Priestly vocations: Bringing up the rear again
Rochester ranks near the bottom again.
"The 20 dioceses with the lowest ratio of diocesan seminarians to Catholics in 2006—starting with the bottom-ranked diocese—were San Diego, Honolulu, Metuchen, Las Vegas, Laredo, Los Angeles, New York, Hartford, El Paso, Rochester, Santa Rosa, San Antonio, Galveston-Houston, Rockville Centre, Boston, Syracuse, Detroit, San Bernardino, Reno, and Monterey."
Sigh. I can take comfort in the fact that Rochester is one of 4 New York dioceses at the bottom - and Rochester is not the worst in the state.
We've been struggling for vocations here for years. Much as I like and admire Bishop Clark, I have to wonder if he is not part of the problem.
I don't know the full reason why - and I am not about to say he is directly causing it. I know him to be a good man, and he does sincerely care about vocations.
Unfortunately, he has also been a lighting rod for criticism.
Indeed, I sometimes wonder if some of the misrepresentations and venom directed at him by some of my "orthodox" brothers and sisters may be making the problem worse. They paint a dark and often unfair picture of him and the diocese.
But, Bishop Clark, while a good man, is, to be honest, not an inspiring leader. He is a mild man, and his preaching is intellectually fine, but, frankly, dull. We need someone to fire up the people here - much as Pope John Paul II fired up the wider Church.
I also think Bishop Clark has allowed the diocese to be infected by some folks who distort Catholic teachings. When I was at the diocesan newspaper, I was disturbed by some of the things I saw being allowed to happen and grew increasingly frustrated at his inaction. In the Corpus Christi situation, for example, I think he waited way too long to act. Father Callan should have been suspended several years earlier. In addition, various liturgical abuses were allowed to continue around the diocese too long.
Even though I have been a Bishop Clark defender, I suspect we may not see a turn around until he retires.
For now, we must struggle with decreasing numbers of priests. It will be years before this situation can be reversed.