Priests with psychology degrees

I just wanted to put it out there you know, how nice it would be to have more priests with psychology background. I’m not sure this is even the right forum for it. It really sucks to be Catholic and have a debilitating mental illness that can so easily sound terrible in the confessional. I feel so completely alone in my faith since my Pure-O flared up. I wish I could excuse myself and tell him I have this and that condition, but in the past it has made very little difference. If there are any young men out there who are looking into the priesthood, please look into getting some real background on mental health. You could be the saving hope for someone like me.


A debilitating mental condition is best left to a professional, not a priest. A priest is meant for spiritual issues. I see those as two separate things, and one cannot expect a priest to be able to advise in both areas. That is why some priests will recommend professional help, it is outside of their expertise.


Perhaps you ask too much of current priests…though I agree in general.
Why not seek confession from priests and counselling/direction from a goof catholic psychologist?

You are confusing the roles and perhaps over clericalising your expectations of psychologists (and your expectations of older priests).


Fr. Chad Ripperger has, I believe, is PhD in Clinical Psychology and is a very holy and amazing homilist. His homilies are all over youtube. He also goes into the dangers of modern psychology and how it contradicts Christianity.


There are Priests that are also licensed in either Psychology and Psychiatry. There probably are not many, but they do exist. I was introduced to one in the past when I was traveling.

As others have stated, you are probably better off keeping your spiritual and mental issues separate. There are mental health professionals that focus on religion. Specifically catholicism.

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No, don’t get me wrong. I think priests are wonderful , but when one has a mental health issue like mine it’s hard to know what I have to confess and what I don’t. Needless to say, some of the things I have confessed in the past have been pretty horrific due to my OCD. It’s hard to know what thoughts are mine and what thoughts are the illness. This is why I think it would be nice because though I’ve warned them during confession that I have Pure-O, some of them have been either afraid or upset because they don’t understand what it is, which I totally understand. It however does make my symptoms worse and worse and confession can become a torture chamber. I am not in any way saying anything about the good priests who have been unfortunate enough to hear my confessions.


I don’t know about degree, but it would definitely help if they were educated enough to know the basics and spot how to differentiate things. I wouldn’t doubt that many do either.


Yes, and don’t get me wrong, I am not saying going to counseling to a priest is appropriate. With me it’s more confession. It’s hard to tell where the illness ends and where I begin so I make sure to confess everything that my Pure-O puts in my head just in case because I truly don’t know what thought is mine what thought is not, I can’t tell if I concerned, and there’s really no way of making it clearer you know, because OCD literally makes you doubt everything. I’m just saying that it would be nice to meet a priest who’d understand what mental illnesses can do because the shame and fear can be so darn deadly as it is.


I think people are confused about what you’re talking about because they don’t know what Pure-O is. This should help clear up why It can make confession hard :frowning: I’m sadly with you on that boat. Confession and Pure-O can make you sound like the worst of criminals.


It really can, and it’s so hurtful. The thoughts are already torturing me on the inside night and day and then to hear the concern and sometimes fear or anger on the other side of the screen or on people’s faces when you finally open up is downright devastating. It feels like the world is collapsing around you while you suffocate in your own body. I honestly am afraid of going to confession because of my recent obsessions. I’m afraid of being taken away from my family.

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I mean, I see how you’d be afraid because I am afraid too. I have the same thing, but the seal of confession is there so you won’t be afraid you see.

I know about the seal, but what if my thoughts concern the priest so much that he feels compelled to report me or something? I haven’t even told my family what my obsessions are. I keep them secret because they make me so ashamed. Imagine if they found out because of something like this?? What if the priest asks me to get institutionalized as advice? Will I have to do it?

I think this is fear and anxiety talking to you. I honestly doubt any priest would break the seal, and as for any advice he may give you, it is just that, advice. Maybe tell your therapist ,if you have one, about his suggestions if he gives you any. :wink: No need to be afraid.


That is literally not possible. The seal is absolute - you could go in there and confess that you murdered the priest’s brother and he couldn’t say anything.


I’m not trying to encourage you to continue doing anything illegal (and i hope you’re not), obviously, however if you are really concerned about the priest’s seal of confession, why don’t you go to a parish where you are not known to the priest and have your confessions behind the screen there, instead?

Also, please seek professional help, regardless. In line with the comments above, the spiritual side of the story is one thing, and the medical side is another.

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No, I’m not doing anything Ilegal! The video that Was shared above explains it pretty much what my illness is, I would never harm a soul. I really haven’t done anything wrong. The thing is , I have gone to confession in this manner and it just did not end well. As for professional help, I am getting it so there is no
Worry there, but thank you.

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Well, it hasn’t ended well, but I’m assuming the seal was not broken?

Having read about pure-O OCD, unwanted compulsive thoughts are an issue. I don’t know OP specifically, but repeatedly imagining yourself doing horrible things and being unable to stop the thoughts is very common. People with this condition don’t really have a desire to do whatever they’re imagining, but many are concerned that others might think they do intend to do it.

For example, a man might picture himself brutally assaulting his beloved wife. He would never do such a thing, but it is difficult to explain to other people that he has the image in his mind of doing so and can’t make it go away. (Pure O thoughts often have a trend of being focused on whatever behavior is most repulsive to the individual - often violent or sexual behaviors.)


No, it wasn’t broken, but it did contribute to my OCD becoming stronger in the future. I’m not blaming the good priest. I’m happy he reacted the way he did because this means that when someone who is actually dangerous comes to confession he really gets at them! But I actually ended up hospitalized as a result of extreme anxiety.

This is so well explained it made my Pure-O monster happy lol!

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