I've never liked the post-Vatican II tendency to speak of a "vocation" to the lay state. In modern discernment retreats, vocations directors often tell young people to listen very carefully to what that still, small voice inside them is whispering them to do. It's not surprising that 99% of them discern that they're being called to marriage and children. There's nothing wrong with marriage and children, but consider: Saint Don Bosco, who knew a thing or two about youth ministry, once estimated that one third of all Catholic young people had a vocation to the priesthood or religious life.
Whether it's a divine calling or not, our Blessed Lord tells us what is expected of lay people:
Matthew 5:13: You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt lose its savour, wherewith shall it be salted? It is good for nothing any more but to be cast out, and to be trodden on by men.Lay people and secular priests live and work in the world. As such, we are more susceptible to the temptations of the world, the flesh, and the devil than the religious in his monastery. It is the responsibility of our duly appointed pastors and bishops to strengthen the laity with the sacraments, to teach, govern, and rebuke. St. Paul's ministry largely involved exhorting the early Christians to greater unity and refuting the errors that threatened to divide them. Holy priests have a fervent flock. Impious priests have apostate flocks. And then you have shepherds like these:
With respect your Excellencies, what kind of mealy-mouthed bullshit is this? The truth must be spoken in love, but you gentlemen don't speak the truth at all. The last few Irish Catholics on that Godless island were thus unable to argue against the referendum without publicly contradicting their own superiors. There is no doubt in my mind that the Irish bishops are relieved the issue has been settled for now because they can throw up their hands, say "It's the law of the land, there's nothing we can do," and get back to offering nice platitudes about how Jesus is our boyfriend who never, ever judges anyone. Sometimes I truly wonder whether most of our bishops even believe in God anymore, let alone hold to the Catholic orthodox faith they solemnly swore to uphold at their ordinations.“I don’t doubt that there are many people who are practicing churchgoers of whatever church background who will in conscience vote Yes, and that’s entirely up them. I’m not going to say they’re wrong,” he added.
Catholic clergy often speak of the secularization of society as if it were a force of nature. They shrug and adapt themselves to it by avoiding the topics that modern people might find uncomfortable or offensive because that might disrupt the revenue stream. No matter how often or how spectacularly our paaaaastoral strategy of making nice with the world fails, the clergy always double down on more dialogue, more new language, more marketing gimmicks, more reaching out, more safe spaces. If the salvation of souls wasn't at stake, I'd laugh it all off as disgusting and pathetic. It's a pity the clergy don't receive spine reinforcements along with sacred chrism at their ordinations.
Luke 19:41-44: And when he drew near, seeing the city, he wept over it, saying: If thou also hadst known, and that in this thy day, the things that are to thy peace; but now they are hidden from thy eyes. For the days shall come upon thee, and thy enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and straiten thee on every side, And beat thee flat to the ground, and thy children who are in thee: and they shall not leave in thee a stone upon a stone: because thou hast not known the time of thy visitation.The Church is not out of touch. People grow out of touch with the Church because her clergy either no longer believe or they're too embarrassed to speak the truth. The Irish bishops only offered the most token resistance to the growing apostasy in Ireland and of course they were swept away. If the clergy don't take the traditional teaching of the Church seriously, then why the hell do they expect anyone else to?
The Church doesn't need more innovations. She needs to return to herself and remember who she is and what she believes and how she used to to teach it.