Date of Award


Degree Type

Master's Essay - Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




The Twentieth Century is a time of questioning. There are few, if any, time honored traditions and values which have not been subject to close scrutiny. There has been a drastic move away from the opinion that the religious life is the highest Christian calling.1 Vatican II's declaration in its "Dogmatic Constitution on the Church" that all are called to holiness2 has provoked in the minds of many the question, "Why religious life, then?" In addition, there has been such an emphasis on the value of human sexuality that many have come to believe that there is a loss of confidence in the celibate life. Furthermore, the rapidity of change in our culture has called into question the very concept of permanent commitment; and, this idea has resulted in diminishing the public censure which was the lot of an ex-religious only a few years ago. In light of those and other reasons, there has been rather an extensive exodus from both the religious life and the priesthood and a dearth of new candidates.