instruere...inlustrare...delectare Disputations

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Now if I tell you that you suffer from delusions

Among my affectations is a mild disquiet over prayers for "vocations to the priesthood and religious life" during the General Intercessions. Yes, by all means let us pray for religious vocations. But why do we so rarely pray for marital vocations -- the vocation of eighty or ninety percent of Catholics? For that matter, how many religious vocations can we expect without healthy marital vocations?

Fr. Ray Blake, who blogs at Fr. Ray Blake's Blog, looks at the matter from the other end:
Vocations to the priesthood are like the canary in the mine, they are the first thing to die in an unhealthy environment. If in a few years a diocese will have only a handful of priests then within a generation the number of committed Catholics is going to match more or less the number of those priests.
And, given the old grace perfecting nature angle, if we expect lots of the religious vocations we pray for to come from good Catholic families, then in a way praying for the end of religious vocations is praying for the means of marital vocations.

Though I still think we should pray for marital vocations, if only to make parents have to think about it when their kids ask what a marital vocation is.

Fr. Blake, incidentally, has a novel suggestion for local priest shortages:
My modest alternative proposal to lay-led services or importing priests is simple, import foreign bishops! If a diocese doesn't have enough priests or faces a steep decline, the problem must be with the "High Priest","the Chief Catechist", the Bishop. It seems pretty pointless to bring in Polish, Filipino or African priests only to have them drawn into a clerical culture that does not produce fruit, what is needed is a change of that culture, which only a bishop from outside can bring about.
I don't know that only a bishop from outside can bring about that sort of change to the clerical culture, but it would certainly keep everyone on their toes.

(Link via The Curt Jester.)