Here's an article worth reading if you want to know what happened to vocations.
“How Bishops Discourage Vocations (and the Key to Attracting Them)”
-by John Mallon, Contributing Editor, Inside the Vatican
In the mid 1990s, I attended a clergy meeting in the diocese where I was employed as the newspaper editor. The meeting was to discuss ideas to increase vocations to the priesthood, because the diocese was facing a crisis. Predictably, the discussion was going nowhere until the retired archbishop raised his hand, stood up and said, “Why don’t we study those dioceses which are attracting vocations, like Lincoln, Nebraska, and Arlington, Virginia, and see what they are doing and what we can learn from that.” I smiled to myself, eager to see the response to his suggestion, because I knew that the reason those dioceses were attracting so many vocations would be utterly unacceptable to this group of priests. Predictably, the priests just looked at each other and said nothing. No one responded to the archbishop’s suggestion.
The answer was obvious. I may have even taken the retired archbishop aside and told him, but I suspect he already knew. The plain simple answer was that the bishops of those dioceses, Bishops Fabian Bruskewitz of Lincoln and the late John Keating of Arlington, were both explicitly, vocally and publicly committed to orthodoxy in Catholic teaching and practice. Meanwhile, the dominant priests of this diocese were known for being firmly committed to dissent...
...There is a solidarity among the orthodox youth, which John Paul II wisely and shrewdly nurtured as the future of the Church in his World Youth Days and his plain, simple love for them, which was direct and unmediated
I have glimpsed this phenomenon first hand.
When I worked and studied theology at Boston College in the 1980s, there was a widely celebrated theology department, boastful of its dissent. The professors counted their undergraduate theology majors in the single digits. When I sought my master’s degree in theology at Franciscan University of Steubenville, a university explicit in its orthodoxy, and ridiculed for it by larger schools, it had a smaller theology faculty but the largest number of undergraduates in the country, at the time, as I recall, 140.
At the Jesuit-run Boston College, I do not recall many students pursuing a religious vocation. I recall two who did who received hostility from the Jesuits — for their orthodoxy. At Steubenville, there were so many vocations they started a pre-theologate program, and a group for young women considering the convent....
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