Thursday, July 9, 2009

Is Ireland Losing Vocations?

There has been some coverage recently in the Catholic media in Ireland and Britain about the transferring of some candidates for priesthood (seminarians) and priests to a 'conservative' French (religious) community. The community in question appears to be the Missionaries of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Toulon.

It has been reported that many of the Irish bishops are concerned about this and that there is a broad agreement among the hirearchy in Ireland that Irishmen interested in the priesthood should be encouraged to join Irish based dioceses and congregations. It is estimated that 'a few dozen' Irishmen have joined congregations outside the Irish church in recent years.

While I agree that, as far as possible, men from Ireland should be encouraged to join Irish dioceses and religious orders in Ireland I am left with some questions. What is it that the dioseses, seminaries and religious orders and congregations are not offering to these men who undoubtedly have vocations? Is is tradition, authenticity, identity - or the lack thereof? And who can blame men (young and old) who seek to follow the Lord elsewhere when there is a distinct lack of interest in promoting vocations to priesthood and religious life in Ireland?
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