We do not have a priest shortage


#1

to say that we have a shortage of priests doesn't state the problem precisely enough. the truth is, we have a shortage of american-born priests.

i live in a city that has two large catholic parishes. i think i'm right in saying that neither parish has produced a young man who chose to be a priest within the past ten years. also, during that time, the parishes have only produced one sister between them. our local catholic school has no sisters teaching our kids.

rather than produce our own priests, we do what parishes all over the country do: we import priests from other countries. now, the men we import are all good men, and thank God for them. but they are often difficult to understand. surely, all other things being equal, it would be better if our new priests came from among us americans.

who is to blame for this situation? are we to believe that God has not called any young man to be priests in this area in ten years? i find that very hard to believe. more likely, the young men have not been receptive to the calls.

are our bishops making enough of an effort to recruit young men to the priesthood? are we lay people to blame?

don't know. but it is a huge problem, imo. somebody should do something.


#2

[quote="captainmike, post:1, topic:234856"]
to say that we have a shortage of priests doesn't state the problem precisely enough. the truth is, we have a shortage of american-born priests.

[/quote]

In the archdiocese of Chicago this was the problem in 2007. There were 18 ordinations, no one from the archdiocese, one from Michigan, then rest foreign born. By 2010 this changed over 2/3rd or the ordained were US born.

However there were only 12 ordinations, with the average age around 35. Even if we suppose 30 years average service, this provides only a stabilized 360 active priests, instead of the present 700. We need at least double the number of ordinations.

In the US average there were 400 ordination for replace 40,000 priests. Again 30 years average service provides for 12,000 priests. There is a serious problem.


#3

if i were the bishop of my diocese, i would direct every family in my diocese to have their boys aged 12-18 to come to a meeting. hopefully, thousands would show up. then i'd say, "young men, i need fifty of you to be priests. who's willing to give his life for the Lord?"

we need to encourage our young men and women to consider being priests and sisters.


#4

[quote="captainmike, post:3, topic:234856"]
if i were the bishop of my diocese, i would direct every family in my diocese to have their boys aged 12-18 to come to a meeting. hopefully, thousands would show up. then i'd say, "young men, i need fifty of you to be priests. who's willing to give his life for the Lord?"

we need to encourage our young men and women to consider being priests and sisters.

[/quote]

Yes. There is a proven statistical relationship between the attitude of the bishop toward the vocations and the number of vocations from that diocese. Probably this is true in parish level too.


#5

In this community, parishes that once had 2-3 priests have only one, and often he has been assigned a second church as well.

There are three major problems, all impacting one another.
a. Declining attendence. 80% of Catholics used to attend mass regularly, Around here it is about 25% now.
b. Declining number of priests. Why? See (a). But there are other reasons. Smaller families. Parents prefer grandchildren to a priest in the family. Popular culture makes celibacy appear medieval. It used to be that boys 14-15 years old might start out toward the priesthood at Juniorates etc. Now most young Catholics attend college, usually non-Catholic colleges, and they may swallow some of the bias against religion and especially Catholicism. The sex scandal doesn't help as it smears the entire priesthood in the eyes of some. Etc.
c. Parishes that find it hard to pay their bills, leading to (among other things) the closing of Catholic schools, which once produced many of thr priests.


#6

[quote="captainmike, post:1, topic:234856"]
to say that we have a shortage of priests doesn't state the problem precisely enough. the truth is, we have a shortage of american-born priests.

i live in a city that has two large catholic parishes. i think i'm right in saying that neither parish has produced a young man who chose to be a priest within the past ten years. also, during that time, the parishes have only produced one sister between them. our local catholic school has no sisters teaching our kids.

rather than produce our own priests, we do what parishes all over the country do: we import priests from other countries. now, the men we import are all good men, and thank God for them. but they are often difficult to understand. surely, all other things being equal, it would be better if our new priests came from among us americans.

who is to blame for this situation? are we to believe that God has not called any young man to be priests in this area in ten years? i find that very hard to believe. more likely, the young men have not been receptive to the calls.

are our bishops making enough of an effort to recruit young men to the priesthood? are we lay people to blame?

don't know. but it is a huge problem, imo. somebody should do something.

[/quote]

I think there is a serious priest shortage. My parish has had days when daily massses have been canceled since we have one and a half priests, not enough to serve its parish population. We did have a missionary from Ghanna (!) for a year which helped but he was here only a year and there were cultural issues which took more than a year a year to resolve. I do think many are not answering the call and that there is a failure among Catholic schools in general and a certain ineptiitude among bishops in this matter. A recent bishop in our area actively discouraged deacons which made matters worse. (I think this is a sin which should be called clericism). The sexual scandals and their poor handling has not helped either. I don't see any simple solutions and fear the problem will only get worse.


#7

[quote="captainmike, post:3, topic:234856"]
if i were the bishop of my diocese, i would direct every family in my diocese to have their boys aged 12-18 to come to a meeting. hopefully, thousands would show up. then i'd say, "young men, i need fifty of you to be priests. who's willing to give his life for the Lord?"

we need to encourage our young men and women to consider being priests and sisters.

[/quote]

That, sir, is epically brilliant.


#8

You say, "I think somebody should do something."

How about we all start doing something! Do we go to Mass every Sunday as a family? Do we let our children see that we go to Confession regularly? Do we send them to PSR and discuss faith matters in the home? Do we put parish participation as a higher priority than other activities that conflict with them? Do we pray the Rosary as a family? Do we attend Holy Days of Obligations? Do we attend Holy Thursday Mass and Good Friday Veneration of the Cross? Do we go to Eucharistic Adoration? Do we financially support our parish? Are we open to the possibility that our sons may become a priest, or do we just automatically assume he will get married?

In other words, is being Catholic a part of our lifestyle?

Young men are not going to feel called if being Catholic is a foreign lifestyle. Live the faith! Make Catholicism the central thread in the fabric of your life.


#9

In my archdiocese, within the last few years our seminary has been chock-full. It has been so full on some occasions that the seminarians were obliged to get apartments nearby because the dorms couldn't hold them all. This was attributed to a couple of things:

1) The archbishop composed a vocation prayer and all the parishes were required to say this prayer during all masses- daily and Sunday masses.

2) The proliferation of adoration chapels in the metro area, with parishoners taking holy hours to specifically pray for vocations.

3) The seminary itself got ahold of good, strong, traditional priest/teachers to guide the students. Each seminarian is required to make a holy hour each day, attend mass, has a spiritual director and is guided in conservative Catholic teachings at the seminary.

4) Families were appealed to by the vocation director at every parish throughout the year to consider their sons for the priesthood or religious life.

5) Young people are excited and drawn to people who live the faith in the traditional way. They just are. Seeing nuns in their habits, following the Rule that the particular order originally came up with; having good, strong, more conservatively-leaning priests who are living their faith with enthusiasm as mentors- these things are invaluable to young men and women. You can see that the orders of nun who are more traditional- such as the Dominican Sisters in Nashville, or Mother Angelica's group of Poor Clares attract more young women than those orders that have gone the more progressive route and are dying out.

A diocese that adopts some or more of these methods is more likely to see an upsurge in vocations than dioceses where the bishop doesn't make much of an effort to bring his diocese under the guidance of the Vatican.


#10

Check out the Feb. 20, 2011 entry at this website:

www.cleansingfiredor.com

I think this will spread more light on the why's of the priest shortage.


#11

I think the priest shortage is self-inflicted, and is the result of the modernist totalitarianism that goes by the Orwellian name of liberalism in the Church. The totalitarians have kept us on a spiritual starvation diet for so many decades that many Catholics do not know how to distinguish between error and authentic Catholic teaching, nor feel at home with traditional Catholic worship. Starvation is not conducive either to preserving the faith or to the fostering of vocations. Also, I contend that the liturgical lunacy that prevails in so many parishes (which lunacy was never called for by Vatican II) has eroded people's perception of the dignity and power of the priesthood, which is clearly and unequivocally actualized in the older form of Mass. That is one of the reasons why the Pope's freeing up of the older form is such a great gift to priests.

Worst of all, there are people in positions high up in local churches who like the priest shortage. Why? To foster their own vision of "Church," which calls for the weeding out of orthodox candidates for ordination. Some of them are priests and bishops who dislike the high dignity of their priestly office, and try to be just one of the guys. And I think many hope choking off the supply of priests will force the Church to change her mind about priestesses and clerical celibacy.

It would be interesting to see a comparative study of average priestly ordinations per year in liberal dioceses versus orthodox ones.


#12

[quote="jpjd, post:8, topic:234856"]
You say, "I think somebody should do something."

How about we all start doing something! Do we go to Mass every Sunday as a family? Do we let our children see that we go to Confession regularly? Do we send them to PSR and discuss faith matters in the home? Do we put parish participation as a higher priority than other activities that conflict with them? Do we pray the Rosary as a family? Do we attend Holy Days of Obligations? Do we attend Holy Thursday Mass and Good Friday Veneration of the Cross? Do we go to Eucharistic Adoration? Do we financially support our parish? Are we open to the possibility that our sons may become a priest, or do we just automatically assume he will get married?

In other words, is being Catholic a part of our lifestyle?

Young men are not going to feel called if being Catholic is a foreign lifestyle. Live the faith! Make Catholicism the central thread in the fabric of your life.

[/quote]

:clapping:


#13

[quote="wild_thing, post:9, topic:234856"]

5) Young people are excited and drawn to people who live the faith in the traditional way. They just are. Seeing nuns in their habits, following the Rule that the particular order originally came up with; having good, strong, more conservatively-leaning priests who are living their faith with enthusiasm as mentors- these things are invaluable to young men and women. You can see that the orders of nun who are more traditional- such as the Dominican Sisters in Nashville, or Mother Angelica's group of Poor Clares attract more young women than those orders that have gone the more progressive route and are dying out.

A diocese that adopts some or more of these methods is more likely to see an upsurge in vocations than dioceses where the bishop doesn't make much of an effort to bring his diocese under the guidance of the Vatican.

[/quote]

A proliferation of marks of our Catholic identity, especially nuns in habits and clerical dress for priests, is very powerful. I once heard Fr. Serpa tell the story of a couple of religious sisters who deliberately walked into an adult bookstore in full habit. Everybody dove for cover.


#14

[quote="Victorious, post:11, topic:234856"]
I think the priest shortage is self-inflicted, and is the result of the modernist totalitarianism that goes by the Orwellian name of liberalism in the Church. The totalitarians have kept us on a spiritual starvation diet for so many decades that many Catholics do not know how to distinguish between error and authentic Catholic teaching, nor feel at home with traditional Catholic worship. Starvation is not conducive either to preserving the faith or to the fostering of vocations. Also, I contend that the liturgical lunacy that prevails in so many parishes (which lunacy was never called for by Vatican II) has eroded people's perception of the dignity and power of the priesthood, which is clearly and unequivocally actualized in the older form of Mass. That is one of the reasons why the Pope's freeing up of the older form is such a great gift to priests.

Worst of all, there are people in positions high up in local churches who like the priest shortage. Why? To foster their own vision of "Church," which calls for the weeding out of orthodox candidates for ordination. Some of them are priests and bishops who dislike the high dignity of their priestly office, and try to be just one of the guys. And I think many hope choking off the supply of priests will force the Church to change her mind about priestesses and clerical celibacy.

It would be interesting to see a comparative study of average priestly ordinations per year in liberal dioceses versus orthodox ones.

[/quote]

Quite true. In addition, the following article entitled, The Emasculation of the Priesthood is quite insightful:
latinmassmagazine.com/articles/articles_emasculation.html


#15

[quote="jpjd, post:8, topic:234856"]
You say, "I think somebody should do something."

How about we all start doing something! Do we go to Mass every Sunday as a family? Do we let our children see that we go to Confession regularly? Do we send them to PSR and discuss faith matters in the home? Do we put parish participation as a higher priority than other activities that conflict with them? Do we pray the Rosary as a family? Do we attend Holy Days of Obligations? Do we attend Holy Thursday Mass and Good Friday Veneration of the Cross? Do we go to Eucharistic Adoration? Do we financially support our parish? Are we open to the possibility that our sons may become a priest, or do we just automatically assume he will get married?

In other words, is being Catholic a part of our lifestyle?

Young men are not going to feel called if being Catholic is a foreign lifestyle. Live the faith! Make Catholicism the central thread in the fabric of your life.

[/quote]

Here is what our parish does.

forums.catholic.com/showpost.php?p=7719733&postcount=30

We have about one young man a year from our parish go into the seminary. We have had 8 men ordained to the priesthood in the last 10 years ( and another one due to be Ordained in June :thumbsup:)


#16

We're often told in the UK that there is a priest shortage, and in a way there is; some parishes are closing, lay people are being appointed to the spiritual care of schoolchildren and hospital patients, the remaining priests are getting busier and busier. This will get worse, as there are many priests age 60+ who will all be retiring at about the same time.

But in another way, there isn't a priest shortage. Let me explain. Per Sunday massgoer, I've heard that we have more priests than any country apart from Ireland and Malta. Some of our parishes are incredibly small by American standards; three of four hundred at all Sunday Masses combined is fairly normal. Others are smaller still. In rural areas, a priest might look after three church buildings, with a Sunday Mass in each of them. But the attendance at each one might be less than a hundred.

Look at the age of your congregation. If you take away the people who will be dead in 30 years (sorry to be blunt), and add in the number of young couples, times average children per Catholic family (barely more than the general population) multiplied by the rate at which they can be expected to continue practising (10%? 20% that seems about average), then we'll be left with fewer priests, but also fewer laity to match.

Now look around your Sunday congregation. How many single men age, say, 16-30? Exactly. And that's the problem. Not a priest shortage in isolation, but a dramatic fall in the number of laity, especially men.

Of the committed young Catholic men I know, the majority have seriously considered priesthood or religious life. I am hopeful that the conservative pockets will, with greater numbers of children and better chances of their children practising into adulthood, be a source of renewal and strength for the future of the Church in the West. But in areas where Father Feelgood reigns, it could be a wasteland.


#17

I personally think this has to do with smaller families in the U.S.

When parents only have a few children, there’s a good chance that both will be girls (that’s our situation).

And when there is only one son, parents want the son to get married and continue the family name. Even if they don’t actively discourage a boy from discerning a vocation, they might passively discourage it; e.g, they can say things like, “We’re so looking forward to having grandchildren,” or “Our family name has been around for seven generations, and your children will be the eighth generation.”

My husband and I were Protestant throughout our fertile years, so we didn’t know any better about the contraception mentality. Now that we are in our 50s, we regret that we didn’t have a bigger family. But we didn’t know.

The scandal in the U.S. has certainly hurt, also. In the U.S., it is generally not considered an honorable thing to enter the priesthood. I think that if a boy makes this announcement during his middle or high school years, he could face some significant ostracizing and ridicule. That’s pretty tough to face alone.

There is so much sexualization of children and young people in the U.S.–I wonder if young men who feel called to the priesthood start to doubt their sexuality and worry that they are not heterosexual. After all, all the other young men their age are talking about girls, girls, girls. This could be a real struggle for a teenager–teens hate feeling “different” than their peers.

Add to that parents who are NOT at all enamored of the idea of having a son in the priesthood, and you have a formula that almost guarantees that many young men will try desperately to ignore their calling. Hopefully they will respond as they get older, which seems to be what’s happening.

One thing that I think would really help the situation in the U.S. is to have more open discussion of how priests and others in a vocation actually make a living. In the U.S., we worry about financial security. It’s a big deal here.

Historically, priests have been very poor. I don’t think this is the case in the U.S. anymore, but I honestly don’t know. Our priests seem to be doing pretty well–they certainly aren’t thin, and they drive nice cars and live in nice apartments. And they seem to get vacations and days off, and if they’re sick, they seem to have their health care expenses covered.

I think that if finances in vocations were discussed more openly in the U.S., and parents and their children were assured that priests DO make enough money to have a comfortable lifestyle, with adequate food, shelter, clothing, transportation, and health care–it would go a long way towards alleviating one more fear that parents and their children have about vocations.

The problem is, while we worry about finances in the U.S., we also keep this part of our lives a deep dark secret. This needs to change. Families want to know “how much does a priest make?” I think that’s a fair question.


#18

In my experience the topic of vocations is seems to be seldom discussed from the pulpit. Some posters have rightly pointed out that your Catholic faith needs to be lived in your family and in the parish. If parishoners aren't hearing anything about vocations or don't even know what the diocese has or is doing to promote them then nobody can be faulted for not showing up. Priests, I think, need to do a good job of showing how happy they are being priests and what joy they get from their ministry. Try and dispel the myths that popular culture puts out there about priests and their lives.

This may sound silly but show the people that priests can have fun and are fun to be around. If you become a priest it doesn't mean you have to stop eating pizza and reading your favorite novels.

ChadS


#19

[quote="ChadS, post:18, topic:234856"]
In my experience the topic of vocations is seems to be seldom discussed from the pulpit. Some posters have rightly pointed out that your Catholic faith needs to be lived in your family and in the parish. If parishoners aren't hearing anything about vocations or don't even know what the diocese has or is doing to promote them then nobody can be faulted for not showing up.

[/quote]

Our parish has two priests, a "younger" one that is 50 years old that handles three parishes and an older "retired" priest (about 80 years old) that covers some of the masses. The older priest is very traditional and has no problem speaking his mind and covering topics that a more "politically correct" man would simply avoid. He has covered many of the items brought up here in his sermons on the need for priests and how smaller families are part of the issue.

That being said after one sermon about the need for vocations I whispered to my son "Have you thought about being a priest?"

He answered in typicle 10 year old fashion "I don't know, maybe." After a moment's thought he then asked with concern in his voice "Why did you sign me up for something?"

Several people heard that answer and it sent a ripple of giggles though the pews around us.


#20

[quote="captainmike, post:3, topic:234856"]
if i were the bishop of my diocese, i would direct every family in my diocese to have their boys aged 12-18 to come to a meeting. hopefully, thousands would show up. then i'd say, "young men, i need fifty of you to be priests. who's willing to give his life for the Lord?"

we need to encourage our young men and women to consider being priests and sisters.

[/quote]

Wow, I wonder how that would be received today. What if the boys didn't want to go? I know my mom wouldn't have made my brother go if he didn't want to go. I certainly wouldn't make my boys go if they didn't want to go...


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