Page 10, 18th June 1965

18th June 1965
Page 10
Page 10, 18th June 1965 — Vocations crisis

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People: Hooft, Mgr, Bruce Kent
Locations: Geneva


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Vocations crisis

the priesthood and the religious communities."

He also warned against thinking that English Catholic parishes were immune against this danger: "Nor must we think that only Protestant churches are derelictacross the channel in areas where there are no Protestants there are empty Catholic churches. "The reason is lack of faith and lack of priests. The two things go together. "To keep pace with the rising population new Catholic churches are being built throughout the country", he said. "They are signs of life, growth and spiritual prosperity. But they will be of little use without priests to serve them."

The Cardinal's pastoral, was addressed primarily to young people who, he said. if "old enough to understand what is being read out, are old enough to think about becoming a priest.

But he warned that they would not become priests "just by wishing it", and said that the Church wanted only "enthusiastic boys with the health and ability" to go through the long seminary course. Commenting on the priesthood of the laity he said that it was no substitute for the priesthood o f the clergy.

The Cardinal's private secretary, Mgr. Bruce Kent, was reported in the Sunday Express as saying "The position is certainly serious. Between 1950 and 1965. for instance. Catholic baptisms per year rose `from 92,000 to 136,000.

"Yet in the same period the total number of priests has risen only from 6,500 to 7.800 and there are now an estimated six to seven million Catholics."

This means a proportion of about 770 Catholics for every priest in the country and in Westminster Archdiocese a slightly higher proportion of around 880 to one.


Mgr. Kent continued : "It is impossible to say exactly how underestablished we are as there is no obsolute norm. But the shortage is of course causing gaps. In this dioqese alone we are unable to fill or create new chaplaincies in different spheres as we would like.

"The Pope has urged that we should send priests to underdeveloped countries but in this diocese we are almost unable to do this.

"We have 900 priests and there are always likely to be retirements, deaths, and so on. Yet we have only three students who will be ordained in two years' time.

"The trouble is there are so many distractions for young people today. Life is much easier and to enter the priesthood means a life of discipline", he concluded. A spokesman for Liverpool Archdiocese was quoted as saying: "Over the next seven years or so. 10 priests will be ordained here each year while we will need more like 15 a year to meet our requirements.

"In 10 years we might be something like 100 priests short of our needs. This is a drastic prospect."

Anglicans lend hall for Mass

Anglicans at Little Thornton, Lanes., have lent the hall of St. John's School to be used for Mass on Sundays by local Catholics. Fr. P. Eccles announced the loan from the pulpit of the Sacred Heart Church, Thornton, a week before the first Mass was celebrated last Suondn thay.

e Friday this advertisement appeared in the local paper: "Holy Mass will be celebrated in St. John's Sunday School, Little Thornton, for the benefit of the Roman Catholic community, thanks to the Vicar and Churchwardens of St. John's Anglican Parish Church."

The Rev. A. H. A. Cattanach, vicar of St. John's, said: "I just regard it as giving them a helping hand. They approached me and I had to consult the Bishop. He was quite agreeable. They will be holding one service a day and it doesn't inconvenience us at all."

Experts Study `Geneva Plan'

WAYS of removing tension between Churches, suggested at the historic first meeting in Geneva of the Vatican and World Council of Churches joint "working group" are now under study by experts.

And once the studies are finished the correct stage will be set for further talks, said Dr. W. A. Visser 't Hooft, general secretary of the WCC this week.

He also said that other recommendations dealing with common theological study and "important things" in the fields of missions and social action were under con sideration by WCC and Vatican specialists, and that a joint consultation was planned in connection with the work of the laity.

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