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
- Can a gay man become a priest?
- 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?
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- Why are there so many different religious organisations?
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- Why can’t priests date and get married?
- I do not consider myself to be exceptionally holy, I try to pray every day and follow the commandments. I have always been very interested in the priesthood but I have never felt a burning passion for it. Could I still be called to the priesthood?
- If I become a priest can I decide where I go and what I do?
- I read stories of religious communities merging or closing down. Are religious organisations dying out?