The Decree on Priestly Formation

The Decree of Priestly Formation (Optatum Totius in Latin) was approved on Oct. 28, 1965, by a vote of 2,318 to 3, and it contains directives and counsel concerning the formation of candidates for the priesthood in light of the Council’s teaching and pastoral concerns. Specifically: each nation needs to have its own “Program for Priestly Formation” drawn up by the episcopal conference and revised at regular intervals; priestly vocations need to be fostered in new ways; seminaries need to prepare priestly candidates for the basic responsibilities of pastoral ministry; priestly candidates need to have proper spiritual formation; courses of study need to be revised in light of Catholic teaching and contemporary pastoral needs; pastoral concerns need to be incorporated into all aspects of priestly training; and priests need to participate in a program of continuing education after ordination.