The Cardinal cites some statistics to support his assertion:
- More than 40% of marriages fail, while only 2% of priests fail in celibacy. The crisis in the sacrament of marriage as one and indissoluble is obviously greater magnitude than is the decline in the number of vocations to the priesthood.
- The decline in the number of births in recent decades inevitably has led to fewer young men and, thus, of priestly vocations.
- Protestant denominations which do not require their clergy to be celibate are in a state of deep crisis regarding vocations to the ministry.
In Cardinal Piacenza’s estimation, the issue from which these problems stem is much larger in scope:
[The issue is] the contemporary inability to make definitive choices, in the dramatic reduction of human freedom that has become so fragile as not to pursue the good, not even when it is recognized and intuited as a possibility for one’s own existence.
Discourse concerning mandatory celibacy, the Cardinal believes, must not begin with the assumption that freedom is the absence of ties and permanent commitments. Instead, this discourse must begin with the assumption that freedom consists in the definitive gift of self to the other and to God. Every human being, in freedom, must understand and welcome one’s vocation and must work every day more and more to become what God created that person to be.
The following is courtesy of ThePulp.it:
The Speaker and the Scholars – Carson Holloway, Catholic Vote
Torture Didn’t Lead Us to Bin Laden – Matthew J. Franck, First Things
The Meatless Mark of Identity Restored – Rich Leonardi, Ten Reasons
Subsidiarity, Funding, and the Arts – Jordan J. Ballor, Acton Institute
Addressing the Church’s Attrition Problem – Margaret Cabaniss, Crisis Mag
Playing the Bully Card – Anthony S. Layne, Outside the Asylum
A Real Person Can Truly Love – Anthony Buono, 6 Stone Jars
Comedy Movie Night – Frank Weathers, Why I Am Catholic
The US/Pakistan Tightrope – George Friedman, MercatorNet
If you liked this roundup of the best posts from around the Catholic blogosphere, visit ThePulp.it for daily updates twice a day.
Mary Anne Marks graduated from Harvard University at the top of her class. You may have heard of her, she is the one that gave the salutatory address all in Latin.
She received a standing ovation.
In addition to graduating with a Classics and English double major with honors, she will be entering the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
You may remember these nuns from their appearance on the Oprah Show earlier this year in February and how they dazzled the audience as well as Oprah Winfrey herself with their simple devotion and love of Jesus in the Eucharist.
I enjoyed the response of one priest in which he told his parents it just became clear to him at the moment. His parents responded by saying that’s how they felt about each other when they first met (and decided to get married)!
For the Rome Reports website click here.
For the Rome Reports YouTube Channel click here.
What has been an open secret is now backed by empirical evidence:
The most successful institutes in terms of attracting and retaining new members at this time are those that follow a more traditional style of religious life in which members live together in community and participate in daily Eucharist, pray the Divine Office, and engage in devotional practices together. They also wear a religious habit, work together in common apostolates, and are explicit about their fidelity to the Church and the teachings of the Magisterium. All of these characteristics are especially attractive to the young people who are entering religious life today.*
As I have been reading through the website of the National Religious Vocation Conference (NRVC) I came across this nugget of information [Emphases Mine]:
Myth #4: Women entering religious life want to wear habits.Fact: Both men and women seem to be drawn to habited communities. About two thirds of the newer members say they belong to a religious institute that wears a habit. Among those that responded affirmatively, a little more than half indicate that the habit is required in all or most circumstances.
Interestingly, almost half of the men who belong to an institute that does not wear a habit say they would wear it if it were an option [and those that don't wear habits are obviously being disobedient and committing a mortal sin], compared to nearly a quarter of the women respondents.
Ann Carey of The Catholic World Report wrote that the study found several “best practices”:
- Involving membership and leadership in concerted vocation promotion efforts.
- Having a full-time vocation director.
- Using new media like the Internet.
- Offering discernment or “come-and-see” opportunities for potential members.
- Exposing young people to the idea of religious life from grade school through young adulthood.
What stuck out and confirmed what I’ve always thought in attracting people to religious vocations, as well as bringing in converts to the Catholic faith is:
“the example of members and the characteristics of the institute…have the most influence on the decision to enter a particular institute.”
As Saint John said in his epistle:
Love not the world, nor the things which are in the world. If any man love the world, the charity of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, is the concupiscence of the flesh, and the concupiscence of the eyes, and the pride of life, which is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the concupiscence thereof: but he that doth the will of God, abideth for ever. (1 Jn 2:15-17)
The rest of this posting will be an excerpt of Ann Carey‘s article on The Catholic World Report where she sights some examples of booming traditional religious orders:
There are some whom denigrate soldiers and policemen and the plan God has for them in Salvation. I disagree completely and there are many examples of saints and popes who have honored the soldier and policeman in defense of justice and peace.
“The great French Lacordaire once said the vocation of a soldier is next in dignity to the priesthood, not only because it commissioned him to defend justice on the field of battle and order on the field of peace, but also because it called him to the spirit and intention of sacrifice.”
Following up on the post of the orthodox, devout, and faithful Dominican nuns making an appearance on the Oprah Winfrey show comes a sweet story of how they presented Oprah with a rosary and taught her the prayers for this sacramental:
Oprah Winfrey was surprised after her recent show featuring the Dominican Sisters of Mary when the sisters in the studio said they had a present for her. “No one ever gives me a present,” the television star said. Then, as Sr. Teresa Benedicta related in a talk before a packed gathering at The Bean of Ave Maria Tuesday night, “the sisters gave Oprah a rosary, and taught her how to pray it. She seemed really interested.”
The Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist, is one of the fastest-growing orders of women religious in the United States. Founded 12 years ago, it now has 98 women and has run out of space at its mother house in Michigan, Sr. Teresa Benedicta said.
As we work our way through Lent 2009, we need to rejoice in the turning tide. Though there has been much negative news about the Catholic Church this past decade, much of the negative news had its roots in actions taken during the 1960s and 1970s. Yet, the seeds of the good news planted during the pontificates of Pope John Paul II and now Pope Benedict XVI is just now seeing its shoots and blossoms become visible to the naked eye.
What are the shoots and blossoms? They can be seen in increasing vocations to the priesthood and religious life, and the strong orthodox nature of these new, young priests. A new crop of Catholic bishops is also boldly showing their orthodoxy, which often befuddles and mystifies the mainstream media and the secular culture in which we live. In addition to this, many in the laity have for years now been writing and blogging about the desperate need for Catholic orthodoxy in a world full of hurt and self absorption. Many ask how can the Church possibly grow when the Church’s active laity, especially the young along with those who serve her in ordained and professed ministries, are so different from the culture in which they live? It is that culture in which they live that causes them to see the wisdom in Christ’s words and the Church He started through the first pope, the Apostle Saint Peter.
There were fewer shoots and blossoms in the 1970s when the seriousness of the Catholicism was questioned after the Church seemed to be trying to be relative, whether it was related or not, thousands of priests and nuns left their vocations. However, starting in 1978 with the election of Pope John Paul II, the tide began to turn. All of the Polish pontiff’s hard work began to be seen in the shoots and blossoms of events like World Youth Day 1993, which was held in Denver. Later in his pontificate thanks to events like World Youth Day, vocations to the priesthood and religious life began to increase.
Follow me and I will make you become fishers of men. (cf. Holy Gospel of Saint Mark 1:17)
Grant Desme, a highly touted baseball prospect for the Oakland Athletics organization, decided that he could not fight his calling anymore and answered God by retiring from baseball and to begin seminary training immediately.
A terrific article by Jane Lee of MLB.com.
My emphases and comments:
“Last year before the season started, I really had a strong feeling of a calling and a real strong desire to follow it,” the 23-year-old said. “I just fought it.”
“As the year went on,” he said, “God blessed me. I had a better year than I could have imagined, but that reconfirmed my desire because I wasn’t at peace with where I was at. I love the game, but I aspire to higher things.
“I thought, I’m doing well in baseball, but I really had to get down to the bottom of things — what was good in my life, what I wanted to do with my life. And I felt that while baseball is a good thing and I love playing, I thought it was selfish of me to be doing that when I really felt that God was calling me more [Sounds like the Church has gained a mature and strong man for God!], which took me awhile in my life to really trust and open up to it and aim full steam toward Him .”