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Margaret Palladino wrote:

Hi, guys —

  • Do all priests need at least a Bachelors degree?

Thank you for your time and effort.

Take care and God bless you,


  { Do all priests need at least a Bachelors degree? }

Father Francis replied:


Priests [and deacons] must have at least a bachelor's degree before entering into serious theological formation which roughly takes, [at least] four years beyond a college level education (e.g. Bachelors Degree).

In other words, diocesan priests receive the same education level as lawyers and MD's while Jesuits get even more!

Father Francis

John replied:

Hi, Margaret —

Thanks for your question.

Fr. Francis already gave you a very good answer. Indeed, the norm today is that a man seeking Holy Orders is required to have at least a Bachelors degree. I'd just like to expound upon his answer.

The need for a bachelor's degree is a very sound disciplinary requirement. It is not a prerequisite for the sacrament of Holy Orders to be valid. From a purely sacramental perspective, the only requirement is that Holy Orders be conferred on a baptized man (male).

The Catechism reads:

1577 The Church confers the sacrament of Holy Orders only on baptized men (viri), whose suitability for the exercise of the ministry has been duly recognized.

Church authority alone has the responsibility and right to call someone to receive the sacrament of Holy Orders.

At the present time, (and in relatively recent history), the Church has determined that the suitability for the exercise of the ministry includes a certain level of education know as a Bachelor's degree.

In the early Church and throughout the ages, the standard for formal education has varied, so that standard is subject to change.

What cannot ever change is the sacramental requirement that the Church can only ordain baptized men.


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