Priest School flings its doors open to TV in Rome

Students from the Scots College in Rome pictured in the Vatican.

By Bill Heaney

Narrated by Scots-Italian actor Daniela Nardini, this distinctive observational documentary gained unique access to the inner workings, personnel, seminarians and history of the oldest Scottish institution abroad, Il Pontificio College Scozzese – The Scots College in Rome.

Over the course of a year the programme documents inspiration, celebration and ordination as it follows the stories of young Scots men who have embarked on a journey towards the priesthood.

For over four centuries in the Eternal City, The Scots College has been home to young Scottish men training to become priests. With no seminaries remaining in Scotland, all roads lead to Rome for those who want to follow a vocation to the priesthood. The ecclesiastical doors of this Catholic institution, established in 1616, have never before been opened to television cameras … until now.

Candidates face a challenging seven-year degree course.  There’s a drop-out rate of nearly 70% as these young men come to terms with vows of obedience and celibacy.

The programme follows the lives of the class of 2018/2019, with special focus on five young seminarians. These trainee priests had interesting past lives as a former law student, a maths teacher, a language student, a radio DJ and a Navy Seal.

Priest School is a Solus Production for BBC Scotland. It’s available now on the BBC i player.

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