When God calls someone to follow Him more closely in the priesthood or religious life, that call comes softly and quietly though insistently.. This call is made known in a sincere desire to live a life dedicated to the service of God. Pope Benedict XVI is once again asking us to pray that young people may hear the call of Christ and follow him as priests or consecrated persons. We are reminded here that our prayers are needed because the world makes it difficult for young people to hear that call.
The same website quotes Fernando Cavada-Guzman, a layman, father, grandfather, and the vice president of communications for Serra International, as having said that, "Certainly the Lord calls, certainly he is calling now and will never cease to call, but this call needs a response from the man or woman who is called. This response is blocked today by the secularism and materialism that consume our societies - and that is where the Holy Father asks us to intervene."
Vatican II's Decree on Priestly Training (Optatam Totius) says that, "The duty of fostering vocations pertains to the whole Christian community, which should exercise it above all by a fully Christian life...All priests especially are to manifest an apostolic zeal in fostering vocations and are to attract the interest of youths to the priesthood by their own life lived in a humble and industrious manner and in a happy spirit as well as by mutual priestly charity and fraternal sharing of labor. Bishops...are to encourage their flock to promote vocations and should be concerned with coordinating all forces in a united effort to this end. As fathers, moreover, they must assist without stint those whom they have judged to be called to the Lord's work." (No. 2).
Unfortunately, this duty is not taken seriously by many within the Church. In fact, many vocations have been sabotaged by dissident priests and religious anxious to exclude those who are deemed "too rigid" or too "pre-Vatican II." Recall Michael S. Rose's book "Goodbye, Good Men." What Fernando Cavada-Guzman does not mention is that the response to the Lord’s call isn’t just blocked by “the secularism and materialism that consume our societies” but also by people who want to change the Church’s agenda and who, as a result, block or discourage candidates loyal to the magisterial teaching of the Church
Because I accept everything which is taught in the Catechism of the Catholic Church and because I defend the teaching authority of the Church's Magisterium, I am treated with nothing but contempt in my own diocese. I am not permitted to test my vocation to the priesthood. In fact, when I contacted my diocese to express my interest in discerning a priestly vocation, twice I received no response.
As Archbishop Elden Curtiss explained: "There is much media hype these days about the present and projected shortage of priests and its effect on the sacramental life of the Church. It is time to pay close attention to the dioceses and religious communities reporting increasing numbers of candidates. There have to be reasons for these increases that bear objective analysis from which some conclusions can be drawn.
I personally think the vocation 'crisis' in this country is more artificial and contrived than many people realize. When dioceses and religious communities are unambiguous about ordained priesthood and vowed religious life as the Church defines these calls; when there is strong support for vocations, and a minimum of dissent about the male celibate priesthood and religious life loyal to the magisterium; when bishop, priests, Religious and lay people are united in vocation ministry—then there are documented increases in the numbers of candidates who respond to the call.
It seems to me that the vocation 'crisis' is precipitated and continued by people who want to change the Church's agenda, by people who do not support orthodox candidates loyal to the magisterial teaching of the Pope and bishops, and by people who actually discourage viable candidates from seeking priesthood and vowed religious life as the Church defines the ministries.
I am personally aware of certain vocation directors, vocation teams and evaluation boards who turn away candidates who do not support the possibility of ordaining women or who defend the Church's teaching about artificial birth control, or who exhibit a strong piety toward certain devotions, such as the Rosary.
When there is a determined effort to discourage orthodox candidates from priesthood and religious life, then the vocation shortage which results is caused not by a lack of vocations but by deliberate attitudes and policies that deter certain viable candidates.
And the same people who precipitate a decline in vocations by their negative actions call for the ordination of married men and women to replace the vocations they have discouraged. They have a death wish for ordained priesthood and vowed religious life as the Church defines them. They undermine the vocation ministry they are supposed to champion."
The late Senator Edward Kennedy received a Catholic funeral even though he dissented from the Church’s teaching. In fact, he was eulogized by the clergy present as “our brother and friend.” I am a cradle Catholic who has publically defended the Church’s teaching my entire life. And I am a pariah within my own diocese. Maybe if I supported same-sex "marriage" or abortion or contraception I too would be welcome as "brother and friend."
No thanks. I'll stay with the Lord Jesus and His Vicar.