“Ask a Priest: What If My Husband Wants My Son to Quit the Seminary?”

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Q: My son joined the seminary in June when my husband was away for work. Since coming home, he has missed our son and keeps talking about him and asks, “How can God take away our son?” My son is 23 years old and dreamed of becoming a priest since he was 16. My husband wants me to go to the seminary and bring my son back home and to stop all his church activities, and to work in a company office instead. I have always supported my son to become a priest and want to see him at the altar celebrating Mass. I don’t know what to do. My husband is fighting with me every day to bring my son back. Father, please advise me what to do and how to convince my husband to let our son stay in the seminary? – R.

Answered by Fr. Edward McIlmail, LC

A: It’s great to hear that your son is in the seminary and pursuing a possible priestly vocation.

For the record, let’s recall that a vocation is a call from God. Ultimately, it’s not about what a parent wants for a son. It’s what God wants – and what a young man is willing to saying yes to.

Now, obviously, I don’t know how your husband and son view the situation, so my observations here are a bit tentative.

It’s understandable that a parent could find it difficult to accept a son’s vocation to the priesthood or religious life. The parent might have other plans for the son, including the carrying on of the family name.

Here you might also remind him that all life belongs to God. Our Lord has certainly blessed your husband in many ways by giving him you and your son. Maybe God is now seeking some generosity from your husband in return.

You might help your husband see that the vocation is in fact a gift for the family, and that God has a way of blessing those who are generous with him.

That your husband wants your son to stop “all his church activities” might indicate a lack of basic faith — or perhaps a parental fear in the wake of all the Church scandals of the last generation.

In any case, your son is an adult and can make his own decisions. You might want to calmly point that out to your husband and invite him to pray about it.

(It’s interesting that your husband is pressing you to pull your son out of the seminary. But that’s another matter.)

For your own peace of mind, you might want to tell your husband that you understand his concerns, but that he doesn’t need to keep bringing up the subject. If he feels strongly about the issue, he could speak to your son himself.

You might want to intensify your prayers for your husband and son. The devil likes to derail families … and priestly vocations. Count on my prayers.


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One Comment
  1. My observation also Father, as this mom relates it. The husband wants the mom to go to the seminary to ‘bring the 23 year old adult son home.’

    1. What if the son was simply away from home in any college, would he miss him so much that he’d want
    his wife to go to a college and ‘bring him home?’ I think you have it Father M, the dad iappears to be against the son pursuing a religious life. And yes, isince we don’t the relationship of son and dad… could be the son iwent to the seminary to IRK his dad.

    2. The father sounds immature, for wanting wife to bring son home. He should ‘wait it out’ for a year
    and see how much the son has ‘the call’ to the Holy Priesthood. If the son is hearing God and God wants
    this… it will be. The earthly dad has to mature and accept it.

    3. Not known also is how many other children this couple have. The father misses the son, an indication
    that the father is lonely? Time for this couple to get used to ’empty nest’ syndrome and enjoy more time
    together…. and yes, call their son and visit him TOGETHER to see if he is happy. What father would hand
    son a stone when he wants bread? Any loving father and mother are HAPPY when their child is happy.
    (be it married to the girl of ‘dreams’, single and working a job of any type (good type), sharing home with them OR having one’s own apartment)

    4. The wife should do as you say… tell dad to go TELL his adult son to come home. (treat the son as when
    he was a boy) He doesn’t want to end the relationship, but he’ll tell the mom to do such.

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