A Priest’s Life
Thirty-Three Good Men looks at the lives of thirty-three Irish Catholic diocesan priests and former priests during a period of significant change in the Irish Church, 1960–2010. The book explores the lived reality of Irish diocesan priests and how they experience celibacy and obedience in modern Ireland. It also looks at how they understand their evolving identity as priests.
The men are quite different from each other, with diverse backgrounds, personalities, behaviours and attitudes. The majority are active priests while others have left the priesthood. Some are young, but most are middle-aged or elderly. Most live celibate lives, but others are sexually active; some in heterosexual relationships and others in homosexual ones. Sometimes those relationships are known about by the bishops or even people in the parish, others have felt the necessity to stay quiet. They all have different views on various aspects of Church teaching, with some more liberal than others. And while there was enthusiasm about their priesthood, others had become disillusioned.
Miriam Gormally met with author, Dr John A. Weafer who has been a researcher and teacher for more than thirty years, who explained more about the findings.