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Linda T. wrote:

Hi, guys —

I have two questions.  I have tried to do research on both of these issues and am still coming up short.

  1. The importance of confessing thoughts. To be more specific, I have a brother who refuses to let the family see his sons; this includes my parents who have not seen their grandchildren (their ONLY grandchildren) for a year and a half.

    I have had "conversations" in my head about these things. I would like to remind my brother he should not be doing this to our parents and that he is mistreating his children by keeping them from the family. During these "conversations", I have called him some adjectives I would never actually use to his face. These are thoughts that I keep to myself (particularly since he physically threatened me the last time we spoke).

    • Do I need to confess these negative thoughts?

  2. Wouldn't allowing priests to marry increase, not only the number of Catholics in general but, the number of men who choose to become priests?

    In particular, I just finished reading "Story of a Soul" by St. Therese and noted that her father had originally wanted to be a monk but was denied entry into the monastery since he did not speak Latin. Her mother had wanted to serve with St. Vincent de Paul but was turned away since it was felt that she did not have a vocation. These two strongly religious people married and, of their five children that lived to adulthood, four began nuns.

    • Doesn't it stand to reason that if priests (and nuns, for that matter) were allowed to marry (not that they have to, but that they would have the option to) that perhaps their offspring would also have a strong calling to the Church?

Thanking you in advance for your attention to my questions.


  { Should I confess negative thoughts and wouldn't a married priesthood increase vocations? }

Mike replied:

Hi, Linda —

Thanks for the question.

RE: Your family situation and your thoughts.

Situations like yours are difficult to deal with. One thing that all family members have to accept is each other family member's free will to do dumb things, whether knowingly or unknowingly.

In difficult situations, like these, one has to prudently weight:

  • what has to be said, charitably, to a person
  • a prayerful silence for the sake of family unity.

I've heard of so many families who irrationally get into arguments with other family members over the smallest of issues and what they are loosing out on is so important: family unity!, a family unity that should reflect the Trinitarian nature of God Himself: family members helping other family members.

One reply: I've burnt the bridge! It's too late.

My reply: No it's not. If you pray with confidence and REALLY want that family unity, it will come back over time, with ONE small, but important ingredient: HUMILITY. Humility destroys the evil one in our life.

My best advice I can give you is to pray that your brother will be open to allowing his sons to see their grandparents.  This assumes there is no good, logical reason why he shouldn't.

We all have these thoughts or conversations in our heads from time to time. Bring this issue and your situation to your confessor when you go to Confession next time. They are not sins, per se, but he will be able to guide you and give you good counsel.

RE: Wouldn't a married priesthood increase the number of vocations to the priesthood?

You said:
Doesn't it stand to reason that if priests (and nuns, for that matter) were allowed to marry (not that they have to, but that they would have the option to) that perhaps their offspring would also have a strong calling to the Church?

It may, but the problem is: we can't merge two different vocations in hopes that a third type of vocation will "fix" the really problem:

  • a lack of proper catechesis and love for the Catholic Church within family life itself.

I think your question implies that since Catholic parents in the pew are either:

  • rejecting living a Catholic lifestyle or
  • having a difficult time instilling the values and teachings of the Church into their children

that religious married Catholic couples would do a better job.

I don't know about that. Raising children is still raising children; something most priests or nuns don't experience first hand.

Vocations are unique callings that we discover with the help of the Lord over time. One could be a:

  • nurse
  • teacher
  • nun or sister
  • brother or priest
  • doctor
  • scientist
  • Catholic apologist and/or evangelist, like us.
  • etc.

The unique vocations of a nun and a priest are vocations that are mainly geared to Christ and Her Church, respectively.

The nun's spouse being Christ; the priest's spouse mainly being Holy Mother Church —
(some priests are married, but if their spouse dies, they cannot re-marry.)

Hope this helps.


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