The Business of Importing Nuns and Priests

Most countries import goods from all over the world. We love exotic fruits that are out of season. We drive foreign cars that continually create competition for manufacturers. We wear clothing that was made by people from the other side of the planet. But did you know that nuns and priests are being imported as well?

Shocking, isn't it?

Last winter when I was in Spain, I went to the beautiful city of Granada with a friend whose choir was performing in a competition. I happen to love Granada, home of the famous Alhambra, so I happily joined the choir on the bus ride there and back and even enjoyed the group meals that the choir master had arranged. One of the evening meals took place after the performance at a nunnery. The nunnery itself was gorgeous and the old world setting created an unforgettable ambiance. The food was excellent and the price was right, but soon I discovered something rather surprising. The nuns were from the Philippines. Lovely young women who whisked about the large dining room waiting upon us like we were royalty.

Yet, not a Spaniard among them.

I soon learned that Spanish girls are vey, very reluctant to become nuns these days. Go figure. Once upon a time when Spain lived entirely under the crushing rule of the Catholic Church, families tended to become impatient if none of their children chose to become a priest or a nun. All good Catholic families had been heavily indoctrinated to believe that it was their duty to have lots of children for god and to sacrifice at least one of their offspring to his full-time service.

But Spanish girls are having less and less to do with these old ideas any longer.

Their mothers can pray on their rosary beads all they want, the daughters are choosing to go to college or start a business or even live with a man instead of donning a veil and marrying Jesus. That's kind of how things work when more information is available to young people. Suddenly they realize they have choices and an actual say in how they want to live their lives.

Spain is only one of many European countries that is hemorrhaging nuns and priests.

America is also in the same boat. For all of our religiosity, fewer and  fewer people are interested in a lifelong commitment to an old, outdated institution. Pope Francis is very concerned about the situation, but you know what, Pope Francis is an old man. He practically grew up in the Dark Ages and probably was so heavily indoctrinated as a child with the mumbo jumbo of the church, his parents, teachers and elders that like most young people of his time, he hardly had a chance to think for himself.

But wait a minute! There's a shortage of priests, too.

My sister who is a registered nurse in Maine told me recently that Lewiston, once a staunch French Catholic community, has such a shortage of priests that when a patient requires the last rites, she often can't find an available priest to perform them. Imagine that! People dying without a man in a white collar to perform incantations and rituals.

The candlelight ritual, known as the Sacrament of the Last Rites, is administered in hospitals, nursing homes, hospice houses and private homes, but now comes with a catch. You better plan ahead, because  the only ones who can perform the service -- are in short supply. 

I find this news to be encouraging.

Little by little, the old, archaic superstitions of the past are ending up in the dust bins along with ideas like demon possession and ridiculous costumes and rituals. Most importantly, more and more young people are refusing to be forced into a nunnery or the priesthood where they are told that it is their duty to sacrifice their one short life on this planet for the glory of god, the church and their families. To that I say, hallelujah!

I'm a myth buster. My recent published book -  Have We Been Screwed? Trading Freedom for Fairy Tales - can be purchased on Amazon.

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Comment by Frankie Dapper on September 18, 2017 at 10:46am

That is disgusting...get thee to a nunnery oh yee of Philippines...get thee to a nunnery or face the munitions of our gunnery.

Mucous-laden institution dons the frock and does ablution...reassembles baby brains and finds a place where ignorance reigns.

Comment by Teresa Roberts on September 18, 2017 at 9:54am

Thank you. Loren!

Comment by Loren Miller on September 18, 2017 at 9:24am

Teresa, the complete debate is here.  I put a link to Hitchens' and Fry's contribution in my previous post.

Comment by Teresa Roberts on September 18, 2017 at 9:15am

I hope they die out, too, James. Completely!

Comment by Teresa Roberts on September 18, 2017 at 9:13am

I haven't seen that debate. I'd love, too, though. Is it on YouTube? I'm not surprised that Christopher Hitchens had something to say about the Catholic church. He was very outspoken against Mother Teresa. That dear man never made excuses for religious coercion and the pain inflicted on people by catholicism. 

Comment by Loren Miller on September 18, 2017 at 9:09am

Thinking about that, Teresa, you have seen the 2009 Intelligence Squared debate on the topic: "Is the Catholic Church a force for good in the world," haven't you?  Christopher Hitchens and Stephen Fry truly laid the wood to their opponents in that one.  Very satisfying, to put it mildly.

Comment by Teresa Roberts on September 18, 2017 at 8:59am

One can hope that they're coming to the end of a very long rope. Certainly they have reigned throughout the ages as the supreme Vatican cult. I always get a kick out of my atheist friends who offer so much praise for the current pope simply because he has had the courage to update the church a bit. I refuse to give him credit for seeing what I saw was wrong with catholicism when I was twelve. The pain and suffering that old, evil institution has caused on this planet is unforgivable.

Comment by Loren Miller on September 18, 2017 at 8:23am

Interesting, particularly as Cleveland has a new bishop ... a Latino bishop, one Nelson J. Perez ... replacing Richard Lennon in that position.  While Cleveland has a fairly diverse ethnic population, I don't see an especially large Latinx contingent around northeast Ohio, and it made me wonder at the well of possible candidates who were available for the position.

Frankly, I have to wonder if the RCC is flying close to stall speed as it comes to new priests and nuns coming from first-world countries, versus those from less developed (read: less educated) nations.  Their current putsch into Africa is further evidence that they are looking for clueless fresh candidates for their victims flocks, since the older hunting grounds have either been tapped out or the natives have grown wise to the ways of the hunters.

It may be that the catholic church finds themselves coming to the end of a not-very-long rope.



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