This post is from a student of mine about the differences between the Catholic priesthood with other Protestant ministers; all the photos are conveniently from my wedding.
Catholicism is the most unified division of Christianity; this was the original form of Christianity and has stood the test of time. Now the Catholic Church accepts all other Christian denominations to be a part of the Christian world; even though they are not baptized under the same church they are baptized under the same G-d.
All Catholics follow the word of the Pope in Italy; he is the head of the Church and has some of the largest masses in the world. A lot of Catholicism is based on rituals and following the doctrines of the religion. Services are more traditional and formal than the services of protestant denominations.
Becoming a Priest
Becoming a Catholic priest is a huge commitment and it’s a decision that requires a lot of thought. First step is being a man, the Roman Catholic Church does not allow women to become priests. You must also have bachelor’s degree, preferably one in Christian theology or philosophy. After a degree, the next step is to join a Catholic Seminary and experience what the life of a pastor is like. Throughout their time in the seminary the prospective priest is expected to learn the customs and rituals that are carried out by Catholic priests, such as baptisms, Sunday mass, and weddings.
It is also expected that the priest remain celibate throughout his entire life. This is a huge decision but it is to show G-d that their life is devoted to worshipping Him and sharing His love with others. “[Priests] must…take a vow of celibacy as a sign of their commitment to G-d. The only exception to the vow of celibacy is men who are married before becoming Catholic priests” (“Catholic Priest Requirements,” Chron).
Once a man completes his seminary work he is then considered a deacon for a year. The deacon is a servant of the church who assists the priest with running the parish and once he has completed his time as a deacon he is eligible to receive his own congregation or to assist with one as a priest.
Differences with other Christians
Compared to becoming a Catholic priest, most other priests/pastors have an easier road. Doing this topic was special to me because my grandfather is a Methodist pastor. He went through some similar roads to become the man he is today, although there are some differences between his life as a Methodist pastor and the life of a Catholic priest:
- The first major difference is the fact that Methodist pastors do not need to be celibate. I am very thankful for this because if it were not for this I would not be here today.
- Another difference is that a Catholic priest is only able to marry a couple if one member is Catholic, but on the other hand my grandfather can marry two Christians of any denomination.
- The last difference is that the Catholic priests have a very strict tradition every Sunday and they follow the same routine and also use the Rosary to pray, while a Methodist pastor has more leeway when it comes to how to plan the day and run his church.
- 30-second Religion, editor Russel Re Manning. New York: Metro, 2011.
- “Catholic Priest Requirements.” Chrone. Accessed May 16, 2016. chron.com/catholic-priest-requirements-4196.html.
- “Catholicism.” ReligionFacts. Accessed May 16, 2016. www.religionfacts.com/catholicism.
- United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. United States Catholic Catechism for Adults. Washington, D.C.: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, 2006.