Home SERRA Chiang Mai 2023 Canadian prelate blames ‘new forms of slavery’ for decline in priestly vocations

Canadian prelate blames ‘new forms of slavery’ for decline in priestly vocations

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Cardinal Marc Armand Ouellet, prefect emeritus of the Dicastery for Bishops, delivers his keynote speech during the 80th Serra International Convention in Chiang Mai, Thailand, on June 24. Photo by Mark Saludes

A Canadian bishop on Friday warned the faithful against the proliferation of “new forms of slavery,” which he said contributes to the “crisis of vocations”.

“Nowadays we are experiencing a crisis of vocations. It’s as if the fascination with scientific progress and new technologies has made us question our role in societies where we often live as if God didn’t exist,” said Cardinal Marc Armand Ouellet, prefect emeritus of the Dicastery for Bishops. 

In his keynote speech during the 80th Serra International Convention in Thailand, the prelate said it is unfortunate that “new forms of slavery are proliferating,” which he claimed was “caused by the artificial paradises” of illegal substances and the digital world. 

“Young people are dreaming of new frontiers to conquer, and the cult of performance is added to the cult of money,” Cardinal Ouellet added. 

The prelate addressed some 400 members of Serra International – a lay organization aggregated to a primary pontifical work of encouraging and coordinating efforts to promote vocations to the sacred priesthood of the Catholic Church.

The organization held its 80th global meeting in the Diocese of Chiang Mai in Thailand, which is dubbed as “one of the fastest-growing parts of the Universal Church.”

Cardinal Ouellet said vocations are lacking “because families no longer have children” and that Catholics have “forgotten” the important role of the family in fostering vocations.

The prelate said the faithful has forgotten to draw inspiration from the Holy Family. “We have become accustomed to its example in the past as if there were nothing new to learn from it,” he said.

He said the Holy Family was “for Jesus a first school of humanity” and “a kind of springboard that enabled him to gradually insert his Trinitarian identity… into the thirst for love of the whole human family.”

In 1941, Pope Pius XII created the Pontificium Opus Vocationum Sacerdotalium (The Pontifical Work for Priestly Vocations) to encourage and coordinate efforts to promote vocations to the sacred priesthood of the Catholic Church.

During its 9th annual convention in 1951, Serra International approved a request, made through its episcopal moderator, Cardinal Samuel Stritch, Archbishop of Chicago, for affiliation with the Pontifical Work for Priestly Vocations. 

Since its founding in 1935 in Seattle, over 1,100 Serra clubs have been chartered in 46 countries around the world. Today, Serra’s global lay vocations apostolate is made strong by over 20,000 members.

FULL TEXT: The Communion of Vocations

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