Ladies, would you consider marrying a man who had spent time in/discerning the priesthood?


I have a personal interest in this. I find all the Catholic women I know (bar one) are really excited that I’m considering religious life, even the ones who have admitted to being attracted to me. Only problem is, I’m nowhere near as excited as them. I worry that, now I’ve told someone I’m discerning, it’s already become a road of no-return.

I had intended to post a poll, but there was an error with the thread. FYI, the poll options I was considering were:

  1. I would be happy to marry an ex-priest or ex-seminarian, he clearly takes his faith and fatherhood seriously.
  2. A man who has walked away from discerning the priesthood has clearly discerned positively that marriage is for him, I’d see that he takes his faith and vocation seriously.
  3. I would be happy to marry an ex-seminarian, but not an ex-priest, how could I trust that he takes vows seriously?
  4. A man who has walked away from discerning the priesthood isn’t perfect, but we all need to forgive.
  5. I would not be able to trust that a man who has walked away from discerning the priesthood wouldn’t feel the ‘call’ again and then walk away from me, he doesn’t know his own mind.
  6. A man who has walked away from discerning the priesthood has walked away from God’s highest calling, he doesn’t take his faith seriously, I couldn’t marry him.

These are just the thoughts off the top of my head. Maybe women don’t think any of these thoughts about an ex-priest, seminarian or discerner. Let me know what you think.


Devotion to God, as evidenced by a serious discernment of the priesthood or religious life, is attractive. These Catholic women are probably excited at your disclosure because the Catholic Church needs priests and if they know and like you, perhaps they feel that you would make a good one.

When you say you’re not as excited as them, do you mean you’re not as excited about the prospects of becoming a priest? This could indicate that you’re not being called to this vocation. Or maybe you still are and that excitment will build. But until your vows, there is no point of “no return.” Discernment means exactly that, you’re discerning (read: trying to figure out) whether this is what God is calling you towards. Lots of people who start discernment ultimately decide not to join the priesthood. It would be unusual if everyone who entered seminary became a priest; sort of like how odd (and perhaps worrisome) it would be if everyone married the first person they ever dated.

Your women friends, if they understand the beauty of marriage and the consecrated single life, will not judge you if you decide not to become a priest.


There should also be a 7:

  1. I would encourage any man who had left discernment/seminary/priesthood to go back to that vocation, no matter how much I might want to marry him, or how much he might want to marry me.


I just saw that you edited your post to include a “poll.” Before I was married, I would have considered (and had no qualms about) marrying an ex-seminarian. But since Holy Orders, like the Sacrament of Marriage, is permanent, I would not marry an ex-priest. He would not be free to marry.


I DID marry a man who was discerning the priesthood.

He was a brother/friar for 3 years, realized his vocation was marriage, not priesthood and left once his vows expired.

I have never once thought he might not take his faith or commitments seriously, or that he wouldn’t be able to take commitment to marriage seriously. In his case, he didn’t just “walk away” from the priesthood - he did it after much prayer and soul searching with his spiritual advisor.


No, not a former priest. A potential problem with commitment is one issue, but also I’d feel that I was somehow occupying or usurping “territory” that belonged, by right, soley to God. To me, that would be a pretty scary place to be.

Someone who had discerned that he did not have a call to the priesthood, yes. He covered all his bases, put God first, and gave Him first choice.

Someone in the middle of the discernment process, no. Wouldn’t even date him if I was aware of it.


DL82- I heard an interview on Immaculate Heart radio with a priest. He was talking about discerning the priesthood and the experiences of seminary. He said without a doubt, he was hit on by women far more when he was in seminary than when he was not. :eek:

His theory is that devout women are attracted to men who are purposeful in their faith and life. I’d say if you are this, priest or not, you have no problem!


Same here :slight_smile: Except my husband went to HS and college seminary schools, then one year in Seminary and then decided it wasn’t for him. I never took it to mean he walked away from the priesthood either, but rather that he accepted his vocation to marriage.


I would vote for #2 in the poll because that’s exactly what I did!

My husband is a wonderful man. He takes his Faith very much as the center of his/our lives. I wouldn’t have it any other way. He clearly discerned that his vocation would be marriage. We married when he was 34. He was very clear to me at the time that this was a “one time deal”. Divorce would never be an option.

Now he is discerning his call to become a Deacon. We truly are two-made-one. There is nothing more I would want.



I choose # 2 and # 3 and absolutely reject # 6 and # 7.

It is said that a man’s vocation to the priesthood is not certain until the bishop has his hands on his head at ordination. As far as I’m concerned, if a man discerns a vocation to marriage at any time before ordination, it’s just fine. And he’s quite a catch.

Once he’s been ordained, even if he is laicized, a man retains the priestly character imprinted by Holy Orders on his soul. He’ll spend his life trying to be something he is not: a lay person. I couldn’t live with that.

Absolutely numbers 6 and 7 are unacceptable. Beginning to discern or even discerning for a long time do not indicate either a commitment to being a priest or a vocation to priesthood. I would say to you about your discernment what I said to my daughter about her marriage just before she walked down the aisle: "If you have any doubts at all, walk away now. No one will be angry with you. We’ll go directly to the party." For the record, she’s divorced now. Listen to your heart. If you want to be married, that’s probably what God is calling you to. Doing His will is way more important than pursuing a vocation that you do not have.



He WOULD be free to marry, but you wouldn’t want to marry him–which I wouldn’t, either. However, you have to be clear on that point: once a man has been laicized, he IS free to marry in the Catholic Church, & they do. I knew one personally. He was NEVER allowed to have anything to do in the Catholic Church again with teaching, I remember that–he couldn’t be a lector, give out communion, teach CCD, even CYO or youth, NOTHING. What a sad existence–always on the outside, looking in. Not for me, certainly not for any children either.


The term “ex-priest” is somewhat confusing. To me, it conjures up images of a man who one day decides to up and leave the priesthood to become Anglican, start dating, or otherwise excommunicate himself. Are priests automatically laicized if they decide to “leave” the priesthood? I thought laicization was a specific and lengthy process which someone had to deliberately undergo?


This is precisely my problem. I feel like I’ve gained so much of a sense of purpose and strength in my life from my time in discernment. God has given me those gifts for the service of His Church. I feel like, if I walk away now, I’d be saying “thanks God, you’ve given me what I need to be really attractive to Catholic girls, now I’m going away to use that for my own happiness.” It just doesn’t feel right.

I know I could go on in discernment, I woke up today and didn’t have to go out looking for a bride, I woke up today and did what the Salesian rule told me to, and wasn’t miserable about it. I could wake up tomorrow and do the same, and the next day, and the next day, and so on until I’m taken into the novitiate, then I’ll have lots of stuff to do to keep me busy. I can keep going on until final vows, at which point my whole body will be screaming at me not to make vows, but I have the ability to completely act against my best interests, so once I make my vows, then I trust God will give me the strength to fulfil them. Ordination would give me even more strength, and then my vocation would be given by God. If someone else told me ‘no’ at any point, I can see how it would be right to walk away, but I don’t know that it’s ever right for me to be the one to say no.

Someone on this board said if you want marriage, you’re probably called to it. I don’t believe that at all. Everybody wants marriage, it’s natural to want marriage. The good priest is one who realises that his life was made for higher things, that he can serve the Church better by sacrificing his own desires to help others. A good priest is alter Christus, another Christ.

PS, when I said ex-priest, I meant one who had been formally laicised and stayed in the Church, not an excommunicated priest.


I think i marry a man who had spent time in/discerning the priesthood,if he is good man.:wink:


No, they are not automatically laicized. They must seek it, and yes, it is a specific and lengthy process. Yes, they must deliberately choose to undergo it. A friend of mine has asked me to pray for her brother, who left the priesthood years ago, and has never been laicized. He got married outside the church, but has had his son baptized & is going to CCD classes. His wife is not Catholic, so I guess it’s not a big deal to her. :frowning:


DL82 - It sounds like your not ready to walk away from or too either vocation, which is fine and good and what a time of discernment is for. However don’t be to hard on yourself for finding grace and gifts from God that brings you happiness.

If someone else told me ‘no’ at any point, I can see how it would be right to walk away, but I don’t know that it’s ever right for me to be the one to say no.

What if you looked at it not as saying no to something that is good and holy, but yes to the good and holy option God wants you to say yes to, which ever that might be.

And to answer your OP I married someone who considered becoming a priest.



I have the opposite side of the coin. I spent two years in active discernment of the religious life and discovered marriage was my true vocation.

All the years proceeding ordination or final vows, even temporary vows, are just that. Temporary. If no vows have been said, you are free to leave right away. If temporary vows have been said you are free to leave with permission when they expire. If you have not been ordained a deacon (the first ordination on the path to the priesthood) then you are free to choose the marriage vocation. The religious formative years are very powerful and you discover a lot about yourself. I discovered, with the help of my Superior, that marriage was my true calling. And my husband sees it too.

A note aside, that I am now discerning a lay religious vocation, something one can certainly become after marriage. Also, men can become permanent deacons after marriage. Many religious “calls” within the call to marriage. :slight_smile: Of course parenting is the supreme call of marriage, but not all are blessed to be called to parenting, like us. Some even being parents feel called to something “more” in which a lay religious/ or a permanent deacon might be the calling for them. Parenting is the ultimate call and nothing should take it’s stead, but other calls in addition to it are very highly esteemed for those who are called and able. :slight_smile:


If my mom didn’t, I wouldn’t be here :smiley:


Me neither. :o

My dad was laicized from the priesthood. Also, my uncle left the seminary.

My dad is still VERY active in the faith. :slight_smile:


My dad is still VERY active in the faith.

So is mine.

He spent three years at Senton Hall. :slight_smile:

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