Can the Priesthood use college degrees?


#1

Hi, I am 18 years old and I think I may have a calling to some religious life, or perhaps priesthood, and I have just a few questions for seminarians/priests.

  1. When you were younger, did you have this feeling deep down, as a certainty, that you were not going to get married? Like an intuition? Did you have this feeling this before or during your calling?

  2. Secondly, I am going to college this fall, and I will probably major in International Studies or Global Studies, and possibly a minor in philosophy or spanish. If I am called to be a priest, will there be any way to use the skills I have learned in college through my studies? Or will I have to discard or ignore them?

Thank you! God bless.


#2

[quote="300WhiteKnights, post:1, topic:293931"]
Hi, I am 18 years old and I think I may have a calling to some religious life, or perhaps priesthood, and I have just a few questions for seminarians/priests.

  1. When you were younger, did you have this feeling deep down, as a certainty, that you were not going to get married? Like an intuition? Did you have this feeling this before or during your calling?

  2. Secondly, I am going to college this fall, and I will probably major in International Studies or Global Studies, and possibly a minor in philosophy or spanish. If I am called to be a priest, will there be any way to use the skills I have learned in college through my studies? Or will I have to discard or ignore them?

Thank you! God bless.

[/quote]

I'm not a seminarian or a priest, but I have read about seminary programs and I know a bit. If anyone more knowledgeable believes this information to be incorrect, please say so.

"Seminary" is a combination of a first degree in philosophy and a second one in theology. It is not until you get into the theology portion that you commence the final formalities of becoming a full priest. Depending on the program, this takes 6-8 years. If you were to major in philosophy at college, or perhaps a few other degrees, depending on the seminary you choose to attend (or your diocese sends you to) you may have your years at the seminary reduced. Each seminary will likely be different in what it wants from candidates. You may end up having to take the full 6-8 years despite your secular college education.

I am also thinking about becoming a priest, and I have had similar feelings about marriage for many years now. While I like women and think they are beautiful and attractive, it is difficult for me to imagine actually committing myself entirely to a woman and eventually fathering children. Even if I don't become a priest I don't think I will get married.

I pray that you will be guided by the Holy Spirit and have success on whatever path you take in an attempt to follow God's plan.


#3

Hi, I'm a seminarian, let me help.

  1. Actually, all my life I thought one day I would meet the perfect woman and get married, have kids and form a family. I was so looking forward for that day, so I never had the feeling that I would stay celibate, until I truly discerned that I was being called to this kind of life. but this case is mostly different in each person. Some feel the calling at an early age in their live, some feel the calling when they're even over 50 years old.

  2. The educational program for Catholic diocesan seminaries is: a full career in philosophical sciences then a full career in theological sciences (theology), so it usually goes for an 8 years plan of studies. If you get knowledge in philosophy, it will definitively help in your studies, but depending on the program the seminary has and the diocese it is in, they may or may not let you skip to theology if you get a degree in philosophy.


#4

[quote="300WhiteKnights, post:1, topic:293931"]
Hi, I am 18 years old and I think I may have a calling to some religious life, or perhaps priesthood, and I have just a few questions for seminarians/priests.

  1. When you were younger, did you have this feeling deep down, as a certainty, that you were not going to get married? Like an intuition? Did you have this feeling this before or during your calling?

  2. Secondly, I am going to college this fall, and I will probably major in International Studies or Global Studies, and possibly a minor in philosophy or spanish. If I am called to be a priest, will there be any way to use the skills I have learned in college through my studies? Or will I have to discard or ignore them?

Thank you! God bless.

[/quote]

I am also not a seminarian nor a priest, so I cannot answer question #1 with any sort of first-hand experience. For question #2, though, I would say that, usually, no degree is a total waste. I know priests with all sorts of seemingly unrelated degrees. Philosophy and Spanish certainly would not go to waste (the hispanic Catholic population is poised to become the majority of U.S. Catholics very soon if that has not already happened).

Priests also do all sorts of things. Perhaps God would call you to do international mission work and your classes in Global Studies would serve you well. Priests aren't all cookie cutter images of each other. There is a wide range of experience and temperaments. I think that makes it easier for the group as a whole to be all things to all people.


#5

You wrote:
'When you were younger, did you have this feeling deep down, as a certainty, that you were not going to get married? Like an intuition? Did you have this feeling this before or during your calling?"
Well Pal, it looks like you're stuck with us non-seminarians. But, I've been thinking about this too, off and on and for a long time. To answer your first query I would say that some do and some don't. However, IMHO, it is more a matter of a feeling of a calling and the joy of it than the feeling of "I'm not getting married, ever." Furthermore, if one cannot seem to decide between a vocation and the idea of a relationship, one belongs in the seminary. Not because you're getting away from women, no - and I know that is not what you meant - but because it is not the end once you're in. You can change your mind. Also, discernment is for all those questions too.

"Another brother has said, some would not get married even if it was optional for the priesthood and that can also be the case. The celibacy part of this and its acceptance comes as a bonus, or it can if it is not there, after one has the other aspects. And, of course, it is a sacrifice for most if not all. Mysticism, contemplation, studies, works, liturgy, prayer, brotherhood, etc., all take the place of marriage and/or a relationship with a woman.

All kinds of college degrees are indeed usefull for the priesthood. However, although you can major in what ever you want, you're going to have to have between 20+ and 30+ credits worth of philosophy; the exact number now escapes me. I know of a seminary that it is 35 credits. But, it varies or it can. If you do take philosophy outside of a seminary, make sure you stick to these courses only: Intro., Ancient phil., Medieval phil., Modern phil. and Contemporary phil.. All the rest, such as: Epistemology, Aquinas, Ethics, Metaphysics, Anthopology of Philosophy, have to be taken at the seminary.


#6

I don't know about the degrees; go with what they said. As for the intuition, dude yeah! Since, like the first grade! And I made the mistake of trying to date a, shall we say... high maintenance girl who expected me to say all the, "I will love you forever and ever" stuff, which I had a hard time doing... because I knew I wouldn't end up married to her. Or anyone else, for that matter. There is no "oh, man, this will turn out bad" feeling like when a girl says "I love you," leans in to kiss you and you realize that you will eventually have to tell her you have no intention of marrying. Ak-ward! :D Looking back on it, it is really, really, funny.


#7

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