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Letter from Rome: A priest-centered Church, confused and unprepared

With the public celebration of Mass cancelled, Catholics are not quite sure what to do

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Letter from Rome: A priest-centered Church, confused and unprepared

Pope Francis prays from the window of the Apostolic Palace overlooking an empty St.Peter' Square after his livestreamed the Angelus prayer on March 29 at the Vatican. (Photo: Vincenzo Pinto/AFP)

In the past five or six decades, Catholic bishops in almost every part of the world have stood by, paralyzed, watching helplessly as the number and quality of priesthood candidates have continued to dwindle.

Not a single pope in this period — from Paul VI to Francis — has offered any real solution to the problem. Their only answer to the priest shortage has been to instruct people to pray to God and encourage more young men to consider a vocation.

Actually, Pope Francis explicitly told bishops of the Amazon to explore other possibilities, such as ordaining married men, only to ignore them when they finally asked permission to do so.

In any case, it is clear to all but the blind that the strategy employed up until now — that is, do nothing — is not working.

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