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
- If I request information about joining a religious organisation, will I be pressured into joining?
- Is a brother the same as a priest?
- I read stories of religious communities merging or closing down. Are religious organisations dying out?
- Why do we have priests? Can’t lay people do the work of priests?
- What does discernment mean when we’re talking about vocation?
- What can I do as a priest that I cannot do as a layperson working for a charity or NGO?
- At times, I find it very hard to pray. Is prayer easier when you become a priest?
- Are religious orders different from one another? If so, how are they different?
- Why can’t priests date and get married?
- 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?