First I would like to offer some hope. There has been a number of reports over the past few years that the number of seminarians in the country has been steadily increasing. It may not be to the point where we are able to fully replace all the priests we are losing to retirement, but I think it is something to be joyful about.
As for causes, I think it’s generally the culture, but specifically (now I’m treading into dangerous territory here) the Post-Vatican II Catholic Culture.
As a man, I want to know that there is something worth fighting for, and I need to know that I am wanted. You can kind of view Priestly vocation the same way you would view military service. A man is asked to give their lives for something, they better believe it will be worth it.
Now all we hear is: “Priests should be married!” and “Women should be priests!” That will help vocations!
While I was growing up and thinking about what I wanted to be, I never once thought about being a Priest, because I never had encouragement to do so, but I did think about joining the Air Force. We say the pledge of allegiance every day. We have years and years of history classes. We are entrenched in American society every day, and certain special men and women feel the need to fight for it. For vocations to increase, we need to see this happen with the church, and I think it starts at home. Parenthood is a vocation, too, and part of that vocation is to raise saintly children. Parents need to pray every day for their children, make sure they have the right friends, watch the right movies, give them a biography of a saint every once in a while to read. I think we’re in a good spot in history to see great things happen, better than at any time in the recent past, but there is still a lot of work to do.