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 is a deacon and how is it different than a priest?
- What if as a priest I need to take time out to care for a relative or family member?
- What can I do as a priest that I cannot do as a layperson working for a charity or NGO?
- I read stories of religious communities merging or closing down. Are religious organisations dying out?
- Are religious orders different from one another? If so, how are they different?
- As a priest if I decide that I no longer want to do something, such as work in a specific parish, do I have any say or is it all out of my hands?
- If I request information about joining a religious organisation, will I be pressured into joining?
- What’s the difference between a diocesan priest and a priest in a religious order?
- What does discernment mean when we’re talking about vocation?