Friday, September 15, 2006

Priest survey

The study by Dean R. Hoge of CUA is now out. (Saw this at dotCommonweal)
According to a new study, the current generation of recently ordained priests is older and more culturally diverse than 15 years earlier.

The major theological influence on newer priests' lives was Pope John Paul II. German Jesuit Father Karl Rahner, who easily ranked at the top in a similar survey 15 years earlier, dropped to a distant tie for third in the new survey.
Other interesting tidbits: The priests are greyer and (surprise) there's a shortage
Hoge found that in the 15 years since his earlier study the average age of priests ordained five to nine years had increased more than seven years -- from 34.1 years to 42.6 for diocesan priests and from 36.8 years to 44.2 for priests in religious orders.

Reflecting the growing priest shortage, 54 percent of the diocesan priests surveyed in 2005 were already pastors of parishes -- more than double the 23 percent who had already become pastors in the 1990 study. Of diocesan priests who were pastors in the 2005 study, more than three-fourths had been given their first pastorate within the first five years after ordination, and more than one-third were already responsible for two or more parishes.
More "traditional" based on what they read
n both studies, recently ordained priests most frequently cited America, a New York-based national Catholic magazine, as one of the periodicals that had the most influence on them. In the 1990 study the next four, in order, were National Catholic Reporter, The Priest, Origins and Church. In the 2005 study the next four were The Priest, National Catholic Register, First Things and Origins.
and how they understand the priestly role:
Hoge reported that a series of questions in the 2005 study again confirmed a shift among more recently ordained priests to more of a "cultic model" of priesthood -- the notion of a man "set apart whose job is providing the sacraments, teaching the Catholic Church's doctrine and being a model of faith and devotion" -- and away from the "servant-leader model," which stresses collaboration with the community, serving the members and eliciting their gifts.
[I've no idea why that's an either/or but hey that's me] ... and, overall, they're quite happy being priests, especially the newer ones, and the ones who think, well, priests are "special".
Hoge reported that morale was high among the recently ordained priests -- nine-tenths of them said if they had to make the choice anew they would enter the priesthood again -- and those who identified more closely with the cultic model tended to be happier about their priesthood.
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