In a recent blog post on Monomakhos (highlighted in RealClearReligion) George Michalopulos, an Orthodox Christian layman, asked readers whether or not they would want their sons to become Orthodox priests. Fr. John Peck, a well-known Orthodox priest, said he would not want his sons (Orthodox priests can marry) to follow in his footsteps. Another reader found that startling. Fr. Peck answered:
Joel, frankly, yes. I know how much suffering goes into the priesthood, often at the hands of fellow clergy and vicious parishioners. My sons have already endured a great deal of this. They’ve done their part – they do not need to feel obligated to follow daddy’s footsteps.
If they have a real calling, nothing will dissuade them. If not, they won’t have to worry about what I want them to do. ..
I do want to encourage young men who are discerning a vocation – not young men in general. As St. John Chrysostom puts it, the priesthood is forbidden to all women and most men. If a man has a vocation, I’m supportive. Ask the men in my parishes who are now clergy, or preparing for it. But they came in with their eyes wide open. In fact, I think it inspired them to know the reality up front.
In this case, I am speaking as a father, not a priest, and I’m allowed to have a father’s opinion on this
Some of the other responses on the blog show just how lonely and taxing a priests life can be, as he deals with both his congregation and the church. Following that post, Rod Dreher, writing in the The American Conservative, asked:
Anyway, what do you say? The priesthood (or ordained ministry, either within Christianity or another religion) as a vocation for your son, or daughter? Why or why not?
And so I ask those readers of this blog who are Rabbis or have ever seriously considered to be rabbis - Would you want your own children to be Rabbis?
(answers can be anonymous)