Can past use of pornography prevent me from entering the convent?
Dear Fr. Anthony,
I am in the process of completing the psychological
evaluation for my application to religious life. Everything
seems to be going well and I feel peaceful about this order
that I am applying to. However, there is something in my past
that is bothering me. I've faced certain trials regarding
internet pornography which has been combated through prayer and
the Sacraments. I'm happy to say that, by the grace of God,
I've been freed from this sin for over 7 months. But, my
question to you is: could this be something that could prevent
me from entering religious life in the near future? I'm
going to talk to the psychologist who is completing the
evaluation but I'm worried that this past problem will
prevent my entrance. Maybe I'm just being overly concerned?
You need to remember that you are in God's hands now, and he
is going to show you the path he wants you to follow through
the people he has placed in your path as his representatives.
It is important to keep this foremost in your mind. You are
seeking his will and he is going to make it known to you.
Now, you are concerned about this weakness in your past, and
it is something the evaluators have to take into consideration
as they seek what is best for you. The best path is always
clarity and honesty. Now, remember too that the psychological
evaluation is only one of several elements that will be taken
into account to decide regarding your entry.
As regards the particular problem that concerns you, one
very good sign is that you have been working successfully to
overcome it in the real circumstances of your life and not in
some artificial environment. This is immensely positive. What
the evaluators will be concerned to look into are the possible
causes of your past failings and the possible enduring effects.
If they were to decide that you need more time to ensure that
you are stable in your new habits, that is not a step backwards
but rather an important step forward in your vocation. Accept
any delay but don't put off consecrating yourself to Christ in
your mind and heart. Whatever the outcome, remember that God
already sees what is in your heart and loves you for it.
I'll be praying for you.