Having just celebrated “Vocations Week” here in Australia, it is good to see the Herald Sun running a good news story with the heading “Catholic seminaries full as religion resurges”.
I am firmly convinced that the Catholic Church in Australia (and indeed the world in general) is “heading in the right direction”. Even if you are not prepared to grant that, you have to admit that the Good Ship Ecclesia is well into the 180 degree turn required to get her travelling on the right course.
Like any massive ocean going vessel, the Church is no ballerina. A permanent change in direction takes time. Four priests per year may not sound like very many. The point is that, as the story says, that is the largest single group of candidates that Sydney has had since 1983. Nor may sixty seminarians sound like many. But that is, again as the story points out, three times as many as in 2000.
There are a lot of factors that have become institutionalised over the last 50 or 60 years (which could be described as “momentum”) still trying to keep the Old Girl on the old course (full steam ahead towards the iceberg, as it were), but the engines of the Spirit are behind this new orientation, and I hope to see the complete turn about in my own lifetime.