Posted August 31, 2006
Taken from the study:
Experiences of Priests Ordained Five to Nine Years
Study is already cited on our website
Two Models of Priesthood
Two different understandings of what a priest should be, named the “cultic model” and the “servant-leader model” by past investigators, were visible in this sample of priests, yet not every priest clearly advocates one or the other. The percent stressing the cultic model clearly grew from 1970 to 1990 and again from 1990 to 2005. Diocesan priests favored the cultic model much more than religious priests. Specifically, diocesan priests put more stress on the priest as a “man set apart” than religious priests, and they emphasized sacramental ministry as central to priesthood more than did religious priests.
The Sex Abuse Scandal
The sex abuse scandal has not damaged relationships with bishops or with fellow priests. The main damage (which was felt by only a minority) is a loss of trust in bishops. It has renewed the commitment of a majority of these men to the priesthood.
Attitudes Toward the Future Priesthood
Almost all the priests reported that their priesthood is highly respected by those they serve, and almost all encourage vocations to the priesthood and religious life as much as possible.
A clear majority favor continuing to allow Anglican priests, whether married or unmarried, to become Catholic priests. Also a clear majority feel there is a critical shortage of priests.
Approximately three-fifths would be happy to attend primarily to the sacramental life and let the laity assume other leadership functions.