Study Shows: Most Priests Are Happy, Appreciate Celibacy; An Interview With Monsignor Stephen Rossetti, By Genevieve Pollock
WASHINGTON, D.C., OCT. 5, 2011 (Zenit.org).- Priests in general are among the happiest members of society, says Monsignor Stephen Rossetti, and contrary to secular opinion, most embrace celibacy as a positive aspect of their vocation.
These were some of the conclusions outlined by Monsignor Rossetti in his book, “Why Priests Are Happy” (Ave Maria Press), which will be released Wednesday.
The author, who is currently serving as associate dean for seminary and ministerial programs at The Catholic University of America, also wrote “Born of the Eucharist,” “The Joy of Priesthood,” and “When the Lion Roars.” As a licensed psychologist, Monsignor Rossetti previously worked as president and CEO of Saint Luke’s Institute, a treatment and education center for clergy and religious.
The author surveyed 2,500 priests, and made discoveries that modern society might find surprising.
In this interview with ZENIT, he explained some of these findings, including the correlation between a priest’s happiness and his relationship with God and others, and the signs of hope for the future of the priesthood.
ZENIT: Your research showed a conclusion that the public might find surprising: Priests are among the happiest people in the country. Why do we not hear about this happiness more often?
Monsignor Rossetti: There have been a number of studies in the United States over the last few years with exactly the same findings: About 90% of priests report that they are happy. In my study, it was 92.4%.
In a similar study, when the National Opinion Research Center recently conducted its scientific poll of 27,000 Americans, they found that clergy in general were the most satisfied and happiest of all Americans. This is especially remarkable since over 50% of Americans report being unhappy with their jobs.
But this consistent and astounding finding of priestly happiness remains a secret.
My findings suggest that we will never find the inner peace and joy that we are searching for until we find a personal relationship with God. Most of our priests have found such a relationship, and they are happy men because of it.