The life of a 20-something priest

Young adults in 2011 were more than twice as likely as those in 1976 to have no religion (29 per cent to 12 per cent). But many twenty-somethings still take extraordinary religious vows. They pledge to ditch life's simple pleasures to become ministers and priests. What impact does deciding to devote your whole life to religion have on you?


KARL SINCLAIR, 26, is a Catholic priest-in-the-making. He's taken some very serious vows - and he's still 'daunted' by it.

Vows: 'Obviously, (being a priest) comes with a vow of celibacy and obedience to a bishop. That essentially means they have control over my life in terms of where I serve. It's like having a parent. but a lot nicer than that. I'll be ready to serve him and serve his church.'

No Sex: 'There's more to life than pleasure, than just thinking "Immediate Pleasure Now." I'm still a sexual being. All priests are sexual people. It's about making a choice ... that speaks to human dignity.'

Weeks of silence: 'I think I've spent something like 47 days in silent retreat (where you do not speak - only pray - at least between 9 and 5 and at meals). We spend an hour each day with our spiritual rector talking about we need to discuss internally in our prayer.'

Being sober: 'Getting drunk is the same sort of thing. There's something absolutely bigger at plan. That's not to say we don't have an occasional drink or two. The key is not to go overboard.'

Hours of prayer: 'I pray for around two-and-a-half hours a day. I could probably pray more. It's a bit like being at a "spiritual gym".'

FULL STORY Inside the lives of young ministers

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