Thursday, November 3, 2011

Being a Priest

I believe that, for a man, there is no greater vocation in the world than that of being a Catholic priest, and a recent survey from Our Sunday Visitor finds priests are “among the happiest people in the country.” I would suspect the same is true for women being a nun. I have been very fortunate in the priests I have been honored to know—as are a vast majority of the faithful in the priests they know—for they all reflect the results found in this survey from Our Sunday Visitor. An excerpt. “Although modern secular portrayals often paint the priesthood in a negative light, the results of a new study reveal that Catholic priests are among the happiest people in the country. “A thorough scientific evaluation conducted by Msgr. Stephen J. Rossetti, clinical associate professor of pastoral studies at The Catholic University of America, shows that priests as a whole are highly satisfied with their lives. “The study, which includes data from a 2009 survey of 2,482 priests from 23 dioceses and a 2004 survey of 1,242 priests from 16 dioceses, is the basis of Msgr. Rossetti’s new book “Why Priests Are Happy: A Study of the Psychological and Spiritual Health of Priests” (Ave Maria Press, $18.95). “Msgr. Rossetti, a licensed psychologist, told Our Sunday Visitor that at first the study’s findings may seem surprising or even counterintuitive. “But the results, he explained, are in line with secular studies and social science research conducted over the past three decades. “Studies consistently show that religious people, those with a strong spiritual life and a religious faith, tend to be happier, more well-adjusted people,” Msgr. Rossetti said. “Frankly, the reality is that religion is good for you, psychologically and spiritually.” “That is especially true for priests, he said. In the study, priests tested slightly higher on standard psychological evaluations than the average person, and reported one of the highest rates of satisfaction with their work of people in any profession.”