Do you have to be a virgin to become a priest?
No. One of the greatest saints in the Church’s history, St Augustine, took a long time to come to terms with the requirement of chastity. He famously said, “Chastity, yes, Lord, but not just yet!’
It is generally recommended that a person considering a call to the priesthood has been sexually inactive for at least 18 months before they are admitted to seminary or religious life. This is wise, as it tests a person’s ability to sustain a life of chastity over a prolonged period of time, which, of course, priesthood demands.
Most popular questions
- I feel I have a specific charism to youth outreach. Can I live this charism out as a priest, or must I follow the charism of the order I join?
- Why are there so many different religious orders?
- Are religious orders different from one another? If so, how are they different?
- What if I change my mind about being a priest during training or things just don’t work out? How do I pick my life back up again?
- What can I do as a priest that I cannot do as a layperson working for a charity or NGO?
- Why would anybody become a priest nowadays?
- If I request information about joining a religious organisation, will I be pressured into joining?
- As a priest, will I get to see and talk with family and friends regularly?
- I read stories of religious communities merging or closing down. Are religious organisations dying out?
- Do religious communities offer a trial period?