Sunday 24 May 2015

Vocations and identity

Yesterday, at the Turin airport, we were discussing with the young Salesian bishop Stefan Oster about vocations or the lack of them in Germany, as compared to certain provinces in Italy. At first Stefan said that it was not true that Italy had more vocations than Germany, if you examine the proportions: 2 to 270 confreres in Germany, and some 18 to some 2500 confreres in Italy. But then it is true that even in Italy, some provinces - ILE and INE - have a consistent number of vocations every year as compared to the others. What is the difference? Could it be that sometimes, in the "culture of a province," the passion for the Lord is not quite clear? Certainly there is a generation in some of our own provinces for whom the identity of Jesus remains a problem: Jesus is a wonderful man, but not quite... what the Church says he is. And with this kind of Jesus, religious life cannot but be reduced to something else, a sociological something perhaps, a way of getting "good work" done, but not more. Certainly not a "living memorial" of Jesus. Something gives. And also vocations. 

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