Belgium: An inquest measures the moral health of priests

Source: FSSPX News

Bishop Jean-Pierre Delville.

On October 10, 2016, La Croix published the contents of an inquest conducted on the 110 priests of the diocese of Liège, Belgium by the local Presbyteral Council. The French newspaper explained that the initiative for this questionnaire came from three priests in Liège who had encountered “fellow priests who had health problems, who had left the ministry, who had chosen another orientation than the parish or who were not satisfied in their ministry.” One of them in particular, explained that he “was dissatisfied” after having expressed his “unease” and his “worry at the difficulties of several fellow priests.”

With the agreement of their bishop, Bishop Jean-Pierre Delville, the three priests asked the help of a psychologist, a theologian, and a human resources specialist. The results show that the lack of “perspectives for the future” seems to be the principal cause of discontent. Other problems include the feeling of not being heard or recognized by the hierarchy, distance from the Church as an institution, and difficult relations between priests.

At the top of the list of sources of well-being, the inquest revealed different forms of “spiritual resourcing”: retreats, a life of prayer, but also spiritual accompaniment and relations with the faithful and those around them. The sentiment of being “useful to the community” and the possibility of “taking time for oneself” also figure on the positive side, along with the feeling of being “respected, recognized, and appreciated” by others. La Croix also revealed that “working for the evangelization of society” also contributes to the “good moral health of priests.” – Fr. Antoine Chevrier (1826-1879), who knew the Curé d’Ars, used to say: “The priest is a stripped man, the priest is a crucified man, the priest is a devoured man”; he did not direct an inquest on the well-being of priests.

(sources: apic/Lacroix – DICI no.343 dated Oct. 28, 2016)