MANCHESTER, England (CNS): Catholics will be starved of the sacraments without an influx of new priests, Belgium’s most senior Catholic churchman warned.
Cardinal Godfried Danneels of Mechelen-Brussels said the vocation crisis would wipe out the Church’s sacramental traditions in Western countries.
The 66 year-old cardinal predicted that Catholics would become like Protestants, forced to rely more on the Bible and less on the seven sacraments of the Church.
He said a widespread loss of faith in Europe had contributed enormously to the shortage of priests in the West, and he expressed particular concern about the Church’s mission to young people.
The cardinal’s comments came during an interview with the British Catholic weekly The Catholic Times at St Philip’s University Church, Salford, England. The cardinal spoke about the problems facing the Catholic Church and the specific challenges he faced in Belgium.
The cardinal said that a whole generation of young people from 15 to 30 was largely absent from today’s Church. He blamed their loss of faith in part on ineffective catechesis since Vatican II and criticised Catholic schools for not fully realising their potential to evangelise.
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