and the Future of Church Ministry
An Analysis of Trends and Transitions
A Michael Glazier Book, The Liturgical Press $24.95, 258 pp.
Robert P. Imbelli
In 1989, Sister Katarina Schuth published a pioneering study of Roman Catholic seminaries and theologates, Reason for the Hope (Michael Glazier). In it she provided valuable information and assessments regarding the efforts of Catholic institutions for ministerial formation to respond to the directions charted by Vatican II. She concluded that study on a note that was both realistic about the challenges and hopeful about the future.
Now, a decade later, in her new study, Schuth reviews the current state of these institutions. The goal of the new study is "to explore how and how well the schools are fulfilling their mission of preparing men and women for ministry in the twenty-first century." When asked bluntly whether she remains hopeful, Sister Schuth responds with an unequivocal "yes," but adds: "The reasons for hope have altered somewhat and new problems now confront us." Her study thus deserves the close attention not only of those immediately engaged in the ministry formation enterprise, but of all concerned with the flourishing of Catholic life in the new century.
Schuth, or members of her team, visited thirty-eight of the forty-two U.S. theologates that enroll candidates for the priesthood (many of them also serve laywomen and men preparing for ministry). Over five hundred-and-fifty interviews of faculty,...