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Depression does not spare priests in the Catholic Church


On November 25, the French Bishops' Conference published an unprecedented study on the health of diocesan priests in activity. 7.4% of priests suffered from depression in 2020.

For several decades, a malaise has been expressed regularly within the clergy.

Awareness seems to have taken place in the Catholic Church.

To do this, the Union Saint Martin carried out an unprecedented survey *, at the request of the Conference of Bishops of France, into the health of 6,400 diocesan priests under the age of 75.

Read also: The Church shocked by the suicide of a second young priest

It appears that priests are still too isolated in the face of psychological distress: nearly two out of ten priests show symptoms of depression.

About 7% of the priests who participated in the study present a state of professional exhaustion and nearly 2% suffer from a severe 'burnout'.

On August 21 and 23, 2020, two priests committed suicide, which deeply alarmed the French episcopate.

Loss of landmarks

The causes of the ill-being of priests are multifaceted: physical and psychological health, lack of recognition, loneliness ... This study reveals that 45% of them suffer from chronic illness, in particular back and neck pain.

The majority of priests engage in regular physical activity, but nearly 63% are overweight and 20% are obese.

More than two in five responding priests present alcohol misuse.

8% of respondents have a chronic risk or addiction to alcohol.

Half of the priests live alone, which often increases their self-neglect.

Father Poitevin Patrice Gourrier, priest for 20 years and clinical psychologist, regularly receives priests in difficulty.

For this priest, these evils are the symptoms of the crisis that the Catholic Church is going through.

40% of priests find in their ministry a low personal fulfillment.

Contacted by Le


, this 60-year-old priest is worried: “This

figure is gigantic.

Depression is the consequence of the loss of meaning of the priest's ministry.

The priest is not accompanied.

Being a priest today is extremely difficult. ”

Father Patrice Gourrier also points to “

a lack of benchmarks, for priests, an ecclesial cacophony.

The Catholic Church is deeply divided today.


Many also suffer from a discomfort with the hierarchy of the Church, which most often concerns managerial management problems.

Nearly 20% of priests consider their workload to be too heavy, according to this study.

20% have 10-19 bell towers in charge and a little over 20% have more than 20. On average, priests work 9.4 hours a day and have only a day and a half of rest per week.

Read also: Thirty people gauge for masses: this holy anger which electrified the bishops

The accompaniment of priests is a challenge for the Catholic Church.

Recommendations were considered following this report, in order to improve priestly life: a plan to combat loneliness, in particular focused on the issue of housing and the creation in each diocese of a Social Health center for priests. in activity, or the establishment of a mediator.

However, for Father Patrice Gourrier, who receives consultations from many priests in difficulty, the problem to be solved is quite different: “

There is a paucity of priest training at the spiritual level, especially in the West.

Talking about God is not academic.

When the priest is alone, his spiritual life is in danger.

The bond between the priest and the parishioners is weakened today.

The priest has become a '

service provider.'

The Church is confused.



The responses of 42% of the 6,400 priests questioned, from February to June 2020, were able to be analyzed and used.

65% of respondents are between 40 and 64 years old.

"SEE ALSO:" Only 30 people in the churches, it's a punishment "denounces the bishop of Gap

Source: lefigaro

All news articles on 2020-11-28

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