Thursday, February 14, 2013

The Vocation Overseas Pipeline

In a December blog it was noted that there has been a slow-down in the number of ordinations in Poland. That, in turn, affects the recruitment of Polish priests and seminarians by US dioceses’ (including Chicago) to bolster their own dwindling and graying clergy.

So from where do dioceses import their priests now? Africa, and more specifically, Nigeria. At least that’s Chicago’s experience. Spokesman Fr. Jerry Boland said there were currently 160 international priests (ordained overseas) working in Chicago.  The largest single group is from Nigeria. This is not counting international religious-order priests or foreign-born seminarians studying to be ordained for Chicago.

Reports say the 24% of US major seminarians are foreign-born. Bishops counter complaints of some priests and laity about the newcomer’s language and cultural difficulties, by pointing to the gift of their valid and licit sacramental work. Other critics see the US Church wielding economic enticements to deprive other countries of their native vocations where the priest/parishioner ratio is often more desperate than in the United States.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Another Blow to Ecumenism?

The Vatican's had some  "success" with a special ordinate for disaffected Anglicans. Anglican bishops and priests were encouraged to "swim the Tiber" with their wives and congregations to become this special brand of Catholics and married Catholic priests. Now Rueters reports Roman ambitions to coax some Lutherans to defect to Rome.

Lutherans bristle at suggestion of joining Catholic Church

Tue, Jan 22 2013
By Tom Heneghan, Religion Editor

PARIS (Reuters) - Two leading Lutheran clerics have rejected suggestions from the Vatican that it could create a subdivision for converted Lutherans similar to its structures for Anglicans who join the Roman Catholic Church.

The dispute, concerning tiny numbers of believers but major issues in ecumenical relations, comes as the churches mark the annual Week of Prayer for Christian Unity this week.

Rev Martin Junge, the Chilean-born secretary general of the World Lutheran Federation (WLF), said in a statement that the suggestion caused great concern and would "send wrong signals to LWF member churches around the world."

Bishop Friedrich Weber, the German Lutheran liaison with the Catholic Church, said the idea was unthinkable and amounted to "an unecumenical incitement to switch sides."

The Vatican announced special structures for disaffected Anglicans in 2009, creating a so-called ordinariate so conservatives opposed to female and homosexual bishops could become Catholic while retaining some of their traditions.

Several thousand Anglicans, including dozens of priests and a few bishops, have joined ordinariates established in England, Australia and Canada. Married clergy are exempted from the obligatory celibacy of the Catholic priesthood.

Relations among Christian churches have improved greatly since the 1962-1965 Second Vatican Council and most now see each other more as partners than as competitors. A Catholic bishop attended an ecumenical service Weber celebrated last Sunday.

But this Vatican welcome has raised suspicions among some Protestants that the huge Catholic Church, which makes up half the world's 2.2 billion Christians, now wants to woo away believers from smaller churches torn by internal debate.