Future Priests of the Third Millennium

A little insight into the life of seminarians from various dioceses preparing for ministry as Roman Catholic priests, including daily activities, personal interests, special events, the spiritual life, news from the seminary, and almost whatever comes to our minds!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Reflections on Skepticism

Last week, we toured the excavations beneath St. Peter's. Under guidance of a seminarian from Brooklyn, we moved through 2000 years of archaeology, history, myth, legend, and intrigue until nearly two hours later we found ourselves praying at the mortal remains of St. Peter himself. Yesterday, we knelt and prayed over the body of St. Cecilia whose historicity had been questioned by certain historians several decades ago. Time and time again, we find ourselves praying at the tombs and relics of those whom scholars in America would have us believe purely legendary at best and vicious fabrications at worst.

This is the difference between a hermeneutic of suspicion and a hermeneutic of faith. In so many theological disciplines in recent memory, the traditional piety of the Church has been poo-pooed as foolish and sentimental, having no scientific or historical weight. Yet, somehow, the bones of a man of about seventy years were discovered beneath the altar in St. Peter's precisely where tradition has always told us they are. The body of a woman with a severed head, incorrupt by the passing of centuries, was laid exactly as pious tradition had always held. In America, it is very easy to suggest that such conclusions are only reached when one suspends reality and interprets the facts so as to prove that which one had already concluded. Here in Rome, though, the miraculous and the unexplained are the air the faithful breath.

When approached from the perspective of faith, the miraculous and the bizarre suddenly make sense. From the beginning God has intervened in human affairs revealing his love to them. He continues to do so, and though they have tried and tried, this is something that no scientist, no archeologist, no scholar of history can take away.