Europe

Pope frets about 'hemorrhage' of priests, nuns from church

  • Pope Francis meets Brazilian Cardinal Joao Braz de Aviz, at the Clementine Hall, at the Vatican Saturday, Jan. 28, 2017. Pope Francis says he’s concerned about the “hemorrhage” of priests and nuns from the Catholic church. Francis on Saturday told participants at a Vatican gathering to discuss religious life that loss of clergy weakens the church. (L'Osservatore Romano/Pool Photo via AP)

    Pope Francis meets Brazilian Cardinal Joao Braz de Aviz, at the Clementine Hall, at the Vatican Saturday, Jan. 28, 2017. Pope Francis says he’s concerned about the “hemorrhage” of priests and nuns from the Catholic church. Francis on Saturday told participants at a Vatican gathering to discuss religious life that loss of clergy weakens the church. (L'Osservatore Romano/Pool Photo via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • Pope Francis poses with bishops and cardinals at the Clementine Hall, at the Vatican Saturday, Jan. 28, 2017. Pope Francis says he’s concerned about the “hemorrhage” of priests and nuns from the Catholic church. Francis on Saturday told participants at a Vatican gathering to discuss religious life that loss of clergy weakens the church. (L'Osservatore Romano/Pool Photo via AP)

    Pope Francis poses with bishops and cardinals at the Clementine Hall, at the Vatican Saturday, Jan. 28, 2017. Pope Francis says he’s concerned about the “hemorrhage” of priests and nuns from the Catholic church. Francis on Saturday told participants at a Vatican gathering to discuss religious life that loss of clergy weakens the church. (L'Osservatore Romano/Pool Photo via AP)  (The Associated Press)

Pope Francis says he is concerned about what he calls a "hemorrhage" of priests and nuns from the Catholic church.

The pope on Saturday told participants at a Vatican gathering on religious life that the loss of clergy is weakening the church.

First among the factors he cited as causing nuns and priests to quit their vocations is a society that discourages lifelong commitments. Francis lamented that many conduct their lives based on "a la carte" choices.

For decades, the Catholic church in many developed countries has seen the number of priests and nuns on the decline.