Tuesday, May 22, 2018


Press for complete Crux article on: Pope laments vocations ‘hemorrhage’ 

Pope laments vocations ‘hemorrhage,’ wants ‘clear rules’ on money
Pope Francis arrives at the annual Italian Bishops' Conference in the Synod hall at the Vatican, Monday, May 21, 2018. (Credit: AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia.)
Pope Francis said this about the lack of vocations in Italy (and everywhere else):

On vocations, the pontiff didn’t mince words.
“How many churches and convents have been closed in recent years for a lack of vocations, only God knows,” he said.
Francis blamed the crisis in vocations on many factors, including “a culture of the provisional,” a “culture of relativism,” the “dictatorship of money”, a “demographic inversion” in which families are having fewer children, the impact of Church scandals, and the “tepid witness” given by some priests and bishops.
In any event, the pontiff said frankly, “we’re not succeeding” at generating a sufficient number of new vocations.
“What we need is a fidei donum [system] from one diocese to the other,” he said.
The term fidei donum comes from a 1957 encyclical of Pope Pius XII, which encouraged dioceses with substantial numbers of priests to release some of them for service in mission countries which didn’t have enough priests. Today, it’s most often employed in a reverse sense, as countries in the developing world are sending some of their priests to the West to compensate for priest shortages.
“I think of some dioceses in the Piedmont, with its grand tradition [which today lacks
priests],” Francis said, referring to a region of northern Italy. “Yet in Puglia there’s an over-abundance,” he said, referring to a region of the comparatively under-developed Italian south.

My Comments:

I don't disagree with the Holy Father on what His Holiness includes as part of the problem of a lack of vocations but it blames society too much and the post Vatican II Church too little, especially the confusion that it caused in the 1960's and 70's and the renewed confusion of that period that Pope Francis has recovered or relishes.

Yes, Church scandals are part of the problem but these have been placed on steroids in the post-Vatican II loss of Catholic identity, especially priestly identity and the majesty of God's higher calling to a priestly vocation.

Confusion about the Church's ecclesiology, the priesthood of all believers to the watering down of priestly and religious identity, the removal of beauty from religious life (i.e. distinct habit and communal lifestyle and discipline); the removal of beauty, mystery, majesty and reverence from the banal post-Vatican II sacraments, Mass in particular, with its fragmentation into many languages and cultural expressions difficult for most priests to like or desire to celebrate.

The pedestrian approach to religious life and priesthood with emphasis on being a social worker.

The self-referential ecclesiology of the post Vatican II Church symbolized in dramatic fashion by the priest-celebrity facing the congregation for Mass, the heresy of univeralism which has resulted from ecumenical, interfaith and worldly dialouge that see all things as equal if we could just all get along and a strong desire to protestantize the Catholic Church and her liturgies to get along better with protestants and maybe have the same kind of unity they have under the protestant umbrella.

A removal of the monarchical trapping of the hierarchy which pointed to Christ the Risen King and the Kingdom of God.


Henry said...

"Francis blamed the crisis in vocations on many factors, including “a culture of the provisional,” a “culture of relativism,” the “dictatorship of money”, a “demographic inversion” in which families are having fewer children, the impact of Church scandals, and the “tepid witness” given by some priests and bishops."

All of which ignores the elephant in this particular living room. In dioceses where the bishop is orthodox and portrays the priesthood as a manly vocation that a man would want to pursue, young men respond to the call. Where the priests are effeminate and the liturgy is feminized and Catholic belief is diluted, they don't.

Just as a simple illustration, at our TLM Sunday, of the under 150 present, 10 were altar boys. Don't need that many altar boys, but every young boy in our community sees what a strong and manly role the TLM priest plays, and wants to serve at the altar himself. Our priest himself started as our altar boy a dozen years ago. Several other former altar boys are seminarians now, and inevitably some of the current bunch will be seminarians in the future.

So it's not hard to figure out, certainly rocket science.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

I agree Henry but I just noticed the last name of the photographer for the papal photo is. Interesting, no?

TJM said...


In support of Henry, I recall reading that in a diocese run by a bishop like Fabian Bruskewitz they have outsized numbers of vocations in relation to the numbers living in the diocese, whereas large Archdiocese like Chicago and New York under perform. Having an orthodox bishop seems to be the common thread.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Henry, also, EF communities take the Church's teaching that children are gifts to have and not a disease to eliminate seriously and thus have more children than a typical OF parish.

However, the Alleluia Community in Augusta which is very conservative when it comes to Church doctrine and morality, to include the same appreciation of Humanae Vitae and having children has produced all kinds of vocations too--this despite a charismatic affinity for what many would call hootenanny Masses, music, raising of hands and speaking in tongues.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Let me conclude that intentional communities, be they EF, OF or Charismatic have more highly engaged congregants who want a deeper level of Catholicism and are with like-minded people. The typical OF parish today is all over the place and fragment.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Not quite finished: Most pre-Vatican II parishioners/parishes were more unified and had a clearer Catholic identity and were more obedient to Holy Mother Church when it came to morality and natural family planning---so parishioners, because they simply were Catholic, were like minded and had a like minded parish--meaning parish boundaries.

Fr Martin Fox said...


And then there is the notion that the priesthood is nothing special, just another job; that the sacrament of Holy Orders doesn't effect any real change. Instead, all we need, we receive in baptism. If we hold that the priesthood is in any way special, let alone unique, this is "clericalism" and must be rooted out. I might point out that this idea is again being circulated (if it ever went away) and defended, as we discussed on this very blog not so long ago.

Fifty years ago, by various actions and changes, many or most religious orders communicated to the world that there's not a lot that's really special about religious life. Folks got the message, and vocations to religious life collapsed. A somewhat similar message has been given about the priesthood, but not as successfully; so priestly vocations have done better. Indeed, in many places, they have been revived. Ah, but notice: right away, from the usual suspects, we hear the drumbeat: "clericalism!"

Now, I admit I am not a world traveler, so perhaps there is some epidemic of clericalism in other parts of the world. But not in the United States. It is overblown; and in any case, it is just a way for folks of a certain generation to complain about things they don't like. Don't like the vestments the priest wears? The way he celebrates Mass? He wears a cassock sometimes? The way he prays? "Clericalism!" It's the red-baiting of the progressive wing of the Church.

Marc said...

Here are some numbers for comparison. These are from the U.S. alone for 2018:

SSPX Ordinands - 7 (103 apostolates)
ICRSS Ordinands - 4 (14 apostolates)
FSSP Ordinands - 10 (54 apostolates)

That is 21 new traditional priests in 171 apostolates. That's one new priest for every 8 apostolates, approximately.

One of the keys is Catholic identity in the families. That is something that Catholicism formerly had as a matter of course. Now one generally only finds it in the traditional communities where serious Catholics gather and take the faith seriously, as a parish and in the family.

Anonymous said...

Bee here:

Yes, come join us as a priest in the Catholic Church...

Where you can mingle with homosexuals who are sort of in the closet, sort of not...who after the communal life of the seminary gather in rectories together to let their hair down...who flit and flutter about, all the while cracking wise about the dumb-bunny laity who place them on a pedestal, none the wiser of their true lifestyle...

Where you can have access to cash money and power and a privileged status without having to do too much but show up on Sunday morning and "say Mass," and tell those gathered there "everything is hunky dory, and God loves everybody, so don't think too much about anything but how good life is"; and where you are the main focus when working, performing the "sacraments," and you have lots of leeway to spice them up, and make them artsy and trendy and add your own spin. A great outlet for those creative types!

Where politics is king, and getting into a position of influence makes life exciting; and making friends in the right places could land you a spot in Rome, where the parties REALLY rock!, and anything goes, and if you attract the favor of some old archbishop or cardinal you may end up living in an old world castle with opulence like you wouldn't believe!

Come! Join us! We have lots of great opportunities for advancement for young, handsome, intelligent men. And remember to pack your Speedo. ;-)

Okay, I admit this is cynical and sarcastic and probably overstated, but I know at least four young men who left seminary after a year or two because of the political and homosexual climate of the seminaries, and in three of the cases, the religious order they joined. Each appeared to have an authentic vocation to serve God as a priest, (at least it seemed so to me), but that budding desire within them was not going to grow into a strong,faithful solid vocation given the formation climate they encountered. It was so onerous to them, they left.

So the Holy Father should ask himself, why would we expect God to inspire vocations into organizations that are so perverse?

God bless.

Carol H. said...

I agree, Bee. I have heard similar accounts all across the country.

Anonymous said...

Bee, you are right. Your comments are cynical, sarcastic, and vastly overstated.

TJM said...


Please don't diss Bee. I find her commments largely accurate and on point. I think you protest too much