Friday, April 03, 2009

Closure of last Roman Catholic seminary in Scotland "inevitable"

Comment by Martin Hannan, a former trainee priest
The Herald

The closure of Scotus College is sad, but was inevitable. It belonged to a bygone time, when young Catholic boys went to the national junior seminaries in Langbank and Blairs by the dozen, then on to either of the Scots Colleges in Rome or Valladolid in Spain, or to St Andrew's, Drygrange, and St Peter's College, Cardross.

I know we went by the dozen because I was one of 65 boys who started in St Vincent's College, Langbank, in 1970. Just five of us made it through Blairs College and senior seminary to the priesthood.

I never deny my education at Langbank, Blairs and Rome. At the last two, I had a ball - we played football three times a week on full-size grass pitches.

Of the Scottish seminaries, only Rome remains, with the students placed at the Jesuit-run Gregorian University.

They are few in number because an increasingly secular society abhors the virtues of priestly holiness and celibacy, while the reputation of the Catholic clergy in Scotland has never really recovered from a series of abuse scandals.

The vast majority of priests in this country are good and holy men who have been let down by a small minority. Their number is falling by the year, but then so is the number of practising Catholic families with youngsters prepared to adhere to out-of-date theology - the fundamental reason why so few Catholic boys and men now want to become priests.

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