Too young for the seminary?

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The Diocese of Little Rock in Arkansas has a new vocation recruitment program where they “sign” highschool students up for the seminary… the way sports teams do. The students sign letters of intent to go to seminary in the Fall. I don’t know but I wonder if straight out of highschool is what we want for seminarians or religious candidates.


  1. I don’t think that age nor experience should be a factor. It should be based more on apptitude, sincerity and maturity. I have experience people being judgemental towards me due to my age in my early career. Here I am years later still going on toward the same goal. If God’s calling someone right out of high school to the priesthood, who are we to say “Sure God, but not yet we think he should get a degree and have his heart broken by someone of the opposite sex.” To me that seems a bit cynical of God’s will.

  2. Nowadays I think religious orders play it safe and recruit people who are university graduates (if they decide to leave the order one day the degree they have can come in handy).

    Allow me to go back to the community which destroyed my friend’s life … well, they recruit high school leavers and when some of them are lucky enough to quit the community they’re totally lost in the outside world …. with no qualifications whatsoever.

    I read somewhere in the press that future priests are very carefully vetted in Ireland (one reason is probably to avoid all the scandals).

    I think age and experience is of great importance if we want priests to be in good shape physically and mentally.

    For example in language schools for adults it would be unethical to admit students who are below 18. The same rule should apply to the Church

  3. Mobius,

    Sorry but why do you say that people of the opposite sex break hearts. Do you mean to say that it’s wrong for a woman to fall in love with a man or vice versa?

  4. I had a seminarian friend who went into seminary straightaway (after high school graduation) at Notre Dame in the 70s (Congregation of the Holy Cross), but they wouldn’t let him join the full-fledged programme for Holy Orders until he had ‘lived a little’ (my words, but you get the drift). They said he didn’t have enough life experience. He never was accepted, but he understood and was okay with that.

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