What happened to religious vocations?

nuns-soft

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

Pope: Vocations are born from openness to the love of God

And vocations are destroyed by corrupt seminary administrators who refuse to teach the authentic Catholic faith, and who deliberately screen out good men.

Read the article

Book Selection: Goodbye, good men: how liberals brought corruption into the Catholic Church – By Michael S. Rose

When you understand all three levels of vocation and the place each one holds in the hierarchy of importance, it becomes much easier to order your life and your priorities.

The term “vocation” means much more than the standard dictionary definition of “a career path or line of work.” It is more of a “calling” than a “job.” According to John Paul II, your vocation answers the question, “Why am I alive?” Moreover, he believed, only when you’re living out your vocation can you find fulfillment in this life. Your vocation, understood, embraced, and lived, is what makes you feel truly and fully alive.

There are three different levels of vocations.

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Newly ordained priest tells it like it is. Let’s hope he doesn’t get in trouble for it!

Noting that seven of the 10 priests ordained that day were born outside the U.S., Owen blamed the dearth of home-grown priests partly on our affluent society.

“We don’t need God anymore,” he lamented. “Because we have money and material possessions, we can get along fine — that is until someone has a serious tragedy and then it’s ‘God help me!'” By contrast, he pointed out, there are 1,400 students enrolled in the Catholic seminary in Kenya.

He put the responsibility for the lack of U.S. vocations squarely on the shoulders of many older priests.

“I blame the priests here in Chicago and in the U.S.,” he said. “They’re not attractive. They are not leading a lifestyle that is authentic. Why would anyone want to give their life to that?”

Because it was instituted by Christ himself, he believes the Roman Catholic Church is doesn’t need to change. He argued that some want to make the church more like American society, i.e. to make it more democratic, but the Church exists to transform society, not the other way around.

“That’s part of the problem,” he contends. “We want to be part of the culture. Yes, we can take some elements from the culture, but that’s not the way Christ set it up. The church is not a democracy.”

Because the Catholic Church is a divine creation he believes he can maintain very firm boundaries without a hint of judgmentalism. When asked if he would give communion to a gay man living openly in a committed relationship, his answer was no. Would he allow a Lutheran pastor to preach the homily in a “mixed marriage” wedding in his church? No. Would he give communion to a Protestant at Mass? No again. Nothing personal, that’s just the way it is.

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Archbishop says Catholic homes play major role in fostering vocations

In an interview with Catholic News Service while he was in Washington in March, Archbishop Carlson said the majority of newly ordained priests said they were influenced by the parish in their discernment for the priesthood.

According to results of a survey of members of the 2011 ordination class, released April 25, 66 percent of the respondents said it was their parish priest who encouraged them. Forty-two percent identified their mothers as having a major influence on their decision.

The annual national survey is conducted by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University for the USCCB’s Secretariat of Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations.

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Editor’s note: It would also be helpful if the Catholic hierarchy managed to get a handle on the abuse scandals, successfully overhauled the seminaries … instead of whitewashing them, and figured out a way to quit abusing good priests.

Read “Goodbye Good Men” by Michael Rose

Ukrainian Catholic leader: married priesthood not cause of vocation boom. (But it doesn’t hurt!)

“In our tradition, we do have a married clergy, but a married clergy is not the main reason we have so many young priests,” he said, noting that religious orders, which require a vow of consecrated chastity, also have numerous young vocations. “The possibility of being a married priest is not the main cause of an increase or decrease in vocations to the priesthood because this vocation comes from God.”

Link

Editor’s note: So, Archbishop Shevchuk, accepting the fact that EVERY vocation comes from God … would you at least agree that restricting priestly holy orders only to celibate males AUTOMATICALLY RULES OUT about NINETY PERCENT of those who might otherwise, be perfectly ready, willing, and able to serve?

It took a meeting of the minds for the apostles to decide that circumcision would no longer be necessary for Christians. Thank God … since a requirement for circumcision would have constituted a very significant disincentive to conversion and Church membership …. at least, for adult men.

It’s high time the successors to the apostles got together and figured out a way to gracefully accommodate a married male priesthood in the Latin church, since unlike the woman priest issue, there’s absolutely no doctrinal reason to limit the Catholic priesthood only to celibate males.

I suspect the underlying issue with a married priesthood is that it might serve to seriously dilute the influence of the “Lavender Mafia”, flooding the ranks of the Catholic clergy with real men, instead of the feminized, girly types that we seem to have so many of, these days. All the more reason to just do it!

Disclaimer for Catholics Coming Home: “Home” has changed a bit, since you left.


The Catholics Come Home TV advertising campaign is beautifully done, invoking imagery and concepts that Catholics have held near and dear, for some 2000 years.

Unfortunately, as is often the case in the advertising business, the reality is sometimes, far from the ideal.

Many/most Catholic churches look nothing like the ones in the Catholics Come Home commercials. Today’s Catholic churches often have much more in common with the architecture used in gymnasiums and/or civic meeting rooms.

Sacred art and statuary is also often similarly sparse and sterile. For example: Chicago’s Holy Name Cathedral looks much more like a typical Presbyterian church, than a Catholic one.

Many/most Catholic parishes are short-staffed, lacking funds, and ill prepared to handle any increased “work” load. Little training has been done … other than perhaps, prepping one selected deacon to deal with the “massive influx” of returning Catholics (2-6 inquiries expected, per parish, per campaign.) And of course, convenient parking is already in very short supply.

Then there’s the “backlash” to be expected from already practicing Catholics … like in the story of the Prodigal Son … where the faithful one got ticked off about all the attention that was being lavished on his (now returned) wayward brother. (“I never went away and squandered my birth right. Where’s MY fatted calf?!”)

And let’s not forget the dismal spiritual “formation” of just about everyone … who in the finest, dumbed-down, post-Vatican II liberal tradition, received little or no real education in the authentic Catholic faith, other than “God is Love. Please place the money in the collection basket. Then leave quickly and quietly, after the Mass has ended.”

Truth be told … for these and various other reasons … many parishes are hoping that you might choose to “come home” someplace else!

But let’s not dwell on the negative. The upside potential of this campaign is huge!

For example:

Reverts and converts have not (yet) been conditioned to accept the status quo. 

Many actually believe what they learned about the Catholic Church way back in the 1950’s and early 60’s. They still think of the church as unique and special … not just one of many paths to God. (And of course, they would be precisely right!)

Many secretly crave the “smells and bells” of Catholic worship … even if they don’t fully realize it. At the very least, they are impressed (in some deep, essential way) by the dignity of the ministerial priesthood, the vestments, the crucifix, the centrality and practicality of the holy altar, the candles, incense, hymns and prayers. The Catholic Church (officially, at least) is still fully committed to all these things … and that’s good.

Sacraments are essential to the Catholic faith, and the Church (generally) still “does” sacraments very well. Let’s not dwell on the fact that the majority of today’s Catholics no longer understand who or precisely what they are receiving … or why. Let’s just stress the fact that sacraments … particularly Reconciliation and Holy Communion … typically accomplish exactly what God intends for us … personal sanctification and transformation, through his superabundant grace … and that is a really, really good thing … for everybody!

Newcomers and reverts are also typically more zealous for the faith than the average Catholic. This holds out a genuine hope for renewal … particularly in the area of Catholic organizations, Catholic education, and priestly vocations … as well as in general parish life … as even the most jaded cleric might be inspired by the urgent inquiries and sincere requests of souls who are truly “On Fire” for Jesus and the Catholic faith.

So … in spite of the negatives … Catholics Come Home really can’t miss. But let’s not fool ourselves … or our intended audience … because fibbing … even when attempting to promote the Catholic Church … is still a sin!

Catholics Come Home official site

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My, how things have changed!

Now only a fond memory?

Seen at Matt C. Abbot’s column

Submitted by Marcia Darnell:

There was a wonderful nun who touched my soul when I was growing up. Her name was Sister Rosamonde and she was my teacher for several years in Plymouth, Mass., at the Sacred Heart School there. I also attended the same school at a different branch in Orleans on Cape Cod. This was the only time in my life I could not wait to get up and go to school; I was saddened when holidays and weekends came around and it was not a school day. These were the happiest days of my life. We went to First Friday Mass, were taught from the Baltimore Catechism, and our lives were rich with the stories of the saints and true miraculous events known to the sisters. We had dancing classes, music classes and even were taught a foreign language starting in the fourth grade. The nuns would take us to their property in Kingston, where they later relocated the school, for outings to make ice cream and run in the fields and play games.

I wanted the same wonderful experience for my children but that was not to be. My only option was to homeschool in New Jersey so they could learn the Faith. However, at the time, I even urged my husband to find a job near Kingston, Mass., so my girls could have the same education with the same wonderful nuns 40 years after I left.

Then I met a woman who had relocated to our state who told me her son was resentful that his parents removed him from Sacred Heart School in Kingston and moved to New Jersey. So she hosted the Sisters of Divine Providence at her home because she loved these nuns and missed them, too. Her phone call after their visit extinguished my desire to move back there to be near the school. She said they had changed — that some transformation happened over the late 1980s and early 1990s. They had become ‘progressives.’ I was comforted to hear from her that my own special nun was viewed as the only one who seemed to have escaped the metamorphosis. Now, after reading your column, I realize the Lord spared us from a fruitless move.

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Uganda’s seminaries are full to overflowing – “I will go, Lord”


Through all the songs and speeches of this great day, it is not hard to see the joy these men have in their vocation. The future priests are reminded that they must be ready, with a smile, available to God and at the service of the faithful. In doing so they are not to follow their own will, but to go wherever they are sent, even if this should be the remotest of villages where there is no electricity or running water and where people can neither read nor write. For there too the people are waiting for the one who can bring Christ to them – the priest. During their training, the seminarians have already completed a pastoral year in a parish, learning what it means to be close to the people in all their needs, joys and sorrows.

Today there are 1,130 mostly young men studying in the four national seminaries of the country and in the seminary for late vocations, preparing one day to become priests. The seminaries are full to overflowing, and many have to share with up to seven in one room. Meanwhile the number of vocations is rising, year by year.

Read more. Donate.

Extensive Information about Catholic Religious Orders and Communities


St. Dominic receiving the Rosary
from the Blessed Virgin Mary

In response to a recent inquiry, I decided to post this link to a site dedicated to providing information about the many (and there ARE many) Catholic Religious Orders and Communities.

Don’t miss the related section on vocational books and publications, many of which are available for free.

More information

Thanks to Brian, for the question


Catholic seminary reporting highest enrollment in two decades

The influx of students has left the St. Meinrad School of Theology straining to find classroom and living space for the new seminarians and other students at the campus 65 miles west of Louisville, Ky.

St. Meinrad, which trains many future priests for dioceses in Kentucky, Indiana and across the nation, began the year with 121 students — its highest number since 1988.

Church leaders and seminarians said a combination of spiritual and practical factors are behind the growth.

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