The following comes from Fr. Dwight Longenecker:
When I say this is a prophecy I don’t want to suggest that I have had some sort of supernatural vision. This is not a prophecy in that sense, but a prophecy because prophets not only sometimes have supernatural revelations, but they are people who are also able to see the big picture, understand the times and circumstances and know the past so they can therefore predict the future.
So here is my prediction: the vocations crisis in the Catholic Church in the United States is over.
Here’s why: Fifty years after the revolution of the Second Vatican Council we are moving on from the tensions it created. Those tensions existed because Catholics kept comparing the pre-Vatican II church to the post-Vatican II church. The ones who did this most were the folks who went through the Vatican II revolution. The Vatican II modern Catholics–for their whole life–could not help but compare the “new” church to the “old” church. Everything was viewed through that lens. A pope, bishop, priest or theologian was therefore either “conservative” and “pre Vatican 2″ and trying to turn the clock back or they were “liberal” in favor of the “Spirit of Vatican 2″ and progressive.
To be blunt, those people are old. Not only are they dying out, but their ideas are dying out. Their places are being taken by a younger generation of Catholics who do not remember the Vatican 2 wars. The old folks would like to brand the young Catholics as “conservatives” or “traditionalists” or even “arch conservatives”. Some of them are, burt most of them are not. They are young. They’re smart and they simply want to be Catholic. They’re not buying into the whole liberal agenda, but most of them also don’t care that much for the traditionalist agenda.
These are the young people who are filing traditional religious orders with young vocations. These are the young men who are going to seminary, and the reason their numbers will continue to grow is because of several other factors.
First, cultural Catholicism in America is dying. People aren’t Catholic now because they’re Irish or Italian or Polish. They’re Catholic because they believe the Catholic faith. While cultural Catholicism continues to die out committed Catholicism will continue to rise. Cultural catholicism doesn’t produce vocations. Committed Catholicism does.
Second, faith is always stronger under fire. At this time American Catholicism is in too many places fat, lazy and complacent. The American culture, however, is moving very rapidly to an aggressively atheistic stance. The Catholic Church will increasingly be in the firing line over a whole range of moral, political and financial issues. As it becomes difficult and dangerous to be Catholic the complacent and comfortable Catholics will quietly slip away. They are doing so already.
Read the rest here.