At a Catholic seminary, hope for church beyond scandals

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Seminarian Daniel Rice, left, sits with classmates during a lesson on the Gospel of Luke at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Wynnewood, Pa., on Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2020. Future Catholic priests remain unflinchingly optimistic despite scandals that have driven faithful from the pews. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E)

WYNNEWOOD, Pa. (AP) — A cascade of scandals in the Catholic Church has had surprisingly little impact on enrollment in its American seminaries.

Though the number of seminarians is down from a half-century ago, it’s held relatively steady in the past decade and even registered slight increases in the past few years.

At St. Charles Borromeo Seminary outside Philadelphia, though the clergy abuse crisis isn’t a constant topic of discussion, students say they know they’ll be ministering to a flock that has been fractured by crimes in the church alongside broader societal secularization.

Future priests say they can be the examples who restore the public’s faith in the church.

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