The article far below warns of a projected decline in the number of Catholic priests in the Cleveland, Ohio diocese over the next 30 years. There are currently 264 active priests in the diocese but a recent study suggests the number will be around 145 by 2045. Of course, the shrinking number of priests isn’t peculiar to Cleveland but is the case throughout the United States.
I would suggest three of the biggest reasons for the decline of priestly vocations within Catholicism might be:
- A growing indifference to official church teaching and requirements. Only 24% of Catholics attend mandatory weekly mass and only 12% participate in mandatory yearly confession. 40% of Catholics do not believe the consecrated bread wafer and wine are the literal body and blood of Jesus Christ.
- Mandatory celibacy is viewed as too great a sacrifice by young, red-blooded Catholic men.
- The pedophile scandal and subsequent cover-up by the hierarchy cast a dark pall over the priesthood in the minds of many Catholics.
Catholicism relies heavily on its priests. The church teaches salvation is dependent on a mixture of sacramental grace and merit. Its sacraments – baptism, confirmation, the eucharist, confession, marriage, ordination, and last rites – are all administered and jealously controlled by the church’s bishops and priests. Catholicism without priests is like Los Angeles without gas stations.
But the Bible teaches the priestly sacerdotal system was done away with by the final High Priest, Jesus Christ, Who offered Himself once and for all time as the sacrifice for sin. He now sits at the right hand of the Father acting as the sole Mediator for all who accept Him as Savior. You won’t find Him on Catholic altars as a broken victim or locked away in tabernacle boxes as a flat, round piece of bread.
Accept Jesus Christ as your Savior. He’s the only Priest you’ll ever need!
“Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, and since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool. For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.” – Hebrews 10:11-14
The Scandal of the Catholic Priesthood – John MacArthur
With priest shortage growing, Northeast Ohio Catholics can expect fewer Masses, other changes