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Caitlin Kennell Kim
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Fr. Rick Malloy, SJ
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Our readers asked:

Should I avoid dating if I think I may want to be a priest?

Richard G. Malloy, SJ Answers:

Question: Should I avoid dating if I think I may want to be a priest?

No.  Future priests have to develop as healthy, well-adjusted psycho-sexual persons in order to embrace the demands and discipline of celibacy (or marriage if the church ever calls married men to the priesthood–or for those in the newfound Anglican rite.).  Dating as a teen and young adult is a normal, loving way to know who one is and appreciate the wonders and beauty of male – female friendship.  Such experiences of good friendships with women serve as a foundation for adult relationships of all kinds.

For a whole host of reasons, most vocation directors would be wondering about the suitability for priesthood of a young man who declares he’s never had (or been able to get) a date.  Does he see priesthood as an escape from the demands of relationships of equality and mutuality with women?  Is he unsuitable for marriage?  How well will a young man who has little experience of women be able to deal with half the population of the human race?

 
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The Author : Richard G. Malloy, SJ
Richard G. Malloy, S.J., Ph.D., is Vice President for University Ministries, the University of Scranton, Scranton, PA, and author of A Faith That Frees (Orbis Books).
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Please note that the editorial staff reserves the right to not post comments it deems to be inappropriate and/or malicious in nature, as well as edit comments for length, clarity and fairness.
  • Br. Vito OFM Cap.

    A old friar once told me how they addressed this issue in the high-school seminary: “You can’t swing with Susie in the summer if you plan on swinging a censer in the fall.”

    Thankfully, vocation directors look differently at prior relationships.

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