I listed above comes from Mundelein Seminary near Chicago where Fr. Robert Barron is Rector. Fr. Barron is world renown for making the Faith accessible to the common person and his specialty is answering questions from atheists and agnostics on YouTube and helping Catholics know the Faith thru FaithClips, Word on Fire and the Catholicism series. He is serious about making sure this generation of priests can answer questions and provide guidance to the people and the seminarians do have practicums and “field ed” in the parishes. However, there are two other factors to consider - today’s seminary protocols were not necessarily used on previous generations of priests, and today’s “average” lay person does not have the same basic Faith foundation as previous generations had nor a common language to discuss complex topics of the Faith. Have you ever watched a person’s eyes glaze over when you try to explain Aristotelian categories of “substance” and “accidents”?

While not necessarily true in the OP’s situation, there are times when a person wants a detailed explanation for something in the next 30 seconds while Father needs to offer an anointing to a sick person and get ready for the next Mass.

Rather than faulting priests over the OP’s more obscure post, as already suggested by many in this thread, why doesn’t the OP ask his or her questions on this forum? It’s likely they’ve already been discussed in other threads and that solid Catholic teachers have clips on YouTube or books available.

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