The following comes from a November 11 Vatican Radio story:
Pope Francis on Friday met a group of young men who have left the priesthood during the past years to show his closeness and affection towards them.
His surprise visit to an apartment in the outskirts of Rome to meet with the group made up of five Italians, a Spaniard and a man from Latin America, came as part of his traditional gestures of Mercy on one Friday a month during this Jubilee Year.
A Vatican statement said the young men in question took the difficult decision to leave the priesthood despite opposition in many cases from their fellow priests or their families after serving for several years in parishes where loneliness, misunderstanding, fatigue arising from their many responsibilities prompted them to rethink their choice. It said the men spent months and years wrestling with uncertainty and doubts before coming to the decision they had made a mistake by becoming priests and therefore decided to leave and form a family.
“It said the men spent months and years wrestling with uncertainty and doubts before coming to the decision they had made a mistake by becoming priests and therefore decided to leave and form a family.”
What? Something sounds off here, and not just that the guys have left the priesthood. Two of my seminary classmates have left the priesthood. One is now married and the other is an openly-out minister in another denomination with a “partner.” I know other guys from seminary who have left: they more or less followed one of these two patterns: get married or get a “partner.” I don’t quite get the “bachelor pad” solution, although I suppose Italy might have nice welfare benefits where living in a dorm situation would be…
FrMichael- these men (or “guys,” as you call them???) sound like they are VERY young– and never found their true calling, in life! All those many long years of formation in the seminary– plus, serving in the priesthood, for at least several years, in parishes– produced, what?? Leaving the Church in some cases, for other “denominations,” or to “live in sin”– with a GAY “PARTNER??” And those who got married– are they happily married, and still Catholic?? Why were they accepted in the seminary?? What is wrong, here??
People grow and mature. Sometimes they recognize that early, immaturely made decisions were the wrong decisions. A good example of that is a gay or lesbian who got married to keep the family happy or they thought that marriage would “change” them. I have seen way too many unhappy marriages like that which ultimately ended in divorce. There should be NO men ordained to the priesthood until he has lived time “in the world” and knows that the decision of ordination is what God wants, not what others want.
Jim McCrea, you re right– except, a boy or young man discerning for the priesthood, should cultivate a HOLY LIFE– while getting some experience in the world. Because the life of a priest is HOLY– and far more MATURE, than the usual worldly life!! A vocation to the priesthood is unusual, and special!! Sometimes, people do mature, as they grow older, and then, some men might be ready for the seminary. Others are ready, at a very early age.
One problem that contributes to unfit men being approved for ordination or men being approved without discerning a genuine call from God is that dioceses are desperate for seminary candidates and priests. Basically, if a man can use a knife and a fork correctly he will be considered by the vocations director to have a priestly vocation.
I like the ones that stay in the priesthood. The new Pope does not understand the drama of the Catholic faithful see unfolding. We need to Make the Church Great Again.
the holy father might be considering allowing married priests by establishing the ‘prodigal son project’, re-admittting to active priestly service those who left to bae married. this would be a step towards his long-term project of allowing maried priests and deacons in areas of need. the diocese of rome has always been short of priests, it is said.
FrMichael– So sorry, if I sound ill-mannered, in my above post! I don’t mean to sound so insulting! But it hurts to see the Church crumbling everywhere, with so many problems– pedophilia, goofed-up liberal seminaries, goofed-up liberal, immoral Jesuits, and similar religious orders; priests who are gay with “partners,” former priests who left the priesthood that the Pope seems to embrace— etc.! The shock never ends! It all sounds so discouraging! Maybe that is what you were saying, in your above post, too! The sacred priesthood is a holy vocation– yet, it seems that even the Pope doesn’t have much faith, nor pride, in his priests– especially those who are faithful and orthodox!
Linda Maria…You are concerned about many problems in the Church, some of which you and I agree on, some we don’t. However, if a man toughtfully and prayer fully decides he can’t continue, isn’t it best for his parishonors and himself that he be released from his vows and we wish him will in secular life?
C&H, you are right– if a man discovers that he is not truly called to the priesthood, God is telling Him the truth, and he should listen to God, and leave the priesthood.
My point was made as this: “What? Something sounds off here, and not just that the guys have left the priesthood.” So we’re in fundamental agreement. There exists, of course, supportive gay subcultures at seminary, so when those priests burn out in parishes and leave active ministry, I’m not the least surprised. I consider that a good thing! Most (but not all) heterosexual priests who leave in my experience have been progressive, so them leaving isn’t a total loss to the Church either. But I don’t know how to account for this ex-priest dormitory that the pope visited. I have never heard anything like it before. What would motivate its founding?
It’s not clear that these men are living together in a dormitory, is it? I simply read it as the location of the meeting, perhaps one of them lives there, and they were guests of his? If the meeting had happenned in a Church rectory, it would be exactly the same situation, wouldn’t it? In fact, there might be criticisms that ex-priests probably shouldn’t be allowed to mix with other priests in their home. It’s also not clear what his relationship might be to these men. Perhaps they are actually friends of his, or were trained, mentored, or confessed to him at one point in their careers. (Obviously, that’s just speculation on my part).
I’d like to think that ithis unusual meeting was motivated by a combination of genuine affection…
YFC, you could very well be right on this. Perhaps I read too much into the article. The apartment could have belonged to one or two of them, but others were invited to the meeting. It is common for seminary classmates and friends to keep in contact.
Thank you Fr. Michael, I do se why, by the why, by the way, folks would come to the same conclusion you did. The article is ambiguous in that way.
CCD cut off the rest of my earlier statement, which simply said that the Pope might have wanted to learn more about why their circumstances evolved, so as to improve vocational discernment and seminary training and support going forward.
Your Fellow Catholic, you are correct, the article did not mention a “dorm,” living situation, it stated an “apartment!” And yes, it is good for them to get mutual help and support! I think I was too hard on these men! The reason? Because there are too many upsetting news stories, of unscrupulous priests who reject Christ’s moral teachings, and leave the priesthood and the Church– and take up a “new and better life,” of immorality and sin! It hurts! “Fallen angels,” like Lucifer!! But of course, many men who leave the priesthood, are good men, who felt led by God, to the right choice. God has a place for each of us, and will lead us, if we listen to Him, in prayer!
Thanks, LM. I’m sure Catherine will store up your agreement with me to use against you next time she disagrees with you. Just be warned.
Bless you, FrMichael! I don’t know, really, what to think! High school and college boys often live in dorms, and soldiers live in the barracks. But why are these ex-priests living in a dorm?? Are they forming a prayerful, spiritual community? I should not belittle these “guys,” but it is so sad, that they had no priestly vocations to begin with– and had many years of training, and some had several years serving in the priesthood, too! A long time ago, in the era before the Vatican Council, many ex-priests served as teachers and professors in high schools and colleges. I have no idea, as to the careers of the ones living in the Roman dormitory. This just does not sound good, that’s all!
I think I was too hard on these men, who have left the priesthood! I think it was a good choice, leaving the priesthood, as they followed what God tried to say to them, in prayer. I was just upset, due to the many problems in our Church, today, and the many news stories of unscrupulous priests, doing terrible things! It is also a good thing, if these men are living together, or as neighbors, close together– supporting each other, praying for each other, and helping each other get stated in a new life! Hopefully, the Pope could help them, and pray for them!
It hurts people, to hear of priests leaving the priesthood, because they no longer accept the moral teachings of our Church. That is just terrible! It strikes at the heart of the Christian way of life! Men who want a terrible life, instead of a Christ-like life, men who want to serve Evil, instead of Christ, men who want to shack-up with a girl, have sex, use birth control, have abortions– men who want a gay lover or gay “marriage,”– all of this is so HORRIBLE!!! “Look at former “Father” So-and-So, look at his new and better life!” HORRIBLE!! A former Role Model, now in RUINS!!
Pope Francis is doing the work of the Holy Spirit and also of great leaders: he is listening! The Holy Father is listening to divergent viewpoints so that he can make fully informed decisions. God Bless Pope Francis!
“Divergent viewpoints” = Hillary’s favorite line too!
Yes, what is the REAL purpose behind this well publicized so-called “surprise” meeting? Are readers supposed to believe, that the Pope just happened to drop in? Are these priests now regretting being laicized? Do they require the Pope’s mercy because they now think that they made a wrong choice? If not, why was the specific issue of mercy brought up? Are they wanting to become priests again while married? If an individual thinks he was misunderstood or fatigued as a parish priest, then add a houseful of “divergent” un-catechized teenagers, a bloom off the rose demanding wife and many bills, then new doubts will arise too.
Our relative, a very wise and faithful priest, always says, “Spouses have better halves and priests have better quarters.”
Really, Catherine, it would be nice if just once in a while you gave the Holy Father the shadow of a doubt. Maybe he asked to hear from former priests to understand how we can improve support for vocations, and help young men in their discernment process. Is that such an evil thing? or do you just have to nay-say every single move this Pope makes?
Catherine, thank you for sharing that link! It details over and over again how the Holy Father has reached out to share the mercy of Christ with people that many of us would frankly rather not deal with.
I feel challenged in a good way to imitate his works of mercy in my own life. Thanks for sharing the link.
I just read the whole story today, regarding the Pope’s meeting with these ex-priests– the mystery is now solved! They all are now happily married men, with lots of children! The apartment in Rome was simply used as a place for the former priests to meet with the Pope. The children of the seven former priests, it is reported, immediately ran to greet the Pope, when he arrived at the door! Too bad the entire story was not told, in the above news report!
If I wanted to understand the motivation for men leaving the priesthood I would want to meet with those who left and not those who stayed. How else could I know what needs fixing, or consistency, or mercy? We lost a lot of priests over the last thirty or forty years. Most didn’t leave because of theological issues, but because of the life style, the 24/7/365 on-call demands, living in a dormitory/rectory, not having close relations with women which is a natural need as opposed to un-natural celibacy. How many priest could we have kept if they could marry? Pastors in other denominations do it. Why this clinging to old tradition (lower case t)?
And Bob One, what is going with out saying is that the life of a parish priest is HARD, and getting more difficult as their numbers shrink. How often do we share with our own priests our appreciation for them? How often do we reach out to them and ask if they want to go see a movie, grab a pizza, or get away for a while?
I know I could do better.
Well, Bob One, who cares what Protestant ministers do or believe? A vocation to be a /Catholic priest is a rare gift of God! Not all men are called to the sacred priesthood! Before Vatican II, almost every Catholic boy, at some point in his life, considered a possible priestly vocation, because it was a very impressive vocation, in that time! Anyway, not all men are called to be priests! And also, not all men are called to the holy Sacrament of Marriage! That too, is a gift of God! There is much more to life, than the mundane, everyday attraction of men to women! So what? One must, overall, discern what God is calling one to, in life– and follow the voice of Christ! God has a plan, for each one of us!
For many centuries, men all over the world, of all walks of life, and of every religion, or none– have dreamed of and aspired to a life of high and noble ideals, given to a much greater cause than the everyday, mundane life. Such men have longed for service to God, and to help the world be a better place! The everyday, mundane life, was not enough for them! There are also young Catholic men today, who dream of and aspire to become something much greater, than their peers. These men desire to give their whole lives in service to God, as a traditional, celibate, holy Catholic priest! In every era, God calls those few, special men, to be His priests! Some become Saints!
There are deeply dedicated young Catholic men, who would so love to dedicate their whole lives, in service to God, with vows joyfully offered to God, to include the vow of celibacy! Such dedicated young Catholic men would give anything, to go serve Jesus in poor Catholic missions around the world, where God’s people are suffering and dying in terrible circumstances! Or go help the poor and suffering people, in our inner cities! And those on fire, yearning to preach and teach our Catholic Faith, and inspire all to follow Christ! Also, there are those yearning to become contemplatives, offering their total lives to God, in monastic vocations! God is always calling men to be His special, holy priests!
At Ordination, a priest receives an indelible mark upon his soul, that remains forever! Virginity consecrated to God, for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven, is a very holy gift! The celibate priest traditionally wears a god ring on his finger, just like a gold wedding band, to signify his marriage to Christ, the Lamb of God. The priest gives to us all of the precious, holy Sacraments, which are straight from God, in Heaven! His job is to teach us, guide us, sanctify us with the Sacraments, and lead us day-by-day, to Christ, in Heaven!
Sorry– I typed too fast, in my post, above, and there is a misspelling– the final word in the third line, should be “gold!”