ITALY: Vocations to the priesthood waaaaaay down

From in Italian:

Italy, CEI: fewer seminarians, families may be a nursery for vocations [What’s….. family?]

The data of a report by the Italian Bishops’ Conference reveal that in just ten years the decline in vocations has reached 28%: in fifty years the seminarians have more than halved. Don Michele Gianola, undersecretary of the CEI: “This situation must not make us lose hope. The attention of the Church today must be directed to all vocations, not just to the priesthood.”

Lemme stop there.  In the ANSA coverage has, instead of priesthood, “il ministero ordinato…. ordained minister”.  Vatican News tidied it up.  “Ordained minister” is a term of art that intends to blur the disticntion of the priesthood of the priest and the priesthood of the laity.  This was the B as in B, S as in S we got in seminary in the 80’s, distilled from Rahner and Schillebeeckx.

SIR, has more numbers.  Alarming.

Fr. Z responds, they have systematically destroyed the terroir for vocations in Italy for decades and now they wonder that they don’t have as many now as before.

God is not calling fewer men to the priesthood, friends.  It’s just that they can’t hear.  They’ve been deafened.

I wonder what would happen with a radical inside the box (the new “outside the box”) approach to vocations, including preaching about the family and having sound liturgical worship.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Dan says:


    Isn’t there some quote somewhere about knowing them by their fruits?

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  3. arga says:

    This is the plan of some bishops: they want to provoke a vocations crisis in order to advance their plan to ordain women.

  4. Jones says:

    Reminds me of a cartoon drawing of a guy sitting on a tree limb and sawing it off from the tree.

  5. juliafedele says:

    Let me share some good news from Italy. My cousin’s son graduated high school this year and in September entered the diocesan seminary of Reggio Emilia – Guastalla (Guastalla is our home town). He has seven years of study in front of him, and I have promised to pray for him daily. That is one “yes” to God’s call and provides much needed hope.

  6. Chrisc says:

    How can this be? Didn’t they just redo the Roman seminary with the creepy artwork of encounter?

    I mean sure they locked down all the churches, and I am sure the priests have barely heard confessions. But why would anyone conclude that the priesthood isn’t valued?

  7. summorumpontificum777 says:

    Would it be churlish to note that seminary enrollment in the Archdiocese of Buenos Aires similarly plummeted between 1998 and 2013?

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  9. Benedict Joseph says:

    “The attention of the Church today must be directed to all vocations, not just to the priesthood.”
    I’ve been hearing such nonsense since the mid-sixties.
    They can’t withhold from the compulsion to lather lipstick on a pig. Of course it serves to masks institutionally wide pastoral malpractice.
    The Lord has not ceased to call men and women to the priesthood and religious life. No one in their “mercy” ever choses to reflect on the adverse effects in the life of one called who was unable to properly discern, who received no pastoral support, who could not find a faithful community.
    “Or what man is there among you, of whom if his son shall ask bread, will he reach him a stone?” Matthew 7:9

  10. L. says:

    It seems to me that having the kind of faith necessary to enter the Priesthood, at least if done for the right reasons might be seen as being rather “rigid.”

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  12. On the other hand, in one parish where I happily attend, with strong liturgical practice in both forms, outstanding homiletics, and orthodox _C_atholic identity…have sent 2 young men to seminary, with one or two more that I sense may be on that path.

    It’s not rocket science. If young men see priests acting like priests and joyful in their vocation, masculine in deportment, and faithful in practice…setting a good example…who would not want to emulate such a positive role model?

  13. Deborah Y says:

    “The attention of the Church today must be directed to all vocations, not just to the priesthood.”

    I strongly agree with this statement. Catholic marriage is also in extreme crisis! Not only is the sheer number of people getting married crashing worldwide, but levels of contraception and divorce show how few Catholic couples see their marriages as a vocation meant to assist each other on the path of holiness.

  14. Son of Saint Alphonsus says:

    God calls, yes. But the blame for the dearth of vocations is not solely that men don’t hear God’s call. Perhaps the fact that seminaries and religious orders are Catholic in name only has something to do with it. Why would God send men to seminaries and novitiate to be deformed? Why would men go?

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