SPLIT: Can a father become a priest?

I wanted to become a priest when I was a child but I lost my faith over a hard period in my life when I was 18, due to 5 of my friends losing there lives at a young age…
I have fathered 3 sons, that I love and care for very much, I separated from the childrens mother and do not live with my children, They live with there mother and step father and,two are now becoming young men.

Is there still a possibility of me becoming a Catholic Priest?


There is a very good priest in my area that was married at one point, raised a son, had a very successful career in business. He became a deacon in the 90s, and after retiring from his business he went to seminary and was ordained a priest in 2011. He is a fantastic priest. So it’s certainly possible. I’m not sure how easy it is, but it is possible.

We have a father and son combo who are priests in our Archdiocese.

The father is a widower who entered the priesthood after successfully raising several children.

Thank You…
There is still hope for me to take the path of a Catholic Priest…

I am no canon lawyer, but as I understand the law of the Latin Church, being married is normally an impediment to ordination. I don’t think you specified whether you were ever married to your childrens’ mother? If you were married and have not received a decree of nullity, you are presumed married. If you have received a decree of nullity, or if your wife died, there would not be an impediment.

If you were the only living parent of minor children (not the case), or if you are a custodial parent of minor children (don’t know whether you share custody), you will probably be asked to wait.

Yes there is a canon law 1041


3/ a person who has attempted marriage, even only civilly, while either impeded personally from entering marriage by a matrimonial bond, sacred orders, or a public perpetual vow of chastity, or with a woman bound by a valid marriage or restricted by the same type of vow;

This means that if you were married you cannot actively seek the priesthood.
A bishop could dispensate you from this law if you are to be a priest by God’s will.

If your children are minors you will also have a hard time becoming a seminarian. You shouldn’t enter the seminary with the responsibility of children.

Unless, as I mentioned, there has been a decree of nullity or the wife died. Or, as you mentioned, one receives a dispensation.

You are correct: annulment or death for the marriage.

The dispensation would be for having children.

Actually, this seems to say one can not have attempted to marry if one was already married, presumably divorced, though not annulled. But it supports the other answers in this thread, I think.

It is possible. A few conditions must be met though, and after that it’s up to the bishop:
*]You need to be unmarried. If you were sacramentally married to your wife, you will need to receive an anulment before proceeding, if you have not already done so. If you were never sacramentally married, you may need to have your Diocese’s Tribunal declare the marriage Defect of Substanstial Form. This is a Canon Law matter, so I won’t comment because I’m not too familiar with it.
*]Your children will need to be completely unreliant on you. If you have any hand in their current upbringing, you’ll probably be asked to wait until they are old enough to be completely independent.
*]You must be under the maximum age for the Diocese’s policy. Each Diocese sets a policy saying they will not ordain men over a certain age. If you’re too old, you may be rejected.

Many of these cases are very specific to the individual and the policies of the Diocese you are applying to. I would recommend that you speak to your Diocese’s Director of Vocations ASAP to start working things out. His contact information can usually be found on your Diocese’s website, or from your pastor.

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