Models of Priestly Formation

Front Cover for Models of Priestly Formation

Models of Priestly Formation

Past, Present, and Future

In Models of Priestly Formation, Msgr. Charles Murphy explores key moments in the history of priestly education and vocation, and points us toward developments in training that can help priests manage increasingly complex demands on their time and talents.

Priestly training is at a crossroads. In the aftermath of American seminary visitations and breakthrough books such as Howard Bleichner’s View from the Altar and Donald Cozzens’s The Changing Face of the Priesthood, the training of Catholic priests has reemerged in Catholic circles and society at large as a pressing issue.

In Models of Priestly Formation, Msgr. Charles Murphy gives us much-needed perspective for this conversation.

Topics include:

Seminary Visitation
Priests as Spiritual Leaders
Pastores Dabo Vobis
Charles Borromeo
Priestly Mission to the World
The Tridentine Seminary
The “French School”
Pope John Paul II
The Neocatechumenal Way

Reviews and endorsements

“Msgr. Murphy believes that priestly formation is at a crossroad. He views the recent American seminary visitations and important new publications on priesthood, both sociological and theological as the impetus to look more closely at how our priests have been and are being educated. Msgr. Murphy has been the rector of the North American College in Rome. The creation of this book comes from both his personal experiences in seminaries and from his good scholarly research.

Msgr. Murphy begins with a look at seminaries from their very beginnings. The 16th and the 17th centuries were pivotal in the creation of seminaries in their modern sense. Although the first directives of the Council of Trent were directed at poor, uneducated men desiring priesthood, they soon expanded their perspective to promulgate decrees that these youths be nourished and religiously educated in the disciplines of the Catholic Church. The first chapter also reports the important contributions to the creation of the modern seminary by Saint Charles Borromeo.

Msgr. Murphy relates the story of the other developments of the 16th and 17th centuries especially in France where the concepts of priestly spirituality were added to the current academic, 'scholastic' model. Saint Vincent de Paul and Saint Philip Neri and the establishment of the Society of Staint Sulpice are discussed.

Msgr. Murphy jumps to the Second Vatican Council and the concepts of Christian community and its mission to the world with the impact on seminaries and the formation of a different priest. Ratio Fundamentalis and Pastores dobo obis are explained in detail.

The last two chapters deal with the new seminaries established to form priests for this new mission of the Church—conversion, community, and mission. The book ends with a look at an experimental seminary begun in Paris in 1985. Here is also a section titled 'Implications' that looks at the future.

This is an interesting work for all those involved in priestly formation, both seminary faculties and vocation committees in parishes. It gives us an excellent picture of where seminaries have been and where they may be going."
Catholic Library World


"Each of us is on a journey.  A journey means a beginning, a destination and a purpose. It helps to have a friend point the way. Kind, empathetic, resourceful, Charles Murphy is such a friend in this book."
—John T. Noonan, Jr., United States circuit judge

9780824524029
Paperback / 96 pages
Dimensions: 5 3/8 x 8 1/4
HERDER & HERDER, 2006