Diocesan priests make three promises: to live a life of celibacy, prayer and obedience.
“A chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people of his own, so that you may announce the praises of Him.” 1 Peter 2:9
Giving up Family: “And everyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands for the sake of my name will receive a hundred times more, and will inherit eternal life.”
Celibacy for the Kingdom: “Not all can accept this word, but only those to whom it is granted. Some are incapable of marriage because they were born so; some, because they were made so by others; some, because they have renounced marriage for the sake of the kingdom of God. Whoever can accept this ought to accept it.”
Am I allowed to date while in the seminary?
The seminary is like the engagement period for a couple. If you desire a real relationship with your fiancée, then you will not be dating anyone else. Likewise, to truly prepare for and discern the calling to priesthood in the seminary, you should not be dating.
What if I have been sexually active in my past, does that mean I can’t be a priest?
No. But, you must now be in the process of embracing chastity. St. Augustine led a very wild life as a young man, but he gave up his unchaste, sinful ways when he decided to live a fully Catholic life. There must be a significant period of “sexual sobriety” before entering the seminary, usually at least two years.
I am afraid that I wouldn’t be able to remain chaste.
Living a chaste life is the expectation of every man, no matter whether you become a priest or are married. If you ask God, He gives abundant graces to live a chaste life, especially as it pertains to priesthood
Chastity lived through the priestly promise of celibacy is a serious undertaking that must be at the forefront of your discernment; it is not for everyone, but it is more than possible for those who are called.
Many great saints, religious, monks, nuns, and priests over the centuries have lived very fulfilled and happy lives because the fullness of their vocation came through their commitment to living a celibate life.
Forsaking marriage is a gift from God which opens a man’s heart so that he can embrace all of God’s children in a very powerful way.
His healthy and holy inclination to be married and have a family becomes transformed through the sacrament of Holy Orders into a supernatural fatherhood that renders his ministry, if he is faithful, fruitful beyond all expectations.
It seems unnatural to me to live your whole life without sex.
Most men and women are called naturally to the married life. So, obviously, living a celibate, chaste life goes beyond the ordinary; in fact it is a supernatural call from God to live a life of radical love for the Church. Yes, it is a sacrifice, but the rewards are great. Many great saints, religious, monks, nuns, and priests over the centuries have lived very fulfilled and happy lives.
Why can’t priests marry?
Priests in the Latin Rite forgo their natural right to marry “for the sake of the Kingdom of God,” as Jesus taught His disciples (Mt 19:12). It is a gift from God which opens a man’s heart so that he can embrace all of God’s children in a very powerful way. His healthy and holy inclination to be married and have a family is transformed into a supernatural fatherhood that renders his ministry, if he is faithful, fruitful beyond all expectations.
“Are you resolved to maintain and deepen a spirit of prayer appropriate to your way of life and, in keeping with what is required of you, to celebrate faithfully the Liturgy of the Hours for the Church and for the whole world?”
“The deacon’s (and priest’s) daily prayer focuses on both his personal needs as well as on his service to others. The promise to maintain and deepen a spirit of prayer specifically includes the promise to pray the Liturgy of the Hours. The Liturgy of the Hours—contained in a book more commonly referred to as the Breviary—developed from the practice of early Christian monks who would recite the psalms throughout the day as a way of sanctifying time. It was gradually adapted to suit the needs of parish priests. Generally speaking, it is prayed five times a day, at different times. Thus, “by tradition going back to early Christian times, the divine office is devised so that the whole course of the day and night is made holy by the praises of God” (Vatican II, Sacrosanctum Concilium, 84). While praying the Divine Office, one prays for the entire Church and the world. By praying the psalms, the deacon (and priest) will be saying the very same prayers that Christ learnt as a boy and prayed throughout his life.”
The Pontifical North American College
“Do you promise respect and obedience to your ordinary and his successors?”
“This last promise is made separately from the other two, and each candidate will kneel before the bishop to make it. He commits himself to a life of humble, active obedience. Obedience guarantees that the one body of Christ is united in one mind and heart. It is not a repression of one’s desires or opinions, but a fruitful directing of them to a common goal. Obedience in the Church resembles that which is within any family—in fact, in speaking of priestly obedience, the Catechism states that “the promise of obedience they make to the bishop at the moment of ordination and the kiss of peace from him at the end of the ordination liturgy mean that the bishop considers them his co-workers, his sons, his brothers and his friends, and that they in return owe him love and obedience” (Catechism of the Catholic Church #1567).”
The Pontifical North American College