I almost missed this story today, buried as it was on the Boston Globe web site. The Archdiocese of Boston has announced it’s cutting seminary faculty as enrollment falls. That may sound like bad news, but I think it’s good news. Here’s why: It’s no secret that for years certain people in the archdiocese have wanted to bring about some reform at the seminary. When Bishop Lennon was rector, he was able to accomplish some, but not much since Cardinal Law didn’t allow too much upheaval. But when Lennon became temporary administrator of the archdiocese, he appointed a Dominican, Father John Farren, to take his place, an appointment that was hailed by many because Fr. Farren was said to be solidly orthodox.
Now, today, the archdiocese announces that it’s cutting four faculty members and three more will be leaving voluntarily, leaving 12 faculty to serve 60 seminarians. At least one of them is about 75 now and would be retiring soon anyway, but the rest could be considered, shall we say, less than ideal as those who form the next generation of priests. In particular, the two spiritual directors, who are known to be somewhat lackluster, are being cut and will presumably be replaced with better ones.
I think this is going to be a good thing for the seminary, especially if it regains a reputation for dynamic orthodoxy and a place where you get outstanding formation, and perhaps we’ll have the same explosion in the number of seminarians like Denver has, for example.
Update: Broken link fixed.