Faithful Catholics with high hopes for marriage - a tough question


To all those out there who are discerning marriage, or those who have already discerned and met their spouse, looking for one who would support them in the faith, particularly to women.

The Church’s teachings on marriage as self-sacrifice, marriage as giving, marriage as an image of Christ saying ‘this is my body for you’, is beautiful. The Church’s teaching on self-control in the process of discerning marriage is tough, but makes it worthwhile, means that Catholic ladies in particular should know they’re getting a man who is really a man, who is in control of himself and in service to the Lord.

However, that same self-control, that same manliness, that same sacrifice, finds its’ most perfect fulfilment in the priesthood. The priest, by joining in Christ’s sacrifice, not only symbolises, but actually makes present Christ Himself in those words ‘this is my body for you’.

Ladies, do you ever feel that, in looking for the good, faithful, pure Catholic men, you’re always going to have to settle for second best, the ones that weren’t good enough for God to call them to the priesthood?

I’ve often felt like if God really gives me enough grace to be able to give myself completely to another, then I would be duty-bound to give myself back to God in thanksgiving, but yet if I’m not good enough to give it all to God, I’m also not good enough to give myself to any woman without becoming a burden to her sanctification.

Anybody else feel this way?


It’s a different calling . . . it’s not a matter of not being good enough. No one is good enough.


I think it is important to note that marriage and the priesthood are two very different and distinct vocations. Both are essential.
I guess we can reverse your question and ask - will any man that marries a woman feel he is settling because she is not “good enough” to become a nun? No way - God gives us all a vocation. We all play a role.

Maybe a man is not called to be a priest - but if he treats his wife with the love Christ had for his Church and his son grows up seeing this - he may be inspired to pursue this same level of love in the vocation of priesthood. Parents are called to raise future saints.

I admit, sometimes I see young priests who are so devout and I think wow they have everything it takes to be the best husband in the world!


Ha-ha! I’ve thought the same :p.

But I remind myself that they have “everything it takes” partly because of seminary formation. Were they not in seminary, they would likely be somewhat different men.


No. Some men are called to the priesthood, some are called to marriage - that doesn’t make one vocation inferior to another. I don’t think it’s a matter of being good enough - it’s a matter of whether or not one is called. To say that some men aren’t called because they aren’t “good enough” is insulting to husbands and fathers, as if marriage is a second-rate vocation for the mediocre and less manly.


It is from the family that vocations flourish. Without strong and loving husbands and fathers a new generation of priests and religious would not exist. The two vocations are completely different and each man should go through careful discernment to be sure he is truly called to the priesthood, or to religious life, or to marriage and fatherhood. Also, there will always be many more married men than priests, so if each family does their best to bring their children up in love for God, there will always be many manly, devout men ready to become husbands and fathers.


Nope! Here’s why. I believe that all of us should be discerning our vocation. The vocations to marriage and celibacy are completely different vocations.

Of all things I’ve read in my own discernment, this to me has been the most helpful.

An inner need to determine the main direction of one’s development by love encounters an objective call from God. This is the fundamental appeal of the New Testament, embodied in the commandment to love and in the saying “be ye perfect,” a call to self-perfection through love. This summons is addressed to everyone. ** It behooves every “man of good will” to give it concrete meaning, in application to himself, by deciding what is the main direction of his life. “What is my vocation” means “in what direction should my personality develop, considering what I have in me, what I have to offer, and what others – other people and God – expect of me?” **

From Love and Responsibility, 1959, Karol Wojtyla



… but yet if I’m not good enough to give it all to God, I’m also not good enough to give myself to any woman without becoming a burden to her sanctification.

Anybody else feel this way?

Yes. But then, I was never “good enough”. I suppose one has to have faith that God will pick up the slack; that He’ll take over where we lack. :shrug:


Some really thought provoking answers, and a real sense of trust in God running through them all. On some level, I always feel like I ought to be encouraging every good Catholic single woman I meet to consider religious life, or at least to marry someone better than me. At the same time, I feel like I won’t ever really have God’s permission to marry or start dating until a vocations director or novice master has told me that I don’t have a vocation to priesthood or religious life, that way I can say that it’s down to His choice, not that I’ve been running away from it. M. Martin, St Therese of Liseux’s father, was an ex-seminarian I think. I sympathise with the comment someone made about the training priests receive in seminary, I wish there were something similar I could do in preparation for marriage.


I believe there is one man out there who I am called to marry.
Like little Terese was called to enter the Carmelites, or Joseph who was called to marry Mary. It was meant to be that way…
Priests are not better than other men. They are not higher than other men and they are no more perfect than other men.
As a woman I want a man who is sure about his vocation to marry me and love me. He will care for his vocation and let the priest care for his.

As is well.
I feel you have too many worries DL.



It’s funny sometimes I feel that way when I see a nun…

But that whole thing about second best. I would like to think that I have what it takes to be a priest, but God hasn’t called me for that vocation. I would like to become a priest, but that would be for selfish reasons, not because God wills it.

Well, I sill haven’t discerned my vocation. So when God sees I’m ready he’ll call me to a vocation, and maybe it will be religious life


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