What happened to religious vocations?

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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

Benedict XVI on All Saints Day: Sanctity Is the Christian’s Life Goal


VATICAN CITY, NOV. 2, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Sanctity is the goal of a Christian’s life, and one gets a glimpse of holiness at every Mass, says Benedict XVI.

On Monday, the Solemnity of All Saints, the Pope reflected on sanctity before praying the Angelus with those gathered in St. Peter’s Square.

The Solemnity of All Saints, he began, “invites us to raise our gaze to heaven and to meditate on the fullness of divine life that awaits us.”

“Sanctity, to imprint Christ in oneself, is the objective of a Christian’s life,” the Holy Father affirmed. “And we experience in advance the gift of the beauty of sanctity every time we take part in the Eucharistic liturgy, in communion with the ‘immense multitude’ of the blessed, who in heaven eternally acclaim the salvation of God and of the Lamb.”

Benedict XVI also reflected on today’s feast day, the Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed (All Souls), which he said reminds us “that Christian death is part of the journey of assimilation to God, which will disappear when God is everything in all.”

“Although separation from earthly affection is certainly painful,” he continued, “we must not be afraid of it, because when it is accompanied by the prayer of suffrage of the Church, it cannot break the profound bonds that unite us to Christ.”

Quoting his encyclical “Spe Salvi,” the Pontiff also spoke of eternity, which he said is not “‘an unending succession of days in the calendar, but something more like the supreme moment of satisfaction, in which totality embraces us and we embrace [the] totality’ of being, of truth, of love.”

Poignant video recalls what modern Catholics have lost

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