One Priest’s View on the Vocations Crisis

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The following guest post was written by Fr. Donald L. Kloster, a priest of the Diocese of Bridgeport, Connecticut who has served (for over 6 years) as the pastor of 36,000 faithful in the poorer parish of Maria Inmaculada Eucarisitica in the Archdiocese of Guayaquil, Ecuador.

Father Kloster graduated from St. Charles Borromeo Seminary Philadelphia, PA in 1995, having completed his Master’s Thesis in Moral Theology. He is a native of Texas and graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in 1989. In addition, Fr. Kloster spent two years as a student (and then novice) at the 7th century est. Benedictine Abbey of Disentis, Switzerland.

As someone who has lived on 3 continents and in 11 U.S. dioceses during my adult life, I have seen a lot where vocations are concerned. The Liturgy Guy said it well recently when he noted that the answer to increased vocations isn’t beyond our capability. Unfortunately, our chanceries have often spent too much time and money searching for vocations in all the wrong places.

Increasing vocations is not a matter of more conferences, retreats, publications, advertising, and slide shows. These things have minimal effects. It is as if hand wringing will do the Church any good at all. It is as if the powers that be really aren’t interested in true solutions.

From my observation deck, there seems to be a lot of a priori suppositions that inhibit a true rise in vocations. There is a communal reluctance to admit wherein the vocations successes are gaining traction. Traditional dioceses and Traditional Orders are producing the lion’s share of vocations.

Coca Cola famously introduced New Coke in 1985. It lasted just 77 days. Only 13% of Coke drinkers even liked it. Did that company double down on the New Coke promotional ads? They had, after all, spent millions of dollars to introduce the product. No, they did an about face and reintroduced Coca-Cola Classic! By comparison, our Bishops have done the exact opposite when it comes to vocations. They are continuing in methods that are proven failures.

I humbly submit that there is a spiritual connection between the height of vocations in 1965 and our vocations dearth that has continued for 52 years now.
Just exactly what have we been doing wrong? I’m afraid that a great many of our modern Prelates do not want to hear the real answer because it does not fit in with their narrative; their stubbornly clung to ideology.

First, we need an exclusively masculine sanctuary. Vatican II never envisioned an army of Extraordinary Ministers. It never envisioned altar girls. It never envisioned the (almost) exclusive reading of the Old Testament and Epistles at Mass by women.

There is only one diocese in all of the United States that is obedient to even the most recent 2011 General Instruction of the Roman Missal. The GIRM calls for instituted acolytes and lectors. It is a gross abuse that in the more Solemn Masses at almost any Cathedral in the nation, there are instituted seminarian lectors that are many times prohibited from fulfilling their installed liturgical privilege.

We have largely evicted men from the sanctuary (as sextons and ushers too) at the peril of vocations. Men will almost always take a back seat if they perceive it is a duty reserved to women.

Second, we need a more visibly identifiable clergy. The most proper dress of a priest is the cassock. Next comes the clerical suit. A priest should normally always wear his jacket or at least have it with him. In former days, there was also a regulation to carry one’s biretta or hat. I cannot tell you how many times I have been stopped for a question, blessing, or confession. If I am not visibly identified, I am invisible as an available priest. If I were to walk around in street clothes regularly, I communicate to others with my dress a certain lack of importance invested in my vocation. The police wear their uniforms for a reason. We are their spiritual equivalent, except that we are never “off duty.”

Third and most importantly, we need a communal obligatory penance to help promote vocations. Perhaps it means a return to abstinence on Fridays. Perhaps every Catholic under pain of venial sin should visit a monstrance or a tabernacle for 10 minutes weekly. Perhaps a monthly day of fasting under the usual conditions like Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.

Lincoln, Nebraska and Guadalajara, Mexico are perhaps the best two Dioceses in the Americas at promoting vocations. Why aren’t all of the other dioceses copying them? My frustration is that it seems collectively as a Church we are content to have a continually declining priest to faithful ratio.

As in most situations in life, if something isn’t working you abandon it. It’s only logical. Tradition is not a bad word. Mother Teresa of Calcutta once famously refused to send her nuns to Albania without priests. “Without priests we do not have the Mass.”

Vocations are not just a pious part of a “wish list.” They are the basic need of our survival as a Church. The sooner vocations begin to (significantly) increase again, the sooner we will witness a spiritually healthier Catholic Church again.

Photo credit: John Cosmas

Posted on August 24, 2017, in holiness, liturgy and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 50 Comments.

  1. Excellent article, Father Kloster.

    I do however, believe you might be just a bit too charitable.

    From my vantage point, it appears to me that the vocations crisis is not seen to be a “failure” by the hierarchy at all, but rather as a sweeping opportunity. For no one can be so obtuse as to be unable to see the successes in the Catholic Church, the apostolates and dioceses and parishes where vocations continue to stream forth.

    No, this crisis cannot possibly be a true “crisis” in the eyes of the Pope and his heretical and sodomy- and gender-bending allies, but rather an event of glorious and pregnant possibilities!

    What Catholic who can walk and chew gum at the same time cannot see the reality that there is a vast movement in to morph the Catholic Church into a Italian branch office of the Anglican Communion, complete with the spiritual voids, conflicts, disunity, destruction of morality and dissolution of authority and doctrine that exists in that haphazard and collapsing sect?

    Indeed, I believe it is safe to say that many outsider’s may already see us as what I fear we may become.

    No, Father, you are too kind.

    The cure for the vocations crisis is liturgical rigidity, unembarrassed evangelization, orthodoxy and the dispensing of strict Church discipline, which are all expressions of true love for God and man.

    Indeed, vast numbers of excommunications, laicizations and interdicts must be in the future for the GROWTH of the Church to resume. Hard for me to see the Church remaining the Church without a lot of the latter three, too.

  2. Get the bad stuff out of the Catholic home. Get the good stuff in. Problem solved.

    TV out. Lives of the saints in.

    Vocations would FLOOD into monasteries, seminaries, cloisters, classrooms

    We have, above all else, a parenting crisis.

    The “vocations crisis” is only ONE aspect of it.

  3. You have got this exactly right. If we get our liturgy right, and restore ascetical practices, the vocations will follow.
    It is time to admit that the liberalising experiment has been a catastrophic error. I defy anyone to argue that removing the communion rail, introducing ‘eucharistic ministers’, abandoning ad orientem – any of these and countless other novelties, have had any positive effect in building up the Church.

  4. Franklin P. Uroda

    Leaving out mention of Jesus God Almighty (His Personal presence in the Church) and the conscious realization that we are His Church, in liturgy, piety and ecclesial communications, IMO, is a major cause of the melt-down that seems to be occurring in our Church, not only in religious vocations but on all levels. This article is an example: he mentions several names, but not one mention of the Name of Jesus. St. Bernard of Clairvaux, feast day 20 Aug., nailed it, if Jesus-the Person-is not proclaimed in whatever we do, what we do will fall apart no matter how wonderful it seems to be.

    • Fr. Donald Kloster

      Perhaps you don’t consider the Monstrance or the Tabernacle as being the actual Real Presence of the Holy Name Jesus.

      The article was full of religious material like the Mass and dressing to represent the clerical state. What does the Roman Collar mean? It is a bold announcement of a man’s dedication to Jesus. Everyone knows my article was not about Satan or even a secular subject. Lighten up.

      As an aside, I hope you bow your head each time the Holy Name of Jesus is proclaimed. o{]:)

  5. In all seriousness, Father Kloster, as a convert, I am hoping we have a priest or more among my grandchildren to come {I led my wife and adult children to the Catholic faith} but I can certainly see why young men would want nothing to do with the effeminacy and queer nation culture that seem to be the prelates goals for the “church” so many of them seek to create among the ruins of what is left of the Church they are actively trying to destroy.

    I hate to kick a dead horse, but we need a Catholic Pope, not a Lutheran {as an ex-Lutheran, I know Lutheranism…} and we need discipline among the clergy AND laity.

    I am POSITIVE there are priests and even probably a few bishops that agree with me when I say we need sweeping and severe chastisement coming in the form of demands for orthodoxy and orthopraxy from the leadership and consequences for breaches thereof.

    Enough of the Father Martin faggotry and soft-sell promotion of harlotry, sodomy and godless Islamization.

    Every Catholic man today should read St Peter Damian’s “Book of Gomorrah” and at the turn of each and every page pray to that dear saint for a purging of the filth in the Church.

    When the leadership gets right with God, points to Jesus and disciplines their “children”, look out, the floodgates of vocations will be opened!

    How far we have come from the teaching of Mortalium Animos!

    • Elisabeth Anderson

      I am also a convert and I guess they say nothing worse than a reformed sinner. I appreciate your candid comments about Fr Martin. I used to follow him on FB and had read many of his earlier books. That he is not just tolerated but rewarded by “the powers that be” is horrifying. He clearly needs prayer as he has lost his way (and the Way). As a later in life convert (50ish) I never knew the Church pre Vatican II. When I talk to cradle Catholics they seem to recoil in horror about the ‘bad old days.’ Male Altar servers, veils, kneeling a the Consecration, altar rails….A lot of them want female deacons if not priests and promote the “Church of Nice.”

    • John D. Horton

      Exactly right.

      For many bishops the first priority is radical feminism and then open homosexuality for all.

      Two bishops who were vocation disasters were Hunthausen of Seattle and Weakland of Milwaukee. Both were darlings of the Hard Left in the USA Catholic Church which is probably about 95% of all clergy. Both suspended the permanent diaconate on the basis that it was just another worthless ghetto for White males to oppress the gifts of women (i.e. the lesbians that these type of bishop’s staff their chanceries with). I am sure that their theology of the priesthood was exactly the same as their theology of the diaconate.

      It has been speculated that many bishops deliberately discourage vocations as a means of forcing the Vatican to allow:
      — married male priests, and
      — married female priestesses.

      I read somewhere that there was a modernist bishop in Austria after the French Revolution (1800) who did not ordain any men for over 20 years because he thought there were too many priests in his diocese. So, yes, the bishops do play games with vocation numbers to get the result they want.

      Even Pope Francis said that he does not want traditional vocations because they are too rigid. According to Pope Francis it is “better to have no vocations than traditional vocations” (was that the title of a previous post here?).

      In the USA, most bishops, in union with the Pope, are preaching Liberation Theology and open Marxist Communism which is a turn-off to traditional vocations who would not be accepted anyway by Communist bishops.

      Our Vatican II bishops, who absolutely decry everything pre-Vatican II, seem to have a certain rigidity about the absolute need for the Tridentine seminary system which did not exist prior to the 1600s. Ordaining celibate permanent deacons as “priest simplex” or “Mass priests only” (no confessions due to lack of moral theology and no original homilies due to lack of scripture studies) might solve part of the 90% decrease in priest numbers in the next 20 years. A priest simplex could probably be ordained with one year of pre-theology (assuming the guy already had a college degree) and two years of graduate theology rather than the need for four years of graduate theology (Master of Divinity degree). The American priest simplex would be a better idea than importing contract priests from Africa, India and the Philippines who can barely speak English and who are bigger philanderers than American priests. Plus it is stealing priests from the Third World which is not very charitable for our uppity, “caring about the poor,” Vatican II hypocrite bishops to be doing anyway.

      Ordaining celibate permanent deacons as “priest simplex” would conflict with the USA bishops demand for a married male and female priesthood so this is not going to happen either.

  6. Rita Speasmaker

    As a believer and practicing Catholic we must approach/listening/put into practice what our Lord had taught us and commanded us to do. to know,to love and to serve Him. the call to Holiness. we have proofs in the lives of the Saints because Christ has given us all the means and tools to become one.A church He established so we can enter in ,in communion with Him.

  7. And having now watched multiple vocation’s directors look for all of the wrong things in young men who are discerning, one has to wonder if that is intentional or incompetent. What element of a priest’s duties are fostered by being glib about sports? And, no, I’m not kidding.

  8. Wichita will have 26 new priests by 2018. in 2018, 66% of the clergy will be younger than 45.

  9. The lack of priests is intentional. The middle management of the church has two aims: to force the church to use women as pastoral administrators and by that means accustom the laity to the idea of women priests. I suspect that this is what Francis would like to see, if not in his lifetime, than sometime in the next 50 years.

  10. I think that you are ignoring the impact that the sexual abuse crisis has had on our church right up to now! What is problematic is that many Catholics accept the notion that the priesthood is a “gay” profession/ not many normal men want to be seen walking around wearing 2 feet of lace on their vestments!!

    • Interesting.

      When I converted, I told my wife “They never should have touched the Mass. They should have simply changed the vestments so the priests looked like men”.

      Well, in my FSSP parish it sort of becomes irrelevant, but I can totally see why a kid would look at the apparel and say “No Way”.

      I think you are right by the way. I think many “Catholics” assume all priests are sodomites and are OK with it.

      God help us.

      I mull this over from time-to-time: Without “Catholics”, Americans might have banned abortion decades ago. Check out the voting patterns and it’s true. “Catholics” are the staunchest and largest voting block supporting the Party of Death and it’s platform of support for sodomy, gay marriage, abortion, and Muslim colonization of the nation.

      God Save The Catholic Church.

      • John D. Horton

        Yes, Catholics today are Kennedy Catholics: They wear Catholicism when it suits them.

        Cardinal Cushing was soft on abortion in the late 1950s when the Massachusetts legislature was trying to legalize it. No protests from Cushing, the perfect model for the Kennedy’s.

        When Cardinal O’Malley allowed abortion-for-all Ted Kennedy to have a Catholic funeral, it was clear that the USA Catholic Church was totally lost. Catholic bishops are such hypocrites.

  11. Outstanding. Couldn’t be more accurate and profound.

  12. Brilliantly said. Thank you, Father. The answer to the so-called “vocations crisis” is obvious–a return to teaching solid Catholic history, tradition, liturgy and morality. The solution isn’t being utilized due to vanity and stubbornness. We have a few generations of prelates who believe that they fundamentally changed the Church forever and for the better. Any evidence that leads away from that conclusion must then be incorrect, prima facie. And Heaven forbid that anyone suggest that the life’s work of this generation is bearing bad fruit–which it is. May Almighty God send us devout and steadfast saints and priests of Jesus Christ to do the bidding of the Holy Spirit, rather than of the world.

  13. Fr. John Meyers

    St. Charles Seminary is also my Alma Mater and I find much good food for thought in both the original article and the comments that followed. As a young man I did not really appreciate the Baltimore Catechism and a number of other things that were part of Catholic life in those days. Now, with 34 years as a priest, I believe that the vocational crisis in the priesthood and religious life has it’s roots in an approach to catechesis as well as liturgy that was much more horizontal than vertical. A call to the priesthood is only likely tobe heard by one who has already acccepted the vocational calls of Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist; by one who has seen in his parents a sense of calling rooted in the Sacraments of Initiation and in their Marital vocation. On occasion a young man without this foundation enters the seminary and could possibly become a priest or even a bishop because of the extraordinary intellect and othe talents they may possess. (While we do not have a process of annullments for ordination, maybe we should!) May all of us who read these words reflect on how well we ourselves have responded in to the Master’s call and renew our efforts to be faithful so that others will be attracted to Him through us.

  14. Thx for yr article. It is on point as to exactly why I have left the Roman Catholic Church. Sad that in a religion that holds sacred the Holy Mother Mary, and the rosary prayed mostly to her , woman are not welcome except as brood mares.

  15. Suzan:

    Rest assured, the devil is most welcoming!

  16. Only one response to my comment about the sex abuse crisis deterring young men from a vocation???

    • Provide some accompanying data to validate this claim and then we can discuss this further Raymond.

      • I cannot imagine it helped.

      • John D. Horton

        The best book that I have seen that candidly discusses the “gay” dimension of the priesthood from a prominent author is:

        Greeley, Andrew M., 1928-2013.
        Priests : a calling in crisis / Andrew M. Greeley.
        Chicago : University of Chicago Press, c2004.

        As I recall, Fr. Greeley indicated that 80% of the priests ordained since 1975 are gay. My personal experience would agree with Fr. Greeley’s assessment.

        The use of lace or other “fancy” needlework on vestments would seem to be more a function of local culture and the relative wealth or poverty of the vestment purchaser. In my experience, vestments are not bought by the priests themselves but by the “Ladies Altar Society” which spends their own private funds on these vestments. The Altar Society makes these decisions and the local priests are usually not going to refuse a donation to the parish lest they make the Altar Society mad. If a priest does not like a particular vestment he simply won’t wear it but it stays in the sacristy closet until it is completely worn out. I have never seen vestments thrown in the trash in 45 years because the Altar Society is always mending all the vestments.

        I am not aware that it is the common practice for priests to order their own vestments for the parish out of parish funds.

    • There is certainly a cause and effect here. However, as has been mentioned above there are dioceses that are ordaining many priests. What are these dioceses doing that calls so many to the priesthood? The answer to this question has been shown above. The question here has been asked “why do other dioceses not apply that which results in increased ordinations”. Perhaps those who do not look to those dioceses who successfully ordain many priests, is that they do not believe that what is being cone cannot be applied universally with the same success. The process that should be employed is referred to “best practices”. This process is part of a larger set of practices developed by the American physicist, Dr. Deming who introduced them to the Japanese immediately following WWII. His purpose was to assist the Japanese to rebuild their economy. Making a long story short, he succeeded extremely well. With ten years the Japanese captured much of American industry including electronics, cameras, watches, and automobiles. Their success was great enough to put many American companies out of business. It is interesting to note that when Dr. Deming attempted to introduce these same practices into American industry, he was generally ignored for many years. I was involved, along with many others, in introducing Dr. Deming’s processes into a very large [50,000 employees] oil company. The results were remarkable. They work. When I retired, I offered to introduce this method into a large diocese. I was informed “that would not work here”. How sad. Anyone who wants to learn these “quality improvement” precesses and put them into effect will see success.

  17. John D. Horton:

    Can you explain your statement “My personal experience would agree with Fr. Greeley’s assessment.”

    Are you also gay? Have you propositioned 10 priests and 8 said yes?

    I’m not doubting you. I’m “agnostic” on the subject. I am merely interested in the facts and if you can expound on your statement, I’d be appreciative.

    • My “experience” is dealing with the clergy over the last 50 years in various capacities and having noticed that the things that Fr. Greeley has written about mirror what I have seen in the Catholic clergy over the same time period:

      — a marked effeminacy in the clergy since the late 1970s when homosexuality went main-stream in the USA and the Catholic Church.

      — clergy publicly engaging in the most outrages behavior which seemed to be some type of public homosexual demonstration: The worst example I recall is at the Chrism Mass at St. James Cathedral, Seattle WA, some time between 1988 – 1996, a priest in his 50s with gray hair down to his shoulders was seated with the other clergy but wearing a skin-tight black ballerina leotard which left nothing to the imagination. This priest chatted with Archbishop Hunthausen who did not tell him to leave and have some respect for the congregation and himself.

      — when priests die young, i.e. in their 50s, it is a high percentage chance that they died of AIDS. Death certificates are usually public records and if you know what to look for, you can tell that the priest died of AIDS even though the the cause of dead is listed as an AIDS-related disease, e.g. pneumonia or weird cancers that have an AIDS association. I recall one priest who was a convert to the faith in his forties who went through RICA with one priest I knew who was a stereotypical queen. Within 4 years of his converting to the Catholic faith, he was ordained to the priesthood because he was the apparent boyfriend of the queen priest who I had known going back to his seminary days in the 1970s and who is now the rector of a cathedral in an archdiocese. The convert priest died within 4 years of ordination at around 50 years of age which the death certificate listed as some type of weird brain cancer which rarely occurs and then only in the extreme elderly. A late vocation in his 40s was planning to go to the seminary and died of some mysterious disease before he made it in the seminary door. I recall him wanting to give intensive back rubs to people, even the clergy, at the most inappropriate of times so there may have been an AIDS issue there. One of the cathedral organists dropped dead of AIDS in his early 40s but he was completely out and constantly soliciting sex from anyone who would listen to him so there was no big surprise there.

      — also when priests die young, the obituary often lists things about them that the priest never owned up to with the faithful, e.g. being the state chairman of Dignity and running Dignity hoedowns at the local gay bar for the last 30 years without the average parishioner knowing about it.

      — when priests who you thought were so effeminate and lacking in any masculine qualities and were only fit for ministry in a nursing home or insane asylum where they would not give scandal by their womanish and catty slurry peach, limp wrists and wispy physical demeanor are magically elevated to the episcopate within 20 years of ordination, you might think that they had something going on with the hierarchy to get them made a bishop.

      The old saying goes like this: Pre-Vatican II, the top 10% of college graduates went and studied for the priesthood. Post-Vatican II, the bottom 10% of college graduates go and study for the priesthood.

      • Thanks.

        I misunderstood your previous statement.

        Bishop Schneider has suggested it will be the “little ones” who save the Church. I suggest this is partly true and of course obviously partly nonsense and a cop-out.

        But together, if there was one prelate to get it started, we might be able to effect significant change through the establishment of a new apostolate, a new “military order” with the goal of rooting out sexual perversion and molestation and heresy among the prelates and priests. On the side of the former two, investigations could proceed with assistance from lay people expert in such things. The lifestyles of the offenders would be exposed and made plain to the public. Anyone in violation of any law in any nation would summarily be handed to the civil authorities {the suggestion of Pope Pius V}. As for heresy, confront and directly rebuke every single utterance of heresy from a priest or prelate.

        We need one prelate to start, and maybe others would join as well.

        With the internet and modern communications, such a new apostolate would rapidly expand. I suggest any prelate willing to begin such an order would have MANY “little ones” who would very willingly provide expert advice, material assistance, prayer and anything else needed to help purify the ranks of priests and prelates.

        Yes, it would be a “war” of sorts. Of course it would be. But what are the options?

        Right now the Catholic Church is almost indistinguishable from an Italian branch office of the Anglican Communion. Heresy is rampant.

        It’s nice to say “the little ones” will save the Church. Sounds so “spiritual”. But the fact is, the “saving” of the Church is the job each and every Catholic is charged with in every generation, and specifically, it is the job of prelates to protect and defend the sheep. They simply haven’t been doing that and in fact have been harboring wolves among the sheep and now we have a prelate telling the sheep to protect themselves.

        NONE of our prelates have protected the sheep. NONE of them have. Not Schneider, not Burke, NONE of them have taken the FIGHT to the perverts and heretics who are raping Mother Church. Oh, yes, they speak about this or that doctrinal issue which is fine as far as it goes, BUT THEY DO NOT ATTACK THE PROMOTERS OF PERVERSION AND HERESY BY NAME AND TAKE ACTION TO GET RID OF THEM. They do not aggressively act to purge them from the Church.

        It’s time we change this.

        Wars are not won by making proclamations and hiding behind fortifications. They are won by taking the fight to the enemy. The Church is full of enemies and we need to take this fight to THEM.

        Let us pray for the rising up of a warrior bishop[ to lead this fight.

      • 80% is on the high side – there’s gay, and there’s merely effeminate. And “effeminate” is likely much of what you have run into.

        That said, some dioceses certainly did reach a critical mass of gay, even sexually active gay, clergy. Miami under Favalora springs to mind.

  18. Rochester New York for years has been known as the gay diocese!!!

  19. And don’t expect much help from the clergy/bishops who are a bunch of wasted old men. Remember the cardinal/ primate of Scotland who propositioned his own priests???????????????

  20. When only 20 – 25% of Catholic families attend Mass on Sundays, how are vocations going to flourish? Our children are unchurched for the most part. And if they’re not going to Sunday Mass, do we have any reason to believe that they are being adequately instructed in the faith? I don’t believe that God is withholding vocations from us; I believe that we are not being good stewards in that we are not promoting those vocations within the life of the family. Doesn’t the church teach us that the primarily place vocations are nourished is within the family? In my opinion, the vocation crisis is primarily a problem of the laity, not of church practice, even if the latter could be improved.

    • Good grief, Catholics, it is dumb simple obvious!!

      Catholics have contracepted their priests into oblivion, right {literally…} down the drain!!

      CATHOLICS USE ARTIFICIAL CONTRACEPTION AT THE SAME RATES AS NON-CATHOLICS.

      Catholics do not have children. Overall, vocations are born, not formed at adulthood.
      It takes a culture of family, REAL family {not two sodomites and lesbo surrogate} to create the environment for strong growth in vocations.

      Selfishness and greed also come into play. What “Catholic” family with two kids wants one or both of them to go into the ministry of the Church?

      Proof is of how successful vocational recruitment can be is of course still to be found in Traditionalist communities where vocations are still produced at good levels. Our FSSP parish is said to have been the source of more vocations since its inauguration than the whole diocese, yet do we see the diocese copying that parish in liturgy and teaching………….NO.

      Catholic priests must stop pussyfooting around and get back to teaching the moral theology that is sound Catholic doctrine. Catholic parishes that don’t produce vocations are Catholic parishes that are one {or both} of two things: made up of people who are living in mortal sin or old people beyond childbearing years, most of whom spent their lives living in mortal sin.

      CCC 1697 says “Catechesis has to reveal in all clarity the joy and the demands of the way of Christ.” Part of those demands include teaching and emphasis on holy living!

      But then we have the {Not So} Funny Fat Man Cardinal Dolan blithering about his rare occasions of preaching on the topic of contraception. With leadership like that, the Devil can take a break and vacation in Cabo.

      http://www.fgfbooks.com/Manion/2013/Manion131218.html

      No wonder the Catholic Church is collapsing into a hybridized combination of the Episcopalian Church and the Elks Club.

    • John D. Horton

      Wrong on all counts:

      1. The bishop via the vocation director is the “gate keeper” regarding who will be in the seminary and get ordained. You have to be of the “ideology” of the bishop via the vocation director which usually means you have to be a feminist / lesbian worshiper (you have to be gay) and to the left of Marx and Lenin regarding government control of everything.

      2. What is the most guarded secret after who the bishops and priests are having sex with? That would be who does and does not get into the seminary and why (i.e. who gets to join the clerical sex club and can keep clerical secrets secret)? There is absolutely zero transparency (just like the sex lives of clergy) regarding who does and does not get into the seminary. The reasons for admittance and rejection are never disclosed. There should be an annual report published and available to the public giving statistics regarding who inquired and/or applied to be a vocation, who was accepted and who was rejected, and why. There needs to be lay review panels for the vocations office to make sure that the bishop, vocation director and other clergy are not packing the seminary with their gay boyfriends. The homosexual abuse crisis in the Catholic Church begins at the vocations office because most of the recruiting for the priesthood is done at gay bars not in churches.

      3. I am aware of a diocese where a 10 year daily Mass server from age 14 to 24 was denied admission to the seminary because he:
      — was to “religious,”
      — could not foot the bill for the seminary, and,
      — was not ideologically to the left of Marx, Lenin and Fr. Bugnini as required by this particular diocese.

      From the same diocese, the son of a wealthy man was admitted to the seminary, ordained and is now a bishop in another diocese, even though he was never a Mass server, never volunteered to do anything in the parish and had an openly gay boyfriend while he was in high school. In his diocese, this bishop is endlessly spouting in his sermons, that the Catholic faithful and especially young people should give money and their time to the Church, things this particular bishop never did himself when he was a teenager. In other words, only complete hypocrites (do as I say and not as I do) are ordained to the priesthood and elevated to the episcopate in the Novus Ordo Catholic Church.

      To get admission to the seminary today, in the typical Novus Ordo diocese or religious order, you have to be a “Country Club Catholic” with enough money to make it through your first four years of college seminary on your own (church money is tied up paying off sex lawsuits) and be ideologically Hard Left who endlessly spouts the Democratic Party platform of taxpayer provided welfare for all, especially for illegal aliens and non-citizens.

      • Well of course it seems the lion’s share of prelates are Gomorrahites, but what is your point? I don’t see how what you say stands in opposition to what @JohnSposato said.

      • Mr. Sposato indicates that it is up to a family or an individual as to whether he will be be accepted into a seminary in the Novus Ordo Catholic Church even if the aspirant goes to Mass twice a day, is in choir, is an EMOHC, teaches CCD, teaches RICA, etc. It is not up to the individual or the family whether an aspirant is accepted into the seminary regardless of how active the aspirant is in the Church. The bishop and vocation director will examine the aspirant regarding his commitment to Liberation Theology in the Novus Ordo Catholic Church:

        The two major vocations criteria of contemporary American bishops and their vocations directors are:
        1. Are you a member of the gay bar they hang out at?
        2. Are you a Communist / Socialist (you believe that working people should provide for the elites at the top and beggars at the bottom while the working people never accumulate any wealth, i.e. like Venezuela)?

        I think the Novus Ordo bishops want to strangle the priesthood to death by saying that they can’t find enough gay Communists who want to be priests which is probably correct. But why would a gay Communist want to be a priest in the first place. Like the Pope, Novus Ordo bishops reject “traditionalist” vocations (i.e. too rigid) to strangle the Church out of existence.

    • Mr Sposato is so right . It’s the family I I don’t have any studies to cite but does not the vocations crisis follow on the heels of small families loss of premarital chastity high divorce rates general disrespect for women and disbelief in humane vite? I’m not letting the church leaders completely off ther hook but let’s put the blame on us laity

  21. Please! Increased participation of the laity in the Mass, including women and young girls, was certainly the Spirit of Vatican II. It does not seem reasonable that we can reverse the decline in vocations by becoming more strict because it has not been demonstrated that laxity is the cause. We must allow priests to marry and women to be priests! There is no reason that a married person, including women, cannot have just as powerful a calling to Jesus as our traditional priests. Let’s use that calling!

    • You are trying to reinvent the wheel.

      The Methodists, Lutherans and Episcopalians welcomed your suggestions,
      implemented all of them, and are waiting to receive you into their fold.

      Their “success” is manifest for your personal awe!

    • Cultural Marxism = Radical Egalitarianism = Communism = Destruction of all traditional institutions: Family, education, church etc.

      One of the great achievements of Vatican II was the wholesale adoption by sleight of hand of the theories and techniques of Communism (i.e. Liberation Theology) by the Catholic Church to destroy traditional institutions so that they can be replaced by? … guess what, Communism = government control of everything: means of production, education, religion (eliminated). What the Third Reich could not accomplish under Hitler to destroy the Catholic Church, the Catholic bishops of the former Third Reich formed the German “Rhineland Group” of bishops who were able to impose their Communist and Atheistic agenda on Vatican II by stealth. The Rhineland Group was incredibly successful in their efforts because they were organized before the Council with an agenda of their own and everyone one else at the Council was unaware or too stupid (USA bishops) to know what was going on so they were simple lambs at the slaughter house door totally lacking in perception of what the Nazi German bishops were going to do to them inside of the slaughter house of Vatican II where the Catholic Church as it was then known was destroyed. In a pyramid organization, all you have to do is capture the top spot and then you can get people to believe and do anything under pain of “obedience” to lawfully constituted authority. The disorder and disorganization of the Catholic Church today is as a direct result of the Nazi German bishops imposing their will on the Church via Vatican II. See book titled: “Rhine flows into the Tiber : a history of Vatican II” / by Ralph M. Wiltgen, ISBN 0851727212.

      If you see someone tearing at the fabric and ideals of an institution (i.e. endless critic) while having no commitment to it, be sure he is a Communist.

      Communists have been propagandizing for “equality” for everyone since Marx and Lenin. Now, would Marx and Lenin ever feed the poor and house the homeless on their own dime? No, there job is to change (i.e. destroy) institutions by forcing them to change the very fabric of their existence.

      Donald, there are plenty of churches that have made the great leap into Radical Egalitarianism (e.g. all main line Protestant Churches in the USA) and are all now dying. The only ray of hope in the Catholic Church is the traditional religious orders that have rejected the Communist Vatican II heresy.

      See journal article about radical egalitarianism to destroy the Catholic Church:
      https://www.thecatholicthing.org/2016/05/25/radical-egalitarians-on-the-loose/

      The stupidity and rigidity of the USA bishops is also shown in the following matters:
      — while condemning everything that came out of the Council of Trent, the USA bishops cling to the “seminary system” that only became normative by virtue of the Council of Trent,
      — to close the vocation gap, USA bishops think it is all right to steal priests from the Third World which has its own priest shortage,
      — “Priest Simplex” were ordained at the time of the Black Death (14th Century) to fill a priest shortage. The Priest Simplex was essentially a “Mass Priest Only” and could not hear confessions or engage in original preaching at Mass due to a lack of graduate theology. In today’s world, a Priest Simplex would have a bachelor’s degree in any subject, fulfill the pre-theology requirements to enter a Master of Divinity degree seminary program and then be ordained to the priesthood once he had completed half the program (45 rather than 90 semester hours = 1.5 years instead of 3 years for the full Master of Divinity degree). The Priest Simplex would be suitable for older vocations that don’t want to spend 3 years in graduate school at the end of their lives and even for younger vocations who do not have a charism to hear confessions or to preach.

  22. Sorry if some are sensitive to real vocation stories, but as a person who entered a women’s order and left before first vows, I see a problem with their desire to address serious issues when they arise, treating new comers with the same respect and consideration as those vowed when issues present themselves, the duality in what they present themselves as versus the life they actually live. This goes beyond the actual vows which are a challenge unto themselves, but when you put on top of that dysfunctions coupled with punitive attitudes and actions, a lot of women end up leaving and the order does not care either. If women religious want to survive and thrive, they should do an internal study of each person that leaves to determine what needs to change, if anything. With dwindling numbers entering, having one leave when it could have been prevented accounts for 20 people leaving in the golden years when vocations were a plenty. What really bothers me most in hindsight is that when I was discerning I met some really wonderful women, learned about some really holy and wonderful women/foundress, fell in love with all the possibilities and people, only to have that come crashing down during the formation process that not only verbally denounced all my previous experiences with the order, but turned hostile on top of it. People hear their calls, people discern their calls, but the church needs to take a stark look at themselves and why so many end up leaving at great cost to themselves too. On some level, religious life male or female seems to believe that they are not accountable to anyone and are paying the price for that belief.

  23. Thank you Fr. Kloster, it is so self evident. Just yesterday talk in the sacristy about deaconnets and married priestsl, ay, ay,ay. We, who get it need to double down on prayer.

    • Fr. Donald Kloster

      No, thank you for your words.

      Really, no matter what anyone says, we have a crisis in humble supplication. Vocations are a fruit and right now much of the fruit is rotten because we Catholics, as a whole, reap what we sow. The Gospels are clear. “Ye shall know them by their fruits.” That is always my reply to those who resist trying tried and true methods for harvesting vocations. Authentic adhesion to the Once and Future Faith will always be the path forward.

  24. I personally am discerning a vocation to the priesthood. In my experience I realized that there are many who are willing to give their lives to the church but cannot due to a economic crisis known as student loan debt. NRVC said that 42% of vocations are blocked due to student loan debt. But fortunately there is The Laboure Society that is working to help deliver these vocations to the Church. I hope to one day be one of the 250+ who have gone through the Laboure Societies Program and be able to live out my vocation. http://Www.Labouresociety.org

  25. What an excellent column, what an excellent description of the Church in America and here in Germany as well.

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