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Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Root Cause of "Priest Shortage"?

"Conversations around the kitchen table may be more responsible for the shortage of Roman Catholic priests in the U.S. than influences from American culture."

Or so says USA Today.

Nearly half of all those to be ordained Catholic priests in the US this year received some sort of discouragement from family, friends, priests or others.

I'd be willing to bet a d**m sight more than half of those who go into it are also told that theatre is a lousy life and a nearly impossible way to make a living, and there's no shortage of actors...

I have nothing on which to base this other than gut feeling, but my guess is that the problem has less to do with the active, any discouragement than with the passive, the lack of any encouragement.

That and, not so much a secular culture that glorifies everything, good and bad, that the religious life is a renunciation of, but the rampant "Catholic" culture that for the past few decades has gone out of it to make the priesthood seem superfluous.


Anonymous said...

Excellent point. An old high school friend of mine left the priesthood a few years ago.
This shortage has a real impact on remaining clergy - worsening an already grim situation. Sir M

Jane said...

I also think that people having fewer children is also part of the problem. When I was a teenager, I considered the religious life, but I was acutely aware of my status as an only child. My parents spoke fondly of the day when they would have grandchildren, and I knew that if I entered a convent there would be no one around to give them the daily assistance that many elderly people need. So I got married. But I probably would have entered a convent, if I'd had a couple of siblings that I thought could be relied on to care for my parents in their old age.

Thankfully, this had nothing to do with actual pressure from my parents, but I am sure that there are only children out there who say, "Mom and Dad, I want to be a priest/nun" only to have their parents respond, "But who will take care of us and give us grandchildren?"