Independence, academic study, and the priesthood


I’ve been contemplating the priesthood, but I’m a bit confused as to whether to look more at religious orders or at being a diocesean priest. I am interested in historical criticism, and I feel a bit of a draw towards academia in this respect; the idea of writing on early Judeo-Christian history and Biblical criticism is very attractive. In my experience, religious orders, such as the Jesuits, seem to be geared more towards this sort of activity, but I’m not sure I like the idea of taking vows of poverty or living in a religious community; I don’t want to be rich or anything, but I don’t want to necessarily have to ask my superior for permission to buy stuff. In short, I’d like to live a more (relatively, of course) independent lifestyle. Is it possible to be a diocesean priest and an academic?


Short answer is yes. However, it would ultimately be up to your bishop and, while not all diocesan priests serve a pastors, parish ministry is at the heart of diocesan priesthood. You might also like to look at some Societies of Apostolic Life.

If it assists, most religious are provided with an allowance for their day-to-day expenditure as well as things like cars, cellphones, computers, etc for their use as needed.


Reread your post and notice how many times you used the word “I.” I don’t know what God is calling you to do but I think your focus needs to be more on his will and not on what you want. Maybe God wants you to do exactly what you wrote above but maybe he doesn’t. Maybe your resistance to living in community is evidence of your need to be more community minded and less independent. Maybe your desire to be self-sufficient is evidence that you need, for the salvation of your soul, to live the difficult vows of obedience and poverty. Again, I have no idea but I think you need to change the way you are thinking about your future to be more God centered and less you centered.

Know of my prayers. God Bless.


It’s possible, but it certainly helps if you have a seminary in your own diocese. Generally, unless you’re sent for full time study/teaching, you would have to juggle your study and a parish, the latter of which would come first. (i.e. it can be annoying) Frankly, your life would probably be more independent in a community.:shrug:


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