Vocations and Purity


There’s been something heavy on my mind recently. I am currently attending college and I have been discerning the priesthood for a few years now and I was thinking about applying after I graduated. However, I also have had the misfortune at times to fall into the sins of pornography and masturbation. I know that the law of the Church is that you have had sex, watched porn or masturbated, you have to wait at least to years before applying.

 But I've also done some reading on stories from people saying that they were automatically turned away just because they've watched porn or masturbated in their lifetimes. I even heard of one person who said that he hadn't watched porn in 3 years and his Vocation's Director asked him if he had ever struggled and he admitted that he used to but he doesn't anymore, but even then he turned him away because he felt that he was going to fall into the sin again and that would be bad if he were to be a priest living in habitual sin (which I agree with by the way). And I've heard of certain religious orders and dioceses that won't take anyone who ha ever struggled with those sins even if they put them in their distant past and haven't committed the sins in say 10 years or so. I do admit that I struggle with pornography and masturbation at times, but I hate it with a burning passion and I'd give anything to get it out of my life completely. 

 And I have a burning love for Christ, the Mass, the Sacraments and our very Faith itself. I know that seems like a contradiction but it is the truth for we are all sinners. I am going to make sure I am at least two years pure before I apply and more than likely wait until I have graduated from college which should be about 3 years from now. That being said, I am almost afraid of applying for any religious order or diocese or talking to any priest, bishop, or vocation director about wanting to become a priest because I have the feeling that I am almost guaranteed to be turned away just for the very fact that I have masturbated and watched porn in my past regardless of how long it may have been from the time I would have last done it to the time that I would have applied to the seminary. 

 I feel that God is calling me to be an instrument of His love and mercy in this world, I really do. But I also agree that it is His will that is to be done and that despite how bad I want to become a priest, because of who I am and my past that my chances of being ordained or even being accepted to seminary are slim to none. For what I want and what God wants of me aren't always going to be the same thing. Maybe it would be best for me to work for a year or two after gradating from college before I apply to the seminary. I just don't know anymore. Everyone please pray for me and give me some advice if possible. 

God bless.


that is what i would do if i were you.


and see this link for advice on purity.


…except that it’s not?:shrug:


That’s what I heard that you have to be a minimum two years chaste before you apply to seminary.


From the Program for Priestly Formation, 5th Edition

  1. The admissions procedure should include an open and frank
    discussion of the life experiences that applicants bring to the seminary.
    Their level of insight or self-knowledge and their willingness to address
    important human issues, such as their interpersonal abilities, evidence of
    sound peer relationships, their manner of dealing with authority, and their
    psychosexual development, can be important gauges of their readiness to
    enter a seminary program. If the applicant is unaware of or unresolved
    concerning significant human issues, the seminary is well advised to delay
    admission until greater clarity or resolution is evident. Concerning the
    capacity to live the charism of celibacy, the applicant should give evidence
    of having lived in continence for a sustained period of time, which would
    be for at least two years before entering a priestly formation program.

It’s not church law, it is a part of the guidelines for priestly formation in the United States.


Don’t talk to strangers on the internet about this! Too important. A lot of silly **** goes on in places like this, crazy people asking crazy questions and getting crazy answers…but priestly vocations, those are serious.

A LOT of diocese use the “To save a thousand souls” book in their discernment. Here is the relevant section:


Read example #5. Then call your diocesan vocations director and talk to him.


I mean, a vocations director and seminary won’t let you in if you are watching porn and masturbating, say, every day. That would be bad judgment on their part. If the porn and masturbation are just something you fall into every once in awhile, then you can be let in to seminary, provided you have been completely honest about it and show signs of being able to overcome it. I’m guessing that this would be closely monitored while in seminary, and if the man isn’t able to overcome it in a certain amount of time, he would not be allowed to continue his priestly studies. That is just my speculation though - I really don’t know.


Furthermore, Canon Law forbids the requirement to make a manifestation of conscience outside of confession.


Formation has no way of keeping track of this really… Not to mention they’d have to have a better IT department than some secular universities.

If anywhere, it would come out in spiritual direction, which is internal forum (think confession) anyway. The most your spiritual director could do is push you to bring it up with Formation if it becomes an issue.:shrug:

For obvious reasons, your spiritual director also does not get to vote on your ordination.


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