To the tune of the Army commercial "Be All That You Can Be":
BE, ALL THAT YOU CAN BE, IN THE SEMINARY!
The Catholic Church in America is facing a shortage of priests. Today's New York Times featured this article (subscription required) about the steep decline in men entering the priesthood. Half a century ago, at St. Joseph's Seminary in Yonkers, a city just north of the Bronx, "several hundred men at a time studied to be ordained as priests for the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York," whereas now, "only 22 are enrolled."
The article quotes a Rev. Luke Sweeney, director of vocations for the Archdiocese of New York, who asks rhetorically, “How do we get the ‘cool’ factor back into the priesthood?”
One of the ways the Diocese is trying to market the priesthood is through its recruitment web site, nypriest.com. Out of curiosity, I decided to give the site a quick perusal.
I started my inquiry by checking out the section appropriately titled "For Starters". From thence I clicked on the link for "What Is the Priesthood?" Well, maybe I am a little biased as an atheist, but I hardly think a picture of a bunch of guys doing this is the right way to stir up interest in a vocation as a priest.
Before one can seriously contemplate a career as a Roman Catholic priest, that person, excuse me, I meant that man, as women are not allowed to become priests, must ask himself, "Am I called?" The web site gives us a list of signs that indicate a man is ready to embark on a priestly calling.
One former high school teacher quoted in the New York Times article says, "You can stick your head in the sand, or you can do something to change it. What more heroic life is there than to touch these eternal mysteries?" Oh, I don't know, maybe a job as a New York City fireman, or a doctor with Doctors Without Borders?