I was delighted to hear on the Radio 4 news today that the catholic church is launching a recruitment drive, in the face of falling numbers wishing to enter the priesthood.
The reason being given; the breakdown in “family values”. This in the same week that the Vatican issued a press statement, saying the Pope will not be meeting with representatives of the 11,000 victims of clerical sexual abuse, on his trip to the United States, because they are a “Media exaggeration”.
I would like to think the general awareness of how these abuse cases were consistently made worse by a decades long policy of covering up the problem has played a role in the low new priest numbers. But I do concede that it is likely as much to do with the rise in a pop culture which supplants the hero warrior gods of ancient folklore, with reality TV presenters and their birthing habits, which is to blame.
Perhaps the church would be better off focusing their efforts on helping and encouraging individuals within the organisation, who have been struggling for most of their lives to bring the church up to date, to no avail. The moderate voice of compassionate christianity has being almost completely ignored by the current Pope, dating back to his days as Karol Wojtyla’s right hand man, who’s hatred of liberation theology broke down somewhat when it suited his attitude towards Poland.
Perhaps if it were no longer a greater sin for a married couple to use a condom, than it is for a rape victim to have an early term chemical abortion, rationally minded people might see a role for themselves working in the community on the problems of teenage pregnancy, youth violence and knife culture. I’m sure secular free thinkers and catholics alike can agree we need to work together on all of these problems with a single purpose, dedicated towards personal responsibility of the individual, and away from a system which teaches subservience to the will of an external, supernatural force.