I posted a few days ago about the forthcoming reorganisation of the parishes of the diocese of Clifton: the draft report is here.
What irks me (well, one of the things that irks me) is the assumption that the decline in vocations to the priesthood in their diocese is inevitable. Their "best case scenario" assumes that the number of priests will decline by 30% in the next fifteen years (the ridiculously implausible worst case shows a 75% decline, the "median case" - the management-speak is all-pervasive - shows a 40% decline). Do a search on the word "vocation" however, and nothing is found.
If you pentrate the opaque language, however, then some of what this is all about becomes clearer:
"Part of our preparation for the future was the diocesan-wide consultation process “Seeking the Face of Christ” during which a very strong sense emerged that, though we recognise an incredible richness in our past and present, there are aspects of how we operate as a diocese, especially with regard to how we are organised for evangelisation and pastoral care, that need to be reconsidered. This need to reconsider our structures was taken into account in our Diocesan Guidelines “Called to be a People of Hope”, where, tellingly, it has been included in the section ‘Church as Communion’. We are reminded that:
“The root of our understanding of Church as Communion is not ensuring efficient management but understanding what sort of Church God is calling us to be. Pope John Paul II in his letter to mark the beginning of the new millennium reminded us that when the structures of the Church reflect the self-giving love of the Trinity then this: “spirituality of communion supplies institutional reality with a soul”. (NMI 45)
We trust in God that he will give us all that we need to achieve the mission he entrusts to us."
"... what sort of Church God is calling us to be ...": in other words "We are Church".
Linz am Avon?