I told my dad that about the preisthood

Hi all, im coming here because I need support and advice. If someone who is a seminarian or priest that has gone through something similar, I would appreciate it if you could give your 2-cents.

I am 21 years old and I have been discerning the priesthood for around 5 years. The call to the priesthood has felt persistently strong, and at least for me, there is no doubt in my mind that this is something I need to investigate. Later, when I studied abroad in Spain, I came into contact with a wonderful religious community and I think that my vocation may be with them, but I need to visit them again to more carefully discern.

Anyway, I had to tell my parents. I told my dad a couple of months ago that I was seriously discerning a vocation to the priesthood. My dad is not religious at all. He is a non practicing protestant, but christianity is not something he holds onto very strongly.

So he did not take that well at all. He was absolutely shocked. He does NOT like the catholic church. He perceives it as a corrupt, exclusive, anti-woman institution, and that priests are the thought police of the church that brainwash people. He has a long list of complaints.

Before I told him about my vocation, I never knew how strongly he felt against the church until now. I knew he didn’t connect with the faith, but this sentiment he has was a discovery for me.

My mom is a devout catholic that goes to mass every day. She would be ecstatic except for the fact that she is very afraid of my dad. They do not have a happy marriage unfortunately. They share a lot contempt for each other. I think my mom tries harder to overcome it though. I am thankful to God they never divorced.

My dad is also concerned that if I did become a priest I will not think for myself and will just rely on the church to think critically for me. He is also upset at the fact that I would be celibate, and is concerned about how I would sustain myself in the future among other things.

He also does not understand the spirituality behind a “calling.” He thinks that I am not thinking logically and that I am thinking with my feelings. He told my mom in a heated conversation that I needed counseling. He is also hurt by the fact that I kept this to myself for so many years.

I can see that I am going to need a lot of patience to talk with him in the future. Also if someone could answer his objection of “You can’t have your own ideas, or think critically but you have to blindly follow whatever the Church teaches.” I would appreciate it.

And if anyone would like to share for your own story if you faced something similar, or say a prayer for my Mom, I would be thankful.

there is nothing I can tell you except that the harvest is great and the laborer are few. We are desperate for good priests. No matter what vocation you choose remember this, there will blessings and sacrifices that come with either.

I can see that I am going to need a lot of patience to talk with him in the future.

Good luck.

Probably will just have to weather it. The more you love him instead of fighting with him - restraining yourself from violence in word and action - the better it will get, at least for you. You can’t - won’t - change him. Just find peace where he refuses to go.

Also if someone could answer his objection of “You can’t have your own ideas, or think critically but you have to blindly follow whatever the Church teaches.” I would appreciate it.

Prove him right. Love your enemies. Kill him with kindness. “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” So said St. Paul.

The worst possible thing you could do right now is to willfully disobey him in anything that is not immoral (presuming you still live with your parents). “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise-”

(Hey, my dad* was* right!)

Unfortunately, your story is not unique. I have seen a number of variations of it over the years, I am sad to say. You have good companions in a number alive today – and those who have gone to Heaven. St. Aloysius Gonzaga comes particularly to mind as does St. Thomas Aquinas, whose family locked him in a room with a prostitute to dissuade him. She failed.

As often the case, reality is far removed from the fantasies people concoct in their minds.

If you have a vocation and if you complete your studies to ordination, you will have one of the most extraordinary educations one could attain. I wanted to complete my studies in psychology in addition to my degree work in theology but, in Europe, we must have a degree in philosophy in order to qualify for the theology degrees my bishop wanted me to attain. An entire degree in philosophy, principally ancient and medieval philosophy, I undertook therefore as a duty…more of a means to an end. What happened was I fell in love with the subject.

If you are in Europe studying philosophy, you will know far more about critical thinking and, indeed, epistemology than in any other field of study that comes to mind. You will also look at some of the greatest minds known to history, from the Greek philosophers to contemporary thinkers.

The study in philosophy and theology, as well as the classical languages and the Romance languages necessary to function in western Europe, which will all be part of your studies, will give you an extraordinary breadth of knowledge in fields utterly fascinating. The formation for religious life, or diocesan priesthood, involves its own regimentation that is best akin to the military. My whole life in seminary, from the first bell that sounded at 5:30 a.m. until the bell for great silence after compline, was a continual round of discipline.

You have years of study and years of discernment – you and those who oversee your formation. There are steps and increments but you won’t make an irreversible decision for years, so your parents can be reassured that there are many bridges you will cross and opportunities to change your mind along the path.

Celibacy is a challenge. There is no question about that. But love always requires sacrifice of one sort or another. Ours is different but, as you have seen, marriage is not always without its hardships and sorrows. And love is the only reason to embrace celibacy. It is an act of love, an expression for the One who is loved…loved above all others and who, at a moment in time, called one He chose into a relationship of love. To be chosen for that life is a very great gift – far more previous than what was given up.

If you are a religious, the religious institute has an obligation to provide for you, particularly after perpetual vows. You would not have to provide for yourself. You would be assigned your work by the Superior (until you were too elderly or ill to continue working) and, throughout your life unto death, you would have access to the common table, as we used to say, or to the necessities of life that are shared in common by the members of a religious institute.

As for thinking logically and thinking with your feelings…often when a young man or a woman falls in love, they are thinking with their feelings, too. On the other hand, they do have to approach their relationship rationally. As will you with trying your vocation. Your parents can take comfort that, with no disrespect, even if you are thinking with only emotions and feelings, the formators for priesthood and religious life do not. Assuredly. Their discernment as to whether or not you are an apt candidate is unemotional.

Anti-women? By and large, the greatest minds and most powerful women for many centuries were where they were because they were women of the Church…Abbess Hilda of Whitby, Bridget, Hildegard, Gertrude the Great. It was because of the Church and her concepts that there were powerful women like the Empress Helena and the many Queens who reigned across the continent and down through the centuries.

I will pray for you and your parents. You should be in contact with the community you wish to explore as they will not be as accustomed to later vocations as has become normal in North America. I would advise you also to have a spiritual director here who can help you in your discernment.

One must be very cautious standing upon this ground.

One should not disrespect one’s parents. But, if the vocation to the priesthood and/or religious life is real, that vocation originates above and beyond the parents…with the One who gave this commandment to Moses.

I have seen parents disown their children for pursuing a vocation – may God forbid that in your situation – but, at 21 years of age, if you have a vocation, then that supersedes the obedience owed to your parents. Obedience is different from gratitude and respect.

That said, I would urge you to try to find ways to discern your vocation, if at all possible, in a manner that preserves the relationships with your parents intact, in so far as this is possible. I pray both of your parents will come around. Sadly today, with families being smaller, parents are all too often grieved at the very thought of giving a child to the Church.

May the newly canonized saints, Louis and Zelie Martin, who generously gave all their children to religious life, help you and help your parents in this tendentious time.

I think your dad needs time to get used to the idea. He is misinformed about Catholicism. Be true to yourself. If you are hearing God’s call, say yes. You will become a wonderful priest. I will keep you in prayer to find your vocation according to the will of God.

Peace brother,

I was shocked while reading your post as I DID in fact have a situation almost exactly like yours. My mom and her family are devout Catholics, go to mass as often as possible, very knowledgeable about the Faith. My dad, before he and my mom ultimately divorced and got an annulment, converted to the Faith but after divorce he returned to his protestant roots and still believed in God but sure did not live like he did… he was not an exemplar Christian to say the least. I had had what I thought was a calling to the priesthood since I was three years old. Him and his family are vehemently, and I mean to the MAX, anti-Catholic. they tried everything in their power to get me to not go to seminary. I did not end up going in the end, but not because of them. I would have gone in spite of everything they said and did. I knew it would have been what God wanted of me and that my mom at least was backing me up. your dad sounds lost. you can really only pray for him: we cannot convert anybody by our own efforts, but only can remove the obstacles hindering God’s grace from entering their hearts. be loving to him; this will show him that the Church and you have the Truth. more people have been converted by simple acts of love than through any philosophical debate. But know your stuff, just in case he asks. My verdict is: GO FOR IT! we need priests badly :frowning: if you feel you have the call, respond! don’t worry about your dad or what he will say. you have to do what God wills and know that He will take care of you. you may not be able to see it right now, but following God’s will always leads to happiness in the end, because He knows what is best for us!! it may look bleak right now because your dad, but it will be bleaker if you don’t follow our Lord. maybe this is how God will bring him to the Church! I just read an article about an African bishop who ended up baptizing his muslim father, who was an imam of all things!! there have been more challenging cases my friend. pursue this calling! I may not have ended up joining the priesthood but that is because I believe my girlfriend is whom im called to marry. but you need to go after it. best of luck, I prayed for you .

Allah yubarak fiik wa salaam Yesuuw3 3laik ya akhii,

Mahmoud bin Salah

OK, so… if you told your dad that your passion was to become a Broadway dancer and he got angry, would you therefore decide that you cannot follow your passion? :wink:

You’re 21. It would be terribly disappointing not to have your dad’s blessing… but you know that he’s predisposed against the Catholic Church. Do his feelings and opinions trump yours? You’re an adult.

My dad is also concerned that if I did become a priest I will not think for myself and will just rely on the church to think critically for me.

And if you listened to him, wouldn’t you be “not think[ing] for yourself and just relying” on him “to think critically” for you? :wink:

He is also upset at the fact that I would be celibate, and is concerned about how I would sustain myself in the future among other things.

Is he concerned that you won’t be able to find a job as a priest? :rolleyes: :wink:

He also does not understand the spirituality behind a “calling.” He thinks that I am not thinking logically and that I am thinking with my feelings. He told my mom in a heated conversation that I needed counseling.

In a way, that’s what priestly formation is – an extended period to determine whether it’s just ‘feelings’, and a whole lot of counseling. In a way, he’s saying, “yes! go discern the priesthood!” (even if he doesn’t realize it)…!

He is also hurt by the fact that I kept this to myself for so many years.

Should he be surprised, given his reaction once you told him?

I can see that I am going to need a lot of patience to talk with him in the future. Also if someone could answer his objection of “You can’t have your own ideas, or think critically but you have to blindly follow whatever the Church teaches.” I would appreciate it.

One follows the Church not because he blindly gives up his own rationality to the Church; rather, he follows the Church because he’s engaged his intellect, thought critically, and decided that the Church makes logical sense. :shrug:

I’ve heard of many situations similar to this. I think the important thing is for you to know that although you hear this calling, you should also remember to honor your parents. I would recommend you speak with your diocesan vocations director for assistance even if you aren’t planning on becoming a diocesan priest. Maybe you can find stories on young men who are living such a joyful life after choosing the priesthood. I think Fr. Chase Hilgenbrinck would be an amazing example of someone who chose something greater.
Good luck, may God bless you!! :slight_smile:

You’re 21, thus an adult, though its certainly wise to consult your parents when considering your state in life its not a violation of the 4th commandment to decided not to heed the advice given. They can’t forbid you to marry or force you to, and they can’t force you to become a religious nor forbid you not to. They have a duty to you as much as you do to them. I’m no expert but this is my understanding.

My advice, pursue your vocation with joy and zeal. Give your pops time he’ll come around. I’m happy for you, what a great thing to want to do with your life. :slight_smile:

Oh and most certainly **talk with your vocations director **they’ll be better suited than the internet to advise you on such an important matter. :thumbsup:
Good Luck.

Hey everyone, I know this is an old thread. But I’d thought I would come back to it one more time. First of all a big THANK YOU to everyone that offered me advice and support, you are in my prayers.

The situation as evolved a bit since I last posted. My dad is far more upset than I have ever anticipated about this. It doesn’t help that he is not the least bit open. Also, my dad expects my mom to talk me out of investigating the priesthood, which puts additional stress on her, because she’s catholic. It also makes her anxious that she cannot do anything to make him feel better about this. Over thanksgiving break, my mom revealed to me that my dad said to her something along the lines of this:

“If Stephen pursues this path, I am not sure if I will be able to continue this relationship.”

They have been married for 27 years.

She told me she didn’t know what he meant by that. But I think the shockingness of a statement like that is hard to take seriously at first. I’m not sure how serious my dad was he he said that either, but he normally means what he says, so I fear that he may have been for real.

My mom and dad have had a painful marriage. The resentment and lack of trust between has slowly been worsening over the years. But even when I was young, they hardly ever enjoyed each other’s company and would never laugh with each other. I think a divorce could be possible. But I have confused feelings about that.

On one hand, I would be relieved that my mom would not have to suffer anymore. She tells me that she feels like she is walking on eggshells all the time she is around him. There always feels like there is a polite tension in the house when they are together. When my dad left the house to drop my older brother off at the airport, she exhaled loudly like she was exhausted. On the other hand, it would definitely be terrible for the whole family, and would still be sad for my parents, even though they don’t like each other much.

However, if he manages to open his heart a bit, sees what the priesthood is for himself, and somehow feels better about it, maybe there would be less chance of them separating.

I am praying for them all the time. I just felt like the need to write it out here. There are not many people I can talk to about this.

Also, sometimes I am struck with the radically of what I am doing and the risk I am taking. It is my senior year of college in the U.S. and I have NO plan B, if this religious community in Spain (Home of the Mother) does not work out, I will just discern with a different religious community. But I have no job lined up, which feels weird when all my friends are getting job offers and preparing to do what they went to college for.

I feel like I am preparing to jump out of a plane. However, one thing that comforts me is that when I went on a silent retreat with the community in Spain, the superior general said we should not be afraid to give ourselves totally to God. Its like skydiving, we wont feel the support of the cables of the parachute unless we jump first. So I think about that sometimes in reference to this.

Anyway, I am going to pursue this for Christ no matter what. I will just need to continue praying. Thanks for taking the time to read this.

It sounds to me as though he is blaming your mother for your desire to become a priest…and that this is a “last straw” for him. Since she is a devout Catholic, he thinks she or her actions influenced your decision?
(Unlike your Dad, did your mother know how you felt all these years? Or was she as shocked as your father?)

With your father so against what the Catholic church believes and does and your mother so devout…how did they ever get together?! Were they married in the Catholic church? If so, then he would have had to agree to bring the kids up Catholic, non?

Perhaps it would be good for you to have a Plan B?
Your father sure would feel better for you if you did. He sounds very worried about you…very worried for your mental health. He thinks you need counseling…so he must have some reason he believes you are making an unwise choice for yourself besides the fact that he doesn’t like the church. Just because you are making a decision he doesn’t like, a parent wouldn’t usually think their kid needs counseling over it.

Then again…if this is the first he’s hearing about it, he might think the seeming suddenness of it is linked to a problem you are having with school or women or something.

I think you should stress to him that it’s something you have been thinking about and felt strongly about for 5 years. Because to him it’s coming out of the blue, this may be why he thinks you are not making a logical decision.

I’m curious…just to put the puzzle pieces together…what does your older brother do for a vocation/career? And other siblings?


I have been thinking about a vocation to the priesthood for around 4-5 years very strongly and consistently. For him this is out of the blue, but my mom has known about it for pretty much as long as I have been discerning. It has just been secret. (My dad was upset about that too.)

My older brother double majored in finance and accounting and works at a job. My twin brother is going to go to graduate school after college.

The anger my dad feels towards the church has been growing over the years. He feels ostracized because he cannot receive communion, among other things (he is a non practicing protestant).I am not sure how my mom and dad fell in love with each other when they met. my mom hinted to me that she wasn’t madly in love with my dad before they married, I think for her it just seemed like a logical step to take. They married late, in their mid 30’s. They married in a church.

I dont think my mom was as devout when she met my dad as she is now. She has grown a lot in her faith. I dont think my dad would articulate it this way, but I think the main problem he has with Catholicism is that it is an organized religion. Everything he said about it seemed to boil down to that: they have a doctrine, they are into mind control, exclusive, repressive. its pretty much what you could say about any other organized religion that you happen not to like.

Dude we need priests this is all I can say right now

You’re 21, so you’re old enough to pursue whatever career you desire – your father and mother’s failing marriage IS NOT YOUR FAULT.

Do not permit your father’s attempt at emotional blackmail to force you from your path. Do talk to your local diocese about your vocation – if Spain doesn’t work for you, your diocese can help you with Plan B.

May the Lord bless you and keep you, and give you peace.

See Luke 12:49-53. Sound familiar?

Jesus: A Cause of Division.*
“I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing!

  • There is a baptism with which I must be baptized, and how great is my anguish until it is accomplished!
    Do you think that I have come to establish peace on the earth?v No, I tell you, but rather division.
    From now on a household of five will be divided, three against two and two against three;
    a father will be divided against his son and a son against his father, a mother against her daughter and a daughter against her mother, a mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.”

Source: usccb.org/bible/luke/12

Your parents’ relationship has nothing to do with your choice of vocation at this time. If your father does leave your mother on the basis of your becoming a seminarian, rest assured that the responsibility for the decision falls squarely on his shoulders. He entered into a covenant upon marriage that presupposes the procreation of children and their education in the faith. Considering the priesthood is a distinct possibility under those conditions!

May God bless you and your family specially at this time. Remember that, while God gifted your parents to you as guardians, that He is the Ultimate Father, and that His voice trumps all others. Be at peace with your honest discernment of seminary.

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