Dating and maturity


Hi everyone, I’m a 22-year-old college student who is discerning my vocation to the priesthood. I just wonder if anyone who has become a priest never dated anyone - would the lack of dating experience affect his maturity in decision making as well as understanding of his own personality? Is it that anyone who has never dated don’t understand the meaning of love?

I always pray that God grant me more wisdom in inter-personal relationships. Not that I am always in solitude and have few fiends, but my being a nerdy science geek in high school always makes me doubt my capacity to become a good pastor…

My spiritual director, a newly ordained diocesan priest, thought that I had some very obvious signs of Vocation around 8 to 11 months ago. Right now I’m still waiting for Jesus’s reply and clearance of so many obstacles in front of me. And in fact I still doubt if I really were called to the priesthood or religious life…

Thanks for your reply.


I’m sorry I can’t speak to the first part of your post – but I would like to point out that there are plenty of nerdy-science-geeks in the pews. Especially if your definition includes people who get chills when they find out that the latest VR technology will allow them to walk around the Enterprise D. AND SIT IN JEAN LUC PICARD’S CHAIR.


Ahem… sorry about that… Anyway, we need pastors, too. Furthermore, it is often true that those who had a more difficult or less “popular” experience of high school grow into more empathetic and compassionate adults because of their experiences. And guess what? Pastors need those traits.

Being a nerd or a geek does not in itself make you any less likely or able to be called to God’s service; nor does it mean that you will be unable to relate to people in the ways he asks of you. This particular concern isn’t rooted in truth. Have you tried spending some time in adoration? Personally, I don’t find that Jesus often tells me any particular truth, but he does have a way of dissipating the lies.

I have prayed for you, that Jesus will replace your anxieties with a lasting peace, make it clear to you if he wants you for one of his priests, and if so remove the obstacles in your path.

Thank you for taking the time and making the effort to prayerfully consider your vocation.


The biggest Catholic priest nerd I can think of is his Holiness Pope Francis. He was a chemistry major and never dated (although he admits to being interested once or twice ;). He gave up the secular life for a better one to serve God. Keep discerning and praying. The Holy Spirit will give you a clear answer in His own time.


no, it doesn’t mean you are immature if you have not dated.

in fact, most young people these days are very immature, so you are probably saving yourself a lot of pain by staying off that scene for a while. I’m in my 20s as well, so I know the struggles. many people move from one relationship to another and fail at them, without understanding why or how to fix themselves.

it does not mean you will make a bad priest either. Keep discerning your vocation


In short, no.

Supposing that you were raised in an intact home with siblings, you know everything that there’s to know about love, especially among fallen persons.

Now, since priests are normatively celibate in the Latin Catholic Church, in your discerning the priesthood you also need to discern celibacy. With regards to the latter discernment, dating might help you to understand if you have the gift of celibacy, as in refraining from marriage, too.

However, as a matter of honesty, you shouldn’t mislead someone in a relationship that implies marriage when you are also discerning the priesthood. Perhaps, with advice from a spiritual director, you might ponder if it’d be prudent to firstly discern celibacy or marriage and then, secondly, priesthood, if in the Latin Church.


For your information I have a sister.
Recently I have decided not to date a girl whom I harbour no feeling for the reason you mentioned.


There are at least two questions to ask:

  1. Can I relate with women well?
  2. Am I going to obsess about not having had a relationship?

If the answers are “yes, no,” then there is no problem here.

The Lord is our model for love, He did not date. But that’s not the real issue.


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