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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?