St Francis Q&A

Friday, April 04, 2008

"Are we going to have enough priests?"

Eucharistic Adoration tonight, 7-8 pm, SAA Church. All who wish to adore Jesus in the Eucharist are invited!!
Recently, Maryann posted the following comment regarding the priesthood in the modern world. She also references a book on the same topic which has had excellent reviews by Catholic theologians. Another blogger sent me a link to the book reviews; to view them, please click on the title of this post.

While we wait patiently and somberly for the rising of our Lord Jesus Christ, I can’t help but think of those that dedicate their lives to spread His good news, and absolve us of our sins, our priests. Isn’t it a shame they and others, called to give their lives to God, are decreasing in numbers, both worldwide and in the US while the population in both continues to increase. With an increase in our population, it follows that we should expect an increase in the number of sins committed. With this current trend, are we going to have enough priests to provide absolution so that our sins are forgiven? Perhaps increasing our knowledge of the priesthood will help us share its beauty as a calling, a calling that is for “real men,” as Fr. David Toups points out in an interview; Priestly Identity: Crisis and Renewal, part 1 (by Annamarie Adkins,, 3/20/08.)

In her opening sentence, Ms. Adkins quotes Fr. Toups; “A general crisis of authentic masculinity in society has also affected the priesthood as only "real men" can adequately fulfill the role of priest and pastor.”

Q: Is there a crisis of authentic masculinity in the priesthood? Could this be a source of the vocation shortage, especially among Latinos?

Father Toups: Allow me to rephrase the first question to be more all embracing: Is there a crisis of authentic masculinity in the world? I would say yes.

There is a crisis of commitment, fidelity and fatherhood all rooted in men not living up to their call to be “real men” -- men who model their lives on Christ, who lay down their lives out of love, and who learn what it is to be a father from our Father in heaven.

So in the context of the priesthood, which flows out of society, there is a particular challenge to help men grow in manly virtue. The priesthood is not for the faint of heart, but for men who are up to the challenge of living as Christ in laying down their life on a daily basis.

As the priest says the words of consecration, “This is my Body,” Christ is not only speaking through him, but the priest is offering his own life as well for the people to whom he is called to serve.

Part 2, posted March 21st, discusses the challenges of the priesthood and six principles of priestly renewal.

Father Toups, the associate director of the Secretariat of Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations of the U.S. episcopal conference, is the author of "Reclaiming Our Priestly Character."


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