Question from Mrs. H. on 2/19/2008:
Dear Dr. Geraghty,
I am writing to ask this question, and am not certain if it is a matter of philosophy. But I will ask anyway. Our 12 year old son has been having moments of turning away from the Church. He has always loved the Church and spoke many times about being a priest. His love for prayer and the Church was obvious to many including an order of priest and brothers who my husband and I just found out were regularly pressuring him to become a priest. My son would attend day retreats with this order and throughout the day they would take our son aside from the group walking away from the group into buildings and behind groups of trees and tell him over and over he should be a priest. This order went so far as to come to our home and tell us that if we did not send our son to preseminary school (theirs) the teenage years would roll in and he would be badly influenced by other kids and well...Our son now wants nothing to do with becoming a priest and sometimes not Church at all. He was so put off and intimidated by these encounters. How do we help our son to not turn his back on the Church or his faith? Thank you so much for your time. God Bless You!
Answer by Richard Geraghty on 2/23/2008:
Dear Mrs. H.,
The priests were not very prudent in pressuring your son. It may take a while for him to understand that priests are not perfect. I suppose he will have to discover that for himself. Every Catholic has to discover that because everybody, clergy and lay folk, are sinners. Nevertheless, Christ has chosen Catholics to be his choice flock in leading the rest of the world into the one fold. That is quite mysterious, this choice of God's. It certainly isn't because Catholic are by nature are somehow superior creatures who are worthy of God's choice. Here the initiative is with God who has a particular role for everybody in the salvation of mankind.