Another 'Would anyone happen to know...' thread


#1

Hello, maybe I am not as formally invested in a religious or secular vocation as many others on this forum, but I feel a very... 'ambiguous' call to do something for the Church. It is very strong, but still undefined.

In lieu of this, I was wondering if anyone knows the answer to any of the following questions:

-Are there any orders or clerical posts that specifically or predominantly (maybe as a part of their charism) evangelize China or traditionally non-Christian areas? Note, I am less interested in the White Fathers, or an order that seems to only be interested in ecumenical dialogue, and not actual evangelization via mission work.

-Also, I wondered if--should I become a diocesan priest--would there be any room to go to law school? I wondered if there was any hope of going to the JD-JCL program at CUA, or something comparable. Basically, all I really want to know is whether there would be any problem with being a diocesan priest and also toying around with the law, and becoming a lawyer.

-Does Opus Dei have any significant missionary activity (either domestic, or in places that are still non-Christian)?

-Similar question: does the FSSP or ICRSP/ICKSP do any significant missionary work or are they completely sedentary... basically 'diocesan priests without portfolio'? Or, dare I ask, the SSPX?

-Or, which is all I really care about, are there any emerging/recently-emerged orders that are willing to take up the place that the Jesuits once provided for our Church?


#2

[quote="ChristopherJB5, post:1, topic:207837"]
Hello, maybe I am not as formally invested in a religious or secular vocation as many others on this forum, but I feel a very... 'ambiguous' call to do something for the Church. It is very strong, but still undefined.

In lieu of this, I was wondering if anyone knows the answer to any of the following questions:

-Are there any orders or clerical posts that specifically or predominantly (maybe as a part of their charism) evangelize China or traditionally non-Christian areas? Note, I am less interested in the White Fathers, or an order that seems to only be interested in ecumenical dialogue, and not actual evangelization via mission work.

-Also, I wondered if--should I become a diocesan priest--would there be any room to go to law school? I wondered if there was any hope of going to the JD-JCL program at CUA, or something comparable. Basically, all I really want to know is whether there would be any problem with being a diocesan priest and also toying around with the law, and becoming a lawyer.

-Does Opus Dei have any significant missionary activity (either domestic, or in places that are still non-Christian)?

-Similar question: does the FSSP or ICRSP/ICKSP do any significant missionary work or are they completely sedentary... basically 'diocesan priests without portfolio'? Or, dare I ask, the SSPX?

-Or, which is all I really care about, are there any emerging/recently-emerged orders that are willing to take up the place that the Jesuits once provided for our Church?

[/quote]

Why don't you talk to the Jesuits? They're still around, and still highly educated, even if a few of them seem to go off the rails from time to time. I'm pretty sure they could answer your questions.

The first thing you'd need to consider is what you mean by "Missionary Work". These days it often has a social justice overtone, or the ability to contribute in some useful way to society, either at home or abroad.

What are you doing right now for example to help other people in your local area? If you can answer that, it will probably give you some idea of what form of help you could work towards at a more professional and religious level. If you can't answer that, then you're putting the cart before the horse.


#3

[quote="ChristopherJB5, post:1, topic:207837"]
Also, I wondered if--should I become a diocesan priest--would there be any room to go to law school? I wondered if there was any hope of going to the JD-JCL program at CUA, or something comparable. Basically, all I really want to know is whether there would be any problem with being a diocesan priest and also toying around with the law, and becoming a lawyer.

[/quote]

As somebody who has been practicing law for 20 years, I guess I'd make the following comments (which I'm sure will be countered by others, so I'm only making my observations based on my experiences)

  1. As to whether there would be a problem with being a diocesan priest and being a lawyer, in my mind there would be if you actually intended to practice any law. I don't know whether or not the church has a problem, but as the Gospel notes, you can't serve two masters. Lawyers compromise their beliefs all the time merely to represent clients, and it would seem to be that it would be nearly impossible to be an actual practicing lawyer and a priests, and be fully loyal to the religious vocation.

  2. Why on earth would you want to do both?

  3. There's a few saints, I'd note, that started of studying law or were lawyers. You'll note that as far as I can tell, they gave up the law for their religion, or at least it seems to me, with perhaps one notable exception that I can recall off hand.


#4

A few further notes.

Discernment, discernment, discernment.

I realize that's what you're doing, but your questions are wide ranging. I urge you, really, in a joyful way, to followup on your discernment. I really hope you refine it down, with God's help. Start, perhaps, with your local priest.

As noted above, the Jesuits are still around, still doing missionary work. They do have a presence in my state, I'd note, which is in the rural west. They act as parish priests in a couple of our small towns that would otherwise lack priest, and up until very recently, they had the church on the Indian Reservation (now the diocese does). There are other missionary orders also.

If you are really contemplating being a lawyer, my advice to you is: discernment, discernment, discernment. Unless you come from a family with lawyers in it, or have worked for a while in a law office, you have utterly no idea whatsoever what the practice of law is really like. A high percentage of new law school grads have no idea at all what they're getting into, which partially explains the high dissatisfaction rate in the profession. I have 20 years invested now but I know that I would never, ever, have entered this profession if I'd known what it was really like (or at least I'd have avoided trial work like the plague).

I appreciate your vague feelings. I'm a cradle Catholic and only recently started feeling something similiar. I'm married with two small children, and my wife, while she attends Church with us, is not a Catholic and so far doesn't seem to be inclined to become one, so there's little I can do to act on these vague feelings other than what I've already done, which is to accept the request that I be a lecture. I wish the best of luck to you.


#5

There is nothing that is wrong with being interested in law, as long as being an attorney is not your primary goal in life. If you wish to be ordained, serving as a priest should be what really matters. That being said, a no. of ways in which one can act as a priest, including being a canon lawyer or within academia. I myself wish to enter religious life and admittedly have some interest in both canon and secular law, yet I would be perfectly willing to serve as the pastor of a parish. A sincere interest in missionary-work is a very noble. I would encourage to proceed in your discernment. You clearly have some commitment to the Church, and God may indeed be calling you to the prieshood, whether with a diocese or in religious life.


#6

[quote="Yeoman, post:3, topic:207837"]
As somebody who has been practicing law for 20 years, I guess I'd make the following comments (which I'm sure will be countered by others, so I'm only making my observations based on my experiences)

  1. As to whether there would be a problem with being a diocesan priest and being a lawyer, in my mind there would be if you actually intended to practice any law. I don't know whether or not the church has a problem, but as the Gospel notes, you can't serve two masters. Lawyers compromise their beliefs all the time merely to represent clients, and it would seem to be that it would be nearly impossible to be an actual practicing lawyer and a priests, and be fully loyal to the religious vocation.

That's a fair point, I think.

  1. Why on earth would you want to do both?

I would make a better lawyer--I think--than a priest. But I feel called to the latter.

  1. There's a few saints, I'd note, that started of studying law or were lawyers. You'll note that as far as I can tell, they gave up the law for their religion, or at least it seems to me, with perhaps one notable exception that I can recall off hand.

[/quote]

[quote="Yeoman, post:4, topic:207837"]
A few further notes.

Discernment, discernment, discernment.

I realize that's what you're doing, but your questions are wide ranging. I urge you, really, in a joyful way, to followup on your discernment. I really hope you refine it down, with God's help. Start, perhaps, with your local priest.

As noted above, the Jesuits are still around, still doing missionary work. They do have a presence in my state, I'd note, which is in the rural west. They act as parish priests in a couple of our small towns that would otherwise lack priest, and up until very recently, they had the church on the Indian Reservation (now the diocese does). There are other missionary orders also.

If you are really contemplating being a lawyer, my advice to you is: discernment, discernment, discernment. Unless you come from a family with lawyers in it,

Only a few.

or have worked for a while in a law office,

I've had enjoyable experiences in the handful that I've worked in.

you have utterly no idea whatsoever what the practice of law is really like.

**I have some idea--but, if you revisit the language I used in my post, I didn't specifically say anything about the professional aspects... law includes just as much theory and philosophy, and though I realize how sterile this can be when divorced from practice I still find it interesting. [Note, I realize that most JD programs focus more on preparing the candidate to 'practice' law]

In any case, though my idea of what a lawyer does might still be far hazier than a veteran's, my idea of what a priest actually does is even more dense. And let's not even talk about job dissatisfaction in the clerical 'profession'... **

A high percentage of new law school grads have no idea at all what they're getting into, which partially explains the high dissatisfaction rate in the profession. I have 20 years invested now but I know that I would never, ever, have entered this profession if I'd known what it was really like (or at least I'd have avoided trial work like the plague).

I appreciate your vague feelings. I'm a cradle Catholic and only recently started feeling something similiar. I'm married with two small children, and my wife, while she attends Church with us, is not a Catholic and so far doesn't seem to be inclined to become one, so there's little I can do to act on these vague feelings other than what I've already done, which is to accept the request that I be a lecture. I wish the best of luck to you.

*Thank you very much, I have this overwhelming impulse to throw myself behind something--or maybe 'into' something--but I just wish I could find the right thing. Discernment is helping, but I'd prefer to know a few specific things about the orders I have mentioned in my OP before committing myself to something that might be a disaster for all parties. *

[/quote]


#7

[quote="Bob_Crowley, post:2, topic:207837"]
Why don't you talk to the Jesuits? They're still around, and still highly educated, even if a few of them seem to go off the rails from time to time. I'm pretty sure they could answer your questions.

The first thing you'd need to consider is what you mean by "Missionary Work". These days it often has a social justice overtone, or the ability to contribute in some useful way to society, either at home or abroad.

What are you doing right now for example to help other people in your local area? If you can answer that, it will probably give you some idea of what form of help you could work towards at a more professional and religious level. If you can't answer that, then you're putting the cart before the horse.

[/quote]

I understand what you mean, and thank you for replying. Maybe I should try to put it better, because so far I have been unsuccessful in finding anyone who receives my meaning.

Maybe people will think of me as a barbarian or a 'Monsignor Quixote' idealist, but I just want to go somewhere and start converting the population. I've always volunteered, given to charity, and done 'social justice'-type stuff,--which, btw, I am well aware that missionary activity in the 21st century is synonymous with social justice--but I can do that as a lay person. That's pretty much all I want: to go to China and witness my faith in front of un-churched peoples, and then maybe get martyred.

They used to do this all the time, I am just wondering where to go to sign up for this stuff nowadays. Put simply, that's what I'm asking.


#8

[quote="ChristopherJB5, post:1, topic:207837"]

-Are there any orders or clerical posts that specifically or predominantly (maybe as a part of their charism) evangelize China or traditionally non-Christian areas? Note, I am less interested in the White Fathers, or an order that seems to only be interested in ecumenical dialogue, and not actual evangelization via mission work.

[/quote]

You should check out the SVD (Divine Word) Congregation. They're a evangelization missionary congregation with houses in over 70 countries. They also do work in the Appalachian Mountains and inner city parishes (like in St. Louis).
svdvocations.org/
I hope this helps.


#9

[quote="ChristopherJB5, post:7, topic:207837"]
That's pretty much all I want: to go to China and witness my faith in front of un-churched peoples, and then maybe get martyred.

[/quote]

You sound like Santo Francesco d'Assisi, who wanted to be martyred in the Islamic world. As for missionary-orders other than the White Fathers, there are the Holy Ghost Fathers(or Spiritans), Maryknoll, and St. Damien of Molokai's order, the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of HJesus and Mary, among others..


#10

[quote="ChristopherJB5, post:7, topic:207837"]
That's pretty much all I want: to go to China and witness my faith in front of un-churched peoples, and then maybe get martyred.

[/quote]

Your primary goal should not be martyrdom, although I understand what you are saying in the above post.


#11

With respect to lawyerliness.... (is that a word?!)

It is quite possible, as a priest, to specialise in Canon Law (i.e. the formal Law of the Church) which is a "career path" in its own right within the priesthood - essentially you'd be given a Curial job looking after the internal legal aspects of the Church. Whether that would be a full-time role or combines with that of diocesan priesthood, I don't know. I doubt very much if it would be compatible with missionary priesthood, which is probably more 'itinerant' than a canon lawyer would be able to manage. Canon Lawyers would deal with disciplinary matters within the Church as well as things like Annulments (although, again, I can't say whether that's in an advocacy role or in an examining role).

I can't tell you if you do or don't have a vocation. I can tell you to contact your Vocations Director (he'll be listed on your diocesan website and, if not, your Parish Priest will certainly know how to get in touch with him). It's entirely possible your diocese runs discernment retreats. There'd be no pressure - I've been on them myself and they're a great space to discuss models of priesthood and one's personal experience of a calling. Take your time (unless, of course, you have a Damascene Experience!) and really get to grips with what it is that you feel compelled to do. The Church will still be there!


#12

[quote="DexUK, post:11, topic:207837"]
With respect to lawyerliness.... (is that a word?!)

It is quite possible, as a priest, to specialise in Canon Law (i.e. the formal Law of the Church) which is a "career path" in its own right within the priesthood - essentially you'd be given a Curial job looking after the internal legal aspects of the Church. Whether that would be a full-time role or combines with that of diocesan priesthood, I don't know. I doubt very much if it would be compatible with missionary priesthood, which is probably more 'itinerant' than a canon lawyer would be able to manage. Canon Lawyers would deal with disciplinary matters within the Church as well as things like Annulments (although, again, I can't say whether that's in an advocacy role or in an examining role).

I can't tell you if you do or don't have a vocation. I can tell you to contact your Vocations Director (he'll be listed on your diocesan website and, if not, your Parish Priest will certainly know how to get in touch with him). It's entirely possible your diocese runs discernment retreats. There'd be no pressure - I've been on them myself and they're a great space to discuss models of priesthood and one's personal experience of a calling. Take your time (unless, of course, you have a Damascene Experience!) and really get to grips with what it is that you feel compelled to do. The Church will still be there!

[/quote]

Thank you, this was a very positive post; I have studied canon law in my spare time, but I worry that I wouldn't be selected for further studies if I entered the diocesan clergy.

That's why I was wondering if FSSP/ICKSP would provide further studies for their clergy (in theology or canon law, whichever), as this might strike a healthy balance between my commitment to academia and my interest in traditional missionary activities.


#13

[quote="Saint_Macarius, post:8, topic:207837"]
You should check out the SVD (Divine Word) Congregation. They're a evangelization missionary congregation with houses in over 70 countries. They also do work in the Appalachian Mountains and inner city parishes (like in St. Louis).
svdvocations.org/
I hope this helps.

[/quote]

Thank you--but I am apprehensive because of what appears to be their less traditional approach to Catholicism and what might be their preference for social justice over evangelization.


#14

[quote="Young_Thinker, post:9, topic:207837"]
You sound like Santo Francesco d'Assisi, who wanted to be martyred in the Islamic world. As for missionary-orders other than the White Fathers, there are the Holy Ghost Fathers(or Spiritans), Maryknoll, and St. Damien of Molokai's order, the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of HJesus and Mary, among others..

[/quote]

When I read about that in Chesterton's biography of Saint Francis, I couldn't help but feel that--at least in something--I am close to such a man of God. :) However, I am probably far, far away from measuring myself against a standard as tall as Saint Francis.

I've considered the Spiritans and Maryknoll, as well as the SVD--the only problem is that I am worried that they have lost touch with who they were before the Church was 'reformed,' and might have a newer style that might suit me less well. :\


#15

[quote="ChristopherJB5, post:12, topic:207837"]
Thank you, this was a very positive post; I have studied canon law in my spare time, but I worry that I wouldn't be selected for further studies if I entered the diocesan clergy.

That's why I was wondering if FSSP/ICKSP would provide further studies for their clergy (in theology or canon law, whichever), as this might strike a healthy balance between my commitment to academia and my interest in traditional missionary activities.

[/quote]

Hello ChristopherJB5,

Yes, if you are ordained you must be obedient to your superiors and they would make the final decision, whether you are diocesan or consecrated. If you show an aptitude for the law and an interest in pursuing further studies, you would probably have a good chance at doing it--there is a need for younger, cleric, canon lawyers in almost every diocese.

I can't speak for the ICKSP but one of my classmates in canon law school is a member of the FSSP. However, he is not really using his canonical education at the moment. Still, religious orders/soceities also need canon lawyers for, primarily, issues related to their own internal governance and teaching their members the basics of canon law.

I would not consider the FSSP to be a missionary society, although they certainly contribute to evangelization.

Dan


#16

[quote="ChristopherJB5, post:14, topic:207837"]
When I read about that in Chesterton's biography of Saint Francis, I couldn't help but feel that--at least in something--I am close to such a man of God. :) However, I am probably far, far away from measuring myself against a standard as tall as Saint Francis.

I've considered the Spiritans and Maryknoll, as well as the SVD--the only problem is that I am worried that they have lost touch with who they were before the Church was 'reformed,' and might have a newer style that might suit me less well. :\

[/quote]

I see your dilemma. However, I believe that there are secular missionary institutes, not to mention that some older religious communities do some mission-work. As for St. Francis, he is certainly an ideal role-model. Have you considered the Franciscans (including M.F.V.A.- the Franciscan missionary or Dominicans (who are highly intellectual), who, like the Jesuits, historically have reputations for being good missionaries?


#17

[quote="ChristopherJB5, post:7, topic:207837"]
I understand what you mean, and thank you for replying. Maybe I should try to put it better, because so far I have been unsuccessful in finding anyone who receives my meaning.

Maybe people will think of me as a barbarian or a 'Monsignor Quixote' idealist, but I just want to go somewhere and start converting the population. I've always volunteered, given to charity, and done 'social justice'-type stuff,--which, btw, I am well aware that missionary activity in the 21st century is synonymous with social justice--but I can do that as a lay person. That's pretty much all I want: to go to China and witness my faith in front of un-churched peoples, and then maybe get martyred.

They used to do this all the time, I am just wondering where to go to sign up for this stuff nowadays. Put simply, that's what I'm asking.

[/quote]

If you want to get martyred, any strict Moslem country will do you the favour. You'd probably have trouble getting into China, and the Chinese Christians are doing a pretty good job of missionary activity both inside and outside China.

Speaking personally, if you're American, I suspect you may well find the opportunity for martyrdom or intense persecution may well come within your own country within a few years, if my own thoughts of the next twenty years are anything to go by. But that's only my opinion.


#18

[quote="Bob_Crowley, post:17, topic:207837"]

Speaking personally, if you're American, I suspect you may well find the opportunity for martyrdom or intense persecution may well come within your own country within a few years, if my own thoughts of the next twenty years are anything to go by. But that's only my opinion.

[/quote]

I unfortunately would agree with you, but that's getting off topic.

Missionary work is not all about evangelization. If you're more interested in converting Catholics and non-Christians to TLM or the like, you should try out CRNJ (canonsregular.com/).


#19

[quote="Bob_Crowley, post:17, topic:207837"]
If you want to get martyred, any strict Moslem country will do you the favour. You'd probably have trouble getting into China, and the Chinese Christians are doing a pretty good job of missionary activity both inside and outside China.

Speaking personally, if you're American, I suspect you may well find the opportunity for martyrdom or intense persecution may well come within your own country within a few years, if my own thoughts of the next twenty years are anything to go by. But that's only my opinion.

[/quote]

Dude, I'm not suicidal, lol, just looking for the pre-1960s missionary experience. How my experience ends, means less than at least trying it ... I guess that was my point in mentioning martyrdom.

Although I do agree that there is at least a possibility that the prediction you mention in your last paragraph will be actualized. :'(


#20

[quote="Young_Thinker, post:16, topic:207837"]
I see your dilemma. However, I believe that there are secular missionary institutes, not to mention that some older religious communities do some mission-work. As for St. Francis, he is certainly an ideal role-model. Have you considered the Franciscans (including M.F.V.A.- the Franciscan missionary or Dominicans (who are highly intellectual), who, like the Jesuits, historically have reputations for being good missionaries?

[/quote]

Thanks, I'll keep that in mind. Tbh, joining the OP really appeals to me because of their legacy as heresy-fighting, ultramontane academics--however, I just wonder, like the Jesuits, how far they've gone down the 'road to perdition'.

I will check the M.F.V.A. out, though, thanks for the lead.


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