Having considered issues of liturgical studies curriculum in seminaries and their equivalents, the Constitution now turns its attention to formation acquired by enacting the liturgy.

Vatican Website translation:

17. In seminaries and houses of religious, clerics shall be given a liturgical formation in their spiritual life. For this they will need proper direction, so that they may be able to understand the sacred rites and take part in them wholeheartedly; and they will also need personally to celebrate the sacred mysteries, as well as popular devotions which are imbued with the spirit of the liturgy. In addition they must learn how to observe the liturgical laws, so that life in seminaries and houses of religious may be thoroughly influenced by the spirit of the liturgy.

Latin text:

17. Clerici, in seminariis domibusque religiosis, formationem vitae spiritualis liturgicam adquirant, cum apta manuductione qua sacros ritus intellegere et toto animo participare queant, tum ipsa sacrorum mysteriorum celebratione, necnon aliis pietatis exercitiis spiritu sacrae Liturgiae imbutis; pariter observantiam legum liturgicarum addiscant, ita ut vita in seminariis et religiosorum institutis liturgico spiritu penitus informetur.

Slavishly literal translation:

17. Clerics, in seminaries and religious houses, should acquire liturgical formation of their spiritual life, both through proper direction by which they would seek to understand the sacred rites and to participate [in them] with their entire spirit, and by the celebration of those sacred mysteries, as well as other pious exercises imbued with the spirit of the sacred Liturgy; equally they should learn in addition the observance of liturgical laws so that life in seminaries and institutes of religious may be completely shaped by the liturgical spirit.

In article 17 the Council Fathers teach that more is required for the liturgical formation of seminarians and their equivalents than simply hiring instructors who are qualified to teach liturgical studies as graduates from reputable programs and by promoting classroom instruction in liturgical studies at a par with the other major theological disciplines. Celebrating liturgy in the seminary and equivalent houses of formation has its own part to play; intellectual study of the liturgy without integration with proper celebration of the liturgy misforms seminarians and their equivalents. A limping parallel might be the relative uselessness of an acting program in which the students only hear lectures about the history of the theater, read scripts, and evaluate theories of theater criticism without ever attending a play, acting a role, sewing costumes, constructing sets, or working the lights.

Questions that Pray Tell readers may want to consider include: 1) What is the quality and character of the liturgical formation today’s seminarians (and their equivalents) BRING to their seminary education and how does it influence their ability to receive formation while in the seminary? 2) Is there a danger of presenting seminary liturgical patterns and customs as normative for other worshiping communities? 3) What happens when there is a disconnect between what the students learn about liturgy in the classroom and what they enact in chapel?

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