Seminary Criticism

How would you respond to someone who says “At the seminary it is a stifling and suffocating life.” “Think skeptically to everything they teach you. Because they have no evidence to back it up.” “You are going to be miserable for the rest of your life.” “The Church does more harm in this world than it does any good.” “You will be brainwashed.”

For someone who is discerning priesthood I find these rather tough to answer.
To be honest I really don’t care about their opinion, but how would you respond to criticisms like that?

There are sure to be different opinions on this, but with such negativity it may be best to not waste your time trying to make an answer to any of it.You just might say thank you for sharing your opinion and leave it at that. Is this person a disgruntled former seminarian? A fallen away Catholic? I would be curious on what basis they have for all their “sound advice”.This person is in great need of prayer. I am sure this will not be the last time you will hear some negative nonsense in regards to the Church and your openness to a vocation to the priesthood.And you will also hear a lot of positive.Take care and God bless you!

Who exactly is saying these things?

Most of these remarks are things I hear from people from YouTube and some of them I make up so that way I know how to answer to them.

I don’t think I would be worried about what goofs on YouTube have to say. :slight_smile:

Indeed, the Church has many enemies. The stories of repressive seminaries and monasteries are as old as the Church herself.

Look up the 1834 Ursuline convent burning in Massachusetts, for example.

Agree completely.

Benedicat Deus
Latinitas

Perhaps this is a sign you should find more profitable things to do than converse with non-believers on You-tube, esp. since you want to start seminary. God has bigger plans for you.

Simply tell them you will pray for them and then do so.

I actually don’t talk to them. I just try to find ways of how to answer statements like the ones I provided because I want to be well ready to defend God and his Church.

you have way too much time on your hands :rolleyes: :stuck_out_tongue: :wink:

Is it any less ‘stifling’ and ‘suffocating’ in any educational environment? Think about it – in any educational environment, there will be perspectives that are being presented as ‘correct’; does the fact that it is the Church who is presenting the perspectives automatically make it ‘stifling’ or ‘suffocating’?

“Think skeptically to everything they teach you. Because they have no evidence to back it up.”

Two thoughts: a seminary isn’t a brainwashing institute – they don’t tell you “don’t think” or “don’t question”! In fact, the Church doesn’t teach this perspective, either: we are made by God with an intellect that demands the kind of rigorous thought that philosophical and theological education stimulates!

Second: anyone who says “there is no evidence” hasn’t thought through the questions sufficiently. To these people, it is necessary to challenge them with the questions “what kind of evidence is appropriate?” and “what standard of evidence is sufficient?” before acquiescing to their assertions.

“You are going to be miserable for the rest of your life.”

Interesting – because surveys have shown that priests rank high in terms of life satisfaction. Point them at Rossetti’s Why Priests Are Happy: A Study of the Psychological and Spiritual Health of Priests.

“The Church does more harm in this world than it does any good.”

“Proof, please?” seems the most reasonable response.

“You will be brainwashed.”

Again… proof?

For someone who is discerning priesthood I find these rather tough to answer.

Good! That means that deep down, you sense the lie in their assertions. However, as you discern, it will be necessary to consider their objections, and find answers for yourself. Don’t worry, though: every ‘happy, holy, and healthy’ priest has met these objections head-on and found that they have no merit… :wink:

haha I might,

Thanks for your responses.

Pray for me as I continue to discern.

I think a lot of us have these “voices in our head” - - I know I did even just going through RCIA. I think sometimes it is just a way of working out questions / objections that we are harboring. Maybe it is time for you to take concrete steps to your goal, and then you won’t have to worry so much about what random people might say. Then you will know! If you are discerning, then you may as well take steps toward the priesthood, to the extent that you can (retreats, Serra events), and see if that’s where God is calling you!
:slight_smile:

Certainly the seminary isn’t for eveyone. And for one not called to the seminary it would certainly seem very confining and demanding. But it teaches you the self discipline that priests must have. Being a priest is a very demanding vocation and requires lots of self discipline. And the seminary is the training ground for that life. It is sort of like going to the Naval Academy or one of the other militray Academies. The life there is very strict and demanding. The purpose is to make intelligent, professional, disciplined men and women who will be self disciplined once they graduate. It that way they are much like the seminary.

Linus2nd

Laugh. Pray. Move on with your life. People say dumb things, don’t let it get to you. I’ve been in seminary three and a half years and I couldn’t be happier. And I’m absolutely thrilled at what awaits, God willing.

-ACEGC

When you feel waylaid by these sorts of doubts just look to the Saints. Let the people who say “The Church does more harm in this world than it does any good” have Nietzsche, Marx and Obama. I’ll take Maximillian Kolbe, thank you.

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