Why Priests Are Happy

Why Priests Are Happy

A Study of the Psychological and Spiritual Health of Priests 

Author: Stephen J. Rossetti

Foreword by: John L. Allen Jr.

Price: $18.95

Format: Paperback

Pages: 256

Trim size: 6 x 9 inches

ISBN: 978-1-59471-274-6

Imprint: Ave Maria Press

On-sale date: September 26, 2011

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In his groundbreaking Why Priests Are Happy: A Study of the Psychological and Spiritual Health of Priests Msgr. Stephen J. Rossetti, a psychologist, professor of pastoral studies, frequently consulted expert on clergy and religious, and the bestselling author of books for priests, presents the findings from the most comprehensive survey of priests' happiness and spiritual lives ever undertaken. From this survey of nearly 2,500 priests from twenty-three dioceses in the United States, Rossetti discovered that American priests enjoy an extraordinarily high rate of happiness and satisfaction, among the highest of any profession.

Contrary to popular media portrayals, Rossetti finds that priests, as a group, are very happy men. They like the priesthood and are committed to it. In fact, 92 percent say they are happy in their ministry, among the highest rate of satisfaction of any profession in the United States. This accessible, fascinating study compares priests to the general male population with respect to human intimacy, sexual difficulties, burnout, psychological problems, physical health, and self-care. It identifies fourteen factors that contribute to happiness among priests, examining the contribution of spirituality to their psychological health. Rossetti’s cutting-edge, hopeful work will be a must-read not only for priests, but for anyone interested in the priesthood and the Church.


"Refreshing and enlightening."

"A wonderful example of how the sciences and the candid survey of priest respondents reveal the reasons why the Catholic priesthood remains among the happiest vocations to be studied. . . . refreshing and enlightening at the same time."

Most Rev. Wilton D. Gregory
Archbishop of Atlanta

"At last some good news about priests!"

"At last some good news about priests! A must read for the laity, seminarians, priests, and especially bishops."

Cokie Roberts
Journalist and Author

"Clears away the debris of myth and public prejudice."

"By clearing away the debris of myth and public prejudice, [Rossetti] helps the Church focus on the very real challenges facing the priesthood."

From the Foreword by John L. Allen Jr.
Senior Correspondent
National Catholic Reporter

"Sage advice."

"Useful and sage advice to ensure the health and wellness of our present and future priests and provides an invaluable tool for those responsible for their formation. Indeed, all the faithful would benefit from reading it!"

Msgr. Robert Panke, President
National Conference of Diocesan Vocation Directors

"An important study for priests."

"This will be an important study for priests and all those involved in their formation and care."

Rev. Benedict J. Groeschel, C.F.R.
Author of I Am with You Always

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