Pope pushes French bishops on vocations slump
Pope John Paul II has told France's bishops that they must not "give in to discouragement" at the failure of their "many initiatives" to promote vocations to the priesthood, but instead confront the problem with unwavering faith.
Meeting a group of French bishops at the weekend, he described the vocations crisis as a "wandering in the desert" that "constitutes a real trial of faith for pastors and faithful alike".
The Holy Father blamed the crisis on young people's fear of long-term commitment, as well as misconceptions about the priesthood and a weaking of their understanding of faith caused by secularisation.
He supplied them with a long set of concrete recommendations, urging them to devote careful attention to seminary formation and selection of candidates. He also stressed the prioritiy of spiritual formation.
Pope pushes French bishops on decline in priestly vocations (Catholic World News 9/12/03)
Pope Lists 3 Reasons Why Youth Fear to Accept Call to Priesthood (Zenit 9/12/03)
Pope starts Rome's holiday season (Associated Press/AZCentral.com 9/12/03)
Papal audience, blessing for Italian air force (Catholic World News 10/12/03)
Conférence des évêques de France
11 Dec 2003