Seminaries: Liberal or conservative?

A question for those much more knowledgable than myself:

I often read or hear of conservative and liberal seminaries. The problem is, I don’t know which would be which! Can anybody give their opinions on which are perceived to be more liberal and which are perceived to be more conservative? For instance, my diocese currently sends seminarians to Theological College in Washington, D.C.; the Pontifical North American College in Rome; St. Mary of the Lake Seminary in Mundelein, Illinois and the American College in Leuven, Belgium. Does anyone know anything about these seminaries?



bump! comments on midwest seminaries would be appreciated too…

I asked a priest I trusted in our archdiocese about St. Meinrad in Indiana. He said it was a very good seminary. It focuses on developing the “whole” person. I’ve been very impressed with the priests being ordained from there in the last five years.

I’ve heard the North America Seminary in Rome is called “Bishop school.”

if the NAC is Bishop School, it looks like Spokane is due for about 15 or more auxillaires very soon.

My priest graduated from there! He is a great priest, conservative in his views and he never teaches anything that is not endorsed by the Church. In fact, I’m thinking of going there for seminary because my diocese uses it.


I am not from Spokane. I just know they send pretty much everyone to the NAC.

Hopefully nobody will mind, but I’m going to throw in a couple more. If anyone has any feedback on these, that would be great.

St. Vincent Seminary, Latrobe PA
St. Mary Seminary, Baltimore

These are the two seminaries that my diocese (Greensburg, PA) uses primarily. From what I can tell, St. Vincent seems to be fairly orthodox. (My sister is currently a student at the college.)

When I asked the vocations director, he informed me that the diocese has used other seminaries in the past and would be willing to work with me if I had a strong preference for another one.

You will know them by their fruits. A good clue is the number of ordinations.

I know from personal experience that St. Meinrad Seminary is a very liberal seminary. They put up a good show but once you get beyond the appearances you see what is really going on. Traditional thinking is passive aggressively put down. Orthodox men are sent packing. So a lot of the guys there have to keep a low profile so they won’t get blasted.

You don 't have a choice. You go where your bishop sends you. All dioceses can send men to study in Rome for the priesthood. If you go to the NAC you actually study at one of the Pontifical Universities in Rome. That means the classes are in Italian and the course of study is more difficult than you would get at seminaries here, and only the brightest and best are sent there…hence the reason so many bishops come out of the NAC. I guess if you are accepted as a seminarian by your bishop and want to go to Rome to study make sure your grades are high. The seminarians our bishop has sent there went to really competitive universities and were top in their classes. Good luck and I hope you get to go study in Rome.

(1) Not all are in Italian. Many seminarians go to study in Rome and do not take a single course that is taught in Italian.

(2) One could make a very good argument against your second statement.

Wow! Your diocese gives you a lot of seminaries from which to choose. My diocese has its own major seminary and apparently sends all of its candidates to it.

That seems to be something that people miss. If you are a seminarian for Diocese X and they send their seminarians to Seminary Y, then you’re going to Seminary Y. If you don’t like Seminary Y, then you either go anyways or don’t become a seminarian for Diocese X. You’re free to pursue a vocation in Diocese P (with permission from your own bishop I believe) which sends their seminarians to Seminary Q, but you can’t mix and match. You can’t be part of Diocese X and go to Seminary Q.

Starting off your formal discernment to the priesthood with “No offence, but I don’t like Seminary X, can I go to Seminary Q instead?” doesn’t exactly make you look like a good future priest.

Although, on a sidenote my home diocese currently has seminarians at 3 different seminaries, but doesn’t have a “home seminary”. I don’t know the reason why (if I had to make a guess, I would probably guess lack of openings at their preferred one). The diocese I’m going to school in does have a “home seminary” and they do send all their seminarians there.

Yes actually it would make him a good priest. He doesn’t want to put up with the gays and liberals.

It gives the appearance that you could be demanding and disobedient, which is never a good thing. The diocesan hierarchy is never a big fan of a pushy seminarian.

Nor of one that has an attitude of arrogance and think he knows better than his bishop. Someone studing for the priesthood must have a sense of humility, after all he will be promising obedience to his bishop and successors.

Indeed. Those of us here in minor seminary wouldn’t dare tell our bishop that we don’t want to go somewhere for major seminary.

Humility, love, mercy and obedience are far more important qualities in a priest in serving Our Lord than an arrogant, Pharisee-like self-righteous one…

As Our Lord taught in the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector, the tax collector, was more justified in his humility than the Pharisee in his piety.

yes he also said that in order to enter heaven we must be as righteous as the pharisees. I dont think its unreasonable for those discerning the priethood (like the poster and myself) to expect a seminary that is free of liberals, homosexuals, and heretics.

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