“I do not promise you a great salary, I promise you a permanent job.” With that vow of full-time employment, Spain’s Catholic Church is hoping to recruit young men to the priesthood. This week it launched a social media campaign, including a Twitter feed and Facebook page, with the goal of filling its seminaries. Though half of Spain’s youth population is unemployed, it isn’t certain how many will accept a job that comes with one major drawback—a life of celibacy. And the pay isn’t exactly stellar, starting at around $1,000 per month. “I do not promise you will live a luxurious life, I promise your wealth will be eternal,” a priest explains in the new campaign’s YouTube video.
The Church and its influence have been on the decline since the death of dictator Francisco Franco in 1975. Today less than 15 per cent of Spaniards attend mass regularly, and the number of priests has dropped 25 per cent in the last decade. Still, tough economic times appear to be helping the Church fill its increasingly empty pulpits. Last year the number of recruits rose slightly to 1,278, the first uptick in decades. And this ad strategy is generating much needed publicity. As its video asks, “How many promises have been made to you that have not been fulfilled?”