Complication in vocation

I had a complication with my vocation to the priesthood wednesday. I have been going through the application process to be a seminarian and am comfortable going into the seminary to explore my vocation to possibly be a priest but I had a complication a 2 days ago.

I play in a pool league at a bar wednesday nights and there is a waitress there I had felt an attraction to (for more than just looks) but I never stared a relationship with her other than just friends because of my vocation and felt she wouldn't be interested anyway. However, 2 days ago she actually started flirting with me and showed signs of attraction to me even to the point of physical contact (hand flat on my back). I don't think she was doing it for tips either because I had already paid and given a tip and the things she was doing and saying to me she was not doing to anyone else and in the past couple years that I had been going to that bar she had never done these things to me. Now I cant help but to feel attracted to her and now that she was actually hitting on me the temptation to start a relationship with her is pretty strong.

 Now normally if I ever had a complication with my vocation or trouble or temptation I would turn to the Bible and find answers in the scripture. However, although I understand why the church wants priests to make the promise to celibacy the Bible's stance is that priests and bishops can have a wife so the scripture would almost encourage my challenge to start a relationship with her.

I feel a calling and would like to be a priest but I feel a strong attraction to this girl and quite frankly I feel that priests should be able to get married so they can have a partner to support them and share their journey with and they shouldn't deny love. I have a strong desire to serve God but this celibacy is a rule enforced by man not scripture or God. This also brings back the debate I had with myself if I wanted to be a priest or deacon. 

 I have been praying a great deal on this issue and this is not going to stop me from going to the seminary to explore my calling to serve God but this has still caused me a great deal of distress and am conflicted for those who are in a religious order or priest and had a situation similar to mine how did you overcome this temptation?  What was it that eased you mind and heart. 

Thanks AF

If you were not attracted to a young lass you would indeed have cause to query your vocation. Such ‘complications’ are no doubt normal in any discernment for a vocation to the priesthood. However, the suggestion that there should be married priests is no solution. Celibacy, rightly or wrongly, is the present rule for the Latin church and obedience is a good start to any religious vocation. It is a good idea to continue your visit to the seminary, and the bar to assist you in such discernment. Both the priesthood and marriage are holy ways to Our Lord. I applied to the Seminary when I left school. I had gone through all the psych. tests etc and had rejected two scholarships to University when I was told my asthma, which worsened due to the stress of my last year exams prevented me from continuing. I was informed too late to apply to Uni and I was left in the lurch big time. However, after two degrees, a very good legal career, I found out I was a wonderful husband and father. So God will have His way. Time to pray, brother.

If you are a young man it is normal to be attracted to women (and have women attracted to you).

But, just as God has a plan for your life, the enemy also has a plan for your life. Satan doesn’t tempt us with things that aren’t attractive, but those we will desire. Part of your discernment is to learn to deal with the temptations you will face. They won’t stop once you are ordained and in many ways become more prevalent as women will see you as “safe”. It might even be why this woman is attracted to you; you don’t act like the average customer.

As another post stated, it might be that you will be called to marriage. If that is the case, this is a good time to decide (over a long period, not a few days). Also this would be a good situation to discuss with your spiritual director.

Good luck. You will be held up in prayer.

Hello, AmericanFighter.
The Church has (I think) made it a rule that DIOCESAN* priests are not to marry because of the following reasons:

  1. To imitate Christ, the High Priest, who was celibate.
  2. To be able to dedicate completely to their ministry. This would be (I think) far more difficult if they had a wife and children to care for (remember that a man’s duty to his family is also to be fulfilled 24/7).
  3. To be closer to the eschatological state that we will all have in heaven.
    Now, in the case of priests who belong to a religious order/congregation/sth alike, there’s a vow of chastity that involves celibacy, and that COMPLETELY PREVENTS them from marrying, ever (I believe, though, that that is not your case).
    Now, in the Eastern rite it is true that married men can be ordained, and that also happens, VERY rarely, in the latin rite.(Bear in mind, however, that the opposite is not true-(already) ordained priests can’t marry unless they’ve been given a dispensation from the Holy See.*
    Now, dear, please, don’t cease to pray. Ask our Blessed Mother Mary to help you see (or to show you) the vocation God wants you to follow and then to reach to you* the grace that you need in order to follow and persevere on it. Go to Mass as much as you can and read the Bible regularly. Remember that Hell has an special hatred of Priesthood, and he will try to dissuade you to follow that path (of course, if you find out that’s not what God wants, then don’t persuade that kind of life).*
    Love everyone, be humble (that’s extremely important) and don’t rush into conclusions.
    My regards.
    First : I’m not sure if that’s what you say in English. Spanish is my mother tongue.
    Second
    : For more information, I recommend you to follow this link: catholic.com/quickquestions/why-cant-a-priest-ever-marry
    Third *: Again, English is not my native tongue. In Spanish, I would say: “(…) y después que te alcance la gracia que necesitas para seguirla.”
    Fourth *: If you are going to decline from becoming a priest, please do it because you think you are doing God’s will, not because the powers of hell want you to decline.
    P.S.: There are some groups (or are they forums? Or communities?) that you can join here in the Catolic forums. They will acompany you in your discernment.
    P.S.: I read here in the forums that if you have strong sexual temptations, then that is a sign of a vocation for marriage. Bear that in mind.

Yeah I just turned 27 a little over a week ago and she is 24 I can see what you mean by safe this bar can be filled with drunks and a little rough on Fridays and Saturdays while I tend to be more laid back and open and accepting than the rest of the crowd.

I see my spiritual director on the 28th and I will for sure bring it up

Bingo! That is the perfect person to discuss this with.

Marriage is a vocation, too.

Just sayin…:wink:

Two words: be open.

It may be that priesthood is for you on the other hand it may not be your calling/ it would be wrong though - especially at your stage of formation - to simply dismiss this out of hand as “temptation”. Becoming a seminarian is about discernment of a vocation to priesthood - it’s not about signing your life away from the moment you enter the seminary. I’d also add that priests are expected (if not required) to have healthy and mature friendships with women since this is part of what living a life of celibacy (and indeed priesthood) is about. Above all, take it slowly - vocations discernment isn’t something which should be rushed.

Since you’re a healthy heterosexual man, so I’m going to let you in on a little secret: your capacity for attraction to certain women will not stop when you become a priest. In fact, it probably won’t stop until you’re dead. Even married men who are faithful to their wives are going to experience instances where another woman catches their eye.

These desires are good and natural so long as you don’t allow them to develop into lust. You are experiencing them because you are a man, not necessarily because you are not called to be a priest.

Also, if you were to get married as a priest, you would always be torn between your duty to your parish and your duty to your family. It’s a lot of unnecessary stress that is best avoided by requiring priests to be celibate.

Between marriage and priesthood, one of them is an attraction and the other is a vocational calling for you. Your spiritual director can help you sort out which is which.

It’s not uncommon for your situation to arise though. The more serious we get in discernment, sometimes the more temptations we encounter. I think one will give you a greater sense of peace though, but it may take time to figure that out. Again, your spiritual director will help with that.

I understand the attraction will always be there and is not like this is the first time I had been attracted to someone or been hit on since I began my serious discernment a few years back but this one just hit me particularly hard because of the circumstances.

also I definitely see the reasons the church as for having priests be celibate however I see other reasons for letting them marry. There a pluses and negatives to both sides but that’s a whole nother issue to talk about I was hoping not to get it to I was just stating my view to further express my conflict. As of right now the rule is for priests to be celibate and thats it so no point in that argument.

all that given I was just looking for experiences and advice about how people like me got through these issues.

NO, not necessarily. I will disagree with this. The calling is to married life, not to giving in to temptation. All healthy humans face strong sexual temptations, and EVERYONE is also called to live chastely (outside of the marriage act). Temptation is a struggle for everyone no matter your state in life, but it’s how you handle it, and how you WANT to handle it, that matters more.

Remember the old saying, “God doesn’t call the qualified, but qualifies the called”

For me it was a feeling of “peace”. A feeling that there would be greater “joy” in one over the other. It wasn’t easy, and was in fact quite hard. I ended a long time relationship with a girl I had even discussed the possibility of marriage with because of it, so there was sadness involved to, but I think for me it was that despite that sadness, the feeling of peace and joy was greater. There was definitely a sense of dying to self, which was painful. But, as a Christian, with that “death” there was also a resurrection.

Thanks at times I have felt that same feeling but it was more about the process than the destination of being a priest or married and a deacon either way I know I want to serve God.

I think thats fine, and right. I think the final destination is still abstract and hard to completely understand and fathom until your right on it’s heals. So, i’d say it’s more accurate for me to say that i feel that peace and joy with what i’m doing NOW in this process and in formation, and I feel it more so now than I did when I was dating.

Thanks right now I am trying to focus on the process and know that no matter what I chose I know this will make me a better man and bring me closer to God allowing me to serve him better. I can already see improvement in myself from the process and how it has brought me closer to God and allowed me to serve God better.

Finding someone of the opposite sex attractive is a very normal response. A spiritual director once discussed this with me and the gist was, if you would make a good husband/wife, you will make a good religious. Both require us to love unconditionally, give whole heartedly and keep the Lord in the middle of it all.

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