Vocations Crisis?


#1

I often hear that there is a “Vocations Crisis” in the Church-that less men are answering the call to the Priesthood, creating the shortage of Priests we now have.

But how do we know this is really a crisis? Why do we assume less men are answering the call? Why can’t it simply be that, for whatever mysterious reasons that God might have, He is simply calling less men to the Priesthood?

Your thoughts.


#2

I have heard different things. Some say there is a crisis. Some say there was a crisis, but now it is over. Some say there are vocational shortages in some areas but vocational surpluses in others. I'm inclined to believe this latter statement. I have read of some areas where the priest is sent to three different churches in one weekend! And I have also read of a boom in vocations in other areas. :shrug:

I have a few questions about the priesthood:

1) What happens to all my belongings if I decide to become a priest? Like the expensive iMac I'm using right now - what will happen to it?

2) Can you still work part-time doing something else for personal income?

3) Do you get a choice of where you serve?

4) I have read from some saints and other writings that priests are held to a very high standard. If just one from their flock falls away from the faith - they are held accountable before God. Pretty rough. Any insights?


#3

[quote="Marc_Anthony, post:1, topic:213926"]
I often hear that there is a "Vocations Crisis" in the Church-that less men are answering the call to the Priesthood, creating the shortage of Priests we now have.

But how do we know this is really a crisis? Why do we assume less men are answering the call? Why can't it simply be that, for whatever mysterious reasons that God might have, He is simply calling less men to the Priesthood?

Your thoughts.

[/quote]

I'm pretty sure vocations are increasing.


#4

[quote="Windfish, post:2, topic:213926"]
I have heard different things. Some say there is a crisis. Some say there was a crisis, but now it is over. Some say there are vocational shortages in some areas but vocational surpluses in others. I'm inclined to believe this latter statement. I have read of some areas where the priest is sent to three different churches in one weekend! And I have also read of a boom in vocations in other areas. :shrug:

I have a few questions about the priesthood:

1) What happens to all my belongings if I decide to become a priest? Like the expensive iMac I'm using right now - what will happen to it?

2) Can you still work part-time doing something else for personal income?

3) Do you get a choice of where you serve?

4) I have read from some saints and other writings that priests are held to a very high standard. If just one from their flock falls away from the faith - they are held accountable before God. Pretty rough. Any insights?

[/quote]


#5

[quote="Windfish, post:2, topic:213926"]
I have heard different things. Some say there is a crisis. Some say there was a crisis, but now it is over. Some say there are vocational shortages in some areas but vocational surpluses in others. I'm inclined to believe this latter statement. I have read of some areas where the priest is sent to three different churches in one weekend! And I have also read of a boom in vocations in other areas. :shrug:

I have a few questions about the priesthood:

1) What happens to all my belongings if I decide to become a priest? Like the expensive iMac I'm using right now - what will happen to it?

2) Can you still work part-time doing something else for personal income?

3) Do you get a choice of where you serve?

4) I have read from some saints and other writings that priests are held to a very high standard. If just one from their flock falls away from the faith - they are held accountable
before God. Pretty rough. Any insights?

[/quote]

The key word in any vocation is "sacrifice". Are you willing to hand your life over to God and His Church. Are you willing to die to Christ?

Vocations in my diocese are increasing. I think it is the joy one sees in the priests and more importantly our bishop. My son is discerning a vocation and if God is calling his name he will serve with honor and joy.

Any vocation is what one makes of it...the religious life, married life, or choosing to be single. It is what you make of it. I know many priests and they are happy with the choice they have made. It is hard work...like parenting it is not for the faint of heart.


#6

[quote="TheresaLS, post:5, topic:213926"]
The key word in any vocation is "sacrifice". Are you willing to hand your life over to God and His Church. Are you willing to die to Christ?

Vocations in my diocese are increasing. I think it is the joy one sees in the priests and more importantly our bishop. My son is discerning a vocation and if God is calling his name he will serve with honor and joy.

Any vocation is what one makes of it...the religious life, married life, or choosing to be single. It is what you make of it. I know many priests and they are happy with the choice they have made. It is hard work...like parenting it is not for the faint of heart.

[/quote]

Well, I don't ask because I'm selfish, I ask because the technology on this computer really could do a lot of good for any given parish.


#7

For what it’s worth, and I am not a priest, just an average sinner:

There was bound to be a downturn in ecclesiastical vocations after the mid 1900s in the developed world; simply because young men have so many more life choices than in the past. (An 82 year-old priest from Tipperary, Ireland, told me that his choices in youth were “the monastery, the army, or emigration to England.”) If fewer of them choose the intense sacrifice of ecclesiastical life, that is only to be expected. It does not equate to a crisis. In poorer nations, the ecclesiastical downturn we have had was not seen.

I have a few questions about the priesthood:

  1. What happens to all my belongings if I decide to become a priest? Like the expensive iMac I’m using right now - what will happen to it?

Depends on where you pursue the vocation. Most if not all religious congregations (ie, orders and communities) have a vow of poverty: no material possessions allowed, just like our LORD’s disciples. Prior to entering, you would need to give away or otherwise dispose of your “stuff”, IIUC.

In the Diocesan clergy (those who are ordained by a particular diocese), there is no such vow, and Diocesan (“secular”) priests can keep their possessions.

  1. Can you still work part-time doing something else for personal income?

I don’t know that that is banned, but what I have seen of priests suggests that it is very rare. Priests are extremely busy men simply performing their ecclesiastical duties. They are also under obedience to the Bishop and/or the superior of their community, and the demands on priestly time being so extensive, it is unlikely that either would give permission for their priests to engage in “moonlighting.”

If you had a special talent that was useful to others however, such as Fr. Andrew Greeley with his novels, or a priest I know locally who has studied philosophy and now teaches a college course in it, no doubt you could get permission from your superiors to pursue it in the working world.

  1. Do you get a choice of where you serve?

AFAICT, no; Religious priests go where they are assigned by the superiors of the order, which may be anywhere in the world that community exists. Diocesan priests would normally stay within their diocese, but will be assigned within it by the Bishop.

  1. I have read from some saints and other writings that priests are held to a very high standard. If just one from their flock falls away from the faith - they are held accountable before God. Pretty rough. Any insights?

Can’y help you there b/c I’ve never read this, but it sounds very much like other things I’ve read about the Priesthood. It also squares with the NT.

God Bless and ICXC NIKA.


#8

[quote="Windfish, post:2, topic:213926"]
I have heard different things. Some say there is a crisis. Some say there was a crisis, but now it is over. Some say there are vocational shortages in some areas but vocational surpluses in others. I'm inclined to believe this latter statement. I have read of some areas where the priest is sent to three different churches in one weekend! And I have also read of a boom in vocations in other areas. :shrug:

I have a few questions about the priesthood:

1) What happens to all my belongings if I decide to become a priest? Like the expensive iMac I'm using right now - what will happen to it?

2) Can you still work part-time doing something else for personal income?

3) Do you get a choice of where you serve?

4) I have read from some saints and other writings that priests are held to a very high standard. If just one from their flock falls away from the faith - they are held accountable before God. Pretty rough. Any insights?

[/quote]

1) Diocesan priests do not take a vow of poverty.

2) Not without permission from your Bishop.

3) No.

4) Sounds reasonable.


#9

Thanks for the answers. Just wanted to clarify: I only ask about my belongings because I genuinely think the things I own would help me as a priest. My iMac, for example, is capable of so many multimedia capabilities, and I can imagine who this can greatly benefit A LOT of activities.

Ok, back to the topic. I wonder about the hard data, but as I said earlier, I think it depends on the region.


#10

[quote="Marc_Anthony, post:1, topic:213926"]
I often hear that there is a "Vocations Crisis" in the Church-that less men are answering the call to the Priesthood, creating the shortage of Priests we now have.

But how do we know this is really a crisis? Why do we assume less men are answering the call? Why can't it simply be that, for whatever mysterious reasons that God might have, He is simply calling less men to the Priesthood?

Your thoughts.

[/quote]

How many men coming into the Priesthood + how many Priests you have + how many Priests are retiring = how many parishes there are (plus hospitals and prisons, ect.) will tell you if you have a 'crisis'.

Look at it this way;

money coming in + money you have + money going out = bills that need paying

If the money is less than the bills that need paying, you might just think you have a 'crisis'.


#11

[quote="JM3, post:10, topic:213926"]
How many men coming into the Priesthood + how many Priests you have + how many Priests are retiring = how many parishes there are (plus hospitals and prisons, ect.) will tell you if you have a 'crisis'.

Look at it this way;

money coming in + money you have + money going out = bills that need paying

If the money is less than the bills that need paying, you might just think you have a 'crisis'.

[/quote]

I agree that from our Earthly POV that would PPEAR to be a crisis, but why can't God just have His own reasons for calling less men to the Priesthood?

I mean, from dscussions I've heard about this, that's rarely even considered as a possibility.


#12

[quote="Marc_Anthony, post:11, topic:213926"]
....His own reasons for calling less men to the Priesthood?

I mean, from dscussions I've heard about this, that's rarely even considered as a possibility.

[/quote]

Possibly because it is pointless to speculate on Divine purposes that we can really know nothing about (unless we are given the gift of Prophecy).

ICXC NIKA.


#13

[quote="GEddie, post:12, topic:213926"]
Possibly because it is pointless to speculate on Divine purposes that we can really know nothing about (unless we are given the gift of Prophecy).

ICXC NIKA.

[/quote]

This response confuses me.

Here is how I see it.

  1. Catholics believe men are called by God to the Priesthood

  2. There was, at least for a time, less people joining the Priesthood

  3. Conclusion that seems to have been drawn by most people: Less people are answering the call by God to the Priesthood.

  4. Never considered: God iscalling less men to the Priesthood.

Why do we assume that less people being ordained is automatically a bad thing? It may SEEM like a bad thing but on the other hand we don't know how God works. Why it can't it just be that less men are being called?


#14

[quote="Marc_Anthony, post:13, topic:213926"]
This response confuses me.

Here is how I see it.

  1. Never considered: God iscalling less men to the Priesthood.

Why do we assume that less people being ordained is automatically a bad thing? It may SEEM like a bad thing but on the other hand we don't know how God works. Why it can't it just be that less men are being called?

[/quote]

Maybe. Maybe not. It is still pointless to speculate on the will of God.

The response of the Church would be the same in any case: to try to encourage vocations to the clergy. If the smaller clergy is in fact the will of God, such efforts would fail, but we simply can't know in advance.

However, it seems simplistic to say "Maybe God just wants a smaller clergy" at the exact same time that the general society is heading down the moral drain.

ICXC NIKA


#15

[quote="GEddie, post:7, topic:213926"]
Depends on where you pursue the vocation. Most if not all religious congregations (ie, orders and communities) have a vow of poverty: no material possessions allowed, just like our LORD's disciples. Prior to entering, you would need to give away or otherwise dispose of your "stuff", IIUC.

[/quote]

This also depends on the religious order you join. Some are more severe and strict in their understanding of the vow of poverty than others.

Private property is also not given away upon entering, it is done upon the takeing of fnal vows.


#16

[quote="GEddie, post:7, topic:213926"]
For what it's worth, and I am not a priest, just an average sinner:

There was bound to be a downturn in ecclesiastical vocations after the mid 1900s in the developed world; simply because young men have so many more life choices than in the past. (An 82 year-old priest from Tipperary, Ireland, told me that his choices in youth were "the monastery, the army, or emigration to England.") If fewer of them choose the intense sacrifice of ecclesiastical life, that is only to be expected. It does not equate to a crisis. In poorer nations, the ecclesiastical downturn we have had was not seen.

[/quote]

Yes and no. Some negative observations over my short 35 years:

-The Church was less encouraging of vocations over the last 40 yrs. I visited my diocesean vocational office when I was 19 and the sister who ran it greatly discouraged me. "Whatdaya wanna be a priest for? And if you become a priest, why not join an order where you can live in your own apt, have autonomy, be a CPA and a priest?" That kind of talk.

-One heard less about vocations in church. Growing up, I remember hearing adults ask, "Are there still nuns?" It seemed the Church had decided to de-emphasize the role of priests and religious and gave many the impression there was nothing left TO JOIN.

-Lack of good examples. Father became a family friend, a therapist, your buddy. I remember thinking of my parish priests when I was growing up as seeming bored with the life and out of touch with their own priestly duties.

-Hearing stories from guys I knew in the seminary in the 1990s being bullied by an overseeing board, mostly made up of feminist sisters who encouraged them to date, they were permitted to bring girls to their rooms, discouraged to be devotional. They were nicknamed, "PODs," short for "Pious and Overly Devotional." The guys I knew at a big diocesean seminary had to hide out in their rooms to pray the rosary in whispers as a group, couldn't spend much time in the chapel, hid their Marian devotion, hid religious pictures and conservative theological books under their beds. They told me more liberal seminarians would inform on the more devout. They weren't allowed to pray the Liturgy of the Hours in common, as a group.

-Changes in the Church brought about a change in attitudes toward the Church in greater society. People seem to forget that. We Catholics are everywhere, we're a huge percentage of the population all over the developed world. As the Church goes, so does society. When the Church, by all appearances (and I am not blaming the Second Vatican Council) seemed to change and modernize and seemingly de-emphasize things like the clerical role, the faithful rolled right along with the punches. That effected much of the change in attitude toward the Church on this issue and many other issues in public life.

-So what was left to join? In this day and age, a young man choosing the priesthood is making a very radical statement against the grain of contemporary values. Choosing a life of service with a commitment to chastity, obedience and often to poverty as well requires a major sacrifice. If by all appearances a priest or religious is nothing more than a swinging bachelor, a social worker, what is there to join? Why not join Green Peace and be done with it?

So many other things I could list here...


#17

less priests ordained probably also mean that the laity better take up more responsibilities as individual christians to do their part instead of expecting everything in the parish to be taken care of by the priest.:D:D


#18

it would be very convenient to blame God, wouldn’t it?


#19

Why can't it simply be that, for whatever mysterious reasons that God might have, He is simply calling less men to the Priesthood?

The Theology of God's Direct and His Permissive Will. Since we can be quite sure that any sort of shortage of priests is not a good thing, then it is not God's Direct Will; however, we do have a shortage of priests and hence God is permitting it to happen for His own good reasons and out of it He will draw good.

CCC #311 *Angels and men, as intelligent and free creatures, have to journey toward their ultimate destinies by their free choice and preferential love. They can therefore go astray. Indeed, they have sinned. Thus has *moral evil, incommensurably more harmful than physical evil, entered the world. God is in no way, directly or indirectly, the cause of moral evil. **He permits it, however, because he respects the freedom of his creatures and, mysteriously, knows how to derive good from it:
For almighty God. . ., because he is supremely good, would never allow any evil whatsoever to exist in his works if he were not so all-powerful and good as to cause good to emerge from evil itself.

TS


#20

[quote="puzzleannie, post:18, topic:213926"]
it would be very convenient to blame God, wouldn't it?

[/quote]

With all due respect, I believe this is an appeal to motive (a type of ad hominem argument) and is thus a logical fallacy.

Your claiming that my motive for this is that it's more convenient to blame God. But this proves nothing but the possibility of bias-not bias itself. And that idea never even occurred to me when this thread started.

I'm not "blaming" God for anything. Why do you assume that God isn't calling less men to the Priesthood?

And why do you also assume that that's a bad thing (something to be blamed for)?


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