Is Vocation Crisis a Parenting Crisis?

Dear Fr. Phil,

I really appreciate the solidity, orthodoxy and depth of your material. You mention promoting vocations in your parish and I wanted to make a few observations. My thought and experience is that the "vocations crisis" is actually a subset of the parenting crisis. It could be simply solved by:

1)a strong push for families to get rid of their TVs. At this point, not only is TV a serious scandal, but so also is the failure of our priests to mount a full-blown campaign against TV in the Catholic home. This would allow the Holy Spirit to get a word in edgewise. It would also prevent many potential vocations from being "swallowed up by moral calamities;"

2) by urging parents to pray briefly with their children at the end of the day, definitely not the full five decades of the rosary, but something more the length of, say, St. Patrick's Shield;

3) by urging parents of children between ages 3-11 to fill up the void of the missing TV with an hour of good family reading, half an hour of good secular literature like the Chronicles of Narnia (especially) or the Swiss Family Robinson and half an hour of the life of a saint;

4) Wind up the day with 15 minutes of the Baltimore Catechism. We actually had our kids begging to study the Baltimore Catechism just so they could say up late. Incredible but true. Kids, the younger the better, love to memorize things, and they can be freighted down with all sorts of catholic prayers, doctrine and lore before they have the slightest idea what it all means.

The tranquil, peaceful, prayerful atmosphere thereby created in the home would turn this country into a land of saints and scholars if it were promoted systematically. At least, my son just became a numerary with Opus Dei and it looks like my daughter will do the same in a few years, all without one word on our part about vocations. Actually, that's wrong, for I did once ask my son gingerly if he ever had considered the priesthood, and I have prayed for him along those lines relentlessly practically from his birth, and beg your prayers and Masses to that end as well. Still, even if parents did not so pray for their children, just living up to their own baptismal vows and helping thier children to fulfill theirs by following Pope Pius XII's dictum, "Nothing impure in the home," (in an allocution about TV and radio in 1949) would almost automatically clear up the "vocations problem." No billboard ads, no newpaper supplements, no workshops, just simple basic garden variety Christianity. Pope Pius, by the way, was quoting the Juvenal. If we could just come up (way up) to that pagan standard, we would solve our problem as a Church. That is ironic beyond belief.

Thanks for all you do.

Sincerely in Christ,

Lee Gilbert