Question about Pre-theology and Theology Seminary programs


#1

I have a bit of a technical question which I hope the seminarians and priests out there will be able to help me with.
I was reading through the USCCB's document on the Program of Priestly Formation to learn more about the academic nature of the 2-year pre-theology and 4-year theology programs. As I understood it, pre-theology is essentially an introduction to the more 'meaty' theology, with a heavy basis in philosophy and coursework in theology, specifically in metaphysics, logic, ethics, history of philosophy, and epistemology.

My question is what, in the academic sense, would constitute this 2-year pre-theology curricula? Obviously there is the prescribed two-year pre-theology program at a seminary that would fulfill it, but what about coursework at a Catholic university that would coincide with a Bachelor's Degree? For example, would a 'major' in Philosophy and heavy coursework in theology at a Catholic university exempt you from this pre-theology program and allow you straight into the four years of 'theology' at a seminary?

I was just curious as for prospective seminarians who may have a strong background/major in the Philosophy/Theology department, and how that would affect their 2-year pre-theology requirement -- in most of the philosophy departments of Catholic universities which I did a quick search of online, their 'major' programs seem to include all of the focus areas that the 2-year program focuses on (metaphysics, ethics, logic, etc.)

It's a bit of a technical question, but I'm sure there's someone that can help me with it.

Just curious as to the inner workings of the contemporary seminary program.
Thanks in advance!


#2

The best bet would be to talk to the vocation director for a diocese or the rector of a seminary.

Here in Canada (well, at my seminary at least), there are 8 required philosophy courses that you need for ordination which can be taken as part of a degree, or if you are missing a bunch after finishing a degree (like myself) you take them for 1 year prior to the spiritual year (which is prior to theology).

Im not sure if that helps, but thats what I`ve got.


#3

Pre-Theology gets you a Bachelor of Philosophy (not a BA in Philosophy), at least from what programs I'm familiar with. Basically, if you come in with a bachelors, it would be the Philosophy major classes for a second bachelors in Philosophy, without all the core curriculum that you would have already gotten in your first bachelors. I entered seminary with a BA and then did two years of Pre-Theology. It is still looked upon as a time of discernment, as is college seminary, whereas Theology is preparation for the priesthood (and graduate level Theological studies). Along with your philosophy studies in PT, you'd get some basic Theology and perhaps language courses; at my seminary the difference between the B.Phil and the Certificate of Completion of Philosophical Studies (certifying that you'd completed the minimum requirements of the Program of Priestly Formation for entrance to Theology) was 12 credits of language--6 in Latin and 6 in Greek. PM me if you have more questions.

-ACEGC

PS--I'm in my first year of Theology, having completed my BA as an undergrad at a college that was not a seminary and then doing two years of PT at my seminary.


#4

You can't think about it from strictly an academic sense. Seminary is about formation which includes the Intellectual, Spiritual, Human, and Pastoral pillars. Pre-theology is there to help a man figure out if he is called to the priesthood and thus the man has Spiritual Director and a Formator who help the man out. This cannot be done at a normal college as a man must live with others who are striving for this goal and become immersed in the culture. This culture helps men to discern whether or not they are called to the priesthood. If the man just went for four years he may become a priest without a full discernment and so the Church in her great wisdom gives us men ample time to figure our whether we are called or not.

I hope that helps.


#5

Thank you both so much for the responses, which have helped me to understand more fully the seminary-educational system.
I fully realize that the two-year pre-theology program is enormously important for the discernment process, as well as for its academic nature.
A further question if I might – do you find that seminarians usually attend the same seminary for their pre-theology and theology programs, or different seminaries?
Thanks so much!


#6

[quote="Spinonitaliani, post:5, topic:309555"]
Thank you both so much for the responses, which have helped me to understand more fully the seminary-educational system.
I fully realize that the two-year pre-theology program is enormously important for the discernment process, as well as for its academic nature.

A further question if I might -- do you find that seminarians usually attend the same seminary for their pre-theology and theology programs, or different seminaries?
Thanks so much!

[/quote]

That all depends on the diocese and the will of the bishop and vocations director; it also has more than a little bit to do with the particular circumstances of the seminarian and with what's going on at the seminary. Some men stay at the same place, others go elsewhere.

-ACEGC


closed #7

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