The Hard Truth About What It Really Takes to Be a Catholic Priest

Emilio Labrador, Flickr, CC BY 2.0

Help wanted: Young men who will consider a call to the Roman Catholic priesthood.

Applicants must be able to:

Be thick skinned: Applicants must be able to have their every word and action be scrutinized by people from every possible theological and political agenda. They must be able to teach the truth; not a version of the truth, but the truth. Applicants must be willing to suffer and sacrifice for that truth. Applicants must be willing to bear patiently with their critics, give when they have little left.

Be detached: Applicants must accept that by accepting this position they are surrendering any real hope for worldly wealth, power, pleasure. They must be willing to run parishes on shoestring budgets and great expectations. They must be willing to do battle and insist that faith is to be a priority. Applicants must we willing to take unpopular stances. They must be willing to cut back on their needs to take care of others.

Be heroic: Applicants must be willing to step into explosive situations on a regular basis. They must be willing to be with people at their happiest and saddest moments. They must be willing to stand tall in hard times, exhibit patience and fortitude when attacked, They must be willing to occupy that spot between the predator and the prey. They must be willing to stand between an immovable object and an irrevocable force on a regular basis and do so with dignity.

Be obedient: Applicants must be willing to be obedient to Church teachings and the Gospel of Jesus Christ regardless of personal feelings or preferences. They must be willing to teach and model obedience to God’s will and Gospel. They must be willing to live the Gospel even when it hurts and even when it means losing everything.

Be holy: Applicants must be willing to submit their will to God every day. They must be willing to stick out. They must be willing to reverently and obediently make available the Sacraments and be sure those sacraments are given as the Church would have them given. They must be willing to live holiness and teach holiness regardless the cost.

Be models of Catholic masculinity and masculine spirituality: They must be willing to instruct, be with their flock, and keep a sturdy hand on the rudder.

Know they cannot do this by themselves: the grace of God will carry them where they struggle as long as they are willing to struggle.

Men are who are willing to stand up to such a challenge are encouraged to see their local diocese or religious order for more details.

The harvest is great and laborers are few. Pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out more laborers!

[See also: Protestants, Demons, and the Power of a Priest Wearing a Cassock]

[See also: Tom Cruise Was Almost a Catholic Priest, Until He Got Kicked Out of Seminary]

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Fr. Bill Peckman is a priest in the Diocese of Jefferson City, Missouri. He is the pastor of Immaculate Conception Parish in Macon, St. Mary Parish in Shelbina, St. Patrick Parish in Clarence, Sacred Heart Parish in Bevier.


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