In a wide-ranging interview with the German magazine Die Zeit published on March 9, Pope Francis described the vocation crisis a problem the church must resolve.
In a report of the interview on the America magazine web site, the pope said he sympathizes with Catholics who come to Mass only to discover that there is no priest available to celebrate the Eucharist. “This weakens the church because a church without the Eucharist has no strength.”
The interviewer asked: “What about viri probati, those men of proven virtue, who are married but can be ordained deacons because of their exemplary Catholic moral conduct?”
The pope answered: “We need to consider if viri probati could be a possibility. If so, we would need to determine what duties they could undertake, for example, in remote communities.”
To the larger question about the shortage of priests the pope said the first response is prayer. After prayer he recommended working “with youth who are seeking orientation. And this is very difficult, the work with youth, but it must be done because they ask for this: the youth are the great discarded ones in modern society, because they have no work in many countries.”
“For vocations, there is also another problem,” he said, “the problem of the birthrate. If there are no young men there can be no priests.”
For the America magazine (March 8, 2013) posting, click here.
For the Zenit News Agency (March 9, 2017) report, click here.