Challenging expectations in the priesthood

I am a practicing Catholic and have been my entire life, arguably as a result of the influence of my religious mother. She and I attend mass weekly, and have for a while, and I imagine we will continue to do so for a long time.

Priests come and go in their designated positions serving within a church. At least, they do in Catholic churches; I don’t want to speak on behalf of other religions because I am ignorant on the matter.

My mom and I are regular parishioners at St. Basil’s parish in Brantford. Several years ago, we welcomed a new priest into the parish, and the congregation loved him. He served as a priest at St. Basil’s for a few months and then informed us he was travelling to Australia for a month for a vacation. A month passed and he did not return, and after a couple of weeks, the fill-in priest read us parishioners a letter from him in which he informed us he would not be returning to St. Basil’s, nor to the priesthood. He had met a woman while in Australia and wanted a family, therefore he made the decision to leave the priesthood as priests are not able to marry nor have children.

Blaine and I have been attending mass at Blessed Sacrament Parish in Burford as of late because we are going to be married in this church. This past weekend, at the end of mass, the priest of this parish announced to us that he, too, decided to leave the priesthood because he desires to have a family.

I cannot comprehend why priests are expected to live a life of solitude in order to devote themselves entirely to God. And, since I have met two priests that have left their professions for this reason, I think it is safe to say that the rules and regulations of priesthood in regards to Catholicism need some serious adjustments. I believe men leaving the priesthood because they are unable to have a family and long to do so is a blatant example of the change that is required in serving the church, and I also believe more men and women would enter the priesthood if these ludicrous rules were not in existence.

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5 thoughts on “Challenging expectations in the priesthood

  1. Hello. Permit me to answer your question. I’m also a Catholic, and I attend this vocation seminary organized by the Jesuits three years ago for those wanting to join the priesthood.

    Given that Catholicism is often rooted in Biblical tradition, I think the rule is based off 1 Corinthians 7:32-34 — which talks about how unmarried men are concerned with the Lord’s affairs and how married men are divided over their concerns.

    On the laicization (defrocking) of priests who opt to marry, the Catholic Church, if I remember correctly, bases it on 1 Corinthians 7:8-9: “Now to the unmarried and the widows, I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I do. But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.” Priests who intend to marry are often allowed to leave on this ground.

    (Just to clarify: I’m no Bible-thumper and I’m not trying to start an argument. I’m simply sharing what I learned during the seminar related to the topic at hand.)

    Hope this helps!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. No problem! 🙂 It’s just that your post reminds me of an issue that’s rather close to home. Priests leaving the holy orders to start a family is oftentimes a big issue here in the Philippines, which leans rather conservative.

        Liked by 1 person

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