Shortage Of Priests In The Catholic Church


#1

Recently, our parish priest informed the congretation that adjustments needed to be made due to the shortage of priests. The priest explained the seriousness of the problem in the Catholic Church today. He asked everyone to pray for more vocations to the priesthood. I in turn ask everyone here at CAF to do likewise. I believe it's a dire situation. Has this problem affected your parish as well?


#2

There is a simple solution to this dilemma of a shortage of priests, hopefully the new Pope would finally accept this solution as Pope Benedict partially has. The East has used this solution for the duration of Christianity too…


#3

There is no shortage of vocations. Good men are called to the priesthood in more than sufficient numbers. What we have a shortage of is men saying “yes” or even “let me investigate” when they are called. We need to pray for more men to have courage and for an increase in discernment.


#4

[quote="chaldobyzantine, post:2, topic:315901"]
There is a simple solution to this dilemma of a shortage of priests, hopefully the new Pope would finally accept this solution as Pope Benedict partially has. The East has used this solution for the duration of Christianity too...

[/quote]

Pray for more vocations? Raise our sons to respect the priesthood and see that it's a noble vocation? I agree -- that's a great solution! :thumbsup: ;)


#5

In all seriousness, though… THIS! :sad_yes:


#6

In my neck of the woods (South Texas) there appears to be no shortage of priests; pretty much every suburban parish has at least one priest. Many have two or three; some even have four. At my Catholic high school, in the my class and the class a year ahead of me, I know of myself and three other young men discerning to the priesthood.

Overall, IMHO, when there is a “shortage” of laity, i.e., relatively few people attend Mass, other liturgies, or service opportunities, as in the Northeast U.S., there may appear be a shortage of priests. But as the laity go, so go the clerics, and vice versa.

Here in South Texas, the churches are positively packed at every Sunday Mass, with many parishes offering 5 Masses each weekend; Eucharistic Adoration and the use of confession seem to be burgeoning; and there seems to be a vocations mini-boom.

So I think at least part of a priest shortage is due to regional differences.

I also think that vocations correlate, at least to some extent, with the diocese’s bishop’s orthodoxy and vigor. Just look at Lincoln, NE where His Excellency Bruskewitz has done so much good work for Catholicism; so many men are in formation there! And here in South Texas, His Excellency Garcia-Siller has so much zeal and is so filled with the Holy Spirit, that it seems that many see his example and consider more seriously a vocation to the priesthood.

I notice that the OP is from Los Angeles; while I do not wish to disparage the leadership there for a recent quarter of a century, and while it seems that the situation there is improving, it does seem that vocations to the priesthood have been absolutely driven into the ground. :frowning: I can’t blame young men there for not hearing God’s call; this generation isn’t buying into the slop that the sexual revolution and the “spirit” of Vatican II (whatever that “spirit” is) brought us. I think that the best thing to be done for the Church on the West Coast of the U.S. would be a radical return to orthodox Catholicism, in continuity with the past 2 millenia.

After all (platitude time!) :

Save the liturgy, save the world. Lex orandi, lex credendi. Say the black, do the red. Wake up and smell the incense.

And all that jazz :thumbsup:

P.S. When I refer to the “spirit” of Vatican II, I do not mock the Holy Spirit, or the spirit of the law, having been informed by the letter of the law of Vatican II and being guided by that letter. I simply oppose the hijacking of “the spirit of Vatican II” to make all sorts of strange changes that weren’t called for by the Council, and many of which were carried out just for the sake of change.


#7

Well said.

I think we can all agree that there is a vocation crisis, I don’t think the OP was looking to state otherwise. Statistics don’t lie. We can see that the number of priests in the United States (and worldwide?) has decreased significantly over recenty ears. But we must ask ourselves: is this because God is no longer calling men to become priests? I highly doubt that. Statistics also reflect that the majority of youth leaving the CC do so during their college years…aka an important time of discernment. But let us also remember that all vocations have taken this hit, not just the priesthood. Although this is the most evident and hits the CC hard because a priest’s duties are being stretched among more and more parishioners (many parishes in my area share priests), we can also see this “vocation crisis” polluting the vocation of marriage. This vocation crisis is real. But it doesn’t limit itself only to the priesthood. The broken foundation of family faith life should be the heartache of Catholics…the priest shortage is only an effect of this.

Just my two cents.


#8

[quote="chaldobyzantine, post:2, topic:315901"]
There is a simple solution to this dilemma of a shortage of priests, hopefully the new Pope would finally accept this solution as Pope Benedict partially has. The East has used this solution for the duration of Christianity too...

[/quote]

To get others to say yes by opening them up to more spiritual direction and involvement? I guess the East must be good at that since they have not shortage. Let's pray that all men open up to the call to the priesthood.


#9

[quote="chaldobyzantine, post:2, topic:315901"]
There is a simple solution to this dilemma of a shortage of priests, hopefully the new Pope would finally accept this solution as Pope Benedict partially has. The East has used this solution for the duration of Christianity too...

[/quote]

What solution? Ordain married priest?


#10

[quote="llenadegracia, post:7, topic:315901"]
Well said.

we can also see this "vocation crisis" polluting the vocation of marriage. This vocation crisis is real. But it doesn't limit itself only to the priesthood. The broken foundation of family faith life should be the heartache of Catholics....the priest shortage is only an effect of this.

[/quote]

:thumbsup:


#11

We have two active Priests in my Parish and one who is retired but still living in our rectory. We have had some really great Priests in the past who have had to leave when their term was up. It was always hard to say goodbye to them. I wish we could have all of them. The two Priests we have are fantastic though, especially my Pastor. We have one guy in the seminary and two who have applied. But we know they will be assigned to other Parishes once they are ordained.


#12

This has effected my parish.

I live in Central VA. The church I used to attend was a small parish that was started about 30 years ago. The area is very rural and mostly Protestant. The parish's size has grown and ebbed over the years. It was on a downward trend about 8 years when a new priest was assigned.

This new priest made many changes(towards a more Traditional mass) and the congregation was growing. This priest was assigned our parish and two other parishes and he had another priest who was assigned to our cluster.

Three years ago, after the some time of planning, our diocese decided to take our parish out of his cluster and put us in another cluster with only two priests to cover four churches. They said it was because of lack of priests. The new priests decided our parish was too small for much support and moved mass to Sat evening, no Sunday mass. Some of our parishioners appealed to the diocese to put us back but the requests fell on deaf ears.

At the time of the change, our parish was 60-75% self supporting. That's not bad for a parish of that small size. With the changes made more than 60% of the parish left for different reasons and now the parish is barely 25% self sustaining.
As well, the priest who lost our parish quit the priesthood. He was very upset over what happened and how it happened.

All that said, the changes the diocese made under the rationale that there are too few priests in our diocese will definitely bring about the close of the parish at this rate and thus the end of any Catholic presence in that county and appears to have brought about the loss of a priest.

I sincerely pray this diocese will some how find a way to support and grow the small parishes in the rural area of the state. A healthy Catholic presence in those areas is important to those souls who live there, to that community, to the larger Church and potentially to candidates to the priesthood.


#13

There is no shortage of priests. There is a shortage of husbands. When you go to church and see women with their children and no man around, that is a symptom of what the real problem is.

I am a man, and recently I decided to spend more time in the chapel praying the rosary. The rather liberal priest (kind of priest that has Seder meals and lets students read the Gospel) approached me and asked me if I ever considered becoming a priest. I told him that I have considered it, but that I do not think I would fit in a seminary. (and for the record I have spent time in such places) I told him that I thought men should strive to be godly husbands. He told me "it's something to grow into," referring to the priesthood, completely ignoring the point I was trying to make.

Of course I am a little afraid about saying no if that is God's plan in my life, but I simply do not feel it. I tell priests that I have a minor in philosophy and they automatically think I should be a priest. I want to find a Godly woman and have a family the way God intended it to be (without contraception, ect.).

Honestly, it is hard enough building up the courage to ask a girl out. You know, I've heard 27 year old women tell me that they have never been asked out in their lives. Never mind non-catholic men, what kind of men are we raising in the church these days where we have women having to either never marry or be forced to settle for secular husbands and raise the children in the faith alone.

If a man even wants marriage, he wants the contraception version of marriage with two kids and lots of toys, with easy sex on the side. Otherwise, they simply want to get a job and live like grown up children. Is it not obvious to you people that when most families are like this now days, we also happen to have a so called priest shortage?


#14

[quote="chaldobyzantine, post:2, topic:315901"]
There is a simple solution to this dilemma of a shortage of priests, hopefully the new Pope would finally accept this solution as Pope Benedict partially has. The East has used this solution for the duration of Christianity too...

[/quote]

Do you have any idea how many times this has been proposed as the answer to the priest shortage, and this example used? I do not believe this is your intention, but you should be aware that "it works great in the East, so everyone ought to do it" comes across rather snobby. Priestly celibacy, and many other Latin ideas have worked well for the Latin Rite Church. I do not bash your rite, please do not bash mine.

Dioceses that have consistently done what they're supposed to do, such as Lincoln Nebraska, have plenty of priests. Dioceses that don't do what they're supposed to do have a shortage of priests. Why? It's not because celibacy is too much to ask for. It's because the general attitude to the Faith by those who have dedicated their lives to it is that it's not that important.


#15

[quote="mayxanh, post:9, topic:315901"]
What solution? Ordain married priest?

[/quote]

This was his suggestion, yes. Though he did not specifically say it, I have been on these forums and forums like it for long enough to know how to read between the lines. Every time the issues of "priest shortage" or "priestly celibacy" are brought up, someone feels they ought to point out that the East has had the answer all along- married priests.


#16

Hmmm… if we’re having difficulty attracting single men, what makes us think that attracting married men will be any easier. Granted it would increase the catchment size but at the same time the man’s wife would have to be in agreement with the idea of her husband becoming a priest. Add to that the fact that they’d need to have been married for a suitable length of time…

Putting aside the pros and cons of priestly celibacy, it isn’t unfortunately a silver bullet as far as vocations are concerned. Like most complex problems, there are no simple solutions. Prayer is of course particularly important, but then so is encouraging those with a vocation (as well as those already ordained). God is of course still calling men to the priesthood but those who are called often need help to respond to that call. Besides encouragement from those around them, they also need pro-active vocations directors to guide them along the journey of discernment. Speaking from experience, the first step is the hardest to take - that is, actually talking to a priest about becoming one!

We also need to make sure that we support our current priests - after all, if the message that somebody discerning a vocation gets about priests is constantly a negative one, then it’s not really surprising that they’d have doubts about whether that’s something they really want to do. Granted, there’s always going to be differences of opinion - particularly when it comes to liturgy (there’s just no pleasing everybody) but it’s important to not forget that priests, like the apostles, have given up everything to follow Christ, giving their lives over to him in service of his people. Too often we have our own ideas about how priests should be and, while these ideas aren’t necessarily wrong, what we tend to forget is that priests are only human and imperfect like the rest of us.


#17

[quote="InThePew, post:16, topic:315901"]
Hmmm... if we're having difficulty attracting single men, what makes us think that attracting married men will be any easier. Granted it would increase the catchment size but at the same time the man's wife would have to be in agreement with the idea of her husband becoming a priest. Add to that the fact that they'd need to have been married for a suitable length of time...

[/quote]

This is one blatantly obvious fact that people who want married priests seem to ignore outright. A friend of mine doesn't just want married men to be able to become priests, but he also wants priests to be able to get married. Kind of like saying "oh there's no one for me to marry now, so I'll just give up and become a priest, surely later on God will deliver me a spouse."

Now, he might make a good priest, but he seems to be waiting because he thinks eventually we will get married priests. "What about men who are called to both?" He expressed to me one time. With all the guilting that goes on in my diocese it seems only natural for men to adopt this split attitude. Current priests should not only be encouraging priestly vocations, they should be encouraging single men to want to be good husbands.

Men who want to get married feel obligated to become priests because they are told there is a shortage. Ultimately, the decision to peruse a spouse ends up also having to be a decision against the ravings of the current priests desperate for vocations. Desperate for liberal progressive vocations I might also add, since more conservative orders don't seem to be doing too badly from what I can tell.


#18

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