Pope says vocation shortage should not force Church to lower standard
Faced with low numbers of priests and religious, the church cannot lower standards but should instead give greater attention to the selection and formation of candidates, Pope John Paul II has said.
To overcome the current shortage, Catholic communities must make the promotion of vocations a central pastoral issue, the pope said in his annual message for the World Day of Prayer for Vocations, scheduled for 21 April.
While all the church's members are called to holiness, vocations to the priesthood or the religious life are still "precious and necessary gifts," he said.
Those who dedicate their lives to Christ in chastity, poverty and obedience are following "privileged paths" toward spiritual fullness, the pope said.
There Is the Need for Courageous Heralds of the Gospel: Message for Day of Prayer for Vocations (21/4/02)