The crisis of priestly vocations: good advice from a smart priest

More on the issue of vocations to the priesthood.  Allow me, first, to say that the “crisis” of vocations was created and it’s perpetuation is also not only tolerated but, in some places, fostered.  That said, it is probable that in most places the presuppositions and vocational views of those in charge are so bent in one particular direction, that they are nearly incapable of turning their heads to look for solutions in another direction.

Consider the following diagram:

angles

If you travel along the ray that extends from A through points D and E, are you getting closer or farther away from the ray that points to “More good priestly vocations”?

If you want to arrive at, say, St. Ipsidipsy parish in Tall Tree Circle in the Diocese of Black Duck for supper with Msgr. Zuhlsdorf (NB: I’ve discerned myself to be an Internal Forum Monsignor and now you are obliged to “accompany” me), but instead you discover that you have taken the road toward Engendering Togetherness Community of Welcome over in Libville where Bp. Fatty McButterpants gloomily reigns, do you continue down the road to Libville or to you turn around and go back to correct your course?

Here is something I picked up from Liturgy Guy, written by a priest of Bridgeport.  He nails some important points.  My emphases and comments:

One Priest’s View on the Vocations Crisis

The following guest post was written by Fr. Donald L. Kloster, a priest of the Diocese of Bridgeport, Connecticut who has served (for over 6 years) as the pastor of 36,000 faithful in the poorer parish of Maria Inmaculada Eucarisitica in the Archdiocese of Guayaquil, Ecuador.

Father Kloster graduated from St. Charles Borromeo Seminary Philadelphia, PA in 1995, having completed his Master’s Thesis in Moral Theology. He is a native of Texas and graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in 1989. In addition, Fr. Kloster spent two years as a student (and then novice) at the 7th century est. Benedictine Abbey of Disentis, Switzerland.

As someone who has lived on 3 continents and in 11 U.S. dioceses during my adult life, I have seen a lot where vocations are concerned. The Liturgy Guy said it well recently when he noted that the answer to increased vocations isn’t beyond our capability. Unfortunately, our chanceries have often spent too much time and money searching for vocations in all the wrong places.  [My old pastor Msgr. Schuler, speaking of the horrid situation of the seminary and vocations back in the 80’s and 90’s used to say that the Powers That Were couldn’t answer three fundamental questions: 1) Who is Christ?  2) Who is the Church?  3) Who is the priest?  Get those wrong, or waffle, and you are done for.]

Increasing vocations is not a matter of more conferences, retreats, publications, advertising, and slide shows. These things have minimal effects. It is as if hand wringing will do the Church any good at all. It is as if the powers that be really aren’t interested in true solutions. [Another thing that Msgr. Schuler used to say: “It’s as if they sit around and talk about how to starve to death together instead of getting up and planting more potatoes.”]

From my observation deck, there seems to be a lot of a priori suppositions that inhibit a true rise in vocations. There is a communal reluctance to admit wherein the vocations successes are gaining traction. Traditional dioceses and Traditional Orders are producing the lion’s share of vocations.  [Do I hear an “AMEN!”?]

Coca Cola famously introduced New Coke in 1985. It lasted just 77 days. Only 13% of Coke drinkers even liked it. Did that company double down on the New Coke promotional ads? They had, after all, spent millions of dollars to introduce the product. No, they did an about face and reintroduced Coca-Cola Classic! [BINGO!] By comparison, our Bishops have done the exact opposite when it comes to vocations. They are continuing in methods that are proven failures.

I humbly submit that there is a spiritual connection between the height of vocations in 1965 and our vocations dearth that has continued for 52 years now.

[QUAERITUR:] Just exactly what have we been doing wrong? I’m afraid that a great many of our modern Prelates do not want to hear the real answer because it does not fit in with their narrative; they stubbornly clung to ideology. [Again, some of them are sheer ideologues. Others simply are bewildered and don’t have a clue.   Alas, some of the latter are surrounded by ideologues.]

First, we need an exclusively masculine sanctuary. [Remember my POLLS?] Vatican II never envisioned an army of Extraordinary Ministers. It never envisioned altar girls. It never envisioned the (almost) exclusive reading of the Old Testament and Epistles at Mass by women. [All these things were rammed down our throats, mostly against law and common sense.]

There is only one diocese in all of the United States that is obedient to even the most recent 2011 General Instruction of the Roman Missal. The GIRM calls for instituted acolytes and lectors. It is a gross abuse that in the more Solemn Masses at almost any Cathedral in the nation, there are instituted seminarian lectors that are many times prohibited from fulfilling their installed liturgical privilege.  [In some places I’ll wager that bishops and their coteries do not want to “install” lectors and acolytes because, frankly, they are afraid of women.]

We have largely evicted men from the sanctuary (as sextons and ushers too) at the peril of vocations. Men will almost always take a back seat if they perceive it is a duty reserved to women.

Second, we need a more visibly identifiable clergy. The most proper dress of a priest is the cassock. Next comes the clerical suit. A priest should normally always wear his jacket or at least have it with him. In former days, there was also a regulation to carry one’s biretta or hat. I cannot tell you how many times I have been stopped for a question, blessing, or confession. If I am not visibly identified, I am invisible as an available priest. If I were to walk around in street clothes regularly, I communicate to others with my dress a certain lack of importance invested in my vocation. The police wear their uniforms for a reason. We are their spiritual equivalent, except that we are never “off duty.[On a side note, it seems most frequently the duty of the cop to say “No.”, just as it is of the father of children and, of course, the priest.]

Third and most importantly, we need a communal obligatory penance to help promote vocations. [YES!] Perhaps it means a return to abstinence on Fridays. Perhaps every Catholic under pain of venial sin should visit a monstrance or a tabernacle for 10 minutes weekly. Perhaps a monthly day of fasting under the usual conditions like Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.

Lincoln, Nebraska and Guadalajara, Mexico are perhaps the best two Dioceses in the Americas at promoting vocations. [HEY!  MADISON!] Why aren’t all of the other dioceses copying them? My frustration is that it seems collectively as a Church we are content to have a continually declining priest to faithful ratio.  [I was recently told that a large Archdiocese I visited had 17 major seminarians, but half of them were foreign born.  In relatively tiny Madison there are 16 major seminarians and 2 of them were born elsewhere.]

As in most situations in life, if something isn’t working you abandon it. It’s only logical. Tradition is not a bad word. [That depends, of course, on your audience.] Mother Teresa of Calcutta once famously refused to send her nuns to Albania without priests. “Without priests we do not have the Mass.”  [And without strong bishops who really want more vocations, and who treat their priests well, and who stay close with all the seminarians… no vocations.]

Vocations are not just a pious part of a “wish list.” They are the basic need of our survival as a Church. The sooner vocations begin to (significantly) increase again, the sooner we will witness a spiritually healthier Catholic Church again.

Fr. Z kudos.

Of course you have anticipated what I am about to write.

No initiative which we undertake in the Church will succeed without an renewal and revitalization of our sacred liturgical worship.  That includes vocations to the priesthood.

We are our rites.

There is a direct bond of nerve ganglia and blood vessels in the Body of Christ which tie together Holy Mass and vocations to the priesthood.  If you wound those nerves and arteries, you inflict profound damage extending beyond the local laceration.  That is what happened in the post-Conciliar reforms.  A huge wound was inflicted in the nerves and vessels of the Body of Christ, such that we are now dangerous enervated and bloodless.

We need many more celebrations of Holy Mass in the traditional Roman Rite side by side with the Novus Ordo.  Happily, younger priests and seminarians really want to use the traditional Roman Rite.  This will create a tremendous knock on effect through their revitalized ars celebrandi.  The spreading use of the traditional forms – along with the strong priestly identity advocated by the writer above – will be like the introduction of clotting agents, transfusions of blood, mending of nerves, application of antibiotics, better diet and supplements, and supportive therapy.  The effect will surely be beneficial.

Also, I will urge pastors of parish to get their congregation down on their knees explicitly to pray for vocations.   I warmly urge the use of the Vocations Prayer I’ve written about many times on this blog.  Get it.  Print it.  Implement it as is… without tinkering with it.  It is effective.

And read these…

The moderation queue is ON.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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30 Responses to The crisis of priestly vocations: good advice from a smart priest

  1. Midwest St. Michael says:

    Heh. I copied this article from the Liturgy Guy’s site the other day and put it in my priest’s mailbox.

    He has yet to ask me if I was the one who put it there… though he probably has already figured that out. :^)

    MSM

  2. Jim R says:

    “From my observation deck, there seems to be a lot of a priori suppositions that inhibit a true rise in vocations. There is a communal reluctance to admit wherein the vocations successes are gaining traction. Traditional dioceses and Traditional Orders are producing the lion’s share of vocations. [Do I hear an “AMEN!”?]”

    I really don’t think that it is ‘Tradition” as such that is the issue. It is faith. Traditional dioceses and orders attract the only people who really are willing to give up family, sex, secular life: that is those who truly believe what the Church teaches, what the Church is – what Christ is. The ‘Tradition” that matters is faith. Too often, the modernists don’t really believe anything the Church teaches beyond “be good.”
    Not that social work is, in itself, bad…it’s not. BUT it’s not the essence of the priesthood or a religious vocation. So, it’s not the Tradition, per se, that attracts vocations; it’s the faith of those who seek a vocation which is found in traditional communities and which is too often lost in modernist communities.

  3. Knight from 13904 says:

    this not rocket science. TLM means increase in vocations. Two weeks ago at my home parish (thanks be to God it is staffed by the FSSP) pastor announced that our little personal parish in diocese of Manchester (NH) that was just reopened in August 2016, has three men that entered the seminary recently.
    I am new to the TLM but you don’t have to be a genius to figure out there is something very masculine about the TLM. Not masculine at the expense of the feminine, but someway somehow it draws men in. Even the handful of times when I attend weekday or Saturday Mass there is at least 50% men in attendance.
    I also believe that there are those within the hierarchy of the Church that flat out prefer to have a shortage of priests instead of acknowledge that the feminization of the NO is the root issue in so many problems within the Catholic Church right now.

  4. Spade says:

    “It never envisioned altar girls.”

    Related: I was on a retreat this weekend with an FSSP priest, who pointed out that in the NO mass being an altar server is BORING. You stand here, you stand there, you hold this, you hold that. You really don’t have much to do, and you can basically teach a regular mass goer what to do in a few minutes.

    Whereas being an EF server means you are 100% involved in everything. You’re super important. You’re critical, and you need to put in a lot of work and prep. You must memorize pages of responses. There’s a progression as you grow up too. It’s just more interesting.

    [Well said.]

  5. mepoindexter says:

    “I’ve discerned myself to be an Internal Forum Monsignor and now you are obliged to “accompany” me.”

    LOL

    “Msgr” Zuhlsdorf, I give you your own star of approval!

  6. Imrahil says:

    Slightly OT, or not:

    Recently I heard the i.m.h.o. best argument for a reintroduction of all-male altar-serverhood if it could in any way be done, even for the Novus Ordo. (I did not say “sanctuary” because I continue to be of the opinion that a female sacristan entering the sanctuary outside Mass is no problem.)

    Now my position on altar girls was that though it may well be that they (their existence as an institution; not the single particular altar girl) are detrimental to vocations and (as seen by the acolytes and lectors they replace) males are more fittingly chosen for these services, at least there is nothing intrinsically wrong with their serving. That is much for starters; especially if the altar girl is already established in a parish, one has to pick one’s battles. (It goes without saying that following on these principles, parents should not resist the priest to reintroduce “boys only”, but as long as he doesn’t do not sin by sending their girls for altar service.)

    That, too, remains in principle my opinion.

    But.

    We are all agreed that there must not be altar girls for the Extraordinary Form. Which means, in practical matters, that if our pious priest wants to have an EF Mass every week or so for starters, also perhaps, shall I say it, because for all due respect to the NO this makes him feel so much more that he is doing the thing he is to do as a priest (or how to formulate it), if the parish has altar girls this means, in practice, that he has no altar servers for the EF Mass. (And is it even technically allowed to say the EF Mass in the absence of servers, when a couple of men would be present to do so?) For, the battle with the parents of the devoted altar girls who do the NO thing just as well and better as the boys (practically speaking) and find themselves suddenly excluded from this new EF thing which Father wants, this battle will certainly be one he is not able to fight through. It will be probably easier to exclude the girls at once and risk all their families abandon their faith, than doing that.

  7. Nathan says:

    Father, thanks once again for the cri de coeur and the insightful article by Fr. Kloster. I would amplify your statement a bit–IMO, the full restoration of the TLM and Divine Office, in the richness of frequent and numerous uses of the Pontifical and Solemn rites, is a necessary condition for solving the vocations crisis.

    I think it ties as well into a very interesting set of insights from Fr Hunwicke, who notes, “in Catholic (and Orthodox) ecclesiology, a Bishop is a man who discharges the functions of the high Episcopal office in the context of the structured Church life of People, Deacons, and Presbyters. A gathering of Christians so structured is known as a “Particular Church”. Like any other Diocesan Bishop, the Pope, the Bishop of Rome, is a Bishop with a Presbyterium, a Diakonia, a Laos. He is not a lonely isolated individual with technically valid orders and a technically valid Electio in Summum Pontificem tucked into his back pocket. ”

    It is more than the person of the bishop (whom we are often tempted to put completely on the hook for his vocations) that has to be put “on the right course.” It is the bishop, his priests, his deacons, his seminarians, and the religious present in his diocese that should be brought to bear on restoring vocations.

    At the risk of beating a dead horse, it seems to me that the clear markers of a Particular Church in need of course correction:

    –the bishop, priests, deacons, and religious share a vision that the diocese ought to look like the Episcopal Church in America, with its self-destructing strategy to replace the Christian Faith with the values of the modern world and its all-encompassing embrace of identity politics.

    –the bishop, priests, deacons, and religious share a loss of Faith, where Divinely-revealed Truth is supplanted by feelings, reliance on religion as therapy, and the primacy of man over God.

    In these two trends, I don’t see how you can solve a vocations crisis in the short term without Divine Aid, since the loss of true vocations serves the aims of both.

    In Christ,

  8. Discerning Altar Boy says:

    Would it be permissible for a diocese to incentivize the production of priestly vocations? For example, for each man accepted into the seminary, his parish or diocesan Catholic high school would receive some sort of bonus funding. Would this serve to desacralize the nature of vocations or could it be seen as a pragmatic move?

  9. Henry Edwards says:

    In recent years the Diocese of Knoxville—the nation’s diocese most thinly populated with Catholics—has had as many seminarians per capita Catholic population as have the dioceses prominently mentioned in recent articles on vocations.

    The current number of Knoxville seminarians has been reduced by 8 priestly ordinations in the past 2 years. But three (30%) of Knoxville’s 10 current diocesan seminarians were formed by altar service in traditional Latin Mass communities that probably comprise less than 1% of the diocesan population, and another former Latin Mass server here is currently a seminarian for a traditional Latin Mass order.

  10. scotus says:

    At my local parish church we pray the Rosary before Mass each weekday morning. At the request of the Archbishop (to everybody in the Archdiocese) we dedicate the fourth mystery of each Rosary to an increase in priestly vocations. At the end of the Rosary we pray the Hail, Holy Queen. This is followed by a prayer especially for more vocations. And the final prayer during the prayers of intercession during Mass is for an increase in priestly vocations “from among the young men of our community”. Some readers choose to omit the word ‘young’. (The latest ordination in the Archdiocese was of a man aged 66.) This is the prayer for more vocations:
    Prayer for Vocations to the Priesthood

    Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Eternal Father,
    Son of the Virgin Mary, we thank you for offering
    your life in sacrifice on the Cross, and for
    renewing this sacrifice in every Mass celebrated
    throughout the world.

    In the Power of the Holy Spirit we adore you
    and proclaim your living presence in the
    Eucharist. We desire to imitate the love you
    show us in your death and resurrection,
    by loving and serving one another.

    We ask you to provide the holy and generous
    priests that are so needed in our Archdiocese today.
    Lord Jesus, hear our prayer. Amen.

    Mary Mother of Priests…Pray for us
    St Kentigern… Pray for us
    St John Vianney… Pray for us

  11. AnnTherese says:

    I agree that the notion of a vocation “crisis” is of our making. God provides. More is not always better.

  12. michael de cupertino says:

    My family concludes bedtime prayer with the following, which may be of some interest:

    Lord, send us priests. (all repeat.)
    Lord, send us holy priests. (all repeat.)
    Lord, send us many holy priests and religious vocations. (all repeat.)

    My children enjoy taking turns leading it. I learnt it on an ICRSS retreat.

  13. lmgilbert says:

    In general your argument is that since many vocations come from parishes and dioceses that have the traditional liturgy, it is obvious that traditional liturgy and associated practices CAUSE vocations ( obviously, I know that you know that only the grace of God can cause vocations, so we are hobbled by our language a bit here)

    But, and this is an important possibility, could it be that rather than causality, what we really have is co-relation. My long supposition has been that the families who attend traditional liturgies raise their children much differently on the whole than families who attend NO liturgies. They are more apt to make sure their children are properly catechized, for one thing. They are more apt to read them the gospels and the lives of the saints. They are more apt to keep the mass media away. They are more apt to homeschool their children. They are more apt to do the things that please God, and avoid the things that displease Him- such as shopping on Sunday or speaking badly of the priest, etc. In other words, they are far more likely to have an atmosphere within their homes that fosters vocations.

    In other words, it seems very likely that what happens in the home in traditional parishes is more productive of vocations than what happens in the Church.

    This has huge implications, for while there are many parishes and dioceses that are resistant to the TLM, they would likely be far more open to promoting the domestic practices listed above. AND, this could be the path, too, that would open these parishes and dioceses to the traditional liturgy. In other words, it may be that the culture of vocation ( vs. the culture of distraction) in the Catholic home is the support of Traditional Liturgy, that causes it to spring up and flourish in the good soil of holy, Catholic families..

  14. St. Irenaeus says:

    I’m not a statistician, but I’d be interested in a real statistician’s evaluation of the Springtime Decay Function:

    http://www.christendomrestoration.org/blog/category/springtime-decay#.WacxfK2ZOqA

    As close to you’d come to proof that VII (more properly, its aftermath) is killing us.

  15. Dan says:

    Thank you for sharing. Thank you for promoting the vocations prayer.
    Amen is all I can say.

  16. ChesterFrank says:

    IMHO: You are both looking in the wrong place. The uber-liberals are looking for priestly examples that fit their image and advance their (political) agenda. The uber-Traddies are looking for the same. Both seem to be following the model of politics, they are looking for members that advance their cause. Granted, a large number from the liberal camp did have a campaign to marginalize and sabotage vocations, but that doesn’t priests cant be found in parishes with contemporary Masses. The same is true with parishes that have the TLM. I am sure that in those conservative and traditional Latin speaking parishes a number of good priestly candidates with a more liberal attitude will be passed over for the staunch conservative.

  17. Robert of Rome says:

    Fr. Z, you hear an amen!

  18. Imrahil says:

    Dear St. Irenaeus,

    I am not a statistician either, but I will mention the old quip that prognoses are difficult, especially if they are about the future.

    The models look correct to me, but as all models they heavily depend on the assumptions, and say so. There are two models at this page, one finds out that the curve “looks exponential” when beginning in 1965*, and extrapolate it for the future assuming it remains that way; another model has found out that the curve “looks linear” when started in 1980 and extrapolate it for the future assuming it remains that way.

    [*note: the dates are, I guess, year by year, so what does look like an exponential curve is not the dates themseves, which would barely yield a piecewile linear curve of some 50 nodes; but an interpolation, probably polynomial or spline because that’s what’s usually used.]

  19. Kerry says:

    Chester Frank, the “cause” is Christ. You might like this article at Roman Catholic Man, The Secular War on the Supernatural, by Dr. Alice Von Hildebrand. https://www.romancatholicman.com/secular-war-supernatural-alice-von-hildebrand/

    “I’m going to make a suggestion. If you read articles, you’ll read that traditional Catholics are opposed to liberal Catholics, or you’re going to be told that traditional Catholics are too far right.
    Now let us abolish the terms “conservative” or “liberal”, the terms “left” and “right” which are secularistic. I suggest that we say from now on “those who have kept the sense of the supernatural and those who have lost it”. That is the great divide, that is the essence.”

  20. D-Con Bernie says:

    Just remember the job of a priest is to save souls.

  21. Sonshine135 says:

    I would add Charlotte, NC to your list of Diocese that are doing it right. With the opening of the minor St. Joseph Seminary, you had 8 men come out of high school and go into Seminary. They lost one, but this year gained 9 more for a total of 16 men. These men are coming out of Parishes that have mostly clung to Tradition, and they are being taught with Latin Immersion, Gregorian Chant, Aristotle, Plato, and St. Thomas Aquinas. Even more importantly, they chant the office and have daily adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. The young men in the Diocese are taking notice, and they actually had to limit the amount of teens going to the annual Quo Vadis discernment week this summer. Men love to be men and they do their absolute best when they are allowed to be men.

  22. APX says:

    Discerning altar boy,

    One does not simply choose to become a priest; one must be called. Therefore, I think it would be unwise and imprudent to put a material reward for parishes who send people to the seminary. That opens itself up to abuse and risks people entering seminary who have zero business being in seminary, especially when it comes to getting extra funding for the parishes.

  23. Y2Y says:

    “I agree that the notion of a vocation “crisis” is of our making. God provides. More is not always better.”

    Do you deliberately miss the point of most of these posts?

  24. Dan says:

    I am inclined to agree with lmgilber’s assessment that “My long supposition has been that the families who attend traditional liturgies raise their children much differently on the whole than families who attend NO liturgies. They are more apt to make sure their children are properly catechized, for one thing. ”
    Priestly vocations are born in the family. However the traditional liturgy is more suited to challenging the faithful to grow in their faith and bring it home. NO liturgies at times can degrade to something of a feel good rock concert. I would equate the traditional liturgy to that sterotypical good teacher that surely everyone had at one point. The one that saw through all of your BS, challenged you to rise to your potential, actually make you learn something. When we attend a traditional Latin Mass or a well done NO Mass something is required of us. We have to pay attention, we are challenged. The traditional Mass tills the soil so that when the seeds are spread they have a place to grow. The degraded feel good service (technically still a valid Mass) is the rocky place that allows the seeds to quickly grow but there is no room for roots or vocations.
    This translates also to the way that parishes handled their sacramental prep program. My wife an I recently attended St. Agnes in St. Paul (my wife was baptized there by the afore mention Msgr. Schuler) and I was happy to see on their website two options for sacramental prep, one to come into the parish, and the other a homeschool registration for those families that actually desire to be the primary teachers for their children in the faith. I thought, “here is a parish that truly understands that vocations are born in the home”
    Contrast that with parishes that attempt to force all of the children to attended the parish sacramental prep program. Typically led by Joe Guitar and split into small groups led by Mrs. IWannaBeADeaconette. The argument goes that these families must be forced to hand over the education of their children so that they may become more fully integrated into parish life. Actual vs active participation. It breeds from the idea that if you are not actively doing something then you are not participation. It keeps the relationship with Christ at the surface level and does not require any internal acknowledgment or change.
    Traditional Liturgies require something internally, they challenge the faithful and as a consequence the faith comes home and stays when they leave the building. This translates to parents that actually participate in the faith formation of their children instead of counting on others to take care of that. So then vocations can grow in the home tilled and nourished by the Liturgy.

  25. Thorfinn says:

    Jim R says: “I really don’t think that it is ‘Tradition” as such that is the issue. It is faith.”

    I strongly agreee — and disagree.

    I disagree because your comment expresses a too limited view of what Tradition is. Our faith rests on Scripture & Tradition. It’s not just the Traditional Latin Mass and some other things. It’s the entire roots of the Church that allow the Church Militant to flourish. My personal experience was embracing the Tradition of the Church, and from that came an appreciation & embrace of the Traditional Latin Mass.

    I agree because the other leg of faith is Scripture. (Obviously you can’t have Tradition apart from Scripture, or the reverse). But we see the result of trying to avoid, misrepresent, or ignore Scripture, and the evil effects that has had in recent decades. I still can’t fathom the decision to cut parts of the Psalms from the Divine Office, for example. So many of our problems stem from not cultivating a love of the law of God; we’re always trying to fight the law. How can a priestly vocation arise without the love of Scripture, with an adversarial attitude toward the Word of God, and thus the Word made flesh?

  26. Thorfinn says:

    St. Irenaeus – The key to statistical modeling rests on having the judgment to make good assumptions. The basic simplifying assumption I would challenge in the models at the link is, “that nothing changes to reverse the trend”. We know that is not true – things change. So the results will be pretty good in the short run – in the short term a curve may look much like a line, so there’s no need to be too picky – but for the long run more thought is required. The long run hope for the Jesuits rests in the results for orders with problems throughout the Church’s history – a return to the charism of the founder. In which case the downward line, or curve, may turn into a 5th degree polynomial.

  27. ejcmartin says:

    Meanwhile in my uberliberal diocese, Bishop McButtermitre and his band of pantsuit priestess wannabes send us down the rabbit hole with a strategic plan bringing “pastoral ministers” who will be mostly female (their directive) and do everything a priest does except consecrate the Eucharist, forgive sins, and anoint the sick. A -> D -> E -> we are on our way passing F. Pray for us.

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  29. Absit invidia says:

    … one serious problem is that Good bishops would rate her throw their feet up in the table and recline with their easy schedule of politically correct events than tackle the liturgy. These seemingly traditional bishops rely on the laity to do this work for them – some have admitted so.

    Grassroots effort might be ok in small communities, but they are never lasting changes. A new pastor can dismantle years of laity grass-rooting of tradition at the stroke of a memo. The bishops need to act. That’s he bottom line and if 85% of their priests leave in protest, so what? Good riddance. Didn’t huge numbers leave Christ at the Body and Blood revelation? yet Christ let them go. They could have been added followers if Christ had held back and deferred to his followers to perform the heavy lifting fie him. The church survived and would survive nevertheless.

  30. dwrobles says:

    I think one of the bigger factors in this equation is another dimension of Fr Z’s “biological solution”. That is: for decades now traditional families have been avoiding birth control at a higher rate than NO families (unless there’s something fertile in the water near the traditional parishes). The children of those traditional parents are rapidly growing the population of Catholics insisting on retaining their heritage. Those children are now adults having families of their own. Thus both greater numbers and greater appreciation for their faith in traditional families is resulting in these vocations. May God bless these men.