Vatican to Evaluate All U.S. Seminaries

The Vatican review of all U.S. seminaries will began late next month, three years after the clergy sex abuse scandal struck a blow to the American church in 2002.

According to a report by Catholic News Service, the U.S. coordinator for the review Archbishop Edwin O'Brien announced that 117 bishops and seminary staff will visit more than 220 seminary campuses in teams of three or four.

The points of evaluation include the school's preparation for the celibate life and fidelity to church teachings on morality as well as the issue of enrollment of the homosexual candidates for the priesthood who are willing to abide by the celibacy rule.
The teams will review documents provided by the schools in advance and may interview teachers, students and recent alumni. They will file their reports directly to the Vatican, which will then send confidential evaluations to the bishops and religious superiors responsible for the schools and prepare an over-all evaluation, according to the report of Associated Press (AP) earlier this week

The reviewing teams were carefully selected by the Vatican Congregation for Catholic Education, which oversees seminaries, and in consultation with the U.S. bishops' committee on priestly training and heads of male religious orders.

The education congregation in Rome has also been drafting new guidelines for accepting priestly candidates that could stir issues on gays.