ABC News discusses the implications:
"There's many days where I start at about 7:00 in the morning, and I go right through 'til about 11:00 at night. And that's not very good when you're 70 years old," said Monsignor John Powlis, who has been conducting mass at a church in Brooklyn for 44 years.
The shortage is one reason priests in Milwaukee sent a letter to church leaders recently supporting the idea of married clergy. Priests in several other cities may soon do the same. Powlis and other American priests believe they would get the help they need if the church would accept married priests.
The fewer priests there are, the more work those left have to deal with - and that, in turn, makes the priesthood even less attractive to younger people while making retirement more attractive to older priests. In the end, it's a vicious cycle where the current problem helps to make the problem worse over time. The Roman Catholic Church actually imports priests from abroad in order to alleviate the situation, but that won't work forever.