.- In a message made public today, the Holy Father stressed that seminaries must carefully verify the capability of their candidates to live a celibate life from the moment of their admittance. He particularly underlined the fact that this must happen immediately on their entrance into the seminary.
The message was written to Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski, prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education, and to participants in that dicastery's plenary assembly, which is currently examining certain questions concerning seminaries, ecclesiastical faculties and Catholic universities.
Pope John Paul II first highlighted the fact that "in the light of current social and cultural changes, it may sometimes prove useful for educators to avail themselves of the work of competent specialists in order to help seminarians understand the requirements of the priesthood more fully, recognizing celibacy as a gift of love to the Lord and to one's brothers.”
At the moment that young men are admitted to the seminary, their suitableness for living a celibate life must be carefully verified, so that, prior to ordination, they achieve a moral certainty concerning their emotive and sexual maturity."
The Pope also pointed out that, since science and technology are developing at great speed, ecclesiastical faculties and Catholic universities are called to "continual renewal," and, after highlighting the usefulness of interdisciplinary dialogue, he affirms how "the encounter with theology and with 'a philosophy of genuinely metaphysical range' is particularly fruitful."
The Holy Father expresses the heartfelt desire for "the teaching of religion to be universally recognized and to have an adequate role in the educational syllabus of scholastic institutions."
The Pope concluded his message with a mention of the "effective vocational work carried out by the Pontifical Work for Priestly Vocations," established by Pope Pius XII.
On this, he said, "I feel the spiritual initiative undertaken by this organization during the year dedicated to the Eucharist is particularly appropriate: that of creating, by prayer vigils in all continents, a prayer chain linking Christian communities all over the world."