In his groundbreaking Why Priests Are Happy: A Study of the Psychological and Spiritual Health of Priests, Msgr. Stephen J. Rossetti presents his findings from the most comprehensive survey of priests' happiness and spiritual lives ever undertaken. Contrary to popular media portrayals, Rossetti finds that priests, as a group, are very happy men. They like the priesthood and are committed to it. In fact, 92 percent say they are happy in their ministry, among the highest rate of satisfaction of any profession in the United States.
It would make sense to assume that Catholic priests are unhappy. Their work is incredibly demanding; they are expected to be on call 24/7; and then theres the issue of celibacy. But according to Rossetti, a priest and a licensed psychologist, such an assumption would be misguided. The authors research concludes that a vast majority of diocesan priests are quite content with their work and their lives. This does not mean that there are no problems, and the author does not overlook these. Some priests do not pray often, others drink too much, and a few wrestle with sexual conflicts. While the findings in this study are fascinating, the narrative is at times bogged down with statistical data that is difficult to follow. Still, this work is very important and will do much to dispel myths about the priesthood. The final chapter offers very helpful recommendations directed to bishops and priests and those considering the seminary. The Catholic priesthood is not an easy vocation, but for those called to it, there are many rewards. (Oct.) Copyright 2011 Reed Business Information.