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Vocation And Vocational “Crisis”: A Study Of Italian Former Priests

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Chapter Summary

This chapter is an in-depth study of the phenomenon of leaving the ministry on part of the Catholic priests in Italy. The research is based on in-depth interviews with 25 diocesan priests who have left the ministry in the period from the beginning of the 1960s until today. The chapter focuses on whether the choice of leaving the priesthood could be explained by the impossibility of holding fast to celibacy, or if instead the cause was to be found in a more complex kind of uneasiness, linked to the new social and cultural context that redefines the role of the priest. The experience of the former priests analysed through the in-depth interviews has disclosed various research tracks that can be investigated further. The chapter concerns with placing into evidence how this situation represents a challenge to the comprehension of the meaning of one's life, decoded in terms of "vocation".

Keywords: Catholic priests; Italy; vocation



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