Why the Catholic church is 'hemorrhaging' priests
There are many religious and sociological factors that have led to the dramatic decline, worldwide, of priestly candidates.
Sociological factors are beyond our control, although the proper formation of Catholics is in the Church's control and let's face it, in the last 50 years, and yes, because of Vatican II, there has been a loss of Catholic lay identity and priestly identity and religious identity.
After Vatican II, there was a tremendous exodus from the priesthood and religious life and priests and nuns formed in the pre-Vatican II ecclesiology, identity and spirituality who were radicalized by the "spirit of Vatican II" which led them to dismiss their previous formation and adopt the Church of the future mentality where clergy and laity would not be separated, and a hierarchical Church would be undone.
The Liturgy also diminshed the priestly character of the Mass and identity of the priest celebrating Mass, the one place where young boys and men saw the priest in action, at the altar. The post-Vatican II Mass reduced the priest to a "presbyter", a "presider" or "president", a kind of coordiantor of all the various ministries of the Mass and certainly no different than any lay person who could replace him.
And in my 1970's seminary, the Church of the future would elect from the laity various people qualified from the congregation to lead the liturgy.
Hello! Loss of priestly identity is the culprit as well as status due to post-Vatican II ideologies but also due to scandal which has to be taken into account also. But much of the scandal, such as priests and nuns marrying each other in the late 1960's, as well as the sex abuse scandal that found its peak in 1973/74 are to blame. But isn't this all a loss of Catholic as well as priestly identity?
The solution is for the pope and bishops to look at dioceses and religious orders that are producing vocations from their midst and copy that, even if we must return to what the SSPX is doing, that is maintaining traditional Catholicism as it was prior to Vatican II.