Some comments made by Cardinal Burke lately in England have encouraged me to write this post.
Vocations are down to one of the lowest tides in Church history. In the long life of the Church, there have been high tides and low tides of vocations. The unseen enemies of God have thwarted vocations and stopped men from becoming priests in times of rebellion and persecution.
However, another thing has caused the lack of vocations, a cause I have never heard anyone address, which comes from a two-pronged problem-first, the weakness of faith among Catholic families, and secondly, the dysfunction of families. The problem is the family.
Now, many saints, such as St. Damien of Molokai, were not supported in their vocations by their families. Not all families were like that of Blesseds Zelie and Louis Martin, who helped their girls in the practice of virtue, and obviously encouraged their calls to the religious life.
Years ago, ten in fact, a friend of mine and I discovered some blocks to vocations in America, and not the usual ones of family disapproval, or consumerism, Here are some of the blocks which stop the acceptance of vocations:
- Masonry and other membership of secret societies in families, even in past generations.
- Occultic activity in families, even in the past, such as witchcraft and satanism.
- Dysfuntional parents who cannot take authority over the lives of their children.
- Family idoltary, frequently connected to Masonic involvement, where the family comes first, not God, not vocations.
- Character defects in children brought about by dysfunctional families, especially narcissim, materialism, egotism, and fears.
- The presence of grave sins, such as sexual abuse, including incest, in families.
- The lack of catechsis which clearly teaches that the religious life is a higher form of perfect life, ideas no longer taught by parents.
- The fear of engaging with other people, of communicating daily with others, born from gross individualism and character defects learned in families.
- Fear or even hatred of authority. coming from the culture and seen in families.
- Severe learning disabilities, which prevent the necessary study of theology and philosophy, a must for priests, especially in these hard times.
- The lack of noblesse oblige, which means that those who have been given much no longer see that they need to give back to society or the Church. Noblesse oblige is taught by parents.
- God not being the center of family life because of the lack of parental discipline. No daily family rosary, for example, because parents refuse to schedule this.
- The spoiling of children by parents who think they have to do and have everything
- Parents who believe that all Christian denominatons are the same and, therefore, do not value the priesthood.
- Catholics not marrying Catholics and, therefore, having no Catholic identity in the home.
All of these problems have been allowed by God in the past several generations, as people have free will. God even allows learning disabilities for the salvation of parents and the person who experiences these, in order to show His greater glory. Saints with learning disablities are known to us now, and God gave some infused knowledge. But, such a cross is not one for the religious or priestly life.
Until families become orthodox, whole, with attributes of holiness and which train children from little on to live a life of the virtues, we shall not have vocations.
All the seminarians I know personally at this time found their vocations in the TLM.
God is allowing a dearth of vocations to punish us all. Tribulation purifies the Church so that people turn to God and repent. The absence of priests is a great trial.