Child support and priesthood

Is it possible for a person to become a priest if they have to pay child support? I’m asking this for other people that might be interested in knowing the answer if this pertains to them, or they find themselves in this type of situation?

Btw I tried searching the web for this but it didn’t clearify this.

No, I don’t think it’s possible to go into seminary if you are still responsible for the support of minor children. It’s not just financial - presumably these children need their father in other ways as well. Then there is the matter of the divorce…Has the marriage been annulled?

I would advise this person to talk to his priest about his desire to be a priest. Perhaps he can participate in the church to a greater extent at this time.

This comes up occasionally in the “Ask an Apologist” forum. The response has always been that a man in such a situation has a responsibility to be a father to his children until they are fully grown.

Not often discussed is what happens after the children are fully grown. It may be possible for a man to discern the priesthood then.

This isn’t for me, but for others who are in this situation that feel the call to be a priest but have to pay child support. This is also for those that aren’t married but made the mistake outside of marriage. I want this to be a answer for people that are searching for an answer on the web but couldn’t find it. Please forgive if offended.

No offense taken - I didn’t think of a man who had never married the mother of his children. :frowning: Such a man, or a man who is divorced and paying child support, should see to the rearing of his children before he tries to discern a vocation to the priesthood. It might still happen, but while the children are minors, he owes them more than that.

I watched “The Journey Home” last week and the former Baptist, now Catholic priest, had been a Deacon in the Church while his wife was alive. After she died rather suddenly of cancer, he discerned the priesthood, but his children were grown and out on their own when he went through seminary. So there were no impediments to his vocation as a priest.

I believe there is a canonical impediment for those entering the priesthood or religious life, where they cannot owe any debt. Child support would probably be considered a type of debt. But like others said, it’s more than that. A priest can be called away and is at the service of the Church. A minor child needs his father with him or near.

Father Serpa, the chief apologist on this site, has answered this question often. He says that a father’s duty is first and foremost to his children, and that such an individual would not have a vocation to the priesthood, at least not until the children are self-sufficient adults.

When children got some vacation… These are the best days of children.They wait for these days with fully excitement. They play in these days. And make more and more joyful season.

??? :confused:

I dunno. I traced that user’s posting history and the comments rarely seem related to the topic. I think Leigh might be an English learner and not quite far enough along to grasp the full conversation.

Or… troll alert. :smiley:

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit