Should I become a Priest?


#1

I am seriously considering a vocation but, I am not sure whether I have a calling or not because of my thoughts. I live in England (UK) and started going to the Tridentine mass half a year ago in my parish and had a really strong connection with it and start traveling over my diocese to go to Tridentine masses. I have been doing a lot of research about the mass and thought maybe this is God’s calling to me to spread the practice of the mass so more people can experience this century old way of how the mass has been said. The way of doing this I thought would be to go off to a seminary and become a priest, I felt a strong calling towards the ICKSP even though you have to know French they have a pre seminary year of teaching it so you are ready, which I would more than willing be prepared to do. Also I would like your views on this institute compared to the FSSP, SSPX and the Sons of the most Holy redeemer or any others you know off.

Unfortunately I do have some reservation about this decision. First of all I only have GCSE and I’m wondering if that will prevent me from joining. Also I’m only 18 so I am quite young and I don’t know if they prefer candidates of an older age. Also probably my main hesitation, and please don’t take this the wrong way, is that I am a virgin and I don’t know how I feel about staying one for my whole life. I know some one considering the priesthood shouldn’t be thinking of things like this but, it is something that I do think of. I appreciate all your answers and your guidance especially after ma having to read through my ramblings. God Bless.


#2

Hello, Higack!

Have you talked about this to your parish priest? That's the first person I would talk to. If you don't already have a spiritual director, it would be a good idea to get one.

Reservations about the sacrifices involved are normal. Talking that over with a priest or religious might help. And read the lives of the saints.

The FSSP I have personal experience with and recommend them without reservation. They're pretty much the same as being a diocesan priest, but with community life (ideally, two or more priests per apostolate), and strictly traditional. Very balanced and solid.

Unfortunately the SSPX does not have regular canonical status in the Church, so if you're drawn to that kind of vocation, I'd stick with the FSSP which is basically the same thing (their founders are former SSPX), but fully regularized.

The FSSR which you mention are also very good, but be aware they're not normal Redemptorists; they're more like hermits or monks. Awesome calling if you have it.

I have no personal experience of the ICRSS (a.k.a. ICKSP), but have heard good things about them. Unlike the FSSP where you can choose your own spirituality / devotions, they have a particular spirituality which I believe is a hybrid between Salesian (named after St. Francis de Sales) and Benedictine.

Don't forget there's also religious life as a brother. You can discuss these and other options with a competent vocation director.


#3

Brother,
I am considering all the same religious orders as you --- besides the SSPX. I really encourage you not to apply to the SSPX as they are not in full communion with Rome, until they are fully reconciled which hopefully will be soon. I feel the same desire as you to spread the Holy Mass according to the council of Trent (EF, Tridentine) and also am discerning with the FSSP and ICKSP. I also would recommend looking into the Canons Regular of Saint John Cantius. The Canons of SJC's mission is to restore the Sacred Functions of the Church --- they are traditional but, located in the USA. Another religious order (also traditional) is the Franciscans of the Immaculate. They are a great traditional Marian group. As to the thought about keeping your virginity always as a downside to becoming a priest, I find it amazing that you have kept your virginity in a time when purity is constantly being challenged. Remember, virginity is a saintly grace and is something that you should be proud of to keep. May God Bless You! If you want to PM me don't hesitate!


#4

I’m no vocations director or anything like that, but speaking as a mom, I would think that whether or not you are willing to remain a virgin for the rest of your life is exactly something you should consider if you are thinking about the priesthood. I think it shows a real maturity that you are considering that question. If you do become a priest, then maritial relations are something you will never experience. If you don’t become a priest and remain single, then marital relations still won’t be something you experience. All things being as they should be (celebate until married), there is no “guarantee” if you don’t become a priest that you won’t be a virgin for the rest of your life anyway. All things being as they should be, you would have to get married to lose your virginity. Which you know.
May God guide you in your discernment.
Kris


#5

Maybe you should become a priest, but not right away. Instead, take a few years to grow up a bit more, and maybe improve your education as required. These are things that will benefit your priesthood immeasurably, should you choose that route. Also, in case you don't have any girls that are friends, try to make some. You'll find sexual temptation is different when you see women as people.


#6

I think that you do have a vocation because you have discovered your true love is the sacrifice of holy communion. At the end of the day that is the only reason to become a priest.
Now the fact that your only reservation is about those matters comes from the adversary. I’m 48 and I took a vow of celibacy 23 years ago. I wasn’t a virgin then but in a sense I have regained my virginity.
Like you I am now being called to my vocation. Like you my only reservation was about my virginity. Unlike you I’ve decided that nothing can stand in my way.
My point is that you have to have the courage to say “Get thee behind me Satan” to become a priest. You have to realize that once you give yourself to your only true love all other prospects are mere flattery.

P.S. Forget about just doing the mass in Latin. That is just another one of Satan’s ploys.


#7

Hello. I am 17 and will be starting my first year of College Philosophy at a Seminary for the Archdiocese of Boston. Like you, I have a strong love for the Traditional Latin Mass, and have been a weekly attendee for the past three years. Also like you, I have seen the Mass as the central part of my Faith and the Eucharist as the foundation on which I live my life. So often I have discerned on how I can ever “pay back” the sacrifice God made for me on the Cross, and I came to a very blunt answer; I can’t. Furthermore, we can’t. Us giving our lives is one thing, but God, through Our Lord, giving His is so much more. Coming to this realization, one might be discouraged and disgruntled, perhaps even hopeless. But this must never be the case for we must still dedicate our lives for God, for thus is the Divine Will.

God gave us life to serve Him and one another to the best of our ability. God knows, naturally, that we are sinners and fall short of His glory.

The societies you mentioned, FSSP and ICRSS are both top notch and have certainly brought many souls into a greater state of holiness. The SSPX, however, are canonically irregular and their clerical state is often disputed. I must, however, put in a wee plug for the Diocesan vocation. Many Diocesan priests have begun reclaiming the old Mass in their Parishes. These men are so holy and reach out to many “ordinary Joe” Catholics in a very Extraordinary way. These priests are reclaiming the fiddlebacks and birettas and are restoring sanctity to churches and vestments. Consider it.

The FSSP receive quite a few applications each year to their Seminary in Denton. While this is clearly a blessing and an enormous grace, this could be an obstacle to an applicant. As I said previously, I am 17. Seminaries certainly seek men of high maturity and clean reputation, though.

You made a very honest statement: “I am a virgin and I don’t know how I feel about staying one for my whole life” this is a very real sacrifice for many men considering the vocation to the Priesthood, it is certainly valid and you SHOULD be thinking about that. I know individuals who have entered after living fully chaste lives and individuals who haven’t, either way they make a sacrifice. I urge you to think about it and seek the added guidance of a spiritual director, with whom you can talk and trust in.

Know that I am praying for you and I ask that you pray for me. If there is anything else I can do, feel free to PM me and I’ll see what I can do. :thumbsup:

Can you elaborate on this? I’m slightly confused as to your intent in saying this. Help me understand as you do.


#8

Yes you can! You can repay your debt. How? by not being like than man that once he leaves the court turns to his own debtor and does not enact the charity he has being given. Take up your own cross.
It is easy to say that one can become disgruntled at not being able to pay ones own debts, but what if you can? What if payment of the debt simply means giving someone a job?
Consider this as the job description of a priest ... To lend someone a hand!
It might not be current policy for the Catholic Church to give money to beggars, but why then does our Holy Father begin his ministry by saying that he wants a poor church for the poor? Isn’t he saying that we shouldn’t save up our graces for a rainy day but redistribute them in the here and now because they are of no use to us if we don’t make it to heaven.
It sounds as if you are being sucked in by the Protestant notion of salvation by faith alone and neglecting the fact that a Catholic believes that his works are an obligation.
Sounds like you are just another career priest. Join the queue behind me!


#9

[quote="poustiniak, post:8, topic:328496"]
Yes you can! You can repay your debt. How? by not being like than man that once he leaves the court turns to his own debtor and does not enact the charity he has being given. Take up your own cross.
It is easy to say that one can become disgruntled at not being able to pay ones own debts, but what if you can? What if payment of the debt simply means giving someone a job?
Consider this as the job description of a priest ... To lend someone a hand!
It might not be current policy for the Catholic Church to give money to beggars, but why then does our Holy Father begin his ministry by saying that he wants a poor church for the poor? Isn’t he saying that we shouldn’t save up our graces for a rainy day but redistribute them in the here and now because they are of no use to us if we don’t make it to heaven.
It sounds as if you are being sucked in by the Protestant notion of salvation by faith alone and neglecting the fact that a Catholic believes that his works are an obligation.

[/quote]

I think this is a fine post. Though, to whom is it addressed?


#10

To anyone that thinks that discernment ends once they are accepted into a seminary.


#11

Most men who think that, for the most part, aren’t accepted into a Seminary. It is an immature notion, indeed. One that all young men ought to reject.


#12

A couple of years ago I also started going exclusively to the Tridentine mass. Luckily there was a beautiful church just a couple of miles away that held it. Then the Jesuits took it over last September and cancelled it. Now for some time I was angry and wouldn’t go back there. In fact I started to lapse. But as Easter came I went to confession and to my surprise I found a wonderful confessor there. I also started going to the daily mass, and found that I began to focus not on the ritual but instead upon the priest. I began to realize that the reason why I preferred going to the Latin Mass was because I was brought up in the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church were we follow the divine liturgy of saint John Chrysotom. It became clear to me that I was still going to mass as that little boy that I once was. That although I had long since grown up and suffered the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune that this world has to sling at us, I was still praying to the God that I feared more than I loved.
Now that is just my personal story, but it might explain what I mean by saying that its just another one of Satan’s ploys. In so far as to say that the Church can only be the gateway to our Lord if you accept it as being a living body. Note the emphasis of living. And life means growing. It’s perfectly exemplified by that bit in the bible that says “When I was a child I spoke as a child...” So what I meant to say was that one of Satan’s ploys is to keep some people in a state of perpetual childhood. Like it or not the decision that you have to make concerning your vocation is not one that a child can make. You are a man now, and that means putting aside your awe of ceremony and razzmatazz.

My best advise to you is that you should consider the nitty gritty bits of becoming a priest. It’s not all about fulfilling the sacramentals. Unless you actually know a priest as a friend or know someone who knows a priest as a friend then you won't have the faintest idea of what they do for the rest of the time. Think about becoming a priest as a job. Do more research and find out about the job descriptions. Think about it as a career and if you are still not dissuaded then go for it.


#13

We must both love and fear God. Fear of God allows us to recognize that we are subjects to the King of Kings and have awe for God and the graces that pour forth from His most Sacred Heart. This fear enables us to realize God was, is, and always be Almighty. Fear enables us to recognize who WE are and who GOD is in relation to US.

That said, I think your purported correlation of “fear” and the Traditional Mass is unfounded, and I think many on this forum would be inclined to disagree.

Indeed, you are right; it was your personal story. I still don’t understand what you mean by “Satan’s ploy”, Satan can never work through the liturgy. The liturgy is never at fault (though, incorrect liturgy can be) but man can be. Albeit, it is not the folly of the liturgy but the folly of man and man’s own lack of understanding.

Indeed, the Church is a living body. And the Liturgy can change and develop, I accept this. But it is the duty of the Priest to learn the rubrics of 1962 to be in accord of Summorum Pontificum. Thus is my belief and, perhaps to your chagrin, the belief of many Seminarians. To give you just a small example, of the three Bostonians accepted to the Seminary I will be attending ALL THREE are familiar with and sympathetic towards the Latin Mass according to the Extraordinary Form. Two of us are seventeen and one is eighteen. This is not an “old fad” or a “childish fad”; it isn’t a fad. It is the Faith of our fathers living still.

Regarding your attempt to relate the Latin Mass with childhood seems improper. I didn’t grow up with the Latin Mass (in fact, I didn’t grow up with the Mass at all, but that is for a different thread). I took the mature decision to try to branch out from what is comfortable to me. To wade out of the stagnant waters of complacency into waters that flow and clean. I made the decision to learn the Extraordinary Form both as my duty to my vocation, and the duty to my spiritual life. That same spiritual life has grown tremendously with the Traditional Mass and I have met a vibrant community of knowledgeable and faithful people.

You may consider my love for the Latin Mass as just an “awe for ceremony”, and while this is true, it is only true to a certain extent. I do have an awe for ceremony, that is an awe for the Liturgy done reverently and lovingly. A love, indeed, for symbolism and the overwhelming of the senses that is ever present in the Extraordinary Form.

I think the Vocational Director might disagree with this last point of yours. He would not encourage a young man to think of the Priesthood as a job, because it isn’t. It isn’t something you can up and walk away from. It isn’t something you do to make some pocket cash or to fill another slot on a resume and much to popular belief it isn’t one you can retire from. It isn’t a job, and to think of it as one could be introducing some rather startling error into one’s vocation. Furthermore, the Sacraments must be the center of a Priest’s life. It isn’t something someone “goes for”.

I thank you for your response and I ask that you pray for me and for all seminarians that we may grow to love and serve the Lord in which ever way we are called.


#14

[quote="poustiniak, post:6, topic:328496"]

P.S. Forget about just doing the mass in Latin. That is just another one of Satan’s ploys.

[/quote]

Excuse me, are you suggesting that the love and preference of the old rite is from Satan? :eek:
Pope JPII started the FSSP because there was a growing desire for traditional liturgy and he wanted to accommodate those who were willing to leave SSPX behind. My ex parish priest was one of them. I think you are poorly informed about what traditionalists are all about and should not be spreading such ideas to young men who are seeking to serve God.


#15

Hum! this thread is not going the way that I was expecting it to go.

Lets take it back to the nuts and bolts.

This thread is I believe about a person not being able to resolve a crisis of discernment. Now I am a serial discerner, which is to say that I am your ultimate doubting Thomas. I have found every reason under the sun for not becoming a priest. I’ve spent 23 years arguing with God like Job did, and fighting with Him like Jacob did, and running away from Him like Jonah did. The reason was that I understood that the agony in the garden was more intense than the crucifixion. That final glimpse into your soul where you take up your cross by saying and yet ... not my will be done but thine is an adieu to all of your worldly aspirations. It’s like turning up to your own funeral.
Maybe its just a problem of our times where we have never had it so good that makes it harder for us to relinquish the possibilities that we are offered, but then again what can this world offer us but a brief rest bite before death. That is Satan’s ploy. To prevent us from knowing that Jesus has conquered death and made us no longer slaves to our sins.
So lets think about ending this thread and pray, hope and don’t worry that the person that started it can seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit because at the end of the day none of our advice is worth the effort we give it.


#16

I also feel that god is calling me to the priesthood sometimes ,i can greatly relate to what you have said .. you are quite young so i would say maybe wait another year and if you feel the same or that you are coming closer to god persue the matter further,keep praying and ask for the guidance of the holy spirit you must listen very carefully though god whispers he doesnt shout he will answer in different ways than you expect..

And remember ! ''in the final analysis of things it is between you and god it was never between you and them anyway -Mother Teresa''


#17

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.