10 Danger Signs Your Priest Has Serious Problems with His Vocation

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Pope Francis condemns careerism among priests and religious. Treating one’s priesthood as a career rather than a personal calling from God to live a life of service and holiness is contrary to the Church’s teachings on the true nature of Catholic priesthood.

“Using especially strong language on one of his favorite themes, Pope Francis decried a plague of careerism among priests and urged them to renounce their personal ambitions for service to the church — warning that failure to do so would make them look “ridiculous.”

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“Careerism is a leprosy, a leprosy,” the pope said June 6, in a speech to students from the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy, the school for future Vatican diplomats. “Please, no careerism!”

All types of priestly ministry require “great inner freedom,” the pope said, which calls for “vigilance in order to be free from ambition or personal aims, which can cause so much harm to the church.”

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Priests must make their priority the “cause of the Gospel and the fulfillment of the mission” entrusted to them, not self-fulfillment or public recognition, he said.

Such self-denial “may appear demanding,” the pope said, “but it will allow you, so to speak, to be and to breathe within the heart of the church.”

By “cultivating a life of prayer,” he told the priests, one can transform daily work into the “gymnasium of your sanctification” (Catholic News Service).

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Here are some signs that your priest is infected with the leprosy of careerism and, therefore, has serious problems with his vocation as a servant of God. This calls for the laity to pray for priests and be vigilant against clerical abuse to help them overcome careerism:

1. He is often conscious about his physical appearance.

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Priests are expected to be role models in hygiene and decency with regard to attire. But if he is too conscious of his looks and acts like ordinary teenagers, be warned that he have fallen in love with somebody or is having personal issues he cannot let go. It is normal for a person who falls in love to be extra conscious about their appearance and health.

2. He is often unavailable in the parish church.

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Priests are normally busy on weekends, especially Sundays, because most of the sacraments in the parish are celebrated during these days. Except if priests has other duties in the Church or seminary, they are expected to be available on weekdays. If they are not available and always out-of-town, then be warned that they may have personal affairs or relationships they are busy with during ordinary days.

3. He lacks enthusiasm when celebrating the sacraments.

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If the priest celebrates the sacraments such as the Mass, Baptism, Matrimony, etc as if he is only doing them as a chore, without enthusiasm, then be warned that he may have problems with his prayer life. One can easily feel the sanctity of the priest through his aura, demeanor, and level of spiritual enthusiasm in celebrating Christ’s sacraments.

4. He is often in need of money.

Priests have allowances and can receive stipends when celebrating masses. But if he engages in funding raising without a reasonable cause, be warned that your priest might be financing something such as a fancy car or supporting his own family which can be contrary to his vocation.

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5. He is often temperamental.

It is understandable that a priest might get angry if something goes wrong in his parish plans and see wrongdoing of his parishioners. After all, priests are also humans. But if he is suddenly different from his usual self and becomes easily irritable even in trivial things, then be warned that he might be in serious crisis with his vocation. He might have some serious personal problems which may be contrary to his vocation.

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6. He doesn’t prepare well his sermons.

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One can easily tell through the aura and sermon of the priest if he is a holy and spiritual person or he is just doing a chore. A good priest prepares his sermons well. He must not exceed 15 minutes in his homily as suggested by Pope Francis. He must not also use his sermons to vent his personal issues and unfulfilled needs.

7. He loves to show off his latest gadgets.

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Priests who love to show off his latest gadgets, such as iPhones, hoover boards, Mac Pros, and other expensive equipment, are giving wrong impressions to the laity. Why would they act like secular persons if they are spiritual leaders of the Church? They are supposed to be role models in Christian virtues and not commercial models for the latest expensive gadgets. Lay people would then start to doubt the sincerity, spirit of poverty, and holiness of their parish priests if they see them owning and using expensive gadgets.

8. He likes fancy cars.

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Craving for fancy cars and SUVs seems to be the common preoccupation of the new generation of priests. Instead of making themselves role of models of practicing the spirit of poverty mentioned in the Beatitudes, they become status symbols of a middle class lifestyle. The diocese must have a strict policy on owing and using luxury vehicles for their priests as this practice is contrary to the simple lifestyle of Jesus.

9. He is worldly in his ways.

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Priests can be sociable beings but not socialites.As pastors and witnesses of the Gospel, they must be aware that there personal actions, tastes, and activities must not be interpreted by the laity as worldly or materialistic. Lay people can easily spot a priest who is spiritual from a worldly one.

10. He is having an affair.

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Although lay people can sympathize with priest’s loneliness and lack of intimacy in parish church, they are also alarmed if they know their priests are having an affair with women or men. Persistent concubinage and other forms of illicit sexual union by priests are forbidden by the Church’s Canon Law. Once a priest engages in concubinage or sexual abuse, he loses gradually his vocation and lives a double life. He loses his credibility and becomes a liability to the Church. The Catholic church paid millions of dollars as damages in courts due to clerical sexual abuse in the US and around the world. The most common challenge faced by many priests today is how to satisfy their need for intimacy without leaving the priesthood.

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Why is the Law on Adultery and Concubinage Biased Against Women in the Philippines?


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For the Catholic Church, not all state laws can be moral. Morality follows the divine law, while the state law follows the human law. Ideally, all things legal must be moral as legality and morality aim to achieve the common good. But there are instances that legality can conflict with morality. The law on adultery and concubinage in the Philippines is an example of a law that is legal but immoral if one examines the provisions of the law closely.

The Philippine law on adultery and concubinage under the Revised Penal Code is highly biased law against women. This code is basically crafted by male legislators. It is immoral as it violates the virtue of justice which requires that everyone must be given what is due to him/her by law in the spirit of equality and Christian love. In particular, its definition and enforcement are highly unequal and unjust against married women.

There are three areas where this law is biased against women.


1. One Crime but with Two Labels: Adultery is more Condemned in Society than Concubinage.

The first area of injustice is the label of the crime. Both adultery and concubinage refers to one offense of marital infidelity committed by a spouse legally married by having sexual intercourse with other partners not their wife or husband. But the law labels and defines this same offense separately by gender. The more popular and culturally strong label of “adultery” is assigned to Filipino wives who generally and culturally expected to be chaste and faithful in marriage, while the less known term of concubinage is given to Filipino husbands. Why two unequal labels for one offense of marital infidelity?  Moreover, the legal prescriptions on how this crime is committed also vary, making the wife more vulnerable to prosecution by the husband. In adultery, a wife can be guilty by having a carnal knowledge or sexual intercourse with another man who is not her husband in any circumstance.

In concubinage, a husband can only be guilty of the crime if he had sexual intercourse  with another woman who is not his wife only under the following three circumstances: (1) By bringing the mistress and having sexual intercourse with her in the conjugal home, (2) by cohabitation, that is, it has been established that the husband had  and lived together with the mistress, acting like husband and wife in front of the community, and (3) by having a sexual intercourse in a scandalous way!  Under this definition, a wife can easily commit one count of adultery for every act of sexual intercourse with her lover in any place and circumstance. But for the husband, this is not the case. He is not guilty if he does not cohabit with his mistress, if he only brings the mistress in a hotel secretly, or he if he just visits with his mistress in an apartment and goes home after having sexual relations with her. Cohabitation as legally defined and required by law is what makes concubinage difficult to establish in court against the husband.


2. Indirect Evidence Sufficient for Women and but only Direct Evidence for Men.

The second area of injustice is the minimum type of evidence acceptable to the court for prosecution. In adultery, indirect evidence such as love letters, e-mail, text messages, pictures showing intimate moments and the like are accepted in court and sufficient to convict the wife of the crime. In concubinage, only direct evidence such videos, incriminating pictures, testimonies of people who had personal knowledge of the affair, are acceptable in court to convict the husband.


3. Longer Imprisonment for Women.

Finally, the third area of inequality is in the punishment.  Adultery is punishable by prision correctional from its medium to maximum terms or roughly between 4 to 6 years, while concubinage against the husband only carries a penalty of prision correctional in its minimum to medium terms or 2 to 4 years. In one decided case, the court justifies this difference of punishment by saying that it would highly unjust for the husband to probably support an illegitimate child!

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