Thursday, March 29, 2007

Priest shortage?

Recently, I've been having the conversation about the declining number of priests with people. I'm always trying to tell them that the number of priests is not determined by a personnel committee of a diocese but by Jesus Christ. And, while I do believe there are young men who are being called to priesthood that are refusing to hear that call, I think the interesting thing that's happened is that the young men that are called are constantly derided by their elder brothers and sisters in the faith.

We're too conservative.
We're afraid of women.
We are afraid to get married.
We all want to turn the church back to the 1950's.
We're all evil.

When I approach a lot of middle aged and even elderly Catholics today, this is the response that I get. It's only been recently that I've realized that these people really may as we'll replace "We're" with "Dennis is". And, it's painting a large group of people with a pretty big brush. Here's a thought:

If I want to be the leader of something, I have to believe the movement is worthwhile. So, to the extent that the term "conservative" and the term "faithful" are virtually the same in contemporary catholic circles, then yes I am conservative. Most priests want to be friends with women because they are often on staffs in abundance. But, many women on staff hate men. In my own life I have a lot of friends who are are women and people think I'm dating several of them (I'm not) and/or that I'm weird if I'm not dating them. I don't think I could be married at this point in my life. I find celibacy to be an excellent lifestyle for me. I never lived through the 1950s so I don't want to turn the church back to that, however there are some young priests who see an ever declining number of catholics who practice their faith and look at the 1950's as a time when people actually cared. If we could return to the 1950's in terms of the number of Catholics who actually lived out their Catholic faith and didn't just use it in the same way that a member of AA use the term alcoholic, I think we'd all be for it. I don't think we need to have Latin mass, although having parts of mass in Latin is an idea I believe has some merit. And, I'm not evil. I'm not always good but I'm definitely not evil.

I hope this helps to dispel the rumors about young priests and, in particular, me. The next time you hear someone whining about how bad young priests are, either walk away or point them to this sight. Then pray for them.

1 comment:

Ellen said...

Wow, silly me, I admire any young man or woman who hears the call from God and answers it. I didn't realize that I was supposed to find fault with them.

I celebrate those who choose a religious life. And if my only child was to choose to be a priest, I would be happy for him and support his call.