Hello, reddit! It's Fr. Josh again.

I am a Roman Catholic diocesan priest. I've been a priest for 5 years. AMAA!

Just a note, if you'd like to know what Catholics believe, wikipedia does a decent job, and if you'd like to know the answer to a common apologetics question, Catholic Answers is really good. If you would like to know why we believe something, the Catholic Encyclopedia goes into depth in its replies, though it is a little old.

And, as always, I believe with the Church, so I don't tend to have a difference of opinion on matters of doctrine.

First edit! an admin verified that I'm a priest so there's my verification

second edit- I'm going to answer questions until around 3:45 pm EST, then I should be back later, and tomorrow, too

third edit- thank you for the gold! also, if you PM me, it'll be lost in the comments to this thread. Just for your information.

fourth edit- I'm back for an hour!

5th edit- done for the night. See you all tomorrow! IF YOU'RE LUCKY.

Sixth edit- I sneaked in and answered some more. I might continue to do so over the coming week.

Comments: 4360 • Responses: 117  • Date: 

FusionGel1448 karma

Does your father call you father? Just curious...

fr-josh1563 karma

No! But I have teased them on occasion about it.

allywilson800 karma

No! But I have teased them on occasion about it.


fr-josh1209 karma

Parents! I was thinking of my parents. Ha!

DonDeLaDweeb95 karma

It's like that "they have become like one of us" quote in Genesis. Who was the "us" in that statement? The world may never know....

fr-josh356 karma

We like to speak in the first person plural, we do.

sarcastic_catholic1233 karma

Would you rather baptize 100 baby-sized adults or 1 adult-sized baby?

fr-josh1510 karma

Is the adult sized baby accompanied by gigantic sized parents?

skagbhoy864 karma

Where do you get your black socks? You see, ordinary shops sell what look like black socks, but if you look closely, you'll see that they're very, very, very, very, very, very, very dark blue.

Never buy black socks from a normal shop. They shaft you every time.

fr-josh675 karma

From Kohl's and anywhere they're on sale. Pretty boring of me. And they sometimes turn blue over time. I may need to go to a podiatrist.

Mutt1223606 karma

I used to be Catholic, don't believe anymore, yet I still find myself defending you guys from people who seem to misunderstand a great deal about what Catholics actually believe. My question is, can I get my sainthood before I die or are they still pretty solid about that being a requirement?

fr-josh750 karma

First you have to call a crusade. We need one against reddit and the SPCA. Did you know that they wouldn't accept my amoebas at their shelters?

Sickmonkey3193 karma

Heretics! That is profiling!

fr-josh485 karma

They are literally kitler!

shotgun_ninja216 karma

literally kitler

Redditor for 4 years

Just what I suspected; there are Catholic priests on the Internet.

fr-josh308 karma

There are dozens of us! Dozens!

ptrix523 karma

What's your opinion about the long spate of sexual scandals associated with the Roman Catholic church?

fr-josh729 karma

Any kind of abuse is horrific and child abuse is the worst form. I'm glad that we have taken steps to curtail it and that abuse has become almost nonexistent in the past 10-20 years (in the US, the only country I have read statistics for). I think that other countries' bishops conferences around the world should face the situation head on rather than waiting like the US and Ireland did. I'm glad that our popes have been encouraging us to fight abuse, too.

WXGirl83411 karma

I'm an atheist who is in love with a cafeteria catholic... He wants to get married in the church (his family is very devout, but he's more relaxed) but I hear this can be problematic given my lack of... well... being catholic.

What steps will I have to take to marry a catholic?

fr-josh510 karma

First you talk to your priest. Then, depending on whether you're baptized or not, he fills out some paperwork. Then you do pre-cana classes to get prepared for marriage. Finally, you get married.

The criteria will differ for each diocese, but that should be roughly what you will be asked to do. I have done marriages similar to this and the Catholic Church is definitely familiar with cases like yours.

WXGirl83248 karma

Thank you so much! This is extremely helpful. I was worried I would have to do things religiously that I wasn't comfortable with. This makes me feel much better. Thanks again!

Side question, I was baptized in a christian baptist church (before I left)... does that make a difference? Also, do they allow outdoor weddings, or is that a big no-no?

fr-josh368 karma

You're welcome. We don't force non-Catholics to be Catholic in order to marry in the Church. We do have other requirements.

The prior baptism does make a difference, but it should only speed things up, if I remember my canon law correctly. Your local priest will know and will help you out.

No outdoor weddings. Catholic weddings happen in Catholic churches. We're fine with outdoor receptions.

WXGirl83105 karma

Just talked to him, apparently it's important to him to have a mass at the wedding... I'm sure that makes it much harder :(

fr-josh317 karma

Nope. You can have a Mass with only 1 Catholic spouse. The priest will just ask that you don't receive the Eucharist (because only Catholics in good standing are allowed to receive the Eucharist).

ssddbb326 karma

What's your favorite fictional film about Catholicism?

fr-josh926 karma

Good question. I really liked The Exorcism of Emily Rose because I enjoy a good scare now and then and because it portrayed us Catholics well. I feel the same way about The Conjuring, too.

Another one I found entertaining was the movie Priest with the priests killing the monsters. I saw that with some priest friends and the theology made us laugh.

AgentChimendez172 karma

You should totally see 'Hell Baby'. The best terrible portrayal of catholic priests I have ever seen.

fr-josh1008 karma

Are we really, really ridiculously good looking in that movie? Do we teach people to read good?

noogarock109 karma

Good picks, loved those movies for the same reasons. Although... they were allegedly based on a true story.

fr-josh205 karma

Which makes them even more frightening!

Waiting4Heathcliff75 karma

Doesn't it bother you when the theology, and even the churches are portrayed incorrectly on film? I was a Catholic School teacher, and, am a perfectionist. So, I find the portrayal of the Churches as Pre-Vatican II, frustrating, (candles, icons, excessive statuary, etc.)

fr-josh110 karma

That's why I don't watch movies where I know it's going to annoy me. There are some really bad portrayals out there.


I'm not /u/fr-josh, but I thought I would just throw out there that mine is Lord of the Rings. There's a lot of Catholic themes in there, which isn't surprising given Tolkein's beliefs.

fr-josh62 karma

Those were great movies. I've seen 'em all and the longer versions, too.

Turtletonsure312 karma

What tips do you have for making a good confession?

Are there any common confessing habits that annoy you?

fr-josh414 karma

Be honest and tell the priest if you're nervous or find the process difficult. Carry one of those printed guides with you if you have any difficulty with confession.

It's a little annoying when the person wants spiritual direction instead of confession (because it's not the place and because of the people in line behind the confessee), but other than that I don't find confessions annoying. Each person is different so each confession is different. Some people take a while to get everything out (whether major or minor) and some people take no time at all.

grassrootdiet111 karma

Was there at any time a confession you were really, seriously worried about? Either about the person him/herself or about the consequences of their actions? How did you feel, what did you do?

Lanigangam_style117 karma

Priests are usually sworn not to reveal anything that is said in the confessional, unless there is a life-threatening danger concerning the confessor or another person. I may be mistaken though its been awhile since religion class haha.

fr-josh259 karma

No, we're never allowed to tie sins to a person. We are mandated reporters outside of confession.

I can reveal generics, like that I hear about sexual sins pretty frequently.

friendlyintruder3 karma

On the subject of confession, can you often tell who you're talking to? As someone not affiliated with the church, I've always assumed confession was supposed to maintain some anonymity.

fr-josh4 karma

In face to face confessions, yes I can. Behind the screen, it depends, but sometimes I can.

jengi277 karma

What would you like to see Pope Francis do next?

fr-josh605 karma

Be a brilliant administrator. He is doing well in other areas (mostly having to do with being charismatic and making us all look good), so I want him to get the 'nuts and bolts' of the papacy right, too.

blff266697164 karma

I love this answer. What are some aspects of being an administrator that the average layman might not know about?

fr-josh445 karma

Clearing up the bureaucracy in the Vatican and encouraging sound financial policies worldwide would be two good areas to start in.

jasimon229 karma

What, to you, is the most rewarding aspect of being a priest?

What is the most challenging?

fr-josh428 karma

Most rewarding: being involved in someone's life, especially when it's a difficult time for them. Example: going to the hospital late at night because someone is dying and the family needs a priest there. I find that very rewarding, even in the midst of sorrow for someone passing away.

There are many challenging aspects. One of them for me is administration and keeping on top of running a parish (especially with things like maintenance and all the paperwork my diocese asks for). It's also challenging and rewarding to deal with the people of the parish week in and week out. I try to make people happy, but sometimes we have to make difficult decisions that tick people off.

raoulduke25225 karma

Who is your favourite non-Catholic philosopher?

fr-josh411 karma

Good question. I want to say Karl Rahner, but it's probably Socrates. I like the Socratic method and I find it useful in teaching and even a little with preaching.

EnterTheCabbage221 karma

Aren't you obligated, as a matter of Roman canon law, to say Aristotle?

fr-josh1703 karma

Your mom is obligated! If she's Catholic.

kadrmas45209 karma

First of all, thanks for doing this AMA. I have a few questions:

1) What brought you to the decision to become a priest?

2) What is your favorite bible quote(s)?

3) What do you do for fun?

fr-josh342 karma

You're welcome.

1) I have been around many priests and the vocation is attractive.

2) Matthew 16 from this past Sunday's Gospel is a favorite. It confounds a lot of people, which is fun.

3) I watch movies and hang out with friends and sometimes play computer games. I don't watch much TV any more outside of my favorite sports teams.

TheMGMguy125 karma

Pardon my ignorance, but what kinds of computer games interest you?

fr-josh731 karma

Mount and Blade Warband and Civilization 5 for the most part. I also just bought Torchlight II at the steam sale and it's looking good so far.

jasimon307 karma

I'm so down to play some Civ 5 MP Father

ellanova52 karma

We need to make some virtual holy wars happen asap!

fr-josh195 karma

Only if we all agree to kill Gandhi first.

Manate96229 karma

I was hoping you would say World of Warcraft and that you play as a priest

fr-josh682 karma

I was a druid!

CustosClavium227 karma

I am scandalized.

fr-josh28 karma

But I was so good at it!

agentgruer65 karma

Doesn't that make you a heretic?

fr-josh96 karma


Got 'im!

greenman2767 karma

Probly the Diablo series.

fr-josh431 karma

Diablo III was too repetitive and grindy. Boring.

Agamemnon32360 karma

Is there nothing morally wrong with playing a game with such demonic themes? I was raised Christian and at different times was told things like pokemon, digimon, demonic themed things like wigi boards, tarot cards, video games, were not appropriate/sins.

fr-josh17 karma

I'm able to keep it separate from real life. Some people cannot, so those people shouldn't play Diablo.

316trees153 karma

Would you rather reason against 1 Thomas Aquinas sized Duns Scotus or 100 Duns Scotus sized Thomas Aquinas's?

fr-josh162 karma

The first one! I couldn't deal with one Thomas Aquinas, never mind 100 of them. Duns Scotus, even Thomistic size, just doesn't compare.

howardy2k145 karma

Father Josh, What type of gifts is the most appropriate for priests? Is it cash? giftcard? Do I give it after Mass personally, or do I hand it to the secretary? Thanks

fr-josh256 karma

We like money! And booze, usually. After Mass is fine (though we're rushed) and to the secretary is fine, too. Most people just give it to me directly after Mass or at the rectory some time during the week.

peanutbutterandritz217 karma

Priesthood = free booze? Where's the nearest seminary??

fr-josh444 karma

That would be like becoming a doctor to meet nurses. There are quicker ways that aren't as expensive or as time consuming.

NoWordOfALie134 karma

Have you ever been verbally assaulted by anyone because of being a priest? If so, how did you handle the situation?

fr-josh271 karma

I think so, but obviously it didn't bother me enough that I remember it in detail. Most people either treat me well or ignore me if they don't care for Catholics.

When I receive abuse like that, then I try to pray for them and not let it bother me. I try to give everyone a lot of slack, so it would take some work to get me angry and make me do something I would regret.

Indydegrees2133 karma

What's the weirdest thing you've had to do as a priest?

fr-josh294 karma

I once did a memorial service in a bar. That was weird (and a lot of fun). They liked that I had a beer afterwards, too, and that I didn't mind going to where the people gathered.

xmarteo131 karma


fr-josh188 karma

Yes, as long as it's the cheapest version of Chimay and the most expensive Chartreuse you can find. The media tends to have a story and then find quotes to back it up with regards to the popes, so I'm not holding my breath for a repeal of the discipline of celibacy for Roman Catholic priests.

Count_Markula59 karma

The phrasing ("not holding my breath") made me wonder, and maybe this is a question best suited for an entirely new comment, or indeed too personal, but how do you feel about celibacy for yourself personally? How did it affect your decision to become a priest, if at all? And finally (although of course feel free to ignore this part) what are your personal sexual feelings/orientation, if any?

fr-josh135 karma

I discerned celibacy before and during seminary. It works for me and it works for my fellow Roman Catholic priests (and other Catholic priests, too). It affected my decision in that I had to make a real choice of it and had to realize that I wouldn't have a biological family.

I won't be clear about the last part (probably answered in a past AMA, anyways), but some of us priests are straight and some are gay.

StumpyGoblin125 karma

What's the most disturbing thing you've ever had someone confess to you?

fr-josh379 karma

Reposting! I gave him 15 OC submissions as penance.

Honestly, they start to run together. I've heard most things and I've only been a priest for 5 years. No murder or abortion, yet, so those would probably disturb me the most. No child abuse, either, so I'm hoping I never hear any of those three.

StumpyGoblin84 karma

This might be obvious to most people, but if you are told about a murder or child abuse, are you required to tell the police? If you do, do you feel guilty for doing so?

fr-josh164 karma

I cannot tie sins to any individual. I am a mandated reporter outside of confession, so if it happened in spiritual direction I would have to tell the police.

ChuckEye117 karma

The Catholic Church's stance on Freemasons is pretty well established. If a known member of your congregation went up to receive communion and you noticed a Masonic ring on his hand, how would you react?

fr-josh284 karma

I don't know what those rings look like, but I would speak with him afterwards. It may be the case that it's a family heirloom and he's not a Freemason.

Fun story- a few weeks ago I had a guy shake my hand and he used the Freemason handshake (pinky finger a little higher than normal). I made a big deal of it in my mind until the following Sunday, when I noticed that it was permanent. Oops.

iamlereddit58 karma


fr-josh215 karma

Like broken a long time ago and always kind of bent funny, so his handshakes are a little funny.

thepetrochemist105 karma

What do you think of Westboro Baptist Church ?

fr-josh662 karma

They're teaching incorrect things in a mean-spirited way. They're wrong and they're loud about it.

laziegenius97 karma

Do priests still perform exorcisms these days? Have you ever performed an exorcism and what was that like? If no, do you personally know someone who has

fr-josh158 karma

Yes. I don't, because I'm not an exorcist.

No I haven't. I have talked with an exorcist and it's a long process that's usually unlike Hollywood in every way.

I don't know who the local exorcist is, sorry.

mruriah47 karma

What would be the procedure, then, if you don't know who the local exorcist is? Do you just, like, pick up the phone and call your boss?

fr-josh102 karma

I would call the diocese (chancery) and refer the person to them. They'll know who the local exorcist is.

emdyey97 karma

How does someone get in line to become a pope? Or even a bishop or cardinal? Is it a matter of impressing your superiors? Or is there an application of sorts?

fr-josh371 karma

Being a cardinal is the usual way nowadays, though the only requirement is to be Catholic and male and not married, if I remember correctly. You could try wearing red feathers and eating bugs.

MoralLesson58 karma

I think it is actually just any baptized Catholic male. Universi Dominici Gregis does not preclude a married man, and that makes sense as a married Catholic priest from an Eastern Rite that does not follow priestly celibacy could then theoretically be elected. It would also be difficult to justify a rule prohibiting married Popes since Peter himself was married (See Matthew 8:14).

fr-josh75 karma

Good point. The married man part might be more recent, seeing as we Roman Catholics are and the bishops in the East are celibate, too.

belgarion9092 karma

Father, what are some liturgical traditions that have fallen away in recent years (e.g. chanting responses) would you like to see brought back, and what are some you are glad are largely gone?

fr-josh162 karma

I'm glad that walking across the aisle to hold hands is mostly gone and I'd like to bring back some traditional hymns, but without driving people away or dumping every modern hymn.

rccola8684 karma

How far can you punt a football?

fr-josh48 karma

20 yards, maybe. Will you pay me to punt further?

cheeseface-man30 karma

this will never get answered, way too controversial of a topic...

fr-josh141 karma


sturdyliver65 karma

Hello Father, it's that time of the year in my diocese where all of our priests begin their new assignments, and this never fails to cause controversy as people see their favorite priest move 50 miles away and get a new priest who's not exactly like the old one. What's the shuffle like for the priests?

fr-josh58 karma

It depends on how long a priest has been in the parish. I like starting fresh, but it's tough to leave friends behind. It's also tough moving further away from family and priest friends. It's always an adjustment, but it can be good for the priest and the parish.

firead64 karma

How does being a priest effect your relationship with your family?

It seems like most of the priests I know ended up in parishes pretty far away from their families and I wonder how much time there is to see eachother and all that.

(My son is still very young but he had said a couple times that he'd like to be a priest - part of me thinks it'd be really great if he is called to the priesthood, but I also worry about not getting to see him much and not having grandkids if he is).

fr-josh82 karma

Many of us priests have siblings who aren't Catholic or who are actively Catholic, so that's a factor. As to my family, I am close with them, despite being some distance from their parish. I call my folks at least every week and I stay updated on their lives and they mine.

It depends on the diocese and the priest as to how much he'll see his family. It helps if you're close.

You would probably get to see him more than you fear, especially during the week (it's hard for us to get away on weekends).

KidQuestions59 karma


jasimon103 karma

Just to hop in, while the Church doesn't require that we take the entirety of the Adam/Eve/Eden story literally, the important part is that there was a Fall, a first sin that led to our first parents' loss of sanctifying grace.

fr-josh115 karma

Exactly. We don't deem whole swathes as only literal or only metaphorical.

fr-josh52 karma

The Church has only ruled infallibly on a few verses of the Bible. If you'd like to know how verses are interpreted, then I encourage you to check out the Church Fathers and their views.

tayseanpwns57 karma

What is the best way to get rid of corruption in the church?

And what is your favorite music genre? and least favorite? and what is your favorite band/performer?

fr-josh139 karma

Face it head on and don't be afraid of conflict. Don't accept "business as usual" or "this is how we've always done it" and ordain bishops who are pastoral and will fight corruption.

I like country a lot right now. Least would be hardcore rap or metal. Favorite performer right now would be Billy Currington or Josh Turner. I like how Josh Turner sings.

metaknite46 karma

Do you wear your collar and cassock everyday?

PreciousPuritans129 karma

My family's priest has what I believe to be an endless supply of Hawaiian shirts

fr-josh111 karma

For me it's polo shirts.

fr-josh12 karma

I'm too fat for my cassock :(

I do wear my collar for every official event. It's my uniform, so I had better wear it.

theodore_boozevelt46 karma

What's the best thing you've seen people do during mass?

What's the worst thing someone can do during mass?

fr-josh157 karma

  1. Pray and actively participate.

  2. Liturgical dance. It looks ridiculous when it's three 50-something people in front of everyone doing interpretive dance. There are worse things to do, but that's one of the most annoying, in my opinion.

theodore_boozevelt97 karma

Does this include the hand motions to "Our God is an Awesome God"???

fr-josh21 karma

Never. Point at the ceiling until your heart is content.

MrJohz43 karma

What would you say the biggest sin in the world right now is, and what should Christians be doing to stop it?

fr-josh169 karma

Tough question. I would say that, here in the US, the biggest problem is selfishness and not wanting to accept responsibility. That might just be my area, though, and I'm mostly referring to people I see every week.

Sins such as murder and abuse and such are worse, but as a prevailing problem among the millions of Americans, selfishness is quite prevalent.

TheHolyFerret40 karma

Jesuits or Dominicans?

fr-josh114 karma

Which ones drink more? Tough question. I'd go with Diocesan.

karmanaut31 karma

When have you been most tempted to leave the clergy? Or at least thought about doing it?

fr-josh82 karma

I haven't been strongly tempted since I've been a priest, but I did think seriously about it in seminary. If I didn't have doubts, then I don't think I would have been discerning correctly. Most seminarians have doubts just like I did because we all try to take the process seriously.

I have difficult days like everyone else does, but God has made it clear to me that priesthood is my vocation. I'm glad for it, too, because it's an awesome vocation.

Lurking_Still30 karma

As someone who was raised in the Catholic church, I've got a few questions for you.

How come new churches are being consecrated without a relic in the alter? Happened at a church near me recently, couldn't get any answers about it. They also decided to put cameras almost behind the alter. Yay.

How do you feel about the papacy moving in a more liberal direction?

How come the phrasing in the prayers was changed? I view it as pandering to make the language more explicit to avoid some of the hazy phrasing, but it destroyed the cadence of many of them, and honestly is a put off.

I have a handful of other questions that I've posed to a myriad of bishops and cardinals as well that still remain unanswered, but I don't want to be the person hurling questions that can only really be answered in a poor fashion.

fr-josh106 karma

How come new churches are being consecrated without a relic in the alter?

The most recent one I went to had a relic in there. I don't know about the others. Maybe they hate prayer.

They also decided to put cameras almost behind the alter.

They definitely hate it!!!1!

How do you feel about the papacy moving in a more liberal direction?

I don't think it is. I think most of that is misinterpretation and lack of knowledge about what the Church actually teaches (especially with regards to priestly celibacy).

How come the phrasing in the prayers was changed?

The original interpretation of the Latin wasn't accurate enough. Now it's much closer to what the Latin actually says.

but I don't want to be the person hurling questions that can only really be answered in a poor fashion

Well, I don't make much money, so all I have to offer are poor answers.

TheZachman3529 karma

Hello, Fr.!

I'm a teenaged Roman Catholic of 17 years. My question is this:

Obviously there is not any theological problem with believing in a greater reality than our universe, such as a proposed multiverse. But if a multiverse allows for infinite universes, in which one of them contains copies of us, does that affect free will?

fr-josh67 karma


I don't think it would affect our free will because we're still individuals and persons, even if copies might exist. We each have our intelligence (or not- I'm looking at you, moderators of /r/Catholicism) and free will. Even if other universes existed, that would only mean they went through history, too, rather than choices having no effects. That's how I see it. Good question!

Free-Penguin-Pete17 karma

Hey Father,

As a person born and raised Catholic, and who became disenfranchised with the church after JPII passed, I have once again found myself coming back to the church since the election of Francis I have a few questions.

1) Have you noticed yourself a rise in attendance, especially by the younger generations since Francis was elected?

2) How do you feel about the rumblings within the church about allowing priests to get married? Do you think it will bring more fresh faces to the cloth?

3) Do you have any beliefs not influenced by Catholicism that you hold to be 100% true? (ie Twizzlers are better than redvines)

fr-josh21 karma


1) No. But, then again, we don't have that many young people to start with in my parish.

2) Priests cannot get married in our church or the Orthodox church. Some men get married before ordination, but that's primarily in the eastern Church. Anything with regards to the Roman Catholic Church is part of the "pastoral provision" or wishful thinking on the part of a reporter.

3) Vanilla is better than chocolate. Always.

anonymouslives16 karma

Why would an omnibenevolent, omniscient, omnipotent (perfectly good,loving, all-knowing, all-powerful) god allow evil (satan, demons, etc) to torment (or have any interaction whatsoever) with - humankind? Furthermore, why would this god allow these entirely evil beings to exist at all?

fr-josh38 karma

Because of the value God puts in free will. God allows us to freely make choices, which often results in sin and evil, all for the sake of us choosing God and the good. Demons exist because they are angels that made a free choice of evil.


/u/fr-josh, I have a question for you. Why is Catholicism the best religion, and what makes it so cool and awesome? In how many dozens of ways do the teachings of the Catholic Church make our lives so much happier?

fr-josh17 karma

It's the best because we have St. John Paul II and he was the best. Ever.

ChuckEye12 karma

Matthew 6 (particularly 6:5-8) would indicate that prayer should be a solitary and private thing, not something of public spectacle. How do you reconcile large masses with the admonishment not to pray to be seen by others, babbling on in many words. Doesn't Matthew instruct that that is not necessary for God to hear you?

fr-josh31 karma

Jesus prayed in the Temple and in synagogues in public. The apostles prayed in common, too. Both kinds are necessary. Catholicism is a "both/and" religion, so we like saying yes to both forms of prayer.

Jesus taught us to say "Our Father", not "my Father" and not just by ourselves.

keloyd11 karma

Dominus vobiscum!

Do you belong to an order? If so, which one and why?

Do you foresee any 'death of 1000 exceptions' to the indissolubility of marriage coming from Rome during our lifetimes?

fr-josh17 karma

Et cum spiritu tuo! Or maybe I should be saying Dominus vobiscum.

I am a diocesan priest. I did discern some religious orders, but they weren't for me.

Do you foresee any 'death of 1000 exceptions' to the indissolubility of marriage coming from Rome during our lifetimes?

No. Some people talk about how the Orthodox define marriage, but it's intrinsically different our theology, so I don't see it happening.

I_feel_so_mop8 karma

Orthodoxy members, at least those I have talked to, indicate that the separation was the "fault" of the Western church and that if the Bishop of Rome were to recant the doctrine of infallibility, that the Eastern church we be open for reunification. Do you think that the 2 churches will ever reunite? (I personally think they have diverged too far apart for any real headway to be made on this front.)

fr-josh10 karma

There have been some reunifications, but infallibility was only explicit centuries after the Schism. Ecumenism is with individual Orthodox churches, so I think it's possible that we'll unite with some more but not all.

I would like to see Pope Francis achieve unity with the other Christian churches, but because we're all human I don't see it happening soon. I don't think we're too far because the Eastern Catholic churches are very similar to the Orthodox.

fudgestripes7 karma

What is the most challenging part of being a priest?

fr-josh6 karma

Check out my answer up above.

Thecna26 karma

I guess the biggie is... how do you feel about the fact that in many parts of the world the term Catholic Priest or Nun is now tainted by the sins of the sexual and physical abuse conducted by many people from your church (and indeed most others too) over the past decades? I'm 50 and when I was a young kid the term Priest was a 'safe' concept. Now its far more dangerous one. We all know it was only some, but I feel that things have changed for the worst.

And how do you feel, or even accept its true, about the reactions of the church to these rogue members, which was mainly to deny, hide and obfuscate before they were pulled kicking and screaming into acceptance?

fr-josh10 karma

I have answered about child abuse a couple of times already. As to your particular questions, around where I live it's not tied to abuse. People are usually either respectful or indifferent.

I don't know what you mean by "these rogue members." Who are you referring to?

ThePandaHugger5 karma

I have this lingering question in mind. How can a sinful person like me (and many others here in reddit) become a decent christian?

fr-josh2 karma

The same way that the rest of us sinners do- try our best and rely on God for the rest. Reconcile after sinning and resolve to do better (and follow up on it).

imwatchingyoupee5 karma

Favourite catholic rock band?

fr-josh11 karma

Critical Mass, maybe? I don't listen to Christian or Catholic music much any more. I got burned out on it and switched to Country.

hornedcow13 karma

What diocese do you serve in? I'm Irish; do you feel like the church still holds responsibility for what it did in this country? Not just the child sex abuse, but the physical abuse that went on in church-run schools, the oppression of women, and the church's overwhelming influence on political policies and artistic censorship. My grandfather also used to talk about how as a child, he and his family grew up in squalor, along with many other working class families in Dublin, while the Archbishop McQuaid lived in what amounted to a palace.

fr-josh2 karma

I'm in the mid-atlantic region of the US.

We, as humans, are responsible for all of our actions. The Church in the US has been clear about this and has taken that responsibility. For more information, see my previous comments about it.

IamMrBuckets2 karma

Thanks for doing this AMA!! One question: Have you seen this documentary about the Catholic Church by Louis C.K?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VABSoHYQr6k (Its a short 4 min)

What are your reactions to his criticisms? Where is he 100% wrong, if any at all?

fr-josh4 karma

You're welcome. No I haven't seen it. My experience with people who were Catholic until a certain age tend to have that age's understanding (e.g. left at 10, so have a 10 year old's understanding).

I stopped at 0:55 because it's obviously not an indepth understanding.

iamlereddit2 karma

Do you (the Church)believe that miracles and spiritual gifts are still present today?

fr-josh2 karma

Yes. That's why we still require miracles to canonize saints.

pemberleypearl2 karma

Thank you so much for being a priest!

How do you try and encourage vocations to the priesthood and religious life in your parish?

fr-josh3 karma

You're welcome! I talk about vocations and I interact with people as much as possible in the parish and outside the parish church and hall. I pray for vocations and I have gone to Catholic high schools to talk about vocations.

ningrim2 karma

Have you seen the film Philomena? Any thoughts on it?

It portrayed Catholics in a very negative light.

fr-josh4 karma

I have not. I usually watch big budget movies for entertainment. I don't usually watch movies to be offended.

gnoxy842 karma

How many of your fellow priests/people working in the church do you know for a fact that doesn't truly believe in god?

fr-josh12 karma

Zero. They leave in seminary or shortly afterwards, in my experience. And the ones who do get ordain tend to have serious doubts, not actual atheism. It's tough enough to go through years of formation without relying on God.

cheddarben2 karma

Do you sympathize with why so many may think that the Catholic church is bad?

I understand that the church does a lot of good as well and has many great individuals, but man... the torturing, the hording, the murders, the hiding of the child molesters. Bullies can sometimes grow up to be great adults, but as far as I can tell the Catholic church - as a collective - still has a lot of bully in it.

fr-josh3 karma

I understand why people don't care for the Church. The Church is full of humans and we humans do terrible things (in addition to doing great things).

Much of what people think bad about the Church is misinformation, by the way. There's bad in plenty without making things up, as some have done.

theCaitiff1 karma

Roman Catholicism, broadly speaking, is a mystery religion. However upon closer review, having been baptized and going through confirmation, I've yet to be inducted into any further mysteries beyond the Trinity and The Mystery of Faith (by which I mean the Memorial Acclimation, Christ has died...).

How does one go about having the other Mysteries revealed? Is this a priest only thing or did I miss something in the catechism?

fr-josh2 karma

We have mysteries, but we're far from a typical mystery religion.

Do you mean mysteries in a sense like the Orthodox might use them? Are you talking about Sacraments?

While some things are ultimately mysteries, one can find knowledge and understanding in a pursuit of philosophy and theology.

improbablewobble1 karma

Did you see the Southpark episode about sexual abuse and if so what did you think of it? Obviously their satire is extreme, but they've been lauded for their understanding of complicated issues like this, the message of the episode being that if the church isn't open to change it will surely die.

fr-josh3 karma

I didn't. I don't watch Southpark, or even much TV any more.

The Church is open to change. We have enacted progressive policies with regards to child abuse here in the US and the popes have encouraged everyone else to do so, too.

ferrariman9991 karma

Are you pleased with how the church seems to have become (marginally) more open to scientific/medical ideas recently (i.e. promoting the use of condoms)? On a tangential note, I'd be curious to know what your opinion is on gay marriage.

fr-josh21 karma

As far as I know the Church doesn't promote condom use. Also, we have always been open to scienfitic ideas (see: Msgr. Georges Lemaitre and countless others), though not when it encroaches upon what is properly the Church's (faith and morals).

As for gay marriage, I stand with the Church. I would be classified as a proponent of traditional marriage.

ferrariman9994 karma

Thanks for the reply! Please allow me to rephrase. I shouldn't have said "promote the use of condoms". I was actually referring to Pope Benedict's (well, actually his spokesperson's) comments regarding the use of condoms being morally acceptable to combat AIDS.

From this NY Times article:

The Rev. Federico Lombardi, the Vatican’s spokesman, said that for Benedict, the use of condoms by people infected with H.I.V. could be “the first step of responsibility, of taking into consideration the risk to the life of the person with whom there are relations.”

fr-josh3 karma

You're welcome. The use of condoms was extremely restricted and, if I remember correctly, more about "if they're going to sin then they might use condoms" than "go ahead and use them."

I_feel_so_mop1 karma

Do you think that we will ever see female priests in the Catholic church?

fr-josh7 karma

No. The Church has said, in Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, that it cannot happen.