Mortal Sin Not to Accept Vocation?

I am a 40 year old male and I am certain I am called to be ordained as a priest. I have alternately discerned and ignored my vocation since the Jubilee of 2000 but with the help of a greay deal of prayer and two very capable spiritual directors and I am absolutely certain of it.

For different reasons (mostly selfish – I have no real impediments from becoming ordained) I really don’t think I want to be a priest. I don’t want to sell my house and my business (both would be impossible to retain) and move to go to seminary. I wouldn’t want to attend either of the seminaries they send men to from my diocese (I have checked on this matter carefully.) I don’t want to live someplace else once I would be ordained. I think I would have a very difficult time getting along with at least a quarter of the priests I come in contact with now. But most of all, I don’t want to deal with the politics and games most priests are subject to.

Is my soul in mortal danger? This is the one question that seems to bother both of my spiritual directors and I never really get a clear answer, which I suppose is purposeful.

I really don’t know if anyone can know that.

But when your moment of judgment comes, will you want to tell God “I know I had a calling, but I had a career. Sorry, You and Your Bride the Church weren’t important enough for me to give it up.”

I certainly wouldn’t!

In some ways I sometimes wish I had a vocation to the priesthood; I do not. I have a different lot in life, and I have learned to accept it and be happy with it.

Don’t sacrifice your vocation for comfort or personal gain. You’ve been given a great gift and responsibility.

So go for it. I’ll pray for you.

Well, I guess it depends on how you look at a vocation.

One way is to see vocation as a command - God tells you, “Do this.” And I suppose saying “No” to God is pretty bad.

But I think a more appropriate view of vocation is as an option. God knows us better than we know ourselves - in fact, God knew us before we were born and knows exactly where we’d be happy. Right? So when God says, “Hey… why don’t you do this? It’ll make you happy - in fact, nothing else will make you happier than doing this!” we can choose to say, “Sure! You know me better than I do!” or we can say, “Nope. Thanks but no thanks.” Oh the beauty of free will…

I like to think of vocation as the latter. God isn’t going to make us do something we don’t want. To classify it as a mortal sin? It seems a bit too much. Now, if you’re certain you know your vocation, let me tell you - you are one blessed man. I wish I knew what my vocation was…:shrug:

I believe that you may have a vocation to the priesthood or religious life. However, God gives us choices…it’s not like we have one choice. It’s how we live out our current state in life that matters most. We must be chaste, and even if our work makes good money it should be treated like it comes from God, because it does. Look up Opus Dei. you might find it interesting.

You answer your own problem with this. But may be a way of ducking God.

Sounds like your running. Been there. You may just want to increase your involvement in the church. If you’ve no problem with celibacy then look at the diaconate as a possibility. But religious do not move around necessary like diocesan priests. I’m questioning whether you truly have a vocation if your not willing to move around. You may be looking at the wrong diocese or even the wrong region. There are so many orders. Maybe rather than spending time looking to avoid the vocation you can spend time looking at the many orders. You have time. No hurry. But I am curioius what your business is that draws you to wanting to hang onto it?

Are you being defiant of God in your resisiting you calling?

I’d have to say no you are not in mortal sin over this, but there are other things that would have to be considered by your spiritual director. Part of it is are you just being selfish with your gifts. God gives us gifts for a reason. As one vocation interview told me…share your gifts, they are not your’s to keep. Maybe you should spend time before the Blessed Sacrament and read the Liturgy of the Hours if you haven’t already. You need to spend as much time in discernment if you really thing God might be calling you. You may be astonished that God may remove your current impediments…oh yea…you have one…it’s your possessions…either that or you do not have a vocation to the priesthood.

Just my humble observation based on little information.

There are two signs of vocation: the one negative, the absence of impediment; the other positive, a firm resolution by the help of God to serve Him in the ecclesiastical or religious state.

You have no impediments to the priesthood, however the positive sign is lacking. This would indicate that there is no vocation since God has not gifted you with a firm resolution and desire to serve Him and His Church in the priesthood or religious life. Not to say of course, that He will not at some point. Plenty of priests and nuns who started out their journey into the seminary/cloister by a complete lack of attraction to the life but were granted a firm resolution with His Help to serve Him in the priesthood or religious life.

The whole article on the link above from New Advent is worth the read to get the whole issue into its whole context. It may be worth your while to have an honest and frank talk with your diocesan Vocations Director. There is no obligation if you do.

Keeping you in prayer.


The think many people do not know about with a calling to the religious life or priesthood is that for the call to be authentic there must be an actual Call.

That is a Call from the Church though the bishop or religious superior to the priesthood/religious life. With out that call no one can be 100% positive that there is a calling.

I think we all should follow though on discernment as to where we are called to be but God does not force us to be where we do not want to be. We have free will and He respects that because that is the way He made us. We are free to reject His plan for our life but that does not mean that He can not still use us for good.

It is not a mortal sin to not discern a calling to religious lfie/priesthood.

have you considered the diaconate? I know a few unmarried deacons who chose that vocation over the priesthood because they found it too difficult to give up certain aspects of their secular life.

What ByzCath said, there are two calls: interior (your certainty), and exterior where the Church gets the final say whether you have a call or not. (ot: this is why women who claim a call to the priesthood are all wet, they think the interior trumps the exterior).

Talk it over with your priest and spiritual advisor. Don’t have a spiritual advisor? This would be a good time to get one.

No mortal sin as far as I can tell.

In and of itself, rejecting a vocation is not a mortal sin. However, if you have a vocation what kind of lifestyle will you lead if you don’t accept it? What kind of lifestyle would you lead if you do? If you don’t accept your vocation, will you fall into mortal sin on a regular basis? Will your lifestyle be more worldly? From the book Could You Ever Become a Catholic Priest:

It’s not a sin to refuse a vocation. God will not punish you for saying no. “Vocation is free,” explains Father Raymond Hostie, SJ. “This is why certain moralists say that failure to heed a vocation does not constitute a sin. It should be stressed, however, that such a refusal does at least constitute the missing of an important opportunity.”

Your entire post speaks volumes - and answers your own question. You may think you’re being called but you’ve actually said you don’t want to be a priest. That’s the gift of free will - God gave it to you! You may be a very good candidate in the estimation of your spiritual advisor - but that doesn’t make you seminary material.

I’m not God. But my personal opinion is that your soul can’t be in danger of mortal sin - simply by reason of the fact that you’re grappling with the issues as your own words say it. It might be more of a sin to take final vows that you can’t turn back from. It might be more a sin if you went into the religious life with your current mindset.

Have you considered Third Orders? Live a stricter, holier religious life as a layman. From what you posted, there’s some foundation for a calling. Even Third Orders have rules, so you might want to pursue some other Christian lifestyle that just doesn’t require taking vows, i.e. giving more of your time or some added funds of business you mentioned towards the poor or those in need.

Based on what you’ve said, I think some soul-searching into what you can do with the life you have established and how you can offer that to God in some special way - might be what God has in mind for you. You can still pray daily. Instead of asking about the priesthood, ask God to show you what HE wants you to do with what you have. See the Infant of Prague below? Say the one-day, nine-hour Novena to Him. It’s notoriously successful - and in my household, prayers have been answered before the novena was completed. I heartily recommend it and wishing you the blessing of hearing His voice - and the answer to your prayers.

There is more to discerning priesthood than just priesthood itself. You also need to discern diocesan vs. an order and if the latter, which one. Different orders have different “charisms” or focuses of their ministry. It is possible that you have simply moved to this stage. (And sinc eyou have owned a business, you may want to look into the Legionaires of Christ).

From what I’m reading, you appear to be considering diocesan priesthood, but you have questions about the seminaries you need to attend. Don’t fret too much about that, since I’ve known people who in the course of their discernment have “backed off” or started looking at a different order option because of the seminary situation. And that in and of itself is not bad, it shows the virtue of prudence.

Now, as far as to you being hesitant to sell your house or business, you need to ask yourself further: why? Is it because you have gotten used to a comfortable lifestyle materially? Are you worried about what will happen to your employees after the business is sold? This may be, as some people say, “running away”, or it simply may be the next stage in your discernemnt.

As far as the “politics” and the fact that there may be priests that you can’t get along with, yes, that is going to be an issue. For years you have been a business owner, so you have been the “top dog” - and once ordained, you will most likely start out as an associate pastor. That is quite a change! And it will also be difficult if you are assigned to a parish that may be lax regarding liturgical abuses (you may want to do things the proper way, but the pastor may say “let it go”).

So may advice to you is this: if you haven’t done so already (I say this because you’ve already started the “due diligence” and research process), talk with the vocations director (in fact, there might be a weekend retreat for those discerning priesthood). Between him and your other spiritual directors, you may be able to work these issues out…or you may discover that the vocaton is as certain as you once thought.

That’s a very interesting question. Yes I have, but my vocation is to the priesthood, not the diaconate.

I talked to the director of the permanent diaconate in my diocese about joining the formation (nights and weekends) and he was very encouraging. I asked if once I was ordained if I could then go to seminary for 6-9 months full time in order to be ordained a priest.

He gave me a fairly disturbed look and said “no.” That a considerable number of permanent deacons do ultimately become priests, but that’s due to a change in one’s vocation, or one’s understand of his vocation. He made it sound like I was looking towards an easy route to ordination (which is probably only partially inaccurate.) In any event perhaps that’s one reason why there are no unmarried permanent deacons in my diocese.

While I’m sure some single men are called to be permanent deacons, I’m not sure what aspects of their secular lives they could retain as deacons and not as priests – including secular employment.

A deacon retains all aspects of their secular lives. The unmarried deacons that I know love their jobs and don’t want to give them up. They like being “out there” and see that as part of their ministry, to evangalize in the workplace. Now that is a apostolate for the laity as well, but as a deacon, he can bring that into his parish ministry. Since he is not bound by full time duties in a parish he is still free to pretty much his own schedule and can get as involved or less involved as he can. Also, rectory life can get pretty lonley and the one man I know who is an unmarried deacon lives with family and enjoys their company each day…that was one thing he did not want to give up in discerning a call to the priesthood.

A priest could do all that. He obviously couldn’t be a pastor – he would have to be a parochial vicar, but he could do all that as well.

How could a parochial vicar hold down a full time job and live with his family? In our area they live in the rectory and work full time in the parish. I know in other some countries priest can live with their families but at least in the Northeast that is usually not an option. i don’t know any priests who work in secular fields, except for one who is retired and working as a nurse.

ByzCath…On the nose…

So how about this…I assume Eastern Catholic Priests can hold a full-time secular job. I thought our local ECP said so.

Some years ago the musical director for * the Broadway musical “42nd Street” is an active Roman Catholic priest. [At least I hope he’s still a priest!]

He wanted to combine his music and his love of the Church and “cut a deal” with the Archbishop.

Fr. Alphonse Stephenson, if I recall correctly.

AND … here’s his resume:*

If you had to make a choice based on fear of losing Gods love, then would it be a free choice? But by the same token, a special grace can be given to help a person get to heaven. If one turns it down, it could be that someday they will make other choices that lead them permanently away from God. Its a mystery.:confused:

We can never lose God’s love.

And probably we will not find out if we lost our earthly way until we, hopefully, get to Purgatory … at which time we will get an opportunity to look back at our lives … and see the path that God chose for us and the path that we ourselves took.

If we do chose a different path from that which was chosen for us by God, then we might find that God also laid out some alternate paths … so that we stay in His Grace and also accomplish some alternate goals.

We have free will. So it is relatively easy to make choices that allow us to commit sins and for us to cut ourselves off from God. But He always loves us … and will always allow us to “come back”.

Consider that Jesus, God, the Son of God, knows all and arranged for His path on Earth to be laid out in a particular way. With prophets such as Isaiah. And how He arranged to be of the family of David. And when He died upon the cross, who was the first person admitted to Heaven? … It was a terrible sinner who made a half-hearted sociopathic repentence … “Hey, when you get to your kingdom, remember me”] … a loser who had nothing left to lose … the person that tradition tells us was Dismas, the thief … who must have been a pretty terrible person to warrant being put to death … and who became St. Dismas. “This day thou shalt be with Me in Paradise”.

That’s something to hope for.

If Dismas could achieve Heaven, then there is hope for us all.

Maybe we could pray to St. Dismas for some helpful intercession.

Probably not too many people pray to St. Dismas…