The Catholic News Service reports from the Vatican that the reason religious orders are dying, is that they have become too secular.
“VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- A top Vatican official said religious orders today are in a "crisis" caused in part by the adoption of a secularist mentality and the abandonment of traditional practices.
“Cardinal Franc Rode, prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, said the problems go deeper than the drastic drop in the numbers of religious men and women.
"The crisis experienced by certain religious communities, especially in Western Europe and North America, reflects the more profound crisis of European and American society. All this has dried up the sources that for centuries have nourished consecrated and missionary life in the church," Cardinal Rode said in a talk delivered Feb. 3 in Naples, Italy.
"The secularized culture has penetrated into the minds and hearts of some consecrated persons and some communities, where it is seen as an opening to modernity and a way of approaching the contemporary world," he said.”
What Makes a Good Priest?
A recent book by Michael Rose profiling ten great priests, Priest: Portraits of Ten Good Men Serving the Church Today, summed up what it takes to be a good priest, which would apply to all religious.
“In one way or another, each of the priests in the preceding chapters touched on many of the issues pertinent to the crisis that the priesthood faces today. One common thread that runs throughout each priest’s comments is that the problems in the priesthood will not be solved by redefining or eliminating the priesthood—as some commentators have been urging for decades. The priesthood is not the problem. It is abuse within the ranks of the priesthood, burning like a brush fire, that is more often than not the true problem.
“The solution must be rooted in fidelity to the Church’s teaching, on faith and morals especially. In other words, one of the prerequisites to a strong, effective priesthood is orthodoxy, that is, a strong belief in adherence to the Christian doctrines as taught by the Catholic Church. (You’d think this should go without saying, but at the beginning of the twenty-first century, it nonetheless remains to some ears a controversial assertion.)
“Building on this basic prerequisite is orthopraxis, that is, putting into practice what one believes.”