Celibacy is always a top concern for men thinking about the priesthood: “I like girls too much to become a priest.” But rest assured that every priest had the same thought before he went to seminary.
Even Pope Francis himself admitted to having to discern celibacy very carefully as a young seminarian:
“I was dazzled by a girl I met at an uncle’s wedding… I was surprised by her beauty, her intellectual brilliance… and, well, I was bowled over for quite a while. I kept thinking and thinking about her. When I returned to the seminary after the wedding, I could not pray for over a week because when I tried to do so, the girl appeared in my head. I had to rethink what I was doing.”
If even the pope had second thoughts about celibacy, you should not be surprised that you yourself struggle with the issue!
Here’s the fact: no bishop will ordain a man if he doesn’t have a normal sexual attraction to women. That’s the way God made us, and it is an indication that a man is psychologically healthy.
Celibacy isn’t about repressing your sexuality. Rather, it’s about giving up a single woman—a wife— in order to serve all people. Celibacy means giving oneself wholly to the Bride of Christ, the Church. It’s a radical, supernatural call from God.
The difficulty, of course, is that in secular society, celibacy is portrayed as impossible or ridiculous. As Fr. Benedict Groeschel once wrote, “The media trumpets the message that sex brings happiness. If this were true, we would indeed live in an earthly paradise and the world would be ‘happy valley.’” But the truth is that there are over 400,000 celibate priests in the world, and the vast majority report great happiness and fulfillment.
Even if you struggle with chastity right now, God can give you the grace to become sexually pure. Don’t let a concern about celibacy prevent you from considering the priesthood.