Can a person have any debt if they intend to become a priest?

Just wondering because I have a lot of student loan debt and another decent sized debt. I’m a teacher in a Catholic school and i’m wondering if I should even consider talking to either of the diocese’s i’m interested in (I just moved to a new diocese and am thinking of looking there as well as my former diocese where I lived until a few months ago)

Before you can be ordained your debt must be resolved.

Not true. One of the first things I did when I went into seminary (I entered straight out of college) was to sit down with the financial aid folks at the seminary and apply for a deferment on my student loans. I do not have to pay a cent until after I am ordained (and thus have a salary).

You’re probably thinking of religious orders, who oftentimes won’t accept candidates with significant amounts of debt. Even then, some congregations, particularly those which run universities or have other profitable work to support themselves, might make arrangements with a candidate with a moderate amount of debt for them to, say, teach in their university to pay down the debt. Mileage may vary. This is a question for the vocations director.


I would fill out an application. On there, there will probably be a section asking about any outstanding financial debts you have. Once the diocese has that information they can advise you how to proceed. It’s not unheard of for a diocese to help their seminarians with these burdens. Even if your diocese doesn’t help financially, they can probably still get you started with spiritual formation while you’re paying them off.

Yes, you should certainly talk to the vocation director(s).

They are the only ones who can tell you the policies of their own diocese. All by itself, debt does not make one ineligible to apply.

My friend is a diocesan priest and his parents had to take out a second mortgage on their home to pay for his university because the diocese does not ordain priests with debt.

I was also talking to a priest who was admitted to seminary but held back from ordination for two years until someone finally paid off his debt for him.

While i dont doubt the truth to this at all, its apparently different from diocese to diocese. I have 20K in student loan debt and am in my seminary application process and its not an issue for me or my diocese at all. Now if you had like 100K in debt, maybe that would be different.

I honestly think its on a case by case basis.

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