WASHINGTON (November 15, 1999) -- The U.S. bishops will vote on a document outlining norms for admitting to a seminary men who previously were seminarians or members of a religious order.
The document, which is entitled "Norms for the Application of the Instruction, The Admission of Candidates from Other Seminaries and Religious Families," will be proposed by the bishops' Committee on Priestly Formation.
The norms follow a request from the Vatican Congregation for Catholic Education which asked bishops' conferences to consider "a more exact observance of the canonical norms relating to the admission to seminary of candidates coming from other seminaries or religious families."
The norms will be submitted to Rome and will have a binding character following the "recognitio" from the Holy See.
The norms were developed to respect the rights and responsibilities of the candidate, the bishop or major superior and the good of the Church. The norms will enable seminaries to review information about a candidate who has previously been in formation, to help facilitate exchange of information about the applicant's prior candidacy and to invite bishops and major superiors into consultative review prior to admission.
The document also addresses the spiritual, moral, intellectual, and human characteristics of men applying for the seminary.
The norms require that application forms include a question concerning prior formation experience and that applicants permit the release of all pertinent information between formation programs in the case of reapplication to another diocese, seminary or religious community. It is understood that all previous formation programs will be contacted and that there will be a two-year waiting period for students dismissed from formation programs prior to their being accepted into another formation program.