Young men training to become Catholic priests have opened up about the modern challenges they face in the midst of church scandals and mandatory celibacy.
Two of the three trainees were born overseas and coaxed to Australia to study at Melbourne’s Corpus Christi College and the third was born in Australia.
Young men training to become Catholic priests have opened up about the modern challenges they face (stock image)
Vietnam-born Huy Nguyen, 27, moved to Australia to become a priest.
When questioned about the difficulties of giving up sex while in the prime of his life he says prayer is his best course of action.
‘As young person, I still struggle with this. Sometimes I ask my advice from close friends about how I cope with these sexual urges that emerge within you’ he said.
‘I pray a lot so I feel, not comfortable but peaceful.’
In August Australia’s child abuse royal commission called on the church to consider voluntary celibacy for clergymen.
Australian Catholic Bishops Conference president Archbishop Mark Coleridge acknowledged the idea had some merit, in theory, but it was unlikely to be implemented.
‘I suspect that on that question of mandatory celibacy, given its implications for the church in every place around the world, that there won’t be much movement on that particular issue,’ he said.
The only Australian trainee priest to speak to the publication, Samuel Pearson, 28, from Glenroy, Melbourne, said he found his path while at university.
Coming from a ‘pretty ordinary Catholic family’ he didn’t realise the depth of his faith until he encountered ‘militant Marxists and pugnacious progressives’ who indulged in ‘anti-Christian quips’.
‘I was confronted by many who were actively hostile to the values that unconsciously defined who I am. Anti-Christian quips in tutorials were common,’ he said.
He said once he acknowledged his true Catholic roots he discovered his calling.
‘I was like a guy who just met the girl of his dreams and would smile goofily when he saw her!’ he said.
The third trainee priest who spoke to the publication, Chathura Silva, 28, was born in Sri Lanka and decided to move to Australia when he was 24.
He said moving to Australia to train as a Catholic priest was a ‘big prospect’ but one he has taken on gladly.
It was a lonely experience at first but since settling in Silva has been enjoying his training time.
Australian Catholic Bishops Conference president Archbishop Mark Coleridge acknowledged the idea of making celibacy voluntary had some merit, in theory, but it was unlikely to be implemented