A new article published at La Stampa‘s Vatican Insider website notes that ordinations to priesthood are up almost 25% this year over last year. That’s cause for thanksgiving.
I was a little amused, though, to read about this aspect of the issue in the article:
A uniquely American problem, however, is that of the debt from the “student loans”, money leant to them to help them pay their tuition fees and living costs and that is only repaid after graduation. “More than 26% of the priests ordained have student debt, at the time of entering the seminary the average owed per capita is 22,500 dollars”, explained Father W. Shawn McKnight, executive director of the Secretariat. He said that in the future they will need to find a way of helping future priests reduce their debts.
Sorry, but if the concern is repaying student debt, I’d say priesthood is the way to go. I’d be willing to bet that most young diocesan priests are paid more (when you factor in the free housing, insurance, groceries, etc) and have more disposable income than most other young people in their first 5 or 10 years out of college or graduate school.