Catholics - would you be happy if your son wanted to be a priest?

(64 Posts)
ThuribleTrouble Tue 14-May-13 14:01:28

Search your soul and be honest.

My son has been accepted for training and I can't find it in me to be happy for him because I think he has no understanding of what it really entails. He is only 18 at the moment.

LadyPlumpington Thu 13-Aug-15 12:34:22

Just seen the date of the thread! I am glad that your son has had the freedom to change his decision. Being a mature student can work out really well so don't worry about that grin

LadyPlumpington Thu 13-Aug-15 12:32:42

Nonreligious person here and I'd be quietly devastated if one of my kids signed up to religion (any religion). I'd try to be supportive and make the best of the situation, but I would not understand it at all.

fourtothedozen Thu 13-Aug-15 12:30:00

I agree with all of the above. I come from a very religious family and I am aware of the dangers.

Thuribletrouble Thu 13-Aug-15 12:27:08

Too right fourtothesozen. Don't put your daughters on the stage... or let your sons be alter servers and certainly don't let them go on school trips to Lourdes probably best not to send them to a Catholic school in the first place.

I started this thread in part because I wanted other parents to be aware of what happens.

fourtothedozen Thu 13-Aug-15 07:13:14

Surely that's one of the hazards of indoctrinating your children.

Shuvsi Wed 12-Aug-15 23:28:08

One of my relatives also left on agreement with his Vocations Director this year. Seems they do continually work with the seminarians to ensure that it is the right decision for them.

There was plenty of preparation before he actually joined and he is in his twenties so I was never worried that he was under any pressure to continue. He always said he would give it a year to discern whether or not it was for him.

I was proud of his decision to join and was a bit sad that it didn't work out, however I'm pleased that he's following his heart and was brave enough to make the decision that he feels is right. They have been very supportive of him throughout his journey and ensuring that he gains skills for an alternative future career.

Curioushorse Wed 12-Aug-15 18:56:06

And me, Helena. I'm an idiot. Yeah, OP. Interesting update....and hope things go well for him in the future.

JillBYeats Wed 12-Aug-15 18:55:48

I would prefer if he didn't take this path but my aunt - now 86 - broke her parents heart by becoming a nun. They begged her to go to college for a year before making a decision but she says she knew it was the right path for her. She is a wonderful aunt and great-aunt to my children. She absolutely adores children - is so interested in all her nieces and nephews and their kids and I would say it was not an insignificant decision to sacrifice that potential in her own life. For the first several years her order was closed and then she spent a long time in Africa. She had to get special permission to come home when her mother was dying. She still is so sure that this was her calling. It is that faith that I would not want to stand in the way of so while I would not be happy nor would I stand in their way. They can leave if it turns out not to be for them in several years time - like someone upthread said: who really knows what they want from life at 18?!

Curioushorse Wed 12-Aug-15 18:49:30

Hmmm. Should probably namechange. My cousin became a nun a couple of years ago. The whole family is struggling with her choice and I think her parents have lost their faith as a result. They said, 'at least if she'd died we could have a funeral and then move on.'

HelenaJustina Wed 12-Aug-15 18:42:10

Teach me to look at the date of a thread!
Thank you for the update, well done on letting your son find his own way. You can't know for sure but i suspect your relationship with him is stronger for not having had that 'fight' with him over something about which he felt so strongly.

HelenaJustina Wed 12-Aug-15 18:40:16

I am Catholic and we are raising our daughters in the Church, if one of them wanted to be a nun I would be awed at the depth of and conviction in their faith and would put trust in the order they joined to know whether or not it was the right decision at the end of a long period of training.

One of my uncles started seminary after university but dropped out and did medicine instead. He needed something to which he could dedicate his life but it turned out not to be God.

Thuribletrouble Wed 12-Aug-15 18:34:38

I thought that those who contributed to this thread 2 years ago may be interested in an update.

It was mutually agreed by my son and the vocations director that he wasn't ready to enter the full seminary and has stepped off the course to priesthood I hope, forever.

He is now doing an apprenticeship and seems happy but I am sad that he missed his chance to do University at the "usual" age. I know he still could go to university but going as a mature student is a different experience.

Anyway, thank you to those who gave wise words to me about not trying to stop him. Hopefully it has worked its way out of his system.

1944girl Mon 03-Jun-13 00:10:09

Speaking as a catholic I would feel very honoured.

DioneTheDiabolist Wed 29-May-13 16:29:18

Bunny, in what way would you have "failed as a parent" if one of your DCs were to take holy orders?

DioneTheDiabolist Wed 29-May-13 16:27:27

I wouldn't be over the moon about it and 18 is very young. However, I wouldn't be too worried either. As others have said, the training is long and I know quite a few people who have entered the Seminary and then worked out that it wasn't for them and left having valued the experience.

demisemiquaver Wed 29-May-13 00:24:39

dear op I know that in the past at least,valladolid was an awesome experience...but your son does seem a bit young,...tho some folk are as mature then as otrhers are at 21, so poss his age is a bit irrelevant....one does know of ex-priests who turn out great tho and contribute greatly to society/marry/etc...ie their priestly knowledge and experiences are n ot wasted......and poss priests will get married in future anyway who knows.......

neontetra Fri 24-May-13 12:58:12

One of my close friends did start training for the priesthood, though he has since changed path, for a variety of reasons. From what I remember, he loved his year in Vallodolid! But it got tougher afterwards. I think one thing that makes it hard for the young men these days is that the seminarys are so empty - only about four men in his year group in my friend's case. So not all that much peer support, depending who you click with etc. Based on my friend's experience if I'm honest I would be worried if my son (if I had one) had this vocation - it is a tough journey. The eighteen year olds, my friend told me, did find it especially hard (he was a bit older). As it happens I'm not Catholic - don't know if this effects how I think about it? I would certainly be thrilled if DD wanted to be a vicar! But a calling is a calling, it would be wrong to hide from it. All you can do is support and pray for him, and let him know you will be totally accepting whether it works out as he wants, or not. Will pray for you both, too.

HoneyandRum Fri 24-May-13 08:59:33

ShakingSultana I think you may not quite understand what the Ordinariate is. It can be a bit confusing for Catholics as it is such a new thing. The Ordinariates were set up by Pope Benedict in response to Anglicans and Episcopalians around the world pleading with the Catholic Church to let them enter as congregations and groups. Of course at any time anyone can convert and become Catholic but these groups wanted to come in together with their priests and retain some of their traditions that were compatible with Catholic theology.

The Ordinariate for England (or entire UK?) is the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham. Men who were priests and Bishops in good standing (i.e not twice divorced without an annulment etc. and other examples) were reordained as Catholic priests. However, even within the Ordinariate seminarians who are not already marry cannot get married once they are Catholic. There are exceptions as the Vatican looks at each man on a case by case basis. Maybe a practicing and devout Anglican who was engaged to be married might be an exception, I don't know. The purpose of the Ordinariate is for CONVERTING Anglicans who were raised with a different theology of the priesthood. Cradle Catholics cannot skip over to the Ordinariate to pick up a spouse before ordination, that's not how it works. To emphasize again, even Ordinariate Catholics cannot marry as priests if they are not already married. Just like any other Catholic.

Married priests cannot be Bishops and the current head of the English Ordinariate (a former Anglican Bishop who is married with children) is called the Ordinary (head) but is not ordained as a Catholic Bishop.

Hope that is a bit better than as clear as mud!

ShakingSultana Tue 21-May-13 20:23:13

My DS is an only child so it would definitely mean no grandchildren if he went into the Priesthood. DH and I would be very proud but probably sad for DS that he wouldn’t experience the joy of having a family. We’re both committed Catholics though which would probably help us to genuinely support his vocation. This is all very theoretical as DS hasn’t finished primary school yet!

My friend is engaged to a Deacon in the Anglican Catholic Church. My friend is lovely and I’m sure that their marriage will strengthen her fiancé’s ministry when he gets ordained into the Priesthood. She told me that in their Church, men must be at least 23 to be ordained as a Deacon or at least 24 to be ordained into the Priesthood. This seems like a sensible age restriction as it allows them to get some life experience and perhaps have a greater appreciation of what the Priesthood involves.

Another friend is a married Roman Catholic Priest (Ordinariate). If DS were to join the Ordinariate or similar type group where marriage is allowed (I don’t know if there are any others) then I would have far fewer reservations.

I hope your DS finds the right path for him. Don’t worry, the process is very stringent and he will be able to leave before ordination if it is not right for him.

Weegiemum Sat 18-May-13 18:44:23

With what the commitments for a Catholic priest are, I'd not be keen.

I'm not Catholic, but we are Christian (and in a go every week way) and if any of my dc wanted to go into ministry at 18 I'd try to talk them into trying something else first. At 18, I'm not sure anyone is fit to make that decision. It demands a huge amount of maturity to deal with your parishioners.

TheSecondComing Sat 18-May-13 18:39:24

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

chipmonkey Fri 17-May-13 22:51:16

I was brought up Catholic but am not really Catholic any more, though I still believe in "something".
I would hate for my sons to want to be priests. I wouldn't oppose it because opposing things tends to make your kids do the very thing you're opposed to but I would be hoping quietly that they came to their senses!

I remember my teacher when I was 11 or 12 explaining that it was a vocation to be a nun or a priest and that God would call you and that if were were called, you should answer.

I used to lie in bed with my fingers over my ears praying "Don't call me, don't call me!"

mrspaddy Fri 17-May-13 22:15:09

I admire people that enter the Priesthood but would feel concerned too. However, it is a calling and whatever path we choose - religious or not - I think being supportive is important.

One of the people I have loved and respected most in my life was a nun. I truly believe she had a bigger role to play in my life than any secular person.

18 is young though so your concern is very real and understandable.

HamletsSister Fri 17-May-13 22:09:53

It seems very young. Can't he do a degree first, experience a bit of the world, and then decide?

MareeeyaDoloures Fri 17-May-13 22:07:38

Having a vocation is no excuse for skiving. doesn't he know the Pope is a qualified chemist? wink

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