Few priests and many parishes are making Catholics pretty scared. Where is it all heading? Will my parish survive, and if it does, what will it be like?
The other day a parishioner said to me: “I thought the Eucharist was the source and summit of the faith, why does the church seem so unalarmed by the shortage of priests. Aren’t these desperate times deserving of some kind of emergency brainstorming and strategy?” I pointed out that many of us are concerned, very concerned, but there just didn’t seem to be any solution on the horizon. The response to this statement was one of charitable chastisement. “If Rome really cared they’d be doing something about it – they just want the status quo in terms of ordained clergy. Emergency meetings should be taking place all across the country to deal with this situation on a temporary and long term basis. Sitting around hoping and praying that things are going to get better is equivalent to hiding one’s head in the sand as our parishes slowly melt away and our clergy age and die. I’m scandalized!!!! As far as I am concerned there are things that could be done, but Rome isn’t interested in any change.”
At this point in the conversation I thought it would be best to have a few moments of quiet silence – then we changed the subject.
It is so easy to get into the blaming game and I always try to avoid it, as it is very seldom productive. I must admit, however, that most church attending Catholics are very very concerned, but they just don’t know what to do. Maybe it is time for some serious emergency meetings. Desperate times are usually a sign that it is time for desperate measures and strategies. The problem is will anyone call the meetings – and who should call them?
As I was discussing this issue with another person, I was referred to this article in the Australian Paper Catholica: A Plaintiff Cry From the Emptying Pews It definitely describes the concern, but to my mind does not really deal with the priest shortage and the eventual unavailability of Eucharist and the other sacraments, and the closing of parishes. It is more about the people of God taking their rightful place in the Christian community. If any one has other ideas etc. please post in the comments. I would definitely be interested, as would many others.