Fri 24th Oct 2014 | Last updated: Fri 24th Oct 2014 at 18:39pm

Facebook Logo Twitter Logo RSS Logo
Hot Topics

Latest News

Vatican releases guidelines on promoting vocations

By on Monday, 25 June 2012

Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski, prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education

Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski, prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education

In an effort to respond to a “clear and pressing” need for priests, the Vatican has released a set of guidelines to help bishops and Church communities promote, recruit and educate a new generation of men for the priesthood.

The Church needs “suitable” candidates and must avoid men who “show signs of being profoundly fragile personalities”, while helping others heal from any possible “individual deviations” from their vocations, the document said.

“The witness of Christian communities giving account of the faith that is in them becomes even more necessary,” because it’s a community of believers committed to passing on God’s love that “prepares the Lord’s call that invites people to consecration and mission,” it said.

Based on responses to a questionnaire sent to bishops’ conferences and directors of national vocations offices around the world in 2008, the Congregation for Catholic Education sought to address a widespread demand for pastoral guidelines for fostering vocations “based on clear and well-founded theology of vocation and of the identity of the ministerial priesthood”.

Entitled “Pastoral Guidelines for Fostering Vocations to Priestly Ministry”, the 29-page document was released today. It also marked the 70th anniversary of the inauguration of the congregation’s Pontifical Work for Priestly Vocations.

The challenge of attracting men to the priesthood is made more difficult by declining birthrates in the developed world and a materialist, secular culture in which people are less likely to make “courageous and demanding Gospel choices” in their lives, the document said.

“In the West, there is a prevailing culture of indifference to the Christian faith, a culture unable to understand the value of vocations to a special consecration,” it said.

Key to turning things around isn’t just setting up new programmes and initiatives, but building a vibrant, active and dedicated community of Catholics, united in prayer and with Christ, it said.

Some reasons men say “no” to or ignore a call to the priesthood, it said, include:

- having parents who are reluctant about their son’s choice because they have different hopes for their child’s future;

- living in a society that marginalises priests and considers them irrelevant;

- misunderstanding the gift of celibacy;

- being disillusioned by the scandal of priests who abused minors;

- and seeing priests who are too overwhelmed by their pastoral duties to the detriment of their spiritual life.

Vocations are fostered when boys and young men have an uplifting and transformative Christian experience, it said. That experience can be found in family life, at school, in the parish, as an altar boy, in Catholic groups and associations or in volunteer work, all of which allow them to “know first-hand the reality of God himself, in communion with their brothers and in Gospel mission”, it said.

During a Vatican news conference presenting the guidelines, Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski, prefect of the education congregation, said that, paradoxically, “experience teaches us that the strongest candidates grow in hostile environments”.

In places where there is open hostility to the Church, he said, vocations are “very healthy, very strong and [priests are] very aware that we have a mission”.

Mgr Vincenzo Zani, undersecretary of the Congregation for Catholic Education, said the aftermath of the sex abuse crisis in the US has had some positive results, specifically in Boston, where the seminary is now filled thanks to an aggressive effort, led by the archbishop, to search for serious vocations.

While dioceses and seminaries bear most of the responsibility of determining the suitability of a candidate, vocations offices, too, must be consistent in attracting and forming people who display a healthy “integration and maturing of the affections”, the document said.

Men who “show signs of being profoundly fragile personalities” should not be encouraged to consider a vocation, it said.

The educational setting must support a candidate’s authentic reasons to be a priest and contribute “to healing any possible individual deviations from his vocation”.

Cardinal Grocholewski said determining “a fragile personality” at the early stages of a candidate’s journey is a question of discretion by trained professionals from the diocesan vocations office.

“There are some people whose fragility is easily seen, while others hide themselves, sometimes just because they want to seem like good people,” he said. “It’s a question of fundamental human maturity. We are looking for a person who is responsible, someone who can be trusted, a person who can control himself” and his impulses, he added.

“A more serious, mature judgment should come in the seminary, where in speaking and observing a candidate, his maturity can be better determined,” the cardinal said.

A priest represents Christ the shepherd, the document said, and as such, he must draw his strength from and base his vocation on loving and serving Christ and his church.

All Catholics, including parents, coaches, catechists and group leaders, should help their young charges to see the priestly vocation as a gift.

Boys and young men should be taught the value of prayer and meditation on God’s word, the document said, so that they learn to hear what God is calling them to do with their lives.

The congregation’s guidelines also called for diocesan vocation offices to organise a so-called “invisible monastery” where large numbers of people are dedicated to providing non-stop prayer for priestly vocations.

  • Matthew Roth

    Let’s start to foster vocations by getting rid of female altar servers.

  • http://twitter.com/Ranmore Ranmore

    “misunderstanding the gift of celibacy”

    Studies have found that 95% or more of priests of all ages masturbate. It appears that the “gift of celibacy” is interpreted as a life of solitary self-gratification.

  • Drglowry

    Citations, please?

  • bonaventure

    (1) Remove the girls & women from the sanctuary
    (2) Turn the altars Ad Deum
    (3) Bring the reverence back to the liturgy
    (4) Chant more parts of the Mass
    (5) Ban all “rainbow” colored stoles and chasubles (in fact, ban all flagrantly liberal-looking liturgical clothing)
    (6) Dress appropriately for Mass (clergy and people)
    (7) Pray before the Mass, and after… e.g. adoration
    (8) Bring back incense and bells
    (9) Altar rails were torn down?  Build them back up!
    (10) Cut the guitar scratching…
    (11) Etc.

    Hold on… U.S. Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz did many of the above, and his diocesan seminary is FULL.

  • bonaventure

    Projecting…

  • Adam Rasmussen

    Thank you, Pope Bonaventure, for your well-argued list of suggestions.

  • Adam Rasmussen

    95% of all statistics are made up.

  • Burt

    bonaventure

    I love you brother! everything you say is how I feel. email me please I am roballen1@hotmail.co.uk

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/7UO272UB3UDIPP7X6QIHGDIEK4 Herman U. Ticke

     … and statistics!!!  (ho ho ho).

    If you want a bumper sticker I prefer this one

    Liars may figure but figures don’t lie.

  • Burt

    Herman
    sometimes it’s easy to get downhearted and downtrodden with the way things are….but Thank you!…your post  “Liars may figure but figures don’t lie” It tickled my funnybone!

    I want to add my five pence-worth just here:

    I guess some guys end up in purgatory because they followed beautiful lies, while some of us get there following beautiful figures.

    Just a little wink to the lovely ones, who will know their own part, eventually, in where we all lead each other, to our Eternal destination. 

  • http://twitter.com/Ranmore Ranmore

    “The Priesthood in Spain”, P. Rodriguez, 1995

    “A Secret World”, A. Sipe, 1990

  • http://twitter.com/Ranmore Ranmore

     Not this one. See above.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/IYGLKUXYQINKC3JBV7SPGQSCGQ Maria leelavathi Joseph

    If both male and female are created in the image and likeness of GOD , why not ordain both men and women to the priesthood and put an end to the rhetoric of “not enough priests” all over the Catholic world? My friends, open your minds and your hearts to the way GOD would think, not just for consolidating male supremacy.. God bless you all.

  • http://twitter.com/Ranmore Ranmore

    More like Deflecting…

  • English Seminarian

    Because being created in the image and likeness of God is not the criteria of Priesthood.  The authentic teaching of the Catholic Church is that we are all called to be Holy and this was before Lumen Gentium stated such .  The Greatest Saint in the Church is a not a Priest but a Mother – the Blessed Virgin Mary.  We are doing an injustice to both Women and the Holy Priesthood if we say that women are called not to have Children but to be Priests.  Christ, The Ultimate High Priest – and is a Man… Therefore whether you like it or not only men can be Priests in the same way that only a woman can give birth to a child.  This is not some high flying theology, it is just a fact. 
    If as a part of that universal call to holiness we prayed for Priests and for vocations we would not need to think about how to fix a “problem” that doesn’t really Exist.   This daft protistant question that is often asked “What Would Jesus Do?” leads to this total lack of Hope that Christ will not provide for His Church.  In stead of asking “What Would Jesus Do?” , let us rather ask What DID Jesus do?  and He picked an All Male Priesthood.  

    Maria, Please Pray for Priests, and that above all the will of Godis done for the Church?

    God Bless

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jack-Hughes/100000562751914 Jack Hughes

     What does ‘fragile personality’ mean?

    Where on Earth does it say that Priests have to be type A go getters who’ll have a fit if one of the altar servers has a spot of dirt on hi shoe?

  • Et_Expecto

    Although I would not express myself in the same way as Bonaventure, I have to say that he is right.

    The seminaries of the traditional societies of priests are all full and they cannot enlarge them fast enough. 

    If you look at the recent entries to diocesan seminaries, you tend to find that almost every candidate comes from a relatively traditional parish, or has been active in the traditional movemenr within the Church.

  • Parasum

    “This daft protistant question that is often asked “What Would Jesus Do?”
    leads to this total lack of Hope that Christ will not provide for His
    Church.  In stead of asking “What Would Jesus Do?” , let us rather ask
    What DID Jesus do?  and He picked an All Male Priesthood.”

    ## IOW, forget about seeking the Will of God – OK, doing that was important for Jesus; but we have the CC instead. Silly Protties, not to realise that the Church is superior to Christ. Who needs God, when we have the Church ?

    Jesus also picked all-Jewish priesthood which was Gentile-free (assuming we regard the Twelve as priests in the Catholic sense).

  • Agent Provocateur21

     95% of priests masturbate??? HOW DID THEY FOUND OUT? Questionnaries, hidden cameras, psychic powers?….simply made it up??

  • daclamat

    where is the holy spirit

  • daclamat

    God’s got it wrong

  • Aussie Seminarian

     Well said Brother. In my Seminary we try to foster a prayerful Orthodoxy that is indeed centered on holiness of life and genuine theological integrity, and then we go to our so called ‘teachers’ (95% whom are Priests with Doctorates in Theology) who use nearly ever opportunity to spurn and mock the teaching of the Magesterium. God willing soon I will be Ordained and then do further study to try my best, with God’s help, to counter so much of the heretical garbage that is taught under the guise of ‘Theological Education’. Thankfuly, that generation is dying out and a new generation (at least in Australia) is rising up who actually take the teaching of the Magesterium seriously. Yes, we must all think and discern the teaching, we must also be obedient and have enough humility to duly acknowlege the wisdom of 2000 years + of theological reflection. May our Holy Mother pray all us Seminarians as we continue to do so.

  • http://twitter.com/Cultureboy Tony Robertson

    Please, please tell me you are not studying for priesthood in the Archdiocese of Brisbane. Your pompous self righteousness is hardly a mark of a vocation.  You seem more suited for law or perhaps politics. BTW, which teachings of the Magisterium do you take seriously? For example, do you follow Catholic Social teachings in your life choices? Or are you a “Cafeteria” Catholic?

  • Deesis

    I think “fragile” means one has the Faith and believes so one finds the seminary a living hell because one can’t go with the flow..as most clergy do.  “Hostile environments” means whatever doesn’t kill is good for you. We in authority do not have to do anything or take any responsability for all the dissent and abuses in seminaries. It isn’t our problem vocations are few. We cherry pick anyway. No “Old Mass” people!

  • Fr. Thomas Poovathinkal

    LET US SET ASIDE  FOR THE TIME BEING THE PROBLEM OF
    PRIESTHOOD – IT IS FOUND ALSO IN PAGAN RELIGIONS! LET US  RAISE ALOFT THE PRIVILEGE
    OF APOSTLESHIP:

    MARY, QUEEN OF THE APOSTLES, MARY MAGDALENE, THE APOSTLE TO THE
    APOSTLES (POPE JOHN PAUL II),  THE SAMARITAN WOMAN AN APOSTLE TO HER OWN
    PEOPLE……… AND THE GREAT  ST.PAUL, THE GREATEST OF ALL APOSTLES! 

    THESE ALL ARE ALL INSPIRING EXAMPLES FOR US WHO ARE ALIVE AND WELL SET FOR GOD’S CAUSE.

    ONLY APOSTLES ARE ENABLED TO PROCLAIM THE WORD OF CHRIST IN THE SPIRIT OF
    CHRIST ACCOMPANIED BY THE SIGNS OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD.

    WHEREAS MERE PRIESTS DO THEIR WORK, ONLY AS A RITUAL. DON’T THEY GET PAID FOR
    IT IN DIFFERENT WAYS? ARE THEY OUTSTANDING EXAMPLES FOR FOLLOWING CHRIST THE
    LORD? WILL ANY ONE BE INSPIRED TO FOLLOW CHRIST THE LORD IF HE /SHE COME TO
    KNOW CLOSELY THE PRIVATE LIFE OF THEIR PRIEST?

    IN APOSTLESHIP LIES THE FREEDOM OF THE SONS AND DAUGHTERS OF GOD. HERE NOBODY
    CAN PREVENT ANYBODY. HERE ONE HIMSELF/ HERSELF ONLY CAN BE THE ENEMY – THAT TOO
    HIS OWN, HER OWN.

    WHEN ALIVE APOSTLESHIP IS AVAILABLE TO ONE AND ALL WITH THE GRACE OF GOD IN
    JESUS CHRIST.

    LOOK AT ST.PAUL!  HE IS THE TYPICAL EXAMPLE TO FOLLOW – HE WAS NOT OF THE
    TWELVE AND YET HE IS IN PRACTICE THE GREATEST OF ALL APOSTLES.

    ST.PAUL PROVIDES THE ANSWER TO ALL PROBLEMS : THE SUPREME FREEDOM  OF
    EXERCISING APOSTLESHIP AND OF BRINGING THE GOOD NEWS OF SALVATION TO ALL OF
    HUMANITY.

    THE LORD’S OWN TOP-MOST PRIORITY WAS THAT OF PROCLAMATION OF THE GOOD NEWS OF
    SALVATION. WHEN HIS OWN PEOPLE TRIED TO PREVENT HIM BY ENTICING HIM INTO MERE
    “DO-GOOD-ING”: MIRACLE WORKING, FEEDING PEOPLE WITH THE BREAD THAT
    PERISHES, HEALING THE SICK ETC. HE SAID, ” LET US GO TO OTHER VILLAGES
    ALSO, I NEED TO PROCLAIM THE WORD THERE TOO; THAT IS WHY I CAME (I WAS SENT).

    THE LORD SENT OUT HIS OWN CHOSEN TWELVE FOR THIS PURPOSE.
    HE SENT OUT ALSO THE SEVENTY TWO FOR THIS PURPOSE; LATER WHEN HE CALLED A YOUNG
    MAN TO FOLLOW HIM, THE YOUNG MAN TRIED DELAY TACTICS. TO HIM JESUS SAID, AS FOR
    YOU, COME AND PROCLAIM THE KINGDOM OF GOD AND LET THE DEAD BURY THEIR OWN DEAD.

    WELL, THERE IS ONLY ONE LIFE FOR US ALL IN THIS WORLD, ONLY ONE CHANCE. WHAT
    SHALL WE MAKE OF IT? JUST FOLLOW THE CROWD? JUST FOLLOW THE LEADERS?

    IF SALVATION  IN JESUS CHRIST  IS NOT MADE AVAILABLE TO ALL OF
    HUMANITY, SELFISH CHRISTIANS  AND THEIR LEADERS ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR IT.

    IF
    THE WHOLE WORLD IS LOST TO CHRIST THE LORD THE DIVIDED CHRISTIAN WORLD IS
    RESPONSIBLE FOR IT.

    THOSE WHO LIVE IN AN ENVIRONMENT OF THE WORD OF GOD, LIKE THE ONE IN THE DIVINE
    RETREAT CENTRE, MURINGOOR-POTTA, CAHALAKUDY, KERALA, INDIA, OR THOSE WHO
    ASSOCIATE THEMSELVES WITH LIVING AND PRACTISING APOSTLES ARE BOUND BECOME
    THEMSELVES APOSTLES, IF THEY MAKE THEMSELVES FIT FOR CHRIST WHOLEHEARTEDLY.

     

     

     

     

  • Fr. Thomas Poovathinkal

     
    WHAT COMES OUT THE INTELLECT IS ONLY AS GOOD AS THE INTELLECT ITSELF.

    INTELLECT IN ITSELF IS NOT A REDEEMED REALITY.

    ONLY AN APOSTLE CAN  DO WHAT JESUS WANTS.

  • Fr. Thomas Poovathinkal

    IF THE YOUNG IS ONLY AS GOOD AS THE OLD, WHAT IS SO GOOD ABOUT BEING YOUNG?

  • Fr. Thomas Poovathinkal

     

    WHY JOIN THOSE WHO HAVE OBSESSIONS?

    LEAVE IT ALL TO THE COMMONSENSE OF THOSE WHO LIVE IN THE LIGHT OF CHRIST THE LORD.

    THANK YOU.

  • bonaventure

    I am sorry, Father, and with all due respect, I do not understand your reply.