Recession forces trainee priests to carry on working as they study
TRAINEE priests are being forced to double-job to meet their mortgage payments. Catholic Church chiefs say many new seminarians have no choice but to continue to work in their old jobs while training for the priesthood.
They say that despite the recession and the huge numbers of jobless, virtually no new recruits are unemployed. But they admit vocation numbers have been hit by the downturn, as many of those interested in the priesthood are too in debt to risk leaving their old jobs.
Fr Eamonn Bourke, vocational director of Dublin, said: "It was felt when the recession set into Ireland that the numbers presenting themselves for the priesthood would rise as unemployment set in.
"However, this has not happened. Those presenting for priesthood are more likely to be still working. Leaving a job to enter the seminary is, for some, too great a risk."
President of Maynooth, Monsignor Hugh Connolly, said none of this year's 20 new seminarians had been unemployed.
According to 'The Irish Catholic', family opposition and peer pressure are also taking a toll on vocational numbers.
Fr Diarmuid Hogan, vocational director of Galway, explained: "Family wants the best for their own. They worry primarily about the perceived loneliness of the life and they are aware that priests, while not impoverished, will never be wealthy."