The closure of Christ the King Seminary in Buffalo, New York, is sad news, insofar as it is always sad when an institution is no longer capable of doing what it was founded to do. But Christ the King stopped doing that a very long time ago, and so its closure is also welcome news.

It staunches the financial bleeding for the diocese, as the seminary ran an annual deficit of $500,000 a year. That was the main reason offered for its closing, as Buffalo seeks to recover its footing after the resignation of its bishop and in the face of a new wave of sexual abuse lawsuits.

But to vary the medical metaphor, the closure also removes a source of toxins that the seminary injected in the life of the local Church.

There will be laments — many of them sincere — for the closure of Christ the King. Certainly, over many decades there was some good accomplished there and many priests look back on their time there with fondness. Yet on balance the preservation of Christ the King as an institution was a mistake. Therein lies a tale for other dioceses.

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