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 — February 11, 200811 février 2008
 

by Jonathan Luxmoore

[Warsaw • ENI] The bishop in charge of recruitment for Poland’s Roman Catholic clergy says he does not believe recent scandals are to blame for a sharp fall in vocations, after the church noted a 24 percent reduction in admissions to the country’s 84 Catholic seminaries.

“Decisions about vocations aren’t taken under the influence of short-term events,” said Bishop Wojciech Polak, who heads the church’s National Council for Vocations Ministry. “Today’s culture discourages firm life-long commitments. But we’re not yet seeing any radical, drastic drain in priestly callings, or feeling any tangible shortage of clergy.”

The church statement announcing the fall in seminary admissions also reported that the total number of seminaries in Poland had fallen by one tenth.

In an interview with Ecumenical News International on 31 January, Bishop Polak said the church would be unable to draw “competent conclusions” until longer-term trends became clear. He said, however, there was no evidence to support some media claims that the fall in seminarians reflected negative publicity about the alleged infiltration of the church by the former communist secret police, or about the alleged nationalism of the Catholic broadcaster, Radio Maryja.

“Poland is affected by Europe-wide demographic changes, and the number of potential priesthood candidates is falling anyway,” said Polak, who also chairs the European vocations service of the Council of European (Catholic) Bishops’ Conferences (CCEE).

“We should get used to having less impressive numbers than in the past,” the bishop added. “But our bishops’ conference is working hard to improve its pastoral outreach to young people and find new ways of fostering interest in the priesthood and consecrated life.”

Catholic vocations doubled in Poland after the 1978 election of Polish-born Pope John Paul II, peaking in the mid-1980s. Polish vocations are said to currently account for about a fifth of the European total, and 7 percent at the world level.

In its statement, the church said total seminary numbers dropped from 4612 in 2006 to 4257 in 2007, while 786 students started studies in October, compared to 1029 the previous year. The church also said that admissions had dropped to both male and female religious orders.

Posted: February 11, 2008 • Permanent link: ecu.net/?p=424
Categories: ENIIn this article: Catholic
Transmis : 11 février 2008 • Lien permanente : ecu.net/?p=424
Catégorie : ENIDans cet article : Catholic


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