Becoming a Priest Why Mexicans Enter the Clergy
A primary theme of this book is to explain how Church leaders and prominent politicians view each other. I believe that the experiences that form both politicians and bishops contribute to their attitudes and values in general and to their social, political, and religious beliefs in particular. One of the variables that explains some personal qualities is why an individual chooses to make a life career out of one profession versus another. Comparisons between politicians and bishops are especially revealing because these two groups of individuals exercise, or have the potential for exercising, enormous influence over society, and despite their obvious differences of emphasis, share many leadership skills.
Not much information exists in religious studies as to why individuals choose the priesthood. The most comprehensive study, that of Joseph H. Fichter, surveyed priests and brothers in the United States. Fichter discovered five chief reasons, categorized according to the two religious groups:
|Priestly work||Do good in life|
|Vocational sense||Educated by brothers|
|Love of God||Attraction to brothers' work|
|Salvation of others||Salvation of others 1|
Fichter also discovered that most men make a decision to become priests in high school, at an average age of 17. This is interesting because it is the age at which most future Mexican politicians have shown a strong interest in student politics, from which they will build a base to pursue a national political career. It is also the age when most military officers join the Heroic Military College as cadets. The reasons given in the Fichter study suggest, with the exception of brothers,