There has been much publicity lately about the crisis of lack of vocations to the priesthood specifically and to the religious life generally. Like myself, all committed Catholics are saddened by this, as we know that our whole faith, our whole raison d'etre centres on the Eucharist for which the priest is essential. He is the means through which Christ carries out his eternal promise to be with us always. The priest is the most vital 'cog' in our Catholic lives.
Christ himself has promised he would always provide shepherds for his flock. What has happened? God cannot deceive us, so if we are lacking in priests we must be at fault somehow. But where do we look?
Archbishop Elden Curtiss of Omaha wrote in a 1995 article "Crisis in Vocations? What Crisis?": "When dioceses and religious communities are unambiguous about ordained priesthood; when there is strong support for vocations and a minimum of dissent about the male celibate priesthood and religious life loyal to the magisterium; when bishops, priests, religious and lay people are united in vocation ministry, then there are documented increases in the numbers of candidates who respond to the call.
"It seems to me that the vocation 'crisis' is precipitated and continued by people who want to change the Church's agenda, by people who do not support orthodox candidates in seeking priesthood and vowed religious life as the Church defines the ministries. The same people who precipitate a decline in vocations by their negative actions call for the ordination of married men and women to replace the vocations they have discouraged."
Add to these words the following directions, all given by the magisterium through various encyclicals over the past thirty years:
* Catholic seminaries should be conducted separately from those of other faiths.
* Candidates for the priesthood should receive separate formation from that given to other students in seminaries
* Lecturers in Catholic seminaries should be, in the main, priests loyal to the magisterium who can therefore guide future priests in their lives.
IRENA NAGY (Mrs)