the cause with no effect

By Diogenes (articles ) | Oct 14, 2005

In his latest "Word from Rome" column, John Allen of the National Catholic Reporter asks an obvious question, and gets an astonishing answer from Bishop William Skylstad, the president of the US bishops' conference:

Has the sexual abuse crisis in the United States taken a toll on vocations to the priesthood?
My impression is that it hasn't. Times of challenge do not necessarily produce a negative atmosphere in terms of people's response to the gospel and to the church. I think people tend to look at the church and what it can become.

Earth to Skylstad... Earth to Skylstad... It's no good; we're out of range.

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  • Posted by: Gil125 - Oct. 17, 2005 5:08 PM ET USA

    Novus Est, they're not my numbers; they are the NY Times's. Andy K, would that all the remaining priests were so faithful! And yes, there are more seminarians now worldwide than there were when JPII was elected. But not, certainly, in this country or Western Europe. The most cursory Googling will give you some good figures.

  • Posted by: - Oct. 17, 2005 2:44 PM ET USA

    According to Gil's numbers, in the US of A there are approximately 1500 parishoners per priest. Whether Skylstad was right or wrong, we still need a seriously high number of vocations to the priesthood. At least in this diocese of CO Springs, since the Church scandals started and Bp. Sheridan put Fr. Williams (great priest) in charge of vocations, there has been a huge increase in the number of good men interested in going to the seminary.

  • Posted by: Fr. William - Oct. 15, 2005 11:16 PM ET USA

    Indeed, Diogenes... "Earth to Skylstad... Earth to Skylstad..." It's too bad that he's out of range with earth, too... because he is clearly not listening to God or His Church or the Holy Father! Bp. Skylstad is one of Cdl. Mahony's boys (so was Abp. Gregory), as the L.A. cardinal spent a lot of political capital to place them as USCCB presidents. Let us pray that their era of anti-Church agenda-filled ideology is ending. The Lord Jesus called for successors to the Apostles, not diplomats.

  • Posted by: Fr. Walter - Oct. 15, 2005 9:38 PM ET USA

    Bishop Skylstad is like most of the bishops, a basically good man, but weak. Like most, he is doing little if any spiritual good in his diocese, and constantly looking for something to say that will make people like him. The people are shocked and hurt. The good priests have been hurt for years, and are usually marginalized and ignored. But for the bishops, this is the time to close their eyes, declare "Ain't renewal great!", and "let a thousand flowers blossom." Heaven help us.

  • Posted by: Andy K - Oct. 15, 2005 9:18 PM ET USA

    Dear Gil, That problem is better than the ECUSA or others that have too many chiefs and not enough Indians. It means that the Truth is proclaimed by those faithful priests. And, there were more seminarians at the end of JPII's life than at the beginning. Double the number.

  • Posted by: Gil125 - Oct. 15, 2005 5:51 PM ET USA

    All you Skylstadites might want to check the NY Times today for a coincidental story on the shortage of priests. One paragraph stands out: "In 25 years, the number of priests in the United States has declined 26 percent, to 42,500, as the number of Roman Catholics rose 29 percent, to 65 million." For your convenience: If required, registration is free.

  • Posted by: - Oct. 15, 2005 1:11 PM ET USA

    I'm inclined to take a different interpretation on Bishop's Skylstad's words. Times of challenge do in fact help people see that the Church needs saints to be fully what she already is: the spotless Bride of Christ. The scandals have made young men more aware than ever that Holy Mother Church needs good priests. This awareness has jumpstarted the journey towards ordination for several of my brother seminarians, who are all solid and faithful men. Pray for us, and for all seminarians and priests!

  • Posted by: Andy K - Oct. 15, 2005 1:06 PM ET USA

    To be honest, I think B. Skysltad is correct. The crisis really hasn't diminished vocations. They were on the decline before this came to the fore. If anything, the shortage of vocations might actually be ending. Of course, many of the vocations may have been victims of abortion. And what are you doing to promote vocations to Christian Life, esp. to the priesthood? These are questions we must ask ourselves.

  • Posted by: - Oct. 15, 2005 9:32 AM ET USA

    "Houston, we've got a problem..." Ironically, when our American bishops get serious about the problem of the present surplus of (unholy) priests, it seems certain that the Holy Spirit will prove Cupertino and Bishop Skylstad to be right. St. Athanasius pray for us.

  • Posted by: Cupertino - Oct. 14, 2005 10:41 PM ET USA

    Skylstad may be applying "spin" but there is strong evidence that young men who are sigining up today are outstanding, dedicated to the Church and Jesus Christ. They know what they are getting into and they want to do it. I have first hand experience of this in my diocese and am edified at our seminarians and newly ordained priests. Oh yes, they are all conservative and attracted to the traditions of the liturgy. The Holy Spirit is not asleep and won't abandon us.

  • Posted by: Sterling - Oct. 14, 2005 7:39 PM ET USA

    I know a priest who was a "right-hand man" to Cardinal Law. He kept insisting that the crisis was drawing people INTO the Church and was quoted in the Boston Globe to that effect. Yes! He maintained that non-Catholics were so awed by the wise handling of the scandal, that they were joining the Church! (Were these converts pedophiles?)

  • Posted by: Meg Q - Oct. 14, 2005 6:17 PM ET USA

    People who are qualified to talk about "times of challenge . . . not necessarily produc[ing] a negative atmosphere" etc.: St. Teresa de Avila, St. Benedict, St. Pius V, St. Maximilian Kolbe, etc., etc., etc. People who are not qualified to talk about same: Just about any American bishop, but especially the Most Reverend William Skylstad.

  • Posted by: - Oct. 14, 2005 5:44 PM ET USA

    The "times of challenge" will become more apparent when the University Church of St. Aloysius Gonzaga goes on the block to pay for the sins of the diocese's decadent priests. Don't tell me that a decline of vocations isn't tied to this scandal!

  • Posted by: - Oct. 14, 2005 4:22 PM ET USA

    Times of challenge? ??!?!?! Interesting euphemism. And no negative atmosphere at all. Sure. That's why a woman I'd never met before would learn that I'm a Catholic and take time out of her day to tell me all about my "cult-like" Church with its perverted priests. And I've had many other non-Catholics comment on it as well. So much for ecumenism!

  • Posted by: Remigius - Oct. 14, 2005 3:40 PM ET USA

    What does this comment reveal? May I suggest that it shows the reflexive ease with which too many bishops attempt to delude the faithful and at the same time bolster themselves through the ecclesiastical equivalent of trash-talking: "We the best, our people love us, ain't nobody gonna say that we caused any bad results from anything we did! Only crazy people would even think bad stuff about us." The truth is people know when they are being patronized, and that we are short of vocations.

  • Posted by: - Oct. 14, 2005 2:45 PM ET USA

    With leaders like this...Oh what else can I say. This is precisely why these elements should be purged. This crisis has not only discouraged vocations, but it has discouraged the Catholic faithful. Faithful priests walk around like someone is going to lynch them. Fathers, mothers and children hardly know how to talk about the depth of the depravity. My son is going on a retreat and I am ashamed of the things I had to discuss with him as a necessary precaution. No, no effect.