From the Archdiocese of L.A.’s site.
It has taken the shortage of priestly and religious vocations to awaken in us an appreciation of a broadly based shared ministry and a realization that it is in the nature of the Church as the Body of Christ to be endowed with many gifts, ministries and offices. What some refer to as a "vocations crisis" is, rather, one of the many fruits of the Second Vatican Council, a sign of God’s deep love for the Church, and an invitation to a more creative and effective ordering of gifts and energy in the Body of Christ. This is a time of great challenge and opportunity in the Church, not least of all because the gifts of the lay faithful have been flourishing in unprecedented numbers and in unforeseen ways. [Emphasis added.] [Via Thoughts of a Regular Guy]
As Paul said "Priests? We don’t need no stinkin’ priests!" So by this very odd reasoning I guess those diocese that are much more faithful to the magisterium and are bursting with vocations to the priesthood and religious life are not experiencing "a sign of God’s deep love for the Church." I guess the sign of filled seminaries is a sign of God’s wrath to those diocese. I guess the countries of Africa and the country of India is also missing out on "a sign of God’s deep love for the Church" since the growth of vocations is diminishing their chance for an effective reordering. Sure less access to the sacraments is really something to be called a fruit. I mean what can a priest do that lay ministerial assistants can’t do besides minor points like hear confession, celebrate the Mass, give the Sacrament of the Sick, etc, etc. I mean we don’t need any of this "Pray to the lord of the harvest" nonsense anymore when we can just create pastoral assistants.
This statement on the Archdiocese website is so full of spin that it would make a gyroscope dizzy. Though on the bright side maybe it is evidence that Mr Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf who declared "Baghdad is safe" while American troops were fighting in the background found a nice job writing copy for the Archdiocese of L.A.
This tired old reason for the drop in priestly and religious vocations is too often unthinkingly repeated and on no sound basis! Only a few weeks ago, I heard a priest-lecturer from one of England’s seminaries repeat the same chestnut. Such a shame!
Didn’t JPII make a great case for the laity’s role being outside the church walls – like in society?
Funny how those dioceses where “lay ministry” is infecting the parishes, THEY DON’T WANT PRIESTLY VOCATIONS. Why? Then it would make their new roles unnecessary.
Our bishop has made things very clear: no priest no Eucharist. No Eucharist, no church.
We have loads of guys signing up for seminary. They know that the ministerial priesthood is something qualitatively different – not merely quantitatively different.
Who wants to make all of the sacrifices the priesthood entails if you don’t do many things different than the lay ministers?
Is Mahoney really serious about this? I never thought he was that bright, certainly not with the flakey REC, but I think a lot of people need to pray for this man’s conversion of heart, or failing that his replacement.
I feel like a broken record, but Vatican II was not about clericalizing the laity and laicizing the clergy. Yet that is how so many people interpret and implement it. They think that having scores of “Eucharistic Ministers” clumped around the altar is a major improvement for the laity. Nonsense. A major improvement would be preaching and catechesis that emphasizes the universal call to holiness, for laity, priest and religious alike, without attempting to blur the distinctiveness of each calling. Trust me, when I, as a laywoman, am exposed to priests and religious who are 100% immersed in (and in love with) their vocations, that only further solidifies my own appreciation and love for my own vocation. And I am hoping for the full gamut of vocations from my children when they are grown.
None of this mushy oatmeal stuff, thank you.
Aren’t we overreacting a bit? Did you read the rest of the website article?
“The common priesthood of the faithful and the ordained priesthood are of different kinds. But because the ordained priesthood and the priesthood of the faithful are none the less interrelated (Lumen gentium 10), it is altogether clear that lay people share in the Church�s saving mission through baptism, confirmation, and the ongoing celebration of the Eucharist. Thus with the Second Vatican Council there is a restoration of the baptismal dignity of the laity, an emerging recognition of baptism as the basis and foundation of all ministry, and a fuller realization that ministry is not exercised only by the ordained.”
When I grew up, I remember my Catholic parents “worshipping” the religious. I always felt the religious were unreachably “above” the laity. I always felt I could never measure up to them.
Isn’t the point of the Archdiocese of LA’s article that we all are important? We all have a duty to practice and minister. We need to get involved in our Church. We need to lead the studies, the extra meetings, the parish councils. Priests and nuns cannot do it alone. There is to much to do. THEY NEED US! (Of course, obviously, WE NEED THEM TOO!)
And isn’t this blog and the many other great blogs, websites, podcasts, Catholic Answers, books, etc, etc, a result of the involvement of the laity?
The laity’s role and the priest’s role do not conflict or diminish each other. We make each other stronger. Our Church needs us all.
Margaret, re read the bolded part. It is a clear denial that a vocations crisis exists.
In the software world, this is what’s called
“Turning a Bug into a Feature”
“Who you gonna believe, me or your lyin’ eyes?”
Frances, I don’t think anybody questions the value of the lay vocation. I belong to Opus Dei, myself. We are all about lay vocation. 🙂
That being said, I am deeply leery of the “lay ecclesial vocation” thing. In practice, that always seems to translate into, “The laity who are serious about their faith all need to be in organized ministry through the parish.” It’s all about doing “churchy stuff,” not about living out the Gospel and being salt and light in the middle of the world. By definition, the unchurched are not sitting in church benefitting from lay ministry. They are in cubicles, at home changing diapers, bagging groceries, etc. “Lay ministry” isn’t going to bring them any closer to Jesus Christ, struggling to be a saint in the midst of the workaday world may.
And pretending the vocational crisis isn’t a crisis doesn’t help either, because once we lay Catholics get our friends to the point that they realize they want/need the Church, we hit the “sacramental wall.” WE NEED PRIESTS TOO. And I fear a lot of “lay ecclesial ministry” undervalues and downplays the unique beauty of the ordained priesthood to the point of pushing it beyond the radar screen of most of our young men.
You missed the point entirely.
Please resing, ASAP!
DELTA EPSILON LAMDA BETA ALPHA
And may (why was he made a) Cardinal Mahoney soon have a peaceful retirement. I am too old myself to want to wait so long for the reform of the reform.
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