Vatican City, Jan 25, 2004 / 22:00 pm
During a meeting with a group of French bishop on Saturday, Pope John Paul II stressed the need to strengthen priestly identity as the only way to reverse the alarming decline of vocations in the regions of Toulouse and Montpellier.
The Pontiff told the French bishops, “I easily understand how you can feel demoralized in the face of this situation, but I invite you to hope and to an ever more resolute commitment in favor of the priesthood.”
He noted that “the crisis the Church is going through is in large part due to the repercussions of social changes, new forms of behavior, the loss of moral and religious values and a widespread consumeristic attitude.”
The Pope urged the bishops to clarify and then communicate the image of a priest as a man who sees the priesthood as “great and beautiful” and demonstrates “enthusiasm for the mission of the Church.”