If one has moved on completely from all past sins, can he become a priest?
Even though one may have sinned terribly in the past, can his experience aid him in ministry?
Does anybody know of terrible sinners who have became priests? Not Saint Paul. I’m talking about saints who sinned with lust. Thanks.

St. Augustine was quite the womanizer. He became the Bishop (you were asking for a priest) of Hippo. He also has contributed much to the understanding of Theology and Philosophy.


I think the Church has modified its process for accepting seminarians in the last few decades to screen for severe moral and psychological deficits such as pedophilia, sexual or even social and emotional immaturity, and even just disordered lust - homosexual and heterosexual. In other words, while normal sinfulness should not keep one from the seminary, there should be some conversion from extremes. Yes, St. Augustine did lead a licentious life, full of womanizing and other sensuality, he did first experience a profound conversion.

My guess is that an inclination to lust that is normal is not an issue, but addiction to pornography or physical sex , heterosexual or homosexual is a problem that should be resolved first. But thats only my understanding. Im not positive about actual canon or seminary regulations. Personally I think it would be a good idea. I dont think I would even pursue seminary if I didnt have a good reason to believe I would have such addictions resolved. I believe anything is possible with God, and perhaps He wants my addiction to be a lifelong struggle. Nevertheless, personally I would not want to carry that addiction into ministry unless I felt God had delivered me some spiritual tool to substantially overcome it. On the other hand perhaps it would serve as reminder of our reliance on God.

My point is that personally I would want God to show me some control over my addictions, but perhaps the Church is wiser and more trusting in the Lord to have mercy for our weaknesses and to use them for His glory. You need to talk to a priest and or a vocations director.


One’s past sinfulness does not affect whether one can become a priest. I saw a video once of a priest who, before becoming a priest, actually got banned from a country for his actions. He returned to the Church and made a good confession and realized that God needed him to become a priest. I’m also discerning a call to the priesthood so I understand your concern.

Hope this helps!

 St. Augustine is a great example of someone who followed his most carnal desires for decades and would than go on to be a great Priest, Bishop and Saint.  St. Augustine wrote "Confessions" which is his autobiography.  His life is also a great testament to the power of prayer.  His mother, St. Monica, prayed for over twenty years for his conversion.
 What someone did in life prior to their conversion should not be an inpediment to that person following God's will in their life and that includes religious life or the priesthood.  Thant being said it is important that you no longer those carnal desires no longer dictate you actions or have a hold over you.:signofcross:

Of course you can become a priest. There are not only saints but present day priests too, that were once great sinners.

Doing a search online will find many of their stories. St Olga was a murderer (she obviously never became a priest though), St Callixtus was an embezzler, and there were some that used to be Satan worshipers before becoming priests.

Also, the Lord often uses the things that were our weaknesses in the past to help others out of their problems.

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