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
- If I request information about joining a religious organisation, will I be pressured into joining?
- 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 organisations?
- School was never something I really liked. Is the study part of formation very hard?
- I do not consider myself to be exceptionally holy, I try to pray every day and follow the commandments. I have always been very interested in the priesthood but I have never felt a burning passion for it. Could I still be called to the priesthood?
- What if as a priest I need to take time out to care for a relative or family member?
- The idea of public speaking is very challenging to me and I avoid it if possible. How can I be a priest when I hate public speaking?
- If I become a priest, will I be living with mostly elderly men?
- Why do we have priests? Can’t lay people do the work of priests?
- Can I become a bishop or cardinal and not a priest?