With all the problems in the Church, what motivates young men to still become a priest?
Interesting that such a question should be phrased in this way. Let me change the context to illustrate my point: With all the problems in marriage, what motivates young men to be married? With all the difficulties of being single, what motivates young men to remain single? With all the problems in cohabitation outside of marriage, what motivates young men to cohabit outside of marriage? With all the problems in having a family, what motivates young men to conceive a child?
Now back to the question. Men of all ages are motivated to become priest for various reasons but I would say the most common is a sense of being called by God to become a priest. It should be emphasized that friends, neighbors and families can have a big impact on the consideration of becoming a priest. By the way statistically there is only 1 priest for every 1,700 Catholics in the US. We surely need more good men to become priests.
According to an old website in 2011 for the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate those ordained “report that they were 16 years old when they first considered a vocation to the priesthood. Nine in ten report being encouraged to consider the priesthood by someone in their life. Many were encouraged by a friend or family member. Seven in ten received encouragement from a friend, a parent, grandparent or other relative, or a parishioner. Although four in ten report that their mother encouraged them to consider the priesthood, they are more likely to have received encouragement from friends or a parish priest than from other family members. About a quarter received encouragements from their father and one in four were encouraged to consider the priesthood by a grandparent or another relative.”
More than two in five were discouraged from considering the priesthood by one or more persons. Among those who reported being discouraged from considering a vocation to the priesthood, they were discouraged by friends or classmates or by a parent or other family member A few mentioned someone else who had discouraged them from pursuing their vocation, including a girlfriend or former girlfriend, a co-worker, a more distant relative or stranger, or non-Catholic friends.