Friday, September 02, 2005

Not Making a Difference

I notice that the USCCB is now releasing a vocations video entitled "You Could Make a Difference." You can click here to learn more about it. Now normally I am very supportive of the Conference's activities. I think you have all picked up on that. But I reviewed this video for the Conference six weeks ago, and let me tell you, it will not make a difference at all.

This is how to produce a vocations video that will actually decrease vocations to ministry. It is possible. I'll tell you how:

First, you feature a middle-aged, polyster-wearing 'nun', who discusses how consecrated religious life makes a nice notch on her belt as she climbs the career ladder as a medical health professional.

Second, you feature a young, newly-ordained priest clad in blue jeans and flannel who spends twenty minutes talking about how much he likes to fly planes and row boats, and how nice Alaska's weather is (it's not, I've been there).

Third, you feature a stocky Hispanic priest in a polo shirt who complains about how lonely celibate life is.

That, my sons and daughters, is how to produce a vocations video that will actually decrease vocations to ministry. And that's what this video does, in a nutshell. I have plenty of priests and religious like that in my diocese. And I'll tell you what, priests who complain about how much they hate the priesthood or neglect their clerical duties, and nuns who chase careers, are not the ones you want to 'put up front', if you know what I mean. I'm not a conservative reactionary, or anything like that. But if you want to produce vocations to ministry, you feature priests and religious who love and embrace ministry. It's not rocket science, and it doesn't take a bishop to figure it out.

Of course, I will pour praise on the video in public, and probably even order 500 of them for my diocese. That's part of what it means to be a bishop. But I am not happy about it, you can believe it.