Are These Impediments?

I have been discerning the priesthood for about 3 years now and I know that there are certain impediments that can ban you from ordination. I fear that I may have two of them.

I hear that you cannot have any mental disabillities and that you cannot have committed heresy or schism since your baptism just to name the few that I think I have.

I just went for my annual physical a few months ago and my doctor told me I had Generalized Anxiety Disoder (GAD). I don’t have it to a high severity (I don’t think) but I do take medication for it daily (which really does help a lot) but still.

I also left the Church for a few years and I belonged to the SSPX (an irregular “Catholic” order) I mainly went because my mom wanted to join it and I was still under her authority as a child at the time, but I did end up adopting it as my faith for a while till I saw her errors and came back home to the real Church.

I know this probably isn’t the best place to ask questions about this stuff, and if anything I could probably ask my diocese’s Vocation Director about this. But I feel that I may be wasting my time if I did that. I feel it’s like someone saying, “Hey, I’m having a party at my house, but anyone who is wearing a green shirt is not invited.” And then I’m wearing like chartruese, teal, torquiose, or whatever and then I go up to the person that’s having the party and saying, “Does this count as green?” When it most likely does.

Those are just my opinions and questions. God bless you all.
Pax vobiscum

Mental illnesses are largely taken on a case-by-case basis with the bishop or religious superior) making the final decision based on medical opinion. basically, it would be a question of how well you could function in priestly ministry (which would in turn depend on whether you felt called to diocesan priesthood or religious life).

As far as SSPX goes, if memory serves they are no longer considered schismatic (I know the decree of excommunication was lifted). Ultimately though, as you note the best person to speak to is your vocations director - the answer may not be what you’re expecting so it never hurts to ask.

Et cum spiritu tuo.

Laypersons do not belong to the SSPX, only clergy.

yeah i agree, talk to your vocations director. this may nont be as big of issues as you are thinking

as mature woman , i know what its like to feel like impediments get in the way …but God’s will be done. We are starting a new community for women …dont let any impediment detere you …if you would be interested in a new community and with all that entails of getting going let me know…we are in habit and say the Divine Office…we are a monastic / active community and we will talk to anyone who feels they have a calling…the community is The Franciscan Sisters of Jesus Christ . we do not have a web site yet …taking baby steps with the guidance of the Holy Spirit…so please pray for us and spread the word…

I went to seminary and nearly completed it, without being ordained. Hopefully I can be of some help.

I don’t recall off hand what the impediments are, but there are only a few real absolute ones. Even most of the serious ones can be resolved with the permission of the bishop. Things like leaving the Church for a while is actually not a problem, especially if you were young at the time. This would only really be a problem if you were obstinate in supporting a heresy or schism. Nothing you said seems to indicate you would have an issue there.

When it comes to potential issues, there are some things which would need to be resolved beforehand, or have a plan to address during your time. Remember, seminary takes years and so it can be a place to address concerns. If you were sleeping with a woman every weekend, then that would be something that you would need to resolve before seminary, for example. If you were shy, that is something they would want you to address while in seminary.

If you were lacking the ability to ever resolve an issue that would prevent you from being a priest, then they would obviously need to deny you. However, no one comes to seminary perfect, so any problems that might exist beforehand should be discussed and worked on during your time in seminary. They are always willing to give someone a chance. I cannot stress that enough.

Having generalized anxiety disorder is not a problem. That is assuming you are aware of it and you are in the position to work with it and have it treated so that it is not a problem. An interested man might say, “I had issues with anxiety, but I sought a doctor for it (which works in your favor) and I am on medication, or I have learned techniques, or it should not be an issue for me… (etc).”

Please keep in mind that entering seminary is not like going to a job interview. They are not looking for someone that is perfectly qualified. What they want is someone that is sincere in their willingness to discern. They want to form you, to help shape you into being who God may be calling you to be.

Seminary is not for people that are going to become priests. Seminary is for people that are interesting in finding out if they are called to be priests. So they are very happy to give people a chance. A diocese loves to brag about how many men they have studying for them. They do not expect all of them, or even most of them, to go on to be priests.

I’d recommend talking with your vocation director. You might just email them back and forth at the beginning. You are not applying for a job, you are discerning. There is nothing wrong with talking to them for a year or do before ever applying. Plenty of men do that. I took a year of contact and advice before applying.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.