Lessons I've Learned


This post was actually written in response to “Unworthy to become a Priest?” But it’s lengthy content seemed to address areas the OP of that thread may not have necessarily been requesting, so I am setting it as a stand alone post, so others with similar questions may benefit from it.

When you read it, it sounds a little awkward as a standalone post, so try to consider the OP’s original question. Then it might make more sense.

I’ve been studying for years in an effort to be a Priest, and I’ll tell you what I have learned.

First, you need to find a Confessor and a Spiritual Director to hear out your thoughts.

Talk to your confessor about your sins. You can feel free to ask him for forgiveness of your sins and guidance as per your vocation.

Find someone else to do your Spiritual Direction. Talk to your Spiritual Director about your sense of Spirituality, and express to him your desire to help form yourself to become a Priest. I’d really try to stay away from discussion of sins. Emphasize the need to put together a very positive presentation to a Vocational Director. A good Spiritual Director will help you articulate with a Vocational Director.

When you meet with a Vocational Director - it’s kind of hard to say what to do, but it’s important to realize what’s happening… You may go into the office, sit down with the Vocation Director, and he may be more or less welcoming… But realize also he has an incredibly hard job to do… The church is in demand for Priests, but many are called and few are chosen - I’ve seen grown men go out of vocational offices in tears (much to the lament of the Vocational Directors) because they got rejected… The church is under an immense amount of pressure because of various internal scandals, as well as external hatred with which they are confronted, so, while they need Priests, they at the same time have to be very careful about who they admit…

In addressing a Spiritual Director, I would focus on the motions you’ll have to go through first because getting admitted to Seminary is a huge obstacle course - let alone surviving it… You’re probably going to need 10+ letters of recommendation, physical and psychological evaluations, proof of baptism, a criminal record review, one or two committee reviews, and finally approval from an Archbishop or Provincial (depending on where you inquire)… and that’s just some of it… you’re age, family situation, financial situation, and other issue will all be scrutinized… and, that’s just to get in, so its plenty to discuss…

If a Vocational Director pushes you for personal motivation, only mention what your Spiritual Director has approved because that will be the most refined, presentable “cleanest” information to use.

In closing, a few random thoughts.

Read Canon Law, especially around the areas concerning vocations. Church law (canon law) is based upon Roman law, which is different than the secular common law we use today. It’s largely subjective in nature, which means - if a superior likes you, then you’re in, but, if not, then you’ve got a real problem. If you’re worried about sin, then read its comments in “impediments”, which are the red flags Vocational Directors will be scrutinizing.

Read Saint Ignatius’ Spiritual Exercises, as this is what (I think) the Catechism leans towards in its Discernment of Spirits, and what vocational directors (I think) should be considering when they help a person discern a vocation. If you do read them, then try to use them to get rid of impediments.

Visit this site: vocationsplacement.org/
Natalie is really nice, and she runs a lay service helping to place people in seminaries, convents, etc. She has videos that will teach you everything you need to know for the admission process, and she can also help you find free formation retreats, etc., so you can see if you like the houses.

And, if you make it this far, then dont get discouraged…

When St Faustina was called, Christ was allegedly disappointed with her, saying something to the effect of - “How long are you going to put me off?” Afterwards she went to something like 15 or 20 different places looking for admission. That’s right, 15-20.

When Saint Gerard Majella responded to the call - one of his overseeing clergy who didn’t like him sent a note to his Vocation Director - “I am sending you a useless lay brother!”

Saint Francis of Assisi got pelted with mud and rocks for a few years before anyone took him seriously.

St Jean Marie Vianney struggled for years with the military, school and etc before he succeded.

All in all… think about what you are proposing… consider your weaknesses, but also look at your strengths… and where it could all lead… Life in service to the Church is not all that easy, although many here like it… You’ll need all the strength you can get…


Good post, William.



The Church was rocked by scandal before and it made it to this day, and all without criminal records system of the past.

St. Francis also took in criminals. St. Augustine had problems with sexual vice. St. Peter also took in criminals by their own admittance, and St. Paul was 'murderous", referring to his Jewish duty to hand over Christians to the Gestapo of that day, the Sanhedrin. Families include children, and he knew mauling in the Colosseum was a usual punishment, and the Romans were willing to fill these centers on the grounds of trivial reasons, providing entertainment for Romans with non Roman lion meat. So St. Paul deliberately created the potential and conditions for children to be abused, and potentially a few children can thank Paul for their demise.

Crimes of antiquity do not get dissolved in God's eyes, and they remain crimes today, regardless of what uniformed Catholics who should know better and civil authority may say about it.

In fact these saints can be civilly charged today and called into courts in-absentia and sentence pronounced. So this is the downside of an infallible Institution wishing to avail itself of a fallible institute's dirt. If this proper, so is anything.

The criminal record, that document of scandal, has become a file for God's use and records all entities who refuse to forgive in the true Christian sense, and those Entities who avail themselves to it. He also checks if double standards are a habit of these people, negating their good of extending complete charity and loss of memory to their own, while slandering others.

So new candidate rest comfortably, but you are being watched closely from now on.


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