UCA News has reported that two forward-looking changes are being made in the guidelines for priestly formation in Korea.
The first is the practical implementation of lifelong learning into the system, so that seminary formation and ongoing clergy education will be integrated.
The second is that education in abuse prevention and training in how to handle crimes will be included in seminary education.
To my knowledge, the abuse crisis has not been exploding in Korea particularly, yet they are being pro-active in addressing it. I give them high marks for this.
I am also intrigued by the incorporation of a lifelong learning perspective into formation. This is right, I believe, and guards against the all-too-familiar phenomenon of complacency after ordination — something which can also contribute to clericalism.
The principles of lifelong learning are enshrined in all the church’s catechetical documents, yet it’s my impression — at least here in the U.S. — that they are only weakly observed when it comes to clergy. Perhaps if these principles are experienced in and among church leaders, they will better understand its value and promote this experience for the whole Catholic people. That would be a good thing.
These may seem like rather modest changes, but I believe that it’s steps such as these that lead to greater integrity in the training and ongoing formation of Catholic clergy today.
The UCA News story can be found here.