If I become a priest, will I be living with mostly elderly men?
It is true that the age-profile of priests in the western world has risen while the number of younger men going forward for priesthood has fallen dramatically. This means that we have an inverted pyramid and so the likelihood is that younger priests will live and work with older priests. This is not always a negative thing, of course. Sometimes it works well having older and wiser heads around to mentor young priests.
However, it is also important for younger priests to come together for support, even if their location and work separate them geographically. It is equally important that young priests cultivate friendships with their lay peers and that they have pastoral contact with younger people – both of which can compensate for the age issue among clergy.
The problem, of course, is a western problem. In so-called missionary countries, the age-profile of priests is pyramid-shaped, with a lot more younger priests at the bottom, so the problem does not arise.
Most popular questions
- I feel I have a specific charism to youth outreach. Can I live this charism out as a priest, or must I follow the charism of the order I join?
- What can I do as a priest that I cannot do as a layperson working for a charity or NGO?
- Why are there so many different religious organisations?
- The idea of public speaking is very challenging to me and I avoid it if possible. How can I be a priest when I hate public speaking?
- Why do I have to be celibate to be a priest?
- I hear my local priest say in his homily that there’s a shortage of priests in Ireland, is there really a shortage of priests?
- If I become a priest, will I be living with mostly elderly men?
- Would entering a religious community mean that I would have to sever my relationships with family and friends?
- Why are there so many different religious orders?
- What if as a priest I need to take time out to care for a relative or family member?