Can a lay person become a Catholic Police chaplain


So I’ve been doing security for 4 years and Feel I’m ready to go back to college and take it seriously after droping out and working the last 5 years. I am going to enroll soon to get my Criminial Justice degree BA and then I want to go into the seminary. Not to be a priest because I’m married and not to be a deacon because I don’t feel I’m called to do that. I want to go because I feel God is calling me to go to seminary and to get a good Christian and Catholic education and to grow in my faith. However I do feel that I want to go into ministry just not in the traditional sense. More working outside in the world dealing with all Christianw but still remaining dedicated to the Church. Kinda like a missionary only working in my own city in rural areas aposed to third world countries. I’ve thought about giving ready to eat canned food to the homless and giving them Bibles. My father in law Sugested why not be a police Chaplain. I told him I don’t think lay people can. He aparently says there are lay people that are. He was at one point a nazarene pastor and he worked as a trauma nurse and ER nurse for close to 20 maybe or
30 years I could be off. He still works as a nurse but he just works at a clinic with a General Practionar. So I trust he might be right. But I’m wondering if lay people cane be Police Chaplians and how they go through that process. I’m going to speak to my Confessor tomorrow if he’s there more about me going to seminary if I should or not. My father law says if your called to seminary you should listen. Its some I feel I want to do and its the best way for me to get Catholic theological education and help with the Church.


Last I knew, even deacons couldn’t be chaplains, at least in the military. I think part of the issue is the need for a chaplain to administer absolution in the event of an emergency or tragedy. Perhaps the requirements are different for civil police.


I know mosty Chaplains counsel police officers and you don’t necesarilly have to be an ordaine minisyter in some cases you just have to meet the requirement of training or go through whatever program the local law enforcement has. Since I am catholic I would basically just be a spiritual counselor for catholics. I’m not sure that sort of Chaplain exist and the word Chaplain in The RCC is generally used for military. That’s mainly what I’m interested in is counseling people. Right now I’m just trying to get a career going and do something in Law enforcement idealy as a police officer or at least a corectional officer. The seminary will come later on because I need to get stabablized and do wjhat I can for my family. Right now I’m just self educating with Catholic answers and wikipedia. I got a good intro on thew Church fathers coming in the mail here soon. So in content now just want to know what I can do as a lay person.


Part of the answer may depend on the department. I know a prison chaplain who is a Catholic laymen so it is possible to be a chaplain in some places without being ordained. Alot of it will depend on what the orginization expects of their chaplains. You can always do some reading about chaplaincy here at the National Association of Catholic Chaplains.


I think technically only Priests can have the ecclesiatical title “chaplain”, but many lay people work in the field as chaplains. The course you want to look into is called clinical pastoral education. You don’t need a seminary degree for it, just a desire to do the work and an ability to do college level course work. The classes fill up months in advance so apply early, meaning 6-9 months ahead is not too early.

The field of chaplaincy is pretty competative, but if God is calling you into it, a path will open.

Good luck.


I’m a nurse in a hospital. We have a department of chaplains, whom are all lay people. Men and woman. Whenever we have a code (or near code) we will call the chaplain to come and be with the family. They are such a great help!

I know there are courses they take for this. One chaplain left the hospital a few years ago, where she had worked for over 30 years. S**he is also a nun. ** I see her at Church, now and then, and she is now working with the police department as a Chaplain.


Chaplaincy is not a church office, so does not require ordination, unless the group or agency (such as the military requires ordained clergy to act as chaplains). And, a previous poster was incorrect, deacons can be chaplains (although the poster did say military, which is correct), as many members of the permanent deaconate serve has prison and hospital chaplains.


In Georgia to be a certified police chaplain, you must be an ordained minister.


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