On Sunday, I spent about four hours watching DVRed episodes of God Or The Girl (a show on A&E, which I blogged about here). All in all, it was an interesting series. It seems like the producers did their best to be respectful of the young men and their families. For non-Catholics, like me, it was a fascinating glimpse inside American Catholic culture. Growing up in Watertown, NY, where we had like eight gazillion Catholic schools because of the large Irish and Italian populations, I had a lot of friends get confirmed, but I'm pretty sure none of them ever considered exchanging sex for priesthood.
It must be a lot harder for Catholics to choose a "religious" life, considering the number of sacrifices such a choice includes. I can't even imagine, at this point in my life, deciding to give up the option of getting married or have children of my own. And that's not even the only sacrifice that priests and nuns and monks have to make. Needless to say, I am happy to be a Protestant.
At the end of the series, Joe and Mike decided against the priesthood, Dan postponed his decision and renewed a relationship with a girl at his school, and Steve, announced his intention of entering seminary to become a priest. To be honest, I was rooting for them all to follow Mike and Joe's lead. I wanted all of them to decide that the priesthood wasn't where it was at. I wanted them to get married and have sex and babies. Intellectually, I don't believe there is anything wrong with choosing a celibate life. In fact, I know there are people who feel called by God to be single for a lifetime. Still, there is something in the very fiber of my being that revolts against the concept. I know it's not wrong, but it feels wrong.
Anyway, I think A&E should do a follow-up in a few years, so that we can see where all these guys end up. Maybe I'm the only person who would be interested, since I feel an unhealthy connection with people I see on TV, but it would be great to find out how these decision pan out in the long term.
I wonder if such a show about young women considering the religious life would even be possible. I think I'm going to look up some statistics on women entering convents v. men entering seminaries and monasteries. I'll get back to you on that one.