New Vatican document focuses on obstacles to priestly vocations
June 25, 2012
In a new document on fostering vocations to the priesthood, the Vatican plots a strategy for counteracting the rise of secularization in the Western world and encouraging a new appreciation for priestly ministry.
The new document, released on June 25 by the Congregation for Catholic Education, has been in preparation since 2008. Presenting it to the press, Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski, the prefect of the Congregation, said that the document is divided into three parts. The first part considers some obstacles to priestly vocations, notably the secularizing trend in the West and the fall in birth rates. The Church’s response should include evangelization, support for family life, and concentration on prayer, the Polish cardinal said. The second part of the new document addresses the distinctiveness of the priestly vocation. Archbishop Jean-Louis Brugues, the secretary of the Congregation for Catholic Education, said that a central problem is the “progressive transformation of the priesthood into a profession.” He also mentioned the tendency toward “exaggerated activism” and the isolation that many priests experience.
Part three of the Vatican document concentrates on preparation for future priests, emphasizing the need for a sense of community within the clergy that avoids the temptations of clericalism, and for “complete integration and emotional maturity.”