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"Springtime of Vatican II" Update

Priesthood is Dying Off

by Christopher A. Ferrara

We have heard claims recently that there has been a "turnaround" on the "vocations crisis," and that the number of priests is slowly on the rise again. That is simply not true. While there may have been a very slight uptick in the total number of priests over the past five years (about a tenth of a percent, according to recently published Vatican statistics), that number will soon be declining again.

The reason is the graying of the priesthood. The Church is simply not ordaining enough priests to replace those who are dying or will soon die or retire. An article in the online journal news-press.com, by Jennifer Booth Reed, points out that "Catholic priests are dying faster than they’re being ordained. The number of nuns in the United States dropped by about 24,000 in the last decade. More than 2,300 parishes were without a resident pastor in 1999, according to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops."

Reed quotes priests visiting a local church in Florida, St. Francis, to the effect that "society that no longer puts religion at its core; families that are less likely to encourage sons and daughters to take religious vows; fewer priests and nuns available to nurture young people’s spiritual callings…"

The "renewal of Vatican II" just keeps getting better all the time.

According to Reed, "priests also see hope in the church’s increased acceptance of nonordained parishioners playing more prominent roles. Some priests told children they could be active in the church regardless of whether they took religious vows or marital ones."

This is a cause of hope? What about the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass? Where will we find the Holy Sacrifice when the priests have died off?

The Reed article focuses on one elderly priest, a Father Dombrowski, who, sad to say, is all too typical of the go-along-to-get-along mentality which has emptied the priesthood of its allure. "Priests and sisters are regular people just like you," Fr. Dombrowski protests. Father Dombrowski wants us to know that he goes to the movies and the mall and loves the beach, just like everyone else. Yes, he’s just a regular guy.

But, then, who would want to be a regular guy that is not allowed to have a wife? What’s the attraction to a regular-guy priesthood? Almost none, as the statistics show. Reed notes that "Dombrowski also remembers growing up at a time when many Catholic students considered becoming ordained." But no more, thanks to the "springtime" of Vatican II.

Meanwhile, as the priesthood grays and diminishes throughout the world, a real asset to the priesthood, Father Nicholas Gruner, is relentlessly hounded by Vatican bureaucrats - who preside over a disaster they call a renewal, and persecute a good man while the guilty roam free.