Even though the work is growing more difficult, Sunday Mass attendance is declining, and church coffers are emptying, The Economist (April 19, 2014) reported that more young Britons are joining the Catholic priesthood. According to the report, the number of new seminarians has almost doubled since 2003, with 63 beginning studies for the Catholic Church in England and Wales in 2012. Their average age has also fallen.
The report notes that the recession may have had something to do with the spike, as jobs after graduation are more difficult to get. Another reason is that urban ministry appeals the idealistic young. A television comedy in England called “Rev” also has raised the profile of priests. The report goes on to note that whereas in the past, the priesthood was seen as a shortcut to the establishment; many of today’s young people take pride in the shift to the margins of society. Sam Dennis, a 29 year-old curate from Catford says he sees ministry as a “distinctive alternative” for people disillusioned with how much of modern Britain is run.
For the entire The Economist report, click here.