LA CROSSE, Wis. (WEAU)-- "I'm probably one of the most optimistic bishop's you'll ever meet."full Part 1
That's what the head of the Catholic Church in the Diocese of La Crosse says despite a steady decline in the number of priests. The Diocese reports having 215 priests in 1980, now that figure is less than 180. As Bishop William Callahan recently told us, turning that around takes more than just men looking for "A Higher Calling."
"These guys understand they're not coming out to be social workers, but are coming out as men touched by Jesus Christ, for them that makes all the difference in the world," Callahan says.
A handful of bishops around the world have pushed for the ordination of married men to solve the problem. But Bishop Callahan doesn't think that would work in the U.S.
Bishop William Callahan of the Dicocese of La Crosse says the celibacy requirement, an aging priesthood, Catholic families with fewer children, even recent cases of sexual abuse in the church are contributing factors. Still, Bishop Callahan is hopeful that 50-seminarians - men studying to become priests – will enter the diocese by 2020.full Part 2
There are currently 29 seminarians in the Diocese of La Crosse, Father Meuret says it's through prayer that these young men will be able to discern God's calling.