British bishop says church scandals 'damaging vocations'
    Scandals in the Church have painted such a bad image of Catholicism that they are destroying vocations to the priesthood and religious life, according to a British bishop.
    Catholic World News reports that in a pastoral letter read in all the churches in Hexham and Newcastle Diocese at the weekend, Bishop Ambrose Griffiths revealed that for the first time in decades no ordinations are expected this year in his diocese.
    "When something goes wrong in the Church, or an individual fails in some way, the media make the most of it," he says. "Then we feel very defensive. It is very painful to hear people making snide and derisive remarks about things that we hold dear."
    He adds, "In this climate it is especially difficult for young men and women to commit themselves to lifelong service of Christ in the priesthood or religious life."
    Bishop Griffiths concludes his letter with an appeal for Catholics to pray more than ever for vocations.