VIENNA — European men, take note: Although unemployment is growing in much of the continent, a powerful international organization is advertising vacancies in Austria for hundreds of white-collar jobs.
Requirements: a sense of religious mission and a commitment to celibacy.
Seeking to repopulate its thinning clerical ranks, the Roman Catholic diocese of Austria’s largest province launched a billboard campaign Tuesday meant to recruit priests.
Nuns are welcome as well. The posters are also looking for part-time help: laymen and women prepared to dedicate at least part of their life to religious and social service.
Such mass advertising for priests is rare, and the decision of the Lower Austrian diocese to turn to it reflects fears that the Catholic Church in this country may soon not be able to carry out its mission due to the lack of clergy.
Austria is an overwhelmingly Catholic nation, with more than 64 percent of residents declaring themselves church members, but many are Catholics in name only. Masses are poorly attended in Vienna and other bigger cities and the number of Catholics has shrunk by 13 percent since 1960.
However, the number of priests has dropped even more sharply — in Austria by 26 percent.