Well-being, Trust, and Policy in a Time of Crisis

Highlights from the National Study of Catholic Priests

Brandon Vaidyanathan, Ph.D., Christopher Jacobi, Ph.D., Chelsea Rae Kelly, Ph.D., Stephen White, Sara Perla

Read the Study

On October 19, 2022, The Catholic Project released highlights from the largest study of Catholic priests in over 50 years. (Also available in Spanish thanks to the Archdiocese of Santiago in Chile)

This study involved a census of bishops; a survey of 10,000 priests (3516 responses); and in-depth interviews of over 100 priests.

Priests on the whole are doing well, they report significant levels of well-being. However, younger priests display signs of ministry burnout, and diocesan priests are doing less well than those who belong to religious orders. Priests find significant support from their lay friends.

When it comes to trust, there is a broad range of answers to the question, "Do you trust your bishop?" Priests who trust their bishop report higher levels of well-being on all measures, so this is significant.

Priests are supportive of the policies the Church has implemented to combat abuse. However, they are concerned about false allegations and being abandoned by the diocese. 

Read the report. Also available in Spanish.