Can a person with HIV enter the seminary?


#1

(I wasn’t sure if my post went through last time, so if it did please delete it. Thank you)
A Catholic friend of mine is thinking about seminary. He recently graduated from college with a bachelor. However, he’s HIV positive through an unprotected sex a few years ago. I’ve known him for a very long time now and I’ve never seen he involved in any relationship ever since. I asked him if he’s still sexually active, he said no, not since he’s diagnosed with HIV. He’s a really devout Catholic and is celibate for 3 years now (I’ve often pray with him when I hangout with him discuss spiritual life and read the bible). He said regardless he will get admitted into seminary or not, he’d be celibate for the rest for his life and live a religious life. I am just asking on his behalf if he has any chance of entering the seminary at all? He’s been talking about that since he was baptized (he is a converted). My friend is in a really healthy state and has no other health problem besides carrying HIV virus in his body (which the virus is undetectable at this point).


#2

I would call a seminary but I also think, if he wants to be a diocese priest, that he should talk to them, too. Back in “the day” there was so much misinformation about how HIV was spread and there may still be some misinformed Catholics out there. I personally do not feel that I would need to know this but the diocese may think it is necessary to consider potential ramifications. We are in such need of priests that I would pray that this would not prevent his career goals. Who of us has never made a mistake and, quite frankly, not every priest was celibate before turning to his calling.

I will pray for him.


#3

It is, though very important for your friend to discern that priesthood is his true calling vs. a result of circumstances. I am not judging but I am quite sure this might come up as he inquires into the various possibilities. There are, by the way, many religious societies that he could join and participate in without taking vows.

You seem like a good friend. :slight_smile:


#4

Thank you! I am pretty sure it’s not just because he’s HIV positive so he wants to be a priest :slight_smile: Because he’s been talking about that before he got HIV. Should he also just go to his parish priest to inquire such subject?


#5

He probably should go to the Director of Vocations in his Diocese because that person would have a better idea of the regulations.


#6

I would just call and check.

It is important to note, however, that if he is rejected it may not be because of his HIV status but his overall health status. Many men are rejected from seminary because of any type of chronic illness as well as many women from religious orders. A lot of these order and diocese want men/women in perfect health-although we know from the history of the saints that there were many chronically ill saints. However, since health care is such a huge cost for dioceses and religious orders, they are not as willing to overlook such things as in times past.


#7

Yeah I will let him know and maybe he’s going to speak with the vocation director. He’s pretty healthy (exercise regularly, rarely gets sick, body weight is healthy, mental health and spiritual health are awesome, at least from my observation) besides he’s a carrier. But I will pray for him, he said he’s going to dedicate in the religious life anyway.


#8

I tend to agree with this. I am in the process of applying for the aspirancy for the permanent diaconate, and there was a whole section of health questions that were asked of us, as well as getting a form filled out by our physician documenting our health in many different areas. I think some of this is to ensure that you are in good enough health to dedicate the time to the program, but I also think it is the church wanting to get a return on the monies they will invest in people they put through formation. I know in the diaconate, they want you to serve the church for at least 10 years after ordination (at least in my diocese).

I would say your friend has some challenges ahead, but don’t let that deter him from asking the questions. With God, all things are possible if He will it. Possibly he may not be called to the priesthood, but there may be other ways he can serve God.

Peace,

John


#9

Thank you for your reply! Yes I totally agree with you too, he said if he can’t make it into the seminary, he will just remain celibate and continue a religious life (maybe a religious order for laity will suit him). And with current medication, he can probably live a normal lifespan as long as he takes his med. But who knows, maybe he can be a missionary since he likes to talk about spirituality with others and he’s an academic :slight_smile: I can only pray for him.


#10

Do you mean a secular institute? You become consecrated and make vows of poverty, chastity and obedience but you do not live in an order. And you are financially responsible for supporting yourself.


#11

And just to give you an idea of how easily religious orders or dioceses can throw out candidates, I have had at least two orders not even discuss vocational paths with me after I told them I was on an anti-depressant–10 YEARS ago!! :eek:


#12

Dang :eek: do you mind telling which orders did you apply? lol cause personally I am considering a secular religious order too (like the Third Order of Franciscan)


#13

I’m going to go out on a limb here and suggest that no, he would most likely not be able to. HIV involves a deficient immune system, which is a deal-breaker when you consider how many hospital/nursing home visits a typical diocesan priest (or, for that matter, seminarian) makes.


#14

:frowning: well he just got an email from the vocation director of the archdiocese today said that the director would like to make an one-to-one meeting with him. So I guess that’s good news because he told the archdiocese about his health problem and they still like to meet him :thumbsup:


#15

I hope he hears what he is hoping to hear, but they might want to speak to him in person to tell him that he is disqualified because of his health. HIV is a sensitive issue and they may not want to discuss it by email. Let’s hope for good news and he can start the discernment process soon. :rolleyes:


#16

:stuck_out_tongue: we can only pray for whatever God’s will is :slight_smile:


#17

Please let us know what happens. I have a strong belief that God will use your friend in a way that his faith will be paramount. If he is turned away from the diocese, then tell him to keep on looking. Just keep supporting him and let him know that sometimes we are turned away from our greatest hopes only to realize that when we find our calling according to His will our true purpose is realized. I have to emphasize that I think that some of our non-religious evangelizers can impact society so much more than some priests can. One thought is teaching religion. We desperately need people who can reach out to our youth and draw them closer to the Lord. As one gets older, some of this falls into place. I know that I am right where God wants me and He values what I do. That will be the case for your friend. Big things can be done in little ways. :purple_heart:


#18

Thank you for the positive energy! He has a meeting next week with the chancellor of the diocese and he’s going to have a meeting with the vocation director of the archdiocese in a few weeks :slight_smile: I will for sure keep the updates here. Bless!:angel1:


#19

Twenty years ago in college, the Newman Center priest was a part-time priest, part-time dog grooming business. I do not know more details. Would it be possible for someone to carry health insurance through a secular employer and also be a part-time priest today?


#20

Start a separate thread please.


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