In 2017 the Russian ‘Orthodox’ sect saw a record number of men interested in becoming priests.
“The Russian Orthodox Church is seeing the highest numbers ever training for priesthood, according to an independent Russian news agency. The sharp rise in seminary admissions across the church’s 261 dioceses, known as eparchies, means 1,593 ordinands are expected to begin studies this summer, a 19 per cent increase from last year, Interfax reported.” christiantoday.com
This is another interesting example of how the number of priests, church attendees or apparent ‘vocations’ is not a measure of good fruits. This is especially true in our day, in which the primary battle is for the true faith. Concerning this period, Jesus prophesied: “When the Son of man comes, will he find faith on the Earth?” (Luke 18:8). True fruits are found in people who possess and are dedicated to the true Catholic faith without compromise. They are found in people who, with the true Catholic faith, live holy, prayerful, evangelistic lives doing God’s will each day (in whatever He calls them to do).
Besides the Russian ‘Orthodox’ sect, false traditionalist groups such as the SSPX, FSSP, various heretical sedevacantist groups, etc. have seen a large number of people interested in becoming priests. The heretical SSPX (which holds an absurd schismatic position and denies Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus) has basically been bursting at the seams with people who want to become false traditionalist priests. They receive so many requests that they built a new $40 million seminary in which people will be instructed in their schismatic nonsense.
Even in the dark and apostate Vatican II Sect, some of the more ‘conservative’ Novus Ordo groups (which retain certain aspects of liturgical tradition and ritual) have seen decent or large numbers of people interested in becoming ‘priests’ with them. That’s because most people are primarily concerned with externals, not with God’s will and the Catholic faith pure and undefiled. For them, the thought of having the special status of a priest and a ‘flock’ to lead has a strong pull. Moreover, ‘traditionalist’ priests are treated like heroes or royalty in many of groups/sects that value liturgical tradition. Consequently, many people, who lack a proper intention, are inclined to become (heretical) priests and get ordained even though that’s not God’s will for them. We don’t need more heretical priests. There was no shortage of priests when Vatican II happened. We need more true Catholics – people who actually believe in God’s revelation.
Jesus reveals why so many false traditionalists, etc. are not granted the grace of faith. They seek glory and approval from men rather than from God. “How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God?” (John 5:44)
Of course, this is not to suggest that Catholic liturgical tradition is bad. On the contrary, Catholic externals and liturgical tradition are good and edifying. Rather, the point is that many are deceived by making externals the priority and the ultimate measure.
These points also largely apply to the idea that one can properly measure fruits in our day by the number of church attendees. No, one cannot. If someone builds a church of any denomination (Protestant, ‘Orthodox’, ‘Catholic’, etc.), people will probably show up to attend. Consider the Protestant mega-churches. People will almost certainly attend, even if the doctrine is empty or absurd. That’s because, for most people, feeling like they are religious (even one day a week) and communing with others on Sunday fills a void in their lives. Sadly, however, that’s basically the extent of their interest. As a result, they remain outside the true faith and on the path to perdition.
Jesus’ admonition about the scribes is applicable to the aforementioned groups, which value externals over God’s will and the true faith.
Luke 20:46-47- “Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes, and love greetings in the marketplaces and the best seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at feasts, who devour widows’ houses and for a pretense make long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation.”
Concerning Francisco of Fatima – 1917: “Most strangers bored Francisco. What silly questions!… ‘Do you want to be a carpenter?’ ‘No, ma’am.’ ‘A doctor, isn’t that it?’ ‘Oh, no!’ ‘I know what you want to be – a priest!’ ‘No.’ ‘What! To say Mass? To hear confessions? To pray in the church? Isn’t that it?’ ‘No, senhora. I don’t want to be a padre.’ ‘Then what do you want to be?’ ‘I don’t want to be anything.’ ‘You don’t want to be anything?!’ ‘No. I want to die and go to heaven.’” (William Thomas Walsh, Our Lady of Fatima, p. 157.)