Why do you think few men want to be priests?


#1

EDIT: Thinking about it, perhaps I should've posted this in Vocations. Sorry, wasn't thinking.

What are your thoughts? Why do you think there are so few Catholics (even devout Catholics) who are thinking about the priesthood?


I can tell you my reason---the celibacy rule. I'd love to be a priest if it weren't for that. I feel the need for a woman, a companion who can help me in my faith and whom I can help in her faith. A woman who I can spend the rest of my life with, hold, have children with, etc. I feel this is necessary in my life, and it's the only thing stopping me from being a priest.


#2

Christ was very clear when he spoke about vocations. "some are born unable, some are made unable, and some choose not". He also said "he who can accept this ought to accept it".

The whole world wants us to believe that a priest "marrying the Church" is a bad thing to do. This is erroneous at best. Even Paul said that those that stay unmarried(if they are able) do better. There is no confusion here, just people that believe satan when he tells us that sex is the best thing around. Sex is not the god that this world would like you to believe. And yes man can absolutely do great without it.

The shortage of priests is a fallacy that only exists in america, where sin is worshipped. The rest of the world has seen over a 1% increase every year in priestly vocations. Gods plan will never fail, no matter how many "rich" people say so.

ccross


#3

These days, relatively few men are interetsed in being faithfully Catholic (let alone a priest)!


#4

I remember my parish priest in one of his homilies said that being a priest is very difficult. While he has a full schedule and is constantly going places and interacting with people he said that it is still a lonely life. At the end of the day, he comes back to an empty room. Unlike other people who have that "special someone" (or at least the possibility of meeting someone), a priest's special someone is Jesus who you can't physically see or touch. And while priests understand the graces that come with their vocation, the human side of them still desires human interaction.

I also believe its the high level of responsibility that comes with being a priest. People are trusting in you to help guide them into Heaven. That is not a lifestyle to be taken lightly. You deal a lot with people when they are at their lowest. And it isn't a 9-5 job where you can just come home from the office and not worry about things. Throw in the whole poverty, obedience, and chasity requirements and you probably get an idea of why most people just don't think they could cut it as a priest.


#5

“wanted to be priests”. We have moved on from the “me” generation and the seminaries are once again filling with young men who hear the call and are answering.
Our parish priest in his week day Mass homily informed us that when he was ordained, there were exactly 3 men left in the seminary, and today there are 30 from our dioceses.

He accounts this to the Blessed Sacrament Chapel where the Bishop has placed a prayer specifically for vocations to the priesthood and religious life. We have a new monastary planned for a new group of Sister of the Little Lamb, who have just arrived from Europe and are setting up residence as well.


#6

Even if I wasn’t married I still would be doubtful about entering that vocation. after reading what some of the saints have said about most priest ending up in hell there is no way I would take that chance.


#7

In addition to changes in society that have made the idea of entering the Priesthood almost laughable to some, I think there is another factor at play.
The Ordinary Form of the Mass gives less for the altar boys to do. In addition, we now have girls serving on the altar.
Now this is not my idea, but I cannot remember where I read it:
There seems to be a tendency for girls to take charge, whereas boys tend to be quite content to let someone else lead.
In the Extraordinary Form of the Mass the altar boys (never girls) are responsible for all the responses of the congregation. An altar boy works closely with the priest throughout the Mass. In this way a boy may become inspired to pursue the priesthood, if God calls him.


#8

[quote="spencer2, post:6, topic:215356"]
after reading what some of the saints have said about most priest ending up in hell there is no way I would take that chance.

[/quote]

I'm interested on what saints said this. Can you point me to one? I heard a lecture from Father Corapi where he said something along similar lines. He didn't say that most end up in hell, but he did say that they are partially responsible for the souls of those they guide. And if they practice something counter to the Church which leads others away from the Church then they are also held accountable.

I don't think the saints said that priests end up in hell because they are priests. I'm sure they meant that they end up in hell for living and preaching counter to the Catholic faith and leading others astray. But guess what? Hell is a possibility for anyone who lives counter to the teachings of Jesus Christ, not just priests.


#9

Maybe because of the over-dramatization of sex abuse in the CC. Maybe a young man doesn't want to be associated with that. Unfortunately the media (I'm thinking through the power of the devil) has helped diminish the trust in and admiration for priests. It's not really an exalted role in society, in fact if a priest is mentioned nowadays it's often in the context of a crass joke. :sad_yes:

Another reason may be linked to the idea that masculinity is derived from the amount of sexual partners a man has had. The more promiscuous a man is, the more of a man he is. Obviously this is not an option for any devout Catholic, much less a priest.

Also my generation is extremely superficial, selfish, and ungrateful. That's harsh but that's the truth. It would kill me when I was in a physical school and kids would complain day in and day out about how they have to learn meanwhile girls in Afghanistan risk their very lives to go to school. That's the general attitude of the day and it doesn't suit the priesthood at all.

Just my 2 cents :rolleyes:


#10

[quote="PrayHarder, post:8, topic:215356"]
I'm interested on what saints said this. Can you point me to one? I heard a lecture from Father Corapi where he said something along similar lines. He didn't say that most end up in hell, but he did say that they are partially responsible for the souls of those they guide. And if they practice something counter to the Church which leads others away from the Church then they are also held accountable.

I don't think the saints said that priests end up in hell because they are priests. I'm sure they meant that they end up in hell for living and preaching counter to the Catholic faith and leading others astray. But guess what? Hell is a possibility for anyone who lives counter to the teachings of Jesus Christ, not just priests.

[/quote]

I can't remember what saints said this, so we would have to get Shin on this post as he knows more quotes from the saints than anyone.


#11

Possibilities to answer the OP:

Celibacy is not inviting
Living an unmarried life with no children is not something many men want
Less people are well-catechized than in the past, fewer learned men as candidates
Huge stigma attached to being a priest nowdays with gays and sex predators abounding
Vatican II watered down the Church and made it less dignified, full of majesty and the dignified days of the Tridentine Mass and old ways are gone


#12

[quote="gurneyhalleck1, post:11, topic:215356"]
Possibilities to answer the OP:

Celibacy is not inviting
Living an unmarried life with no children is not something many men want
Less people are well-catechized than in the past, fewer learned men as candidates
Huge stigma attached to being a priest nowdays with gays and sex predators abounding
Vatican II watered down the Church and made it less dignified, full of majesty and the dignified days of the Tridentine Mass and old ways are gone

[/quote]

this is a good response.


#13

actually, more recently vocations to the priesthood have been going up,
why i’m not sure, although i do know that seminaries such as the ones for the FSSP are flourishing, so maybe that’s part of it.
but even though there’s been more lately, the reason there are still so few then there use to be, is largely because it is not presented very well or very much at all, God is not even aloud in our schools right now, and to many families tend to just sit in front of their tvs and computers rather than make time for family prayer or other good religious activities and devotions…the family is the most important place to learn your religion, that is what the church teaches…but parents seem to leave that to people they don’t know, or they neglect it altogether…and in my opinion, that is one of the biggest reasons.

but anyways, in regards to “the celibacy rule”, that really shouldn’t make a difference when someone wants to give their whole self to God,
the call to the priesthood is a very special calling that comes from God alone, it is a privilege and not a right, no one is truly worthy to be a priest, it is something that should be done out of humility and obedience,

“Jesus saith to him: If thou wilt be perfect, go sell what thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come follow me. And when the young man had heard this word, he went away sad: for he had great possessions.” Matthew 19:21

“and come follow me”, if we wish to be perfect, we must follow in imitation of the virtues of Jesus, and for those who voluntarily observe the virtues of poverty and chastity, they will have a particularly great reward in heaven.
if you feel called to the priesthood, you should consider what that means, it means giving yourself to God, abandoning yourself and submitting to His will entirely, it means laying down your life for the love of God, “And I live, now not I; but Christ liveth in me.” Galatians 2:20, it is dieing to yourself, so that Christ may live in you.

to have a wife and children is a wonderful and blessed thing, but even as wonderful as they are to have, they should still not come between you and God, you should be able to love God above them, and love them as they should be loved - for the love of God.
because even if you are called to the married life rather than the religious life, it is that complete surrender to Gods will that will also inspire vocations in your own family…so even if you get married, make God the most important part of your family(which there is a right way to do and a wrong way to do…here is an excellent book called “The Christian Father” which is a must have in my opinion - angeluspress.org/oscatalog/item/8230/the-christian-father you can also find it cheaper on amazon.)

God calls many people to the priestly or religious life, and it seems more often then not, the answer is “no”,
consider that, God may be asking you - “Would you sacrifice having a wife and children, to come follow Me?, would you give all for love of Me?”, the answer depends on how much you love Him, or what you may love more than Him.
God doesn’t just want a part of you, He loves you completely, and He wants all of you without reserve, how can you expect to answer such a call with the full time responsibility of a family on your hands? the priestly life is not an easy one, i know a priest who came over from the middle east somewhere where they allow priests to marry, and he has a wife and 3 boys, and this priest, as kind as he is, did not have time for both, something always seemed to be left neglected, either his family or his flock, and because of this, most people left his church, and it has since been closed down…

The Holy Ghost is the one who guides our church, and there’s no doubt that He has influenced the vow of chastity in our priestly and religious vocations,
and i can see, although not completely, the great wisdom behind it,
it’s not just a matter of sacrifice, it’s a matter of subjecting the body to the spirit, mortifying your flesh and being master over it,
we are very weak to the flesh without the grace of God, when we become subject to it and slave to our passions, it is very hard, harder than anything else, to escape it,
but with Gods help, it is possible, and the means of escaping such attachments are the same means by which we avoid falling into them in the first place - which is by daily prayer, always having instant recourse to God in time of temptation, frequenting the sacraments, reading good catholic books daily, especially the lives of the saints, mortification and fasting, practice of all the virtues, and other particular practices and cautions, which you can learn from the church and from reading the lives and writings of the saints.

i can’t tell you if God is calling you or not, but despite what your vocation in life may be, we are all called to live a holy life in imitation of Christ and in complete submission to Gods will, and so whether you are called to get married or be a priest, you should still work in increasing in your love for God, and reaching for the holiness you are personally called to.

well, that is all for now, but here is a site with some audio sermons on the priestly and religious life that i think will help you out alot in understanding all of this -
audiosancto.org/categories/vocations.php

ok, so i hope this helps, take care.


#14

I can't help but think a man who wants to be a priest yet be married and raise a family has not spent much time around many priests, and has no idea of the demands of their state in life. I opine further that such a man does not know many women well, because the number who would put up with the effect of those demands on family life has to be low. I have worked for priests as an employee and volunteer for many years, in several parishes and dioceses, and I can tell you they put in hours and endure emotional and physical demands that would defeat any other professional. No way I could see raising a family with someone who will necessarily be absent as much as a priest must be.


#15

Come on. The reason why celibacy was adopted in the latin church had nothing to do with time management. You know it. It had to do with our latin fathers- St. Augustine, St. Ambrose, St. Jerome, St. Thomas Aquinas etc. viewing vaginal intercourse as an act which made a man unfit to approach the alter.


#16

[quote="MarianD, post:1, topic:215356"]
What are your thoughts? Why do you think there are so few Catholics (even devout Catholics) who are thinking about the priesthood?

[/quote]

It has been my experience that truly devout Catholics take time to discern their vocation. They are open to the possibility of the priesthood (if they aren't already married), but they discern that they aren't called to that. God isn't going to call the first man who gives Him any attention to the priesthood out of desperation. He doesn't work that way. God has a specific plan for everyone's lives. He will reveal His will to those who ask, but there are many who probably miss the call. He knows that some people will hear the call

[quote="MarianD, post:1, topic:215356"]
I can tell you my reason---the celibacy rule. I'd love to be a priest if it weren't for that. I feel the need for a woman, a companion who can help me in my faith and whom I can help in her faith. A woman who I can spend the rest of my life with, hold, have children with, etc. I feel this is necessary in my life, and it's the only thing stopping me from being a priest.

[/quote]

Many people do not become priests- they are unwilling to be celibate- they just can't give up that much. That's not necessarily a bad thing- some people really need the companionship that marriage provides, and I've heard priests tell me that loneliness can be a big problem in the priesthood. I'm not sure being hard to follow is a good reason to relax the celibacy rule in the Latin rite of the Church. It's worked for centuries- there is no reason it can't work now. Where the faith is strong, vocations are strong. People who accept that they can't have it all- that sometimes, to do what God asks of us, we must give up what we want- and learn to want what Christ wants.


#17

[quote="notredame_999, post:15, topic:215356"]
Come on. The reason why celibacy was adopted in the latin church had nothing to do with time management. You know it. It had to do with our latin fathers- St. Augustine, St. Ambrose, St. Jerome, St. Thomas Aquinas etc. viewing vaginal intercourse as an act which made a man unfit to approach the alter.

[/quote]

not quite accurate you have missed a huge chunk of the theology of celibacy, but you also ignore OP's question which is why few men, in his estimation, want to be priests today. A man who has a true vocation is also given the charism of celibacy, it is a fruit of the sacrament, just as fidelity is the charism of matrimony.


#18

[quote="MarianD, post:1, topic:215356"]

What are your thoughts? Why do you think there are so few Catholics (even devout Catholics) who are thinking about the priesthood?

[/quote]

Because there was a time when folks had lots of kids and even encouraged their sons to consider the priesthood.

Now, contracepting Catholics don't want their (average) 1.1 sons to consider the priesthood because they will not pass on the family name.

Which, by the way, is seemingly less and less likely with all the hyphenated family names I see in the Sunday bulletin.:mad:


#19

Interesting topic.

I think part of it is that it requires a commitment so much greater than any other vocational calling.

Think about other "professions" that consume an inordinate amount of a person's time, energy and effort. Cardiologists, emergency room physicians, specialist surgeons i.e. neurosurgery dairy farmers and large animal veterinarians come to my mind, although there are lots of others.

When you're needed, you HAVE to be there, no excuses. When you're off duty, which is rare, it's the unusual individual who can completely turn off the "work" you and turn on the "off duty" you.

Even so, when a man is a priest, he doesn't get a "day off" from God's work. Sure, he may have a day a week or so where he doesn't say mass, doesn't visit the sick, doesn't to "priestly work", but he's still a priest, he never takes time off from God.


#20

There's a lack of vocations due to contraceptive use in the Church. God prefers to call men from large families as otherwise it's bad for the Catholic population. There's also a general lack of religion combined with materialism amongst the youth and not enough hands to do the work. There's plenty of vocations in Africa.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.