According to the BBC, the number of priests is in serious decline in the UK. The Cardinal of Westminster has seen numbers of priest in his diocese slump from 850 in 1990 to 600 this year. The number is expected to decline to 470 over the next decade.
But we have a solution.
The Church is launching a recruitment campaign that will use beermats in pubs and posters on the London Underground to promote the priesthood.
If a few posters and beermats don’t fix the trend let me suggest some other ideas.
1. Look back. Find a parallel time in history when the numbers and quality of those in the priesthood and religious orders was in serious decline. 2. Learn. Look for the underlying causes of decline and the case studies that reversed the trend. Distill the enduring principles. 3. Make an innovative return to tradition. Apply the lessons in a contemporary way.
Start with the story of The Ignatius Loyola and the birth of the Jesuits. Rather than posters and beer mats he used intense prayer and reflection on the life and ministry of Jesus to call thousands into service all over the globe.