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Why is there a shortage of priests?
From mendicant priests, to a shortage of disciples?
Is the spirit willing, but the flesh too weak?
Augustinians, Carmelites, Dominicans, Franciscans: where are the mendicant friars today?
A shortage of priests? Why?
There is beauty in the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches. What higher calling can a man or a woman respond to, than full time service to their fellow men and women, and to the Lord? Why then is there a shortage?
The world population continues to grow. Are the Catholic and Orthodox churches not growing, too? Is the attraction of an earthly life growing and the attraction of such religious callings declining so much that the churches cannot properly meet the also growing need for priests and nuns?
Perhaps there is a leadership gap, such as we see in civil societies?
Christ sent disciples "without purse, and scrip, and shoes" and he asked them if they had lacked anything, and they said "Nothing." For a God who knows how to feed every sparrow, surely knows how to feed his servants in the Household of Faith.
Can it be that gathering treasures on Earth, has become so much more appealing than "...all that the Father hath"?
Tithing a tenth part of one's increase, and cheerful givers, built the great cathedrals of the world. But paying "an honest tithe" has lost not only its admitted importance, but apparently some of its cheer.
Honoring the sabbath has seen empty pews, and female worshippers far outnumbering male worshippers in so many churches of most faiths around the world.
Adultery is made fashionable on TV, in the movies, and as the subject of salacious tales seen and read by millions. Coupled with this Age of Sensualism, is the juxtaposition of family values and the manmade restriction in some churches requiring priests to remain true to vows not to marry and raise such families of their own.
Even the remainder of the short list of just ten commandments, finds the world turning deaf ears and blinded eyes to what should be every Christians' checklist for daily living..
Repentance is out of fashion, too. Vengeance, judging, grudges, gossip, and hate defy the teachings of a Christ who millions claim to follow, but the hearts and minds of so many, even of his professed adherents, are so often far from the basic standards he taught, and laws he came to fulfill.
Far from a more peaceful world 2,000 years later, modern man kills with seeming impunity and with ever increasing ferocity and randomness, another essential commandment trampled upon.
In the United States the fastest growing churches have been (in order) Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormons, and Seventh-day Adventists. In 2008 membership in the Roman Catholic Church declined, regaining ground in 2009, but by 2012 some parishes were being combined to reduce expenses as the church became more austere. Such combining also places a heavier responsibility on the existing priesthood.
A case in point is the care of aging priests who formerly were cared for by the church as a whole in communities specifically devoted to their care, but now aging priests in the United States have increasingly become the responsibility of the parish members they served.
There are certainly answers for any perceived shortages of priests and nuns. Without acknowledging and implementing such answers in a revival of the spirit, the strength of the church's traditional structure will continue to be under stress.
Copyright 2012 Demas W. Jasper All rights reserved.
Church memberships in the United States....
- National Council of Churches USA
Church membership figures from the yearbook of the National Council of Churches. Watch for an updated yearbook in 2012.
A Christian's Checklist:
- A Christian's Checklist
Just as a pilot has a checklist to insure safe flights, so any Christian can perhaps find this basic Christian Checklist helpful in insuring a successful life's journey in mortality.