Discernment of a traditional vocation

Dear all,

I’ve been “lurking” on here for a good few months and have started to chime in now and again. There’s something I’d really love to hear views on, particularly for those of a more “traditionalist” mindset, and those who have been discerning a vocation to the Priesthood.

This is something I was going to blog about, so I do hope the mods won’t be mad at me for pasting that in here now: :eek:

Many traditionally-minded young men are thinking of discerning a vocation to the Priesthood, and looking at seminary formation. They think the ‘old Mass’ is important, but also feel something for serving their Diocese. A bit of a pickle, indeed.

I will attempt to describe what I understand to be the pros and cons. Apologies if any of this seems piece-meal, or doesn’t make sense–ask for clarification!

Indult societies

The old Mass, for those attracted to it, represents the summit of liturgical form, and behaviour; it represents a 'gold standard', and exhibits the reverence and sanctity required of all present at the liturgy. It seems less open to abuse, and clearly shows congregants the attitude to be employed at Church. The formation that the FSSP and other indult societies offer is clearly traditional and orthodox, not pandering to any liberal mindsets.

However, these societies also represented 'closed groups' with opportunity only to minister to congregations placed under their charge, i.e. not necessarily in one's Diocese, but go anywhere and unless things change minister to a 'gathered congregation'. There are also no indult seminaries in Rome, which means one would miss out on that experience, and the indult Seminaries have to all charge fees, which many cannot afford.

Diocesan Priesthood

The future of the Mass is less certain for Diocesan clergy. Of course we hope for the motu proprio creating a generation of Priests and laity where there is opportunity to have both forms of the Mass, extraordinary and novus ordo, celebrated perfectly in accordance with the rubrics and other commands of the Church. However, is this certain? What if you end up somewhere obstinately set in 1970s la-la land?

The formation for Diocesan Priesthood is equally less certain. I have heard nasty rumours about the national Seminary here in Scotland, and also about some of the other colleges in Rome, but luckily so far not the Pontifical Scots College. Not just limited to teaching, which is sometimes said to be heterodox, there is the risk of being stigmatised for the slightest attachment to old ways. However, the benefit of the Diocesan Priesthood is serving one's community, one's Diocese.

There is also a further awkward piece to the jigsaw, that is partially based on my own speculation. I wonder if we will **only** see a "reformed" Diocesan Priesthood and novus ordo Mass if those traditionally-leaning men offer themselves, some might say "sacrifice" their hopes and surety, in order that the coming generations of Priests are firm in their faith and outlook and support both forms of the Mass and what they stand for.

The Diocesan Priesthood also has the advantages that there are Seminaries in Rome, and that the Diocese and Local Education Authority often give grants to defray costs, unlike the indult Societies which have to charge fees.

So, does anyone have any views? How can these conflicting attractions and fears be resolved? How does one discern between them?

Any suggestions? Traditionally minded young men, thinking of a vocation need practical suggestions of how to appreciate the pros and cons of both, and to discern between them. How do we know where to lay our lives for an offering? :confused:

Well you should pray about what God’s Will is for you. For me, I don’t really care for the Novus Ordo - as in, I prefer the traditional Latin Mass. So in the future, I guess the question is, can a diocesan priest decide to only celebrate the extraordinary form? Well the answer is probably not. Therefore the best bet is a traditionalist order or society that only has the TLM.

Thanks for that, Ace86. I will admit I did not think of this so much before the motu proprio, but now that it is here I can see the possibility of the administration of all the sacraments according to the older Liturgical books as being very appealing. Don’t get me wrong–I don’t mind the novus ordo*, but truthfully, I have only seen it done well in a few places (and one of those is not my home parish, where I just want to cry often after Mass).

The money issue is worrying me somewhat–actually, quite a bit–as my family have no resources to be able to raise the required $7k per annum, and neither do I as I am working to pay off my existing debts. But if it is God’s will, then there will be a way… (I guess my concern about that belies my swaying toward that option.)*


Discerment is something not to be taken lightly as you know… Per our other Messages back and forth the new found deepness in your faith is a great Grace that God has bestowed upon you.

As we all know and as Fr. Corapi likes to preach that with great power comes great responsiblity and such is so with our catholic faith. Because we are Catholic’s and have been given the grace of God’s True and only Church we must not take things lightly even Discernment

My Suggestion would to be not rule out anything… diocese, a Society of Apostolic Life (FSSP / ICRSS)… Monistary… etc… Put it in the Hands of our Blessed Mother and spend MANY MANY hours infront of the Blessed Sacrament… Listen and let the Holy Spirit Guide you…

If there is a Monistary near by you may want to go on retreat with them maybe these may help you out - papastronsay.com/

I will keep you in my prayers and Keep up the good work my fellow “Good and Faithful Servent”

Thank you; a good warning that I need to respect. It is something I am learning to live, though, as it is the notion of discernment that lead me to convert to Catholicism, though at the same time it has always ‘been a part of me’, as I always went to Catholic primary schools. Anyway…

If there is a Monistary near by you may want to go on retreat with them maybe these may help you out - papastronsay.com/

Well, I am trying to make a retreat at least once a year, and in October am going to Pluscarden Abbey, near Elgin. I have been there before, and really appreciate the atmosphere. The Mass in novus ordo but in Latin, and they pray the Psalterium Monasticum, so the LoH isn’t light! :thumbsup:

You are right: this is something I cannot ‘solve myself’. I must lay it at Our Lady’s feet and ask her to ask her Son to show me His will for me.


Prayers from here!
:signofcross: :gopray2:

Hello markadm,

I don’t know if Scotland is interested in an American Protestant view, but you didn’t mention the name of Jesus once during your discernment. I would suggest that you go back over every sentence that you wrote and add Jesus to it.

Hope this helps;

This is the coming difficulty I think we are going to face, despite the Holy Father’s best hopes, God bless him. This is why we need one rite ONLY, either the extraordinary form (which could be offered in ever parish every Sunday in both Latin and the vernacular) or the ordinary form, frimly regulated (and though it would grieve me, for the sake of unity, I’d let the Pauline Rite go). I don’t believe God calls men to a form of the Mass, but to the Mass and the Church and the priesthood of Jesus Christ. I’ve no patience with those who will not celebrate the ordinary form and increasingly less patience with those who will undoubtedly decline to offer the extraordinary form for the the laity in their parish who desire it (this came home to me when Cardinal Martini, a prince of the Church, reacted poorly to the idea of the Tridentine. Imagine a Cardinal flatly refusing to offer one of the forms of his own rite). If we are actually going to manage to have two forms,then the coming generation of priests should be taught to offer both or their services should be declined with a polite thank-you, but a firm “no.”

That monestary is schismatic. They are followers of the late Archbishop Lefebvre…

Thanks, JKirkLVNV. I think you are right, but I guess I am scared of a formation where there is no hint at the older form, and parishes where it will never be celebrated. Honestly, I wish there weren’t two forms at all. :frowning:

Don’t despair. If God is calling you, He will make a way.

THanks for the update

I was not aware

Thanks. :slight_smile: You’re right; if it is God’s will, then He will provide.

Or did he? The post centered around the sacraments, particularly the mass, in which we believe Jesus is really present. That said, he may not have called him by name, but he mentioned Our Lord quite a few times.

Still, I think that you make a great point, in that since the priesthood was instituted by Christ himself, and priests are His servants who are intended to spend much time in His company through the sacraments, a personal relationship with Jesus is #1 in discerning a vocation.

In fact, one of things I really admire about certain Protestant groups is the emphasis placed on developing a personal relationship with Jesus.


Okay, folks; I take the point. Any practical suggestions, though about discerning between the two forms of formation? :confused:

If I were you, I’d learn the TLM. It’s much more difficult and requires more knowledge and attention to detail. Once you’ve learned the TLM, the NO Mass will be a piece of cake if you’re ever called to say it.

Thanks, timjp77. I believe I am leaning towards that, but the cost is worrying me a bit.

I kicked off a new thread on the Vocations forum in case anyone had any good suggestions.

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