[quote="mustard_seed, post:1, topic:241851"]
Hi everyone. I am new to posting on CAF, but I have visited the site many times reading over the various discussion threads.
I have a question regarding my feeling called to the priesthood. I hope no one is offended by this post as it is a little explicit. For the past couple of years I have felt a growing call to become a priest. My spiritual life has really blossomed in the last 4 or 5 years and more and more often the idea of becoming a priest enters into my head. It feels right. It feels like this is what I am supposed to be. So what's the problem?
Well, before I became more religiously minded I was rather worldly. I feel a certain kinship with Saints Augustine and Francis since they both led questionable lives before their conversions.
Let's begin here. This is a myth.
Augustine had a mistress, only one. It was a woman whom he dearly loved and with whom he had a very stable relationship and they parented one child. They never married because the social norms of the time would not allow it. They belonged to different social classes. After his conversion, she too underwent a conversion to the faith. He became a monk and she allegedly became a nun. Their son died less than a year after he and Augustine were baptized.
Francis of Assisi was known for being frivolous, not promiscuous. In fact, his contemporaries write that we was a virgin. There is no known woman in his life at any time or man either. As a young brother he struggled with sexual temptations as does any young man. This we know from his closest friends who wrote about his struggles.
Anyway, over years I nurtured and developed a strong addiction to sexual activities. I am convinced part of this is innate, since even before I began living a less than moral life I recall reaching sexual maturity and awareness before most of my peers.
For some time now I have been battling against my former ways. I have made some progress (I certainly don't "sleep around" anymore) but I can't seem to rid myself of these strong impulses that almost always lead me to sin. Though I am by no means a saint, this is the one area of my life that I feel would prevent me from entering the priesthood if it is not corrected.
We all struggle with our humanity. The struggle takes many shapes and forms: sex, temper, addictions, moods, and so forth. The key is to continue to struggle until we overcome. However, another human weakness will replace that one. It's part of the human condition.
The key to chastity is to have healthy relationships with members of both sexes. We need frienship, human affection and to love and be loved. Even celibate men and women cultivate healthy relationships with other human beings. These are parents, friends, siblings, members of the community and so forth.
A strong devotion to the Blessed Mother is very necessary. Even when we fall, we should not stop callilng upon her to help us continue to try. She is the mother of purity itself. Whether it's praying the rosary or some other form of prayer, stay close to Mary. Even when you fall, do not be ashamed to go to her. She understands the human condition and she wants to draw us to her son.
Recently I have looked into surgical castration. From the research I have done it appears that the procedure is quick, easy to perform, and has a relatively speedy recovery time (approx. 1 month). According to various medical articles the procedure eliminates or at least greatly reduces sexual desires. Honestly, this sounds amazing to me as strange as that may seem. Even if the procedure were only to significantly reduce my desires (though I'd prefer it if they were eliminated altogether) then I'd be quite happy and I believe then I would be able to meet the demands of the priesthood.
My question is this: is this morally acceptable? Is this seen as a valid (albeit extreme) way to overcome one's lusts? Or would this bar me from becoming a priest?
Again, sorry for the somewhat graphic nature of the question. I look forward to any advice anyone may be able to give me on the matter. Thanks.
It is never morally acceptable to mutilate the body. Not only does it show a disregard for the dignity of the body, but it is also a disregard for the dignity of our sexuality, which is part of who we are. We must learn to accept ourselves as men and women. We must focus on the fact that human feelings and attractions are neutral. What we do with them is either good or bad.
I would suggest that you pick up a copy of Bl. John Paul's Theology of the Body. One cannot commit oneself to a life of celibacy unless one first commmits oneself to being a man or a woman. You mentioned several saints: Pio, Francis and Augustine. These individuals accepted themselves as men. They did not deny that they were men, nor did they deny that they had the feelings and appetites of men. They succeeded in their quest for purity precisely because they became friends with their manhood. They understood their bodies, their minds and they went before God as they were. They avoided the occasion of sin, led strong prayer lives, and had very loving relationships with other human beings and with the Lord. Through these relationships with men and God they satisfied the natural yearning for intimacy and love.
If you don't have one, I suggest a spiritual director. Many priests, brothers, sisters, deacons and some lay people are trained in the spiritual life, not all, because it's no longer a requirement in seminary formation. But many are well trained and others are naturally gifted in this important ministry of discernment. Word of mouth helps. You may ask around if anyone has a good spiritual director.
Br. JR, OSF :)