Catholic News Agency and Catholic World News reports Prefect of Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life Cardinal Franc Rode says more responsive to the world, citing a reluctance to wear clerical dress as a symptom of this trend.
"A drift towards bourgeois values and moral relativism are the two great dangers that weaken religious life," Cardinal Rode said.
"The biggest problem today is the climate of secularisation, present not only in Western society but also within the Church itself."
Cardinal Rode said while young people are hearing God's call to a vocation in the priesthood or religious life, he suggests that a lax model of priestly or religious life is unlikely to encourage vocations.
"Young Catholics who are attracted to contemplative life in highly disciplined religious orders are attracted because it is a radical life choice," he said.
During the almost 27 years of the Pontificate of Pope John Paul II, the number of religious dropped 25%, expanding the gap between men and women religious, with male religious orders being the most affected by the decline.
According to official statistics from 2006, there are 196,473 members of male religious congregations, out of which 137,058 are priests and 55,030 are religious brothers. Female religious make up a much larger group with 836,091 in their ranks.
Priests becoming too worldly, Vatican prelate says Catholic World News (15/02/08)
Cardinal complains of worldly values in religious life Catholic News Agency (15/02/08)