How Catholics (Should) DateHi to make a long story short, I am dating a wonderful man who almost a year ago was told by his spiritual leaders in the seminary program he was part of that they were letting him go. They told him he was free to date and live the life of a late twenties man. He also said that he has to wait two years from his release date to reapply. What I wonder is if anyone has any advice on how to handle this on my side of things? I already love him, and want to see where we could go. But am so afraid of the unknown. Has anyone dealt with this before?
A well connected priest whom I met on the bus en route to Canada and lived near me seemed to simply snap his fingers, and with very little questioning, an MMPI test given to me to fill out at home. A therapist asked what my sexual orientation was I said straightand within two short months I was enrolled in a small house of formation for undergraduate men pursuing the priesthood. Having been raised with four sisters and no brothers, it was certainly a learning curve to live with almost twenty other men.
I had to rely on my gut to navigate what increasingly seemed more like training for some sort of game than for ministry. I also felt both seen and understood as a gay person, but strangely and simultaneously also very cautious around that topic, if not downright fearful and secretive. There was simply no context to be myself. I should be clear that this seminary experience on the outside had every appearance of orthodoxy, and even of traditionalism.
This was not a place that promoted homosexuality whatsoever. We scoffed at guitar masses and nuns without habits. This seminary was nothing of the sort.
Add a penchant for dressing up statues of the Virgin of Fatima with sumptuous fabrics and tiaras, too. At the seminary, it was vestment and liturgical furnishing catalogs. It was also an atmosphere of suspicion and secrecy.
Nothing quite seemed clear, transparent, or holistic.
If you are wondering whether I mean dating or priesthood, the answer along with other prospective seminarians, but I wasn't exactly about to.
It felt like acting school. The ethos, speech, and behavior that permeated the environment did not match the rather staunch vintage-like Catholic culture we were being trained to live and promote.
There were seminarians in their late twenties who had uncomfortably close friendships with high school boys. I remember feeling that there was an awful lot of overly casual familiarity between many of the senior priests and monsignors and the well-connected seminarians. Trips, stipends, lots of scotch, and lots of smoking. In what other world does a young man walk out of high school and into a social life almost exclusively with other men three times his age?
He spoke cryptically about who I could trust and how I had to be careful with whom I associated and shared personal information. It would become clear when we returned to the rest of the group after our walk that some of the other men had been upset and jealous that we had been gone for so long.
As increasingly uncomfortable as things became, there remained a familiarity among us, as though perhaps most if not all of us shared the same secret.
Inside The Seminary Closet
The winter retreat was at cozy coastal retreat center. At this time one of the seminarians had confided in me that he was attracted to another seminarian. It made for an uncomfortable winter wherein this man would openly be suggestive about my own sexuality in front of others on a number of occasions.
You should not be dating a seminarian. If your boyfriend is a novice in a religious order, even though he is not bound by vows at this time, he is. Hi to make a long story short, I am dating a wonderful man who almost a year ago was told by his spiritual leaders in the seminary program he was part of that they were letting him go. They told him he was free to date and live the life of a late twenties man. He has a meeting in a. Today, as an out gay man, he is unable to do ministry in the Catholic . At this time one of the seminarians had confided in me that he was.
He would also place himself in the hallway to check out a particular seminarian just leaving the shower in a towel, and did it in an ostentatious way to involve imply I was checking they guys out as well.
Eventually, these events seemed staged. At the time it was popular to visit seven churches on the night of Holy Thursday. On that night there is usually a specially decorated shrine set up for people to pray into the late hours of the night; traditionally they will do this by stopping at seven different churches.
Everyone was fed copious amounts of red wine regardless of age. It was sudden and bold, and the result of a late night of drinking at multiple rectories. It had all the elements of a soap opera. Perhaps I said nothing at all. Perhaps my own facial expression said enough. Perhaps I told him off.
He had positioned himself in the room next door, and had heard what had happened. He explained that he was crying out of jealousy that I was asked to perform a sexual favor rather than him.
Come on, you must know that everyone is staring at you all the time. It was a disturbing, puzzling, and fear-filled Easter, seeing friends and family and trying to tell them what a great time I was having in seminary, despite all that was happening. A few days after Easter recess I was invited into the room of the seminarian who had been crying in my chair on Holy Thursday night. He offered me a drink, which I took.
He began flirting, taking the liberty to enjoy a campy conversation since I was one of the only people who knew the truth about him. We were sitting on his bed chatting and laughing and trying to keep our volume down since it was late. He abruptly got up and ran down the hall, yelling and knocking on doors and declaring that I was trying to remove his clothes, and that I had removed mine.
I ran across the hall and locked myself in my room. What was happening?
A day or two later I received a call on my wall phone from a friend who had just seen both the seminarian who tried to frame me with the alcohol, and the seminarian who propositioned me, speaking to one of the priests in charge.
My friend had heard my name mentioned. In my gut I knew what was happening.
Their secret was out with me, and they had no dirt on me. That fact put me in a position of power, and so I had to be taken down. I had seen and learned and observed just enough to make me a liability, but I determined that I had to speak up.
I determined that it might be worth risking being outed. I even thought in my naivete that the powers that be might appreciate the opportunity to address this unhealthy system, in light of the discovery of countless clergy sex abuse cases coming to light. A number of seminarians were also questioned over a period of a couple of weeks. Finals were looming, and there was a great amount of stress. But I never tried to blackmail anyone. I was ordered to pack up all of my belongings and leave that day.
I had lived with the secret of my sexuality for years. Had I been obvious? Had I done something to deserve this?
I decided it was not worth the risk. The reason I lay these stories bare now it because of my strong belief that this pervasive dysfunctional culture is at the deepest core of the cover-up, abuse, and scandal of all forms—not just sexual—that continue to be rampant in these church circles.
From the very beginnings of our relationship, she was well aware of the fact that I was still uncertain where God was calling me, and that the priesthood was still very much a path I was considering. But still, I found myself wondering: should I be doing this? Is it right to date while discerning a possible call to the priesthood? If you get in, I think you should go. Try it out.
What harm could that do? Entering the seminary, while certainly a huge step not to be undertaken lightly, is not a lifelong commitment.Busting common misconceptions of Catholic priests and seminarians
In fact, seminary formation itself is designed as an extended, focused discernment process in addition to formation. It is quite possible that God was calling them to be in seminary for that time for any number of reasons: to more clearly discern His path for them, to give them that period of spiritual formation in preparation for the life that lies before them, to give them the theological and pastoral training that they will need as husbands, fathers, and perhaps lay ministers in the future.
The important thing is: they were actively discerning, and giving it a shot. Nothing is accomplished by sitting and fretting.
Certainly it is an admirable thing to take your vocation so seriously, and to recognize that a commitment to marriage is a lifelong one, as is a commitment to the priesthood or religious life. But if we simply pine for a booming voice from the sky, yearn for God to inspire just one more author preferably our local skywriter or billboard artistthis time with the valuable information of what God is calling us to do, or mope about the fact that we are having trouble figuring out just what it is that we are meant to spend our lives doing and being, then we are doing a disservice to ourselves and to God.
Such an attitude betrays a lack of trust in God, and a lack of trust in our relationship with Him. God speaks to us through the events in our lives. And God is not bound by our choices — He can communicate His will to us no matter the situation we put ourselves in.
But we must always be listening. We are all discerning, always. God seldom speaks to us in a booming voice from the heavens — we must always be seeking the right path, doing our best to follow whatever signposts God may place along our way.
Discernment is not only for someone considering religious life — whatever our potential vocational path, be it marriage, priesthood, religious life, or devoted single life, the decision must be made with God.
quote name=Monoxide post= date=Sep 10 , PM]I feel Where else can a man find a good Catholic woman nowadays?. Dating while discerning is, quite frankly, not intentional. . The priests, formation directors, and brother seminarians all helped me to campus minister and theology teacher at an all-boys Catholic high school in Anaheim, CA. As a priest, and just a plain catholic, you have to accept ALL of the church's .. Hi ,I've been dating this seminarian for morethan a year now.
Discernment, like all prayer, is a conversation with the Lord. Discernment must not only be an active endeavor, but we must also recognize the mutuality inherent in it. Just as a couple in a relationship is discerning together whether or not they are called to the vocation of marriage, an individual who has entered a religious community as a candidate or novice or entered seminary is now in a period of mutual discernment with that community and the superiors thereof. I would like to highlight several important points here in closing, as well as provide some cautions.
Another victim testifies that sodomy is rampant among seminarians. My mother, a devout Catholic, was the one who taught me about the faith. Long story short, friend is in love with a seminarian, he has feelings for her too, but said that they basically need to cut it out because he's. If you are not dating someone for marriage, what is the point of the So, talk to someone if you feel something for a seminarian or a priest or.
We can certainly pray that the Holy Spirit will enlighten us and lead us to desire what God desires for us. But it is more than simply choosing what we want.
You do a disservice to yourself and your partner if this is not made clear from the get-go.
Catholic seminarians dating
I cannot stress enough the importance of this. The priesthood is scary; no one is worthy for the priesthood of Jesus Christ, so it is only natural to feel hesitation and avoid it if you are feeling that call. But it does nobody any good to do so.