Lack of deacons proves celibacy is not a reason for priest shortage ? - WRONG

i have heard it argued that the lack of deacons proves that celibacy is not a reason for our shortage in priests.

the argument goes something like this: we have a shortage of deacons, but deacons are allowed to be married, so therefore, our shortage in clergy is not due to celibacy, because if it were, then we would not have the shortage in deacons who are not bound to celibacy.

the problem with this argument is it fails to realize that being a priest and being a deacon are two VERY different things.

a priest is THE MAN. he gets all the glory. he is the servant of God, the one who gets to administer the Sacraments. he is the leader of the entire parish community.

a deacon on the other hand, not so much. he may get to read the gospel and preach a homily every now and then, but this is not necessary. the priest can do these things and usually does.

why does this matter? well, lets ask a few questions:

is the reason for our shortage in clergy because God is not calling men, or because men are not responding to God’s call?

surely, the reason is not because God is not calling men, but because men are not responding.

now, why arent men responding? i know several young men in their 20’s who have told me directly that they would love to be priests, but they just do not want to forfeit the pleasure of marriage. and i know another young man who just became a Catholic this past spring, immediately felt a call of God on his life to become a priest, but then when he considered celibacy, he not only rejected the calling to become a priest, but he decided he would just twist God’s calling on his life, return to protestantism, and become a pastor instead of a priest, so that way he could “follow God’s calling” to be a pastor, and yet still be able to get married.

so it is very, very clear, at least to me and anyone else who knows young men, that there are MANY, MANY, MANY young men who would jump at the opportunity to become priests if they were not required to forfeit the pleasures of marriage to do so.

now, the one who argues that the shortage in deacons is a refutation of this point, might say: well, if that is true, then why dont all these young men just become deacons then?

heres the thing: deacons get no glory. they dont administer the Sacraments. they arent THAT GUY who gets to serve God and represent for the people. and if a man is already married and has kids and is working a full-time job, why would he want to go to school for 4 years while working and raising a family in order to take a position in the church that is often times completely unnecessary ?

the attraction to the married diaconate absolutely pales in comparison, almost infinitely so, to the attraction of the married priesthood. and if we were to allow it, it is my opinion that this would definitely help solve the shortage in priests.

the problem is not the God isnt calling young men, the problem is that so many young men, due to their desire for marriage, are invincibly ignorant to the priestly calling. they would never even consider being a priest because of their desire to be married, and so when God calls, they dont listen. and those who do hear his call may consider it for a while, but considering their options, they would rather be married and have kids than be a priest. after all, theyll still get the Sacraments and the rosary in this life either way.

On the other hand, if glory is the answer, then teh priest under these lot would be bad sheperd, since they serve their pride, not God.


They’ll serve God if they can have the pleasure of marriage and get glory. Otherwise, they walk away. Thankfully, celibacy has helped us avoid a lot of these bad shepherds.

My opinion is maybe the vocation to the priesthood is a " calling" because it does require a huge sacrifice for Christ. Practicing the virtues requires a discipline that most of us not called to a life of full commitment to Christ can fully grasp.The Holy Spirit infuses the necessary means to live for Christ to those who properly discern His call.
We should pray daily for all of our priests and continued vocation to the priesthood.:pray:

Neither priests nor deacons get married; what occurs is that married men can become deacons. If a single man is ordained a deacon, or if a deacon’s wife should die, he becomes bound to celibacy.

You ask why a married man would return to school and make a huge effort to become a deacon. Why would he make the even greater effort to be a priest, assuming his wife was OK with it? Glory and social admiration have a limited value, and sadly, for Catholic priests, is less and less every year anyhow.

The fact is that the priesthood is s self-sacrificial life and, while it was socially attractive in the past, now young males have a lot of alternatives that are less sacrificial. There were always going to be fewer priests because of that.

If someone is drawn by the “glory” of the priesthood, I’d question whether they have a calling at all.


I’ve known many young men who were very willing to take on celibacy and give their lives to the Church, but were unable to endure the dysfunctional cesspool known as “the seminary”.

Even if men arent responding to God’s call because they don’t want to be celibate (I actually believe God gives the grace to do that, but if some resist the grace) - that to me doesn’t mean that priests shouldn’t be celibate. Why would we change a good rule of the Church because of how some men are maybe not responding to God’s grace? As priests, they need to respond to Him in many ways, they need to have a heart that is capable of doing this. If they don’t want to serve Him in this then what would this lack of generosity mean for their vocation?

I do believe that God gives the grace for this though and if a young man wants to be a priest but finds celibacy difficult or overwhelming, I believe God can and does give grace to accept celibacy and live that way.

I think it’s more likely that our culture is less religious and less people want to serve God in a vocation to begin with - celibate or not. More traditional parishes tend to have more vocations as they are more formed in the faith and faith might be a bigger part of their everyday lives. There are exceptions of course but that’s what I’ve noticed. Our general culture is very secularized and that affects the Church. I don’t think we should get rid of celibacy or that this would even be effective… It’s not like lots of men want to be priests and just don’t want celibacy, and even if that were so, future priests should learn to fully respond to grace because God does give men with vocations the grace of chastity… even if they weren’t always chaste but then became so like St Augustine. That shows the power of grace

I think we need more faith and prayer for more vocations

Glory? This is not the 1950s. Priests are glorified far less than most husbands/fathers. They are also overworked, ridiculed, criticized, judged, not only by the secular society but by many Catholics.

In our diocese, deacons are administrators of many parishes. No glory for them either.

Or maybe the secular society is drowning out the call of the priesthood.

The young men, and women, I know are afraid of making a commitment to marriage; if they marry, they are reluctant to be parents.

sounds like he would have made an excellent candidate for the **Catholic **priesthood. I see another St. John Vianney here.

There is a shortage of priests. There is also a shortage of strong marriages, a much bigger problem for the Church, and society in general. The original post is the weakest argument I have ever seen for allowing more married priests, so I hope some posters present some of the stronger arguments, which do exist.

I am undecided about married priests, other than the few exceptions who are a wonderful gift. A few decades ago I was all for married priests, because at that time the state of marriage was only beginning to feel disintegration. Today marriage in secular society and among Catholic is in horrible condition.

Many Catholics are just living together, without wedding; half the marriages end; many others are under extreme challenge. Many Catholic parents are raising their grandchildren, as their adult children are in throes of drugs or other problems.
In our local Episcopal diocese the divorce rate among clergy has rapidly risen.

It takes a critical mass of solid marriages to make up a strong parish, Catholic school, or diocese. We are losing **that **battle.

Goodbye Good Men - Michael Rose

FSSP USA has 22 new seminarians entering this year, so yes that’s right.

Every vocations director in the country needs to read that book.

I wouldn’t mind becoming a priest and celibacy is fine by me. Oops, can’t do it I’m a woman. How about a nun? Oops can’t do it because I’m old. Deacon? Oops can’t do it I’m a woman.

I really would like to become a nun, but no order takes a 51-yr old dinosaur (at least of what I’ve found).

That’s not true, that no orders will take nuns over 51.

Hi, I would love to become a Deacon but I need some prayers to get my family life in order and my health. If you guys could pray so that me and my wife’s marriage gets where it needs to be and my mental health gets better I will take steps to become a Deacon.


Ted & Kristi

TDB, your perception of the priesthood is seriously skewed.

I won’t argue that a shortage of deacons somehow demonstrates that celibacy is not the reason for a lack of priestly vocations, and frankly, I have never heard ANYONE make that argument.

HOWEVER, I will argue that a shortage of mainline protestant pastors who can be married, a shortage of Eastern Rite priests who can be married, a shortage of Orthodox priests who can be married, and a shortage of Jewish rabbis who can be married, might just indicate that celibacy is not the reason for a lack of priestly vocations.

Hmm… don’t hold back – tell us how you really feel…! :wink:

(I would disagree that all seminaries are ‘cesspools’, especially in the present day. Sorry to hear that you experienced one that seemed that way to you…)


I can’t wait to tell all my priest friends that “you’re the man!” and ask them about all the ‘glory’ they get…!


Looks like we’ve got a seminary rector in the conversation. :rotfl:

Napp, if this helps, here is what I’ve found for religious orders taking late vocations:

St. Martin Monastery, Rapid City, SD 605-343-8011,, Limit: 55.
• Sacred Heart Monastery, Cullman, AL, 256-734-2199, Limit: 50 but will make some exceptions.
• St. Scholastica Monastery, Duluth, MN, 218-723-6646, Limit: 50 but will make some exceptions.
• St. Benedict Monastery, Canyon, TX, Limit: 60.
• Monastery of St. Gertrude, Cottonwood, ID, 208-962-5024, No age limit.
• Mother of God Monastery, Watertown, SD, 605- 822-6609, Limit: 60.
• Benedictine Sisters of Virginia, Bristow, VA, 703-298-5337, Limit: 21 to “no cut-off age.”
• Benet Hill, Colorado Springs, CO, 719-633-0655, No age limit.
• St. Walburg Monastery, Covington KY, 859-331-6324, No cut off age.
• Mt. St. Benedict Monastery, Crookston, MN, 218-281-3441, Over 50 in some circumstances.
• St. Bede Monastery, Eau Claire, WI, 714-834-3176, Limit: 50 but will make exceptions.
• Benedictine Sisters of Elizabeth, 908-352-4278 ext. 274, Age limit of 55.
• Benedictine Sisters of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, 412-931-2844 ext. 118, Limit: 60 on a case-by-case basis.
• St. Mary Monastery, Rock Island, IL, 309-283-2300, Opens their Benedictine Experience Weekends to single women, 18-50 years old.
• The Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth consider older candidates:;, as do the Daughters of the Heart of Mary.

Check with each individual convent to make sure of their age restrictions, but at least it’s a starting point.

No kidding. Especially since God will judge them more strictly than the rest of us. “To whom much is given, more will be required”.

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