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Q & A with Father Anthony

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Does a man entering the seminary have to be a virgin?

Dean asks:

Dear Fr Anthony,

Does a man entering the seminary have to be a virgin? 
        


Dear Dean,

A man entering the seminary has to be willing, and with the help of God be able to live celibacy. So, if a man is no longer a virgin he has to ask himself what was behind his failing, was it ignorance of what is a sin, was it a moment of weakness, was it a deliberate twisting of his conscience, etc .

To enter the seminary it is necessary to have made the decision to live chastely and celibately. However, a decision is not enough, he has to give some guarantee that he will be able to do so with God's help. This means he must already be incorporating into his lifestyle the necessary means to be faithful to his decision, such as prayer and self-discipline, avoidance of the occasions of sin, good friendships, a healthy lifestyle, a normal, healthy, Christian outlook on life, relationships and marriage, etc. Of course he will build on all of this during his seminary years, but he must have started before joining.

He must also have a realistic view of himself, to see if he really can live the celibate life with God's help, and he will get that self-knowledge by examining his conscience, tracking his progress, using the help of a spiritual director. He should also examine his past failings to find and discover his own reality: for example the case of a man with one occasion of weakness a long time ago is very different from someone who until recently has been plagued with frequent difficulties and concessions in this area.

God bless.
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