Partners in the Conversation: The Role of Ecumenical Divinity Schools in Catholic Theological Education

Citation: 
Charles, Henry J., Dean R. Hoge, and Francine Cardman. "Partners in the Conversation: The Role of Ecumenical Divinity Schools in Catholic Theological Education." New Haven, CT: Catholic Task Force of Yale Divinity School, 1992.
Abstract: 

Seminary enrollment more than doubled between 1969 and 1985 while enrollment at Catholic seminaries declined by 50%. By the 1990s, Catholic students were present in significant numbers at many traditionally Protestant divinity schools. Catholic students are attracted to these schools because they offer broad theological perspectives and academic freedom, even as the students remain committed to the Catholic Church. These students are far more democratic and ecumenical in their attitudes than the larger U.S. Catholic community. Women especially exhibit dissatisfaction with Catholic theological schools.

<p>The researchers urge the schools to reconsider their institutional arrangements, course offerings, spiritual formation services and level of cooperation with Catholic agencies in view of the numbers of Catholic students they are attracting. The researchers pose questions for the Catholic Church as well, especially in relation to two important issues: the growing shortage of candidates for the priesthood and the increasing number of theologically trained lay people eager to serve the church in ministerial capacities.

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