A reader sent me this trenchant analysis by Fr. Dwight Longenecker of the collapse of cultural Catholicism, which provides the context for the so-called “vocation crisis” we see in many parts of the world.
After all, when young people are presented an uninspiring version of “American Catholicism” rather than the real deal, it’s an uphill battle to keep them Catholic, let alone willing to dedicate their lives as a priest or religious.
Yet the problem also suggests the solution when it comes to vocations.
Now, of course we need “vocation awareness” programs and resources for those on the threshold of making life decisions. Fr. Longenecker’s piece, however, reminds us that we also need to back up the bus a little further.
Specifically, if we can do a better job of transmitting the faith in our parishes, schools, and above all in our families, then more young people will make the faith their own in adulthood. We all need to be laborers in the vineyard, even if we’re not around for the harvest (see Matthew 20:1-7; John 4:37-38; 1 Corinthians 3:6-9).
And many of these convinced, young adult Catholics will generously respond to vocations to the priesthood and religious life–including the many men and women featured on this blog!
It’s all about laying the foundation, as the Catechism teaches in its challenging presentation on the duty of parents to provide for the Catholic formation and education of their children:
“A wholesome family life can foster interior dispositions that are a genuine preparation for a living faith and remain a support for it throughout one’s life” (no. 2225).