Tuesday, July 5, 2016
Birth control and the priest shortage
At Mass today the priest preached about and prayed about the lack of vocations to the priesthood. He noted that he had suggested the priesthood to many likely young candidates, but they always said no. He reported that one of the main reasons they said they would not pursue the priesthood was because they were the only sons - sometimes the only children - in their families, and they felt an obligation to carry on the family line and have grandchildren.
He went on to another major reason they give - the loneliness, which he dispelled - but I was thinking about the first reason he gave.
So many Catholic families have just one or two children, just like the rest of the culture. There might be medical reasons, certainly. but I suspect the main reasons are delaying marriage and delaying having children, and using birth control. In this they would be like the rest of society in having smaller families.
In earlier times when families were larger and had several sons, it was easier for one to heed the call to the priesthood. But no more.
There are other negative consequences of birth control - increased sickness in women (including cancer), less respect for women, the undermining of marriage, and fewer workers and producers and consumers.
But for the Catholic Church, it is one of the factors that has led to fewer priests.
Pax et bonum