The online news portal of TV5
VATICAN CITY -- Pope Benedict XVI on Sunday called for young people to consider joining the clergy, as the Catholic Church struggles to counter a decline in new priests in Western countries.
"We pray that all young people be attentive to the voice of God which speaks to their heart and calls on them to detach themselves from everything and to follow him," the pope told thousands of faithful in Saint Peter's Square.
"The Lord is always calling, but sometimes we don't listen. We are distracted by many things, by other more superficial voices, and we are afraid to listen to the Lord's voice because we think it could take away our freedom," he said.
At a mass in Saint Peter's earlier on Sunday the pope ordained nine men into the priesthood including a former airline pilot, and an ex-prosecutor. Among the nine was one man from Ivory Coast, one from Colombia and one from Vietnam.
Sunday was Vocations Day for the Roman Catholic Church, which has seen a sharp decrease in the ordination of priests in many countries, particularly in Europe.
France has seen one of the most dramatic declines, with the number of parish priests falling by more than half since the 1970s to around 15,000 today.