|Perhaps shortly the Vatican can contract with a Japanese robotics company and solve their 'priest' problems.
After spending seven years studying the issue, the Vatican has acknowledged a vocations crisis in the priesthood, and has prepared guidelines for fostering vocations. The following was posted on Huffington Post.
Vatican Blames Lack Of Priests On Secularism, Abuse, ParentsReligion News Service - 6/26/20121
VATICAN CITY (RNS) The sexual abuse scandal has tarnished the image of the priest and contributed to a crisis of priestly vocations in the Roman Catholic Church, the Vatican said Monday (June 25), while also faulting a widespread "secularized mentality" and parents' ambition for their children, which leaves "little space to the possibility of a call to a special vocation."
The "Pastoral Guidelines for Fostering Vocations to Priestly Ministry" were prepared over the last seven years by the Vatican's Congregation for Catholic Education.
The document says candidates to the priesthood shouldn't be accepted if they show "signs of being profoundly fragile personalities," and says future priests should learn the "importance" of their future commitments, "in particular with regard to celibacy." (Why does my mind go to Cardinal Raymond Burke?)
The guidelines acknowledge that "in many places the choice of celibacy is questioned" and say that such "erroneous opinions within the church" are responsible for a "lack of appreciation" for those who make the choice to remain celibate. (Even amongst Bishops celibacy is questioned and questionable.)
In fact, Western culture, with its "indifference to the Christian faith," is "unable to understand the value of vocations to a special consecration." ("Call no man father, for you have but one Father".....Jesus Christ.)
Data presented by the congregation's undersecretary, the Rev. Angelo Vincenzo Zani, show that priestly vocations over the last 10 years fell sharply in Europe. They remained stable in North and South America and rose significantly in Asia and Africa, though still not enough to offset the rapid growth in Catholics' numbers worldwide.
It never ceases to amaze me that when institutions have recruitment problems the last place they look for reasons is themselves and their own policies. Here we have a perfect example. Celibacy itself is not the reason, it's secularism which doesn't understand the value of celibacy and parents who are greedy for their sons futures. Oh, and maybe a few child abusers that the media used to attack the credibility of the Church. So, it seems that in the mind of Pope Benedict's Vatican, it makes more sense to attempt to change culture than it does to change one rule of discipline involving the priesthood. I'm also not buying the statistics on priests from Africa and Asia, because while the priesthood is growing, it is far from celibate. This is one of the reasons Vatican watchers think there are so few African prelates appointed to Rome. Their families become a major issue and the Vatican doesn't want another Archbishop Milingo disaster.
It's hard for me to dismiss the thought that this refusal to consider any change in the priesthood is because the Vatican is currently being run by a group of entrenched 80 something year old clerics who function on the spiritual and emotional level of self absorbed teen age boys. It's their priesthood, their little clique and by God to join it, a man has to play by their rules. After all, they played by these rules their entire lives. To change now would be to cheapen and disavow the sacrifice they and their predecessors made. In short, it's all about them and to hell with the People of God who are enduring an unchosen sacramental fast for the sake of the priesthood of Benedict XVI.
The reform of the reform will not result in a blossoming of vocations to this current priesthood nor a rebirth of the Church in the West. It is not designed to do any such thing. It is designed to force out of the Western Church any Catholics whose belief structures include notions of the primacy of individual conscience, anglo style democratic governance and judiciary, and enlightenment notions of human dignity, equality, and civil rights for all men and WOMEN. In this mindset the all male celibate clerical priesthood is the single most visible symbol of Benedict's view of the Church. Everything, including the entire rationale for current Roman Catholic sexual morality hinges on the perceived sanctity, ontological superiority, and sexual purity of this ritual priesthood. The fact that such a priesthood is by definition ripe for exploitation and leads to grown men acting like terrified children, as classically shown in the abuse scandal, is of no moment. Pope Benedict and his predecessor John Paul II have bet the future of the Church on maintaining this version of priesthood for an infantilized and immature laity willing to put selfish notions of magically 'saving their soul' in place of Jesus' very difficult command to love others.
What parent, with any kind of spiritual maturity, would want a son to sacrifice their life to this impoverished idea of spiritual service? Apparently not very many and maybe we should thank God for that bit of parental wisdom.