.- Bishop Marcelo Palentini of Jujuy said last week that secularism, that is, “religious indifference,” along with the drop in “births as a result of an anti-childbirth campaign,” and the belief that “pleasure is what gives meaning to life” are affecting vocations in the Argentina.
According to the newspaper “Jujuy al Dia,” the bishop said that “as the birthrate drops there are fewer young people and therefore fewer candidates for the priesthood” and that this decrease is also related to “the general pace of society, in which it seems that pleasure or having fun is what gives meaning to life and in which priestly or religious life is thought to be nothing more than giving things up, while that is simply not the case.”
“It does means giving things up,” the bishops said, “but it also means finding the meaning of life in interior peace and serenity.”
Nevertheless, Bishop Palentini also said, “There are never enough priests, since the demands are so great. Add to this the change in mentality from before when a priest sat at the parish waiting for the people to come, to today when he goes out to where the people are, getting dirty on the outskirts of town, which demands more time and greater preparation, always considering that the priest by vocation must be missionary.”
While he noted that “in some places in Argentina there is a decrease in the number of priests, in others the numbers are holding or increasing,” it couldn’t be said that vocations have dropped as a whole in the country, since while they have decreased in “religious institutes,” there is “a small increase in diocesan seminaries. In Jujuy the numbers are holding and in recent times the outlook appears brighter,” he said.