What happened to religious vocations?


Today’s ubiquitous assumption that marriage and religious life are equal paths to holiness is not merely bad doctrine.  It is also a deathblow for religious life.

Once you accept that religious life and lay married life are equally effective means to sanctity, you undercut the only compelling motivation for becoming a religious.

If lay married life provides an equally effective means to sanctity, plus the goods of pleasure, family, property, one’s own will, etc., then it is irrational to choose religious life.  Choosing religious life over marriage would mean punishing yourself for no good reason.  It would mean turning your back on—showing contempt for—the goods of God’s creation while gaining nothing from your sacrifice. If lay married life gets you to sanctity just as easily and reliably as religious life, then all that religious life amounts to is a kind of masochism.

In the words of University of Washington sociologist Rodney Stark, “what does a woman gain in return for her vows of celibacy, poverty, and obedience, if she… acquires no special holiness thereby, while spending her working hours side-by-side with married women who now are officially seen as her equal in terms of virtue, but who are free from her obligations?

Well, therein lies the problem.

Read more at Crisis Magazine


  1. Do Nuns, still wear this attire?

    • Technically – “nuns” live in a restricted, private cloister. Cloistered nuns (like EWTN’s Mother Angelica) typically DO wear traditional or semi-traditional habits. A few of these orders still remain. Religious “sisters” are NOT cloistered and typically may wear whatever they like. There’s lots of these orders around.


      • Thanks, I haven’t seen an Old Fashioned Habit, in a LONG TIME!

  2. Jeremiah 17:9 “The heart is deceitful”… So it is quite hard for someone to know if, they truly know their “Desire Of The Heart!”
    This may explain the wrong people choosing Religious Life! Thankful for the Right Choices!

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