A hardened priest (not me!) speaks to seminarians
Here’s an interesting article for men discerning a priestly vocation. It enumerates some of the pitfalls of priestly ministry, which might come as a surprise to the starry-eyed romantic.
The article is written by an Orthodox priest for Orthodox seminarians, but it’s certainly suitable to Catholic counterparts.
Most of the advice is spot on: “Priests are for parishes”; “If you can’t obey then don’t try to play”; “You are there to serve these people”. Some of the detail is overstated, but that’s forgivable in view of the intended audience. A bit of hyperbole is probably necessary to dislodge their prejudices. (I recall some pretty fantastic notions of the future Fr Corrigan which I entertained before I started in the seminary.)
Other advice is a little misplaced. “Get a mental health evaluation”? Um, how about weekly confession and monthly contact with an experienced spiritual director? If the goal is thorough self-knowledge, that’s eminently better (and cheaper!) than a stand-alone psych evaluation.
And point 9 is flat out wrong. Seminaries are not, in my experience, clearing houses. Seminary staff can and do advise against candidates.
Nonetheless, most of the article is sound, and it’s certainly worth reading. A little cynical for my taste, but I would say that, wouldn’t I? In the author’s words, I’m only “a ‘baby priest’ and we all know that they are the ecclesiastical version of a puppy.”
H/T Max Lindenman.