Why the Lack of Vocations Today?


We all know about the lack of vocations in the United States today. There just are not enough priests being ordained, except in Third World countries, where the candidates abound to such extent that there is not buildings big enough for all of them. The end result is the closure of churches across the United States and Europe.

Is the solution to allow a married clergy? The Protestants allow married ministers, but their vocations are also on the decline. As far as the sexual scandal in the church, pedophilia preceded the vocation crisis. It is a bad thing but a small percentage of the problem. One needs to look at the problems during the time of St. Peter Damien in the 11th century and his efforts to reform the sexual abuse practices of the clergy.

Throughout the ages, there seem to have been plenty of vocations. Monasteries were built in the early history of the church with many religious. Families existed with a loving faith in God, and those that had many children made possible the vocations to the priesthood and religious life. Today, in Europe and even in the United States, families have been hurt, just as religious vocations have fallen. The population of Europe is decreasing, with barely one child born per family. The government is even offering monetary incentives to couples to have more children, fearing the increasing influx of Moslems.

Is there a connection in the crisis between religious vocations and vocations of marriage? Pope Benedict XVI declared that in order to have a dedicated and growing priesthood, there has to be a faithful family life with dedicated marriages, instead of divorce. Some think that the crisis is due to theologians stressing that marriage is equal in status to the vocation of religious life. Jesus always said that the celibate had a special place “for the sake of the kingdom”. Yet, both vocations require holiness. 

Without the dedication of married life, there can not be a serious attempt to look at a growth in religious vocations. A holy family life inculcates a devout priesthood and vice versa. The reasons for the crisis in both vocations is they are connected. Instead of partners married in faith in the Church, they live together in a trial arrangement. If it does not work out, they feel they can escape. It is proven that this situation is disastrous to what the marriage covenant is all about. Many couples also go into marriage and if it does not work out, then perhaps they feel they can divorce.

Why is this so prevalent in the western world? There are plenty of material things that exist on a scale that no other time in history has had. Not only materialism, but relativism is evident more than any other period of time. The last and present popes are trying to urge the people to realize that egotism or self-centeredness will not work in marriage.
Non-commitment, materialism, relativism or “picking and choosing” will not give us vocations either. The pope says that when the vocation of religious life falls, the vocation of married life is in danger too. It takes good self-sacrificing families to produce good priests. The story of most of the saints is that of a Christian mother and father abiding by the teachings of the church and showing their good example to children that is effective most of the time by study, prayer, teaching religion, abiding by the Gospel, and so forth.

On the other hand, the wealth of the Third World nations is not there. Vocations in these countries are blooming. There definitely must be a relationship between excess wealth and lack of it that depends upon vocations to thrive. A family can not be raised if there is a longing for too many material things in the world and a lack of trust in God that there will be enough to go around. This has nothing to do with having a job. Many believe that God will not supply their basic needs if they have large families. And to accomplish this, many will not abide by living in chastity, disregarding the teachings of the church on birth control and contraceptives. Contraception, abortion, and the disregard for the sanctity of life are all factors that make one unhappy.

Sadly, the schools and universities have those who teach contrary to the magisterium of the Church. All teachings are meant to bring one happiness pertaining to birth control, contraception, sanctity of life, the belief in the Immaculate Conception, the belief in papal infallibility, and the belief in a male priesthood. Cooperation between parents and teachers in schools has to exist in the light of what the church teaches to be true. Good example in the home, as well as the school, has to go hand in hand.

The blame has been placed on the Council of Vatican II in the early 1960s. Who started this council? It was Blessed John XXIII, and it was continued by Pope Paul VI, who many people regarded as being mistaken when he came out with Humane Vitae (On Human Life) , talking about the sanctity of life in all stages and the holiness of marriage without the use of contraceptives, and the further evil of abortion. The Church has not changed with the popes after him. John Paul II was gifted in his phenomenological explanation of The Theology of the Body to better explain man’s sexuality, by his series of talks over several years. He tells us that the body is made in “the image and likeness” of God and that we are to mirror in our thoughts, words, and actions what God in his creation of man and the world intended.

This means that anything contrary to the Bible, the Gospel, Tradition, teachings of the Church, and the Ten Commandments is missing the mark and brings about division. If one party feels they will not give in to the other and always wants his or her own way, then the marital relationship will be in jeopardy. If one feels that he or she can disobey the laws of God and the Church, then the vocation of the priesthood is in jeopardy.

This is not to minimize other important reasons why two people are not meant to be together or that a person should not have been permitted to be a priest in the first place. Many theologians spoke against Humane Vitae. Many priests and nuns left the church. Confusion set in. Untrue things were said about the Church, that was absolutely not part of what the pope said in his teachings. People, without spending time and studying the truth, listened to much of this erroneous slander. And the result was a misunderstanding on the part of some that was intentional and by others that was not purposely done. People are so often led astray by false intelligence.

One need not go any further than the lives of the Fathers of the Church and the saints whose lives prove that the Church was right. They show us that harmony exists where obedience is present. With obedience comes understanding. With understanding comes love. With love comes faith. Otherwise, what is happening today without commitment, sacrifice, and regulations of the appetite, will continue to bring the fruits of ruin to the culture of Europe and our own here in America. 


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  1. Jason-933647 August 30, 2013 Reply

    I don’t understand how some of you can interpret the Church’s doctrine to not ordain women as a way of being sexist, and oppressive. Have we forgotten our Queen of Heaven? Have we forgotten the roll Mary played in the creation of our church? Women have an equally important calling in this life that helps prepare ourselves for the next! It seems to me that some women have been mistreated by men in their lives and see this as another infraction against their woman-hood.

  2. Helene-345424 October 4, 2012 Reply


  3. Michael-475785 October 21, 2009 Reply

    I believe that allowing women to serve as priests is not the answer to the decline in numbers of men going into the priesthood. Matter of fact I think that if women were allowed to serve in the priesthood that the numbers of men that would like to serve as a priest would more than likely drop even further. I'm not trying to be mean or sexest here just trying to speak the truth. The Catholic church would never allow women to serve as a priest because everone does indeed have their own significant role to play in the Catholic church. I believe that the Pope would never allow thankfully a philosophy of women ordained priests. Look at the turmoil as discussed below on what is going on in the protestant church with married priests and female priests. I just believe that everyone has there place with in the Catholic church. I also believe that Mike hit the spot with the theory of more and more "broken" families and divorce really does lead to a decline in moral value, which in turn leads to a decline in the priesthood. Families are breaking apart in large numbers, I saw a program on T.V. a few years ago about a divorce rate and it was up and over 52%, which is not a very possitive number. How are we as a society expected to raise a good moral and ethical foundation when the divorce rate is as high as it is. My mother said all the time that we are living in a "throw away" soiciety and it is getting worse. With this "throw away" society only comes more and more division between the chuches teachings (what were supposed to do to be like Christ), and our societies teachings. It seems to me that in this society of taking the ten commandments down from our courthouse entranceways and the like and disrespecting the Catholic church, which "hollywood" does such a nice job of, I just feel we as a society are setting ourselves up for a huge fall, coupled with the divorce rate does not spell a positive direction were going in. For the most part I agree with what Mike was talking about and I do hope and pray that the vocations in our country have an increase in numbers in the future. Thank you for reading. Mike.

  4. Bashkim-146330 October 15, 2009 Reply

    I totally agree with you Mike. I come from a country which for decades the people had no building to have a mass. But that didn't stop them attending a mass every Sunday. It was in 2000 that my village got the church up. Before than the people of my village use to sit in a stone during the all mass. People often would walk more than one hour to go to a mass. Where as I have a church next to my house and I dont attend every Sunday. I think materialism is driving people away from everything these days.

  5. Keith-340861 June 10, 2008 Reply

    Please let me explain something. There is a lot of confusion about the idea of female clergy. I was in the religious life for many years, so I've discussed this with priests who have had sound theological training. The Church teaches, and has always taught, that it is impossible for women to be ordained. It is a misconception that women had been ordained deacons in the past. They were sometimes called deaconesses, but they were not ordained. Ordination is only for men. I'm not being sexist here. This is the truth, and I just wanted to make sure that people understand that the idea of female clergy is not only unnecessary and confusing, but that it is absolutely impossible to ordain women to the priesthood or even diaconate; just as it is impossible for two men or two women to "marry" one another, or for someone to be "baptised" with vodka. It is no more possible to ordain a woman than it is to change a Sun Chip into the Body of Christ.

  6. Author
    Mike-59303 April 26, 2008 Reply

    Jesus Christ was a man and he chose his Twelve Apostles who were men. He alone picked them. Christ could have picked some women but he did not. The Hebrews attributed much to numbers in the Bible. Twelve (12 Tribes of Israel and 12 Apostles) is a sign of completion. Seven is a symbol of perfection.
    Jesus came to fulfill the Old Testament. And he too shows that numbers are important biblically.
    Could the Church change and choose women for priests? It could but it follows Christ's example. Deacons in the Early Church were men and women. Now deacons have the privilege of being married today but they can not marry again.
    Given the history of the Church and the precedent set by Jesus Christ, it is highly unlikely that the Church will change. Look at what turmoil is happening in Protestant churches with women priests and married priests.
    Christ did nnt mean that men were better than women when he chose the Twelve as his chief priests. Men and women have particular roles in the Kingdom of Heaven.

    • Nancy-926029 December 27, 2012 Reply

      Yes but in the kingdom of heaven that I am going to it will not be like it is here, we will all be equal or I will not be there, and will never be a stepping stone for any man ever again! We are worth more then man can imagine to God he knows how much woman suffer in this world and because of lack of love and concern from man! For every fallen woman there are 100 fallen men! Your from the old school and no one knows if Mary taught and all the other woman Jesus and his disciples took with them on their journeys You are under the assumption woman were not chosen by Jesus, who lied to you??

      • Victor-544727 December 27, 2012 Reply

        There is no “old school” or “new school” in the Catholic faith, only the Old Testament and New Testament. “Old school” and “new school” are Protestant terms, as are those who believe that the Church is called to conform to the standards of the secular world rather than the other way around, as it is supposed to be.

  7. Daniel-316587 April 25, 2008 Reply

    Jarrod's thinking interested me…
    Marriage and priesthood are both devotions. Getting married in a Catholic Church is a very serious commitment, as is taking a vow of poverty, humility, and other virtues. All of which is, in one way or the other, is involved in every sacrement…
    It's my conviction that, if we lead our lives as Our Lord did His, we will be aok. But temtations are everywhere! St Faustina was clear on what to do: modesty of the eyes, the spirit of prayer, & a sincere devotion to our Blessed Mother. And trust in our Lord's Divine Mercy which awaits all hurting souls.

  8. William-309295 April 23, 2008 Reply

    let it be the people will come around. a woman in the litergy..maybe as a reader but…if something has worked for thousands of years why do we always try and change it. ….'let it be"

    • Nancy-926029 December 27, 2012 Reply

      Woman are better preachers and teachers then men at least they are not abusing children!

      • Victor-544727 December 29, 2012 Reply

        I guess we should feel fortunate then, because you won’t find preachers in the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church has Priests and Deacons. Preachers are just laypeople who are not ordained, cannot administer any Sacrament or blessings in God’s name despite their belief that they do, nor do they address their congregations in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament.

  9. Jarrod-294811 April 23, 2008 Reply

    How can so many Catholics be absolutely convinced that they are called to the married life as opposed to the priestly or religious life while vocations are on the decline? I am completely baffled by this.

  10. Nick-167406 April 22, 2008 Reply

    It was Jesus who said that only men could be priests. Why else did he choose 12 apostles as men?

    • Nancy-926029 December 27, 2012 Reply

      Did you ever hear Jesus say this???? Never mind why else??? You are under the same assumption that woman are not fit for the kingdom WRONG!

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