How hard is it to be a priest and the life involved?

Dear Nick,

Thank you Nick for your question.

A simple answer would be that, for any lifelong vocation that we take on, there will be different challenges and sacrifices, just as there will be particular rewards and joys. When Jesus asked the rich young man to come follow me, he asked him to give up the one thing that he was in love with most, the one thing that was really getting in the way of him developing a loving, committed, freely giving relationship with the Lord - his money. Jesus was asking this young man to be detached from that one thing that was enslaving him, that took the focus of his whole life, that was not allowing him to be free to live life to the full.

So, to be a Priest, or a Brother, or to be Married, or a Sister, or living a dedicated Single life, all require us to go beyond those things that would entrance us and enslave us to living a narrow, small, and insignificant life, rather than to do something great for God. Beyond this, if a person's call is to be a Priest, then there will be particular challenges specific to this calling. For many these will be in the area of sacrificing the joys of married life for a life that is lived in a Community (for a Religious Order Priest), or alone (for a Diocesan Priest). A young man considering this journey needs to way up his ability to walk this road, but at the same time, needs to be aware of the particular joys and fulfillment of living and ministering as a Priest, rejoicing with and reaching out to those who most need his ministry.

I hope your find these reflections helpful.

God Bless,

Br Rod 

How many years does it take to become a priest?

Dear Ash,

It takes about 7 years to train to be a priest, but it also depends what study you have done beforehand.
Thanks for the question.

All the best Ash.
Fr. Brian

What is the difference between a Priest and a Father?

What is the difference between a Priest and a Father? How do you get this degree and how long does it take? and where do you study to get this title?

Dear Georgia,

"priest" and "father" are different names for the same person. "Priest" is the role, "father" is an honourary title.

Priesthood is separate from any academic degree - it is ordination by a bishop which makes a man into a priest. There is some study involved in the overall formation towards priesthood, which is usually a Bachelor of Theology. Overall, formation takes 6 or 7 years.

God bless - Fr Jim 

What is the difference between a religious priest and a diocesan?

Dear Karla, thank you for your question.

A diocesan priest lives and ministers in a particular geographic area called a diocese, which is governed by a bishop. He does not belong to a religious community or order. He lives celibately and promises obedience to the bishop. Through ordained ministry, a priest proclaims God’s word and celebrates the sacraments.

A religious priest (such as Dominican, Franciscan or Jesuit) is one who is a member of a religious community in the same way that brothers and sisters belong to a particular religious community. Unlike the brother or sister, a Religious Priest administers sacraments as an ordained minister. He is not, as such, a minister of a particular diocese but can be involved in a variety of ministries in many different places.

I hope this answers your question,

God bless,

Br Rod 

Why are women not allowed to become priests?

Dear Andrew,

Your question is a good one, and very complex. I will post an answer found on the Brisbane Archdioceses website for this.

Thank you,

Br Rod


This issue was raised in the Australian Catholic Bishop’s Conference Consultation with women, as published by the document Woman and Man One in Christ,

This is an extract from the Executive Summary of that document

The Survey found that the great majority of Church attenders (women) have a strong sense of belonging to their parish and feel that it is adequately meeting their spiritual needs, have never felt unwelcome in the Church in recent years, and have been given sufficient assistance to complete a task when they have accepted responsibility. Respondents suggested that the best ways to increase women's participation were through prayer, increasing women's involvement in decision-making and Church administration, and reforming beliefs and practices that do not promote the equality of men and women. Three quarter said they have neither experienced nor observed barriers to women's participation in the Church but more than a quarter said they did not accept the Church's teaching on the ordination of women.

By contrast, the overall findings of the written submissions, public hearings and targeted groups revealed a strong sense of pain and alienation resulting from the Church's stance on women. The results of these research approaches highlighted the enormous contribution of women to all aspects of the life of the Church, except in the ordained ministry, leadership and decision-making. It was perceived that little assistance and support were received from the institutional Church to undertake anything other than ancillary and support roles. Significant barriers to the full participation of women were experienced. The fundamental barrier concerned traditions and attitudes which were seen to be inconsistent with the person and message of Jesus Christ and especially his relationship with women. The major suggestions to increase women's participation were the involvement of women in decision-making at all levels, a re-examination of the nature of ministry with exploration of the possibility of more inclusive roles for men and women, and reform of beliefs and associated practices that do not promote the equality of men and women.

There was much agreement, even among those with different views on the question, that there should be open discussion of the issue of women's ordination.


The official reason given by the Vatican for non-ordination of women is this

Only a baptised man validly receives sacred ordination. The Lord chose men to form the college of the twelve apostles, and the apostles did the same when they chose collaborators to succeed them in their ministry. The college of bishops, with whom the priests are united in the priesthood, makes the college of twelve an ever present and ever active reality until Christ’s return. The church recognises herself to be bound by this choice made by the Lord himself. For this reason the ordination of women is not possible. (Catechism 1577 Inter insignores(1977)

A few comments need to be made in relation to this. The teaching on women’s ordination has been declared as “to be definitively held by all the faithful.” The teaching that women are unable to be ordained priests must in no way be taken to imply that women are unequal in dignity and value as compared to men. Also, this decision cannot be taken to mean that women are incapable of conveying the humanity of Christ as opposed to the maleness of Christ. This is true because we believe that both women and men were made in the image and likeness of God.


Please go to the Brisbane site for the rest of this answer 

Why do you think people become priests?

Dear Jorja,

Thanks for your question.

There are many reasons why someone would become a Priest. Oftentimes people will also have mixed motivation - there will be very positive and noble reasons, plus also, there might be reasons that are less noble, or even unconscious ones. A less noble reason might be - If I'm a priest I can be an important person in the community. For most people, though, there are overwhelmingly positive reasons that they are led to being a priest, and after a long period of training and reflection on their motivation, they eventually make their commitment.

For most young men considering priesthood there would be a desire to serve God by serving his people, particularly those who are searching for spiritual fulfillment, and a sense of God's loving presence in their life. Many would be priests are aware of the injustices in our world and wish to make a difference through their priesthood. Many have gained a sense of nourishment and support in their own lives by reception of the Sacraments, and have a desire to share Jesus' love with others through celebrating these sacraments for them. Many priests might also be led to priesthood by the example of good and holy men that they know, older priests who have borne the burden of the day, and who stand out as shining examples of people who place God at the centre, people who are aware of their own weaknesses and so, in turn, are pastoral and caring for their fellow human beings who are suffering or perplexed by all sorts of trials that come their way.

I hope these few examples might help you.

God Bless,
Br Rod  


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