Marriage and priesthood/religious life connection


I came across an article on a website run by the United States bishops. In it, Cardinal Dolan expressed concern over how low the marriage rate among Catholics had become. I believe the article is from 2012, before the latest stats from 2015 came out showing an even greater decline.

Cardinal Dolan described the connection between the low marriage rate and the lack of priests and nuns. I had once heard a priest in my diocese explain this as well. He said that priests come from families, and it was no coincidence that the number of priests began to fall when the marriage rate in this country began to drop. In other words, we have fewer priests and nuns because the laity are failing to get marry and produce the people that God would call to the priesthood and religious life.

I’m just curious what other priests/religious/seminarians think about this connection and what can be done about it so we don’t end up with fewer of these vocations in the future. Cardinal Dolan would like to see prayers for more marriage vocations said at Mass. What do you think of that idea? For anyone who’d like to read the article (it’s not very long) the link is listed below.



It makes sense to me. I have seven uncles who are priests and all the lay people in my family either marry or are chaste. No divorces, either.


It would be good to have prayer for lay vocations full stop.


All vocations require commitment and sacrifice, so a low marriage rate and shortage of priests and religious are potentially indicative of the same thing: aversion to commitment and sacrifice.

We should all pray for vocations, no matter what the nature of those vocations are.


“We should all pray for vocations, no matter what the nature of those vocations are.”

Makes sense to me. Seems like an easy way to help all of the faithful answer God’s call.


You have been blessed !


Yes, thank you. I really have been! :slight_smile: I love my uncle priests very much.


I think you’re right, an aversion to commitment, and the fact that overall, families and society is less religious than they have been in the past. I’m not saying all are, just overall. We live in such a permissive self-serving society, if one doesn’t live in a religious household, it’s hard to see him even considering the priesthood.


I think traditionally, the family unit was responsible for nurturing vocations and this has now obviously become a lot weaker, while at the same time, the average age of vocations has increased. This has meant that a lot more work is now needed to work out how to encourage vocations in the absence of this family nurturing. That said, there are a whole multitude of reasons for why we have fewer vocations to the priesthood and religious life (the same is also true for why fewer people are getting married). Still, I would agree that there’s much to be gained from marriage prayers at mass as well as more encouragement and support for the idea of seeing marriage as a vocation.


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