Concerning the crisis of vocation

Source: FSSPX News


On October 13, during a press conference on the possibility of ordaining married men in the Latin Church in order to make up for the lack of priests, cardinal Telesphore Placidus Toppo, archbishop of Ranchi, in India, explained that the shortage was, in fact “the symptom of a problem”, that of the “crisis of the priesthood” linked to the “crisis of Faith in Europe”. Words repeated by cardinal Sandoval Iniguez who considered that the lack of priests was “the effect of a lack of faith, of spiritual vision and of transcendence” in a secularized world . The archbishop of Guadalajara also stressed that “the recourse to ‘viri probati’ (ordination of married men ), discussed during the general assemblies of the Synod were “ a problem which the Church was considering” and “which did not have a solution”.

 Despite the admission of married men to the priesthood, the Eastern Churches are also experiencing “a vocations crisis”, he continued. These married priests are also “a problem”. They have no time to study, they have to work very hard to provide for the needs of their wife and children, and sometimes get divorced. The Mexican cardinal felt that it was good that this question had been raised during the debates, but nevertheless, he did not think it was “a solution”.

 The Ukrainian bishop Sofron Stefan Mudry, who took part in the press conference in his capacity as president of the Commission for Information, confirmed these statements. He stated that although he had “nothing against this state”, it was nevertheless necessary that “at least 50% of priests “be celibate, if the Ukrainian Catholic Church was to be saved. He explained that Uniate married priests actually had “endless” social and human problems in their daily lives.

 On October 18, the Ghanaian cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson, archbishop of Cape Coast, replying to the Anglophone press, said : “concerning the problem of the shortage of priests, we have studied different solutions “. “One of the answers hoped for” by countries lacking priests, would be “that they receive priests from places where they are plentiful”. “There are countries where the seminaries are full” and “that could be an immediate solution”. The cardinal however, raised the question “of a long term” solution, which would be to foster vocations.

Besides, if the seminaries are full in some countries, notably in Africa, “we are not talking about a surplus”, he said. “We do not have more” priests than “we need”, he went on . And he stated : “It is difficult to appreciate the gravity of the situation” in rich countries . “People travel distances to sporting events, why not do the same thing for Mass?, he asked, stressing the easy mobility of Western faithful with their cars. He also explained that sending reinforcements to Western countries could be no more than a “short term” answer, the equivalent of “generous” action on their part,  as that of the West had once been for them. The Ghanaian cardinal  emphasized that such a redistribution of the clergy throughout the world would not be without problems. He evoked the cultural difficulties which could occur during the transfer of priests, the latter not always managing  to become well integrated, and the faithful having difficulty in accepting them.