Summer 1971

Page 4

Andrew M. Greeley

Priest, Church and the Future {rom a Sociological Viewpoint Ours is a era in which l.ooking for B1tt the changed

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profoundly religious men and 1vomen are religious leadership. are(L of mystery has from the physical to the 1Jsyclwlogical.

In this article it will be contended that, contrary to the popular wisdom, ours is an age of profound religious questioning and one in which the role of the priest is more critical and, to use a much overused word, "relevant" than any time in the past. On first reading, such a thesis seems absurd. "Everyone knows" that there is very serious reason to fear that the Church and the priesthood will be completely "irrelevant" in the very near future. The firm, tightly structured forms of immigrant Catholicism seem on the verge of collapse. There has been a large exodus from the clergy with 5 per cent of the 115