Putting a new face(book) on the vocation shortage

Posted by Dan Grippo
Wednesday 08, October 2008 | Category:   Vocation and Discernment,Clergy,Consecrated Life
Jesuit priest and anthropologist Richard Malloy, S.J., writing in a recent issue of the Jesuit magazine America, wonders why more young Catholics are not entering religious life. He argues that vocations are falling because Catholic faith and culture are not being passed on effectively in the internet age.
Young adults do not know many things that used to be common knowledge among Catholics, according to Malloy. Too easily we assume that young adult Catholics know who St. Francis or St. Ignatius was, Malloy says. “Today’s young adults know Harry and Hermione better than Jesus, Mary and Joseph. “
“In the 1950s and 1960s, older teens and young adults knew what the beatific vision was, and many yearned to see God face to face (1 Cor. 13.12); today all we have given them (or all they have paid attention to) is Facebook.com,” Malloy laments.
Malloy analyzes the vocation shortage from the perspective of an anthropologist. One’s culture, he says, is a set of relationships, a base upon which one makes life choices and commitments. Young adults today know few young religious sisters, brothers, or priests, he says. Recruiters are often decades older than discerners. “Why would a 30 year old want to join a community where the youngest members are 50 or 60?” he asks.
What do you think? As you consider religious life, are you concerned about a potential age and cultural gap between you and those already in religious life? Do you think the internet has helped or hurt to pass on Catholic culture and tradition? We’d like to hear from you!

Reprinted with permission from PrepareTheWord.com. ©TrueQuest Communications.


  1. Posted by: Sheila Beasley 9 year Time Ago

    When I was growing up I misunderstood what the church meant by a calling. I believe I had a calling, but I felt too humble about it and more or less was under the impression that God had to haved spoken with me. I think some people might have shared this misconception. I believe God probably did call me, in the sense that I've always felt drawn to this, and I am 53 now. Perhaps we could gain more sisters if we explained to young people a bit more to their level? I think I wasn't capable of abstract thinking and took it too literally.




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