The pope talks again of the worrying drop in vocations

Source: FSSPX News


In a message addressed to the world’s bishops on November 23 2003 and published by the Holy See on December 5, John-Paul II invites Christians to “intensify” their prayers, on the occasion of the 41st World Day of Prayer for Vocations which will take place on May 9 2004. The pope also asks those already “called” to “remain faithful to their vocation and to reach the highest evangelical perfection possible”. It is through the “holiness” of priests and religious and through their witness that it will be possible to “counter the drop in religious vocations, which is threatening the existence of many apostolic institutes, especially in mission countries”.

On December 18, the Holy Father made an appeal for vocations in France, when he received the cardinal archbishop of Marseille, Mgr. Bernard Panafieu as well as the bishops from the south-west region of France, during their ad limina visit : “I encourage you to spare no effort to promote vocations and the mission of the consecrated life, which belongs to the life and the holiness of the Church, in a stable and firm manner”.

“The five-year reports from the various dioceses of France emphasize the crisis which the consecrated life is undergoing in your country, more noticeable in apostolic congregations, by the progressive and constant drop in the number of members of various institutes present in country and by low application rate in the novitiates”, said the pope.

It was his wish that French Catholic Youth would know how to “respond with generosity” to calls to the religious life, and he encouraged them “not to be afraid to give themselves to Christ, poor, chaste and obedient, in the consecrated life, the way to happiness and true freedom”. Young people who need a “sound human, intellectual, moral, spiritual, community and pastoral education”.

We recall that John-Paul II gave the same kind of talk to the Belgian bishops during their ad limina visit (see DICI no 86). No doubt that this is one of his major worries. But the effective solutions to this unprecedented crisis seem to be lacking. Indeed, the pope merely encouraged the many religious communities which have undertaken a “work of deepening and renewal of their charisma” and who have proposed to “associate the laity” to this process.