I will be posting a series on common objections parents have surrounding a son’s interest in discerning a vocation to priesthood or religious life. I will take one objection and go deeper on the topic. Some of these objections are things you may have already discussed with your son, while others may be too embarrassing or politically incorrect to say aloud or even admit to yourself.
I hope to pull back the curtain on these concerns and help parents reflect on why they may have these objections. Understanding the reality behind an objection with concrete and accurate information can help you gain some perspective on the concern.
In a critique of Fr. Brett Brannen’s book: A Priest in the Family, the reviewer acknowledges that the concerns of parents are legitimate:
…he [Fr. Brannen] explains priesthood, seminary, celibacy, and how a man discerns his vocation—all while keeping in mind parents’ legitimate concerns.
I found this very comforting when I read that. I am not being unreasonable or reactionary in my concerns. They are legitimate and deserve respect, information and time to address.
Every one of the objections below is addressed in either one of Fr. Brett Brannen’s books: To Save a Thousand Souls or A Priest in the Family. These books give good basic information along with stories of how seminarians and their families handled common objections. These books are introduced in the post HERE: 5 Myths and Facts about Discernment or Isn’t there a book about this somewhere?
I plan to blog on each of these objections over the next few weeks, but from a mother’s point of view. Some of these objections did come out of my mouth early on as I struggled to understand. I will own up to which ones I did say or at least think and how I dealt with them.
• How can you know what you are giving up when you haven’t even lived yet? You are so young, you don’t know what this means
• What if he is falsely accused? People will be suspicious of him. He will always be under a microscope. People are so critical of priests.
• It’s such a hard life
• He will be lonely
• He will be so overworked
• I just want him to be happy! Part 1: What is happy anyway?
• I just want him to be happy Part 2: Where do my objections come from? Why do I feel so strongly about this? Why am I so angry, frustrated, or emotional about this?
• How/Why did this happen in our family? We aren’t even that religious.
• How can this be real when it has happened so fast: See the post This is just a phase or I don’t want another trumpet in the attic HERE
• What will _____________ think or say?
• I will never see him, especially on holidays
• I will never have grandchildren
If you have an objection or concern that is not addressed here, just leave a comment and we will address it.
Please know that the authors of this blog pray daily of the parents of discerning sons and daughters to find peace and understanding.