religious vocations

Conservatives

Conservatism’s Inevitable Conversion to Catholicism

If Catholicism, in the end, managed to elude the political hatred it engenders, I have almost no doubt that this same spirit of the age which seems so opposed to it would become supportive and that it would suddenly achieve extensive conquests. —Alexis de Tocqueville Almost two centuries ago, Alexis de Tocqueville predicted that Americans [...]

There Is No Vocation to the ‘Single Life’

The word “vocation” has been diluted.  Before the sixteenth century, “vocation” had an exclusively sacramental sense.  But, as Max Weber points out in The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, the Lutheran and Calvinist dissolution of monastic and priestly orders gave rise to its modern sense of “occupation” or “profession.” What is the difference [...]

Black Power!

I know what you’re thinking. It’s not that at all. Black Power is, of course, priests in their cassocks. Can there be any greater power than that? They present the great drama of the Holy Gospel. A priest merely in a black suit is prosaic; in the cassock, he is poetry. Perhaps this is why [...]

What Priests Do

One of Rod Dreher’s longtime commenters recently offered this assessment of Catholic priests: When I was a little kid, I played with the kids in the prolific Catholic family across the alley until I was around 7. And then for some reason, we did not play together any more. It was not like we had [...]

“Oh, No! You Want to be a Nun?”

I am in the unusual position—for this century, anyway—of being the mother of a young woman who has seen four of her friends enter a convent in the past two years. Three of those women are postulants in cloistered Carmelite convents. Elizabeth has celebrated more wedding showers for brides of Christ than for brides of [...]

The Last of the Junior Seminarians

When one thinks of boarding schools, it’s easy to default to stereotype: a bunch of rich kids riding horses or playing lacrosse as they prepare for an Ivy League college and life as a senator or corporate executive. My experience a few decades ago (okay, a little over three) was vastly different, yet one I [...]

This Religious Order Knows How to Grow Vocations

Some years ago our pastor retired and our parish was given over to the care of the Vocationist Fathers, also known as the Society of Divine Vocations. I’d thought I’d heard of most major (and minor) religious societies, congregations and orders, but this was a new one—to me at least. Turns out that the Society [...]

More Ways to End the Vocations Crisis

My recent article on the self-inflicted crisis of vocations to the Catholic priesthood engendered a lot of discussion, from which I conclude that my suspicion is correct. Many Catholics are content with strategies of suicide, because they do not really want the Church to prevail in her war against a world deranged. Since in our [...]

How to Kill Vocations in Your Diocese

Cardinal Raymond Burke has recently laid some of the blame for the precipitous decline in priestly vocations upon the feminization of the liturgy. His assertion prompts two questions.

The Family, A Seedbed of Vocations

The Catholic Church in the United States is enduring a protracted vocation crisis. Numbers of priests dwindle even as the Catholic population increases. Many clergy as well as lay apostolates such as the SERRA Club and parish vocations committees have done much to stem the tide in an effort to encourage young men to discern [...]

Sacrificing Religious Life: A Reply to Critics

In my December 31, 2013 Crisis article, Sacrificing Religious Life on the Altar of Egalitarianism, I argued that the decimation of American religious orders is partly self-inflicted.  Vocations directors, counselors, and authors make two mistakes: 1) they treat life in the world and the religious life as if they were equally effective means to growth [...]

Sacrificing Religious Life on the Altar of Egalitarianism

Young Catholics are spurning religious life.  According to the Official Catholic Directory, there were only 1,853 seminarians studying for American religious orders in 2011.  That’s less than half the number of religious seminarians that were studying in 1980 (4,674), and less than one tenth the number that were studying in 1965 (22,230), according to Kenneth [...]

The Priesthood and the Choice

I heard an excellent homily last week, delivered by a young priest who spoke with passion and energy. It was clearly his own take on how the Gospel reading for this daily Mass spoke to him. He crafted it to offer lessons to us. It was beautiful, but that wasn’t what struck me. What moved [...]

Catholic Fears of the Dreaded Religious Calling

The other day I walked into our bathroom to encounter a small stack of towels, folded on the floor—the same stack my wife had earlier asked our eighth grade son to put away. She hadn’t told him to put the towels on the shelf rather than the floor. Hence the stack on the floor. This [...]

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