Priest shortage

Priest shortage

A priest shortage is the situation of a reduced number of priests in religions, especially the Roman Catholic Church. [ [ Die Tagespost] ] Pope Benedict XVI said on 11 September 2006 in Altötting, Germany, that he is sad over this situation in the Roman Catholic Church. [ [] ]


Although the number of baptized Roman Catholics is at an all-time high, in Western countries the percentage of Catholics who attend Mass on a weekly basis has declined significantly. This has led to a smaller base of recruitment into the priesthood.

Cultural rejection of priestly celibacy is often cited as another factor in the decline in vocations, as lay Catholics increasingly embrace married life.

Finally, a decrease in fertility rates across much of the world has led to a decline in the tradition of large families, a demographic trend which had favorably supported vocations.

In the book "Goodbye, Good Men", [cite book|last=Rose |first=Michael S. |title=Goodbye, Good Men: How Liberals Brought Corruption into the Catholic Church |location=Washington, DC |publisher=Regnery Publishing |year=2002 |id=ISBN 0895261448] the author, Michael S. Rose, cites a number of reasons for the priest shortage. One of the more interesting reasons is that Catholic bishops have manufactured an artificial vocations "crisis" by rejecting candidates who do not embrace the bishops 1960s style "modern" theology. Seminary candidates who are interested in traditional elements of worship (i.e. Tridentine Mass, Gregorian Chant, etc.) or traditional theology (celibate, male, priesthood, sin, confession, etc.) are deemed to be anti-Vatican II and are summarily dismissed from consideration. The Catholic Church is notorious for not disclosing accurate statistics about itself. One statistic that is never reported is the number of men who apply to become seminarians but are rejected for traditionalist tendencies.

Another book which discusses this topic is "Are today's seminaries Catholic? The unholy subversion of priestly formation", [cite book|title=Are today's seminaries Catholic? The unholy subversion of priestly formation |last=Dupuis |first=Michael |coauthors=Keith Roscoe; John Thomson |location=Dickinson, Tex. |publisher=Angelus Press
] published in 1990, which was the first book to postulate that for Catholic bishops to destroy the Catholic Church, they would have to begin by destroying and eliminating the Catholic priesthood starting with orthodox seminarians.


The priest shortage leads to a sacramental and pastoral deficiency for the faithful of a certain area. The distances, which must be covered for a visit to a mass, baptism, etc. become ever longer, since the reduced number of priests understandably leads to a reduced amount of services. On the other hand this means for the priests, that the distances become greater, and they thus have less time for the individual churchgoer, since they must care for a greater amount of them.

In the United States and many other western countries, the number of Roman Catholic priests in the past two decades has substantially declined. As a result, many parishes have had to share a priest and staff with one or more other parishes, or have had to close. In many parishes, some of the duties performed by priests are instead performed by other personnel, such as Deacons and members of the laity. [ [ epd: Katholische Kirche setzt Strukturreform fort ] ]

Further literature

* Dean R. Hoge: "The First Five Years of the Priesthood: A Study of Newly Ordained Catholic Priests". Liturgical Press, Collegeville, Minnesota 2002. Page 3.
* A. W. Richard Sipe: "Celibacy in Crisis: A Secret World Revisited". Brunner-Routledge, New York and Hove 2003. Page 136.


External links

* [ NZZ:69.000 catholic priests married, April 20, 2007 (german)]
* [ Leo Auf der Maur: Priest shortage in Switzerland – Viri probati und "Priestermangel": ein zukunfsweisendes Denkmodel, August 30, 2005 (german)]
* [ Die Tagespost: Einbruch bei Priesterzahlen, April 3, 2004 (german)]

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