Autism and priesthood


i know someone who feels calls to be a priest, he’s says he’s confident of this,

but he has aspergers (a form of high functioning autism), its fairly mild, he’s been out of high school for almost 3 years without any accomodations in college and no medications, but sees a consuelor

would the diocese accept him as a seminarian, or would he fail their psychological evalulation


No stranger on the internet can answer this question. Your acquaintance will need take his chances and work with the diocesan discernment process.




My son is in the same boat. We learned from a vacation director that there are certainly places devout AS men can serve the church as a priest. We were thrilled! Key is…remember social skills deficits.


Well, that’s something for a spiritual director to help determine.

I would definitely say to not let it get i the way of him discerning a vocation, but it is something that undoubtedly needs to be addressed.


i would say he has okay social skills, hes not really anti social,


This would really be a question to ask the vocations director straight out, right at the beginning of discernment, before he is referred for a psych eval. Being straightforward about this early on is best.


While it’s obviously important to bring it up at the outset, the vocations director would likely rely on the results of the psychological assessment unless it was obvious that the candidate was unsuitable since this is something which would be outside of his area of expertise.


thanks for your input, he sees a consuelor to talk about things in his life, he got a psych eval for SSI a couple years back and got approved eventually for it.


My son is 13 and has been discerning for two years. He is mainstreamed (since kindergarten) but comes off as naive and very scrupulous at this age. He works with a social skills teacher and our parish priest. He knows his limitations, thus he wants to join an order (not Jesuit).

At his young age, I think he can be steered into a vocation that suits him.


I pray your son lives out his dreams! What an excellent example for the rest of us. If I may ask, why not Jesuit? I understand that their education requirements mean that most men aren’t ordained until they are in their 30’s, but any other reason?:rolleyes:


No man, not even a priest, can change your child’s relationship with God. Even if he were denied, which I doubt, he can still live a life as God’s servant, thus being more priestly than many priests.


Anyone who works with him should remember, 'Aspie see, Aspie do." Be sure to get things right the first time, if working with them on social skills.

I would recommend just presenting oneself to the pastor and say “Here I am.” Start with parish volunteering. He should also make inventory of what he can or can’t do. The Myers-Briggs might be helpful, as well.

One of my main points is not to go overboard on correction. An explanation of why such is not done, and why we do it another way usually suffices. Doing something needed numerous times over until the person understands is helpful, as well. I personally never learn anything – well, rarely – the first time, since I have a processing delay. This is especially important when teaching anything mechanical that requires precision.




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