Divorced parents: obstacle to priesthood?


I have heard twice that having divorced parents can be a deterrment of sorts to the possibility of having a priestly vocation. How much legitimacy is found in such a claim?

Certainly, children of divorced parents bear noticeable wounds, deficiencies – call it what you may – but is not the grace of God sufficient to make up for what is lacking if He truly indeed calls one of divorced parents to the priesthood? Nevertheless, the practical reality of divorce’s effects cannot be ignored, even in light of God’s grace.

So, I am wondering if anyone has more wisdom or experience on this matter to offer some encouragement or further guidance about divorce and its effects on one who would-be a priest.

Thank you very much :slight_smile:


As the child of divorced parents and a man currently applying to enter the seminary, i can tell you they havent told me anything about it being an impediment or anything. But i will tel you one HUGE difficulty I face, but it is one that even the child of a married couple could have.
My dad’s side of the family is very waspy and dislikes catholics, especially clergy. So once I break the news, my family will think I am gay and a rapist (thanks mass media, ignorant bigots of an extended family, and all you metally disturbed clergy out there :mad: ).
Then, my dad is a lapsed catholic (essentially converted to marry mom), and now seems to live an abivalent atheistic (not denying God, in fact he belives nomitavly at least, but just not seeming to care) life. I am worried cuz i love him but I fear he wont understand once I tell him.


I don’t think they mean it is a canon obstacle to priesthood. I think what they mean is that it’s problably more likely that a person would be interested in the priesthood if they came from a solid Catholic marriage. Same could be said of the better chances of having a lasting marriage if a person was raised by parents who had a lasting marriage.


There is a priest in my Diocese who has parents that were divorced. I work with his very proud Mama.


I heard it said that we all need to experience the love shared by a husband and wife, because this is a powerful experience of God’s love for us. For some this comes through their experience with their parents’ successful marriage. For those who come from broken homes, they may need to experience it firsthand.

This is not to say that having divorced parents will prevent someone from being called to consecrated life. Just that many people would feel “incomplete” without this experience. Those who do have divorced parents but are called to consecrated life are certainly showered in graces. (:


I think this may have changed over the years.

Our former pastor is the son of divorced parents. He never indicated that it was a problem to his acceptance into the priesthoodin the 70’s.

In the 30’s, one of my father’s cousins wanted to become a sister. Her father had abandoned the family, but her mother would not get a divorce until the daughter was in the order because divorce would have been an impediment at that time.


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