Philosophy - Preparation for Seminary | Benedictine College

Philosophy - Preparation for Seminary

Philosophical studies have constituted an element in preparing for vocations to the priesthood and religious life for hundreds of years. Indeed, philosophy in its function as a ‘handmaid’ to theology is traced back to the words of Saints Justin and Clement in the earliest period of Church history.

For men preparing to become priests, philosophical studies have a direct and formal role to play. Our offerings exactly match the recommendations set out by the USCCB’s “Program of Priestly Formation”.

“The philosophical curriculum must include the study of the history of philosophy (ancient, medieval, modern, and contemporary), logic, epistemology, metaphysics, philosophy of nature, natural theology, anthropology, and ethics.” (USCCB, Program of Priestly Formation, §185)

Majors in philosophy here must take logic, philosophy of nature, anthropology (which we call ‘philosophical psychology’), ethics, and two courses in metaphysics—in fact, these courses constitute the core of major studies in philosophy. As to the history of philosophy, we offer six such classes, spanning human philosophical thought from ancient times to the present. Lastly, we also offer a course in general epistemology.

Moreover, the Program of Priestly Formation is careful to add that:

“It is essential that philosophical instruction be grounded in the perennially valid philosophical heritage, as well as taking into account philosophical investigations over the course of time.” (USCCB, Program of Priestly Formation, §188)

Apart from logic and the history of philosophy courses, all our courses are both grounded in the traditional philosophy extending from Plato and Aristotle through the medieval and scholastic periods, and also conversant with—indeed eager to know and address—the insights and challenges which modern and post-modern thinkers bring to the history of human thought. Students who have gone on to theological studies in preparation for the priesthood and religious life have returned to us, again and again, noting that they have been extremely well-prepared through their philosophical studies here.