Let's talk about becoming a priest


#1

Alright I have a few questions about becoming a priest/being a priest:

  1. I’ve read that there are secular priests and religious priests. Religious priests live in a community and all their money goes to the community, is that correct? Whereas secular priests are more “individualist”?

  2. Some of the research I’ve been doing shows that not every priest’s primary job is working in a parish, but can focus on work in the Archdiocese/Diocese?

  3. Is it possible for a young priest to be assigned to work in the Vatican? If so, how does one go about doing that? What sort of things would the priest be doing?

  4. When it comes to orders…what orders are the ones to look into if I really am not interested in living in a community?

  5. Can one be a priest, and a lawyer? I’m currently in law school and as it stands I would like to finish, and then go to seminary and eventually get a law degree for Canon Law. But can a priest be a “real world” lawyer, and also be a priest? If yes, what orders allow that type of thing?

  6. Despite all of the above, I’m very drawn to FSSP. If I were to go through the FSSP seminary and become an FSSP priest (hypothetically) would I be able to have a career outside of living in the FSSP community? Such as being a Canon lawyer, or working in the Vatican, etc.?

Sorry if these questions are stupid, or make it seem as if I’m not that serious about the priesthood (or that I’m looking at the priesthood for the wrong reasons); but I’m still rather early in the discernment process (only a year or so, but for the last 4-5 months it is literally the only thing I can think about).

Thanks y’all!


#2

[quote="20wldct, post:1, topic:284208"]
1. I've read that there are secular priests and religious priests. Religious priests live in a community and all their money goes to the community, is that correct? Whereas secular priests are more "individualist"?

[/quote]

There's a few more distinctions then that, but yes that is one. Religious priests are religious, so they take a vow of poverty and hence don't own stuff (and don't have money). The Order pays for all their stuff (food, board, clothing).

A secular priest gets paid (not a lot mind you. The old joke is that "religious priests take a vow of poverty, but the secular priest lives it"). They are individualistic insomuch as they can follow their own particular Catholic spirituality or have bits and pieces of several (Franciscan, Ignatian, Marian, Augustinian, ect).

[quote="20wldct, post:1, topic:284208"]
2. Some of the research I've been doing shows that not every priest's primary job is working in a parish, but can focus on work in the Archdiocese/Diocese?

[/quote]

The parish is the primary job, yes. A diocese may have other duties, such as the Chancellor, Vicar General(s) (which both would generally be more senior priests I would say), and possibly professors if there is a Catholic university/college or Seminary.

[quote="20wldct, post:1, topic:284208"]
3. Is it possible for a young priest to be assigned to work in the Vatican? If so, how does one go about doing that? What sort of things would the priest be doing?

[/quote]

That would be unlikely I would imagine.

[quote="20wldct, post:1, topic:284208"]
4. When it comes to orders...what orders are the ones to look into if I really am not interested in living in a community?

[/quote]

As my vocation director put it, the Order of St. Peter, the original order :D. And by that I mean a secular priest.

You know, given this and your next question I'm going to go out on a limb and say the Jesuit. From what I've heard (and this could be wrong, I haven't done much research into Jesuits because I know they're not for me), they generally don't live in communities. St. Ignatius wanted them to be individual soldiers for Christ.

[quote="20wldct, post:1, topic:284208"]
5. Can one be a priest, and a lawyer? I'm currently in law school and as it stands I would like to finish, and then go to seminary and eventually get a law degree for Canon Law. But can a priest be a "real world" lawyer, and also be a priest? If yes, what orders allow that type of thing?

[/quote]

Like I said, Jesuits are probably the best bet. There are Jesuits who do everything, from theology to engineering. A very quick Google search tells me that there are at least a few Jesuit lawyers, full members of the Bar and everything.

On the question of Canon Law, I personally know a secular priest who has a JCD (a doctorate in Canon Law).

[quote="20wldct, post:1, topic:284208"]
6. Despite all of the above, I'm very drawn to FSSP. If I were to go through the FSSP seminary and become an FSSP priest (hypothetically) would I be able to have a career outside of living in the FSSP community? Such as being a Canon lawyer, or working in the Vatican, etc.?

[/quote]

I'm no expert in the FSSP, but I would imagine that the FSSP would want their priests to be out living out their mission (celebrating the EF). Their priests seem to be in high demand for that.

[quote="20wldct, post:1, topic:284208"]
Sorry if these questions are stupid, or make it seem as if I'm not that serious about the priesthood (or that I'm looking at the priesthood for the wrong reasons); but I'm still rather early in the discernment process (only a year or so, but for the last 4-5 months it is literally the only thing I can think about).

[/quote]

Yes, well that does tend to happens. :p

I would get yourself a spiritual director to help guide you along with these things. A book that I personally found useful was "To Save a Thousand Souls" by Fr. Brett Brannen.

I would look into your reasons if I were you though. Look specifically at why you want to be a priest. Do you feel called to preside over the Mass? Or hear and absolve sins in the confessional? Witness marriages and give baptisms (and a Deacon can do both of those too)?


#3

[quote="curlycool89, post:2, topic:284208"]
There's a few more distinctions then that, but yes that is one. Religious priests are religious, so they take a vow of poverty and hence don't own stuff (and don't have money). The Order pays for all their stuff (food, board, clothing).

A secular priest gets paid (not a lot mind you. The old joke is that "religious priests take a vow of poverty, but the secular priest lives it"). They are individualistic insomuch as they can follow their own particular Catholic spirituality or have bits and pieces of several (Franciscan, Ignatian, Marian, Augustinian, act).

The parish is the primary job, yes. A diocese may have other duties, such as the Chancellor, Vicar General(s) (which both would generally be more senior priests I would say), and possibly professors if there is a Catholic university/college or Seminary.

[/quote]

Gotcha. Thanks!

That would be unlikely I would imagine.

I went and looked at what I was thinking about...I was thinking of the Pontifical North American College. I've looked around but I can't real find out much about it: how does one get in, do you already have to be a priest/seminarian, etc.?

As my vocation director put it, the Order of St. Peter, the original order :D. And by that I mean a secular priest.

I'll definitely look into it. I'm actually googling it now! I think I'm incompetent, I googled it and only got FSSP lol. I think I'm missing something...

You know, given this and your next question I'm going to go out on a limb and say the Jesuit. From what I've heard (and this could be wrong, I haven't done much research into Jesuits because I know they're not for me), they generally don't live in communities. St. Ignatius wanted them to be individual soldiers for Christ.

Like I said, Jesuits are probably the best bet. There are Jesuits who do everything, from theology to engineering. A very quick Google search tells me that there are at least a few Jesuit lawyers, full members of the Bar and everything.

This probably sounds like a terrible thing to ask, since I'm thinking about being a priest in the first place (and maybe implies that I'm missing the point, but...)

One of the things I read about secular priests is that they have their own bank accounts, apartments, and all that since they rely on themselves when they retire? Whereas with religious orders you don't get "paid" all the money goes to the order. So with the Jesuits, does everything go to the Jesuit order or do individual Jesuits keep their money?

I think I just can't wrap my head around not having control of my financial situation.

On the question of Canon Law, I personally know a secular priest who has a JCD (a doctorate in Canon Law).

Cool, good to know it's definitely a possibility.

I'm no expert in the FSSP, but I would imagine that the FSSP would want their priests to be out living out their mission (celebrating the EF). Their priests seem to be in high demand for that.

That's a little disappointing, because I feel like I'm being called to be a priest or at least to seriously consider it; and I'm also feeling very attracted to FSSP due to my preference for the EF and the lifestyle...but I also feel as though I can do a great deal of good as a lawyer. Helping those who truly need help, b/c let's be honest those who can't afford competent lawyers really get screwed by the Justice System sometimes. I feel that as a priest and a lawyer there are so many different ways to help the world and to live Jesus' message.

Yes, well that does tend to happens. :p

I would get yourself a spiritual director to help guide you along with these things. A book that I personally found useful was "To Save a Thousand Souls" by Fr. Brett Brannen.

I would look into your reasons if I were you though. Look specifically at why you want to be a priest. Do you feel called to preside over the Mass? Or hear and absolve sins in the confessional? Witness marriages and give baptisms (and a Deacon can do both of those too)?

I can't really put it into words quite yet. I think you're right, and I need to talk to a spiritual director. They might be able to help me figure it out, I hope.


#4

That is a great book!

I am discerning, as well, and am a soon-to-be seminarian. Please pray for me. I have a couple of goals to accomplish before the Bishop will accept me in my Diocese. I need to be done by July!


#5

P.S.;

If you are looking to deepen your knowledge of our faith, and maybe learn a little bit more about the FSSP Congregation, here is a wonderful website for you to take a look at:

sensustraditionis.org/multimedia.html

It is a great site, and it is where the priest (and exorcist), Fr. Chad Ripperger, FSSP, has posted many of his talks and homilies in audio formats that you can either download and/or stream.

I have a friend who has applied for their congregation.

God bless you in your discernment. Just have faith in God’s Divine Providence, and know that you are in the right place, and the right state of being right now. Thank God, and have trust in Him. Seek first the Kingdom of God, and all other things will be added unto you!

“Triumphs lie in faith.”

Sincerely,
TMyers


#6

Thank you, and from what I’ve seen so far that’s a great website!


#7

Yes, a secular priest would have their own bank account, but while they are doing work for the diocese then the diocese will provide them with somewhere to live (which is usually a parish rectory). They can choose to live somewhere else, but they have to pay for that.

Once they retire from active ministry (which I believe is 75), then they do have to make due on their own (some may have a pension, or old age benefits from the government depending on where they live). Some diocese have retirement apartments/villas.

For most religious orders, yes that’s how it works. The order gets the money, and they are responsible for all your needs.

For the Jesuits … you need to ask a Jesuit because they might be slightly different because a lot of them live mostly on their own. Like I said, I’m not an expert on how the Jesuits live.

Not having control? Or having freedom from having to worry about financials? 2 sides of the same coin.

Religious live their lives dedicated to the Gospel. Financials is not something they should be overly worried about. Becoming a religious means you are putting all your trust in God; trusting that God will provide for all that you truly need. That is a very hard idea for a lot of people, not just you. We’re used to having control over everything, but we have to learn to give up control in some areas of our life and let God drive the bus.

I would double-check with say the FSSP vocation director if I were you. I’m not an expert when it comes to the FSSP.

I said this in a reply a week ago or so, that that can be a tough decision. We can sometimes feel that our talents are really useful somewhere and that we’re really needed in one place, but God wants us somewhere else. My degree is in engineering, and at first I felt really conflicted about that. I felt that my skills that I had and had developed were being “wasted” in a sense. I had to say “Lord, I don’t know why You want me over there, but if that’s what You want then that’s where I’ll go. I don’t know why I had to take this specific path (I have some guesses), but I trust that You’ve got a plan and it’s better then mine”.

Thats ok. Sometimes it takes a while to understand why. Sometimes the attraction comes before the reasoning. For myself, I fell a general attraction first, but it wasn’t until I started daily Mass that I really saw why I wanted to be a priest.

My feeling is that sometimes God calls in stages. He calls us to the first stage, and on that first stage we discover what the next step is, and it goes from there.

Good luck! If it’s God’s Will then it will happen.


#8

Expecting the criticism to start flowing in, but out of duty to a potential future priest and sincere concern for your spiritual life, I post my usual caveat, based on intimate knowledge:

At all costs, avoid the Jesuits. They are not the once-great order they were.

You say you’re drawn somewhat to FSSP. That is about as extremely opposite the Jesuits as possible. The Jesuits almost cannot be considered Catholic anymore.


#9

Could you elaborate? I’ll admit I don’t really know much except about the “ideal” of a Jesuit, if that makes any sense; and not much about the Jesuits as they exist now.


#10

I’m sorry, but that’s plain disrespectful. Not only that, your post is a violation of forum rules:

I would like to remind posters in this forum about asking for “orthodox” orders and on commenting on the “orthodoxy” of orders.

Any religious institute that is in communion with the Church is orthodox.

While there may be members who might hold to some unorthodox positions if the order is in communion with the Church then it is orthodox.

There are many great Jesuits that nobody hears about because nobody bothers to look. Archbishop Prendergast of Ottawa is an excellent Jesuit and just one example.

I’m taking the extreme measure of reporting your post because it only exists to mislead people.

If you want to get real information and not rumors, I’d suggest you read this post by someone who’s in formation to be a Jesuit. He’d probably be someone who could give you more information too.


#11

CurlyCool89,

If you calm yourself and read exactly what I wrote, there is no way my post can be interpreted as violating forum rules. I know who the “good” Jesuits are, I know personally. I know very well, for many years. Haven’t you seen the FOUR major articles on Jesuits just in the past 24 hours? Not mild stuff, major, earth-shattering stuff. Do you know the history of the order PERSONALLY going back to post Vatican 2? Or are you just flustered at having your idols knocked over? Don’t look to one nice bishop, look at what is happening daily at the highest levels, and, sadly often at the lowest levels in the seminaries.

What I say is true, all of us on the inside know it. Notice I did not say more! That might be wrong, as I would then have to substantiate with names and dates. I just sounded the alarm to someone who is sincerely asking. My opinion is legitimate and widely held. If you want to over-react and block my free speech, that seems ridiculously defensive for such a general comment.

It’s not “rumor” and definitely not posted “to mislead people.” Heaven help us, I am trying to inform someone who may want to be a priest from choosing an Order that could potentially damage his soul, definitely his intellect, and, since it’s of concern to him, no doubt also his pocketbook as the Jesuits have a quite interesting way of handling that.

If someone openly asks for advice on the priesthood and I have certain knowledge and an opinion held all the way to the highest levels of the Vatican, and I post it succinctly and respectfully, it’s up to the young man to investigate and decide for himself. But I can’t stand idly by and repress the truth because folks like you don’t understand what is happening.


#12

And once again you are defaming an Order of the Church. You know that slander is an offence against the 8th Commandment, right?

These are simply unfounded accusations. You can’t take the actions of a few men and generalize it over an entire Order, it’s fallacious thinking. By your way of thinking, the early Church was apostate because it was mostly Arians.

Like I said, I have no connections with the Jesuits, so accusing me of holding them up as “idols” just shows you how bad your arguments are when you have to resort to ad hominems the first paragraph. You seem to be the one that has all the issue with this Order.


#13

I would like to remind posters about commenting on the “orthodoxy” of orders.

Any religious institute that is in communion with the Church is orthodox.


#14

Thank you for this gentle and friendly reminder. I just willingly overlooked it so as to not go off tangent or start anything negative.

I completely agree, though.

God Bless!!!


#15

Your questions are not stupid !

The secular or the religious are the same by their vocation, but in fact, their life is different as you found in your researches or reading.

You can work like priest in a parish or at the diocese, it depend on your capacities; your charism, the needs of your bishop or the diocese…

You could also work for the vatican, but too complicate to explain the different ways for… :stuck_out_tongue:

Of course you could be lawyer and priest why not, i know more than two priests in that situation. Some dioceses need them for theirs cases or christian associations…

The fact to be a lawyer canon, doesn’t mean necessary to work in vatican, because dioceses need lawyers canon for the ecclesiastic tribunals. Don’t look first an opportunity to work in vatican…

God Bless You,

leandresz.com/en/


#16

It is not necessarily true that the vocation of the secular priest and the vocation of a religious priest are the same.

A secular priest’s vocation is one of service to the local church through the parish. That is not always so with a religious priest.

Sometimes a religious priest only serves his community.


#17

I know, right? Sometimes it seems that we’ve reduced religious priests to “priest in slightly different clothes”.

It’s sad, but many people have really reduced it to that. If I ask someone why they want to become a “Franciscan priest” (which Br. JR would probably tell us is a misnomer to begin with), they’ll probably tell me something like “I like Franciscans and I want to be a priest”.

It’s something that we’ll need to better education Catholics about so that we can avoid such stereotypes.


#18

Bah, my mind was apparently somewhere else when I was writing this and I failed to double check it before posting.

That should really say “It’s something that we’ll need to better education Catholics about so that we can avoid *reducing religious priests to ‘priests in different clothes’ *”. Religious have unique identities and specific callings.


#19

I know a few priests who are both civil and canon lawyers. I know one who is a medical doctor.


#20

Yes maybe, but the both lead people to Christ, it’s why I wanted to explain.

It’s the same God, the same Body, the same Bread…

It is not necessarily true that the vocation of the secular priest and the vocation of a religious priest are the same. And in the process of priesthood vocation, it’s not the first point to look.


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