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ment needed to make preaching more effectual for good, as sincerity, spirituality, solidity of material, preparation for apt delivery, thoroughness of training and individuality. All concurred, however, in proclaiming their belief that the teaching of homiletics should be given a place of standing and honor in the seminary curriculum.
At the end it was voted that the Committee on Resolutions, to which Father Doyle was now added as a member, should draw up a resolution expressing the general sentiment of this body on the matter of Homiletic Instruction in the Seminary. The meeting, having lasted a full three hours, then adjourned.
The final session of the Department began on Thursday morning at 10 a. m., and continued for one hour. The minutes of the previous meeting were read and accepted. The Committee on Resolutions presented a set of resolutions, which were approved and adopted by the assembly.
Proceeding to the election of officers for the ensuing year, the Department determined by a viva voce vote to retain the present Secretary. Nominations from the floor, followed by balloting, led to the election of a new President, the Very Rev. E. J. Walsh, C. M., D. D., of Niagara University, and of a new Vice President, the Very Rev. John P. Chidwick, D. D., of the New York Seminary. The elections were confirmed and made unanimous. The retiring officers were tendered a vote of thanks, and the meeting then adjourned.
Appended will be found the resolutions adopted by the Seminary Department at its final session.
GEORGE V. LEAHY, Secretary.
RESOLUTIONS OF THE SEMINARY DEPARTMENT
WHEREAS, The importance of the matter demands it; and WHEREAS, The attacks of the enemies of our Faith make it necessary; be it
Resolved, That it is the sense of the Seminary Department that moral theology should not only be treated solidly and accurately,
but also that the questions which embrace the principles of moral science be exposed dogmatically.
WHEREAS, It is the office of the priest to preach the Word of God; be it
Resolved, That great stress be laid upon this sacred obligation in the seminaries; that the students be trained with all diligence. Wherefore the professors of homiletics should see to it that the doctrine be exact and solid, and the method of expounding it be Apostolic.
Let the students give themselves to the study of the Sacred Scripture and the Fathers.
Let them be taught to expound to the people the doctrine of Christ Crucified, and to insist upon those points which make for the true Christian formation of their hearers.
Let them be convinced that they must meditate upon the things they are going to propose, and let them have frequent recourse to God.
Let them be thoroughly trained in all that pertains to the perfection of voice and gesture and whole bearing.
TIMOTHY B. BARRETT, S. J.,
Committee on Resolutions.
THE TEACHING OF MORAL THEOLOGY
REV. TIMOTHY B. BARRETT, S. J., PROFESSOR OF MORAL THEOLOGY, HOUSE OF STUDIES, WOODSTOCK, MD.
The teaching of Moral Theology is well-nigh the most important function of clerical training. We are gathered together to further the noblest of all noble interests, those of our great Captain, Christ. This is our common aim. We may differ in method, but the scope of our work is the same, to restore all things in Christ. In the great temple of Catholic education there are many sanctuaries, but the Holy of Holies is for the priest alone. On the training of the priest depends the Catholic life of our nation the true reformer being the holy priest and confessor. He alone knoweth the hearts of men. There are no secrets of the human heart, nay-we say it with all reverence-no secrets of the Heart of our Savior, unfathomed by the Catholic priest. The priest, the confessor, is the mediator between man and God. The interest of both are laid up in his soul. The priest heart must be like the Heart of the Master. To train this man, the ambassador of Christ, to form the Apostle, this is in a peculiar manner the duty of the professor of Moral. The regular officer in the army of the Lord is the priest whose heart is right as our Lord is with him. (Kings, 4, c. 10.) He is the standard-bearer. Vexilla Regis prodeunt, fulget crucis mysterium.
The teacher of Moral Theology should be, or at least strive to be, not merely a learned man, but he should also strive to be in his own humble way like to our Lord, else he cannot make his pupils like our Lord. He must have fathomed as well as possible to him in his own life the mystery of the cross, before he can read its lessons to his pupils who are to pass the King's commands along to the spiritually wounded. They must be the
leaders of the onslaught, and the manœuvres must be learned primarily in the class of Moral Theology. These young men, the future confessors of the land, will one day have the hearts of men in their hands and the hopes of Christ in their keeping. They are to be the clavigeri, the key-bearers of the Kingdom of God, the judges, the teachers, the fathers of the souls of men. The note of the holiness of the Church will be in a very marked degree entrusted to them. Theirs it will be, under God, to lead souls from the mire of iniquity into the highlands of God's grace. As the guides of souls, they should be the way, the truth and the life to their penitents, and to make his pupils such, the professor must direct all his efforts.
It would be hard indeed to imagine material more pliable than are the hearts of the pupils seated before him in the classroom. They have been prepared by years of most careful training; ordinarily speaking they are inflamed with enthusiasm. Moral Theology, the science of right and wrong, is a most vital, entrancing subject. Morality is the blood in the veins of every human act. Much of the subject matter is already known at least in part to the pupil-this is at once a benefit and a danger.
The professor is about to begin his lecture. Before doing so, one thing is of prime importance, the text-book. He is to lecture from a text. That text must be known to his pupils, else much will be lost. He should see to it that the prelection has been made by his pupils beforehand. On this the success of teaching depends in great part. Now a prelection is an impossibility without the text-book. The lecture is a part, a great part, yet only a part of the teaching of Moral Theology. The teacher must explain the principles of his science. But this science the most important of all principles, must be elucidated from life with all its variations external and internal in individual souls. The professors of Moral Theology, like the true reformers of whom Pius X speaks in his latest Encyclical, should combine theory with practice, availing themselves of the former to prevent all the wiles of error, and of the latter to apply the precepts to the morals and actions of life.
Theory and practice, that is the life-work of the professor of Moral both must be taught in the lecture. The moral theolo
gian must be deeply versed in the practical principles of life. Ordinarily speaking, he will not be so, unless he has learned them from his master. The living voice of the teacher is almost sacramental in its efficacy. Now in explaining his principles the professor must needs be merciless in his logic. The principles must be proved up to the hilt, must shine out like bright stars in the heavens, must be explained in all their multitudinous bearings. Take as an example, the treatise on the Human Acts. It embraces all our lives. Yet it is this very fundamental tract of Moral Theology on which the leaders of so-called modern thought outside the Church have gone astray.
The professor of Moral must, above all things, see to it that his principles are clearly proved and understood. This is especially necessary in our own day. There is not a single fundamental principle of morality that is not denied by the enemies of the Church. Our proofs must be irrefragable. It is true that the principle must be applied to the life around us, that the pupil must learn how to make the application; but without being solidly grounded in his principles, the pupil's solutions will be snap judgments which are the bane of Moral Theology. The questions which contain the basic principles of the Moral Science must be expounded dogmatically.
Every day after the lecture some ten minutes should be allowed the pupils for questions. This is ordinarily of great importance, and should never be omitted without grave reason. For it not infrequently happens that some part of the lecture has not been grasped; and all should be given an opportunity to put their queries in public.
On the following day at the beginning of the class, the preceding lecture should be repeated by the pupil, and the most searching questions and apt cases put by the professor. Drill and drudgery are keys to the treasure of Moral Theology. During this questioning the professor may also be teaching. His object must be ever kept in view, namely, the salvation of souls. Hence after being convinced that the pupil understands the principle he should also see whether he knows how to apply it to practical life.