French Catholic church campaigns for more priests
France’s Catholic church has unfurled a public campaign for more priests to ease a shortage amid a crisis of confidence worsened by widening allegations of clergymen sexually abusing children.
The Vatican’s moral authority has been eroded by reports of sexually predatory priests and cover-ups by supervising bishops in Europe and North America, compounding a longer-term decline in piety and church attendance.
“Just because there is a crisis doesn’t mean we stop recruiting,” said Father Bernard Podvin, spokesman for Roman Catholic bishops in France, a country of 62 million people of whom about two-thirds identify themselves as Catholics.
“This is about education and showing what a priest’s mission is … things that used to be known when society was more stable, but now it’s much more difficult with so much of the population no longer meeting a priest,” he said in an interview.
The public recruitment campaign aims to portray clergy life in a more light-hearted, modern fashion and educate people of all ages to the benefits of a career in the church.