Can there still be vocations of younger or older souls to the service of God in a seminary, convent, friary or monastery, amidst the distress of the Catholic Church today? The answer can only be in the positive because the fact is that God is still calling souls to His service, and “A fact is stronger than the Lord Mayor.” On the other hand Superiors of seminaries or religious houses need to take into consideration two circumstances special to the situation of the Church today which should render them more careful than ever in accepting vocations beneath their roof. These are firstly the ever increasing immaturity of souls growing up in the modern world, and secondly, the ever growing unreliability of Church leaders.
To begin with, let us remind ourselves that the Catholic Church comes directly from Jesus Christ who will preserve it until the end of the world (Mt. XXVIII, 20), and into eternity. He has with the Father and the Holy Ghost all the power needed, and much more, to provide it with all means necessary for its survival. Now those means necessarily include a priesthood, bishops and priests and in some sort of hierarchy, to ensure those sacraments which are essential to the life of supernatural grace of the Church’s members. Therefore until world’s end Our Lord will always be giving enough vocations to men to guarantee that the Church has the men it needs as ministers. As for the women into whose nature it is built by God to be the “helpers” or “helpmates” of man (Gen.II, 18), they are not to be priests nor as necessary to the Church as priests, but by the gifts which God gives to them and not to men, they can render to the Church such precious services that it one cannot imagine the Church being without feminine vocations. For instance, where would the Church’s apostolate be without the prayers of Sisters, grandmothers, etc.?
However God is God, and His ways are inscrutable by men. See the end of Romans XI, and all of the Book of Job, Chapters XXXVII to XLI. He reaches far beyond our human minds, and in the fallibility of the last six Popes inclusive, He is already reaching well beyond what many Catholic minds can bear. They need to read Job. Nor is the Almighty finished yet by any means. Our Lady has told us that fire will fall from the sky, eliminating a large part of mankind, and if sins do not slow down there will be no more forgiveness for them, a prediction easier to understand ever since the Covid scam recently made so many of the very churchmen shut down their confessionals. Let us pray and work for Our Lord to send workers into His vineyard, but let us not try to tell Him how many He needs. Only He knows that.
Meanwhile we human beings must confess that, as said above, we throw at least two serious obstacles in the way of His calling souls to serve Him. Firstly, the immaturity of souls leading a modern life. If there is one thing that makes a boy or girl grow up so as to become capable of enduring the discipline of religious life or the hardships of married life, it is suffering, but is not the illusion everywhere today that suffering can be blamed on somebody else, may be avoided, and need not be endured? Nor are the characters of children formed when parents less and less know how to bring them up. Nor are they given much responsibility to bear, which could also mature them. City and suburban life hardly favour vocations.
But secondly the disorder in the Church also discourages vocations. For as long as the Church was, despite all human failings, a doctrinal and structural rock of ages, I could as a young person entrust my life to it and be sure that several layers of Superiors above me would function on a basis of objective truth and justice overall. But ever since Vatican II changed Church doctrine and the basis on which it operates, how can I still be sure of an objective and stable framework within which to lead the rest of my life? One great lesson of this Church crisis is that the Catholic Church can no more do without the Pope than a puppet can do without its puppeteer – it becomes a jumbled heap of strings and bits of coloured wood.
Of course God can and will supply for the good of His Church, but we can hardly expect vocations to come forward tomorrow just like they did the day before yesterday.