A three-week course designed to introduce foreign priests to the British way of doing things in the Roman Catholic church has opened at Ushaw College outside Durham in Northumberland, England.
The first group of seven priests is from India, Nigeria and Poland.
“Some foreign priests working in Britain tend to be too dogmatic about the church’s moral rightness on just about everything,” said Rev. Terry Drainey the president of Ushaw College. “That’s not how we do things here. This course shows how we deal with a whole range of issues affecting Catholics, including the role of women, divorce, the lay ministry and homosexuality.”
It is the first course of its kind and is the brainchild of Bishop Crispian Hollis of Portsmouth.
The number of foreign priests in Britain is rising as the number of home-grown priests declines. The priests undergoing training in “Britishness” come from English and Welsh parishes.
The three-week program costs £1,500 ($3,000).
Mr. Drainey said most foreign priests have a sound knowledge of English. “But we have a teacher who comes in from Newcastle University to help with colloquialisms and pronunciation.” He noted, “I worked in Africa for six years and when I arrived in Kenya, I was put on a three-month course to learn something about local languages and culture and found that an enormous help.”