By: Adrián Alejandro Garza Morales, seminarian.
The formative journey at the seminary calls for order and discipline for the seminarian must be led to form the sentiments of Christ the Good Shepherd; therefore, the priest in the formative team of the seminary are responsible to watch for each seminarian so he remains on the right way.
In addition to helping lead seminarians, formative priests have the mission of reviewing seminarians’ progress. Scrutiny is then, “the act of discernment on the suitability of a candidate” (can. 1051), and this task is conducted at four specific moments in a priest’s formative journey: admittance, ministries (reader and acolyte), deaconate and presbytery (Pastores dabo vobis, n. 23). Scrutiny is intended to verify the actual presence of personal qualities and conditions in a candidate who is being configured to Christ the Good Shepherd. In order to carry out this task, in addition to observations performed by seminary priests, some priests, laymen and seminarians who have had the opportunity to work and interact with the examinee for a long time are asked to give their opinions regarding the seminarian’s willingness in his journey to priesthood.
The word scrutinize means both observing or examining something or someone attentively and thoroughly, and also recognizing and computing the votes cast in an election. Therefore, scrutiny at the seminary has this dual nature. In the first place, the abovementioned examination is conducted, and then voting is done by the formative team to arrive at a decision regarding the scrutiny.
Scrutiny is indeed a complex and difficult process because of all the reflection involved in making such an important decision as giving or denying a ministry to a seminarian. But this process is not only a human decision, for the presence of the Holy Spirit provides certainty on the decisions made for Him has led the Church from its very inception, and His presence gives us the certainty that we are being led to our salvation.
Let’s ask the Lord to cast light on the priests who carry out this complex task in various places, to give them wisdom in their decisions so they may lead the future priests of the People of God in a holy manner.