I might be called to priesthood, but I don’t want to be a priest


I might be called to the priesthood, but I don’t want this vocation. When I pray and listen to God I often think about the priesthood but hope this isn’t what I’m supposed to do. I want to do God’s will because I know I will be happiest doing it, but I’m not sure if I can be a priest. I’m trying to be open, but it’s very hard for me and I don’t know for sure anyway. Any advice would be great thanks so much!!!


Being called to the priesthood is like being in love. If you have to ask whether it’s happening, it isn’t.

If and when God calls you to the priesthood, you will know. There will be no doubt in your mind.


That isn’t always the way it works!

@19wsharp when you have some free time, watch this journey home episode with Fr. Reid. He did not want to be a priest. The thought terrified him. God had other plans…



Very true. Desire can be an indicator of a vocation, but sometimes we are resistant to hearing God’s call because it conflicts with the plans we’ve made for ourselves.

You could try talking to some priests who are involved in recruiting seminarians and being completely honest both about why you think you might be called to the priesthood and why you aren’t sure you want to. Maybe you could spend a day shadowing a priest and see if that stirs anything.

Keep in mind, too, that becoming a priest is a long process, and some men seem to be be called to explore the vocation even though God ultimately directs them elsewhere.


Priesthood is a vocation (call from God). Unfortunately, we are not like Samuel who heard God calling him directly. However, like Samuel we usually need that ‘Eli’ to direct us. Even though it is difficult to know exactly what God wants to make of our lives, we can remain docile to His promptings. But I am certain of one thing: if you do not feel like it, you can never be forced into becoming a priest. So do not feel pressured at all. Pray, asking God for guidance. Then ask yourself what you want from life. Then reach out to your diocesan vocations office, Parish priest or spiritual director. Everyone has a call from God, but not every call is to the priesthood. God bless you.


Talk to some priests. You will be surprised. Are you too old for Quo Vadis Days? Excellent discernment program.

Discernment often takes years and can be agonizing. But, if we are to deny ourselves and take up our crosses daily, that means submitting to God’s will for His sake and not our own.

He will reward His faithful servants - this we know.


That is not true either. The purpose of discernment is to determine God’s will over long period of time. You can discern to go to the seminary only to find out through a lot of pray that you are not called to be a priest.


It’s not uncommon for men called to the priesthood to absolutely hate the idea and resist it for a long time. One of the local pastors around here discussed his experience in that regard last year in a homily.

If it’s a true call, you will eventually realize that. Meanwhile I’d suggest you speak with a priest about your feelings.


Sorry; I see I was unclear. There will EVENTUALLY be no doubt in your mind. Just as with falling in love, it isn’t (usually) an instantaneous thing; over time, you will come to see that it is (or isn’t) your calling. The process of discernment is absolutely vital to interpreting God’s call, and I’m sorry I made it sound like it was an all-at-once now-you-aren’t-called, now-you-are thing. I was only trying to say that, if you don’t know whether this is your calling, you aren’t ready yet.

God bless.


Your vocation is whatever you think will make you happiest in the long run (and will help you get to heaven)


My Bishop told us that he was unsure also and nearly left the seminary a few times.


You are discerning the priesthood until the very hour the bishop ordains you.


Many who are called resist at first and try secular life and other avenues. PRAY and spend time with Him in the Blessed Sacrament. Visit the vocations Director of your Parish. Go to a vocations day in your parish. Talk to Seminarians.


You didn’t write why you don’t want to be a priest.

If you think about it a lot, then apparently at least part of you is fascinated with the idea of being a priest.

Doesn’t mean you must become one though. As some others have pointed out, to doubt a vocation to the priesthood is quite normal. As my own experience goes, such doubts can be of two kinds: fundamental and circumstantial/practical. Fundamental doubt concerns the question whether you are intrinsically suitable for the priesthood, and you need to find an answer to this first – but not in a hurry.

And even if you arrive at a positive answer to this fundamental question, doubt about the practical and circumstantial aspects of priesthood remain, and they may be so compelling to lead to the decision not to become a priest even though you are truly suitable for it. The truth is that in the RCC priesthood is not only a supernatural gift; it is also a fairly narrowly defined practical lifestyle. To become a priest in the RCC you must have the supernatural gift and be okay with the lifestyle. These are separate issues that you must both resolve. But as I said: not in a hurry.





Whatever your vocation


I am going to list links to you tube vocation stories that might interest you:



I was told, when I was considering a religious vocation, in a Catholic book on the subject, that a call to the priesthood has to be a positive thing.

If somebody says, “I don’t really want to be a priest, but I think God wants me to do so out of a sense of obligation,” that might imply they’re not being called.

And there should be a positive call toward the priesthood, not running away from something else (e.g., marriage, the corporate world).

Now, of course, as others have suggested, circumstances can change; someone could be called later.


Both @Roguish and @Signit have both emphasised a very important point - this has to be what you want. So if you really really don’t want to be a priest then it’s simple - go off and do something else. God never forces His will upon us; he never interferes with our freedom. Respect for individual freedom is also an esential part of the discernment process - no diocese or order is ever going to accept someone for seminary who doesn’t want to be there! This also includes those who apply because someone else wants them to be a priest. Discernment is a two way street - the diocese / order discerns you as much as you discern them. A call to the priesthood must be recognised and affirmed before it can be said to truly exist. Having said that, as Roguish pointed out, you haven’t said why you feel your not called. What is is about priesthood that repels / scares you? Certainly, fear is a very normal (and expected) part of the discernment process.

Ultimately, discernment is a journey and it’s not one where it’s easy to see the road ahead, let alone know where it might be leading you. Certainly, if nothing else, some spiritual direction may well be of benefit to you as you discern.

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