Aparecida 100e: Vocations

Let’s separate this fifth concern for its own post:

e) The insufficient number of priests and their inequitable distribution mean that many communities cannot participate regularly in the celebration of the Eucharist. Recalling that the Eucharist makes the church, we are concerned at the situation of thousands of these communities deprived of the Sunday Eucharist for long periods of time. Compounding the situation is the relative scarcity of vocations to the ministry and to the consecrated life.

For the way the Church has been structured, this has always been a concern in mission lands. It’s a myth that we’ve always had enough clergy here in the US. Especially when I served in rural Iowa, I heard stories from the elders of hosting Mass in homes in the early decades of the twentieth century. Lots of priests in full churches: that happened in cities. Large Latin American cities have priests in numbers, no doubt, in many instances.

Members of the clergy lack a missionary spirit, even during their formation. Many Catholics live and die without the assistance of the Church to which they belong by baptism.

Lacking a missionary spirit? I wouldn’t tag clergy as exclusively guilty. Here in the North, we struggle with our sense of Catholic entitlement. And among the new conservatives, there seems to be too much willingness to consign non-churchgoers to the outer darkness.

Stewardship is one problem:

Impediments are encountered in taking on economic support for pastoral structures. Solidarity in the spirit of good Stewardship is lacking in the sharing of resources within the local churches and between them.

As is the lack of service in some key ministries:

In many of our churches prison ministry is not adequately covered, nor is ministry to youthful offenders or at-risk youth. Pastoral accompaniment of migrants and itinerants is insufficient.

And lone rangers:

Some ecclesial movements do not properly integrate into parish and diocesan ministry;

And distrust of “outsiders” too:

by the same token, some church structures are not sufficiently open to welcome them.

For deeper examination, an English translation of the 2007 document from the Aparecida Conference.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
This entry was posted in 2007 Aparecida document, bishops, evangelization and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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