I have an unusual -- but very serious and honest question. I really didn't feel comfortable discussing this with a priest whom I know personally, and having seen your site, I thought of you. I'm a 21 year old college senior and consider myself a faithful, active, orthodox Catholic.
For the past year or so I've been actively participating in vocation discernment (daily mass, adoration, retreats, seminary trips), and increasingly believe my vocation is to the priesthood. My question is this, are there any sins which might "bar" me from being a priesthood candidate (in the eyes of the diocese/seminary/God?) More specifically, in my early college years (while still an active, practicing Catholic), I yielded to temptation and committed premarital intercourse with girlfriends on several occasions. No children were concieved. Ultimately I took it to the confessional, and have suceeded in living chastely for the past two years with a loving, equally chaste, Catholic girlfriend.
Would I have to reveal these unfortunate instances to the diocese during the application process, or perhaps to spiritual advisors at the seminary? Would they hold this against me?
Thank you Father!
Good to hear from you - and your discernment regarding a vocation to the priesthood. Also I am most happy to hear that you and your girlfriend have been living chastely these past two years. Your previous sins would not bar you from the priesthood - great saints like Augustine could never have been ordained were that the case. When you contact the vocation director, you would have to be willing to be open about your past life. He may or may not ask those specific questions, but I think you can understand it would be important to deal with that somewhere along the way. It would be done with appropriate delicacy and respect for confidentiality. I encourage you to talk with a vocation director this summer. It does not mean an irrevocable commitment, but would give you a better idea what would be involved in the the application process. If you need any help, contacting someone, please let me know.
Fr. Phil Bloom
P.S. Without using your name would it be Ok to use your question on my website? I believe others would have a similar question.
Thank you very much for your candid and honest response. A wave of relief swept over me upon reading your words. Actually, I've recently contacted the local diocese vocations director and learned quite a bit about the application process--but didn't feel comfortable inquiring about this rather sensitive topic.
And yes, feel free to use my writings to post on your website. It would be an honor to be quoted, even anonymously, on such a thoughtful, faithful, and timely website!