'Swallowing a Big Fat Lie' is the title of an article in the current edition of Intercom magazine (March 2009). Written by Paddy O Meara, the content of the article aims to dispel the myth that a vocation to priesthood or religious life is a vocation to unhappiness. He cites recent surveys which have indicated that clergy are far more contented in their career compared with other professions and that a large percentage would choose priesthood or religious life if they were to live life over again.
He argues that there is a perception is that priests and religious are generally an unhappy lot, while evidence points to the contrary. He notes in the article that various reasons are suggested for the decline in vocations to priesthood and religious life - one factor being the lack of encouragement for the person considering 'the road less travelled'. He says that some parents actively discourage a son (0r daughter) thinking about priesthood (or religious life) from pursuing that path. These parents seem to believe that for their son or daughter to make that choice would amount to signing up for a lonely, isolated life. All this brings him to the title of the article 'Swallowing a Big Fat Lie' because he believes that the data and research available on vocations is pointing to a very different reality, namely that there is a great deal of satisfaction and happiness in living the life of a priest and religious.
The article is timely and appropriate during this Year of Vocation. There is no doubt that priests and religious who are happy in their chosen vocations will be instrumental in attracting others to follow that same path.